Wednesday, 5 September 2018

Phosphorus and the Sustainable Development Goals

Phosphorus = {People.Planet.Prosperity.Peace.Partnership}

This week I have had the pleasure to deliver an invited Keynote at the British Society of Soil Science annual meeting on "Soil, Water, Phosphorus and the Sustainable Development Goals".  It was an enriching, but equally worrisome intellectual experience to think about how these issues alligned and my conclusions were:

- Phosphorus feeds us!  Key to our existence on earth and transformed humanity since 1940s
- Soil P behaviour tricky!  In the long term it ‘sticks’ to soil and thus plant acquisition is complex.  Can we better use indigenous soil organic P?
- Despite, it is easily transferred to water and pollutes
- Climate change estimates are that this will accelerate
Long term – it is on a non- sustainable journey to the sea
- We are nowhere near being able to manage the P cycle and fulfil sustainable development goals!

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