Soil is an integral component of the global environmental system which supports the quality and diversity of terrestrial life on Earth. Therefore, it is vital to consider the processes and impacts of soil degradation on society, especially on the provision of environmental goods and services, including food security and climate change mitigation and adaptation. Scientific societies devoted to soil science play significant roles in reducing soil degradation and promoting soil conservation by advancing scientific knowledge, education and environmental sustainability. The ESSC was founded on 4 November 1988, with the aims to: 1. Support research on soil degradation, soil protection and soil and water conservation. 2. Provide a network for the exchange of knowledge about soil degradation processes and soil conservation research and practises. 3. Produce publications on major issues relating to soil degradation and soil and water conservation. 4. Advise regulators and policy-makers on soil issues, especially soil degradation, protection and conservation. The societal challenges that can be addressed through better soil protection, advancing knowledge and scientific approaches to soil protection and sustainable management, mean the ESSC embraces the on-going development, application, review and constructive criticism of highly innovative scientific soil conservation methods. In this context, the ESSC analyses and publicizes the roles and functions of soil in natural and human-modified systems and the functional optimization of soils to ensure sustainable environmental protection. “The thin layer of soil that forms a patchy covering over the continents controls our own existence and that of every other animal of the land” (Rachel Carson (1962) in ‘Silent Spring’).