According to this article human activity has increased the rate of erosion about 100-fold. This is not surprising to me. I recall my agronomy instructor about 35 years ago using the last day of class to give a slide show to discuss the erosive effects of plowing and building construction. This is also why I have always been strongly against using land to grow biofuels. In this article I wrote a few years ago, I reference other research suggesting that biofuels may have played a major role in the collapse of many pre-industrial societies. The key role of soil in the ecosystem and economy tends to be overlooked by the general public because soil science is so “unsexy”. This great article from National Geographic not only elucidates some important case studies of soil degradation, but also uses the term "MEGO" (short for “my eyes glaze over”) to describe the uphill battle of journalists raising awareness of soil related issues. When I designed my lab activity on soil texture, I sent the rough draft to the agronomy department at the University of Maryland. They kindly reviewed my manuscript and gave me some great suggestions. It was refreshing to get so much help, when generally most of my emails to college professors get ignored. Maybe they appreciated a non-agronomist consulting them on a topic that most people find boring!