Lingua Franca for European Soils
Multidisciplinary IP course Lingua Franca for European Soils (LiFES) will facilitate to the understanding of soil classification and its role as a tool in the both scientific and practical discus- sions and debates. The target group are students of Earth Sciences, Environmental Sciences and Agriculture courses. Objectives of the IP are to enable students to classify soils using WRB system and to prepare web based soil charts to be used as didactic tool in teaching about WRB on European universities. Globalization of scientific researches and teaching on EU level necessitate harmonization and correlation of technical languages, such as the one used in soil science. The WRB is designed as an easy means of communication amongst scientists to identify, characterize and name major types of soils and has also been accepted by the European Commission as the official system within the European Union. Despite the passage of
more than a decade the WRB system is not known and used in a satisfactory manner among teaching staff at EU universities, not mentioning the undergraduate and postgraduate students. National soil classification systems still dominate and seriously complicates exchange of information and teaching process, which is one of big handicaps in Erasmus exchanges of students
interested in environmental sciences. The WRB system is not taught on many universities and even on those where it is part of teaching curricula it is considered marginally. To implement EU Lisbon strategy and made European Higher Education in the field of environmental sciences competitive with US universities WRB have to be taught full-time and became one of core
Workshop is divided on two main discussion panels. One panel would be dealing with urban soils of Torun, the other one with soils of accelerated (human induced) erosion areas. Such themes were chosen because they relate to the EU Thematic Strategy on Soil Protection. This Strategy clearly identified main threats to soils that justify an European or even global approach to soil protection.
International meeting of students and putting them in a situation of necessity to exchange information will prove than only good understanding and proper usage of common denominator, which is WRB, enable cooperation, scientific development and on European level. Also for all soil practitioners it is essential to learn the soil Lingua Franca using ICT tools to open the possibility to start career in Europe without borders. Experiences gained during the IP would be very important for students in future careers as soil professionals in private and public sector