Land is the crucial natural capital resource at the nexus of our food and water security. We need fertile soil--the skin of the land--as much as the air we breathe, yet we routinely take soil for granted. Land degradation is accelerating, especially in the developing world, threatening both environmental health and human security.

Luc Gnacadja, former executive secretary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, delivered the 2014 Iscol Lecture April 22. The annual Iscol lecture, presented by the David R. Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future, brings prominent leaders to campus to discuss crucial environmental issues.