Soil science must play a crucial role in meeting present and emerging societal needs of the 21st century and beyond for a population expected to stabilize around 10 billion and having increased aspirations for a healthy diet and a rise in the standards of living. In addition to advancing food security by eliminating hunger and malnutrition, soil resources must be managed regarding numerous other global needs through interdisciplinary collaborations. Some of which are to mitigate global warming; to improve quantity and quality of freshwater resources; to enhance biodiversity; to minimize desertification; serve as a repository of waste; an archive of human and planetary history; meet growing energy demands; develop strategies of sustainable management of urban ecosystems; alleviate poverty of agricultural communities as an engine of economic development; and fulfill aspirations of rapidly urbanizing and industrializing societies. In addition to food and ecosystem services, bio-industries (e.g., plastics, solvents, paints, adhesives, pharmaceuticals and chemicals) through plant-based compounds (carbohydrates, proteins, and oils) and energy plantations (bioethanol and biodiesel) can revolutionize agriculture. These diverse and complex demands on soil resources necessitate a shift in strategic thinking and conceptualizing sustainable management of soil resources in agroecosystems to provide all ecosystem services while also meeting the needs for food, feed, fiber, and fuel by developing multifunctional production systems. There is a strong need to broaden the scope of soil science to effectively address ever changing societal needs. To do this, soil scientists must rally with allied sciences including hydrology, climatology, geology, ecology, biology, physical sciences (chemistry, physics), and engineering. Use of nanotechnology, biotechnology, and information technology can play an important role in addressing emerging global issues. Pursuit of sustainability, being a moral/ethical and political challenge, must be addressed in cooperation with economists and political scientists. Soil scientists must work in cooperation with industrial ecologists and urban planners toward sustainable development and management of soils in urban and industrial ecosystems. More than half of the world's population (3.3 billion) live in towns and cities, and the number of urban dwellers is expected to increase to 5 billion by 2030. Thus, the study of urban soils for industrial use, human habitation, recreation, infrastructure forestry, and urban agriculture is a high priority. Soil scientists must nurture symbiotic/synergistic relations with numerous stake holders including land managers, energy companies and carbon traders, urban planners, waste disposal organizations, and conservators of natural resources. Trading of C credits in a trillion-dollar market by 2020 must be made accessible to land managers, especially the resource-poor farmers in developing countries. Soil science curricula, at undergraduate and graduate levels, must be revisited to provide the needed background in all basic and applied sciences with focus on globalization. We must raise the profile of soil science profession and position students in the competitive world of ever flattening Earth.