December, 2022

30% back to Nature

I suspect I’m not alone in being appalled by Cop-Out 27. The private jets, the preening suits, the staggering con-artistry. The UK is as bad as the rest, our claims of carbon emission reduction handily leave out the fact that we have outsourced most of our manufacturing to China. China, where they are still building coal fired power stations, where they are propping up Putin by buying his oil on the cheap and where they continue to brutalise and suppress the innocent Uighyrs and Tibetans.

OK, enough ranting. So what is the answer apart from repatriating our industries from the maw of the Chinese Communist Party? Obviously renewables can make a huge difference and, who knows, nuclear fusion may yet be attainable by the middle of the century. But the trouble is that the Climate Crisis is happening now, it’s been brewing for 50 years and it’s set to get far , far worse and quickly. Realistically I don’t think we are going to wean ourselves off oil and gas anything like quick enough, instead we have to look to good old resilient Nature to bail us out. Left to her own resources Nature will sequester carbon in our soils and in the sea, she’s being doing it for millions of years but in just the last half century we have so degraded these buffer systems ( 68% loss of animal life in the last 50 years, most of our soils deplete of life and trace elements, the seas scoured and scarred by crudely indiscriminate fishing methods) that Nature itself is now on life support.

Right now there is the UN Biodiversity Conference going on in Canada. Sensibly there is a call to ‘give back to Nature’ 30% of the land and seas. It’s a minimum target but wholly achievable and desirable. It’s a start. On land we need to rapidly give up on pesticides and fertilizers and instead restore the fungi and bacteria to our soils which keep them vibrant, maintain healthy plants ( and so healthy food rather than the empty carbohydrates mostly on offer) and so sequester carbon and restore Nature’s control over the natural carbon cycle.

Individually we all need to do our bit, ignore the naysaying, cheese paring politicians and just get on with it.

Here between our farms at Castle Dewey and Tregew we can pledge now that more than 30% of the land will be ‘given back to Nature’ in the form of permanent pasture, agroforestry and woodland creation. But it’s vital that the remaining 70% of land has to be farmed locally and globally in a regenerative fashion where, at a minimum, no harm is done to soils and biodiversity, but predominantly in a manner that will continually improve its natural capital and sequester carbon.

That is our aim and intention at Tregew and Castle Dewey. We will monitor and report on progress throughout this coming year.

Finally, if you haven’t read Greta Thunberg’s ‘The Climate Book’ please buy it now. It is a compilation of the contributions from 100 experts in related fields introduced by Greta’s own perpectives and conclusions. It’s the book of the decade, it should be in every school, university and politician’s briefcase. Seering clarity, brilliant analysis by a young woman wise beyond her years.