July: 6th July 2017, Land Use & Wildlife
July’s ‘One Planet Frome’ session was on land use. What is the condition of the land on which we all depend, and what are the implications of climate change for the way it should be managed in the future?
Nikki Jones, a writer and researcher, gave a talk on land use and climate change. In a wide-ranging and extremely informative talk, Nikki explained how much of the soil has been seriously depleted as a result of modern agricultural practices, the destruction of forests and peat-lands, global warming and increasing meat consumption. Healthy soil is essential not only to feed a growing population but also as a ‘sink’ to retain and capture carbon. Far from tackling climate change, many current practices release huge amounts of intensive greenhouse gases, such as nitrous oxide and methane. While the UK government has said that all soils will be managed sustainably by 2030, there are as yet few coherent policies to help us towards this goal.
Nevertheless, there are some reasons to be hopeful, both internationally and in this country. The session ended with a discussion about initiatives we can take and support – such as small-scale, local farming, the restoration of marginal land, cutting the use of pesticides and fertilisers, protecting and planting trees, and plant-based diets – please see the Soil Association Manifesto for more ideas.