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Under the dome – China’s air pollution

There’s quite a lot of attention on air pollution at the moment in Britain, which is a good thing – the problem has been largely ignored for a long time. The other day I had an email from a campaigning organisation. It was asking for funds to help fight the air pollution ‘crisis’, which made […]

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A map of global soil degradation

Last year I ran a soil week on the blog, with a whole week of posts about soil, how it’s lost and how it can be protected. I had far more material than I could use, as it happens – or at least more than I could publish without boring you all completely. So I […]

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What does nature do for us?

We all know that we depend on the earth and its systems for our life and wellbeing. But beyond the obvious things like food, we might not be able to actually draw up a list. Here’s a nice summary of the ‘ecosystem services’ that natures lays on for us: That graphic is what I wanted […]

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Community mangrove restoration in Madagascar

Mangrove swamps are the single most efficient form of forest when it comes to carbon sequestration. I’ve detailed exactly why in previous posts. They also stabilise coastlines, forming a buffer against storms and floods. They serve as nurseries to small fish. Like many environments in the ‘riparian zone’ between land and water, they are very […]

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An update on the Great Green Wall

One of the world’s more ambitious climate change projects is the Great Green Wall, an 8,000km band of trees and plants that crosses the whole of the African continent. It’s central aim is to halt the advance of the desert, but in the process it will create green jobs, protect the soil, and keep people […]

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Spread the word about soil

Last week was soil week on the blog, and a few of you mentioned by email or on posts that more people ought to know about soil and the crisis of global soil loss. I agree, so I’ve pulled all the content from the last few days together. I had a lot more than I […]

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How to protect the soil

When land is planted with crops, those are harvested and the land is left bare. That’s something that never happens in nature. Under natural conditions there’s always something covering the ground. Soil is never dug over in nature either. Animals and birds might scratch around and occasionally bury things, but they never turn over a […]

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How soil is lost

‘Common as dirt’ is, so I am told, an expression that has many international equivalents. What could be more easily obtainable than earth? And for most of us, it is indeed common. After all, soil is one of the reasons why humanity is where it is. You want to build towns and cities in places […]

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What is soil anyway?

Soil is the very outer layer of the earth’s crust. Its thickness depends on where you are, but generally speaking it’s the top 1.2 metres that we’re talking about – a layer of thicker subsoil iced with six inches of darker, richer topsoil. Soil isn’t any one thing, as you can see from a handful […]

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The most overlooked thing in the world

It’s soil week on the blog – a whole week on soil, what it is, and why it matters.

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