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Where are your ten trees?

I was writing up some details about Wangari Maathai’s life this week, for a talk that I’m preparing. If you’re not familiar with Maathai, she was a formidable Kenyan woman who set up the Green Belt Movement of community tree planters. The organisation has planted 50 million trees since its founding in the late 7os, […]

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Could you replant a forest by drone?

Scientists may be hard at work on technologies that can draw CO2 back out of the atmosphere, but so far we are yet to improve on the tree for efficiency and cost. The future of our planet as a liveable and comfortable home for humanity may well depend on what we do with trees. Preserving […]

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Cassava plastic – good enough to eat?

When I was reading about ocean plastic recently, it was interesting to learn where it comes from. The biggest sources of plastic waste aren’t advanced consumer economies, but middle income countries where consumer goods are widely available, but waste processing systems aren’t yet in place. All sorts of waste is being generated in packaging, but […]

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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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