Biodiversity Offsetting – lose a wood, gain a wood

Some positive thoughts here on the increasingly controversial biodiversity offsetting approach to planning. The key aspect to stress from this post is 'local'. Local systems, local offsetting, local partnerships, local responsibility and local biodiversity. Personally I am not a big fan of biodiversity offsetting as a concept (as you can see in a previous article … Continue reading Biodiversity Offsetting – lose a wood, gain a wood


Can we make nature exciting? This post was my first to be published at activisionary, a new independent group focusing upon environmental writing within which I am volunteering as an environmental journalist. Take a look at their site and my first article here. The automatic response to the posing of the above question may be one of disbelief for … Continue reading Can we make nature exciting?

Owen Paterson speaks out as being pro GM 'GM a safe, proven and beneficial innovation'? I wonder if the secretary of State, who is meant to be representing my interests, is really speaking for the best interests of the British and European public here or is he speaking for a multinational industry determined to push into Europe? Where is the evidence that … Continue reading Owen Paterson speaks out as being pro GM

Seeking sustainable crops

I’m a strong believer that we need to be innovative. I’m a GM sceptic but all the same welcome this posting on support of researching new crop varieties.

Science on the Land

Elisabeth Braw at the Guardian tells us about the search for sustainable crops. She says that we in the rich world focus too much on a tiny number of staple food species. But ‘at one time during the past 10,000 years, [people] used some 30,000 plants.’

Now some scientists are taking a good look at neglected (orphan) crops. For example, many people grow and eat pearl millet (Pennisetum glaucum) and sorghum (Sorghum bicolor) but outside the topics, we ignore those crops too often. There’s growing interest in more nutritious (biofortified) varieties of them. Varieties such as the selectively bred Iron-Rich Pearl Millet and the genetically modified (GM, genetically engineered, GE) African Biofortified Sorgum. Ms Braw doesn’t seem very impressed by GM. But that GM sorghum reminds us that biotech is still being used to develop crop varieties.

I’m grateful to my fellow blogger at

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Gleason Ranch: Risking Everything This short clip advertises a documentary following the lives of the people running a 5th generation family ranch. Illustrating the harsh realities of real life farming and real life struggles I encourage you to read more about the story at

Wolves Dogs and Sheep

some interesting statistics here…

a new nature blog


Where’s the wolf Fido?

By User:Squigman (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

I used to be quite good at statistics, but that was a very long time ago. Now I marvel at my colleagues at Footprint Ecology, who painlessly manipulate huge datasets, often with complex spatial elements to them.

But here are some simple statistics that I can get my head around, from the June Agricultural Census . There are 32 million sheep and lambs in the UK. This is a staggering figure – but what is even more amazing (to me anyway) is that the UK has the largest number of sheep in the EU – by quite a long way. Next biggest sheep producer is Spain then the rest are way behind (2o1o figures).

Nearly 100,000ha of “sole right rough grazing”, that is mostly upland grazings of heathland and acid grassland, has disappeared from the statistics in…

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Is the farmer’s job to produce more and more food?

The idea for writing this particular blog post sprouted from an article on Farmers Weekly by Matthew Naylor available here. The article encourages debate on what the role of the farmer actually is. Naylor writes: ''Decades of discussion about grain mountains, subsidies, biodiversity, diffuse pollution and food flavour have obscured the main function of a … Continue reading Is the farmer’s job to produce more and more food?

Do we need to reinvigorate Environmental History?

‘‘Many people believe that the humanities are retreating, that they are irrelevant, and students—especially in the emerging world—are encouraged to study subjects that are considered to be more useful for the labour market. The task of the humanities, according to Wilfrid McClay, is to be distinctive from the natural and social sciences, by grasping ‘human … Continue reading Do we need to reinvigorate Environmental History?

The Sustainability Experiment

This article was written for InterMission online magazine and is about living a sustainable life as a student. I like to think that I am a pretty environmentally conscious person. I recycle, volunteer with the university conservation group, am an active supporter of organic farming methods, walk to and from uni (and everywhere in Bristol come … Continue reading The Sustainability Experiment

Climate Change and Global Change

I am writing this post in response to a couple of articles I have been reading this evening; articles that I came across through links on twitter. The first is from the Guardian and is regarding Nigel Lawson's climate change sceptic (or as I prefer to see them, denier) group the 'Global Warming Policy Foundation' (GWPF). … Continue reading Climate Change and Global Change