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