Subjects such as deforestation and ending coal extraction have dominated headlines coming out of COP. But to safeguard food security and biodiversity, the way we use land is just as important – and it will have to change. To give just one example, we can’t keep chopping down trees to clear land to grow food.
To make trees more valuable when they are kept in the ground (where they are usefully storing carbon) global thinking will have to shift and the money will have to move faster than it is at present.
“With nature-based solutions the early investors are not the financial institutions… That’s frustrating. We know from the solar revolution how to do it, we’ve just got to show that this can work, it can be quantified, it can be great, and then they’ll come piling in,” pioneering solar entrepreneur Jeremy Leggett told us on the latest episode of ‘Ahead of the Curve’.
For sustainable land use to happen, a wide ranging set of enabling conditions is needed, explains Talia Smith, Co-Director of Knowledge Generation at the Food and Land Use Coalition, explains. Economic competitiveness, the removal of perverse subsidies, performance measurement, human capital skills and innovation will all be needed. And also the not-so-small matter of solutions to be normalised in the national consciousness so that citizens demand a shift.
Leggett is 18 months into proving nature recovery and community prosperity can be done at the Bunloit Estate on the banks of Loch Ness. If you think the bigger change we’ve described is too big a hurdle, listen in. Leggett and Smith’s enthusiasm should convince you otherwise.