"From the peat bogs and woodlands that help to secure our water supply, to the bees and soils that produce most of the food we eat, Britain is rich in 'natural capital'. Yet we take supplies of clean water and secure food for granted, rarely considering the free work nature does for Britain. In fact for years we have damaged the systems that sustain us under the illusion that we are keeping prices down, through intensive farming, drainage of bogs, clearing forests and turning rivers into canals. As Tony Juniper's new analysis shows, however, the ways in which we meet our needs often doesn't make economic sense.
Through vivid first hand accounts and inspirational examples of how the damage is being repaired, Juniper takes readers on a journey to a different Britain from the one many assume we inhabit, not a country where nature is worthless or an impediment to progress, but the real Britain, the one where we are supported by nature, wildlife and natural systems at almost every turn."
This is a quick and engaging read that outlines a series of environmental challenges facing the UK, and concrete strategies for how an enlightened country might manage these issues. It is written for the lay reader, but intended to give enough of a grounding in the principles that policy makers could base decisions from. For example, lowland flooding is a major problem in the UK and is exacerbated by housing developments and the like on flood plains. Flooding defences are prohibitively expensive, however by looking at watersheds as a whole and not elements in isolation policy can be devised that will cheaply alleviate the downstream issues. For example, proposals include reforesting upland areas that are currently cleared for sheep grazing.
Many of the proposals fit nicely with a permaculture ethos, while being accessible for the more mainstream political/economic readers.
It is a light and engaging read on some challenging subject matter, and does a fantastic job of bridging the knowledge gulf between environmentalists and policy makers. This should be required reading for all politicians, or aspiring ones. The solutions outlined here are fantastic win-wins; the country benefits from cheap and effective solutions to environmental problems while in most cases enriching the natural landscape.
While it is written with the UK in mind, many of these ideas will transfer to other situations.
Moderator, Treatment Free Beekeepers group on Facebook.