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Book recommendation: Regenesis – George Monbiot

It’s #WorldEnvironmentDay – time for a great Environmental Read!

We have recently finished George Monbiot’s latest book – Regenesis: Feeding the world without devouring the planet – and it’s an incendiary page-turner. Not literary, he read the pages to us – which is arguably even better.

In the last 3 years we’ve read most @guardian columns written by @georgemonbiot. In his columns, he consistently presents his arguments with sound logic and a healthy dose of scepticism. He is never afraid to admit his own mistakes or to challenge others by voicing unpopular opinions – fearlessly speaking his mind. We appreciate that a lot, which is why we were drawn to “Regenesis” in the first place.

The first chapter draws you in with the fascinating and neglected fundamentals of soil science. It describes the richness of life the soil contains, which most of us are largely unaware of. We felt the urge to start digging in the garden and the chapter left us thirsty for juicy apples. But what follows hits hard: the extensive use of ploughing, fertilizers, livestock farming, and inadequate planning has led to a worrisome degradation of the Earth’s surface. And on top of that, we have created a vulnerable food production system that’s prone to shocks like wars, pandemics, and extreme weather events. And despite its inherent risks, governments seem determined to interconnect this system further by expanding our reliance on a small number of monoculture crops and concentrating power in the hands of large corporations.

Fortunately, Monbiot does more than sound the alarm with the second half of the book exploring solutions. None are perfect and he is frank about their shortcomings, but together they can provide a way towards a resilient and diverse food system that produces abundant, healthy, and affordable food. Land use is the key metric in this discussion and he argues we need high-yield, low-impact methods. He offers a compelling vision for a future where regenerative agriculture and precision fermentation play key roles in addressing the environmental and social challenges we face. It’s a must-read – pick it up, or listen if you can.

Elise & Joy

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