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Sixty Harvests Left: How to Reach a Nature-Friendly Future

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We learn about the importance of health soil and how it can be preserved and regenerated. This book is really hopeful as it focuses on innovative methods of food production and we meet practitioners of regenerative farming. Soils are the basis of life," said Semedo, FAO's deputy director general of natural resources. "Ninety five percent of our food comes from the soil."

His first book Farmageddon was listed as a Book of the Year by The Times, while the second book in the trilogy, Dead Zone, was selected as a ‘Must Read’ by the Daily Mail. Key facts and figures This is a practice that involves growing a crop for the purpose of maintaining a vegetative cover and preventing soils from becoming bare and susceptible to erosion between growing seasons. In the UK, where 55% of cropland is used to grow animal feed, a third of that land could provide 62 million adults a year with their five daily If this is allowed to continue, there won’t be enough fertile soil to feed a growing world population, which is estimated to rise from 7.7 billion currently to 9.7 billion people by 2050, the FAO warned.An urgent, evidence-based, visionary approach to the most challenging decisions facing humanity. This is a brave, fascinating, game-changing book." Our World in Data presents the data and research to make progress against the world’s largest problems. Endnotes Philip Lymbery pulls no punches in cataloguing the calamitous mistakes we've made in our food system, but he has bold and inspiring solutions to offer, too. It's time for Big Food, and governments everywhere, to act on them." Healthy soil can absorb huge amounts of greenhouse gas emissions. Photograph: David Levene/The Guardian

The event, attended by several of high-profile supporters and influential journalists, celebrated the powerful new book which follows the successful release of Farmageddon and Dead Zone. Sir Michael Morpurgo Beautifully crafted. A compelling, excoriating account of industrial farming – how it is driving the climate and biodiversity emergencies, while also undermining our health. Full of insights and encounters with pioneers of new ways of farming, Sixty Harvests Left is a call to action – to change our world from the ground up. A vitally necessary book. While the claims of “only 60 harvests left” were “overblown”, Dr Ritchie said they should not detract from the fact that soil erosion is a problem. I have always been interested in soil, which in the end is the most important thing about farming,” he says. “I went to see a farm where it was being done and when you see someone who is farming without moving the soil it is mind-blowing.” In the UK, where 55% of cropland is used to grow animal feed, a third of that land could provide 62 million adults a year with their five daily recommended portions of fruit and vegetables.

Philip Lymbery is one of the few who really understand the connections between farming and nature [...] He is the most important thinker writing about these crucial issues – and the way forward" Beautifully crafted. A compelling, excoriating account of industrial farming – how it is driving the climate and biodiversity emergencies, while also undermining our health. Full of insights and encounters with pioneers of new ways of farming, Sixty Harvests Left is a call to action – to change our world from the ground up. A vitally necessary book.”

His latest book is already receiving more attention than its predecessors - coinciding, as it does, with George Monbiot's equally important Regenesis, published earlier this year, and with a general rising of awareness of the links between food production and climate breakdown. It's not a message the majority of the public wants to hear, but for those willing to listen it's ever clearer that the planet can't sustain regular meat-eating in the affluent countries of the world: animal agriculture is responsible for 14.5-16% of global emissions and is a major driver of habitat destruction. And meat-eating is due to increase drastically as developing countries aspire to the excesses set by the US, UK and Australia. We have to make the connection between what's on our plates and the climate crisis that's all too evident. "I fear for those who will bear witness to the next ninety years, if we continue living as we are doing at present" - David Attenborough, quoted again.

As highlighted in The Guardian, new data collated for the book found that there are now more than 1,000 US-style mega-farms in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, with some holding as many as a million animals. These large-scale intensive units prevent animals from expressing their natural behaviours. Hope for the future Edmondson, J. L., Davies, Z. G., Gaston, K. J., & Leake, J. R. (2014). Urban cultivation in allotments maintains soil qualities adversely affected by conventional agriculture. Journal of Applied Ecology, 51(4), 880-889. Gyssels, G., Poesen, J., Bochet, E., & Li, Y. (2005). Impact of plant roots on the resistance of soils to erosion by water: a review. Progress in Physical Geography, 29(2), 189-217. A spokesperson for the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) said the vast majority of beef and dairy cattle in the UK were “grazing outdoors throughout the year for as long as the weather conditions permit”. As UK farming changes, there are calls for reform. The Scrap Factory Farming campaign is taking a case to the European court of human rights, alleging that the government is failing to protect the public from climate change and the threat of future pandemics from factory farming.

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