Is the earth’s sixth global extinction imminent, as a growing number of scientists are warning? Perhaps the news that worries me most comes from recent surveys that show insect biomass across the world has plummeted since the 1970s. And we don’t really know why.
Some are calling it the Windscreen Phenomenon because back in the 1970s, the windscreens of cars were covered with the bodies of insects following a night’s outing. I remember it well!
Nature can recover and flourish again if we allow her, but we need to work fast and smart on sweet spots that deliver maximum results.
One of those sweet spots is food production. Agriculture is the leading cause of deforestation and biodiversity loss, and is a significant contributor to climate change through the release of stored soil carbon to the air.
We can grow in ways that halt biodiversity loss and begin its restoration. It’s time to follow practices from Regenerative Agriculture, Organic Agriculture, and Permaculture.
Do you grow vegetables in the back yard? That’s always a great thing to do, but think also about the methods you are using. For example,
- Every time the soil is turned or left bare, carbon is lost to the atmosphere. Instead of double digging consider methods that leave the soil relatively intact such as No Dig. Then cover bare earth with an organic mulch such as eel grass and plant more densely.
- Value sharing your garden’s bounty with the many others who also live there. Using insecticides, even natural ones, upsets complex ecological webs. Instead, embrace the holes in your brassicas. Gardeners find ways to moderate the munchings of caterpillars such as growing brassicas under netting, avoiding brassica monocultures so plants avoid detection, and interplanting with attractor or repellent plants.
- We know composting is good. Cold composting methods such as worm farms, in particular, lose very little carbon to the atmosphere and add microbial diversity to the soil.
And what a relief it is to end the fight with nature! By widening our focus to regenerate nature as well as feed ourselves, we all benefit in the long run. If you would you like to find out more and meet like-minded others, the Permaculture Hui, in Riverton starts on the 4th April.