Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Foresight Land Use Futures Launch, Feb 2010

Recently I attended the launch of the UK's Foresight report on Land Use at the Royal Society launched by John Beddington, the Cheif Scientific Advisor to the Government. Louise Heathwaite, my co-director from the Centre for Sustainable Water Management at Lancaster University, was also presenet as she had been a member of the writing team. I had played a very minor role as author of one of the papers feeding in on the future role of soils and land use. It was a well-managed lanch, was well-attended and seemed to be well-received, with little overt descent or controversy. However, what ws so obvious to me was the dominance of developers, economics and marketers whilst items so obviosuly important to the environmental sciences and to cathment change played a minor role alongside the debate about economic futures and the apparent need for property development. I cannot help worry short termism, the soils of the UK have taken tens of throusands of years to develop and provide many functions including feeding us and buffering our catchments. Any change of our land that involves sealing of soils will potentially reverse these years of soil formation. If we are to head off Beddington's 'perfect storm' then must avoid critical tipping points and plan for mutlifunctionality of soils and catchments - this is the route to a sustainable future. Two years ago the credit crunch provided an opportunity for a paradigm shift that seems to have passed us by. It seems we have a long way to go to change the world..... For more pictures of the event I took please see here. best Phil.

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