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  • Seventy years ago, Japanese farmer Masunobu Fukuoka pioneered a technique called 'natural

  • farming' which allowed crops to thrive in a natural environment - no fields of straight

  • lines, no tilling, and crucially, no pesticides or fertilisers.

  • Farmers like Panos Manikis here in Greece say that this produces better crops without

  • depleting the soil.

  • That fertility and water retention capacity go up as well as incomes, due to diversification

  • and intercropping.

  • This style of 'less is more' agriculture has recently broken into the mainstream, especially

  • in India.

  • In the state of Andhra Pradesh, a programme of training aims to roll this approach out

  • to all 6 million farmers working in the state.

  • The United Nations is currently supporting a study on natural farming and, so far, evidence

  • shows positive effects not only on food security but also on climate change resilience.

  • But it is this last point that rarely gets included in economic decision making.

  • Can you put a price on nature?

  • Yes, of course you can, and this same critical valuation exercise is now being undertaken

  • across the world as investors wake up to the concept that over 50% of our economy is dependent

  • onnatural capital”.

  • Natural capital includes all of the earth's resources - soils, forests, water reserves,

  • ores and minerals.

  • It forms the basis forserviceslike pollination - which supports 577 billion dollars'

  • worth of crops, and it is the basis or inspiration for 63% of drugs in the pharmaceutical industry.

  • Natural capital also forms the bedrock of tourism and the value of real estate.

  • So, what does this mean for industries which historically have operated in a 'take-make-waste'

  • fashion?

  • Every year 92 billion tonnes of natural resources are extracted to support industries and our

  • consumption based lifestyle.

  • Less than 9% is cycled back into the economy.

  • Left unchecked, our natural capital will be eradicated, in effect, our economy will have

  • cannibalised itself.

  • We won't be able to completely revert our world to its natural state, but there are

  • ideas we can take from natural farming by reflecting on our destruction of the natural

  • world.

  • There are also innovations and new business models that are emerging from the circular

  • bioeconomy, where we are using cutting edge technology to unlock ancient secrets perfected

  • by nature over 2 billion years of evolution.

  • In the construction industry, as much as 20% of steel and concrete can be substituted by

  • glued laminated timber, a fully renewable resource.

  • In the textiles industry, it is now possible to dye clothes in a process that uses no water

  • at all, and no chemicals other than the dyes themselves.

  • Similarly, a transition to a sharing economy can radically reduce material requirements.

  • And crucially, because of 'natural capital's' unique CO2 sequestration capabilities, it

  • has substantial unrealised value as we transition to Net Zero emissions.

  • We can move to a circular bio-economy that harnesses and preserves nature through a leaner

  • form of industry - the innovation already exists and is improving every year.

Seventy years ago, Japanese farmer Masunobu Fukuoka pioneered a technique called 'natural

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B1 US FinancialTimes natural capital farming economy industry

Is Less Really More?: From natural farming to natural capital | Rethink Sustainability

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    joey joey posted on 2021/04/24
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