Curate’s egg

Just how tricky it is to design new agricultural and environmental policies. Simultaneously. When the Soil Association goes nuts with Defra over a picture of a combine, the Commons Enviro Committee feature an elephant as twitter cover for a report on consumption, Clarkson’s a policy influencer and laconic popstars front up COP26 on food – … Continue reading Curate’s egg

Field intel

Time to get off the mountain. Close the gap between years’ of telephone conversations and direct messages. A road trip around East Anglia listening, face to face, to what people think rather than what they say. A brief history to ‘field intel’ trips. My first one was along The Marches via train and bike. The … Continue reading Field intel

Silvo-agro-carbo-tree

It’s all change on a hillside in the corner of a National Park. A steep hillside is sprouting with young trees. Bracken race On the far hill from my office window, fighting to get away from native invasive bracken, duck the odd deer, an experiment starts. Public grant, govt aid, carbon paid, charity funded, ‘feel-good‘ … Continue reading Silvo-agro-carbo-tree

Acting on land

The Agriculture Act 2020 slipped quietly into law last year. All change ahead as it takes over the driving seat from the 1947 Agric Act. It’s time to get on board now. A little context. Where to start? Let’s try 1970. The birth of the Range Rover, open air combine harvesters, benchmark date for farmland … Continue reading Acting on land

Monbiot, 2013

My interview with George Monbiot was conducted in Sept 2013 and was first published in BBC Countryfile magazine. Rob Yorke (RY): Where did you spend your childhood? George Monbiot (GM): I was brought up in the Oxfordshire countryside next to an old golf course that had returned, I suppose rewilded, to an amazing habitat mix … Continue reading Monbiot, 2013

Fish slapping

Myanmar, with all its complex history, raw resources, ‘wet markets’ and emerging economy, gripped me on a trip into its heartland at Inle Lake. It’s 2013 and we are in Burma. Or, as I should now call it Myanmar. Especially when within earshot of the sunglass-wearing officials as we hand over the cash. Tourists pay … Continue reading Fish slapping

Join the dots

My face-to-face ‘field intel’ trips provide enlightenment as to what people really think. Conversations can be so different in the field than online or indoors. This road trip (aka ‘field intel’) between lockdowns showed me how land managers, academics, govt, activists might exchange insight from different views. A previous intel trip along the Marches garnered … Continue reading Join the dots

Dear Sir,

Ever since I took my first call from the letters Editor at The Times in 1999, I’ve always written about environmental stuff others often don’t want to write about. Hedgehog populations, horsemeat, sea eagles, badgers, raptor conflict, deer, fungi hunters, little owl culls, wildfires, alien conifers, duck shooting, urban foxes, National Parks, indoor livestock, pesticides, … Continue reading Dear Sir,

Curlew public good

An email, received from a tiny conservation organisation raising all its own funds seeking to conserve curlew, is published here as a guest blog Throughout the year, Curlew Country is contacted for advice by many people wanting to help Curlews. Especially now. Right in the middle of breeding season. We want to help others but … Continue reading Curlew public good