By The James Hutton Institute

In 2021, we grappled with both a pandemic and unprecedented climate breakdown with extreme events such as fires and floods in many regions and the loss of biodiversity and crisis for nature. Covid and climate are both symptoms of over-consumption and a world system that is broken. But as the year went on, it became clear that science plays a critical role in all our lives. Science has brought to our attention the reality of global warming, was centre stage at COP26 and with ingenuity and working together with society can provide the solutions we need.

Researchers at the James Hutton Institute have been looking at our relationship with climate, nature, and the land for many years. Our scientists are studying how land management supports wildlife, provides clean water and protects us from floods, stores carbon in soils and in our trees and peatland, all at the same time as providing us with food. But we need to find new ways of balancing all of these benefits.

Science tells us that we need to rethink our relationship with the natural world if we are going to avoid the worst consequences of climate change and avoid pandemics. We need to restore nature and design diversity back into our food systems to be resilient and produce products people want and that includes new ways of growing food that puts no more pressure on the land so it can be spared for and include nature.