Updated: Nov 28
Feeding the world without devouring our planet is the subtitle of this absolute gem. This was a friend’s choice for our book group of six friends that has now been running for 24 years. Non-fiction features regularly for us, but despite an interesting subject matter non fiction writing can so easily fall flat when it gets bogged down in detail. Not so Regenesis, which is lucid, genuinely exciting, insightful and scary, but simultaneously gives us hope. Chapter by chapter Monbiot engagingly dispels any beliefs we might have about what ecologically sound farming looks like; suggesting our beliefs are based on myths formed in childhood. Along the way he takes us on a fascinating journey.
In the first chapter What Lies Beneath, he looks at soil. A clump of soil reveals another advanced world hard at work fighting a battle not unlike other worlds created in the best fiction. The second chapter is full of incredible and sometimes horrifying insights into the unpredictability of our world’s complex systems. The consequences of farming in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, and its effect in East Africa thousands of miles away being one such example. Moving on he takes us through the crisis which is agricultural sprawl and convincingly sets out his stall, citing land use for food production as the biggest environmental issue facing us. It starts to feel as though our world is beyond repair, but along the way we are shown alternatives. They are not easy solutions, but there is light ahead if we make the right choices.
Much of this book reads like a very good, although disturbing story. It is a book that committed environmentalists will enjoy but also anyone else who has even just a smidgen of concern about our planet and the future for the next generations. My dietary changes inspired by Regenesis won’t save us, but enough of us reading this might be the start!