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Is there hope after Cop26?

Written by Sebastian Pole

Hope

We know that we are facing a catastrophic collapse in biodiversity whilst at the same time a large excess in pollution overshoot threatening our very livelihoods- and lives. An inflamed planet has led to an inflamed population. As a herbalist practising natural medicine the only analogy that comes to mind is a system whose digestion is completely disturbed, where the diversity in the microbiome is depleted causing a cascade of weakened immunity and excess inflammation leading to a raging fever from the systemic infection. But I am still hopeful. Mainly because we know what many of the solutions are but also because we know the capacity of plants to regenerate the health of the soil, water, forests – whole ecosystems – as well as bring potent health benefits.

We know that if we want to solve Biodiversity we need to solve food. If we want to solve the Climate crisis, Plastic epidemic, Deforestation, Social justice, Health justice and the Net positive goals we all need to urgently achieve, if we really want to solve them, we need fix food. With agriculture generating about 3.5% global GDP yet 30% carbon emissions it just isn’t an equitable transfer of value (15). Of course, food needs to be affordable. It also needs to be good for everybody in the long-run. As you may know the word ‘economy’ means looking after your household’. And that is what all business governments and the herbal industry as a whole need to be much better at.

And for the herbal industry as a whole, we face high levels of risk to supply from unsustainable wild harvesting, habitat loss, species loss as well as the impacts of the climate crisis on growing regions, environmental stability as well as herbal quality. As approximately 25% by volume and around 75% by species numbers are harvested from the wild (17,18), we have to progress our relationship with the sustainability and the socially equitable aspects of sourcing. This disturbing knowledge we have, concerning that it is, gives us the opportunity to act collaboratively to engage swift change.

I am a registered member of the Ayurvedic Professionals Association, Register of Chinese Herbal Medicine and a Fellow of the Unified Register of Herbal Practitioners. I qualified as a herbalist with the aim of using the principles of Ayurveda (the ancient art of living wisely) and the Herbal tradition to help transform health. I have been in clinical practice since 1998.
Having co-founded Pukka Herbs in 2001 I have become experienced in organic herb growing, practitioner grade quality and sustainable value chains. I am a Trustee of the FairWild Foundation, a Director of The Betonica School of Herbal Medicine and an Advisor to The American Herbal Pharmacopoeia and The Sustainable Herbs Project. Fluent in Hindi, a qualified Yoga therapist and passionate about projects with a higher purpose, I am on a mission to bring the incredible power of plants into people’s life. And that is why I started Herbal Reality and what it is all about.
I live in a forest garden farm in Somerset growing over 100 species of medicinal plants and trees. And a lot of weeds!
Author of Ayurvedic Medicine, The Principles of Traditional Practice (Elsevier 2006), A Pukka Life (Quadrille 2011), Celebrating 10 Pukka years (2012) and Cleanse, Nurture, Restore with Herbal Tea (Frances Lincoln 2016).

Sebastian Pole

I am a registered member of the Ayurvedic Professionals Association, Register of Chinese Herbal Medicine and a Fellow of the Unified Register of Herbal Practitioners. I qualified as a herbalist with the aim of using the principles of Ayurveda (the ancient art of living wisely) and the Herbal tradition to help transform health. I have been in clinical practice since 1998.
Having co-founded Pukka Herbs in 2001 I have become experienced in organic herb growing, practitioner grade quality and sustainable value chains. I am a Trustee of the FairWild Foundation, a Director of The Betonica School of Herbal Medicine and an Advisor to The American Herbal Pharmacopoeia and The Sustainable Herbs Project. Fluent in Hindi, a qualified Yoga therapist and passionate about projects with a higher purpose, I am on a mission to bring the incredible power of plants into people’s life. And that is why I started Herbal Reality and what it is all about.
I live in a forest garden farm in Somerset growing over 100 species of medicinal plants and trees. And a lot of weeds!
Author of Ayurvedic Medicine, The Principles of Traditional Practice (Elsevier 2006), A Pukka Life (Quadrille 2011), Celebrating 10 Pukka years (2012) and Cleanse, Nurture, Restore with Herbal Tea (Frances Lincoln 2016).

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