FOOD is on my mind.

This is not so much because Christmas is round the corner, but more because the global biodiversity agreement struck this week in Montreal is a reminder that when it comes to protecting nature what we need to talk about is food. It’s about what we eat and how it is produced.

A recent study by Dr Pedro Jaureguiberry found that land use change is the biggest driver of biodiversity loss, much of that caused by agriculture and forestry, and a Chatham House report published last year found our global food system to be the chief agent driving this crisis. Globally, and nationally, we can’t go on producing food and eating the way we are.

Global conferences can often seem alien distant events: scenes from a Star Wars movie, involving esoteric texts and bamboozling gobbledygook.

This year’s biodiversity summit in Montreal certainly familiarised those paying attention with a few new buzz phrases – one being 30x30, the aspiration to protect 30 per cent of land, sea and waterways by 2030.

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But, to bring it back to basics, just as addressing the climate crisis has been mostly about fuel and energy, addressing the biodiversity crisis is going to be chiefly about food – and about overfishing and exploitation as well as farming. Acknowledging this helps it stop feeling too abstract. It’s also worth remembering that when we lose our biodiversity our ability to grow our food security comes under threat too.

The deal that has just been sealed in Montreal is being described as a Paris Moment. It could be the start of something transformational – though many point out that it is riddled with inadequacies.

Among the big issues not entirely resolved was money. Though $200 billion (£165 billion) a year of public and private finance was being promised, there were still those in developing countries who saw this as not nearly enough.

In what seemed like an extraordinary act of disregard, the Chinese Minister of Ecology and Environment Huang Runqiu declared the deal passed minutes after the Democratic Republic of Congo said it was not able to support the text.

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Meanwhile Friends of the Earth International observed the new pact did not stop the destructive advance of agribusiness, the main driver of biodiversity loss. Rather, the campaigning group noted, it promotes agribusiness through concepts such as “sustainable intensification”.

In its text, the Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework mentions the world agriculture only once, and food itself only four times. That’s not to say food production doesn’t haunt the agreement. Many elements that are mentioned do relate to agriculture – including the agreement to “phase out or reform incentives, including subsidies, harmful for biodiversity”. It feels a little like writing a climate pact without mentioning fossil fuels.

Our own recently launched Scottish Biodiversity Strategy is also a reminder of a change ahead in how we relate to the land and produce food. For instance, in Scotland, we have promised to protect 30% of our land for nature – and since 70% is used for agriculture, that fraction is going to have to reduce. How our landscape looks and how our farmers practice is going to have to change.

One of the systems being advocated by the Scottish Government is regenerative agriculture, but, as yet there is no universally accepted definition of what this is – save to say that in an era of concern about declining soil health, it usually revolves around regenerating it.

A conference last week held by NatureScot offered at least some hope and positivity. CEO of the James Hutton Institute Colin Campbell talked not only of regenerative farming but of indoor vertical farms being developed at the institute, fuelled by renewable energy.

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And let’s not blame the farmers, who are increasingly are saying they are willing to shift. A survey conducted by Stockfree Farming of farmers with pasture or rough grazing land from across Scotland found that the majority (64%) would be willing to move away from livestock and pursue “carbon capture farming” if the financial support to do so was in place.

However, above all, what strikes me is that even if Scotland were to perfect circular economies and create regenerative models, we will not save nature if we do not change consumption.

Even if farmers here stop producing meat, if we keep on eating it then we are only likely to see further deforestation in other parts of the world. It’s this that is the sticking point. That’s not to say that the answer is green consumerism. Rather, creating a system that produces food for all that is good for our wellbeing and that allows nature to thrive is the solution.