September 2020

We export more salmon than we import

How food trade deals bloat UK’s carbon footprint

Food prices could rise by 48 per cent after Brexit, if the UK cannot agree a trade with the European Union, warned one headline in the past few days. Actually, that’s the tariff that could be imposed on imported beef mince, spurring the average tariff up to 20 per cent. But there is nothing like a scary headline to inspire us into reading a story.

The possible rise in food prices leads to the question – if we really must have Brexit, why import so much food? Why not “buy British”, rather than allow goods we grow in the United Kingdom to be exported?

A report called The Trade and Investment Requirements for Zero Carbon presents buying local as a solution to not Brexit, but reducing carbon footprint.

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Green tomato chutney

Harvest time: depressing but bringing new opportunities

How often to psychologists – pop or serious – tell us: when one door closes, another opens? It’s the same with gardening.

It seems utterly depressing that most of the vegetation that was planted in the spring has now bloomed and died. We can feel proud it fed us and delight in the joy that many things we planted worked this summer, on patches of land. You know the drill: I say tomatoes, you say potatoes! Then there were beetroots, radishes, lettuces, cucumbers, courgettes, purple heritage beans and sweetcorn.

All came in varying degrees of success, depending on the weather, slugs, the consistency of the soil and the quality of the seeds.

I feel lucky that at least some of my peppers prospered – even if they did not grow particularly big.

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Progress to eco-friendly packaging seems slow

Packaging. Can it be recycled? It’s a consumer’s nightmare. Why do we need so much of it? Can’t manufacturers take more responsibility?

A few weeks ago, a champagne company announced that new packaging would reduce its carbon footprint by 60 per cent. Instead of a formal cardboard gift box, a new recyclable wood-pulp skin one would be about a 10th of the weight, reducing in particular transport costs.

This week, the company which makes Pringles announced a trial of new packaging, to 90% cardboard and 10% PolyAl.

Kellogg’s, who produce the popular snack, has been urged since 2017 to make its packaging more recyclable. And now it has acted. But will it make it totally recyclable?

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A forest

I’d love to change career to plant trees

Just how many lockdowns because of pandemics could we have? It’s a reasonable worry, if deforestation – particularly for farming – is pushing animals, which carry diseases, closer to human contact.

But let’s take a step back. Theories include that animals are forced to live closer to humans, increasingly the likelihood of spreading diseases. Or that destruction of habitats, such as forests, disturbs the places that host diseases.

Human-induced land use changes are among the drivers of disease from the forests to communities, one scientist told Unearthed Greenpeace, adding that scientists were agreed on this theory.

A United Nations summit on biodiversity, scheduled for this month, will be told there is a strong link between environmental destruction and unlocking deadly diseases, according to a report in the Guardian.

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We must all listen to passing Lightship Greta’s message

Extinction Rebellion’s protests have not been as high profile in the news as last year. They took London – and everybody – by surprise at Easter in April 2019 when addressing the climate emergency.

One report even asked whether Extinction Rebellion was itself extinct. The report carried a picture of just a few activists outside Parliament on Monday, the first day of two weeks of planned action.

Anyone who tried to buy certain papers on Saturday might have found they couldn’t, because protesters disrupted their printing. Activists argued that the papers concerned failed to report on climate change properly, or at all. It is frustrating when reading coverage about the climate emergency that the reports are frequent when there is disruption and a supposed lack of police response, but not so frequent about the issue itself.

Read More »We must all listen to passing Lightship Greta’s message