Copyright (c) 2011 Alison Withers
The targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the UK have been locate at 80% by 2050, with a 34% divide by 2030.
One recent ullustration of the global effects of climate alter already being seen in the news has been that the rising sea aqua level is immediately increasing the salt content of the river aqua in the Mekong Delta and threatening the livelihoods of millions of Vietnam’s poor farmers and fishermen. There are already three grams of salt per litre of fresh aqua in the rivers immediately and at the moment those nearest the sea are the most affected.
According to the UK Soil Association, fundamental changes to the path aliment is farmed, processed, distributed, prepared and eaten will be needed over the following 20 years to meet the UK targets.
Among the statistics published on the Association’s website is the data that intensive agriculture needs ten calories of energy to produce one calorie of aliment and that globally the production and employ of artificial fertilisers are the largest single source of nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas it says is 310 times more damaging than carbon dioxide.
It adds that to constitute one tonne of artificial fertiliser takes 108 tonnes of aqua, emits 7 tonnes of carbon dioxide, and uses one tonne of oil. Agriculture globally is responsible for between 17 – 32% of the total earth greenhouse gases.
In the Association’s view organic farming offers the best, currently available, practical imitation for addressing climate-friendly aliment production. This is since it sequesters higher levels of carbon in the soil, is less dependent on oil-based fertilisers and pesticides and is more resilient to climatic extremes. Organic farming typically uses 26% less energy to produce the same amount of aliment as non-organic farming.
However, while sustainable and organic farming methods do domicile environmental impacts farmers are also under pressure to optimise and increase production to meet the rising global population and to do this requires the appliance of science to ecosystem management within farming practices to enhance crop yield.
Biopesticides and other low-chemical agricultural products are one example of a scientific approach to finding more sustainable, environmentally and climate-friendly farming methods, that also produce natural, healthier aliment autonomous of charge of chemical residues associated with artificial fertilisers.
The shift to more sustainable farming also method changing eating habits and while consumers may be more open to healthier eating – as extended as they can afford it – a longer lasting and more fundamental diet alter is likely to require education.
Among those best placed to capture the lead are chefs in the best restaurants. A conference is being held in Denmark at the end of August 2011, called the Mad symposium (mad is the Danish term for aliment), and will bring together farmers, scholars, foragers and chefs to talk about these issues and educate each other about the path forward is therefore a welcome piece of news.
It seems the messages about taking bigger attention of the environment and about sustainability are beginning to get through.