Organic food and the environment:

Updated: Jul 24, 2020

As a young person living in the world we do, the issue of our absurd self-destruction of this planet and our escalating consumption and endless growth is hard to ignore.

A saying that springs to mind is that there is no ‘away’ to throw away into.

I will try to make the case for shopping locally, seasonally and organically, with some facts and figures to inform your choice.

Global emissions from agriculture have risen since 2001 by more than 14%. In the transition we simply have to make, to a zero carbon world, we need to completely reverse that. The current food and farming system is responsible for around a third of all greenhouse gas emissions worldwide and 10% in the UK. However that doesn’t take into account the carbon emissions for the production and transportation of the 52% of our food that is not from the UK.

The way a great deal of farming is done is too intensive with a focus on monocrops and an over reliance on harmful pesticides and chemical fertilisers that are not only harmful for biodiversity, especially the all important pollinators. But those methods also degrade the soil. Soils store five times as much carbon as forests, but just like trees, we need to stop destroying that vital resource.

Organic agriculture can help by locking more carbon in the soil and reducing extremely harmful nitrous oxide emissions from nitrogen based fertilisers. Organic methods use crop varieties with natural resistance to certain diseases and rotate crops to help break the cycle of pests and increase the soil fertility without harmful chemicals.

We will all need to change our ways to tackle climate change, even more so if nothing changes quickly enough from the top. We have choices as consumers and we have enormous amounts of scientific research that tells us what we need to do. Now we just need to take that advice as seriously as we have taken advice on Covid-19.

I can guarantee that buying non-organic, out of season mangoes, rapped in plastic, from a supermarket. Is not ‘doing your bit’.

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