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Water, Potecting Aquifers & Climate Change.

May 29, 2012

Water, Protecting Aquifers & Climate Change.
The UK Government, the United Nations’ Food and Agricultural Organisation,Worldwatch Institute in Washington and others have acknowledged the damaging effects of livestock production on the climate. FAO state that animal farming creates 18% of greenhouse gas emissions; this includes 37% of methane emissions (with 20 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide) and 65% of the’ greenhouse gas nitrous oxide.

In its report “Livestock’s Long Shadow”, the FAO emphasises the enormous impact which is greater than “the transport sector world-wide”. .sea, air and land combined.

Jonathon Porritt says that excessive meat consumption is amongst the “gravest threats to the long-term stability of humankind”. Given that animal farming uses vastly more water than fruit, vegetable or cereal farming this seems possible. In future years water could become our most valuable resource.

Professor Tim Jackson, of Surrey University, says that meat production is approximately 20 times more carbon-intensive than vegetable production, an estimated 30% of carbon dioxide in the average diet comes from animal produce.

Chicago University researchers have shown that a vegan diet could make a bigger contribution to reducing emissions of greenhouse gases than converting to an eco-friendly car. The choice of food produced and eaten is more important than air miles. A vegan diet could reduce individual carbon footprints from food by 50%-601%.
The UK has seen the cost of foot and mouth. Money would be better spent to fund education, give subsidies, research and tax incentives and bring in pollution penalties to encourage sustainable, locally produced, healthy plant-based diets.

As part of our sustainability and climate change work we have been asking our learning communities to research industrial sea fishing & industrial fishing for krill in the pristine waters around Antarctica, and how that impacts on all of our lives. It is threatening the future of one of the world’s last great wildernesses as krill fishing vessels in the region operate near penguin colonies and whale feeding grounds. Fishing boats can spill oil in accidents, seriously threatening the Antarctic ecosystem.

We set up a virtual learning community event during lockdown, in May 2020, promoting awareness of microplastic pollution in oceans, we believe this problem is vastly underestimated. Researchers suggest that particles may outnumber zooplankton, which underpin marine life and regulate our climate. Microplastics have entered the food chain in rivers, with birds such as dippers consuming hundreds of particles a day via the aquatic insects on which they feed. Microplastic pollution now contaminates the whole planet, from the Arctic to mountain top-soils to rivers, oceans and sea-beds. Microplastic in seas, very often from the fishing industry, blows ashore in sea breezes (reports suggest hundreds of thousands of tons per year) Humans inhale and consume it, yet the impact on health, are not understood.

 

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Above: The Dawn Sindh project Pakistan work hard to address the issues of contaminated water supplies in local communities. Below: “grow your own” Dawn Chorus cascades best practice on real seed organic vegetable gardening.

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WATER: 2,500 gallons of water are used to produce 11b of beef. 25 gallons of water are used to produce 11b of wheat. Animal agriculture is the UK’s biggest polluter of water, producing 80 million tons of excrement per year.

LAND: 80% of agricultural land in the UK is used to raise animals. 20 thousand 11b of potatoes can be grown on 1 acre but only 1651b of beef. Huge areas of rain forest are destroyed to grow non-human consumption quality soya to feed battery-raised animals, such as UK turkeys and chickens. Rain forests are destroyed at 125,000 sq. miles per year for to feed animals. 55sq. feet of land is used for every 11b of beef produced on former Rain Forest land.

RAW MATERIALS: 1/3 of all raw materials and fossil fuels used in the UK are used to raise live stock. Producing one single hamburger uses enough fossil fuel to drive a small car 20 miles and enough water for 17 showers.

Short rotation coppice can provide sustainable fuel and materials on a short turn around, whilst improving the landscape and biodiversity. Pollards have also historically provided wood whilst extending the life of the trees. Pictured below, Bradgate Park:

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Above: coastal erosion, Hunstanton, Norfolk.

Below: Lambley Dumbles in the snow 2013, do you keep a weather diary, let us know what you are recording.

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