Friday, January 05, 2007


No don't run away I'm not going all lentil soup on you! But I've seen and heard the organisation Sustain on two occasions in the last few days and they are extremely impressive, and, God help us all, they actually talk a lot common sense.

The first time I caught their Ms Dalmeny on the C4 news speaking very well about how crazy it is to let our own farming go to the wall in a world that is trying to tackle climate change. She was of course making the vaild point about food miles. She added that we need to grow sustainable food, i.e. local, seasonal,and probably organic, not subsidised crops that nobody wants. It would also seem to make sense to grow food rather than just pay farmers to grow hedges and set aside fields.

The second item I heard was their piece on bottle water, and I'm as guilty as the next person of buying it now and again. Although we do drink tap water at home. Again in a world where we need to cut carbon emissions bottled water, however sustainable and however recycleable the bottles are, is probably a luxury we can't afford. (Here's the food miles on several brands:"For example, eponymous Fiji water from 10,000 miles (16,000 km) away, Naya water from Quebec, Canada (3,000 miles/5,000km) and Elmas water from Turkey (1,500 miles/2,500km). All samples bought in London supermarkets in 2006." Source, ha ha, Sustain press release.)

Sadly Scottish tennis pro Andy Murray has just signed a million pound sponsorship deal with Highland Spring. I wonder if the ethical argument was put to him, mind you a tennis pro must have the carbon foot print of a mammoth, so I doubt he'd care.

Here's their press release on the water issue.

I find Sustain refreshingly good. Their arguements are well researched, sensible and very well presented.
Their aims are here.

Only our buying power is going to change things in this globalised world. If you won't buy it they can't flog it! And yes I know food politics is huge, I've been involved in enough projects on eating well on a low income to know that, but we have to start somewhere. Eg in this we town Tescos is situated literally round the corner from me (built is a former orchard I hasten to add, they kept the walls and grubbed up the trees for a car park)but if you were to use their home delivery service your order will come from a bigger Tesocs 15 miles away. How do I know this? Cos my "time-poor" neighbour uses the service, that's how. It would be really great if someone made a video diary of how far say a brussel sprout has travelled to get on our plate, or even better a Kenyan runner bean. There was a case recently of prawns being caught off Scotland, and then being shipped to Thailand for cleaning and processing, and then being sent back to the UK for consumption.Presumably because labour is so much cheaper there. The article is here.The world is truly bonkers!


Blogger Cailleach said...

Very timely apprentice -especially that last bit about the prawns!

Did you see the programme last night on Beeb 2 on how Britain makes it's money?

A telling comment by a guy in the big Citibank place: his analogy was that money rolls along in a big river, and we're just skimming off bits of it. I paraphrase loosely, but you get the gist of it.

Jon Snow's big pie showed how little the old industries like manufacturing, steel and coal feature these days. Much cheaper to bring it in from elsewhere. Meanwhile the gap between the rich and the poor gets wider and wider... I know I should just shut up, because I'm as guilty as the next person. It just baffles and saddens me how this is what the world does now...

7:52 pm  
Blogger apprentice said...

I saw snippets of that programme.
I think the "prawn piece" has the most telling commment, we need a globl carbon tax to make sure distance and means of transfer are reflected in the price of goods. Until we do the planet will keep on paying and it's already too late for some habitats.

I'm trying tp do better, and actually I'm much better in that I don't do a long commute any more,although to offset that I'm in the house more, but I try to stick a jumper on during the day rather than heat this place just for me.

But it is alarming at little we actually produce any more here in the UK. How much shopping can we actually do to keep the ecomony afloat on tick?

12:07 pm  

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