Category Archives: the conversation

:the conversation: tastes like plastic

Plastic’s presence in the environment, and even food chain, is something Holifield’s Robert West finds hard to swallow (sorry!).

‘Would you like a 5p carrier bag?’ is a question that has apparently reduced the usage of one-use plastic bags by ‘85%’, according to an article by The Guardian.

And there’s even a mushroom that eats plastic waste (‘Aspergillus tubingensis’).

But there’s still a long way to go to reduce, or even stop polluting the Earth with the stuff.

Last month, David Attenborough spoke on film about the albatross, and how during filming for Blue Planet, ‘there’s a shot of the young being fed and what comes out of the mouth, of the beak of the adult? […] plastic.’

A whole host of teams are dedicating themselves to the movement, including The Plastic Project, Plastic Pollution Coalition and Cornwall’s Surfers Against Sewage, who have a petition with over 200,000 signatures to present to their ‘All Party Parliamentary Group’ this summer. To add your signature, simply go to https://www.sas.org.uk/messageinabottle/.

Tips for how we can reduce our usage include investing in reusable water bottles and coffee cups, avoiding plastic cutlery and straws, and of course, taking our own shopping bag(s).

What ideas do you have for reducing our plastic usage?

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jul/30/england-plastic-bag-usage-drops-85-per-cent-since-5p-charged-introduced

http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/fungus-that-eats-plastic-may-help-clean-environment/article17763461.ece

http://news.sky.com/story/sir-david-attenborough-sea-plastics-impact-on-albatross-is-heartbreaking-11052475

: the conversation: aviation

Another topic dear to the heart of  Holifield Farm project manager, Robert West, is that of aviation. Amidst the excitement of a holiday or the ease of speedy travel, should the environmental impact of flying be a consideration?

An article by The Guardian, adapted from Duncan Clark’s The Rough Guide to Green Living, explores the percentage of greenhouse gas emissions caused by aviation, theorising that the often quoted ‘1.5%-2%’ could stretch as far as 13%-15%, or beyond.

The article goes on to point out, however, that ‘most people in the UK don’t regularly fly’ and that the emissions are largely due to ‘the air travel of a minority’.

Aside from using alternative modes of transport, or simply flying less, the article recommends ‘picking airlines that are closer to home’ and travelling light, for anyone wanting to make a positive change.

Some good news for those wanting to make such a change is that the most ‘eco-friendly’ flights may well also be the cheapest, as ‘budget airlines pack more passengers on each flight and typically have younger, more fuel-efficient fleets’.

The New York Times’ Tatiana Schlossberg suggests putting money towards replanting trees, or even donating to conservation programs in order to offset some of the impacts on the environment.

But what about the industry itself? In Flying towards a Sustainable Future, Air Transport Action Group’s Michael Gill notes that sustainable alternative fuels can be ‘up to 80% less carbon intensive than traditional fossil-based jet fuel’. Gill also highlights the importance of commercializing said fuels, and the need for governments to ‘put in place the right policy framework’ to help make this happen. Gill asserts that these goals ‘are attainable’, ending his article on the positive assertion that ‘if there’s any sector that has proven it can innovate to achieve what was once thought impossible, it’s the aviation industry.’

What do you think about the role aviation has to play in the quest for a more sustainable world?

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2010/apr/06/aviation-q-and-a

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/27/climate/airplane-pollution-global-warming.html

http://reports.weforum.org/travel-and-tourism-competitiveness-report-2017/flying-towards-a-sustainable-future/

: the conversation: drag fishing

One of the issues closest to the heart of Holifield Farm’s project manager, Robert West, is that of drag fishing.

The depletion of life in our waters is just one aspect of our environmental shortcomings, and one of the inspirations for change.

Solutions are likely to involve cooperation, compromise and understanding. Understanding that there are small communities who depend on fish for their food or income. Understanding that there may well even be nutritional advantages for including fish in one’s diet. But also understanding that we needn’t compromise on the damage caused by greed.

In their section on overfishing, Greenpeace quote Mahatma Gandhi, “There’s enough on this planet for everyone’s needs but not for everyone’s greed”, as well as noting that ‘there is now estimated to be four times more global fishing capacity than there are fish left to catch’.

Sustainability, and consideration for all other life forms are ideals that we need to work towards making a reality, and prove wrong the American Indian proverb, “Only when the last tree has died, and the last river has been poisoned, and the last fish has been caught, will we realise that we cannot eat money”.

How do you think drag fishing features in the conversation around sustainability?

http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/campaigns/oceans/fit-for-the-future/overfishing/