Following on from my ‘Climate Week: Green Your Cuisine’ post, I have also just read about the Soil Association’s exciting Low Carbon Farming project which aims to meet the challenges of a resource-constrained world.
They are seeking solutions that balance the needs of society and the environment, and working with other organisations who share these goals and their organic principles of care, ecology, fairness and health.
Over the past two years, the Low Carbon Farming project has been supporting British farmers to decrease their carbon emissions. Agriculture is responsible for 6% of the UK’s total greenhouse gas emissions and the government have set a target of decreasing this by 11% in the next seven years.
The project has been running free info events at farms across the country, connecting farmers with experts. They look at all farming practices and have recently highlighted renewable energy options for farmers.
Did you know that the manure produced each year by our cattle has the potential to produce 5% of our national electricity needs? That’s 100% free renewable energy!
For more information on Soil Association’s Low Carbon Farming and Events visit: http://www.soilassociation.org/lowcarbon
As the founder and Co-ordinator of Compassionate Dorset – the local voluntary supporter group for Compassion in World Farming – I am already a fan of the Soil Association, as their Organic Standard currently provides the highest animal welfare levels in the UK e.g. smaller flock sizes for chickens and no live exporting of dairy calves – so I am pleased to see they are also encouraging farmers to invest in renewable energy too!
However, it’s important that if we are to utilise / recycle waste from our animals that we make sure it is sustainable and not actually contributing to climate change – for example, livestock farming accounts for around 18% of our global greenhouse gas emissions – more than the global transport sector! And it’s not just carbon dioxide that’s the problem with most farms – gases including methane from cattle and nitrous oxide are also produced in significant quantities, released through various sources including animal waste and fertiliser use. Livestock farming produces 37% and 65% of our global methane and nitrous oxide emissions respectively and both gases are much more potent than carbon dioxide.
These are just some of the reasons we need to end intensive factory farming and have organic free-range farms. Currently 2 out of 3 farms worldwide are factory farmed and you may be surprised to know that most farms here in the UK and in Dorset are sadly still factory farms.
Check out Compassion in World Farming’s RAW website which is kick starting a food and farming revolution to see how we can feed the world sustainably and without further damaging our planet: www.raw.info.