Why we should care more about the environmental impact of nutrients

The Soil Association highlighted the issue of peak phosphorous and its threat to food security in their report: A rock and a hard place, in 2010 (which appears to be no longer available on-line?). And made several recommendations for the UK Government, it would like to implement.  In an article I posted in 2013, I highlighted the work Wessex Water was doing to recycle nutrients.  Using the waste from their bio-digester plant, which also produces electricity and bio-gas.  They also employ chemists to work with their customers, to ensure their land gets the right amount of nutrients.

Unfortunately, the Agra-chemical companies, who produce the fertilisers (mostly from fossil fuels) for industrialised farming industry.  Have the money and the lobbying might, to try and prevent, the large scale uptake of organic farming practices.  In fact, one of the issues being highlighted at the present time, is the pharmaceutical drug residue, that might be present in the recycled waste?  In September 2016, the European Commission’s Science for Environmental Policy, published a news alert.  It was titled: Applying sewage sludge to soil may spread antibiotic resistance.  It has been widely acknowledge, that their has been an abuse of the use of antibiotics in humans and animals.  From which the chemical companies also benefit from, as well as their trade in fertilisers, herbicides, pesticides, fungicides and GMOs (genetically modified organisms).

Inside track

crop-spraying_chafer-machinery_flickrBack in 2007, Green Alliance examined the challenges and opportunities for the more sustainable use of nutrients, chiefly nitrogen and phosphorus, in the UK. It recommended a suite of policy principles to make a more circular system a reality.

Little has happened since in the UK. But last month I was asked to present Green Alliance’s policy principles to a conference of Nordic countries in Malmo, and to discuss how to take the agenda forward. I discovered that the ideas remain relevant and useful. 

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Thoughts on why environmental groups failed to engage with a wider audience?

I was asked to do a post on why environmental groups which are predominately white middle-class, do not attract more of the working-class?  This is only some thoughts I had whilst doing some gardening and is not intended to answer the question at this present time.

The middle-class environmental activists dismiss the working-class (social & council housing tenants), as not caring about the environmental, even to the extent of scorning them.

They should stop to think, who is causing the most environmental damage?  The working-class or the business and political classes?  Who has failed the World most, the poor or rich?

The working-class are bombarded by advertising TV programmes and films showing how well off everyone else is.  So they aspire to this, this of course the point of advertising and the consumer oriented media.  These are the people who can least afford the things advertised, but they feel they have failed, if they do not have the things it would appear everyone else has.

So instead of telling those with the least, that they should do more, the environmentalist should be getting the message across to businesses and politicians, that they have to change.  The way to try and change the ‘working-class’ altitude ( as well as banning advertising), is to educate the children in how to live more environmentally friendly.  Such as schemes promoted by the Soil Association, which is the Food for Life Partnership.  To empower the working-class by actually involving them with the decision making at the start of any project being proposed.