Archives for posts with tag: BioMass

We need to keep informed about agriculture oriented towards energy production. In the case of maize in Britain, there’s also a terrible association with soil runoff during excessive rain events that contributes to flooding, as in this piece by George Monbiot with it’s quite shocking video component.  A responsible climate change policy would take into account both the importance of good land management (as nudged or not by subsidies) and actual carbon figures, which Miles King, in the post shared below, discusses so clearly.

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p1040939 Biogas Maize is now grown widely in the Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty © Miles King

Maize grown specifically for Anaerobic Digesters to produce “biogas” is an increasingly common crop in England, especially in the South West. The area under Biogas Maize increased by 55% in 2016 compared to 2015, to 52000ha. The National Farmers Union set a target of 200,000ha of land under biogas Maize back in 2011, so they are 25% of the way to their target.

Maize is a very environmentally damaging crop, probably the most environmentally damaging crop grown in the UK. Why then is so much of it being grown? Because the Government pays not one, but two subsidies for it to be grown – the generous single payment (now over £200 per hectare annually) for anyone who owns farmland; and on top of this there are a range of payments including the Renewable…

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Here is George Monbiot at his insightful and impassioned best, speaking about agricultural subsidies at the Oxford Farming Conference in January.

This is really worth a half hour of your time to understand how things could begin to be different if we are concerned to integrate: biodiversity, social justice, food security, soil protection, sound energy policy, flood and drought management, and more.

He is calling the National Farmers Union to task for what he sees as profound hypocrisy, and suggesting ways that working together, “forming alliances” across assumed loyalties, might benefit most of us.

Of everything that this talk opened in my mind, I was especially shocked to learn about the growing dominance of biofuel maize on prime agricultural land, to be burned in schemes meant for methane capture of crop waste and slurry.

Please share this talk widely, or “reblog.”You might not agree with everything, but Monbiot weaves together many issues crucial to agricultural, ecology, social equality and the future of food justice in the broadest sense.  Wow.

I just got back from Camden Town where I gave a presentation on Lacto-Fermentation at the London Permaculture Festival.  The event was full of energy, optimism, strong awareness of problems and clear focus on solutions. I met loads of impressive and motivated people. Here’s a review of my talk and a little bit about other interesting features of the day, including a workshop on cultural diversity, a meeting on community gardening in London, and a quite staggering talk on the perfidy of Biomass as renewable (ha!) energy…

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