Much of today’s agriculture relies on fossil fuel intensive inputs such as nitrous fertilisers, herbicides and pesticides as well as the transportation of food huge distances around the globe. The logic and stability of this way of producing our food is seriously brought into question by the likelihood of rising oil prices and the urgent need to cut our emissions of greenhouse gases. A relocalisation of food production that uses more traditional methods of small-scale, mixed farming is one possible response to the multiple challenges – of peak oil, climate change and an expanding population – that we now face.
This first presentation is from Colin Campbell founder of the Association for the Study of Peak Oil who gives a potted overview of the energy depletion issue.
Many thanks to the Soil Association for giving their kind permission to broadcast this material.
Last week Craig Sams (Soil Association Chair and co-founder of Whole Earth Foods and Green & Blacks chocolate) told us how he thinks a worldwide transition to organic farming could help us reduce carbon in the atmosphere by half the amount that we need to in order to stabilise climate change. This week we speak to two independent experts to examine these claims:
- Peter Smith, Professor of Soils & Global Change, School of Biological Sciences, University of Aberdeen; and lead author on the UN IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report chapter on agriculture’s role in climate change mitigation
- Phil Metcalfe – organics expert at ADAS who co-authored “Energy use in organic farming systems” (DEFRA, 2000)
At the end of the programme we make our own assessment of the evidence and issues. We would be interested to know if you agree or disagree.
Soil Association Chair, Craig Sams, has been making some extraordinary claims. He calculates that a worldwide transition to organic farming could help us reduce carbon in the atmosphere by half the amount that we need to in order to stabilise climate change. Sams – who is also the founder of Whole Earth Foods and Green & Blacks Chocolate – sees carbon pricing as a way of making this transition possible.
Next week we hope to get a couple of independent experts to examine these claims and their implications.