Plant a tree in twenty three

20 June 2023

In 2009 the local Echo published a column where I detailed how a vegan diet would be good for the planet and give billions of animals a commute from a life of hell before being bagged up for consumption.

As I remember there were no interesting replies published but funny how time flies and even Tesco today is pushing vegan foods as their shareholders know doom and destruction very much is just around the corner.

Yesterday I listened to a talk with George Monbiot sitting on a panel of three experts and with Adrian Ramsay presenting the online event. Although billed ‘Why are our shelves empty and what can we do about the food crisis’ there was no actual mention of specific products being empty shelved; and coincidentally on the very day I could not find a tin of tomatoes in my local supermarket I had wanted details.  

Monbiot does stand out on a panel and even Lady Natalie Bennett was given a rebuke when she called for extensification of farming as moving away from intensive farming. Extensive farming means finding even more land for farming which is required for rewilding, conservation and slowing down the 6th mass extinction.  

You can read Monbiot’s choice of evils on his website under fantasy farming, it includes a dig at King Charles and a paragraph on microbes, but during the talk one thing stuck out. He believed that meat products from living animals in the future will be produced in conservation areas where only the rich will afford to subsidise the precious waste of resources. Nothing changed there then, wealthy folk flocking to go into space, fly helicopters and dive down in a submarine to have a peek at the Titanic.

I don’t believe billionaires will all survive the 6th mass extinction and even if they do it could be a bit lonely without the hoi polloi around to entertain them. Some of them may just be able to cling on a while longer, long enough to see their very own families try to fudge the problems that still could even now realistically be halved.

The third active panellist was Jocelyn Longdon who kept me thinking that this really is a global debate and developing nations have far worse food security than we in the UK have. My thoughts on this really aren’t helpful at all as I believe the likes of India where people are dying of sunstroke and land is slowly being scorched to a desert and the government still believe in buying cheap oil from Russia and sacrificing land to grow GM cotton; well they can't expect to help cool things down.

India aims to achieve Net Zero by 2070, one wonders how hot the subcontinent by then will be. 

Back in sunny Southampton, the least we can do is work on rewilding and planting fruit trees around the city. Sadly my cherry stones kept from a punnet of cherries bought last week might not acclimatize in Southampton but somewhere there will be cherries that will if frequently watered.

 Joe Cox



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