Koll wrote:Going back to the damage to wildlife by arable, it's not just numbers as they seem to say in the article though, or the fact they are small, it's the way they die.
Yes. I can imagine. Horrible ...
I've been trying to find information about reducing wildlife deaths during harvesting, but there's not much out there. The RSPB
does touch on it briefly. And I did find a leaflet published by the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service (pdf file
) entitled "Reducing Mortality of Grassland Wildlife During Haying and Wheat-Harvesting Operations". You're no doubt familiar with it all already, or as much of it as is relevant to the UK, but is it possible that considerable numbers of animals (globally) would be saved simply by drivers reducing their speed, timing the harvesting to reduce the chance of there being birds still nesting, and harvesting from the inside outwards rather than from the outside inwards? The other method I thought interesting was raising the cutter bar to at least three inches above the ground, and angling it upwards.
Koll wrote:The real problem is there's too many people, we're eating the planet, whether that's grain or meat. We keep being told about the population forecast for 2050, which won't bother me because I won't be here, but what about a hundred years later? It's not that far away. You won't be able to move.
Hmm, the population question. Perhaps this isn't the right place for it, but do you fancy resuscitating an old thread
Assuming that the population is going to continue to rise until 2050, though, I do think that in the future we will have to move food production systems closer to the centres of population. There will have to be more urban and suburban agriculture. I don't just mean individuals growing food in allotments and back gardens, and community gardening projects, though there's a lot to be said for all that. But vast greenhouses on supermarkets roofs, or stacked on the sunny sides of office blocks. City orchards for fruit and nuts, and a greater use of hydroponics. I think you're right about the need to change what we eat, and eating less grain will have to be a part of that, and perhaps more root crops, and more peas and beans. But there are pseudograins, like buckwheat and quinoa and amaranth, that look as though they're more suited to urban production, in gardens and greenhouses, and that have a better amino acid profile too. And as I mentioned before, there's hemp, which is already grown with great success in urban environments, albeit illegally!
What I'm not sure about, though, is whether meat production could be successfully moved into, or closer to, cities. Again, perhaps we would need to change what animals we eat. Fewer large ruminants, and more small invertebrates. Urban snail farms might work. Or mealworm factories? Lots of deaths involved, of course, but less suffering, I think.