Friday, March 07, 2008

International Women's Day 2008

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I agree with Jean, who sent me the link , that this is just right for International Women's Day. Please click on the link and support the call for global action to end violence against women.

Making green food/shopping choices: not as straightforward as it may sometimes seem

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Whether or not crops grown further away are less green or not can be a pretty complex question (see the points made in the article ''Crops from far away may be greener', Bristol Evening Post, 4 March). I'd certainly err on the side of local generally being greener, though I'd agree that its often not just food miles that count. Its most often not possible to make a fully informed choice because the total carbon emissions involved are not currently marked on products. A lot of rough guessing on impacts is thus involved for anyone who takes an interest. There is also the question of whether its just carbon we should take into account (we are, understandably in these times of climate change, very carbon focussed these days). There are other significant resources (social and environmental) involved too. Take the example of growing roses in Kenya used in the article I cited above (seen as more carbon efficient than growing in Holland even after taking air transport into account) - this requires massive water use from a country whose people are often desperately short of it. When exporting flowers Kenya is effectively also exporting its water (see virtual, embedded, embodied, hidden water or water footprint information here and here). Growing roses also takes up land which it might be argued Kenya could better use to grow food for its people and for neighbouring countries - there has long been desperate need in that area of the globe.

You may be interested in the Fairtrade Foundation website.