You may be forgiven to think that the image below is snow covered buildings. It isn’t. It is countless square miles of farmland covered by plastic and netting.
I have always tried to see both sides of an argument, and make objective rather than emotional comments, and today is no exception.
I have worked in the corporate world, where you constantly try to reduce costs, to be the most competitive, and dominate your market share. Farmers are no different. Plastic in this case increases the temperature of the ground and air inside these enclosures, it helps keeps humidity at optimum levels reducing water evaporation, keeps bugs and birds of the crops etc. Bigger farms can use scales of economy to reduce prices.
I get this, and we, the consumers need food, and are constantly pushing for higher standards and lower costs – Everyone loves a bargain, right???
But after the beautiful, un-spoilt landscapes we have seen over the last few days, to be faced with either a concrete or plastic landscape was pretty depressing. I couldn’t help but wonder what this landscape would have looked like 60 years ago prior to the plastic revolution. Yes, there would have been some crop damage by birds, bugs etc, and demand for food was no where near as high.
There was a global market, but surely not for perishable products like peppers, tomatoes etc, but with advances in logistics people can now get unseasonable products from their supermarkets 12 months a year.
Is this progress? The energy used to transport these products around the globe must be massive. I also considered the impact to wildlife which can no longer get access to vast areas of ground, reducing their food, and breeding grounds thanks to humans using more and more of the planets surface, and don’t get me started on what happens to all of this plastic at the end of its life.
One other thought I had. White reflects light (energy), where-as bare earth would reflect less. What happens to the addition reflected energy and what is the impact to our climate? Not sure this is an issue – happy to be corrected if anyone knows.
We really must consider the longer term impacts on the planet, rather than what our corporate share price is doing….
If you can, please try to buy local, from small independent farms that care about the planet that we all share… Yes, the price to you may be a little higher, but if reduce demand for un-seasonal, non native products. Rant over.