I often start my talks with a slide of Martin Rees, the Astronomer Royal, with a quote of his “this is a crucial century. The Earth has existed for 45 million centuries. But this is the first time when one species, ours, can determine — for good or ill — the future of the entire biosphere.” Of course there is plenty of evidence to suggest we are wrecking the biosphere and therefore our own future. There is, as readers of this blog will be aware, also a growing body of evidence to suggest a radically better alternative is possible and is in many places being made manifest.
Two key footsteps toward a better future are renewable energy and organic agriculture. Some small places such as Varese in Liguria, Italy, have long worked toward 100% renewables energy and 100% organic agriculture. The really exciting news this week is that 100% renewables, for heat, electricity and transport fuels is now official government policy in Denmark. The aim is to achieve this ambitious goal by 2050, with lots of key dates along the way, such as banning natural gas boilers in new build from next year.
The other really exciting thing I heard this week is the growth of organic farming in India. The Indian state of Sikkim hopes to be 100% organic by 2015 and Uttarakhand, Nagaland and Mizoram intend to follow. Some of the ways organic farming is being developed in India are really innovative. Ashmeet Kapoor and his team at Jagriti Agro Tech are using modern communications technology to help lots of small organic farmers link together and market directly to consumers, by-passing very inefficient, wasteful and exploitative supply chains and so getting cheaper, fresher organic produce to consumers while helping small farmers make a better living.
What about 100% renewable energy and 100% organic agriculture as a Herefordshire, UK or Global policy goal!