Tag Archives: European union

Save our Planet…plant more Trees.

10 Feb

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The weather is the topic on everyone’s lips at the moment. Since before Christmas we have been battered by Atlantic storms. Another one is building out there…reckoned to strike on Wednesday. This morning we had snow.

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It was pretty for the short time it lasted… soon to be washed away by rain. Then there was a period of sunshine. All the seasons in one day.

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The rain has been so constant this Winter…it wears one down. So hard for farmers and animals not to mind the folks whose homes have been flooded here in Ireland and in England. Visiting Tipperary last week it was amazing to see lakes where they never were. At least the Swans are happy.

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Great article in The Guardian newspaper today about this whole topic. You can read it here  http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/jan/13/flooding-public-spending-britain-europe-policies-homes

In the article George Monbiot talks about how European Union agricultural policies are adding to the flooding woes. I presume the same policies apply here in Ireland.

“Water sinks into the soil under trees at 67 times the rate it sinks into the soil under grass. The roots of the trees provide channels down which the water flows deep into the ground.”

I always believed trees were an important part of protecting the land but this is an astonishing fact to contemplate. The message is clear…planting trees helps protect our Planet.

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Further into the article it is revealed that if you are to receive your Single Farm Payment (from European Union), the largest component in farm subsidies, the land has to be free of  “unwanted vegetation.” This includes tree cover.

So…with no trees and shrubs to slow down the rain run off it all flows straight down the hills…probably taking topsoil with it…into the rivers and into the towns and villages causing….yes! you’ve guessed it…flooding.

I’m sure you’ll all agree that it’s crazy to be driving landowners into removing tree cover from land. It leaves the land without shelter for wildlife and farm animals not to mind the damage to the land itself. I think the people in Brussels who devise these policies need some new advisors…preferably ones with some love of the Planet and maybe an interest in Permaculture…as opposed to a love of money. Production is their only goal…and it seems like it’s damn the consequences.

SOS…Save our seeds. The fight continues…

7 May

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A lot of people breathed a sigh of relief yesterday at the concessions that were made over the weekend to the Plant Reproductive Material laws proposed by the European Union. These concessions were made because of the huge public outcry of hundreds of thousands of people in the preceding week. The concessions are:

*Home gardeners are now permitted to save and swap unapproved seeds without breaking the law.

*Individuals and small organisations can grow and supply/sell unapproved vegetable seeds – as long as they have less than 10 employees.

*Seed banks can grow unapproved seeds without breaking the law.

*There could be easier rules for large producers of seeds suitable for organic agriculture in future legislation. (Unspecified)

Sounds all tickety boo doesn’t it? However…all is not as it seems.

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There are clauses that mean the above concessions could be removed in the future, WITHOUT coming back to the Parliament for a vote.

Ben Gabel, Director of the Real Seed Catalogue. www.realseeds.co.uk says:

“The draft law was truly awful and it is good to see that the Commission have responded to the hundreds of thousands of citizens who raised their voices against it. They have made important concessions for home growers and small farmers, though it is a shame they did not think of them in the first place.”

These concessions are a smokescreen. They are time limited to old varieties already commonly on sale. Varieties in seed banks would be outlawed overnight as they could not be registered.

Reading the Executive Summary of the legislation one could be lulled into a false sense of security. However, these first 5 pages are not the proposed law. The Articles are what constitutes the law and they say the exact opposite to the Executive Summary.

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There are currently 70 pieces of legislation governing the food chain…this legislation will reduce that to 5. No..I didn’t miss a zero there…five.

Public pressure has forced the EU to make some concessions…we need to keep up the pressure now to achieve more.  Remember this is only proposed legislation.  This is going to govern what we grow and eat for evermore.

Part of an email I received from Marian Harkin MEP this evening: “The European Commission finalised their proposal on Plant Reproductive Material yesterday. (May 6)

You may wish to lobby for changes to aspects of the proposed legislation that are particularly problematic for your sector. As the legislative process is only just beginning there is scope for amendments to be made.”

So keep on signing those petitions…keep up the pressure…lobby the politicians…theres a lot at stake here.

By the way…I wrote to all the Irish MEPs…Marian Harkin was the only one who replied personally. Two others replied via their secretarial staff.

A Woodland Burial.

13 Mar

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Have you decided what will happen to your earthly remains when your soul leaves this planet? Maybe some of you will think this morbid but it’s one thing that’s a definite for every living thing on this planet.  We will all leave…sooner or later.

I have always thought that I would like to lie under a nice tree and fertilise it’s growth.

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Today while flicking through Facebook I came across this poem. I think it’s brilliant.

WOODLAND BURIAL by Pam Ayres.

Don’t lay me down in some gloomy churchyard shaded by a wall

Where the dust of ancient bones has spread dryness over all.

Lay me in some leafy loam where, sheltered from the cold

Little seeds investigate and tender leaves unfold.

There  kindly and affectionately plant a native tree

To grow resplendent before God and hold some part of me.

The roots will not disturb me as they wend their peaceful way

To build the fine and bountiful, from closure and decay.

To seek their small requirements so that when their work is done

I’ll be tall and standing strongly in the beauty of the Sun.

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In light of our governments plan to sell of our forests to pay for the debts of the banks which have been foisted on the Irish people maybe we should pledge our bodies to growing new forests for the people of Ireland.  No! I jest you not,  selling the Irish forests, which belong to the people of Ireland is currently being seen as  a viable proposition to pay the fat cat bankers as demanded by the IMF( International Monetary Fund).

To me it’s too much of a coincidence that this comes as our new friends in China want more beef and the EU drop milk quotas in the near future. Lots of land wanted for all this production.  A sacrifice too far methinks.

Why not try and do something to stop this. In the UK a similar plan was abandoned because of public outcry. Lobby your local TDs and other so called public representatives. Get out there and use OUR woodlands…while they’re still there. Take your friends and children…they will love it.  If you would like to join with others take a look at www.bardsinthewoods.com . Wonderful walks, poems and picnics in beautiful places. 

Our woodlands need us now…and into the future too.

Bridget x

There is an online petition which goes to the President, Michael D Higgins and the Irish Government. Please sign and share. http://www.thepetitionsite.com/2/help-save-irelands-forestry/ .

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