Urban agriculture

hydroponics

Urban farming has been on a steady increase for many years now as space for agriculture creeps closer to cities and consumers look to reconnect with what they eat. As well as appealing to the health and environmentally conscious market, these systems often seek to achieve community benefits; providing opportunities and education for disadvantaged and minority groups. The size and purpose of urban agricultural systems can range enormously, encompassing: allotments, vertical farming, agroparks and community gardens, ranging from subsistence to industrial sized operations.

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National Meadows Day 2018

wildflower meadow
British wildflower meadows are a hive of biological diversity but have largely been lost due to conversion to agriculture. CC0 Couleur via Pixabay

 

National meadows day is an annual awareness event focussed around the first Saturday of July, but up and down the country activities took over the whole weekend. Traditionally managed British meadows are characterised by low soil fertility and actively managed cutting or grazing, supporting a range of colourful flowering species including the oxeye daisies seen in the picture above. These species rich meadows, which used to cover much of England’s countryside, were traditionally generated by farmers managing for hay and pasture. Ironically these important habitats have now largely been eradicated by modern agriculture. In recognition of this fact there are now numerous conservation projects and financial incentives in place to encourage the maintenance and regeneration of British Meadows. But with so many environmental schemes and species vying for position in British conservation why are meadows so important and how can agriculture help? Continue reading

The view from above

olive trees
Remote sensing means soon we may be able to detect plant diseases before visual symptoms occur. CC0: ulleo Via Pixabay

We might not all be comfortable with the idea of unmanned drones, or government satellites scanning all corners of the earth but the data produced from these constant eye-in-the-skys is proving ever more useful in today’s environmental struggles. Continue reading

The palm oil debate continues

Palm oil
Palm oil fruits. Image credit: tristantan via Pixabay (CC0)

 

Nowadays palm oil has become ubiquitous as an ingredient across our supermarket shelves, from peanut butter to crackers it is in almost everything. It is also found in nearly half of all household products in developed countries. However, this is a relatively recent trend and given that the demand has increased so quickly, you have to wonder how it is being supplied at such a rate. Continue reading

To bee or not to bee

Bee on apple blossom
Honeybee on apple blossom. Image Credit: Myriams-Fotos via Pixabay (CC0)

This Sunday the UK celebrated World Bee Day (May 20th); the first year of the now to be annual UN awareness event aimed at increasing our sensitivity to the global importance and increasing struggle of pollinators. Whilst the event hopes to increase understanding of pollinators generally, including butterflies, moths, birds and bats, the focus is strongly on wild and managed bees for their economic importance. And justly so; bees visit over 70 crops in the UK alone and are worth billions worldwide in the pollination service they provide. However, it would be difficult to miss the worryingly-frequent headlines warning of bee decline both in the UK and globally as a result of human activities.

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International Day for Biological Diversity 2018

Idb-2018-collage
Image credit: Convention on Biological Diversity IDB2018 Accessed: 18/05/2018 (https://www.cbd.int/idb/2018/)

This year the 22nd of May will be a celebration of the progress made since the implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity 25 years ago. The International day for Biological Diversity was designed to overlap with the UNs post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals and the date chose to commemorate the adoption of the Convention of Biodiversity in 1992 at the Rio Earth Summit. Previous themes promoted over the years have included: biodiversity and sustainable tourism, water and biodiversity, invasive alien species and biodiversity and climate change.

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Earth Day 2018 – The campaign to eliminate plastic pollution

Plastic_on_beach

[Image credit: Pixabay – hhach]

This blog post was written by our new Content Editor – Ellen Baker, ahead of Earth Day on Sunday 22nd April.

This year the annual environmental issues awareness event ‘Earth day’ is focussing on the topic of plastic pollution; the problems generated by our high usage of single use plastics have been a campaign point for numerous environmental groups for many years but the topic of plastic pollution has recently been brought to the forefront of public discussion by the hugely popular BBC documentary Blue Planet II. Prompted by the poignant last episode of the series which featured this topic heavily, the nationwide programme narrated by Sir David Attenborough has appeared to catalyse a change in public opinion on plastic waste, what some have subsequently dubbed this the ‘Blue planet effect’.

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