The EarthShot prize

By now many of you will heard about the EarthShot prize, it is a big project aimed at reaching net zero emissions by 2030. I am very pleased to see it happening but it does not mean that all our problems will be solved by 2030. There is more that individuals need to do in their communities.

However exciting the episodes on TV are what concerns me is that most of the projects are large, complex scientific/engineering solutions that will take a while to implement even with £1M extra funding.

Small communities need to be as resilient and independent as possible to survive what lies ahead. That means tailor made solutions for each of their basic needs. There is some commonality like fresh air, water, food, transport and decent accommodation but how each of these are realised is specific to the location. Local projects can do more for local people, can be started now.

Obviously we cannot do everything but we can install more wind and solar power, shared public transport and grow much more locally grown, sustainable food and stop relying on it being trucked half-way across Europe.

Lettuce in an old fish box

Where do we begin?
The answer is by cutting our personal CO2 emissions as much as possible and then some more. There is no universal one-size-fits-all solution.

Start is to grow at least some of you own food even if you have no garden you can use recycled containers. Supermarkets throw out huge numbers of polystyrene fish boxes and flower buckets which are excellent for food gardens.

For the last 20 years I have been growing food in a closed loop garden – no waste out and no input of fertilizers or pesticides. It produced bumper crops in a very small beds. Now it is being called regenerative agriculture and is a vital way of converting practices farming to be carbon positive, meaning it stores carbon in soil.

A new way to think about growing food
In the UK many put their gardens to bed for winter and that is when the ‘season’ is seen to end. There may be some brassicas left ready for Christmas but on the whole we still tend to think of a shortish summer season and then a long rest!

The climate is already changing and although some crops do need protection it is possible to keep many plants growing all year round. Another sure sign that temperatures are rising.

Food waste
The amount of CO2 produced by the production of food and from food wastes ranks third as next to the whole carbon dioxide next to the most polluting countries – China, and the US. The needs to change now!

An easy way to save CO2 and MONEY is to drastically reduce food waste. It is akin to flushing paper money down the toilet – why would anybody do that? The diagram below that 70% of food waste is from UK households.

Source: WRAP, Food surplus and waste in the UK – key facts, October 2021

(The full text of the WRAP report can be found HERE)

Be part of zero waste 2030, grow some of your own food. Change the way you treat food Cut down on waste and if you do have some put it in a compost bin ready to rot down and use on the garden. There are some neat and odourless systems around which do an excellent job of converting food waste into a rich, black compost in just a few weeks. They are not cheap so why not share one with a neighbour?

See the HotBin composter HERE
(I have no connection with the company other being a customer.)

A slightly more sophisticated growing bench made from old pallets.

If you do not have  garden use a container. This one was made from scrap pallets. There is a good crop of three different types of salad mixes which were ready for picking within 23 days of being sown. There is no waste water as it is collected under the table.