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  • Writer's picturegfmeade7


I have been observing the increasing frustration amongst smaller food producers, fishermen and farmers regarding the climate crisis and the way they are being pressured by governments to meet unattainable targets for the bigger picture of saving the earth. The big question is how we are going to provide enough food for the planet to eat and yet conserve the same planet. Just like the fossil fuels issue the answer must be sought out and quickly at that. Millions still goes to bed hungry every night. The answer has to be in science and going back to basics in order to compensate for our plundering of the earth’s resources so far in our human existence.

   We also have all the plastics in the oceans to urgently clean out yet we see the perverse situation of good fresh seafood being dumped back overboard as some quota has been exceeded in a commercial boat and yet we have kids not being able to sell a few line caught fish from a pier to a local restaurant as regulations have outlawed it. Fish farms contaminate natural neighbouring fish stocks yet huge factory ships will sweep the seabed of everything and have the fishy portions filleted and frozen aboard the vessel all ready for your supermarket shelf at a bargain basement price.

On the agricultural front conscientious farmers are being hung out to dry as the fall guys when the real damage is being done by human pollution, mining, transport and factories pumping the gases and chemicals into the atmosphere and rivers much faster than the belching cows in a field. There is a growing resentment in the food producing world that their share of the solution to the climate crisis is unfair and this will be reflected in the political world in the next couple of years. The rural vote will be very important in the future and this is manifesting already itself in countries like Holland and France.

     The playing fields are just not level enough with global regulations varying greatly between the big and small players and the sky high standards of Europe and the less stringent rest of the world. There is often capitulation to big food outside Europe when there are for example EU cars to be sold in return for trade deals. Then whole swathes of tropical forests are felled as we desperately try to plant more trees here to try and outpace the far flung corrupted deforestation. Yet we will get one diseased animal in Ireland identified because of our cutting edge food safety and our beef sales are suspended to a major Asian market. World food law is definitely an ass.

The rushed, unattainable and far too late climate laws still keep on coming down the Brussels pipeline increasing the financial burden on both households and small business. The way the energy market has been allowed to abuse its position to the public and business the last few years has been a scandal. Global warming is a reality but the knee jerky solutions are unrealistic especially when you have some big countries openly flouting the guidelines agreed at climate talks.

It makes our tiny Irish compliance an absolute irrelevance in the larger scheme of things while others spend billions on military defence and space exploration. In an election year cycle the world of food is going to have to use its loud voice to say to policy makers enough is enough and that it is time to step back and reassess the way they are treating such an important part of society in some parts of the world. The public know there has to be a team effort in reforming the way we live but right now the heavy lifting is not being done by the biggest players. The politicians might like to reflect on this as they tuck into their fine food and wine suppers in the big halls of Brussels bureaucracy before they dish out the cold turkey to the rest of us in the food world and down on the farms or out at sea.

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