Please note due to COVID-19 our gardens & retail stores are currently closed until further notice. Members can still buy online, stay safe and keep on gardening.

Please note due to COVID-19 our gardens & retail stores are currently closed until further notice. Members can still buy online, stay safe and keep on gardening.

Growing your own food is the quickest way to solve climate change

About 25% of global CO2 emissions are caused by us buying food rather than growing our own.

So we gardeners are doing more to reduce carbon emissions than any other group. But surely we can do even more by encouraging our friends to garden and by understanding the causes of climate change.

Emissions start with the removal of trees to clear paddocks, ready to farm, then fuel is used to plough the field. This turning of the soil breaks down fungal webs that deliver carbon and water to the plants. The spreading of fertiliser and spraying of plants uses fuel.

The importation of chemical sprays from the US or Europe uses fuel. The harvesting of monoculture crops like wheat, canola and potatoes uses fuel.
Tomatoes are often grown in Queensland and shipped 2,500km to Melbourne and Adelaide, using masses of fuel. Many of the crops are refrigerated and sold late in the night under supermarket lighting that uses non-renewable power.

Behaviours such as excessive use of non-renewable fuels have catastrophic impacts on the amount of carbon that rises into the atmosphere and adds to greenhouse gas levels. From our tests in our Heronswood mini-plot we know we can grow a year’s supply of vegetables and fruit for two in just 40m2 of soil area, which is about the size of a garage. Whatever you can do to encourage your friends and family to grow more food will have immediate benefits.

Climate change is not party political

On a recent trip from Melbourne to Sydney, smoke was everywhere for most of the 1,000km journey, and was so thick in parts of Sydney that just breathing the air was equivalent to smoking up to 30 cigarettes a day.
This issue of climate change is not party political. It’s all about the planet we inhabit.
As gardeners we know that plants have leaves like solar panels, which follow the path of the sun to provide all the energy they need to grow; decomposed plants create our soils, the food for the animals we eat and the trees that recycle and purify our water, and so on.
It’s not surprising that many Australians feel powerless and argue that, because the Chinese and the total US emissions are 20–30 times ours in Australia, we shouldn’t even bother to try. Well, that’s like saying if you are a tiny shopkeeper or run a small garden business you shouldn’t pay any tax!
Humans evolved late in this cycle and just three generations of exploiting non-renewable energy (coal, gas and oil) have caused such an imbalance that our planet will soon be unliveable for all but the rich.

We are all contributors and we must all help personally solve the problem … caused by us. Australia is almost the world’s highest carbon polluter at 15.4 tonnes per person compared with about 7.5 tonnes for China* and, what’s more, our cumulative excessive carbon footprint has occurred continuously for 20–30 years. We must now take personal responsibility for this crisis because it is our generation that has exploited this non-renewable source and threatened the existence of our children and grandchildren.

There’s plenty of energy to maintain our standard of living, we just need to change our energy sources and it’s still free.

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