running feet

running feet
Running feet. These aren't mine.

Friday, 8 April 2011

G is for glorious sunshine, global warming, and green manure

The weather today is fantastic again, and I got out at lunchtime for a three-miler up to Cabot Tower, and then back down next to Bristol Harbour. I love the sunshine, and despite it not being Easter yet, it seems like summer is already here. However, in the spirit of things seeming too good to be true, my thoughts found themselves turning to that creeping feeling that actually it shouldn't be quite so nice this early in the year, and that my run was actually proof that we're all going to hell in a handcart.

Fortunately it was too nice a day to worry for too long, so I tried to focus myself on the positive. It's pretty clear that, in order to jump out of that handcart I just mentioned, we need to change how we do things. Depending on which figures you read, food and farming accounts for somewhere between a fifth and a third of our global carbon emissions, so is as a good a place to start making changes as anywhere. And this means changing what we eat - with less meat and more cereal/vegetables, and changing how we grow - relying less on fossil fuel based synthetic fertilisers and pesticides.

So, for G, let me introduce to Green manures - crops such as crimson, vetch and rye that are grown for the benefit of the soil over the winter, or between other crops. It's such an elegant idea - you grow a plant, it takes carbon and nitrogen from the atmosphere, provides a habitat for bugs and wildlife and crowds out weeds, and then you dig it into your soil and it rots down, supplying nutrients and goodness for the next plants you grow, and locking away carbon as it goes. It's surely better than spreading ammonia fertiliser all over the ground, and then following up with roundup to knock back all the weeds that spring up. Combine this idea with grass-fed cows in a clover meadow and you've got a growing system that not only produces great food, but might help prevent the sun shining so hot so early in future years.

Running log
Distance: 3 miles
Pace: Not sure, not too fast - it was hot!
Location: Central Bristol

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