As we have been celebrating the Queen’s Jubilee, it is worth reflecting on some of the changes she has seen since her reign began. Some post war rationing was then still in place, ‘Dig for Victory’ fresh in memories. So it was not surprising that food production was a hot topic.
As a result the tradition of mixed farming became less attractive, giving way to either all crops or all dairy, for example. So larger fields, use of artificial fertilizers and insecticides began to be the norm, as did monoculture and ‘factory farming’ of chicken and pigs. Ever larger machinery became essential. Seventy years ago, climate change and loss of biodiversity were hardly considered: conservation rarely mentioned. Recycling was done by Steptoe and Son. Since then, feeding the increasing population and the use of agricultural land for housing has added impetus to the need for intensive farming.
Now the consequences are well known. Loss of diversity and vital wildlife. Pollution and climate change. We have become a wasteful, throwaway society. Landfill has become a problem. Not all is bad news. Recognition of the situation is leading to remedial action. Conservation of resources is seen as important. For instance, the recycling of waste is much better organised, evidence of which our Group saw on the visit to Brookhurst Mechanical and Biological Treatment site on 23rd of May. The site takes all the waste from our household green bins. The waste is sorted with metal and plastic being removed for recycling, and organic waste going into an anaerobic digester to generate electricity. The sad thing is that about 40% of the material processed by the site is food waste. Most of this could be diverted from the waste stream if people were to change their behaviours.
At our work party meeting on 4th June at The Glade we carried out the annual path clearance there, as well cutting back brambles and other vegetation invading the adjacent pavement. Fortunately the overnight rain had given way to brighter weather. Our next work party is on 2nd July at 10.00 am at Dyke Farm where we will be maintaining recently planted trees. As ever, all are invited to join us, fresh air, friendly company and a coffee break will be on hand. For information about this and our other activities, or on becoming a member, (no subscription is required, donations welcome) please get in touch with Chairman Mick Denness on 01903 745971, or see our website, www.storringtonconservation.org.uk/.