/ The future of grass and sheep on our hills.

Please Register as a New User in order to reply to this topic.
ali_colquhoun 08 Feb 2020

Given 80% of the income to upland sheep farmers (in Wales) comes in the way of subsidy from CAP, what do you think we should do once this money won't come from the EU? Yes it will probably be replaced by the government, but should it?  I like sheep and farmers but is it time to give it up and let the uplands re-wild? 

I for one am in favour of an end to the green desert. 

Further reading for those so inclined:

https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2018-06-26/debates/E1501036-E17F-469E-A609-E3ED2E93FDC5/LeavingTheEUUplandFarming

Report
henwardian 08 Feb 2020
In reply to ali_colquhoun:

>  I like sheep and farmers but is it time to give it up and let the uplands re-wild? 

Sheep, yes; farmers, no - too tough and stringy and the rubber boots give me indigestion.

Report
echo34 08 Feb 2020
In reply to ali_colquhoun:

Hill farms are vastly inefficient and should be allowed to fail.

Post edited at 22:56
Report
charliesdad 08 Feb 2020
In reply to echo34:

As well as being a major factor in global warming.

As well as directly increasing flood risk through deforestation and soil compaction

As well as creating barren green desert across much of the country

As well as damaging human health through consumption of saturated fats

The system of subsidies for many types of agriculture is odd, but for upland sheep farming it’s absurd; we are directly subsidising a very small group of people to destroy the environment. Simply removing those subsidies would stop all this. If the money saved were used to actively promote rewinding....

Report
wintertree 08 Feb 2020
In reply to ali_colquhoun:

I often swim at Low Force in the river Tees.  You can’t see 30 cm into the water the peat run off is so bad.  It’s hard to imagine what it’d be like with clear water if the land wasn’t trashed by sheep and heather moorland.

Don’t boar do quite well in forest?  Yum yum.

Report
mrphilipoldham 08 Feb 2020
In reply to charliesdad:

Plenty of rewinding going on right now! 🙃

Report
pasbury 09 Feb 2020
In reply to charliesdad:

Agree, see also grouse Moors.

The CAP has been gamed by large landowners and corporate farming and also as a side issue by upland sheep farmers. It isn't sustainable or sensible.

Report
pasbury 09 Feb 2020
In reply to wintertree:

I find it worrying that my local river the Wye, is rich red after rain, it's full of soil, of land being washed into the sea. Nothing to do with sheep, just intensively farmed arable land.

Report
Mike Peacock 09 Feb 2020
In reply to wintertree:

> I often swim at Low Force in the river Tees.  You can’t see 30 cm into the water the peat run off is so bad.  It’s hard to imagine what it’d be like with clear water if the land wasn’t trashed by sheep and heather moorland.

Land management (grazing, burning, ditching) will lead to browner/peatier water, but even if the land was pristine the runoff will be brown, and the river wouldn't be clear. That's the nature of streams and rivers that drain peatland soils. The brown colour is due to dissolved carbon. These rivers are also getting browner due to the fact that the UK's upland soils are still recovering from acid deposition from the industrial revolution.

This isn't the same as pasbury's comment though - that's actual soil in the water that is being lost, which is a huge problem.

Report
wintertree 09 Feb 2020
In reply to Mike Peacock:

The run off is a mixture of the normal peaty brown and a lot of soil/peat erosion.  The drainage skies put in for sheep grazing are leading to the tops being washed clear of all vegetation save spartan 1-2 meter high peat hags.  Without the erosion the river would be nowhere near as brown, and one day if forestry takes over the uplands could even tend to clear sometimes...

Edit: All the dislikes in the world won’t change the barren, eroding watershed and the sheer quantity of organic matter being scrubbed off the hillsides into the river making it far darker than it otherwise would be.  As there is no comparable upland drainage basin in England not wrecked by drainage sikes, heather burning and grazing so I don’t have a comparison to tell me how much darker the river is but the contrast with some highland peaty rivers is remarkable - the difference between a meter of brown tinged visibility and less then 15 cm.

Post edited at 09:55
Report
Max factor 09 Feb 2020
In reply to charliesdad:

> As well as being a major factor in global warming.

If we are going to rear animals for meat, grass fed, extensively farmed uplands is one of the lowest carbon systems.

> As well as damaging human health through consumption of saturated fats.

Plenty of evidence now to debunk this.

Report
Clint86 09 Feb 2020
In reply to ali_colquhoun:

Here in Kendal they have decided to help protect the town from future flooding after storm Desmond by engineering works, which involves putting in higher walls like thy have done in Keswick and then building temporary storage resevoirs which will fill when needed upstream. This also involves taking down a lot of the mature trees along the riverbank in the town centre. There is a strong local feeling that they should be advocating wilding the drainage basin. This would be taking the sheep off the land and involving the landowners in managing their land differently. This is part of the reply I got from the EA:

'To provide adequate flood risk management for Kendal, without the need for engineered linear defences and major upstream storage, is not possible. But even if it was, it would require suitable sites to be located in the catchment to plant millions of trees and build natural control structures, such as leaky dams. This would require substantial areas of land to be acquired, changing the social and economic landscape of people who live and work in these rural communities, forever. There would also be a substantial number of years between planting and the effectiveness of trees for flood mitigation.'  

I find it strange that the EA would not think that substantial wilding would not slow down the rate the water leaves the catchment area reasonably quickly, and that they see the 'traditional' use of land is something that should be protected, 'forever'.

I just find it tragic that such a 'radical' change is outside of our powers and thinking given all the other benefits it would bring.

   

Report
Mike Peacock 09 Feb 2020
In reply to wintertree:

> The run off is a mixture of the normal peaty brown and a lot of soil/peat erosion.  The drainage skies put in for sheep grazing are leading to the tops being washed clear of all vegetation save spartan 1-2 meter high peat hags.  Without the erosion the river would be nowhere near as brown, and one day if forestry takes over the uplands could even tend to clear sometimes...

> Edit: All the dislikes in the world won’t change the barren, eroding watershed and the sheer quantity of organic matter being scrubbed off the hillsides into the river making it far darker than it otherwise would be.  As there is no comparable upland drainage basin in England not wrecked by drainage sikes, heather burning and grazing so I don’t have a comparison to tell me how much darker the river is but the contrast with some highland peaty rivers is remarkable - the difference between a meter of brown tinged visibility and less then 15 cm.


The dislikes aren't from me. I agree that these ecosystems have been trashed and need fixing - there's some evidence that blocking the ditches and rewetting the uplands will reverse some of the losses of particulate and dissolved peat/carbon. But what drives these losses isn't always easy to figure out. There's already the suggestion that climate change is potentially increasing these levels of carbon/brownness, and this has been suggested as being partly responsible for increases in the River Tees*.


*https://link.springer.com/article/10.1023/A:1024924216148

Report
Mike Peacock 09 Feb 2020
In reply to Max factor:

> If we are going to rear animals for meat, grass fed, extensively farmed uplands is one of the lowest carbon systems.

Maybe. It depends how your uplands are managed. A recent BEIS report said:

"A further 1,213,000 ha (41%) of the UK peat area remains under some form of semi-natural peatland vegetation, but has been affected to varying degrees by human activities including drainage, burnmanagement, and livestock grazing. This has led to drying of the peat, loss of peat-forming species and erosion, converting these areas into net GHG sources. Although the emissions per unit area of modified peatland are relatively low, their great extent makes them significant contributors to overall UK peatland GHG emissions (~3,400 kt CO2e yr-1, 15% of total emissions). "

Report
ali_colquhoun 09 Feb 2020
In reply to ali_colquhoun:

Seems like most people here agree, I think that the lobbying which will be carried out by the farming lobby will be much more powerful than that done by the re-wilding lobby though. But why should this be so? Surely we are large in number and we can work effectively. Does anybody know of any groups doing this?

Report
girlymonkey 09 Feb 2020
In reply to Max factor:

> If we are going to rear animals for meat, grass fed, extensively farmed uplands is one of the lowest carbon systems.

I agree to an extent. However, we produce so much more than we consume, then export almost all of it and import much of what we use from NZ. I feel we need to encourage just breeding what we use and charging more for it so that it is still viable for farmers to continue this method.

Report
ali_colquhoun 09 Feb 2020
In reply to ali_colquhoun:

Agree grouse moors too but that's a different problem as they are self - funding. Profitable even. With hill farming we are paying for the damage. 

Report
DancingOnRock 09 Feb 2020
In reply to girlymonkey:

I think it’s more complicated than that. It’s the same with pigs. We export cuts that aren’t popular with BritIsh people and don’t produce enough of the cuts they do like. 
 

Basically British people have become very fussy. Not sure how many eat sheep brains and pigs trotters. 

Report
toad 09 Feb 2020
In reply to ali_colquhoun:

There's still a lot of subsidy and grants in grouse moors, I think the economics are a bit murkier, but we are back to Inglorious and Mark Avery again

Report
Deleted bagger 09 Feb 2020
In reply to Clint86:

Just tried to drive down the Calder Valley to meet a friend. Turned back because of flooding. All flood defences do to is move the problem downstream, faster.

Report
L mondite 09 Feb 2020
In reply to ali_colquhoun:

> Agree grouse moors too but that's a different problem as they are self - funding. Profitable even.

Grouse moors are just as heavily subsidised. I dont think there are any good studies about their profitability.

Report
toad 09 Feb 2020
In reply to DancingOnRock:

An advert popped up on FB recently by the pig marketing board (or whatever they are) extolling pork medallions as an alternative to chicken breast for every day eating. Really ground my gears as (a) that's really wasteful and (b) cheap pork medallions are tasteless pap, just like cheap chicken. 

It all boils back down to eating less and buying better quality when you do

Report
ali_colquhoun 09 Feb 2020
In reply to mondite:

Thanks I imagine they get a grant for some sort of made up ecological benefits they provide. I expect they are quite profitable or people wouldn't do it but I may be wrong. It is another case of powerful lobby groups getting their way. 

Report
L mondite 09 Feb 2020
In reply to ali_colquhoun:

> Thanks I imagine they get a grant for some sort of made up ecological benefits they provide. I expect they are quite profitable or people wouldn't do it but I may be wrong.

They recieve grants since the general criteria for subsidies has been written in a way which covers them just as much as hill farmers.

As for profitability. I wouldnt be so sure especially without the taxpayers contribution. Whilst some may do it purely as a business venture I think others do more for social reasons.


 

Report
Timmd 09 Feb 2020
In reply to Deleted bagger:

> Just tried to drive down the Calder Valley to meet a friend. Turned back because of flooding. All flood defences do to is move the problem downstream, faster.

It depends upon the nature of the measures taken, changes to the landscape can be made to increase how effectively the rain water is absorbed, and reduce how much the water flow peaks, and the speed at which it goes further downstream.

Report
ian caton 09 Feb 2020
In reply to echo34:

Mmmm but they probably wouldn't. There have been hill sheep farmers for a few hundred years. They would just be very poor. Or have jobs on the side. 

Report
ian caton 09 Feb 2020
In reply to charliesdad:

What is your evidence for higher stocking rates now than say 50 years ago?

Report
ian caton 09 Feb 2020
In reply to girlymonkey:

Er but if you reduce the intensity of farming you need to increase the area of land farmed to maintain the same level of production. 

Better to farm good land really intensively and rewild the rest. 

Report
Dax H 09 Feb 2020
In reply to Timmd:

> It depends upon the nature of the measures taken,

I think what he means is the current method of building higher walls along rivers that flood. 

Report
Moley 09 Feb 2020
In reply to ali_colquhoun:

I think it is a complex situation, we are looking at changing a landscape that has been formed over maybe 800 years by sheep farming (I'm looking at Wales and uncultivated moorland) along with all the flora, fauna etc. that have adapted to that environment.

What do people want? It is easy for us to say one thing and forget about the rest of the population that love the countryside as it is, walking Snowdonia, the Beacons, Pumlumon and enjoying the views. Any major changes have to be sold to the general public plus the land owners (farmers predominantly). Chucking about the term "rewilding" as though it is an instant panacea is not the answer. Look at how the £3.4 million  Summit2Sea scheme floundered this autumn, even Rewilding Britain have stepped away from it after pressure. Hopefully it will overcome this blip, but it underlines that selling change to locals should come before bullying change through.

Sheep density is falling on the uplands, should be 11/2 per hectare max, not that intensive. My personal beef was always the  draining, fencing and cultivation of the moorland - better machinery leading to more fields and high densities there.

Interesting article here, a viewpoint from North Wales that goes towards addressing some of the potential problems. 

https://www.dailypost.co.uk/news/local-news/welsh-uplands-danger-being-undergrazed-10701961

Report
girlymonkey 09 Feb 2020
In reply to DancingOnRock:

But even at that, we produce more for export than we consume. 

I agree though, we should be using the whole animal. I give my dog lambs hearts as treats and I was thinking recently that maybe I should also eat them. I haven't been brave enough to try yet! Lol

Report
girlymonkey 09 Feb 2020
In reply to ian caton:

Or reduce the number of beasts raised? We don't need as many as we produce to feed ourselves. And people should probably even eat a bit less.

We should go small scale and charge a suitable price for it

Report
Michael Hood 09 Feb 2020
In reply to ali_colquhoun:

> Seems like most people here agree, I think that the lobbying which will be carried out by the farming lobby will be much more powerful than that done by the re-wilding lobby though.

Basically, the farming lobby need to be financially encouraged to re-wild. They're never going to agree to it if it means loosing money.

Report
DancingOnRock 09 Feb 2020
In reply to girlymonkey:

If you reduce the number of animals you produce, you reduce the amount of money you make unless you increase the price. 

Report
girlymonkey 09 Feb 2020
In reply to DancingOnRock:

Which is what I am suggesting. Pay more for less meat which is better quality and better environmentally. Meat shouldn't be cheap

Report
Eric9Points 09 Feb 2020
In reply to pasbury:

> I find it worrying that my local river the Wye, is rich red after rain, it's full of soil, of land being washed into the sea. Nothing to do with sheep, just intensively farmed arable land.

Isn't that just the way it is? Before the Colorado River was dammed it was described as being "too thick to drink and too thick to plough", the Missouri is still like that. Certainly all rivers in Britain are red/brown when in spate.

Report
Eric9Points 09 Feb 2020
In reply to girlymonkey:

> But even at that, we produce more for export than we consume. 

> I agree though, we should be using the whole animal. 

Do you know what goes into a haggis?

Report
Eric9Points 09 Feb 2020
In reply to ali_colquhoun:

> Given 80% of the income to upland sheep farmers (in Wales) comes in the way of subsidy 

The link you give states that 80% of all farming income comes from CAP not only upland farming. Do you have any more precise figures?

Certainly didn't think that throwing hill farmers off the land might be a benefit of Brexit but I never cease to be surprised. How would you handle the loss of employment in these areas and what would you replace the farms with?  You may be right that an 800 year old practice is not good for the environment but I always wonder what a realistic alternative might be?

Report
bouldery bits 09 Feb 2020
In reply to ali_colquhoun:

I would be sad to no longer bump in to woolies when out on the Moors or in the Fells. 

'Change!' is the rallying cry, but, is it possible the alternative will be worse? 

Report
Mike Peacock 09 Feb 2020
In reply to Eric9Points:

> Isn't that just the way it is? Before the Colorado River was dammed it was described as being "too thick to drink and too thick to plough", the Missouri is still like that. Certainly all rivers in Britain are red/brown when in spate.


They shouldn't be completely full of red/brown soil. This comes about when heavy rain falls on mismanaged land, e.g. ploughing should be along contours to minimise erosion downslope. Some more info here:
https://blogs.wwf.org.uk/blog/habitats/rivers-freshwater/save-our-soils-to-rescue-our-rivers/

Report
girlymonkey 09 Feb 2020
In reply to Eric9Points:

> Do you know what goes into a haggis?

Yes, and I like it. However, I avoid processed food as much as possible and processed meat more so. As such, I rarely eat haggis and the ofal doesn't taste the same on its own!

Post edited at 16:44
Report
Timmd 09 Feb 2020
In reply to Dax H:

> I think what he means is the current method of building higher walls along rivers that flood. 

Very possibly. 

Report
wercat 09 Feb 2020
In reply to DancingOnRock:

scrapie on toast

Report
wintertree 09 Feb 2020
In reply to DancingOnRock:

> Basically British people have become very fussy. Not sure how many eat sheep brains 

Nobody who has heard the word “prion”, for starters...

Report
Moley 09 Feb 2020
In reply to bouldery bits:

> 'Change!' is the rallying cry, but, is it possible the alternative will be worse? 

I think that is very probable, depending on opinion of "worse" in these areas. If change is enforced quickly I can see landowners (farmers, who are mostly getting older) selling off to commercial forestry and wind farms and taking the instant cash. Then accept all the  associated infrastructure that go with those developments, but trees and clean power are what we want, from somewhere?

Another thought provoking blog from the same guy as my link above, there will be sacrifices, but who will be the sacrificial lambs?

https://dispatchesfromtheundergrowth.com/2019/05/31/time-to-panic/

Report
ali_colquhoun 09 Feb 2020
In reply to Moley:

Thanks Moley, good points I will read the article. 

Report
ali_colquhoun 09 Feb 2020
In reply to Eric9Points:

No sorry I don't have more precise figures, I will have a look. I'm pretty sure the practice is unsustainable without grants. I agree it is a very tricky problem, if it was made uneconomical to carry out upland sheep farming then it would stop very quickly. I think the farms would disappear and the hills would start to be covered in heather and stunted trees as I really can't think of another viable use for them. Which I think would be a better environment with less water run off and more habitat for wildlife.  

I don't suppose you can replace the unemployment, there would be a great deal of upset people.  

Report
DancingOnRock 09 Feb 2020
In reply to wintertree:

Quite. Fussy people the British so we have to export offal. 

Report
wintertree 09 Feb 2020
In reply to DancingOnRock:

> Quite. Fussy people the British so we have to export offal. 

I wouldn’t call avoiding prion diseases “fussy” any more than I’d call not drinking lowland river water “fussy”.

Report
DancingOnRock 09 Feb 2020
In reply to wintertree:

It’s not transmissible to humans. And as above, how much haggis is consumed in Britain compared to lamb cutlets, ribs and leg steaks?

Report
wintertree 09 Feb 2020
In reply to DancingOnRock:

> It’s not transmissible to humans

Its not been documented as having been transmitted.  Not the same thing.  It’s close enough to other prion diseases that you’d be mad to dust off Florence B Jack and cook her “Brains on Toast”.  Nothing to do with fussiness.  

Report
charliesdad 09 Feb 2020
In reply to Max factor:

If we are serious about stopping global warming, we need to stop eating meat. Beef and Sheep are inherently high-carbon, because they produce so much methane. (Not my science- simply repeating the words of Tim Berners Lee’s recent book). So you may be correct that Upland sheep farming is less carbon intensive than other methods of raising sheep...but in carbon terms it’s still unaffordable.

I know this isn’t a popular message.

I’d accept that there are competing views on the health impacts of saturated fats, but I haven’t heard anyone, (except perhaps the Meat marketing board!), argue that they are good for you, and most advice would be to cut down wherever possible. 

Report
charliesdad 09 Feb 2020
In reply to ian caton:

I haven’t argued that stocking rates are higher. I’m simply stating that we need to stop eating sheep if we want to stop climate change. Which means the sheep need to go. All of them. 

Report
summo 09 Feb 2020
In reply to ali_colquhoun:

>  if it was made uneconomical to carry out upland sheep farming then it would stop very quickly. I think the farms would disappear and the hills would start to be covered in heather and stunted trees as I really can't think of another viable use for them.

Trees will grow comfortably up to 500-600m at a height and diameter that will provide both employment and income long term. Then gradually more dwarfed or stunted right up to 900-1000m. Beyond which the very short growing season, near zeeo soils for solid roots, minimal nutrients, higher winds etc pretty much prevent any tree cover. This is the case in Norway and sweden.

The challenge is the initial transition, the first 30 years or so before any thinning. It doesn't have to be the kind of clear fell forestry practiced by the likes of Tilhill next to the m74. You can plant half a dozen different species and selective harvest, so in the long run you have mixed species, mixed age commercially viable forest. 

Flood protection will be pretty rapid, as soon as grasses aren't grazed, drainage ditches will start to grow over, flow slowed and soils won't wash out. The odd small man made dam would help too. 

The bonus also being it's also a carbon trap, especially if you build with the wood. 

Post edited at 19:30
Report
ali_colquhoun 09 Feb 2020
In reply to summo:

Sounds like a solution to a lot of our problems. 

Report
wintertree 09 Feb 2020
In reply to ali_colquhoun:

> stunted trees

There’s a lone tree about 500 meters above sea level on the south flank of Bolt’s Law.  It’s in no way stunted.  Locally in Weardale there are a lot of misconceptions about the tree line...  

Report
Mike Peacock 09 Feb 2020
In reply to summo:

>

> Flood protection will be pretty rapid, as soon as grasses aren't grazed, drainage ditches will start to grow over, flow slowed and soils won't wash out. The odd small man made dam would help too. 

> The bonus also being it's also a carbon trap, especially if you build with the wood. 

The situation with ditches isn't all that clear cut. Blocking ditches will reduce the flow down them which might reduce flood peaks. The flip side is that by digging ditches in the first place, the soil dries out, which leads to more water storage space within the soil. Different sites will probably respond differently to ditch blocking.

But yeah, blocking ditches should reduce the soil loss downstream.

Report
summo 09 Feb 2020
In reply to Mike Peacock:

Of course. Block every ditch isn't a blanket solution. They'll need to assessed on the ground and no doubt some that are blocked initially might need digging out later if things become too wet. But it's a start, same as creating small ponds. 

Post edited at 20:31
Report
girlymonkey 09 Feb 2020
In reply to charliesdad:

The lowest carbon option is to not exist!

If we go vegan, then in order to get a balanced diet it needs to be supplemented and you end up eating many processed foods. If I eat good quality, locally sourced, grass fed meat once a week and local eggs then I get the nutrients I need without having to buy processed foods. It's a question of balance.

My central heating probably produces more carbon than the meat I eat. 

Report
DancingOnRock 09 Feb 2020
In reply to charliesdad:

Don’t just repeat something you read in a book. That’s how misinformation propagates around the world. 

Report
Eric9Points 09 Feb 2020
In reply to ali_colquhoun:

> I don't suppose you can replace the unemployment, there would be a great deal of upset people.  

That's what I'm thinking too. In Scotland it would be called the second clearances, no doubt accompanied by mournful traditional flute music etc etc... but let's face it, it's not going to happen.

Much as I hate to say it Gove has been quite enlightened re the environment and so there may be some sort of progressive solution where land use is modified to some degree but people living in the hills will still be expected to make some sort of income.

Report
Max factor 09 Feb 2020
In reply to charliesdad:

> If we are serious about stopping global warming, we need to stop eating meat. Beef and Sheep are inherently high-carbon, because they produce so much methane. (Not my science- simply repeating the words of Tim Berners Lee’s recent book). So you may be correct that Upland sheep farming is less carbon intensive than other methods of raising sheep...but in carbon terms it’s still unaffordable.

> I know this isn’t a popular message.

I've read his book, and others besides. You and I might care, but the vast majority of the world's population don't. 

Agriculture, and specifically meat and dairy production, are increasing and intensifying massively in the developing world. It's too simplistic to say we can't eat meat. Can we reasonably expect them not to have what we have? Equally, the world can't sustain 10bn people living western lifestyles. 

Totally agree things need to change, but find it hard to be optimistic that it will ☹

Report
Mike Peacock 09 Feb 2020
In reply to summo:

> Of course. Block every ditch isn't a blanket solution. They'll need to assessed on the ground and no doubt some that are blocked initially might need digging out later if things become too wet. But it's a start, same as creating small ponds. 


Actually, I think that blocking every ditch might be the way to go. Not because it will automatically reduce flooding, carbon loss, etc, but because we trashed the landscapes and now we need to put them right. There's various evidence now that rewetting the uplands will provide other, less obvious benefits, like better habitats for crane flies and therefore the birds that eat them.

I don't worry that "too wet" is a thing in the uplands. Bog pools and surface water should be a part of these ecosystems.

Report
summo 09 Feb 2020
In reply to Mike Peacock:

> Actually, I think that blocking every ditch might be the way to go. Not because it will automatically reduce flooding, carbon loss, etc, but because we trashed the landscapes and now we need to put them right. There's various evidence now that rewetting the uplands will provide other, less obvious benefits, like better habitats for crane flies and therefore the birds that eat them.

> I don't worry that "too wet" is a thing in the uplands. Bog pools and surface water should be a part of these ecosystems.

Yeah, but you'll want some drainage in certain places to enable reasonable access to extract wood without completely wrecking the ground, as in UK winters you can't guarantee the ground will freeze solid. Just needs planning with access tracks going up spurs, a long ridges etc. so they require the least amount of man made intervention. The gullies, hollows, re-entrants etc.. can be left to nature. 

Report
wintertree 09 Feb 2020
In reply to Mike Peacock:

> I don't worry that "too wet" is a thing in the uplands. Bog pools and surface water should be a part of these ecosystems.

I can only think of two bog woodlands near us but they’re thriving places.  By gods though it must have been hellish back in the prehistoric times, I wouldn’t want to cross one with all the waterproofs in the world.  

Report
Mike Peacock 09 Feb 2020
In reply to summo:

Yes, good point. I'm not sure if anyone is currently practising, or even considering, the type of mixed forestry you talk about, but it would certainly offer the possibility of commerical viability and a more interesting upland landscape.

Report
Mike Peacock 09 Feb 2020
In reply to wintertree:

> I can only think of two bog woodlands near us but they’re thriving places.  By gods though it must have been hellish back in the prehistoric times, I wouldn’t want to cross one with all the waterproofs in the world.  

Lowlands presumably? The only one I know well is Flitwick Moor near Bedford. An amazing swampy place, but venturing off the path is a nightmare.

Report
wintertree 09 Feb 2020
In reply to Mike Peacock:

> Lowlands presumably? The only one I know well is Flitwick Moor near Bedford. An amazing swampy place, but venturing off the path is a nightmare.

Sorry I thought I’d qualified that but I hadn’t.  Both lowlands; one is in the council managed estate of Hardwick Park and another is a scrappy corner of a nature reserve near Belmont, Durham.  Now I put my mind to I know another little one at 200 meters altitude but none higher.

Report
charliesdad 09 Feb 2020
In reply to DancingOnRock:

If you have better data, please share, but dismissing information because it’s in a book, and therefore “misinformation” is frankly weird. 

Report
Deleted bagger 09 Feb 2020
In reply to Timmd:

> It depends upon the nature of the measures taken, changes to the landscape can be made to increase how effectively the rain water is absorbed, and reduce how much the water flow peaks, and the speed at which it goes further downstream.

I've very little faith in these measures. As far as the Calder Valley is concern they're going to have to build something akin to the Mersey Tunnel to take away the volume of water there today. There is a history of flooding and then defence measures which only moved the problem on. On this occasion existing defences and new ones failed. 

Report
Timmd 09 Feb 2020
In reply to Deleted bagger:

Purely out of interest, has the landscape stayed the same while different flood defences have been tried?

Away from the polarised discussions on the internet, I don't suppose it has to be a case of either one approach or the other, regarding landscape changes and built measures..

Report
summo 10 Feb 2020
In reply to Mike Peacock:

> Yes, good point. I'm not sure if anyone is currently practising, or even considering, the type of mixed forestry you talk about, but it would certainly offer the possibility of commerical viability and a more interesting upland landscape.

In sweden its becoming more of a considered route to go, hyggesfritt or logging free, which isn't quite the right description as it's more clear fell free. 

I was doing stuff the Swedish equivalent of the forestry commission and the national research centre on a course related to it in December. Apart from the benefits to nature, it is also considered the only sensible direction to go to reduce wind damage, disease and pest problems caused by climate change, plus lowers fire risks.

It will take many decades to catch on, as it does require a little more time planning & surveying or walking the ground. They are battling the only school mentality. 

Report
toad 10 Feb 2020
In reply to summo:

I thought "continuous cover " was becoming more widespread in FC (and national equivalent) forests.

Report
summo 10 Feb 2020
In reply to toad:

> I thought "continuous cover " was becoming more widespread in FC (and national equivalent) forests.

Perhaps I am wrong. I just haven't seen much other than block clearance and near single species planting. The lead in time is obviously great, some of the single age near single species areas I am developing I won't likely see much benefit from in my lifetime. It really does require a different mindset. A one individual owners and profit led companies are less likely to take.  

Report
jkarran 10 Feb 2020
In reply to ali_colquhoun:

> Given 80% of the income to upland sheep farmers (in Wales) comes in the way of subsidy from CAP, what do you think we should do once this money won't come from the EU? Yes it will probably be replaced by the government, but should it?  I like sheep and farmers but is it time to give it up and let the uplands re-wild? 

It won't be replaced by this government, not in anything like full. Nor will they be funding re-wilding schemes. I'd bet the better land gets snapped up by big agri businesses able to sustain losses while they buy a government to re-shape the business environment. The more marginal land will turn to gorse as the farms fail without heirs or buyers to be found.

I went to a lecture by Natalie Bennet a few years back, the Greens, then at least, seemed to hold out hope that the brexit revolution farmers have brought down on themselves will result in the land transferring to energetic new co-ops with green ideas at their heart. I'm not so optimistic. Look where the money and power is today, they will be the winners of brexit, not the land, not the rural or coastal communities.

jk

Post edited at 09:24
Report
summo 10 Feb 2020
In reply to jkarran:

Whilst there is much to disagree with on some of Gove's other ideas, he is a bit of a closet green and has always proposed money after farmers have carried environmental measures, rather than the current on promise of or purely for land ownership. 

https://www.euractiv.com/section/agriculture-food/news/new-uk-agriculture-bill-to-move-away-from-inefficient-and-overly-bureaucratic-cap-system/

Whilst I don't doubt the greens sentiment and some of their ideas, if they led government policy the economy would be wrecked before the farmers even received their first payment. 

Report
jkarran 10 Feb 2020
In reply to summo:

I will judge this government and your brexit on its actions and consequences. Looking forward to being wrong.

jk

Report
summo 10 Feb 2020
In reply to jkarran:

> I will judge this government and your brexit on its actions and consequences. Looking forward to being wrong.

> jk

Of course. We've had several decades of the eu rewarding land ownership, set aside, wine lakes, butter mountains, horse meat scandal and no antibiotic control; so it can't be any worse. Only different. 

Report
summo 10 Feb 2020
In reply to jkarran:

Don't you think the fact that the leader of the greens thought farming would become nice little co-ops shows how far off the mark their policies are?

Report
Dave Garnett 10 Feb 2020
In reply to jkarran:

> I'd bet the better land gets snapped up by big agri businesses able to sustain losses while they buy a government to re-shape the business environment.

If we're talking about upland land that struggles even to support subsistence level sheep farming with a subsidy, just can't see what return they'd be expecting, other than biomass on the more sheltered bits.  And a few thousand acres of willow would be a better outcome than what we have now in many areas.

> The more marginal land will turn to gorse as the farms fail without heirs or buyers to be found.

So not all bad then.

Report
summo 10 Feb 2020
In reply to Dave Garnett:

> If we're talking about upland land that struggles even to support subsistence level sheep farming with a subsidy, just can't see what return they'd be expecting, other than biomass on the more sheltered bits.  And a few thousand acres of willow would be a better outcome than what we have now in many areas.

https://www.eea.europa.eu/soer/countries/no/land-use-state-and-impacts-norway/forest-cover-in-norway/view

Norway; Windier, wetter, colder and on average higher.... no problem growing trees there. 

Report
jkarran 10 Feb 2020
In reply to summo:

> Don't you think the fact that the leader of the greens thought farming would become nice little co-ops shows how far off the mark their policies are?

I don't think it reflects either way on their policies. Which ones specifically are you alluding to? I think it shows when faced with a number possible futures she leans to the optimistic vision, kind of necessary in a politician don't you think. You well know I don't.

jk

Report
jkarran 10 Feb 2020
In reply to Dave Garnett:

> If we're talking about upland land that struggles even to support subsistence level sheep farming with a subsidy, just can't see what return they'd be expecting, other than biomass on the more sheltered bits.  And a few thousand acres of willow would be a better outcome than what we have now in many areas.

I agree, it'll be mainly softwood and turbines for the upland bits but brexit looks set to bankrupt farms on better land too if we keep denying them the workforce they need and refuse to see our taxes pay their subsidies.

> So not all bad then.

A matter of perspective really.

jk

Report
summo 10 Feb 2020
In reply to jkarran:

> refuse to see our taxes pay their subsidies.

Or just cut the taxman out and pay the real cost of food production in the shops? 

Post edited at 10:22
Report
mick taylor 10 Feb 2020
In reply to girlymonkey:

> If we go vegan, then in order to get a balanced diet it needs to be supplemented and you end up eating many processed foods. 

Serious question:  could you give examples of processed foods required?  My daughter is a coeliac vegan and is fitter than a butchers dog with very little processed food.  I am keen to understand more, and do worry about her diet sometimes.

Report
girlymonkey 10 Feb 2020
In reply to mick taylor:

In order to get your vit B12, vit D, calcium etc you need fortified foods, which are obviously processed. 

https://www.vegansociety.com/resources/lifestyle/shopping/vegan-meal-plan

This page gives examples of some supplementation etc needed.

Many of the protein, iron and other nutrients are harder for our bodies to absorb from plant sources than from animal sources, so they need to be eaten in much higher quantities than they do in a diet containing meat and dairy.

This article outlines the levels of various vitamins and minerals in vegan people's bodies vs non-vegan and vegans generally have lower levels of various essential nutrients. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/7-supplements-for-vegans#3

In the short term, while people are young, it's probably fine. But just like young people eating too much saturated fat/ sugar/ not enough veg and fibre and any other bad diet choices, it is more likely to catch up with people in older age. 

I suspect vegans tend to be a lot healthier than most non-vegans in terms of gut health etc due to high fibre and veg content, and who knows if long term the benefit of that outweighs the downsides of lack of other nutrients. I figure that eating a lot of plant based meals with a little meat and dairy thrown in, but as far as possible all cooked from scratch from real ingredients locally sourced should leave me in a pretty good place, hopefully. 

Report
summo 10 Feb 2020
In reply to girlymonkey:

Marmite, the food of champions is also great for vegan/veggies, but as you say it's also technically processed. 

Report
girlymonkey 10 Feb 2020
In reply to summo:

And it's rank!!

But yes, highly processed and is it not very high salt content too? So probably ok in small amounts, but if you are eating enough for the other nutrients to be sufficient, presumably you get too much salt? (I don't like salty things at all, don't even add salt to veg or pasta, so maybe I am overly sensitive to how salty it is. I haven't actually got the data to hand for it)

Report
summo 10 Feb 2020
In reply to girlymonkey:

Yeah i think it's proportionally high in salt. 

Report
DancingOnRock 10 Feb 2020
In reply to charliesdad:

> If you have better data, please share, but dismissing information because it’s in a book, and therefore “misinformation” is frankly weird. 

That’s not actually what I wrote. 
 

It’s very difficult/impossible to run controlled tests on the effects of different fats. There are many studies. 
 

People who write books do it to make money and often to promote their own agenda. Simply quoting from a single book, isn’t a great scientific method of research. Basing a whole philosophy on a book you read and then promoting it to people isn’t scientifically robust and highly likely to be biased. 

Report
Mike Peacock 10 Feb 2020
In reply to girlymonkey:

> In order to get your vit B12, vit D, calcium etc you need fortified foods, which are obviously processed. 

I think the "highly processed" label is a weird thing to get hung up about. This is a long but good read to explain what I mean:

https://www.getthegloss.com/article/the-angry-chef-convenience-foods-are-not-the-enemy-of-healthy-eating

Report
Mike Peacock 10 Feb 2020
In reply to summo:

> In sweden its becoming more of a considered route to go, hyggesfritt or logging free, which isn't quite the right description as it's more clear fell free. 

> I was doing stuff the Swedish equivalent of the forestry commission and the national research centre on a course related to it in December. Apart from the benefits to nature, it is also considered the only sensible direction to go to reduce wind damage, disease and pest problems caused by climate change, plus lowers fire risks.

> It will take many decades to catch on, as it does require a little more time planning & surveying or walking the ground. They are battling the only school mentality. 

Interesting stuff, thanks. I've had a little to do with Skogforsk but forestry isn't really my thing, so this is all pretty new to me.

Report
girlymonkey 10 Feb 2020
In reply to Mike Peacock:

It is a long read, I skimmed some of it and agree that tinned and dried goods etc are processed too. I am not fanatical about the subject, and will use some tinned goods etc, but still not loads. A large proportion of my diet is local veg which comes with the mud still attached!

The more ingredients in a product, the higher chance that people/ animals/ ground etc has been abused in the making of that product. If I buy whole ingredients, I can choose what matters to me and choose my ingredients accordingly. If I buy something comprising of 10 ingredients, half of which I don't even know what they are, how can I make informed choices?

Report
DancingOnRock 10 Feb 2020
In reply to girlymonkey:

As far as B12 in white bread goes, it’s the milling process that destroys it. Not too bad when you’re grinding it by hand but when you use machines to grind the flour to a fine dust it gets taken out. 
 

There was a lot of controversy over ‘fortified bread’ which in essence is just putting the B12 back into something you took it out of. 
 

All seems a bit counterproductive to be. Just eat wholemeal. 

Report
girlymonkey 10 Feb 2020
In reply to DancingOnRock:

Indeed. I make my own wholemeal bread. It's cheaper and nicer and I know what is in it.

Report
mick taylor 10 Feb 2020
In reply to girlymonkey:

Thanks for this.  I wished she'd ditch pure vegan for reasons you outline.  Even most gluten free bread is not vegan, really difficult to sustain this kind of diet.

Report
girlymonkey 10 Feb 2020
In reply to mick taylor:

Maybe if you show her some of the links it might give her something to think about. Keeping meat and dairy intake low will still help the environment loads without compromising health in the same way.

Report
jkarran 10 Feb 2020
In reply to DancingOnRock:

> As far as B12 in white bread goes, it’s the milling process that destroys it. Not too bad when you’re grinding it by hand but when you use machines to grind the flour to a fine dust it gets taken out. 

Are you sure? Most commercial flour has the nutritious wheatgerm deliberately removed to reduce the oil content so it keeps longer. Most 'wholegrain' then has the bran added back at the end of a white flour production process.

> All seems a bit counterproductive to be. Just eat wholemeal. 

'Stoneground' is generally the one to look for if you want whole-grain flour.

jk

Report
DancingOnRock 10 Feb 2020
In reply to jkarran:

Yes. That’s my point (and I suspect girlymonkey’s too). The minerals are removed by the process (as you say deliberately). You’re then, ironically, putting yourself more at risk of CVD if you’re not eating red meat as well. 

Post edited at 13:27
Report
Roadrunner6 10 Feb 2020
In reply to ali_colquhoun:

We've got to let more of the land become forested. We are seeing all this flooding and it's such a simple part of the answer. It won't fully stop it but it will help.And the trees will help remove CO2. It just seems so obvious.

There's just so little benefit from paying millions for an artificial environment.

Report
Moley 10 Feb 2020
In reply to summo:

> Perhaps I am wrong. I just haven't seen much other than block clearance and near single species planting. The lead in time is obviously great, some of the single age near single species areas I am developing I won't likely see much benefit from in my lifetime. It really does require a different mindset. A one individual owners and profit led companies are less likely to take.  

Interestingly, a friend who is a forestry manager and ecologist by trade - he is the leading driver in our red squirrel conservation and sea2summit scheme - manages a large block of the Towy forest (for clients) by thinning mature trees and natural regeneration, never clear fell coupes. This was mainly done for red squirrel conservation and I was sceptical as to whether it would be profitable compared to normal practice. Benefit being a more regular steady annual income and no replanting costs. Plus environmental benefits.

I have talked to him and many contractors there who swear by it, I spend time in that forestry (riding, running, walking) and have to say it is a massive improvement from the traditional methods.

But he is the only person in this area that I know of doing this, so I agree it is not common.

Report
jkarran 10 Feb 2020
In reply to DancingOnRock:

> Yes. That’s my point (and I suspect girlymonkey’s too). The minerals are removed by the process (as you say deliberately). You’re then, ironically, putting yourself more at risk of CVD if you’re not eating red meat as well. 

My issue was simply with the idea it's fine grinding that causes the nutrient loss, it isn't it's a deliberate process step included to increase shelf life by removing oils which decompose readily.

jk

Report
big 10 Feb 2020
In reply to ali_colquhoun:

Talking about just repeating what you've read in a book, I'd recommend reading "Wilding" by Isabelle Tree... It's full of all sorts of insights about what happens when you "wild" and area and allow it to be grazed by a variety of animals such as longhorn cattle and pigs such as the Tamworth.

The soil-as-carbon-sink section is particularly interesting!

Report
summo 10 Feb 2020
In reply to Moley:

I think the harder sell to those who were forest schooled in the 60 and 70s era, the grow them high fast tight era is that you don't make more money, you minimise your losses. 

A more diverse wood will always have more natural predators of things like bark boring bettles, wind blown is minimised(never stopped completely) etc. 

The really old school guys who are now 70 and 80 years plus old love It, it was they say as it was like int olde days, using horses, you'd pick the best trees and just weave the horse around the ones you wanted to leave for another decade. Old skills died hard. 

Post edited at 15:14
Report
oldie 10 Feb 2020
In reply to girlymonkey:

> The lowest carbon option is to not exist! <

Probably I'm being simplistic but this seems such an obvious step. The easiest (humane) way to achieve it is to Reduce population by deciding that we should not have many kids......each kid avoided is a lifetime of pollution and CO2 saved. And is this an actively promoted policy by major groups, including Green Party and Extinction Rebellion? .....not as far as I can see (in fact major religious groups oppose it). They must be frightened that this would actually turn people against them.

Post edited at 15:34
Report
timjones 10 Feb 2020
In reply to toad:

How do you work out that pork medalluions are "really wasteful"?

If you think a product is tasteless pap it's not hard to avoid buying it.

Report
timjones 10 Feb 2020
In reply to girlymonkey:

> I agree to an extent. However, we produce so much more than we consume, then export almost all of it and import much of what we use from NZ. I feel we need to encourage just breeding what we use and charging more for it so that it is still viable for farmers to continue this method.

Year in, year out, we produce pretty much the same volume that we consume. Imports and exports help balance seasonal fluctuations in supply and demand, assist with carcase balance and exports provide much needed competition in a marketplace that would otherwise be dominated by a mere handful of processors and retailers.

Report
DancingOnRock 10 Feb 2020
In reply to oldie:

It doesn’t work. You get an ageing population which causes massive issues with production. Who makes things if everyone is retired? Who pays for the retired people? 
 

The population will stop growing very soon and then contract naturally. Already in the Uk and most European Countries the birth rate is less than 1.7 which is below replacement rate which means it would be contracting if it wasn’t for immigration. The more advanced a nation is, the lower its birth rate. For a number of reasons, mostly in the developed world we have low childhood mortality so there’s no need for more than 1 or 2 children per couple. They’re also very expensive to raise. Compared with non developed nations where lots of children die before they reach adulthood and in the meantime they can work on the farm producing food for the family. 

Post edited at 15:55
Report
summo 10 Feb 2020
In reply to oldie:

> Probably I'm being simplistic but this seems such an obvious step. The easiest (humane) way to achieve it is to Reduce population by deciding that we should not have many kids

Coronavirus?

With the current ridiculous attempts at containment and no desire it would appear to pause flights from Asia.   If the vaccine doesn't come soon there will be an estimated 2% population reduction. 

Not quite what's need, but heading in the right direction. 

Report
DancingOnRock 10 Feb 2020
In reply to summo:

2% is 140m people. Although not ideal as it seems to not affect young children as thought and people in middle age are quite susceptible to it. That’ll cause all sorts of issues with the demographic.

Post edited at 15:57
Report
Max factor 10 Feb 2020
In reply to summo:

> Coronavirus?

If the vaccine doesn't come soon there will be an estimated 2% population reduction. 

Wrong on many levels, but to pick one, who is saying that? Current mortality might be around 2% but that doesn't equate to a 2% population reduction does it?

Post edited at 16:01
Report
summo 10 Feb 2020
In reply to DancingOnRock:

> 2% is 140m people. Although not ideal as it seems to not affect young children as thought and people in middle age are quite susceptible to it. That’ll cause all sorts of issues with the demographic.

I don't think we have choice, by the time Europe eventually locks down it will be rife. I think they are pinning their hopes on a vaccine, because any further containment would kill growth and trigger recession, a calculated government risk, save the economy versus lose a few citizens. 

Plus, we just can't always rely on the vision of having enough youngsters to look after everyone; fund pensions and so on. A move back towards 3 or 4 generation households etc would solve many problems, but that would also require a different view on the current standard design new built house. 

Report
summo 10 Feb 2020
In reply to Max factor:

> If the vaccine doesn't come soon there will be an estimated 2% population reduction. 

> Wrong on many levels, but to pick one, who is saying that? Current mortality might be around 2% but that doesn't equate to a 2% population reduction does it?

2% of those who catch it. With globally travel etc. How many communities won't be impacted? 

Report
DancingOnRock 10 Feb 2020
In reply to summo:

It’s not about funding pensions. It’s about having enough productive workforce to look after the aged. Many of them will need nursing and care, they’ll all need food etc. Someone has to provide it. Say you have a family of people. 2 children, 2 parents and 2 grandparents. Those 2 parents have to provide for 6 people. That’s fine and workable until the 2 children become grandparents age but haven’t had children...

Report
L mondite 10 Feb 2020
In reply to summo:

> Coronavirus?

> With the current ridiculous attempts at containment and no desire it would appear to pause flights from Asia.   If the vaccine doesn't come soon there will be an estimated 2% population reduction. 

You seem to be assuming a 100% infection rate. Plus its not clear how accurate that 2% estimate is (leaving aside quality of healthcare). Its been suggested that the actual infection rates are actually a lot higher with only the more serious cases being registered.

Report
summo 10 Feb 2020
In reply to DancingOnRock:

Maybe we have to design society, family life, wotk life, social care etc much better, so we aren't relying on growth so much. The earth doesn't have the natural resource for it and we haven't got any colonies in space yet. 

Report
summo 10 Feb 2020
In reply to mondite:

Let's hope I am wrong. 

Do you really think the Chinese will be over or under estimating how serious it is? 

Report
oldie 10 Feb 2020
In reply to DancingOnRock:

> It doesn’t work. You get an ageing population which causes massive issues with production. Who makes things if everyone is retired? Who pays for the retired people? 

Surely that is not a good argument for saying it does not work for reducing and pollution carbon footprint (and thus slowing climate change)? It is quite true that it will cause other problems, but other suggested climate change solutions probably do so too.

> The population will stop growing very soon and then contract naturally. Already in the Uk and most European Countries the birth rate is less than 1.7 which is below replacement rate which means it would be contracting if it wasn’t for immigration. The more advanced a nation is, the lower its birth rate. For a number of reasons, mostly in the developed world we have low childhood mortality so there’s no need for more than 1 or 2 children per couple. They’re also very expensive to raise. Compared with non developed nations where lots of children die before they reach adulthood and in the meantime they can work on the farm producing food for the family. <

If population growth will slow naturally that is good (it will still cause the same problems you mention above but to a lesser extent). However environmental groups are saying we need rapid changes and further population reduction would score by reducing the need for the production of all the greenhouse gases ie would advance all their proposed solutions.

From my simplistic viewpoint climate change is related to size of population of humans; surely less humans = less climate change.

Post edited at 16:32
Report
DancingOnRock 10 Feb 2020
In reply to summo:

Once population stops growing then there’s no need for production of anything to grow. 

Report
DancingOnRock 10 Feb 2020
In reply to oldie:

If you want to have zero emissions by 2035 and you’re going to do that by population reduction rather than other methods then that can only mean one thing. 

Report
oldie 10 Feb 2020
In reply to DancingOnRock:

> If you want to have zero emissions by 2035 and you’re going to do that by population reduction rather than other methods then that can only mean one thing. <

I haven't mentioned achieving zero emissions, 2035 date, or using population reduction as the ONLY method. I've implied that it should amplify the effect of other methods. Having smaller families was the means I proposed.

Post edited at 17:12
Report
girlymonkey 10 Feb 2020
In reply to oldie:

Indeed. I am happily childless. I do have a dog, which will be contributing a little, but less than a child and he was rescued so no increase in demand for breeding. 

Report
Tom V 10 Feb 2020
In reply to summo:

Blue top Marmite is low salt (relative term) and tastes just as good as the original

Report
Max factor 10 Feb 2020
In reply to DancingOnRock:

> Once population stops growing then there’s no need for production of anything to grow. 

But still a need to reduce consumption; so to produce more efficiently, and use less, and have fewer people (though by 2035 there will be more people, consuming on average more than we do now). 

Report
oldie 10 Feb 2020
In reply to girlymonkey:

We have one offspring. He jets off skiing several times a year, but no car and is now eating meat only once a week for sustainability.  Not "rescued" though so I don't really post from a moral highground.

Report
DancingOnRock 10 Feb 2020
In reply to oldie:

2035 is the date we have committed to. If we can get to zero for one person then that’s zero for 10,100,1000 etc. So there’s no real reason to reduce population and all the problems that would bring. 

Report
DancingOnRock 10 Feb 2020
In reply to girlymonkey:

What will happen when you are old and need care? 

Report
Timmd 10 Feb 2020
In reply to DancingOnRock:

> What will happen when you are old and need care? 

She'll be put into a home like which happens to the people with children?

(Joking, but not joking too.)

Report
oldie 10 Feb 2020
In reply to DancingOnRock:

> What will happen when you are old and need care? <

That is a problem. One which I shall probably face before many others posting here. However we cannot justify having larger families to support us in old age vs affecting the future of the planet (which will indirectly affect the ability of humanity to look after its aged population anyway).

Report
Roadrunner6 10 Feb 2020
In reply to mondite:

> You seem to be assuming a 100% infection rate. Plus its not clear how accurate that 2% estimate is (leaving aside quality of healthcare). Its been suggested that the actual infection rates are actually a lot higher with only the more serious cases being registered.

Yes that 2% is of those bad enough to seek help. It is likely to be way under that value.

We've 3000 people on a boat now with an increasing number of cases, if 60 are dead soon then we will have a better idea of how accurate the 2% is (assuming all get infected, but they are testing all). 

Report
oldie 10 Feb 2020
In reply to DancingOnRock:

> 2035 is the date we have committed to. If we can get to zero for one person then that’s zero for 10,100,1000 etc. So there’s no real reason to reduce population and all the problems that would bring. <

Well I think "committed" and "likelihood" are very different. All I am saying is that population reduction will help towards a solution by increasing the effects of other proposed methods. The other problems you mention may occur even if targets are met (which appears unlikely at present).

Report
girlymonkey 10 Feb 2020
In reply to DancingOnRock:

I guess it's going to be hard, but the rest of life will be much better so it's a trade off! I don't have to lose my health and happiness to babies so maybe I lose the last couple of years of my life instead without health and happiness. 

My generation can't afford to look after our parents anyway, so it will be no different to their old age I guess

Report
In reply to charliesdad:

Its not so much the sheep farming as the number of sheep farmed. Sheep thrive in woodland. I have a friend farms a small number of high quality sheep. He does nit have to supplement their feed through the winter and they graze happily in mixed pasture and woodland - he is carbon neutral.

Report
ali_colquhoun 10 Feb 2020
In reply to big:

Thank you I will read the book! 

Report
DancingOnRock 10 Feb 2020
In reply to oldie:

But we are not having larger families. The birth rate is falling. Every 20 years we will be giving birth to 15% less babies. That compounds so in 40 years time the 85% babies that were born then also only have 85% of the number. Over 100 years there will be 44% of the number of babies being born that there are now. That means in 70 years time when my daughter is old there’s close to 50% less young people to look after the old people. It’s going to be a serious problem. By look after, I mean do productive jobs and generate a working economy, not physically care. Although if you’re looking for a care assistant they’ll be in very short supply so you’ll be paying a high price for them. 

Report
Tom V 10 Feb 2020
In reply to oldie:

He sounds like his own man, all credit to him.

Maybe a rescue is unwanted and unwarranted.

Report
girlymonkey 10 Feb 2020
In reply to DancingOnRock:

Well it will give us plenty of space to accommodate all the people who we have displaced through climate change with our excessive consumption! We'd better learn to embrace them 😊

Report
oldie 10 Feb 2020
In reply to Tom V:

> He sounds like his own man, all credit to him. <

Quite, far better than me.

> Maybe a rescue is unwanted and unwarranted. <

"Rescued" was in reply to another post which mentioned a rescued dog, my miserable attempt at humour was to compare a rescued dog with our non-rescued (ie non-adopted) son. 

Report
summo 10 Feb 2020
In reply to Roadrunner6:

> Yes that 2% is of those bad enough to seek help. It is likely to be way under that value.

> We've 3000 people on a boat now with an increasing number of cases, if 60 are dead soon then we will have a better idea of how accurate the 2% is (assuming all get infected, but they are testing all). 

If all 3000 are exposed to the virus. Either way it could work as an accurate test, compared to relying on data from China. It doesn't account for age range and prior illnesses though. The really ill might not be cruising the world, but there will likely be some varying conditions and certainly more elderly folk. 

Report
oldie 10 Feb 2020
In reply to DancingOnRock:

> But we are not having larger families. <

In my first post I said "we should not have many kids" and when I later said "we cannot justify having larger families" l meant large as opposed to small (poorly worded on my part).

>The birth rate is falling. ...... in 70 years time when my daughter is old there’s close to 50% less young people to look after the old people. It’s going to be a serious problem. By look after, I mean do productive jobs and generate a working economy, not physically care. Although if you’re looking for a care assistant they’ll be in very short supply so you’ll be paying a high price for them. <

I think where we differ is that you say its best to have a stable population (near the present one); whereas I think we actually need it to be quite a bit lower (below the present population). Again, my simplistic reasoning is that less people means that all the changes that are required to minimize climate change will have a greater effect (less people, less requirements and possibly people over a certain age have lower carbon footprint.....controversial!). There might be major problems for many years, including care of the aged, but realistically the world will struggle to achieve the proposed targets anyway and failure will adversely affect everything, including care of the aged (too many kids now will make things worse down the line IMHO).


 

Report
DancingOnRock 10 Feb 2020
In reply to oldie:

All I’m saying is we don’t need to introduce draconian measures to control the population. It controls itself naturally. 

Report
Max factor 10 Feb 2020
In reply to DancingOnRock:

> 2035 is the date we have committed to. If we can get to zero for one person then that’s zero for 10,100,1000 etc. So there’s no real reason to reduce population and all the problems that would bring. 

Sorry, but this is pretty limited thinking. Achieving carbon neutrality will just mean the UK's carbon contribution is not increasing (and i wonder if the target includes the footprint of non-UK produced stuff we consume?), but not all countries will achieve carbon neutrality and the  world will still be affected by elevated atmospheric CO2 levels.

And never mind global warming for a second: if humanity wants to live sustainably with some space for nature then we absolutely do need to take actions to limit population increases (and consumption).

Report
oldie 10 Feb 2020
In reply to DancingOnRock:

I haven't suggested Draconian changes myself. More along the lines of people choosing not to have large families to reduce population , much as people are, hopefully, using less single use plastic, installing solar panels, reducing fuel consumption and jet travel etc (our never-to-be-born "excess" children would have no adverse effect on climate change of course).

Report
Moley 10 Feb 2020
In reply to DancingOnRock:

> All I’m saying is we don’t need to introduce draconian measures to control the population. It controls itself naturally. 

It hasn't done a great job of self control up to now, we seem to be relying solely on famine, pestilence and war to do the job for us, with limited results.

Report
girlymonkey 11 Feb 2020
In reply to Moley:

In the UK, the birth rate is falling, so self regulation is happening. More so in Scotland where I believe fertility rate is 1.5 and we have already passed the point where we now have a declining working age population Vs non-working age.

Report
mattrm 11 Feb 2020
In reply to wintertree:

Please no on the boar, they're quite a serious issue if they get loose and start breeding.  No more meddling.

Report
Moley 11 Feb 2020
In reply to girlymonkey:

I was sort of referencing world wide, as the problem is world wide, but that's irrelevant - the thread was about sheep initially.

Googling does say the UK population is still annually increasing but much slower than before, due to immigration? Let's not start on that today!

Report
Tom V 11 Feb 2020
In reply to oldie:

Sorry, I misunderstood.

Report
big 11 Feb 2020
In reply to mattrm:

> Please no on the boar, they're quite a serious issue if they get loose and start breeding.  No more meddling.


There's quite a lot already escaped! However, (from "Wilding" by Isabelle Tree again) Tamworth pigs aren't as worrying, and have a similar regenerative effect; frinstance, all the holes they produce by snuffling about are ideal breeding grounds for all sorts of insects, which attract a wider variety of birds, as well as providing ideal germination places for new and varied flora...

Report
girlymonkey 11 Feb 2020
In reply to Moley:

But the developing world is where population is growing faster, and where they also use the fewest of the earth's resources. We in the west are the biggest consumers, so therefore need to be reducing our population sooner.

This would suggest our population is dropping:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demography_of_Scotland

Report
wintertree 11 Feb 2020
In reply to mattrm:

> Please no on the boar, they're quite a serious issue if they get loose and start breeding.  No more meddling.

Keeps people on their toes I say, and gives everyone more incentive to plant and look after claimable trees...

Report
L mondite 11 Feb 2020
In reply to Moley:

> It hasn't done a great job of self control up to now, we seem to be relying solely on famine, pestilence and war to do the job for us, with limited results.


The forecasts are that the population will peak this century. Overall birthrates are starting to drop across the world. In addition there is some evidence that life expectancy is starting to drop as well.

Report
jkarran 11 Feb 2020
In reply to DancingOnRock:

> ...That means in 70 years time when my daughter is old there’s close to 50% less young people to look after the old people. It’s going to be a serious problem. By look after, I mean do productive jobs and generate a working economy, not physically care. Although if you’re looking for a care assistant they’ll be in very short supply so you’ll be paying a high price for them. 

Most, well many anyway, of the jobs we do today are basically pointless from a survival perspective, they're just moving money around, making junk that we're drowning in or providing services to facilitate that. We could live differently (as others already do), our changing demographic provides both challenge and opportunity.

jk

Post edited at 10:14
Report
jkarran 11 Feb 2020
In reply to Moley:

> It hasn't done a great job of self control up to now, we seem to be relying solely on famine, pestilence and war to do the job for us, with limited results.

Soaring populations are more a transient function of the very things which will in time come to effectively control population: reliable food and water, medicine, sanitation, economic development, education. These have yielded amazing reductions in infant mortality which will in time result in cultural changes toward smaller families and reduced (perhaps even negative as we see in the 'developed world') population growth.

jk

Report
oldie 11 Feb 2020
In reply to Tom V:

Thanks, but  its really my fault for assuming how I'm thinking comes across in a post...better wording and a smiley icon might have helped.

Report
Moley 11 Feb 2020
In reply to girlymonkey:

I was looking at the general UK trend which has been going up, but it certainly does seem to have nearly peaked and leveling out now. Which is a good thing imo.

https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/populationandmigration/populationestimates/timeseries/ukpop/pop

I hope the other posts about slowing worldwide birth rates prove correct, I can't deny that I am pessimistic about the future with continued population growth - whether we address climate change or not - but I'm another "oldie"

Report
DancingOnRock 11 Feb 2020
In reply to Max factor:

But you can’t do this by introducing radical birth control because advances in medicine mean that people are living longer each year. All that happens is the population ages. If you’re not careful when you realise after 20 years that you have not enough young people to support the older generation, you’ll also find out you have not enough women of child bearing age to correct the problem for the future...

Report
Max factor 11 Feb 2020
In reply to DancingOnRock:

 By that logic the only measure that matters is continued economic growth, and social care of the elderly is dependent on further population increases. 

There are other ways.  The world is not short of people, 1.2bn in 1920, 7.7bn now, 10bn by 2050. So migration to redress population imbalances. 

Or change society so more care is provided by families, as it always used to be. 

Or increased use of technology and robotics.  

The future does not have to resemble the present! I have seen a lot of the same limited thinking on this forum when it comes to e.g. the move to electronic vehicles. A lack of imagination and belief that the way we live lives will change.

Report
DancingOnRock 11 Feb 2020
In reply to Max factor:

Not at all. 

The suggestion was that there’s no political will to artificially limit populations. I’m simply saying; it’s not necessary (birth rates are dropping) and furthermore it’s counterproductive (an artificially accelerated ageing population is bad for everyone).

You don’t need economic growth if the population is falling. You do need to watch, however that it doesn’t fall to quickly, or even worse, collapse. 

Report

Please Register as a New User in order to reply to this topic.