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Possilbe Multi-million Pound Market For Green Farming After Brexit

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A new report published today from Green Alliance and the National Trust [1] state that farmers may benefit from a new scheme that aims to give millions of pounds towards farming methods that provide clean water, restore wildlife and reduce flooding.

Green Alliance and the National Trust have proposed a new model for green farming, which it is hoped will create new markets for sustainable land management. Under the scheme groups of farmers working together would sell flood protection and clean water to water companies and public authorities downstream.

Called Natural Infrastructure Schemes, the new model could see savings for organisations currently facing high costs from poor water quality and flooding.


Green Alliance calculates the cost of river flooding and water contamination to water companies, local authorities, public agencies and infrastructure operators at just under £2.4 billion a year. Contracting to avoid just a quarter of these costs could release as much as £120 million for each of England’s 100 catchments over a 20-year catchment scale scheme [2].

Sue Armstrong-Brown, policy director at Green Alliance, said: “The old CAP subsidy-and-grant approach is inadequate to deal with the pressures on land and the realities of farm economics. The potential market for environmentally-beneficial farming could be worth millions – far more than the £400million available to farmers through government agri-environment schemes. We need to make farming part of the way the environment is returned to health, and that means making good environmental management pay.”

Green Alliance and the National Trust will be working alongside leading landowners and businesses over the next 12 months, preparing to introduce pilot Natural Infrastructure Schemes in the UK.

Today’s report follows the National Trust’s call in August that restoring the natural environment should be at the centre of any replacement to the Common Agricultural Policy [3]. The conservation charity believes a focus on protecting and enhancing the ‘natural assets’ on which food production depends will open farming to new environmental markets that make it profitable and rewarding to manage land sustainably.


Patrick Begg, rural enterprises director at National Trust, said:

Farmers should be paid fairly for producing great food in a way that supports the long term health of our farmland.

“The Natural Infrastructure scheme is about creating a market for services from farming that today go unrewarded – reducing flood risks, improving water quality and creating homes for wildlife, while at the same time opening up new revenue opportunities for farmers.”

Welcoming the report, Christopher Price, director of policy at CLA, said: “Every day, alongside agricultural production farmers and landowners deliver valuable environmental services such as reducing flood risk and helping tackle climate change. If we can connect, via markets and incentives, those who benefit with the land managers who do the work then there is a real opportunity to grow this type of work and to amplify the benefits it delivers. We welcome this useful contribution to the important natural capital discussion and we look forward to working with Green Alliance, the National Trust and other groups to explore opportunities for further investment in environmental services.”

Angela Francis, senior economist at Green Alliance, said: “In many places natural filtration and flood risk management are already cheaper than hard engineering. Once you have a good that can be supplied for a price that a buyer wants to pay, you have a market. Natural Infrastructure Schemes put these factors together and provide an opportunity for us to start restoring nature now.”

The Natural Infrastructure Scheme could benefit upland farmers who are struggling to make ends meet.

Chris Clark, who farms at Nethergill Farm in the Yorkshire Dales, said: “As we prepare to leave the CAP, diversifying how we make money from our land makes good business sense. Setting up marketing groups for our green services would offer a great deal for farmers and for our customers. The appetite exists for doing things differently, if we can make it pay.”

The report will be launched this morning at the Royal Society in central London. Representatives from business, local government and the third sector will debate how natural markets can benefit businesses and the environment [4].

Speaking at the event will be David Elliott, group strategy and new markets director at Wessex Water.

Ahead of the event, David Elliott said: “Water companies understand the value of resilient catchments for our business and our customers. We are already exploring long-term partnerships with our upstream farmers. Building markets for natural infrastructure would be a significant step towards bringing these approaches into the mainstream.”

Environment

Want to Connect With Nature? Start by Disconnecting From Busyness

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Connect With Nature

Have you ever found yourself staring at one of your (many) devices and feeling slightly disgusted with how much time you waste on technology? If so, you aren’t alone. We all have moments like these and it’s important that we use them as motivation to change – especially if we want to be more connected with nature.

How Busyness Impacts Your Connection With Nature

Whether you realize it or not, you live an ultra connected life. Between smart phones, tablets, computers, and wearable devices, you’re never very far from some sort of technology that can connect you to the internet or put you in touch with other people. That’s just the world we live in.


While it could be argued that this sort of omnipresent connectivity is a positive thing, it’s also pretty clear that being permanently tethered to technology impacts our ability to strip away distractions and connect with nature.

When you’re always within arm’s reach of a device, you feel a sense of busyness.  Whether it’s browsing your social media feed, uploading a picture, reading the news, or responding to an email, there’s always something to do. As someone who wants to spend more time in nature, this is problematic.

4 Practical Ways to Disconnect

If you want to truly connect with nature and live a greener lifestyle, you have to be proactive about finding ways to disconnect. Here are a few practical suggestions:

1. Switch to a New Phone Plan

It’s not always practical to totally unplug from the world. Family and work responsibilities mean you can’t go off the grid and continue to fulfill your responsibilities. Having said that, there are some ways to scale back.


One suggestion is to switch to a prepaid phone plan. When you have a prepaid phone plan, you’re far less likely to spend hours and hours of your time making phone calls, sending texts, and surfing the web. It forces you to be more conscious of what you’re doing.

2. Get Rid of Social Media

Social media is one of the biggest time wasters for most people. Whether you realize it or not, it’s also a huge stressor. You’re constantly being exposed to the best snapshots of everyone else’s lives, which makes you feel like you’re missing out on something (even when you aren’t).

If you want to feel a sense of relief and free yourself up to spend more time in nature, get rid of social media. Don’t just delete the apps off your phone – actually disable your accounts. It’s a bold, yet necessary step.

3. Create Quiet Hours

If you aren’t able to get rid of social media and disable various online accounts, the next best thing you can do is establish quiet hours each day where you totally detach from technology. You should do this for a minimum of three hours per day for best results.

4. Build Community

Do you know why we’re drawn to social media and our devices? Whether consciously or subconsciously, it’s because we all want to be connected to other people. But do you know what’s better than connecting with people online? Connecting with them in person.

As you build real life, person-to-person relationships, you’ll feel less of a need to constantly have your eyes glued to a screen. Connect with other people who have an appreciation for nature and bond over your mutual interests.

Untether Your Life

If you find yourself constantly connected to a device, then this is probably a clear indicator that you aren’t living your best life. You certainly aren’t enjoying any sort of meaningful connection with nature. Now’s as good a time as any to untether your life and explore what a world free from cords, screens, and batteries is really like.

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Environment

6 Tips for an Eco-Friendly Move

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Moving can be a stressful and challenging time. No matter how many times you’ve done it in the past, the process of packing up, transporting, and unpacking isn’t very fun. It’s also not very eco-friendly. As you prepare for your next move, there are things you can do to ensure you leave less of a footprint behind.

6 Tips for a Greener Move

Because of the stress and pressure felt when moving, it’s pretty common for people to rush through the process and focus on getting it done. In fact, a lot of people take an “at all costs” approach; they’ll do whatever it takes to make the process as cheap and fast as possible. Don’t be one of those people. It doesn’t take much effort to turn a standard move into an eco-friendly move.


1. Maximize Each Trip

When moving across town, it’s imperative that you make as few trips as possible. Each trip requires more gas, more emissions, and more waste, and more time.

If you’re taking your personal vehicle, consider pulling a trailer behind it. You’d be surprised how much stuff you can fit into a small trailer. Not only will it make your move greener, but it’ll also save you a lot of time.

2. Donate Things You Don’t Want to Keep

The longer you live somewhere, the more junk you accumulate. This isn’t always obvious until you start packing for a big move. Instead of bringing all of these things with you to your next home, get rid of the stuff you don’t need! If the items are useful, donate them. If the items don’t have much value, toss them.

3. Reuse Moving Boxes

Not only are moving boxes expensive, but they’re also wasteful. If you need a bunch of cardboard boxes, consider looking around on Craigslist, asking friends, or checking the dumpsters behind stores. You can usually find a bunch of recycled boxes of all different shapes and sizes. Here are 12 places you can get them for free.


4. Get Creative With Packing

Who says you need moving boxes? You may find that it’s possible to do most of your move without all that cardboard. Things like storage containers, trashcans, filing cabinets, buckets, and dressers can all store items. Blankets and sheets can be used in lieu of bubble wrap to prevent your items from getting damaged.

5. Use Green Cleaning Supplies

Once you arrive at your new place, resist the urge to pull out a bunch of harsh chemicals to clean the place. You can do yourself (and the planet) a favor by using green cleaning supplies instead. Ingredients like vinegar, baking soda, and ammonia are great to start with.

6. Forward Your Mail ASAP

Don’t delay in forwarding your mail from your previous address to your new one. Not only is it wasteful for the Postal Service to route your mail to a place where you don’t live, but the next owner is probably just going to toss your letters in the trash.

Moving Doesn’t Have to be Wasteful

Most people only move once every few years. Some people will go a decade or more without a move. As a result, the process of moving often feels strange and new. The less experience you have with it, the less likely it is that you’ll be as efficient as you should. But instead of just diving into the process blind, take some time to learn about what an eco-friendly move looks like. That way, you can leave behind the smallest footprint possible.

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