This is fascinating from George Monbiot

One study in Britain suggests that, if we stopped using animal products, everyone in Britain could be fed on just 3m of our 18.5m hectares of current farmland (or on 7m hectares if all our farming were organic).

I’ve never seen it put quite so bluntly. Organic requires more than twice the land of industrial farming.

Oh, and if we’re not using animal products then where the hell do we get the shit for fertiliser from?

26 thoughts on “This is fascinating from George Monbiot”

  1. we could still use that land to rear animals for export. It wouldn’t do for it to become wasteland unproductive.

  2. How much of our farmland is set-aside at a given time? Is this part of the 18,5M hecters?

    What’s the environmental impact of sheep or pigs in a large field against a cultivated one?

    Don’t farms rotate their fields between crops & animals? They do here in Sweden.

    Did he actually think things through before writing?

  3. So Much For Subtlety

    Hallowed Be – “we could still use that land to rear animals for export. It wouldn’t do for it to become wasteland unproductive.”

    Export? I thought you said “sport”. In which case there is an obvious use – bring back Bear Baiting. George is a fan of re-wilding isn’t he?

    As for the fertilizer – we know what they will end up doing. Collecting “night soil” and putting it back on the fields.

  4. “How much of our farmland is set-aside at a given time? Is this part of the 18,5M hecters?”

    Farmers currently have to have 5% of their arable area put into environmental focus areas (EFAs), ie not producing crops. But grassland is exempt from that 5% requirement, so the reduction is not across the board. There will also be a fair amount of land put into various agri-environmental schemes that pay to stop production or reduce it considerably. And there will be (especially in the south of England) a fair amount of land removed from agricultural production entirely, either because its being used for non-agricultural purposes (equine, renewable energy projects (including growing crops to feed bio-digesters) etc) or just abandoned and not used.

    The actual area used for food production will be considerable less than the nominal area theoretically possible.

  5. I was about to type that Mr Fuller!

    It would require less land if the UK went organic.

    Because of malnutrition would lessen the number of mouths to feed.

    The diseases associated with organic farming, ans generally covering food in shit would also lessen the number of mouths as well.

    Its a positive feedback loop!

  6. SMFS- plan is a) everyone to become vegan to save land b)everyone to be organic to errr not to save land um to help us to be not so reliant on scientific evidence. c) leave any land saved well alone – don’t need it anymore e) Go to the med on our hols because no amount of re-wilding is going to guarantee british sun in July.

  7. So Much For Subtlety

    Hallowed Be – “e) Go to the med on our hols because no amount of re-wilding is going to guarantee british sun in July.”

    But only the Good People. The plebs will be too poor and anyway their labour will be in demand to bring in the harvest a la the USSR’s “voluntary” agricultural labour.

    Which will be great because it means the Mediterranean beaches will be empty except for the rich sort of people who know how to have a jolly time without being loud or getting beastly drunk

  8. Monbiot and the other Guardian idiots all think think they will be amongst the lucky survivors, part of the smaller mass of humanity which they want. Monbiot probably dreams he’ll be lifted on high as a priest of the new era.

    In reality, he’s a useless faux intellectual and would be amongst the first to die, either from starvation or exposure, or more hopefully, shot by the regime of strongmen which will rise up when civilization falls.

    See, Monbiot has his dreams, I have mine.

  9. ‘… where the hell do we get the shit for fertiliser from?‘

    Humans as in the olden days and in poor Contries.

    ‘…could be fed on just 3m of our 18.5m hectares of current farmland (or on 7m hectares if all our farming were organic).’

    Except a lot of the land on which meat is raised… cows (grassland) and sheep (moorland)… is not suitable to grow crops. Plus mass for mass animal flesh provides more nourishment than vegetable matter and all the amino acids we need.

    Animals that eat just vegetable matter have specially adapted GI tracts, eat massive amounts and spend up to 18 hours a day munching.

    A vegan diet for Humans would require a large volume of a wide range of foodstuffs, or highly processed, concentrated foods… and wider bore sewers. This is why ‘health’ food shops have shelves stacked with bottles and boxes of vitamins and supplements.

    Of course a vegan diet solves the fertiliser issue.

  10. Hooray, we can potentially take an area of land twice the size of Belgium out of agriculture.
    Which leads to the obvious thought about Belgium . . .

  11. I think Monbiot is being a bit optimistic about the productivity if we all went “organic”.

    Currently organic farms don’t get horrible diseases and pests because the farms around them act as barriers, preventing spread. If we all went organic then there would be no such effect, and the equivalent of plagues of locusts would return.

    We see the same with the current anti-vaccination types (with significant crossover to the organic crowd, since distrust of modernity suffuses both). You can avoid diseases without vaccination only because other people are not infected. Once everyone goes that route, whooping cough starts killing babies again.

  12. The spare land could be used to be build new cities to house the surplus populations of Africa and the Middle East, seeing as they are reluctant to use contraception

  13. Bloke in Costa Rica

    I am not equipped with a large brain, colour binocular vision, incisor and canine teeth and a short gut JUST SO I CAN CREEP UP ON A FUCKING LETTUCE. If we all go hippie dipshit, then what are we going to do with the newly redundant 15.5 million ha of farmland? It’s working just fine right now for raising delicious animals. Don’t fuck with things that ain’t broke.

    Mongbat can get tae fuck. Miserable twat should be made to eat a badger every day until he’s sorry.

  14. I have been saying for a while that Corbyn is likely to look at making veganism compulsory – this seems like further proof…

  15. Britain hasn’t been able to feed its own population since about 1860. Not sure how we can magically do so now on less than half of the country’s farmland with a population of 65m.

    The Greens are genocidal maniacs.

  16. So Much For Subtlety

    It is sad that so much is taken up with Monbiot’s last fgew paragraphs, because the first few are actually quite sensible.

    Global warming is not a significant problem. Even if it was happening it would not make the top ten most important problems in the environment today. And it isn’t happening.

    Species loss and the loss of biodiversity is a big deal. If insect numbers are collapsing that is a big deal. I doubt that insecticides are the cause but perhaps they are. We ought to check. But that doesn’t have the right level of Green catastrophe that that donations flowing so I will, no doubt, die poor and Monbiot will not.

  17. Rob

    “The Greens are genocidal maniacs.”

    PolPot missed a trick, he should have just joined the Green party and he would have praised from the heavens.

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