Some shocking numbers from the EU.

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Good grief the Common Agricultural Policy is a mess.

How can something which consumes 37% of the EU budget be dedicated to producing such profligate waste, pollution, mismanagement, poor environmental stewardship, and minimal skills development?

Here are some fun / tragic facts, from the video below from the European Environmental Bureau, which all point to the same conclusion: if you give people little incentive to be sustainable, and plenty of incentive to be unsustainable, we’re going to take a hell of a long and painful time to find a sustainable balance.

  • 40% of land in Europe is farmed
  • 37% of the EU budget goes on cap
  • Farmland bird population decreased by half between 1980 and 2008
  • 76% of food plants depend on bees for pollination
  • Soil mismanagement costs $1,000,000,000,000 per YEAR! To be clear, that’s ONE TRILLION every YEAR. Every YEAR. Wait.. I’m not sure I can emphasise this enough.. this calls for bold underline: ONE TRILLION EVERY SINGLE YEAR
    [Note: I've recently seen $40,000,000,000 (bn) quoted by the UNFAO but which doesn’t take into account hidden costs of increased fertilizer use, loss of biodiversity and loss of unique landscapes.)
  • In one century, 75% plant genetic diversity has been lost
  • 75% of world’s food supply comes from just 12 plants and 5 animals
  • 30% of livestock breeds are at risk of extinction, with 6 breeds lost each month
  • Only 4.7% of farmland is used for organic farming (which would SERIOUSLY mitigate the following issues)
  • … yet in the UK ALONE health problems due to pesticides cost 206m EUR
  • … and the cost of groundwater contamination is 522-847bn EUR
  • … Agriculture accounts for 24% of water use in Europe
  • … Water scarcity effects 14 EU countries, and 100m EU inhabitants

And a crazy one to finish with: According to RDA you should be eating about 200kg food per year. In EU27 we WASTE 179kg pp/yr.


Now watch the video to bring these and other facts to life.

Author: Ed

Ed is the founder of Sustaination. He believes that a better world is possibly, desirable, and necessary, and gets rather frustrated by people who aren't prepared to give it a try.

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  1. Pingback: Why is food getting more expensive? And what can you do about it? | Sustaination

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