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.