Sustainable Development

Sustainable development is inextricably linked to sound landscape management Both will only be achieved if:

  • Well cared for and vibrant landscapes are recognised as having values beyond those of the market place.
  • The right to live within and enjoy the benefits of high quality landscapes is shared by everyone.
  • The distinctive sense of place and identity which all landscapes have are managed to the highest possible standards.
  • Change is guided by respect for a location's physical character and all its values.
  • Decision making is shaped by responsible forethought, increased local involvement and shared responsibility.

Landscape sustainability therefore demands the protection and enhancement of all Wales' natural and cultural assets, so they are able to perform their crucial life support functions and deliver a constant flow of social benefits and economic opportunities.

Intensive Farming Unsustainable Long Term

Recent debate concerning Agricultural Policy, both within the UK and globally, has been dominated by the 'need to produce more food to feed a growing population'. This assumption is the foundation of the argument made by agribusiness and government ministers alike that we must embrace the myth of 'sustainable intensification' of our farms - along with the increase in intensive pig and chicken units comes mega-dairies, agrochemicals and GM-crops. These are not good for the environment, human or animal health and welfare.

The reality however, identified by a series of UK, EU, United Nations and independent investigations, is that our small scale traditional farming systems already produce more than enough food to feed our current populations - while at the same time we waste an estimated 30-50% of the food we produce. The studies also illustrate that the best way to feed the world is to focus on improving the productivity of small farms using low-tech, ecofriendly methods that secure livelihoods. To reduce hunger, we simply need to develop strong local markets which enable people to access healthy affordable food and to educate consumers on how to reduce food waste in the home.

In the very recently released document Health and Harmony: the future for food, farming and the environment in a Green Brexit, Michael Gove details Defra's aims for UK agriculture after leaving the EU. Future public payments to farmers are going to be on the basis of land management schemes that support the environment, low carbon initiatives and sustainable food production. Sustainability is used in the usual context here in terms of the environment NOT economic or financial viability.

It is unacceptable for the government and the industry to perpetuate an outdated assumption in order to justify pursuing intensive industrial farming strategies.

Permaculture

Permaculture is a system of agricultural and social design principles centred around simulating or directly utilizing the patterns and features observed in natural ecosystems. The term permaculture was developed and coined by David Holmgren, then a graduate student, and his professor, Bill Mollison, in 1978. The word permaculture originally referred to "permanent agriculture", but was expanded to stand also for "permanent culture", as it was understood that social aspects were integral to a truly sustainable system as inspired by Masanobu Fukuoka's natural farming philosophy.

It has many branches that include, but are not limited to, ecological design, ecological engineering, environmental design, and construction. Permaculture also includes integrated water resources management that develops sustainable architecture, and regenerative and self-maintained habitat and agricultural systems modelled from natural ecosystems.

Mollison has said: "Permaculture is a philosophy of working with, rather than against nature; of protracted and thoughtful observation rather than protracted and thoughtless labour; and of looking at plants and animals in all their functions, rather than treating any area as a single product system."

 

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