French Agriculture Minister Didier Guillaume tells Catherine Nicholson why he believes a transition to lower-chemical farming is essential and how he thinks it can be achieved.
Meanwhile, Green MEP – and organic farmer himself – Benoît Biteau tells us why what he learnt converting his father’s farm to greener practices can be replicated.
In our reports, we meet some of the mayors who have banned pesticides around their towns and find out more about the conflict with the farming community. We also meet French farmers who are testing how to reduce their dependence on chemical pesticides
In a win for planet Earth, as of 2015 all commercial buildings in France must have at least partial coverage of their rooftop in solar panels or plants.
In this time of doomsday-like predictions where our environmental health is concerned, it’s all hands on deck. We are coming to the conclusion, hopefully not too late, that every little bit of conservation counts.
There is a shift in general consciousness that’s begun to happen. We’re becoming aware of the impact we humans have, and the myriad ways we make that impact. With the purchase of a plastic water bottle as opposed to a reusable one. Using grocery store bags instead of bringing your own. Buying new when used would be perfectly acceptable. These are a few examples of shifts that have started taking place. We see now, how easy it is to carry our own bottle, or our own bag, or shop consignment.
It’s been far too easy, for far too long, to buy into the idea that we as individuals don’t have an impact. One bottle won’t make a difference. One bag won’t hurt anything. But not only is that incorrect, but it also doesn’t really speak to the heart of the matter, which is that we’re all in this together. How we individually live, is how we collectively live. So, not only can one person have a huge impact, we have somewhat of an obligation at this point, to us and to each other, to live as we do. To act like it’s all connected – because it is [ . . . ]
Dozens of French mayors have taken the law into their own hands and illicitly banned pesticides near populated areas in their towns and villages. The rebel move has angered France’s agriculture minister who says it threatens French food production.
It all began when Daniel Cueff, the mayor of Langouët in Brittany, on May 18 climbed onto a wooden box dressed in white protective gear and announced to his village that he had imposed a ban on pesticide use within 150 metres of the district’s homes and workplaces. “It is legitimate for a mayor to take action when there is incompetence by the state,” he said, referring to the 2009 European Union directive that requires member states “to take steps to protect residents from pesticides”. [ . . . ]
Wine, for when you want to party but still feel classy about it. Like all edible alcohol, wine comes from fermentation, and for millennia artisans have honed their craft at turning humble grapes into the drink of the gods. So suffice it to say growing good grapes is crucial to making good wine.
That’s why French wine growers have such a beef with moths. These thirsty bootleg butterfly bugs love swooping down and eating grapes right off the vine. They have the nerve to get between us and our wine! But fear not, a recent wine industry study revealed that in the War For Wine we have an animal kingdom ally in the fight against moths, an animal we’re already used to associating with superheroics. It turns out bats are the best natural defense wine can get.
It’s really just the food cycle wine growers should be thankful for. Of the 22 local Bordeaux bat species, researchers observed that 19 of them specifically love to feast on moths that target wine grapes. Droppings analysis confirmed that it was these harmful moths being preyed on. Other insects were spared.
With this knowledge, wine growers could use these bats to their advantage. They could act like organic pesticides, clearing the fields of insects while not introducing harmful chemicals into the ecosystem. It would take some effort though. The bats instinctively hunt in wilder regions, so they would have to be somehow funneled towards these domesticated vineyards [ . . . ]