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The environment and farming

The environment and farming

Sir, Dr David OConnell’s letter (The environment during times of crisis, January 29th, 2008) is timely. Ireland needs a concerned population interested in what should now concern them most: protection of the environment, including air, water, and wildlife. Many of us see climate change and loss biodiversity as problems that are beyond our immediate concerns and beyond what we can solve.

For example, until very recently, beef and milk production were considered a success despite the increase in carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous Oxide emissions: Nitrous oxide emissions to atmosphere from fertiliser, methane emissions from cows, and an increasing leaching of Nitrate to groundwater, thence into rivers, and finally to the sea.

Non-compliance will result in heavy fines, but it will not be easy to meet these obligations.

There are many other ways to farm. Policies could be created to encourage and support soil restoration, planting of trees, wildflower swards, and protection of groundwater, encouraging and enabling the return of bird and insect life.

We need a profound shift in agricultural practices, aims and production. While this is a positive for the environment, it is the difficult and dangerous task of getting from here and there. Yours, etc,

Dr. ANNE BAILEY

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Carrick-on-Suir,

Co Tipperary.

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