Grumpy Old Birder
Bo Beolens is quite happy to pay more for his weekly food shop if it means protecting wildlife
Bo’s paying more for his food shopping in a bid to protect wildlife
WE RECENTLY DECIDED to change what we eat. I’m still a non-meat eater married to a carnivore and we still shop at the same supermarkets. The difference is that we have gone over to only buying organic veg (and in my wife’s case, meat). Moreover, wherever possible (and it sometimes adds half an hour to the average shop), we want British grown organic food. I still believe that eating organics is healthier for us, despite the research a year or two back claiming there is no difference. But the decision was prompted not by our own health so much as that of birds and other wildlife. So, while I don’t mind aiding the health of Peruvian pigeons or Polish plovers, I’d rather be helping good old British Bullfinches and, perhaps even more importantly, putting the buzz back into British bees! It has become ever more apparent that pesticides are nowhere near as ‘targeted’ as manufacturers claim. Bees and other pollinators face a double jeopardy… often they will die the instant they are caught in the spray. However, even more insidious is the effect some pesticides have in the longer term. Neonicotinoids and coumaphos, damage bees’ brains so that they ‘forget’ flora scents or collection routes. Carried into the hives they affect the growing larvae, over time populations drop or lose their effectiveness as pollen collectors and the swarm slowly dies off, long after the initial contact with the poisons. Short-term profits lead to wholesale use of chemicals that could lead to our own doom, too, so even those who care nothing for animal life should start to worry. Right now, of course, we are all squeezed financially, our farmers barely survive supermarket diktats and overseas competition and many families survive only through their visits to food banks. Those of us who are less strapped have no excuse and have to lead the way. If we all started to demand home-grown wildlifefriendly food and shopped British whenever we can, we could make a difference. Our government spends huge amounts of our money subsidising all the wrong sorts of farming practice… if we could edge that sideways a bit it could make a tremendous difference. It’s incredible that so many of us feed birds and yet at the same time poison ourselves and them by the wholesale use of one of the worst chemical coshes about – glyphosate! The chemical kills weeds by disrupting their ‘shikimic acid pathways’, preventing them from growing and producing new cells. When ingested by mammals (us) it disrupts the production of a vital enzyme called cytochrome P450, the function of which is to help us detoxify. This in turn can lead to the build-up of toxins that cause a whole gamut of organ damage. I doubt many of you set out to buy this noxious chemical… but take a look at the content list on the back of the most advertised and widely-used garden weed killers and you are sure to find it there.
While I don’t mind aiding the health of Peruvian pigeons or Polish plovers, I’d rather be helping good old British Bullfinches
ORGANIC Bo avoids foods which are grown using pesticides