Going global and remaining local: challenges of Poland in implementing climate change policies

RUW Foundation and the Rural Sociology Group organized a studytrip to Poland. In a 10 day intensive program different cities and rural areas in Poland were visited, interesting people and organizations met and farm work is done. The theme of the trip is “Glocalise”. Students are asked to prepare themselves well on different themes in groups before leaving and to write a concluding reflexive paper on their impressions and findings, and to write a blog. This is first is posted by:

Caroline Lumosi, MSc-student Forest and Nature Conservation.

The first day saw us spend time learning about nature conservation in Poland. We focussed on climate change policies and agriculture. Poland faces challenges in implementing regional EU climate change policies in relation to implementing its national regulations on energy and economic development. Poland relies on the use of coal to support 90% its electricity. As the EU moves to cut down on its carbon emission, this in turn means focus is put on use of renewable energy sources. For Poland, and in particular the city of Warsaw, this presents a huge challenge as the city heavily relies on the use of coal for electricity, in transport and in household heating. Continue reading

Study trip to Poland

polandAre you interested in rural development, agricultural policy, nature conservation and climate change? Do you want to know more about how globalization processes affect these areas in an EU Member state, and what local responses can be identified? Join the study trip to Poland, organized by RUW Foundation and the Rural Sociology Group. In a 10 day intensive program, we will visit different cities and rural areas in Poland, meet with interesting organizations and work on a farm! Continue reading

Local resilience to peak oil and climate change

Last night I went to the film. The film night and the discussion afterwards was organised by the Transition Town Vallei, a new ngo which started in June this year. Wageningen and its surrounding villages is not the only place with a Transition Town initiative. They are mushrooming all over the Netherlands at the moment. The movement which is now taking off, started in Totnes, the UK:

“It all starts off when a small collection of motivated individuals within a community come together with a shared concern: how can our community respond to the challenges, and opportunities of Peak Oil and Climate Change?”

The Transition Town website gives a guide for how to set up a Transition Town initiative, how to raise awareness around peak oil and climate change, how to connect with existing community groups, how to work with local government and how to come eventually to a “energy descent action plan” which increases the resilience of local community for times when energy is not such a self evident fact of life.

In Wageningen, we are at the awareness raising stage. We watched the film The Power of Community, How Cuba Survived Peak Oil. I can recommend this film to anyone remotely interested in the energy debate, the way forward with sustainability or more specific, the transition to local and organic food systems. After the initial shock and hunger, the Cubans massively started to farm on every square meter available. Tractors had become obsolete and the generation that still knew how to work with an ox trained a new generation. Without machinery, the conventional scale was untenable, which led to new systems of land distribution and a decentralisation of land ownership. Without chemical help, techniques of soil rehabilitation, worm composting, crop rotation, mixed planting and permaculture were adopted to “work with nature instead of against it”. “We call that ‘lazy agriculture’” somebody in the film explained. That should appeal to us all I would think.

Composting at Red hook farm NY

Composting at Red Hook urban farm NY

Food and the city

Cover "How to feed Tilburg"In the past two months a group of 5 Master students of Wageningen University carried out an exploratory study on food consumption in the city of Tilburg. This study was commissioned by the Environmental Federation of the province of Brabant (BMF). Tilburg has the ambition to become a climate neutral city in 2045, yet the issue of food is lacking in the city’s climate programme. Given the fact that approximately 40% of the urban citizen’s ecological footprint is related to food and that food production and transport make up a significant portion of a city’s CO2 emission, it will be impossible to become a climate neutral city without including a food strategy in the city’s climate programme. For this reason the BMF asked this group of students to calculate/estimate Tilburg’s total food consumption and to give a first impression of the food miles and food transport related CO2 emission of several food products (e.g. apple, sugar, sweet pepper, asparagus, milk, cucumber) for different outlets (e.g. a supermarket, a greengrocer, an organic supermarket and a farm shop). The food miles and related CO2 emissions were calculated on the basis of the products that were sold at each outlet end of March/beginning of April this year, so they only represent the situation at that moment in time. On Wednesday April 22 the group presented their findings.

Some findings I found interesting and/or intriguing: Continue reading