My dad tells me the sound of a spring cuckoo was common when he was a boy. But how many of people our age have ever heard one? I have heard the enigmatic ‘purr’ of the turtle dove, and the exquisite song of the nightingale and think everyone should be able to experience this. Are we willing to deny our children these experiences to save a couple of pounds? We’re supposed to be stewards of these creatures, and we really need to treasure and cherish them.
But so many of us are taking them for granted.
You might be able to tell that I’m passionate about conservation and feel that as a Christian, one of the most important ways to honour God is by caring for His creation. One of the best ways we can help conserve the environment and the creatures that inhabit it is by going organic. I recently started growing my own fruit and vegetables organically and just seeing the increase in insects such as bees and butterflies in my veg patch has been really uplifting and just goes to show that you can make a difference. But if organic products are all they are cracked up to be, why aren’t more people buying them?
Because of misinformation, that’s the problem. And maybe because we just don’t care enough.
But here are three reasons why you might want to think again:
1) It’s not as expensive as you think
Cost. That’s a huge motivator for many people, but contrary to popular belief, many organic products are only a few pence more than their non-organic counterparts. If you buy seasonal, British produce it’s also often cheaper and farmers markets are great value. Organic produce is a little more expensive, but it often tastes better, is not packed full of chemicals and is much better for the environment.
2) Think about the birds and the bees
Some people also don’t know about the implications of intensive farming, and others simply don’t care. The high volume of fertilisers, pesticides and other chemicals end up in the food we eat and the surrounding environment leading to pollution, erosion and the contamination of groundwater. Many pesticides and herbicides are also not specific to pest species, but also harm and kill beneficial insects such as bees and butterflies and rare wildflowers such as orchids. This is not the way God designed it to be.
With 70 per cent of the land in the UK used as farmland, the loss of insects and so-called ‘weeds’ on this scale is significant to disrupt the food chain and predators such as birds suffer from a lack of food. You just need to look at the historic decline of farmland birds to see the negative effects intensive farming can have. Turtle doves for example, an iconic British species, have declined by 93 per cent since 1970 and the Independent states that they could become extinct in the UK in as little as eight years. And the nightingales could be next. Do you care yet?
3) Back to basics is best
Traditional farming methods are making a comeback, companion planting to deter pests, crop rotation to prevent disease build-up, encouraging beneficial insects such as pollinators and predators by leaving a natural margin to fields, these are all fantastic practices and work with natural rather than against it.
So give organic a try, whether it’s your local supermarket, greengrocers, farm shop or planting something yourself, you won’t regret it and nature will thank you.