Up Front 10/08

Recently it’s been hard to find a silver lining on the clouds of near financial meltdown that rocked the world. Our dependency on global markets for finance, food and energy has shown us to be very vulnerable. But there is a silver lining in Greenland at the moment. The ‘greening’ of Greenland, because of global warming, has meant that vegetables are being grown commercially for the first time. Three pioneering farmers have produced cabbages, cauliflowers and even strawberries. On the front line of climate change, just a couple of degrees change can make the difference between sustainable food production and exorbitantly priced imports for Greenland. According to a spokesman from the Upernaviarsuk agricultural research station, Greenland could be self-sufficient in vegetables within ten years. Earlier springs and later autumns also means more grazing for sheep farmers and recent warming has meant the return of cod to the waters off southern Greenland. In her column this month, Rosie Boycott also sees a possible silver lining in the hope that the credit crunch might ‘kick start a new way of life: one based on resilience, self sufficiency, community and localisation – rather than on biggest is best and a life time dependency on the global markets.’ However this week the French company EDF Energy agreed to buy British Energy, the firm which operates the UK’s eight nuclear power plants, thus taking control of yet more of Britain’s resources. There is no doubt that the world needs a wake up call but I can’t help thinking we just keep hitting the snooze button.