Your Gamma did better than Al Gore on Climate Change…

Posted on May 30, 2008. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Be a patriot and save our economy – Grow your own
Thrift, recycling, growing your own – these are the habits that helped win the war. And now they could also help us win back the environment & economy.
 
“Challenges we now face when it comes to getting the message across are quite different, however. Back in war era, conservation messages were received by a far thriftier nation. Attitudes have changed with the birth of the consumer society in the 1950s.”
 
Cultivation of fruit and vegetables in shared allotments and back gardens became commonplace during the war years when the nation was forced to quickly adapt to surviving without the 55  million tons of food it had imported not so long before.
 
The emphasis was on sharing knowledge of natural cultivation techniques and reusing materials. “The approach was pretty much organic, although the motivation then was producing crops with the highest nutritional value that were easiest to grow,” says Graham Hartley, deputy manager of St James’s Park in London, who has overseen the development of a working period allotment to accompany Dig for Victory: War on Waste, a summer exhibition and events season launched by the Churchill Museum and Cabinet War Rooms today.
 
Wildlife protection
Encouraging wildlife to feed in your garden or allotment can be not only a great natural pest control but also an important part of wildlife conservation. “The range of invertebrate life you would have found across the board in a typical allotment or garden 60 years ago would have been far greater than is the case today,” says Royal Parks community ecologist Dr Nigel Reeve.
 
“One of the benefits of this was that the environment worked as a functional community with predators and prey more likely to balance each other out. The lesson from this is the importance of attracting wildlife and making good use of natural predator pest control.”
 
Another more modern feature of the allotment is a wormery. While making compost from organic waste has long relied on garden worms, wormeries – enclosed composters housing waste matter and worms – have made the process more productive as compost can now include cooked organic matter without fear of attracting rats.
 
Eat local, seasonal and organic
Wartime principles of eating seasonal food grown locally and organically have fresh resonance at a time of growing concerns over carbon footprints, global warming and the impact of soaring oil prices.
 
By 1945, 1.5 million allotments were being cultivated, supplying 10 per cent of our food needs. “Evidence suggests vegetables were distributed free to those sharing an allotment or bartered for other food products,” says Jane Stockton, the Churchill Museum’s access and learning officer.
 
To supply meat, “Communities were encouraged to rear their own livestock with the opportunity to join a pig or rabbit club,” she adds. “Club members got help rearing animals, such as free fodder.”
 
Rationing forced people to cook with leftovers – a topical issue given recent reports that people in England and Wales throw away 3.6 million tons of food each year. “Little things once commonplace like pinching off the tops of broad beans – a fabulous spinach substitute – or trimming the tops from radishes and serving them as a vegetable are worth reconsidering,”
 
Recycling was mainstream throughout the war years, with public information campaigns encouraging families to think creatively about everyday items they might otherwise have thrown away.  “Bins were positioned at the ends of streets for householders to deposit unwanted food to be used to feed pigs. Rags, bottles and bones were collected, too.
 
Government advice on reusing household items was publicized by the Board of Trade’s Make Do and Mend advisory panel. The logic was simple: not buying new allowed resources saved to be put towards the war effort.
 
Clothes rationing was introduced in June 1941 due to a shortage of imported fabric and the need for cloth for uniforms, parachutes and hospital bedding. Reuse and recycling tips included reproofing raincoats by rubbing beeswax over the inside, then ironing.
 
“Recycling was born of necessity,” Benge adds. “Today, with almost all of the UK’s landfill sites looking likely to be full by 2010, it’s on track to becoming a necessity once more.”
 
Energy and water conservation
Energy conservation was vital for the war effort and the then government created the Ministry of Fuel and Power, which recruited and co-ordinated a network of local fuel wardens to encourage the nation to use scarce resources more sparingly.
 
Scant attention was paid back then to home insulation and conserving coal and water was a priority.  “‘Carbon-saving’ tips were widely distributed on posters and in leaflets,” says senior historian at the Imperial War Museum Terry Chairman. “People were encouraged to light fires just in one room, to eat where it was warmest in the kitchen, turn off unnecessary lights and unplug appliances when not in use – all messages we are once more being advised to follow today.”
 
Householders were urged to draw a line around the inside of their baths to use less water. Men were advised not to leave the tap running while shaving.
“In certain periods – the early Seventies, especially, and the past few years – attention has turned back to wartime austerity measures – and there is much we can learn from them,”
 
Read more VIA the independent
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