Notes from the Green Party MEP for East of England. Biographical reflections on life as an MEP. Longer reflections and discussions on issues relating to policy, the good life, justice, equality, anti-austerity economics and the future of the planet. This is also a forum for exchanging ideas on how to tread lightly on the planet and avoid supporting exploitation and corrupt practices. Here we go...

Thursday, 30 August 2007

My guilty secrets

I've just used something like 500 kg of CO2 as a passenger on an aeroplane to Athens and back. Oops.
Just back from a trip that combined professional work and a holiday, in Greece. The travel was organised by a travel agent in Greece. You sort of think that when the place is four hours away by air, you need to fly because the train travel would be too long and complicated. But I think that's not really true. We were put to shame by one of the participants on the course we were teaching on (a summer school for classics teachers) who had travelled out by train.
Well, at least we managed the work and the holiday on just one set of return flights. But still, none would be better than one.
Now I've discovered the most wonderful web site which tells you how to get to anywhere without using a flight, and how to book trains and ferries instead. It's at The man in seat 61 (I'll add the link to my list of links on this blog).
Perhaps I should think again about my trip to Toronto in the autumn?

Saturday, 4 August 2007

Strawberries from the USA

One of the things that really annoys me is when people buy out-of-season or imported things, at a time when the English equivalent is right there in front of them. We're just going into the English Apple season which is the time when this problem most annoys me.
But right now it's strawberries. There I was in Tesco (stupid hateful shop) gazing at an array of Strawberry punnets in front of me, looking lovely and grown in Worcestershire. Excellent. Right next to them were more trays, also of equally red strawberries, apparently identical until you looked closely; but they came from the USA.
Along comes this Dad and his small daughter and looks at the US strawberries.
"Ooh these look nice and big"
"Mmm lovely. Aren't they huge! Let's have these."
And they pick up a box of American imports and continue.

Now there are several things wrong with this whole mentality, including, of course, the false idea that large strawberries are nice. (They're not. The more water they contain the more insipid the flavour).

But what puzzles me is why there should be any strawberries from America in the shop at all. Why should the public be expected to read the tiny print to see whether the produce is local. Given that strawberries are produced here and in abundance, isn't it reasonable for the shopper to assume that the seasonal produce is from Britain.

I think it's time we got some legislation that removed overseas imports altogether at times when local seasonal products are on the shelf. We shouldn't need to have labels that say it's local. It should just be local or not there at all.