It is now widely accepted that agriculture significantly impacts the climate, with greenhouse gas production figures at 10% of the emissions contributing to climate change. This is according to the latest statistics published by the UK government.
However, with rapidly rising summer temperatures and warmer, wetter winters coupled with extreme weather events increasing globally, the figure is likely to be around 25%.
Clearly, agriculture in the UK can play a significant
part in tackling rising greenhouse gas emissions. This is mainly due to the role played by vertical farming and specifically the use of innovative low-carbon Gelponics.
Why Greenhouse Gases are a Problem
Greenhouse gases trap heat within the earth’s atmosphere when, just like the glass walls of a greenhouse, the sun has warmed the planet’s surface during the day, and this heat is released into the atmosphere at night as the surface cools.
The central element of greenhouse gas is carbon dioxide (co2) which is a
significant contributor to the smog and air pollution prevalent over many of our densest urban conurbations. It can cause respiratory disease in humans.
A more severe impact is on the earth’s water and food supplies, with
drought and failed harvests are becoming more prevalent across the globe. Habitat loss and the destruction of biodiversity have contributed to the extinction of many species, including those all-important pollinating insects. Factor in the wildfires and extreme weather events even in countries where these were once rare, and it is obvious that changes need to happen.
Agriculture Leading the Way
Traditionally, agriculture has been a significant contributor to rising greenhouse gases, mainly down to the methods employed over the years. Food production is, by necessity, reasonably intensive to feed a growing population.
Every stage of food production, from seed sowing, fertilising, watering, harvesting, packaging and distribution, is reliant on the use of fossil fuels in large part. This is because of the diesel needed in the vehicles used – farm machinery, tractors and delivery HGVs.
Food farming has traditionally been very labour intensive, with farmers relying on seasonal workers at harvest time. More importantly, the biggest issue has, of course, been the UK weather, which is variable. It can make or break a crop harvest.
.Vertical Farming is Reducing Greenhouse Emissions
Vertical farming is the fastest growing form of agriculture worldwide, and the reasons are apparent. Crops are grown in an entirely different way from traditional methods.
Plants are grown indoors in vast buildings where the growing mediums and watering are tightly regulated and controlled. Rather than large land areas, crops are cultivated in stacked layers. These can be increased in line with demand.
The need for herbicides and pesticides is eliminated when crops are grown in a protected indoor environment. The most significant advantage of vertical farming comes with the hydration system.
Outdoor agriculture requires a farmer to employ sprinkler systems without rain to prevent the crop from failure. Sprinklers and irrigation systems typically use thousands of gallons of water annually, mainly extracted from the nation’s rivers and the public water supply.
Vertical farming uses hydroponic and aquaponic watering systems with the water being circulated in a closed loop meaning the plants receive 100% of the water with no run-off. Dehumidifiers collect, filter and recycle the excess water emitted by plants.
No More Loss of Biodiversity and Deforestation
Indoor vertical farming is the future by taking agriculture out of much-needed land, utilising it in other ways, and allowing ecosystems and biodiversity to recover.