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Wine and its environmental impact.

May 26, 2009 Tags:
In the last few weeks the number of articles about wine and actions to reduce its environmental impact has grown exponentially. From supermarkets proudly announcing that have started to import wine in tanks and bottling it here, to wineries using lighter glass bottles or tetra pack boxes, and lastly, only a few days ago, a winery that will soon starting to use plastic bottles for their wines.

However, and this is astonishing from a consumer and environmentalist point of view, these green press releases are adverts and there is no mention and little attention from the media of what happen in the vineyards and the environmental impact of the harmful substances used, heavy use of pesticide and chemical products, to ensure that independently of what nature does, the harvesting is safe and over production is achieved. And the environmental impact of these practices, a lot more damaging, could be reduced simply with a better vineyards management but the price of such wine will be higher and there could not be cheap wine on the supermarkets' shelves anymore. No wonder why this reduce the environmental impact of the wine talking only happens for cheap wines.

A couple of evenings ago, on the news on TV, I have seen a report about the origin of the tuna available in our supermarkets' shelves, fished in the Philippines. This report highlighted the working conditions of the people there, working plenty of hours in very poor conditions and only getting paid £1 a day; this will not be tolerated in any civilized country. In the studio, together with the news' presenter, there were two students and the spokesperson for the supermarkets' association and all she could say was that supermarkets were working very hard to ensure that the conditions of these people were fair, but still happy to do business with companies that were only paying £1 per day at their employees. Where is the ethic on this?

Only a few months ago, a TV campaign backed by the most famous chefs in the UK, showing the poor conditions in which intensively farmed chickens live, has upset the whole nation, forcing some supermarkets to ban chickens bred this way from their shelves, and at the same time, they and us, are happy to buy tuna from companies that pay £1 a day to their employees and there is no chef or public campaign. I don't really get it. We are so concerned about fair standards of living for animals, rightly so, but we don't do anything to help humans like us to live a fair life.

Unfortunately for us, in the UK, the market is dominated by supermarkets and we don't have much choice in what we eat and drink, and they only feed the media with the information they want us to know and the media, don't do their job, investigating the real situation. I am so fed up of hearing on TV and radio, in the good news section, that a new Tesco, or likes of, is opening creating hundreds of job. This is becoming a Tesco country and we will soon become its employees, all wearing the same made in China Tesco shirt, filling shelves for the rest of our life, and eating the same depressing food, but nobody, has so far, highlighted that for each new Tesco opening, plenty of local, independent shops close with as many jobs lost and the government, sadly, is inert in stopping Tesco from conquer the world.
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