Changing economics to overcome future challenges

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    Authors & editors

    Pelletier, Christophe [Author]

    Publisher Milling & Grain
    Year of publication 2016 June

    Medium Digital

    Economics & commerce > Sustainability, behaviour and the environment


    Scope & content
    By Christophe Pelletier

    For a change, this month’s column will be about a personal story that in some way is an illustration of what is necessary to foster sustainable practices. The parallel is obvious with some of the global challenges that the world is currently facing and will continue to face in the future.

    Late last year, I moved away from Vancouver to the Okanagan Valley Region some 300 miles east from Vancouver. For eight months of the year, the area looks and feels quite similar to the Mediterranean. Precipitations are not abundant with an annual quantity of only 337 mm. Clearly, water is scarce and needs to be preserved, even though an extensive system of lakes fed by mountain snow ensures an adequate supply of water.

    The economics of sustainability
    My plan is to install barrels to collect the water from rain and snow and use it for the yard. This is where the economics do not go in parallel with all the talk from politicians about sustainability.

    The comparison between cost and benefit
    What makes sense from an environmental point of view often does not make sense financially in the current economic environment. Demanding a more sustainable production system is quite legitimate and sensible, but the conditions must also be there to make it happen. The numbers have to add up for farmers and businesses to make the switch. As usual, money is of the essence and it can come from different sides.

    Subsidies must be set up properly and be effective


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