From slag to salmon

Earth has an amazing capacity to regenerate itself. Whenever people talk of “saving the earth” they usually mean “saving humanity”, or at least, saving our standard of living. The earth will be just fine.

I wrote last year of salmon returning to the River Seine. If images of salmon cruising through Paris, one of Europe’s largest cities, seems remarkable, perhaps another comeback is even a more remarkable. South Wales was once land of the coal mine, where the rivers ran black with coal dust. The River Taff alone at one point received 100,000 tonnes of colliery waste each year. Pitheads and slag heaps once dominated the landscape but the coal industry declined. From a high of 620 mines, the last mine was closed in 1994, although a group of retrenched mineworkers bought it and kept operating it until two years ago. Government and community groups have been working on water quality ever since the mines began to close, and now, for the first time, salmon have returned to all rivers in the area.

Salmon are a signature species, needing very clean water along the entire river, as they spawn at the top of the river in the shallows, then swim down to the sea, and finally back again. That the waters of south Wales are clean enough to welcome them back gives us all hope.

GM surging ahead in South Africa
Meanwhile, according to a Monsanto spokesperson, plantings of GM crops are surging ahead in South Africa. Shortly after the release of the recent study implicating three varieties of Monsanto maize with organ failure, the spokesperson estimated that 10 percent more white maize has been planted. White and yellow maize plantings are estimated at 2.5 million hectares, of which over 75 percent is GM, he said. Just in case we’ve forgotten the official line, he finished off by claming that GM technology aims to “feed the world, secure food security, and alleviate famine and poverty”, none of which are achieved by allowing our food supply to be monopolised by the world’s largest seed company, one with a proud history of producing such useful contributions to society as the chemical weapon Agent Orange and Bovine Growth Hormone.

Fresher and later
Don’t forget that we’re managing to bring you your veggies an extra day fresher, which means that you can order right up until Tuesday 14h00. Do try get your orders in early though – not everything is available right up until the end. And if there’s anything you can’t miss out on each week, you can place a standing order, which gets automatically placed for you each week.

To order, head on over to

Have a great week,
the Ethical Co-op team