Becoming Carbon Negative – First Steps

Becoming Carbon Negative – First Steps

As we are now able to look beyond the immediate threat of COVID, there is, quite rightly a growing concern about the next, even more intractable threat to face us, global warming,  as a result of unrestrained carbon dioxide emissions over the last 150 years or so.   Whilst this seems more intangible and less direct a threat at a personal level, it ultimately is likely to prove to be a more serious potential issue for us and future generations.

As an individual, it can feel we can’t do anything about something so huge, especially if governments appear so slow to act.   But I think Greta Thunberg has proved that excuse wrong.   As an individual, every single decision we make has an impact – from the avocado we choose to buy in the supermarket that has flown half way round the world and is now wrapped in plastic, to the way we heat our homes.   And as a vineyard owner and wine producer I feel the need to do something not least because I witness first-hand the effects of global warming on our climate here in Sussex….from wetter winters, to early Springs, to hotter Summers, and not all of these are positive for grape growing.  Whilst we haven’t had to cope with the terrible fires experienced by Californian and Australian vineyards, extremely wet winters and late frosts can take their toll here in the UK.

So this is why I’ve decided to try and become a Carbon Negative winery.   This is obviously a step beyond Carbon Neutral, as to be Negative you need to be removing more carbon from the atmosphere than you are adding.  Why is this important?  Because we need to start reversing the 150 years of damage already done.  I don’t know when or  if we’ll get there – but here is how we are starting to try.

On the surface this seems a perfectly simple thing to do.   Just calculate your Carbon Footprint and find ways to reduce it!   I’m only just beginning to grasp what it really involves and therefore how fundamentally we all need to change our attitudes to what we buy and how much we are prepared to pay for it.

So now over a series of blogs I’m going to give you my experience of how we’ve approached calculating the Carbon Footprint of our vineyard and winery and what I’ve learnt.  It’s opened my eyes and I hope it will do the same for you.

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