Tackling the climate crisis and the loss of biodiversity does not require a political party to have green policies; it requires every policy to be green. Our planet does not separate itself into neat little compartments; all species share the atmosphere, the water resources and the soil. Harry Hayfield understands this fully. “In the Green Party, all policies have to meet two standards, are they sustainable, in other words, can we carry on doing this for generations to come, and are they fair?” Farming is a good example.
Food produced in Wales should mostly be consumed in Wales. People in Wales can still have a hugely varied diet, with imports kept to a minimum. That reduces transport costs and pollution. “The Green Party started a conversation with farmers and their representatives some years ago as we recognise that only through co-operation can agriculture play its part in reducing carbon emissions.” The transition to Green farming needs to start with the soil. Harry likes to quote Natalie Bennett, a Green Party Peer and soil expert, who says, “Let’s stop treating soil like dirt – all life relies on the ecosystems under our feet.”
Many habitats in Wales need to be restored eg peatlands, to help soak up carbon and to stop water flowing rapidly off the hills. The Green Party is also totally opposed to the large broiler units that blight Powys. “I don’t want farmers to be scared by our policies. We are on their side. Food will inevitably be more expensive as a result but farmers shouldn’t have to carry that burden.” Harry argues that supermarkets need to change their policies and asks that as consumers we do our bit by buying local in our excellent local businesses. That’s also where the fairness comes in. “We don’t think that foodbanks are the answer to poverty. People should have enough money to buy healthy food.”
The UK is hosting COP 26 this year. “Wales can play its part in showing the world how we can get to net zero.” The Green Party’s policies on transport, housing, the economy, welfare, education, etc, all follow the same principles, “Examine what our Earth can support and the policies follow, not the other way round. We don’t just tack on a few environmental words to our manifesto and call ourselves Green, being Green is at the heart of all our policies.”