It is interesting to reflect on 2019. Environmental issues have been on the agenda for many countries for many years but in 2019 this moved to a whole new level. Stimulated by a teenager from Sweden, a new generation of activists have been voicing their concerns about the unsustainable policies of governments worldwide. Red-faced politicians have had to defend the indefensible to children who will take over the management of the world they leave behind.
Governments are responding, maybe too slowly for some, but more are listening than they were this time last year. While the search for painless and technological solutions to climate change continues there is one thing every country can do – plant trees! The recent UK elections are a good example. While most of us were focused on which side of Brexit they sat it was notable that every political party seeking votes was promising to plant trees and most of them very large numbers of trees! Some talked about billions of trees, which of course for a relatively small island nation is simply impossible.
However, the message has got through and we find ourselves firmly at the forefront of the climate change battle. Now, any of us with any knowledge of tree growth and photosynthesis know that it is a not a straightforward fix to the problem but none-the-less it is clear to me that the horticultural production industry is entering this new decade as one of the key policy tools (the only one in some cases) for climate change mitigation and adaptation.
So, we should march into 2020 with our heads held high. We should do all we can to demonstrate how our products can best be used as part of the rescue mission for the planet and lets make it easy for policy makers to deliver on their promises.
I am looking forward to getting together with industry colleagues from around the world during IPM Essen in Germany later this month. This leading trade show, approved by AIPH for the first time, is the powerhouse of an industry that is tackling the world’s major problems. Why not also join me at the AIPH International Grower of the Year awards gala dinner on 28 January, also at IPM? This year the list of finalists are outstanding. Come and meet the best of our industry participating in this truly global contest. Why not bring your customers too and enjoy an evening that celebrates the significance of our sector in the world?
In March AIPH heads to Miami. With the support of our member, AmericanHort, we will hold our Spring Meeting there and as part of this will debate the future of the flowers and plants industry in the USA. You are welcome to join us too.
But, for now I am entering 2020 in an optimistic mood. I’m not sure we can impact governments like Greta did but we are certainly ready to help them with their green solutions. Let’s push forwards together and make a difference. Happy New Year!
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