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Farming, fungi and the future

Author profile picture Christopher Crompton
i
Recipient profile picture Ruth Jones
i
23 September
Dear Ruth Jones,
I am writing to you in your capacity as Shadow Minister for Agri-Innovation and Climate Adaptation. At present, Britain clearly has a long way to go to arrive at a sustainable system of farming. While piecemeal changes are being made, we are not seeing reform with anything like the pace and cohesiveness that we need to see. The urgency is derived from at least four key priority issues: the alarming rate of loss of agricultural soils and its subsequent threat to food security, the marked depletion of biodiversity related to agricultural practices, the need to engineer resilience in the food system to climate change and ecological shocks, and Britain’s legal commitment to achieve net carbon neutrality by 2050. When I was studying ecology at Oxford a decade ago, there was a lot of valuable research being undertaken on ways of creating ‘multiple wins’ for biodiversity, climate change and human factors simultaneously. Particularly where environmental externalities are concerned, there often seem so many trade-offs between competing priorities that progress can be mired in slow compromise at best and inaction at worst, so any opportunities for efficiently killing several birds with one stone with minimal downsides can be solid gold. Here, I want to bring up just one such potential opportunity for arable farming that I think has been largely overlooked. Since 2008, the food system has decarbonised at less than half the pace of the wider economy, and the release of carbon from farmland soil is one of the major ways the food system contributes to climate change. In addition, the reliance on man-made fertiliser (particularly industrial ammonia) has created a dependence on a high-energy process using fossil fuels that by itself accounts for 1% of global carbon emissions. Once spread on farmland, much of that fertiliser is leached through the soil, where it goes on either to contaminate our water system or be converted by bacteria into nitrous oxide (which is about 265 times more potent than carbon dioxide) which adds a further 2% to global carbon-equivalent emissions. In 2019, the government pledged to protect 30% of UK land ‘for nature’ by 2030. On the tin, that sounds pretty good. Most viable plans to achieve that do however involve reclaiming a significant amount of farming land for afforestation or planting bioenergy crops that can then be processed using BECCS technology. The Climate Change Committee’s (2020) model, for example, sees 21% of current farmland converted for sequestration by 2050. Some of the most suitable land for conversion produces little food anyway, but some has productive potential, and this represents an intensification at a time when two competing pressures are at play. The first pressure is our reliance on food imports, which now make up almost half of Britain’s food consumption, compared to 78% self-sufficiency in 1984. This partly reflects changing tastes, but we certainly could stand to produce more of our own food, given that such reliance on imports leaves us vulnerable to global market shocks. But at the same time as needing to improve the country’s overall yield, we need to arrive at more sustainable farming methods that prevent further loss of our precious soil and reverse the trend of biodiversity decline, while also meeting decarbonisation targets. Until the Green Revolution, it was the norm for farms to grow mixed crops in rotations that included ruminant cattle (whose manure was an organic fertiliser), and for them to have plenty of hedgerows, and practices like these, as well as other, more ‘nature-friendly’ methods, are very slowly making a comeback in what is these days being called ‘agroecological’ farming. This is broadly good stuff, but, as Defra’s independently commissioned National Food Strategy (2020) admits: ‘agroecological farming produces lower yields than modern intensive farming. We must somehow find a way to repurpose large areas of farmland, lowering yields in some places and returning others entirely to nature, while still producing enough to remain comfortably food-secure.’ Quite the conundrum. This brings me to a couple of potential opportunities for multiple wins, for soil conservation and decarbonisation, for biodiversity and for yields. What if we could eliminate the need for ammonia-based fertiliser? What if we could somehow actually improve on conventional yields through ‘ecological’ methods? What if we could even improve the carbon capture potential of arable farmland itself? The potential to do that lies in what is going on beneath the surface of the soil. A growing body of research over the last couple of decades has begun to identify the role of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) in plant growth. These fungi form networks in soil and form symbiotic relationships with the majority of plants, including most food crops. They increase the bioavailability of soil nutrients so plants can use them and grow more strongly as a result. They also produce a chemical called glomalin, which is important in aggregating soil particles, improving its structure and resistance to erosion. And they can act as bio-controllers too, reducing the numbers of microorganisms that are harmful to plants. They are pretty impressive organisms. Several studies have shown that adding AMF as biofertilisers can reduce the need for artificial fertilisers (by up to 90%, depending on the plant), while increasing productivity by between 16-78%. At the same time, their bio-control function can reduce the application rate and frequency of pesticides. Reduced use of industrially-produced fertilisers in itself means a reduction in associated carbon emissions, but in some contexts, AMF may also contribute to carbon sequestration, actively drawing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and storing it in the fungi and in the soil. Much of the research on the carbon storage potential related to AMF has focused on forests, which have a different ecology to an agricultural field. What we do know though is that tilling destroys these fungi (along with many other useful microorganisms), so the longer soil goes undisturbed, the more chance their networks have to establish. In old forests, AMF networks can be hundreds of years old and stretch for miles – making them the largest organisms on the planet – and all that biomass, plus the glomalin-related soil protein produced in the fungal cell walls, represents a vast carbon store. Any potential for AMF to actively store carbon over the long term is likely supported by a lack of soil disturbance. Rather than repeated annual applications as a biofertiliser, then, we could introduce initial inoculants and allow them to establish over many years. While simple no-till farming could support this to an extent, better still would be a union with perennial polyculture, which itself promises to deliver multiple wins. Perennial polyculture shifts planting plans from fields full of a single, annual crop (monoculture) to arrangements involving several perennial crops that are interplanted. The benefits of this are many, and include increased biodiversity, increased crop resilience to pests and disease, reduced need for herbicides (due to fewer weeds) and reduced soil erosion. Research by the Land Institute and the Rodale Institute demonstrates that these arrangements can also substantially increase yields versus annual monocultures. The inclusion of leguminous crops in polycultures (which are able to ‘fix’ nitrogen from the air) could also partially or even completely remove the need to apply external nitrogen fertiliser, while the establishment of mycorrhizal networks would ensure a high bioavailability of soil nutrients to crops and may also restore soils and store carbon over the long term. This level of systemic redesign goes beyond what most policymakers currently consider when they talk of ‘agroecology,’ but it could really be a game changer. There are some challenges in such an overhaul of conventional farming, including R&D matters of developing a greater number of commercially viable perennial crop varieties and adapting technology to facilitate efficient harvesting in polycultures, plus the hurdles of cultural transformation. I suggest that the development and implementation of perennial polyculture methods should be a top priority in order to achieve a truly sustainable food system. This would involve not just active sponsorship of programmes by the government, but a much greater strategic integration of what is currently still a very disparate web of research and practicing farmers with the private sector and the wider farming community to arrive at an implementable plan and a collaborative effort to transform the way we grow food. Would Labour be onboard with such a vision and strategy for integrative research and practice that could see Britain lead the world on food sustainability?  Yours sincerely,

Christopher Crompton

Author profile picture Christopher Crompton

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    Dear Jacqueline Wilson, I read your books widely as a child and teenager, and they were very impactful in helping me grow up. Now an adult, I’m a musician and artist, and was struck recently by the development of ‘Poptimism’ within music criticism, and wondered whether a si...

    Letter to Arnold Schwarzenegger from his old friend Lightning-Bolt. An honest critique of his virtues and sins as the Governor of California.

    Lightning-Bolt on 27 October
    Responses: 0

    Dear Arnold Schwarzenegger, (Post Script) This letter was written to Arnold Schwarzenegger, an old friend of Lightning-Bolt’s, during the very final days of his Governorship of California. The letter never reached its intended destination as it was sent via a fat carrier pigeon...

    Breaking Germany's Fossil Fuel Dependence

    Griffin Harris on 2 April
    Responses: 0

    Dear Olaf Scholz, His Excellency Olaf Scholz, the Federal Chancellor of the Republic of Germany, I write to you on a critical topic that will undoubtedly have impacts on the German people, the people of the EU, and the people of the World for years and even decades ...

    Where do your characters and scenes come from?

    Christopher Crompton on 1 August
    Responses: 0

    Dear Mark Knopfler, I have been a great fan of your songwriting and guitar playing since I was a teenager. I was fairly new to guitar when my mother suggested I listen to Romeo and Juliet. I heard that sparkling fingerpicking on your National resonator, then the casual,...

    Let the Train Go, We Want to See Our Queen

    Dale Joseph Ferrier on 13 September
    Responses: 0

    Dear Internet, [h1]Let the people see their Queen[/h1] [justify]The passing of Her Majesty last week marked a time of collective sorrow for the nation, a time where we have put aside our petty differences, and shelved our ongoing worries over inflation to simply re...

    This letter is about the socio-political consequences of knee-jerk reactions to increased violence in communities in NYC.

    Jawanza James Williams on 13 September
    Responses: 1

    Dear Internet, To New Yorkers, and Conscientious People Everywhere, I wrote this in February 2022, and subsequently published on Medium. I am adding it here on Collate because I sense this is a place being constructed with the most useful powers social media in mi...

    Keeping Cardiff tidy and litter-free.

    Eleanor on 3 June
    Responses: 0

    Dear Sue Lent, I am a local resident in Cardiff, under the purview of your council appointment, and I am writing with regard to the persistent problem of litter around my area. I moved to Cardiff approximately a year ago, and have noticed that there seems to be a r...

    Be A Tree!

    Tobias Lim on 19 July
    Responses: 0

    Dear Maria Gianferrari, A few weeks ago, my partner bought a copy of Be A Tree from our local bookstore. She is an early-years educator and read the book to her children recently. The kids loved it. Your story, along with Felicita Sala’s illustrations, warmed them. They had...

    Community reporting for more effective policing of drug crime

    Christopher Crompton on 7 September
    Responses: 0

    Dear Simon Foster, Your remit as West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner of course encompasses a broad spectrum of crime prevention, mitigation and policing, so it must be a challenging task to decide where to prioritise attention and resources. I appreciate that y...

    My letter is about the explosion that happened on the 4th of August 2020. Lebanon has been surviving wars and inconveniences against its very own people and the people are fed up. The situation keeps getting worse. This letter expresses the heartfelt pain and traumatic experiences Lebanon and its people have gone through, urging the president and his government to bring an end to all of this. The explosion which damaged Beirut is the ultimate representation for what their failed leadership has done to the country.

    Marilyn Badr on 15 November
    Responses: 0

    Dear Michel Aoun, I am Lebanon; located at the crossroads of Mesopotamia, Egypt, and Europe. Famous for my exquisite beauty, diversity, glamour, European flavour, and hospitable people. I am known for my rich culture and history, which put me on the ‘must see’ lis...

    The future of Britain's food security

    Christopher Crompton on 8 June
    Responses: 0

    Dear Jim McMahon, I am writing to you in your capacity as Shadow Minister for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs about the critical issue of our nation’s food security. In a time of short-termist, sticking-plaster politics, we need a serious, credible, long-term ...

    How do we talk about economics?

    Eleanor on 26 June
    Responses: 0

    Dear Paul Krugman, During my undergraduate studies at the University of Oxford, I attended a talk that you gave there on the response of various governments to the 2008 financial crisis. I was not a student of economics — my knowledge of economics comes from reading, l...

    What does success look like? I ponder while I observe the great work you have done

    Enyinna Arua on 17 November
    Responses: 0

    Dear Donald Trump, Jr., I hope this letter meets you in good health. After the 2020 Presidential Election, I pondered over a question: What does success look like? For this question always comes to mind, when I, an outsider, observe the great work you have done, in the cour...

    Where is UK public transport going?

    Eleanor on 23 April
    Responses: 0

    Dear Louise Haigh, In November last year, I noticed that you placed an update on your website regarding the franchising of public transport, and the new Enhanced Partnership in South Yorkshire between the local authority and bus operators in the region. Having spent so...

    Arts and creative industry development in Cardiff.

    Eleanor on 12 June
    Responses: 0

    Dear Peter Wong, I am a Cardiff resident in your Council area, and I noticed recently that the Cardiff Council website notes that you have had some involvement with the organisation Artes Mundi, which is of course an important charity in supporting and developing the...

    Apple Trees and the Future of Science

    Tobias Lim on 23 June
    Responses: 0

    Dear Pamela Gay, I’m marveling at the wonderful breakthroughs, discoveries, and achievements that scientists and engineers have made recently. Over the last few years, we’ve had the COVID-19 vaccine, CRISPR technology, and AlphaFold structures, just to name a few. A...

    Channel 4 privatisation: ideology and reason

    Christopher Crompton on 9 September
    Responses: 1

    Dear Michelle Donelan, Congratulations on your appointment as Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. You must be all too aware that two of the key issues you have inherited with the office are the privatisation of Channel 4 and the question of the future...

    What can you teach us about drought-resistant gardening?

    Christopher Crompton on 21 September
    Responses: 0

    Dear Tom Brown, I was interested to read recently about your experimentation at West Dean Gardens near Chichester in creating a garden that is drought-tolerant and requires minimal watering. It was particularly intriguing that you said you have tried out using crush...

    Protection of women, keeping women safe in the streets.

    Nicole Rodrigues on 18 October
    Responses: 0

    Dear Boris Johnson, I am writing this letter in regards to the safety of women in the UK (Great Britain ) due to the rise in sexual offences and killings, murders and this is now risen to the notch that now even the Metropolitan police officer, being one of the offender...

    Re: Walmart and Sam Walton's "radical thought"

    Tobias Lim on 15 April
    Responses: 0

    Dear John List, Firstly, congratulations on your new role as Chief Economist at Walmart. It’ll be interesting to see the experiments and initiatives that your team gets up to over the next few years. (I’ve also picked up a copy of your book, The Voltage Effect, and ...

    Re: How Do We Talk About Economics

    Tobias Lim on 12 July
    Responses: 0

    Dear Eleanor, I’m not Paul Krugman. But I enjoyed the letter that you wrote to him on ‘thinking about economics’. Perhaps I can share a few thoughts with you because I am curious as to what you might make of them. (For context, my background is in economics and fi...

    The Online Safety Bill

    Dana on 7 November
    Responses: 0

    Dear Nadine Dorries, I am writing to you today to express my concern over the UK government’s current approach towards understanding social responsibility in the digital world. As I am sure you are well aware in the past decade the internet has gone from a technological...

    The sight of a Labour Party mired in mediocrity and inertia is a sorry sight. What are your thoughts on these questions?

    Syed Hussain on 17 November
    Responses: 0

    Dear Tony Blair, Given the nature of this particular competition and your extraordinary career of course, we have not had the opportunity to meet. However, I would like to extend a degree of gratitude to you. I grew up in an inner-city London school which was revolu...

    The Strategic Importance of Rare Earth Metals

    Dale Joseph Ferrier on 4 April
    Responses: 0

    Dear Iain Duncan Smith, I hope this letter finds you well. I recently attended an event by the Ribble Valley Conservatives where you were their guest speaker. It seems many of those attending that night had questions to put to you, for which you gladly answered. I was unfor...

    'Painting is also about patience.'

    Eleanor on 19 June
    Responses: 0

    Dear Tracey Emin, A long-time fan of your work, I was struck recently by the words you quoted on Instagram from your friend David Dawson: ‘Painting’s not just about painting but it’s also about waiting.’ I completed my MFA at the Slade School of Fine Art in 2020, wit...

    Listen.

    Nazia Aktar on 7 October
    Responses: 0

    Dear Boris Johnson, I am writing to let you know what it feels like to be a female, in a world where it seems that there is no support. Whilst the days are getting darker and the streets are becoming unsafe, all I wish to do is go home to the lovely warmth. Some days I ...

    Causation or Correlation

    Sarah Ouattara on 14 October
    Responses: 0

    Dear Barack Obama, I hope to letter finds you well, When you first took office in 2008 I was seven years old and you were the first presidency that I was conscious enough, politically and otherwise, to have a relative understanding of. Like every black kid in the word...

    The declining birth rate of South Korea

    Geun Tak Yoo on 17 November
    Responses: 0

    Dear The next president-elect of the Republic of South Korea, Dear Mr./Ms. President-elect, Whoever you are, I congratulate you in advance. Several months from now, when you will be inaugurated as the head of state of the Republic of Korea(South Korea), the nation will be facing numerous challenges that requ...

    Reducing polarisation in Pakistani politics and society.

    Sarim A Samad Poonawala on 17 November
    Responses: 0

    Dear Imran Khan , You are a populist leader. And a certain amount of disappointment is to be expected when the country elects a populist because it is simply not possible to translate all the ambitious (and some outlandish) campaign promises into government policy. Ta...

    Work to pass the ‘Ius Soli/Culturae law’, I'm of the people it could help

    Ryan Bensen on 17 November
    Responses: 0

    Dear Enrico Letta, Dear Enrico Letta, My name is Ryan Bensen, I am 23 years old and currently studying Film&Politics at university in Scotland. I was born near Siena (Italy), the city in which you were voted for this October, and grew up in the province of Lucca,...

    What if economics demanded a diversity of real world experience?

    Tobias Lim on 4 April
    Responses: 0

    Dear Paul Kofman, Now and then we hear the suggestion that economists are in need of some formal accreditation. Accountants, lawyers, doctors, pilots, and teachers, after all, require certification before they can practice. So why not economists? Yes, if only we had m...

    Mr. President, why are you so scared to do the job?

    Maanya on 3 November
    Responses: 0

    Dear Joe Biden, I am writing to you to tell you that you have wasted an opportunity. Eighty one million people voted for you last year, and I feel that you are letting them down. You worked very hard to reach this point, so why are you throwing it away? You are a De...

    For a better London: "car-free days" to counter air pollution

    Dounia Zavarzine on 8 November
    Responses: 0

    Dear Sadiq Khan, I am writing to you today to express my concerns regarding the level of air pollution in London. First, I would like to note that it is encouraging to see that the Capital is striving to act on this problem through the implementation of policies such...

    Ban conversation therapy for sexual orientation and gender identity

    Liam Barrett on 15 November
    Responses: 0

    Dear Kemi Badenoch, I’m writing to you as a member of the LGBTQ+ community urging you to universally ban, not just restrict, conversation therapy for sexual orientation and gender identity. As the Minister for Equalities, it is your duty to uphold and preserve the legal...

    It stuns and unnerves me that rapists walk free and good people are imprisoned.

    Molly Stazicker on 22 November
    Responses: 0

    Dear Priti Patel, How would you feel if on your twenty-first birthday you were sentenced to prison? Upon hearing the news that twenty-one year old Louis McKechnie will be sentenced to jail for three months, I feel sick. He is a student of mechanical engineering, hopi...

    Issues and opportunities for the local council

    Christopher Crompton on 22 April
    Responses: 0

    Dear Councillor Rose Burley, Thank you for your recent letter in support of your renewed candidacy as councillor for Bentley and Darlaston North. You may not remember me, but I rang you during the early stages of Covid regulations after Walsall Council had taken the decision to ...

    Never a matcha whisk in or on-site.

    Eleanor on 26 August
    Responses: 0

    Dear Pano Christou, I am writing to you as someone who has spent a while working in the food and drink industry. I have done many a busy shift making the types of drinks that you sell at Pret, and I don’t think that your staff are given adequate training, resulting in v...

    Do you want to bear the cost for not addressing the climate crisis?

    Juna Ahmia on 7 October
    Responses: 0

    Dear Olaf Scholz, I am writing you as a concerned member of society, who cares about having the least amount of humans possible die from the effects of the climate crisis we are in. You will likely become the new chancellor of Germany. Within that role, you will hav...

    A young girl's concerns about Trump's governance.

    Aparna Hari on 9 November
    Responses: 0

    Dear Donald Trump, Jr., I hope this letter finds you hale and hearty, My name is Aparna. Now straight to the matter I shall jump, A word of caution –I’m not an American nor am I a supporter of your party. Why then, am I writing to you, sir? Oh, because I’m worried, and for...

    Experiences of the President of US

    Murray Hamilton on 16 November
    Responses: 0

    Dear Barack Obama, I am writing to say how much I admire the work, ethic and morals you continue to live by and take in your stride even after leaving office. By listening to you and Springsteen in “Renegades: Born in the USA”and reading your autobiography “A Promised ...

    Cutting Trees to Cut Down on Wildfires

    Griffin Harris on 11 April
    Responses: 0

    Dear Joe Biden, As we head deeper into springtime this year, millions of Americans across the western United States are gearing up for what is sure to be another intense fire season. Over the past several years, our country has experienced a dramatic uptick in sev...

    Brief thoughts on doughnut economics and lock-in issues

    Tobias Lim on 19 April
    Responses: 0

    Dear Kate Raworth, On the front cover of my copy of your book, Doughnut Economics, reviewer George Monbiot calls you “The John Maynard Keynes of the 21st Century”. While I’m sure that glowing endorsement helped you to sell more books, it made me cringe inside a little....

    The public rightly expect government to be conducted properly, competently and seriously.

    Rishi Sunak on 14 July
    Responses: 0

    Dear Boris Johnson, It is with deep sadness that I am writing to you to resign from the Government. It has been an enormous privilege to serve our country as Chancellor of the Exchequer and I will always be proud of how during the pandemic we protected people’s jobs an...

    Food waste in the UK

    Alice on 12 October
    Responses: 0

    Dear Robert Courts, I am writing to you with a question: is it right that we throw away perfectly good-to-eat food whilst 1 in 8 families in the UK struggle to afford to eat? I would like to think that, for most people, the answer to this question is an obvious 'no'. ...

    Tony Blair's years in power.

    Aoife Kennedy on 13 October
    Responses: 0

    Dear Tony Blair, I must admit, when you came forward as the new Prime Minister in 1997, I thought you'd be a good egg. Although I wasn't born yet, when I learnt about you in school at the beginning I was content with you. Well that and the fact that you met Noel Gall...

    Guns in America

    on 22 February
    Responses: 0

    Dear BJ Campbell, Hello BJ! I had an idea for a potential line of inquiry to pursue, in the spirit of Impossible Conversations and Adversarial Collaborations. The general domain of inquiry is guns, gun violence, and the relationship between gun control, gun rights,...

    Tonight I handed in my letter of resignation to the Chief Whip.

    Simon Hart on 18 July
    Responses: 0

    Dear Boris Johnson, I had desperately hoped that I could avoid writing this letter, but alas there seems no other option left but to step down from my role as Secretary of State for Wales. You will be remembered as a Prime Minister with energy, vision, determination an...

    A decent and responsible Government relies on honesty, integrity and mutual respect.

    Brandon Lewis on 18 July
    Responses: 0

    Dear Boris Johnson, It is with regret that I submit my resignation from the Government. It has been an incredible honour to serve in Government over the last ten years under three Prime Ministers, most recently as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. Through the ch...

    I have no confidence in your leadership

    Mims Davies on 18 July
    Responses: 0

    Dear Boris Johnson, It is with deep regret and with a very heavy heart that I tender my resignation as Employment Minister. It has been a privilege to serve in your government and in particular this role where I have helped give work opportunities to many thousands of ...

    Loyalty is directed to the party, our values, and ultimately the communities we represent, not any one individual.

    Luke Hall on 18 July
    Responses: 0

    Dear Boris Johnson, I write to resign as Deputy Chair of the Conservative Party. I had taken the view that there must be parliamentary oversight of the inevitable leadership contest. However, there are others who can provide that. The current situation is clearly unten...

    hxjfjdj

    Benji 🌞🌿 on 10 August
    Responses: 0

    Dear Boris Johnson, hxbbxbxhx, nfjxjx jdjdjdj hdjxjxjr jdjdjb. hhxjdj chhd, bdjjd hhd. xhjd hsss. Jshdjxbd uxhdj lfidhe hdjdj, jshsgd hxhd khsg hd. hdjd. hdjdjd jdjs jshsg ixh, did ;hfdj, hdhusi idh hdhs kfhd. hudi udhdb kfhdh hdj. hdjsudd jcjjd hshdhm kfhd. ifh, ifh...

    Unite the Party, Unite the Left, and show the public that you are a leader

    Josh Diebel on 17 October
    Responses: 0

    Dear Keir Starmer, I am writing to discuss the current position of the Labour party, in how it has the potential to change the current political, economic and social situation for Britain, but is failing to convince the public to support its cause. It is too simple to ...

    protection of women and their safety

    Nicole Rodrigues on 18 October
    Responses: 0

    Dear Boris Johnson, I am writing this letter in order to address this current major issue regarding the safety of women in the UK which has clearly sky rocketed to hundreds of women who are at risk due to lack of protection by the police who themselves are the danger an...

    I can explain it, but can you understand it?

    Seema Machaca on 26 October
    Responses: 0

    Dear Any Lebanese Politician (i.e. Najib Mikati, Hassan Diab, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah), I always start my letters with ‘I hope you are doing well’ as a common courtesy, but honestly, after the suffering you have put my country through, that is far from the truth. I am in no way shape or form qualified to be a politician and nor do I ...

    Rule or Lead Hungary?

    Mariusz Dunai on 5 November
    Responses: 0

    Dear Viktor Orban, I would like to write to you today, because I am interested what Hungary do you imagen? Because the way you rule the country right now, not only stop it from developing, but make it worse than it was. The government should focus on education and hea...

    Poverty.

    Victoria on 9 November
    Responses: 0

    Dear Antonio Guterres, I am writing to express my concern about poverty. I think that it is a vital issue that we need to take immediate action for because it could save many people. I am Victoria Lazaridou, an English Literature student from the University of Roehampton, ...

    A Question About Intent

    Sasha Goloborodko on 15 November
    Responses: 0

    Dear Nicola Sturgeon, As a trans person living in Britain, it is a self-evident reality that the nation is hostile towards gender-diverse people politically. Despite this, you have come out publicly in January in support of trans right, much to the chagrin of the right-wi...

    Financial/Environmental proposal

    Markela Gega on 16 November
    Responses: 0

    Dear Michelle Donelan, Let me take this opportunity to introduce myself and the reason I am addressing you. I am writing this letter to express my concerns about the environment, and its impact on us students of Brunel University London and other young adults who share the...

    Lockdowns have made us realise the role of nature and the land in helping with mental and physical health

    Dexter Twycross on 17 November
    Responses: 0

    Dear Sajid Javid, The coronavirus pandemic of the past two years brought several deep societal issues to the forefront of public conversation. For many, it crystallised problems that had previously seemed intangible, shining light on failing healthcare systems, inequa...

    800,000 people die as a result of suicide. The mental health crisis needs your immediate attention.

    Katie Madden on 17 November
    Responses: 0

    Dear Boris Johnson, I am writing this letter because the mental health crisis requires your immediate attention. One in four people will experience a mental health problem. Every year, 800,000 people die as a result of suicide. The coronavirus pandemic has seen an incre...

    I would be honoured to meet you around a cup of tea to exchange ideas

    Louis Gouget on 22 November
    Responses: 0

    Dear Theresa May, I would like to thank you for considering my invitation. I hope my statement will convey how keenly I am attracted to politics and the reasons I would like to meet you to speak about the current political climate that Britain is facing. I am a 19-ye...

    The UK's cost of living is a crisis.

    Eleanor on 22 April
    Responses: 0

    Dear Boris Johnson, The cost of living crisis is spiralling out of control in the UK. Your time in power has coincided with the entirety of my adult life, and I have spent that adulthood watching my country become a steadily more difficult place to attain even the most ...

    Investing in affordable rail.

    Eleanor on 20 May
    Responses: 0

    Dear Jo Stevens, I have been a Cardiff resident in your constituency for around a year now, and am writing to you regarding my experiences of train price rises across Wales. I have not travelled by train in perhaps more than a year due to the constantly increasing pr...

    With great sadness I must resign from government.

    Michelle Donelan on 18 July
    Responses: 0

    Dear Boris Johnson, It has been the privilege and honour of my life to serve for our country in the department which I believe is the most important, the true engine of opportunity, the Department of Education. I have spent my career dedicated to trying to create oppor...

    With deep regret I am resigning from the government.

    John Glen on 18 July
    Responses: 0

    Dear Boris Johnson, After much thought and with deep regret I must inform you that I have made the difficult decision to resign from the government. It has been a great privilege to serve as Economic Secretary to the Treasury under three Chancellors, but I can no longe...

    The chaos in your Cabinet & No10 this month is destroying our credibility. It can’t go on.

    George Freeman on 18 July
    Responses: 0

    Dear Boris Johnson, It is with huge regret that I am writing to let you know that I no longer have confidence in your leadership of our country, Government or Party and am writing formally to Sir Graham Brady to register my support for a change of Conservative Party lea...

    Christianity and Me

    Dale Joseph Ferrier on 22 September
    Responses: 0

    Dear Internet, [justify][highlight=transparent]A few weeks ago whilst at our usual Saturday night excursion to the village local, our conversation somehow got onto religion. Someone in our group said something seemingly insignificant, but it sparked a small epiphan...

    'Indeed, we didn't survive under our yoke, becoming for ourselves worse than foreign enemies?'

    Sofiya on 16 October
    Responses: 0

    Dear Vladimir Putin, Dear Mr Putin, Since early childhood, I could not imagine my life without my country. And you were my role model. You were the image of power, the ability not to rule but to help people and to move forward the whole amazingly huge country with incre...

    Poverty, Corruption and Healthcare

    Gloria Nwachukwu on 23 October
    Responses: 0

    Dear Muhammadu Buhari, I am writing to express my concern for the country of Nigeria following recent events and my personal experience in the country over this past year. I reside in London, England, however me and my family are originally Nigerian and have visited the co...

    Environment and Climate Crisis

    Maeve Schaffer on 4 November
    Responses: 0

    Dear Boris Johnson, Destruction of homes. Mass starvation. Devastation on a mass scale. My future isn't looking too great right now. Climate change always felt so far off, and for your generation, Mr. Johnson, you may be lucky enough to avoid its most dire consequen...

    The neglect of seafarers during the pandemic is amoral as their labour sustains life across the globe

    Alishba Zaman on 17 November
    Responses: 0

    Dear Joe Biden, Our lives are intimately tied to and dependent upon the labour of seafarers. This is because ninety per cent of the world's goods are transported through shipping. However, despite this intimate connection to the lives of almost everyone across the g...

    Ecologism, Social issues

    on 17 November
    Responses: 0

    Dear Tony Blair, Social issues demand a social element. They are issues that bind us to one another as a community, as a state, and as individuals. As such, it is essential to communicate with the neighbour, to speak to our friends, to convey how we feel to the world...

    The Lekki Tollgate Massacre and the Open Government Partnership you founded

    Soni Gold on 17 November
    Responses: 0

    Dear Barack Obama, My name is Soni Gold. I am from Nigeria, a country that holds so much promise because of its human and natural resources, yet so much pain for the ordinary citizen because of poor, corrupt leadership. I have lived in Nigeria for five decades, first ...

    Social issues demand not just the human social element, the Earth is the singular issue.

    Ethan Santos-Gardner on 17 November
    Responses: 0

    Dear Tony Blair, Social issues demand a social element. They are issues that bind us to one another as a community, as a state, and as individuals. As such, it is essential to communicate with the neighbour, to speak to our friends, to convey how we feel to the world...

    There are only so many times you can apologise and move on.

    Helen Whately on 18 July
    Responses: 0

    Dear Boris Johnson, With sincere regret I am resigning from HM Government. I stood for Parliament because I want to make our country a better place to live. I am grateful to you for giving me the opportunity to serve as Arts Minister, Care Minister and Exchequer Secret...

    Government simply cannot function with you in charge.

    Guy Opperman on 18 July
    Responses: 0

    Dear Boris Johnson, It has been the honour of my life to serve as a government minister, under three successive Prime Ministers, including these last five years as Pensions Minister. My view is that it is important to work as a team and deliver on the priorities that m...

    The cumulative effect of your errors of judgement and domestic actions have squandered the goodwill of our great Party.

    Caroline Johnson on 18 July
    Responses: 0

    Dear Boris Johnson, It is with deep sadness that I am writing to you to resign as Vice Chair of the Conservative Party. This is not a decision I have arrived at lightly, and it has been an honour to work as part of your team. I have been loyal and supported you through...

    My letter is to Georgias’ former president who is in the prison currently. Facing multiple difficulties. As people are protesting and striking against the electoral fraud. It is very bad economical - and not only situation in Georgia.

    Ana-Maria on 5 November
    Responses: 0

    Dear Mikheil Saakashvili, I am writing to say, even though you have made multiple mistakes and made people angry, I still appreciate you, you made the little country Georgia, which was often mistaken for the state of Georgia,globally-known, you made people believe in little h...

    The dehumanizing image of Immigration depicted by today's British Government.

    Samanta on 16 November
    Responses: 0

    Dear Priti Patel, I am an eighteen-year-old currently studying Politics & International Relations and the proud daughter of two incredibly hardworking and diligent immigrants. I am writing to you about the “crisis” of Immigration that we face both as a Nation and Wo...

    School curriculum update

    Yasmin Turner on 19 November
    Responses: 0

    Dear Nadhim Zahawi, Before I state the purpose of my letter, I would like to congratulate you on your new appointment as Secretary of State for Education. I believe, if even just going by your excellent and efficient Covid vaccine programme as vaccine deployment ministe...

    Prime Minister, you have lost my confidence

    Sajid Javid on 14 July
    Responses: 0

    Dear Boris Johnson, It was a privilege to have been asked to come back into Government to serve as Secretary of State for Health & Social Care at such a critical time for our country. I have given every ounce of energy to this task, and am incredibly proud of what we ha...

    I cannot defend the indefensible.

    Alex Chalk on 18 July
    Responses: 0

    Dear Boris Johnson, With great sadness I am resigning as Solicitor General. To be in government is to accept the duty to argue for difficult or even unpopular policy positions where that serves the broader national interest. But it cannot extend to defending the indefe...

    A jocular self-serving approach is bound to have its limitations.

    Jo Churchill on 18 July
    Responses: 0

    Dear Boris Johnson, It has been an enormous privilege to have been asked to serve my country as a Minister. I was honoured to be a Health minister during the pandemic and to work collectively with others to deliver care to the vulnerable and drive solutions to the chal...

    There comes a time when you have to look at your own personal integrity and that time is now.

    Stuart Andrew on 18 July
    Responses: 0

    Dear Boris Johnson, It is with real sadness that I write to tender my resignation from HM Government. I have been honoured to serve in a number of roles within government over the past few years, most recently as the Minister for Housing. This is a role, although havin...

    It was difficult to put aside previous transgressions. It must now be obvious that this is no longer even remotely possible.

    James Cartlidge on 18 July
    Responses: 0

    Dear Boris Johnson, I write to resign and, with regret, to leave the post of Courts' Minister. I felt duty bound to remain in post given the very challenging circumstances facing the criminal courts. I took the view there had to be some semblance of Government in this ...

    More important than any government or leader are the standards we uphold in public life.

    Damian Hinds on 18 July
    Responses: 0

    Dear Boris Johnson, With regret, I must resign from the government. I was grateful to you for asking me to return as security minister last year. It has been a particular privilege to serve in this role, and to have the opportunity, alongside dedicated officials, to su...

    Fighting Pay Disparities in Professional Tennis

    Tobias Lim on 24 September
    Responses: 0

    Dear Steve Simon, [highlight=transparent]Dear Steve Simon and Women’s Tennis Association,[/highlight] [highlight=transparent] [/highlight] [highlight=transparent]It feels like we are approaching the end of a generation after Serena Williams announced her possible reti...

    The Importance of General Aviation

    Dale Joseph Ferrier on 28 September
    Responses: 0

    Dear Anne-Marie Trevelyan, [justify][highlight=transparent]Firstly, I congratulate you on your appointment to the Department for Transport - a cornerstone for our Levelling Up agenda. I want to write to you to highlight a small but highly important area of the transport sector...

    Fermat, Pascal and Letters

    Tobias Lim on 29 September
    Responses: 2

    Dear Internet, [center][i][highlight=transparent]“I should like to open my heart to you henceforth if I may... I plainly see that the truth is the same at Toulouse and at Paris.” — Pascal to Fermat (1654) [0][/highlight][/i][/center] [highlight=transparent]We migh...

    What do you have to say to the people of Birmingham?

    Eleanor on 1 October
    Responses: 0

    Dear Jacob Rees-Mogg, As preparations for the Conservative party conference are underway in my home city of Birmingham, I am writing to you in your position as Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. This is a very salient time for me to write to you, as your party’s co...

    What are your views on the state of American politics and leadership today?

    Tobias Lim on 2 October
    Responses: 0

    Dear Erik SuarezΦ, [highlight=transparent]I saw your tweet about Collate a few days ago. [1] As an early adopter of the platform myself, I have to agree. I’ve been using Collate as an opportunity to reach out to public figures, to improve my writing, and to muse about ...

    Dealing With Our Gelatinous Ignorance

    Tobias Lim on 3 October
    Responses: 0

    Dear Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, [highlight=transparent]Firstly, I want to say thank you for your newsletter. For basketball fans around the world, your achievements, both on and off the court, have achieved a sort of mythical status. So it makes me happy that one of the greatest-of...

    RLD party is continuously committed to fight for the rights of farmers.

    Yash Chaudhary on 9 October
    Responses: 0

    Dear Internet, I am a politician of RLD party and this party is the party of the thoughts of former Prime Minister of India, Chaudhary Charan Singh ji. We are working to take these ethical ideas to the masses. Our party is continuously fighting for the rights of f...

    Bridges to Infinity and God

    Tobias Lim on 10 October
    Responses: 0

    Dear Michael Guillen, [highlight=transparent]A few weeks ago, I bought a worn copy of your book, Bridges to Infinity, from my local bookshop. The intriguing cover and table of contents caught my eye immediately. And having read the book, I can see why you won awards as a ...

    Nurturing a Child’s Lifelong Love for Books

    Tobias Lim on 13 October
    Responses: 0

    Dear Jan Hasbrouck, [highlight=transparent]I’ve been wondering about ways to improve global education outcomes around the world. In an ideal world, such a policy or initiative should: (1) help students to discover and unlock their potential; (2) not drain the public cof...

    Solitude, Obligations, and a Rewarding Life

    Tobias Lim on 18 October
    Responses: 4

    Dear Fenton Johnson, [highlight=transparent]I want to thank you for writing At the Center of All Beauty. I appreciated your reflections on silence, solitude, and the creative life. I also enjoyed the serenity you evoked as I moved from page to page. More importantly, yo...

    Don't fund the EACOP

    Sunny Morgan on 20 October
    Responses: 0

    Dear Sim Tshabalala, As Africa’s biggest lender, Standard Bank has a responsibility to invest wisely, with a strong regard for the environmental and social impacts of the projects it finances. Yet, the bank is reportedly still considering contributing to financing the 1,...

    Truss was the first Tory leader in decades to wrap herself in the image of Thatcher. But would the Iron Lady have approved of Trussonomics?

    Sir Anthony Seldon on 24 October
    Responses: 3

    Dear Lord Charles Moore, [color=rgb(34, 34, 34)][highlight=transparent]It is an honour to be corresponding about Lady Thatcher with the most distinguished authority and interpreter of her in the world. [/highlight][/color]   [color=rgb(34, 34, 34)][highlight=transparent]Brit...

    Alternative Technology for Biomedical Waste Disposal, Govandi Deonar Mumbai

    Govandi Citizens #𝑺𝒂𝒗𝒆𝑮𝒐𝒗𝒂𝒏𝒅𝒊  on 28 October
    Responses: 0

    Dear Internet, Story of the residents fighting to shut down the biomedical waste treatment plant in Govandi. It was during the COVID-19 pandemic that I realised that I must join the fight for clean air. As biomedical waste increased tenfold at health facilities an...

    Learn from Liz Truss’s mistakes, but don’t let them put you off economic growth

    Jason Reed on 28 October
    Responses: 0

    Dear Rishi Sunak, In taking over as prime minister from Liz Truss, you have inherited a difficult economic and political situation, to say the least. As a Tory who leans libertarian, I opposed your leadership bid over the summer and was thrilled by Truss’s refreshing ...

    test to kevin

    Kevin P2 on 30 October
    Responses: 0

    Dear Kevin P., [justify]Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Maecenas et suscipit purus. Sed placerat augue et ullamcorper imperdiet. Donec nec hendrerit tortor. Curabitur viverra sapien non leo lobortis iaculis. Duis ullamcorper risus et porta ...

    Please, can you tell us how to protect democracy?

    Tobias Lim on 7 November
    Responses: 0

    Dear Jennifer Dresden, [highlight=transparent]I am an ordinary citizen who is concerned about the future of democracy. You know better than I that the US midterm elections will be a bellwether for things to come.[/highlight] [highlight=transparent]You gave a fantastic int...

    Edit Buttons, Selfies and Life

    Tobias Lim on 8 November
    Responses: 0

    Dear Internet, [highlight=transparent]I have sometimes wished for an edit button on this platform. I even went as far as to send the founder of Collate a request for this very feature. I happen to be a clumsy perfectionist, you see. I have an uncanny knack for find...

    Joe biden have big wrong as economically because he distributed billions of dolars in the pandemic .

    Hamit Mumcu on 10 November
    Responses: 0

    Dear Biden, Joe biden have big wrong as economically because he distributed billions of dolars in the pandemic . This was bad thing for economic but that was good as social state . All world effected this progress. All stock markets had big acceleration as posi...

    Thickheaded Corporations

    Tobias Lim on 14 November
    Responses: 0

    Dear Internet, [highlight=transparent]A few months ago, a family-friend who we will call Valerie bought two tickets for herself and her friend for travel long overdue. They were excited to visit someplace exotic after extended lockdowns and closed international bor...

    An Addendum to Gelatinous Ignorance

    Tobias Lim on 14 November
    Responses: 0

    Dear Internet, [highlight=transparent]A few weeks ago, I wrote a short letter about the “[/highlight][color=rgb(17, 85, 204)][highlight=transparent][url=https://www.collate.org/closed_letter/dealing-with-our-gelatinous-ignorance/sender]gelatinous ignorance[/url][/h...

    Why are video games so violent?

    Tobias Lim on 15 November
    Responses: 0

    Dear Michael Kasumovic, [highlight=transparent]I came across an interesting article on [/highlight][color=rgb(17, 85, 204)][highlight=transparent][url=https://newsroom.unsw.edu.au/news/science-tech/why-do-we-play-violent-video-games#:~:text=Kasumovic%20says.,to%20satisfy%20...

    Love, Terror, and Brainwashing — How can we stop cult-like politics?

    Tobias Lim on 15 November
    Responses: 0

    Dear Alexandra Stein, [highlight=transparent]In light of recent political developments, I was looking for books and papers to better understand the nature of human organization and social structure. I found your research on cults especially illuminating. So t[/highlight]h...

    What are your plans for Cressbrook Dale?

    Christopher Crompton on 21 November
    Responses: 0

    Dear Rachel Elnaugh, I have been visiting the Peak District National Park for many years and regard Cressbrook Dale as one of its gems of natural beauty and biodiversity. The woodland and wildflowers through the seasons are a particular joy, and as National Park access l...

    A question about the mindful athlete

    Tobias Lim on 21 November
    Responses: 0

    Dear George Mumford, [highlight=transparent]I bought my second copy of The Mindful Athlete a few days ago. This time, I plan to give it to a friend as a Christmas gift. You see, this friend of mine is facing a series of setbacks and personal hardships. But I am hopeful t...

    In Praise of Classical Music

    Dale Joseph Ferrier on 22 November
    Responses: 0

    Dear Internet, [justify][highlight=transparent]Our culture around the world is immensely varied with a myriad of arts, traditions, and literature. But possibly the most defining of these for each of our societies is music. The various ways we generate what would or...

    Letters to Tarkovsky

    Tobias Lim on 4 December
    Responses: 0

    Dear Internet, When a nobody like myself writes in letter form to a public figure, there is only a small probability that she will see my words amidst the flood of mail and messages that she inevitably receives. Beyond that, there is an even smaller chance that she...

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