Saturday, November 28, 2009
Friday, November 27, 2009
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Genetically-engineered corn, soybeans, and cotton now account for...
Nov. 26 -'09 - Organic Consumers' Asn.
4,200 Years of Farming on the Colorado Plateau
On the Colorado Plateau farming has been an unbroken cultural tradition for at least 4200 years. The Navajo, Zuni, Apache, Hopi, Paiute and Tewa have cultivated the most diverse annual crop assemblage in the New World north of the Tropic of Cancer.
The Wayana's Cultivated Eden
The farming system of the Wayana society of French Guyana is based on diverse and flexible cultivation, with characteristically high biodiversity. Organic agriculture and permaculture form a rich, biologically complex system of food production, complimented by wildcrafting, fishing, and hunting. In Wayana, there is no artificial separation between cultivated and wild areas, which is the basis for what we call permaculture.
The Milpa System and 20,000 Varieties of Corn
Few regions in the world have an organic farming system as sustainable and productive as the traditional milpa or "three sisters" organic corn fields of Mexico and Central America. The Mayan milpa tradition is the planting of heirloom varieties of corn in mounds or raised beds, intercropped with biologically complimentary species such as beans and squash, fertilized through natural processes, weeded, harvested and hulled by hand and tended individually. The ancient milpa tradition, in fact, has produced traditional varieties that are healthier and more pest-resistant than modern chemical and water-intensive hybrid and GMO varieties. There are over 20,000 varieties of corn in Mexico and Central America. In southern and central Mexico approximately 5,000 varieties have been identified. In one village in Oaxaca, researchers have identified 17 different micro-environments where 26 varieties of corn are growing. Each variety has been cultivated to adapt to elevation levels, soil acidity, sun exposure, soil type, and rainfall. Unfortunately Monsanto's genetically engineered corn - forced on Mexico by the Bush, Clinton, and Obama administrations - has begun to contaminate traditional Mexican corn varieties, while industry and consumer-induced global warming has spawned drought, pestilence, flooding, and killer hurricanes.
Andean Terraced Potatoes, With Thousands of Varieties
In the Andean region of South America, generations of farmers have domesticated thousands of potato varieties. Today, farmers cultivate up to 50 varieties on their farms. In the biodiversity reserve of the Chiloé archipelago in Chile, local people cultivate about 200 varieties of native potato. They use farming practices transmitted orally by generations of mainly women farmers. A long list of cultural and agriculture treasures from the Inca civilization has been carefully preserved and improved over centuries to guarantee living conditions over 4000 meters above sea level. Although grassroots opposition has stopped Monsanto's attempted invasion on the Andes and other regions of the Americas with its genetically engineered potatoes, constant vigilance and struggle will be required.
One of the most important and sustainable features of Andean agriculture is the terracing system used to capture water and prevent soil erosion. Terraces allow cultivation on steep slopes and in different altitudes. From a range of 2800 to 4500 meters, three main agricultural systems can be found: maize is cultivated in the lower areas, potato mainly at medium altitudes. Above 4,000 meters the areas are mostly used as rangeland, but can still be cultivated with high altitude varieties as well. In the high plateau, around Lake Titicaca, farmers dig trenches (called "sukakollos") around their fields. These trenches are filled with water, which is warmed by sunlight. When temperatures drop at night, the water gives off warm steam that serves as frost protection for several varieties of potato and other native crops, such as quinoa.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Nov.25 - '09 - Greenpeace
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Monday, November 23, 2009
The East Antarctic icesheet, once seen as largely unaffected by global warming, has...
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Photo courtesy of ChrisD.ca
Vegetarians aren't the only ones who should be concerned; there's soy in just about...
Soy fields encroachinig
on the Amazon jungle.
Courtesy of Mongabay
Friday, November 20, 2009
A favourite spot for millions of North Americans - the "Drive-thru." Often with their motors running, occupants eat/drink in their vehicles, even tho they could just as quickly (esp. when it's busy) park, actually turn off their motors & be waited on in the comfort of the restaurant. Estimates on the number of tonnes of greenhouse gasses needlessly produced in this way, are not available. l.p.
Report tracks a five-year upswing in fuel efficiency
“American drivers are increasingly looking for cars that burn cleaner, burn less gas and won’t burn a hole in their wallets,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “We’re working to help accelerate this trend with strong investments in clean energy technology – particularly for the cars and trucks that account for almost 60 percent of greenhouse gases from transportation sources. Cleaner, more efficient vehicles can help reduce our dangerous dependence on foreign oil, cut harmful pollution, and save people money -- and it’s clear that’s what the American car buyer wants.”
For 2008, the last year for which EPA has final data from automakers, the average fuel economy value was 21.0 miles per gallon (mpg). EPA projects a small improvement in 2009, based on pre-model year sales estimates provided to EPA by automakers, to 21.1 mpg.
The report confirms that average CO2 emissions have decreased and fuel economy has increased each year beginning in 2005. Average CO2 emissions have decreased by 39 grams per mile, or 8 percent, and average fuel economy has increased by 1.8 mpg, or 9 percent, since 2004. This positive trend beginning in 2005 reverses a long period of increasing CO2 emissions and decreasing fuel economy from 1987 through 2004, and returns CO2 emissions and fuel economy to levels of the early 1980s.
The report also provides data on the CO2 emissions, fuel economy and technology characteristics of new light-duty vehicles including cars, minivans, sport utility vehicles, and pickup trucks.
The latest CO2 emissions and fuel economy values reflect EPA’s best estimates of real world CO2 emissions and fuel economy performance. They are consistent with the fuel economy estimates that EPA provides on new vehicle window stickers and in the Fuel Economy Guide. These real world fuel economy values are about 20 percent lower, on average, than those used for compliance with the corporate average fuel economy program under DOT.
More information on the trends report: http://www.epa.gov/otaq/fetrends.htm
Note: If a link above doesn't work, please copy and paste the URL into a browser.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
KANSAS CITY, Nov 17 (Reuters) - The rapid adoption by U.S. farmers of genetically engineered corn, soybeans and cotton has promoted...
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Monday, November 16, 2009
A film that tries to get to the bottom of
the mystery of the disappearing bees with some success
The Vanishing of the Bees  is the cinematic equivalent of “Watch with Mother” about the importance to the planet of the honeybee. It patiently unravels the mysterious Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) implicated in the mass disappearance of honeybees from their hives across the world. Bees have one of the most important jobs in nature. Without their busy pollination of plants and flowers we would lose one in every three bites of the food that we eat (see Box 1).
approximately one third of hives have collapsed over the last two years. These losses are attributed to CCD and account for the loss of around 800 000 colonies in 2007 and a staggering 1 million colonies in 2008. A Steering Committee has been set up to monitor the progress of CCD . Bee losses have also been reported around the world in Argentina, Brazil, France, Italy, Germany, Greece and Spain.
Bees are big business, and their industry, worth billions of dollars, is teetering on the brink of collapse. In the USA, commercial beekeepers transport hives around the country so that the bees can pollinate apples, blueberries, cranberries, raspberries, oranges and pumpkins. The annual Californian almond bloom demands almost all the commercial bees to pollinate the nut harvest. Since CCD has decimated the native bee population, the importation of bees from Australia to pollinate food crops has become the norm. The prime suspect in CCD is the introduction of a relatively new class of pesticides called neonicotinoids  (see Mystery of Disappearing Honeybees SiS 34). Neonicotinoids are systemic pesticides that remain in the leaves, pollen and nectar throughout the plants lifecycle. The link to CCD was first noticed in France where honeybee losses were observed and honey production dropped from 40 000 to 25 000 tons between the years 1995-2001. These events occurred after a particular neonicotinoid called imidacloprid was applied as a seed dressing to sunflower crops  (see Requiem for the Honeybee SiS 34).
Bayer CropScience, the manufacturer of neonicotinoids with silly names such as “Gaucho” and “Poncho” say that imidacloprid is safe. Despite this, Gaucho is now banned in Italy, France,
Germany and Slovenia, but not in the USA, Canada, or the UK. In 2008, the American Beekeepers Federation officially refuted bad beekeeping practices being blamed for the
decline of the honeybee by bringing a civil law suit against Bayer, which is still ongoing. They are not alone. A German organization called Coalition against Bayer Dangers is suing
the company for marketing dangerous pesticides and thereby causing the mass death of bees all over the world . An annual turnover of nearly 800 million Euros makes neonicotinoids one of Bayer's most important products. "This is the reason why Bayer, despite serious environmental
damage, is fighting against any prohibitions," says Coalition spokesman Philipp Mimkes. Bayer AG, the parent company of Bayer CropScience is responsible for the development of the drug heroin (diacetylmorphine) which was sold as an over the counter cough medicine under the Bayer trademark up until World War I . Concern about the relationship between the chemical corporations and the environmental agencies is described in the film as, “The fox guarding the hen house.” For example, the only scientific research submitted to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on the safety of neonicotinoid sprays was done by Bayer’s own toxicologist. This research took the form of a three day trial of imidocloprid, which was fed to the bees in a sugar solution. No tests were required on the bee brood in its developmental stage, or on the pollen, or on honey, and the results of the feeding trial were revealed at
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Press release - La Via Campesina (Rome, 15th of No.'09)
Nursing a baby in a wellness clinic. (The Nestle corporation has a long and dubious history of discouraging women to breast-feed, so they can peddle their own baby formula and pad their bottom line.)
La Via Campesina is appalled by the arrogance of the private sector and especially Nestlé in pretending to...
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Friday, November 13, 2009
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Deforested area for
agricultural in State
of Mato Grosso, Brazil.
(flickr photo by leoffreitas)
Influence wielded by coal-producing states - 25 of them - is the big reason the U.S. is a climate-change laggard
Jeffrey Sachs - Sachs is a professor of economics and director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University.
TAR SANDS - Canada's Mordor - Council of Canadians
“To me, the tar sands are Canada’s Mordor. The air is foul, the water is being drained and poisoned and giant tailings ponds line the Athabasca river” – Maude Barlow, Council of Canadians Chairperson and Senior Advisor on Water to the President of the UN General Assembly
Canada's Sorry Climate Change Policies - Sierra Club Canada
“Under Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Conservative government, Canada has become an international pariah at climate change summits.”
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Posted: 10 Nov 2009 06:02 PM PST
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - November 10, 2009
WASHINGTON – A new EPA study shows concentrations of toxic chemicals in fish tissue from lakes and reservoirs in nearly all 50 U.S. states. For the first time, EPA is able to estimate the percentage of lakes and reservoirs nationwide that have fish containing potentially harmful levels of chemicals such as mercury and PCBs.
“These results reinforce Administrator Jackson’s strong call for revitalized protection of our nation’s waterways and long-overdue action to protect the American people,” said Peter S. Silva, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Water. “EPA is aggressively tackling the issues the report highlights. Before the results were even finalized, the agency initiated efforts to further reduce toxic mercury pollution and strengthen enforcement of the Clean Water Act – all part of a renewed effort to protect the nation’s health and environment.”
The data showed mercury concentrations in game fish exceeding EPA’s recommended levels at 49 percent of lakes and reservoirs nationwide, and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in game fish at levels of potential concern at 17 percent of lakes and reservoirs. These findings are based on a comprehensive national study using more data on levels of contamination in fish tissue than any previous study.
Burning fossil fuels, primarily coal, accounts for nearly half of mercury air emissions caused by human activity in the U.S. , and those emissions are a significant contributor to mercury in water bodies. From 1990 through 2005, emissions of mercury into the air decreased by 58 percent. EPA is committed to developing a new rule to substantially reduce mercury emissions from power plants, and the Obama Administration is actively supporting a new international agreement that will reduce mercury emissions worldwide.
The study also confirms the widespread occurrence of PCBs and dioxins in fish, illustrating the need for federal, state and local government to continue efforts to reduce the presence of these harmful chemicals in our lakes and reservoirs and ensure that fish advisory information is readily available.
It is important that women of child-bearing age and children continue to follow the advice of EPA and the Food and Drug Administration on fish consumption as it relates to mercury. This study is also a strong message to state and local governments to redouble their efforts in looking for opportunities to reduce mercury discharges, as well as developing fish advisories, especially to reach those in sensitive and vulnerable populations.
Results from the four-year National Study of Chemical Residues in Lake Fish Tissue show that mercury and PCBs are widely distributed in U.S. lakes and reservoirs. Mercury and PCBs were detected in all of the fish samples collected from the nationally representative sample of 500 lakes and reservoirs in the study. Because these findings apply to fish caught in lakes and reservoirs, it is particularly important for recreational and subsistence fishers to follow their state and local fish advisories.
EPA is conducting other statistically based national aquatic surveys that include assessment of fish contamination, such as the National Rivers and Streams Assessment and the National Coastal Assessment. Sampling for the National Rivers and Streams Assessment is underway, and results from this two-year study are expected to be available in 2011. Collection of fish samples for the National Coastal Assessment will begin in 2010.
The world is much closer to running out of oil than official estimates admit, according to a whistleblower at the...
Sunday, November 8, 2009
OTTAWA - Private members bill will address ‘civil rights issue of our generation’...
Saturday, November 7, 2009
(Narrative source, below, unknown)
Denmark is a big shame.
The sea is stained in red and in the mean while it's not because of the climate effects of nature.
It's because of the cruelty that the human beings (civilised human) kill hundreds of the famous and intelligent Calderon dolphins.
This happens every year in Feroe iland in Denmark. In this slaughter the main participants are young teens.
To show that they are adults and mature.... BULLLLsh
In this big celebration, nothing is missing for the fun. Everyone is participating in one way or the other, killing or looking at the cruelty "supporting like a spectator"
Is it necessary to mention that the dolphin calderon, like all the other species of dolphins, it's near instinction and they get near men to play and interact. In a way of PURE friendship
They don't die instantly; they are cut 1, 2 or 3 times with thick hocks. And at that time the dolphins produce a grim extremely compatible with the cry of a new born child.
But he suffers and there's no compassion till this sweet being slowly dies in its own blood
We will send this mail until this email arrives in any association defending the animals, we won't only read. That would make us accomplices, viewers.
Take care of the world, it is your home!
Editor's note: If they really want to prove their manhood, perhaps they should try the same thing with sharks! l.p.
Minister of Fisheries and Oceans
Government of Canada
Dear Honourable Ms. Shea,
Would the Government of Canada consider using its good offices to
speak out about the inhumane and destructive practice of slaughtering
endangered and defenseless dolphins off a Danish island each year?
Perhaps this could be done through the United Nations and/or Canada's representative(s) at a Law of the Seas conference?
I hope you will visit the site (see active link below) for more details of this shameful practice.
I would appreciate a response at your earliest convenience.
Dear Peter, (Mansbridge),
I wonder if The National would consider covering the annual slaughter of defenseless and endangered dolphins (see photo attached) which apparently happens each year off a Danish Island (see active link below for details).
Secondly, perhaps Rex could provide us with another commentary in support of this ritual, as he did for the Newfoundland seal hunt. (I'd recommend he looks at the numerous photos of this event before he does this.)
More and more Americans are finding other ways to get around in greener...
Friday, November 6, 2009
Thursday, November 5, 2009
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
A giant mechanical digger gouges out a chunk of topsoil...
Editor's note: Aerial photos
of the tar sands
like this one are now being
touted as works of art!
Our callousness toward the
natural world is surely now
UN and EU pile pressure on US to set ambitious carbon cuts...
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Jonathan Safran Foer's new book, "Eating Animals," has inspired a lively discussion here at HuffPo about how we produce the food...
GENEVA - A rare Panamanian tree frog, a rodent from Madagascar and two lizards found only in the Philippines are among...
Photo by Graham Powell