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Doubts About the Promised Bounty of Genetically Modified Crops PDF Print E-mail
Earth News
Posted by Joan Russow   
Sunday, 30 October 2016 13:06

BY DANNY HAKIM
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/30/business/gmo-promise-falls-short.html?smid=re-share&_r=0OCT. 29, 2016

Arnaud Rousseau, a sixth-generation farmer in France, in a field of rapeseed. Twenty years ago, Europe largely rejected genetic modification at the same time the United States and Canada were embracing it. CreditEd Alcock for The New York TimesLONDON — The controversy over genetically modified crops has long focused on largely unsubstantiated fears that they are unsafe to eat.
But an extensive examination by The New York Times indicates that the debate has missed a more basic problem — genetic modification in the United States and Canada has not accelerated increases in crop yields or led to an overall reduction in the use of chemical pesticides.
The promise of genetic modification was twofold: By making crops immune to the effects of weedkillers and inherently resistant to many pests, they would grow so robustly that they would become indispensable to feeding the world’s growing population, while also requiring fewer applications of sprayed pesticides.
Twenty years ago, Europe largely rejected genetic modification at the same time the United States and Canada were embracing it. Comparing results on the two continents, using independent data as well as academic and industry research, shows how the technology has fallen short of the promise.

Last Updated on Sunday, 30 October 2016 21:37
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Cultivating a Different Future for Rural Women in Argentina PDF Print E-mail
Earth News
Posted by Joan Russow   
Saturday, 15 October 2016 22:48

 

This article is published ahead of the International Day of Rural Women, celebrated October 15

Olga Campos (left), her grandson Jhonny and her sister-in-law Limbania Limache, on the three-hectare leased plot of land where they plant organic vegetables in El Pato, 44 km south of Buenos Aires.In cold, hot or wet weather they work every day in the vegetable garden. Credit: Guido Ignacio Fontán/IPS

 

EL PATO, Argentina, Oct 13 2016 (IPS) - Her seven children have grown up, but she now takes care of a young grandson while working in her organic vegetable garden in El Pato, south of the city of Buenos Aires. Olga Campos wants for them what she wasn’t able to achieve: an education to forge a different future.

I am 40 years old and I am just now going to school,.. something that I never thought I would do. As I was not able to go to school, to me as a mother the most important thing was that my kids got to go,” Campos told IPS in this town of 7,000 people in the municipality of Berazategui, (44 km from the capital of Argentina.)

Last Updated on Monday, 17 October 2016 14:00
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Conservation Congress Votes to Ban All Domestic Trade in Elephant Ivory PDF Print E-mail
Earth News
Posted by Joan Russow   
Wednesday, 14 September 2016 06:32

 

HONOLULU, Hawaii, Sep 11 2016 (IPS) - The international conservation community has taken an important step towards saving African elephants from mass slaughter by voting at a major congress to call on all governments to ban their domestic trade in ivory.

A resolution at the World Conservation Congress of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) was passed overwhelmingly by governments and NGOs on its last day on Saturday despite fierce opposition from a minority of countries led by Japan, South Africa and Namibia.

Tusks end up smuggled by criminal organisations to Asia where they are carved and sold openly -- mostly in China, Vietnam and Hong Kong -- under the guise of legal ivory imported before a ban on international trade came into force in 1989.

 

Motion 007 was the last and most contentious of 105 resolutions voted on at the 10-day IUCN congress in Honolulu. Delegates cheered and applauded as some 20 amendments put forward by Namibia and Japan were defeated, and the text of the resolution was approved.

The resolution, sponsored on the government side by the United States and Gabon, aims to deprive illegal poachers of market demand for elephant ivory. Results of a recently released Great Elephant Census of 18 African countries showed that poachers are killing some 27,000 savanna elephants a year, resulting in an annual population decline of 8 percent.

Activists say an elephant is being shot for its ivory every 15 minutes. Tusks end up smuggled by criminal organisations to Asia where they are carved and sold openly — mostly in China, Vietnam and Hong Kong — under the guise of legal ivory imported before a ban on international trade came into force in 1989.

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Politics for the planet: why nature and wildlife need their own seats at the UN June 30, 2016 3.32pm EDT PDF Print E-mail
Earth News
Posted by Joan Russow   
Sunday, 03 July 2016 10:08

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Street artwork in Sydney reminds us to think about how much we depend on the planet. Stefanie FishelAuthor provided

 

The Conversation

Academic rigor, journalistic flair

 

https://theconversation.com/politics-for-the-planet-why-nature-and-wildlife-need-their-own-seats-at-the-un-59892

Whether we consider wild weather, unprecedented Arctic melting and global temperatures, or the Great Barrier Reef, the global environment is generating alarming news. Predictions of multi-metre sea level rises, the collapse of marine biodiversity and food chains, and global warming far beyond 2℃ are equally concerning. Is our system of global environmental law and governance adequate to this crisis?

 

Our short answer is “no”, but what should be done? We believe new international institutions and laws are needed, with one fundamental purpose: to give a voice to ecosystems and non-human forms of life.

We say this knowing that the current global system is inadequate to respond to many human crises, but with the conviction that environmental justice often overlaps with social justice.

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Update Message from Captain Paul Watson PDF Print E-mail
Earth News
Posted by Joan Russow   
Wednesday, 29 June 2016 10:31
Last year Sea Shepherd shut down the entire illegally operated six ship fleet of Antarctic toothfish poachers.
 
This year Sea Shepherd shut down a six ship Chinese drift net fleet in the Indian Ocean with the STEVE IRWIN and arrested three Chinese trawlers in the waters of Gabon with the BOB BARKER
 
Last month the SAM SIMON crew arrested numerous poachers in the marine reserves of Sicily and earlier this year the MARTIN SHEEN and the FARLEY MOWAT confiscated over 50 illegal gill nets and longlines in the sea of Cortez and assisted in the arrest of totoaba poachers
 
Our efforts to work in cooperation with various governments and with Interpol is getting incredible results.
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Building Africa’s Energy Grid Can Be Green, Smart and Affordable PDF Print E-mail
Earth News
Posted by Joan Russow   
Friday, 17 June 2016 08:26

By Friday Phiri

A Congolese man transports charcoal on his bicycle outside Lubumbashi in the DRC. An estimated 138 million poor households spend 10 billion dollars annually on energy-related products such as charcoal, candles, kerosene and firewood. Credit: Miriam Mannak/IPS

A Congolese man transports charcoal on his bicycle outside Lubumbashi in the DRC. An estimated 138 million poor households spend 10 billion dollars annually on energy-related products such as charcoal, candles, kerosene and firewood. Credit: Miriam Mannak/IPS

PEMBA, Zambia, Jun 16 2016 (IPS) - It’s just after two p.m. on a sunny Saturday and 51-year-old Moses Kasoka is seated outside the grass-thatched hut which serves both as his kitchen and bedroom.

Physically challenged since birth, Kasoka has but one option for survival—begging. But he thinks life would have been different had he been connected to electricity. “I know what electricity can do, especially for people in my condition,” he says.

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New Protocol Aims to Cut Trillion-Dollar Food Waste Bill PDF Print E-mail
Earth News
Posted by Joan Russow   
Thursday, 09 June 2016 04:01

By Stella Paul| 

Tsering Dorji works on his farm in western Bhutan’s Satsam village. Due to inadequate transportation and marketing opportunities, he loses half of what he produces every rainy season. Credit: Stella Paul/IPS

Tsering Dorji works on his farm in western Bhutan’s Satsam village. Due to inadequate transportation and marketing opportunities, he loses half of what he produces every rainy season. Credit: Stella Paul/IPS

COPENHAGEN, Jun 8 2016 (IPS) - Four years ago, 27-year-old Tsering Dorji of western Bhutan’s Satsam village took to organic vegetable farming. Since then, thanks to composted manure and organic pesticide, the soil health of his farm has improved, and the yield has increased manifold.

Dorji, once a subsistence farmer, now has about 60 bags of surplus food every two months to sell and earn a profit.  But come the rainy season and he still loses thousands of rupees carrying his produce to markets that are miles away.

Last Updated on Thursday, 09 June 2016 04:08
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UN Chief Seeks Fast-Paced Ratifications for Climate Change Treaty PDF Print E-mail
Earth News
Posted by Joan Russow   
Wednesday, 20 April 2016 06:21

By Thalif Deen 

“Predictions are that the emission reduction pledges under the Agreement would lead to rise in temperatures beyond 3 degrees celsius, which would be catastrophic for the world,” Meena Raman told IPS. Credit: Manipadma Jena/IPS.

“Predictions are that the emission reduction pledges under the Agreement would lead to rise in temperatures beyond 3 degrees celsius, which would be catastrophic for the world,” Meena Raman told IPS. Credit: Manipadma Jena/IPS.

UNITED NATIONS, Apr 19 2016 (IPS) - Over 150 countries are expected to sign the Paris climate change agreement on April 22 but the historic treaty will not come into force until it has been ratified by 55 countries.

 

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who has hailed the agreement as “a landmark of international cooperation on one of the world’s most complex issues”, is hoping for fast-paced ratifications – perhaps before the end of the year so that it will also be considered as one of his lasting political legacies before he steps down in December.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 20 April 2016 07:24
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Three International Days in a Week, But Is Anybody Listening? PDF Print E-mail
Earth News
Posted by Joan Russow   
Wednesday, 23 March 2016 06:57

By Monique Barbut

Monique Barbut

Monique Barbut

 

BONN, Germany, Mar 22 2016 (IPS) - For three consecutive days this week, we gave thought to our future. On International Forests Day, Monday, 21 March, we were reminded that forests are vital for our future water needs. On Tuesday, 22 March, World Water Day, we learned that half the world’s workers are involved in the water sector and some 2 billion people, especially women and girls, still need access to improved sanitation. World Meteorological Day, on Wednesday, 23 March, concluded with the warning of a hotter, drier and wetter future. A reality that is already evident and frightening, as productive land turns to sand or dust.

 

 

Is anybody listening?

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OP-ED: Rising Temperature, Rising Food Prices PDF Print E-mail
Earth News
Posted by Joan Russow   
Sunday, 06 March 2016 13:04

By Lester R. Brown

By Lester R. Brown|

Many farmers will be forced to adapt to a changing climate. Geoffrey Ndung’u, from Kanyonga village in semi-arid Eastern Kenya, earns a living growing watermelons on his dry land. Credit: Isaiah Esipisu/IPS

 

Many farmers will be forced to adapt to a changing climate. Geoffrey Ndung’u, from Kanyonga village in semi-arid Eastern Kenya, earns a living growing watermelons on his dry land. Credit: Isaiah Esipisu/IPS

WASHINGTON, Aug 21 2013 (IPS) - Agriculture as it exists today developed over 11,000 years of rather remarkable climate stability. It has evolved to maximize production within that climate system. Now, suddenly, the climate is changing. With each passing year, the agricultural system is becoming more out of sync with the climate system.

In generations past, when there was an extreme weather event, such as a monsoon failure in India, a severe drought in Russia, or an intense heat wave in the U.S. Corn Belt, we knew that things would shortly return to normal. But today there is no ‘normal’ to return to. The earth’s climate is now in a constant state of flux, making it both unreliable and unpredictable.

Since 1970, the earth’s average temperature has risen more than one degree Fahrenheit. If we continue with business as usual, burning ever more oil, coal, and natural gas, it is projected to rise some 11 degrees Fahrenheit (six degrees Celsius) by the end of this century. The rise will be uneven. It will be much greater in the higher latitudes than in the equatorial regions, greater over land than over oceans, and greater in continental interiors than in coastal regions.

Related IPS Articles

·         Ecological Cuban Recipes Boost Sustainable Agriculture

·         Biofuels Get a Dubious Boost

·         Small Farmers Buffeted by Climate Change

As the earth’s temperature rises, it affects agriculture in many ways. High temperatures interfere with pollination and reduce photosynthesis of basic food crops. High temperatures can also dehydrate plants. When a corn plant curls its leaves to reduce exposure to the sun, photosynthesis is reduced.

The earth’s rising temperature also affects crop yields indirectly via the melting of mountain glaciers. As the larger glaciers shrink and the smaller ones disappear, the ice melt that sustains rivers, and the irrigation systems dependent on them, will diminish. The continuing loss of mountain glaciers and the resulting reduced meltwater runoff could create unprecedented water shortages and political instability in some of the world’s more densely populated countries.

Scientists also expect higher temperatures to bring more drought – witness the dramatic increase in the land area affected by drought in recent decades. A team of scientists at the National Centre for Atmospheric Research in the United States reported that the earth’s land area experiencing very dry conditions expanded from well below 20 percent from the 1950s to the 1970s to closer to 25 percent in recent years.

As the earth’s temperature rises, scientists expect heat waves to be both more frequent and more intense. Stated otherwise, crop-shrinking heat waves will now become part of the agricultural landscape. Among other things, this means that the world should increase its carryover stocks of grain to provide adequate food security.

From “Full Planet, Empty Plates: The New Geopolitics of Food Scarcity” by Lester R. Brown (New York: W.W. Norton & Co.) Supporting data, video, and slideshows are available for free download at www.earth-policy.org/books/fpep.

 

 

Last Updated on Sunday, 06 March 2016 13:11
 
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