COURT RULES ORGANIC FARMERS CAN SUE CONVENTIONAL GMO FARMERS WHOSE PESTICIDES ‘TRESPASS’ AND CONTAMINATE THEIR FIELDS...

Jun 30, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Court rules organic farmers can sue conventional, GMO farmers whose pesticides ‘trespass’ and contaminate their fields Purveyors of conventional and genetically-modified (GM) crops — and the pesticides and herbicides that accompany them — are finally getting a taste of their own legal medicine. Minnesota’s Star Tribune has reported that the Minnesota Court of Appeals recently ruled that a large organic farm surrounded by chemical-laden conventional farms can seek damages for lost crops, as well as lost profits, caused by the illegal trespassing of pesticides and herbicides on its property. Oluf and Debra Johnson’s 1,500-acre organic farm in Stearns County, Minn., has repeatedly been contaminated by nearby conventional and GMO farms since the couple started it in the 1990s. A local pesticide cooperative known as Paynesville Farmers Union (PFU), which is near the farm, has been...

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JUST FIVE COMMON FOODS PRODUCE MORE GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS THAN NEARLY ALL COUNTRIES...

Jun 29, 2016 Posted by

[Translate]   by Natasha Geiling GRIST CREDIT: AP Photo/J.D. Pooley, File Think about the last time you ate something that included wheat, soy, corn, rice, or palm oil. As some of the most common commodity crops in the world, it’s likely that your last meal contained at least one of these ingredients, even if you weren’t aware of it. Palm oil can hide in things like sandwich bread or pizza dough, while soy can find its way into everything from cereal to canned soups. That means that, knowingly or not, your last meal probably helped contribute to the greenhouse gas pollution that is driving global climate change. According to a new report from Oxfam America, the production of these five commodity crops emits more greenhouse gases annually than each of the world’s countries, save...

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RACE IS ON TO FEED A WARMING WORLD...

Jun 24, 2016 Posted by

[Translate]   By Tim Radford / Climate News Network  VIA TRUTHDIG     Millions throughout Africa depend on maize, but new crop varieties can barely keep pace with the warming climate. (Kate Holt / AusAID via Wikimedia Commons) This piece first appeared at Climate News Network. LONDON—It can take up to 30 years to improve a crop variety, test it and persuade farmers to adopt it. That means the speed of climate change in Africa could make a new variety of maize useless even before the first harvest, according to new research. But two separate studies that address the challenge of food security in a rapidly warming world suggest that the answers may lie not just in future weather but in today’s soils. One says that better soil data can be used to predict...

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Why Conserving Crops’ Wild Cousins May Be Critical for Human Survival...

Jun 22, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Food As global food requirements grow with a skyrocketing human population, genes from wild relatives of common crops could play a big role. By Kristen Satre Meyer / Ensia  VIA ALTERNET Portrait of a young woman at work in greenhouse,in uniform and clipboard in her hand . Greenhouse produce. Food production. Tomato growing in greenhouse. Photo Credit: Vlad Teodor/Shutterstock Wild cousins aren’t always appreciated at family gatherings. But when it comes to crops, the opposite is often true: Plant breeding has historically relied on genes from plants growing in the wild as a source of diversity that can be introduced into crop plants to produce new crop varieties that are more resilient, nutritious and productive than those currently cultivated. As human populations increase and shift away from traditional diets, demand for food is...

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4 Things You Can Do to Help Out Threatened Honey Bees...

Jun 17, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Environment Protecting pollinator health is an issue of global importance, but individuals can make a difference. By Danielle Nierenberg, Lani Furbank / Food Tank   VIA ALTERNET bee on flower Photo Credit: DoeLay/Flickr CC According to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), approximately 80 percent of all flowering plant species reproduce with the help of pollinator animals like bees, butterflies, birds, and more. This accounts for at least one third of the world’s food crops, including tomatoes, pepper, strawberries, coffee, apples, carrots, almonds, cocoa, and thousands of others. Without pollinators, most plants could not produce fruits and seeds, and agricultural biodiversity would suffer–according to FAO, bees, bats, birds, and other pollinators, increase global food production by 87 percent. Unfortunately, the world is seeing a decline in pollinator populations. From land-use change and pesticide use...

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A NEW KIND OF URBAN FARM IN DETROIT...

Jun 16, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] THE DIRT   Jared Green Penrose market garden / Jared Green In the Penrose neighborhood of Detroit, two landscape architects, partners in business and life, are testing out a new model: the market garden. While Detroit has acres of non-profit-run farms growing fresh fruit and vegetables that are then donated to communities, Ken Weikal, ASLA, and Beth Hagenbuch, ASLA, who run GrowTown, want to show the residents of this poor community in Detroit and elsewhere that anyone can apply an intensive, efficient farming method to one-third of an acre, grow high-value produce in all four seasons, and make $50,000 – $70,000 a year. But their market farm model is really just one component of a more ambitious plan they are leading in the community, with support from the Kresge Foundation, non-profits, affordable housing developers...

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FEDS FINALLY ADDRESS THE RISKS OF WIDELY USED AG CHEMICAL – ATRAZINE...

Jun 6, 2016 Posted by

[Translate]   A new government report on the weed killer atrazine highlights risks to wildlife that researchers have been pointing to for years. (Photo: David Mdzinarishvili/Reuters) Willy Blackmore is TakePart’s Food editor.   A 500-some-page draft assessment on an agricultural chemical from a federal agency is generally not the stuff of intrigue and redemption. But just such a document could upend the American corn industry, generate strict new regulations for a chemical company in the midst of being acquired by a Chinese firm for $43 billion, and clear the name of a researcher who nearly had his reputation destroyed. The document published Thursday by the Environmental Protection Agency reads, “This risk assessment concludes that aquatic plant communities are impacted in many areas where atrazine use is heaviest, and there is potential chronic risk to...

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Honey Bees Are in Decline, but There’s Another, Unsung Bee Who Could Save the Planet’s Food Supply...

Jun 2, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Food Gentle, good-natured and hardworking, mason bees are more efficient pollinators than honey bees—and can help orchard growers and everyday gardeners get more from their plants. By Dave Hunter, Jill Lightner / Mountaineer Books  VIA ALTERNET Mason Bee (Osmia bicornis) Photo Credit: Jaco Visser/Shutterstock The following is an excerpt from the new book Mason Bee Revolutionby Dave Hunter & Jill Lightner (Mountaineers Books, 2016): Why Keep Gentle Bees? When people hear “beekeeping,” the image they picture is almost always of honey bee keepers in white, helmeted spacesuits fretting over their hives for hours at a time and purchasing fairly heavy-duty equipment just to get started. But the options for home beekeeping are far more interesting than that image evokes, and many are much, much simpler. Social vs. Solitary There are thousands of species...

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DOES THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES REPORT ON GMOS SETTLE THE DEBATE?...

Jun 2, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Brought to you by FlexPVC®  TRUTH IN MEDIA The National Academy of Sciences has released a new report declaring genetically engineered food safe for humans and the environment, but is there more to the story? The debate over genetically engineered or modified foods will likely continue despite a damning new report from the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine which concluded that genetically engineered (GE) foods do not pose a health or environmental risk. Critics of the report point to conflicts of interests between researchers with the National Academy of Sciences and biotechnology companies involved in the creation of GE crops. The report,Genetically Engineered Crops: Experiences and Prospects, also acknowledged that the GE crops are also not producing increasing yields of crops, as has been promoted by supporters of GE technology. The Associated...

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FARMING’S DIRTY NEEDS HAVE A DEADLY EFFECT...

May 26, 2016 Posted by

[Translate]   By Tim Radford / Climate News Network     Fertilizers are a major contributor to air pollution in the United States, Europe, Russia and China. (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics) This piece first appeared at Climate News Network. LONDON—Farming is a dirty business—so dirty now that, according to new research, air pollution from agriculture in the form of fine particles of lung-choking dust outweighs all other human sources of that kind of pollution. These particles are calculated to cause around 3.3 million deaths a year worldwide—and most of this lung-penetrating murk is from fertilisers. Back in 1950, the world produced 20 million tons of artificial fertilisers, but farmers now spread on their fields every year around 190 million tons. Ammonia from the nitrogen-based compounds gathers in the air, and combines with the...

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CHILDREN IN FARM COMMUNITIES PAY A STEEP PRICE FOR THE FOOD WE EAT...

May 15, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Civil Eats About the Writer Elizabeth Grossman is a senior reporter for Civil Eats focused on environmental and science issues. She is the author of Chasing Molecules, High Tech Trash, Watershed and other books. Her work has appeared in a variety of publications, including Scientific American, Environmental Health Perspectives, Yale e360, Ensia, High Country News, The Pump Handle, Chemical Watch, The Washington Post, TheAtlantic.com, Salon, The Nation, and Mother Jones. Photo courtesy of Bread for the World. Children in Farm Communities Pay a Steep Price for the Food We Eat The evidence linking pesticide exposure to childhood cancers and learning and behavioral problems has grown increasingly strong. By Elizabeth Grossman on May 10, 2016 Filed Under: Food Justice, Pesticides Subscribe  993  268 Tumblr1 Google +2  15 If you’re an urban parent, you might...

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WHY THERE’S A SEARING ETHIOPIAN DROUGHT WITHOUT AN EPIC ETHIOPIAN FAMINE...

May 15, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] governance By Andrew C. Revkin Photo Cattle are led in search of water in Ethiopia’s Oromia region.Credit Nancy McNally / Catholic Relief Services I hope you’ll read “Is the Era of Great Famine Over,” an Op-Ed article by Alex de Waal, the executive director of the World Peace Foundation at Tufts University, which has a program tracking famine trends. Filing from Ethiopia, which is in the midst of a potent drought but — for a change — not a calamitous famine, de Waal made these core points:  How did Ethiopia go from being the world’s symbol of mass famines to fending off starvation? Thanks partly to some good fortune, but mostly to peace, greater transparency and prudent planning. Ethiopia’s success in averting another disaster is confirmation that famine is elective because, at its...

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INTENSE FARMING PRACTICES CAN HELP SAVE WILDLIFE...

Apr 16, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] TAKE PART DAILY Human population growth means we need to farm more efficiently so we don’t plow what’s left of the world’s natural habitat. (Photo: Chris Winsor/Getty Images) Richard Conniff is the author of House of Lost Worlds: Dinosaurs, Dynasties, and the Story of Life on Earth, and other books.   You probably don’t think agricultural intensification could ever be a good thing. And you certainly wouldn’t expect an argument for more of it in a column about wildlife. But here’s the deal: If we don’t figure out how to grow more food on less land, we’re going to have to plow under what little remains of the natural world and turn it into farmland. And we have to figure it out fast, because there are going to be 10 billion people to...

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THIS IS YOUR BRAIN ON FUNGICIDES...

Apr 14, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] By Mark Sumner  DAILY KOS This guy might not be the only one who ends up in a fog. Science Matters Daily Kos While Republicans are actively trying to bring back DDT to please big agriculture, concern is growing about other pesticides and fungicides that are already out there. In your food. In your body. In your brain. … a team of University of North Carolina Neuroscience Center researchers led by Mark Zylka subjected mouse cortical neuron cultures—which are similar in cellular and molecular terms to the the human brain—to 294 chemicals “commonly found in the environment and on food.” The idea was to see whether any of them triggered changes that mimicked patterns found in brain samples from people with autism, advanced age, and neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s. This is initial research, and obviously mouse brain...

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Why Is the USDA Silencing Its Own Scientists’ Warnings About the Dangerous Effects of Pesticides?...

Apr 12, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Environment Government whistleblowers are our first line of defense against unscrupulous companies and purchased politicians responsible for the poisoning of honeybees. By Evaggelos Vallianatos / AlterNet bee keeper with bee colony Photo Credit: Pazargic Liviu/Shutterstock [Editor’s note: Evidence has been mounting that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has been silencing its own bee scientists who have raised the alarm about the deadly impact that pesticides, particularly neonicotinoids, have on bees. Last month, for example, the Washington Post reported the story of Jonathan Lindgren, a USDA bee scientist, who filed a whistleblower suit alleging that he was disciplined to suppress his research. In 2014, Dr. Jeffery Pettis, another USDA bee scientist and beekeeping advocate, was demoted, leading several beekeeping and environmental organizations to express concern that the agency has actively suppressed bee science that...

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LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE IN THE NEWS HIGHLIGHTS (MARCH 16-31)...

Apr 11, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] THE DIRT  by J.R. Taylor A new public square in the Fawwar refugee camp in the West Bank, June 2014 / Adam Ferguson/The New York Times/Redux via NY Review of Books Municipality Updating Anchorage’s Dated Land Use Plan – Alaskan Public Media, 3/17/16 “The most-recent projections – which have been adjusted since the price of oil has declined – anticipate Anchorage’s population will grow between 15,000 and 45,000 people within the next 25 years.” A Closer Look at Oceanwide Center’s Proposed Public Open Space – Hoodline, 3/22/16 “The team behind the massive office, hotel and residential development proposed for First and Mission streets, Oceanwide Center, has grand plans for their open space requirement. If approved, 47 percent of the project’s ground-floor area will be privately-owned public open space, accessible to anyone.” Why Landscapers...

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TREATING SOIL A LITTLE DIFFERENTLY COULD HELP IT STORE A HUGE AMOUNT OF CARBON...

Apr 11, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] by Natasha Geiling CLIMATE PROGRESS CREDIT: Shutterstock   Climate change is a massive problem with the potential to completely reshape the world, both literally (with rising sea levels and melting glaciers) and figuratively (with the way we grow food, or the way that we handle allergies). And while the consequences caused by climate change could be huge, the solutions — transitioning to a completely fossil fuel-free economy, or geoengineering — can often seem equally daunting. But what if something as simple as the dirt under your feet could help mitigate some of the worst of climate change? The Earth’s soils contain a lot of carbon, and helping to manage and restore them could be a key way to help tackle climate change, according to a recent study in Nature. Soils are already huge...

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One-Third of All Food Produced Globally Never Finds Its Way Onto a Plate...

Apr 9, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Food The majority of food waste ends up in landfills where it releases methane, a greenhouse gas 21 times stronger than carbon dioxide, into the atmosphere. By Nicole Mormann / EcoWatch  VIA ALTERNET April 8, 2016 It’s easy not to think about food waste when your rotting tomatoes and days-old casserole dishes are hidden away in the back of the refrigerator—out of sight, out of mind. But when it comes time to clean it out, you have to face a lot of waste food, money and the resources that took to produce it. While food waste has made a rapid rise in terms of public awareness recently, new research suggests that the future effect could end up accelerating climate changeat a worrisome rate in coming years. According to a study released Thursday by Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact...

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FOR THE FIRST TIME, A STATE JUST BANNED NEONICOTINOIDS, A PESTICIDE THREATENING POLLINATORS...

Apr 9, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] by Natasha Geiling CLIMATE PROGRESS CREDIT: Shutterstock   Bonnie Raindrop has been beekeeping for just nine years, but that’s been more than enough time to see the precipitous decline in bee populations that has been plaguing Maryland. Last year, according to the USDA, Maryland beekeepers lost 61 percent of their honeybee populations, which is two times higher than the national average. Over the last five or so years, Raindrop herself has witnessed crushing losses in her own hives, fluctuating between 50 and 100 percent. Which is why Raindrop is so happy that the Maryland legislature has started to take notice. Thursday night, the Maryland House and Senate agreed upon and jointly passed a final version of the Maryland Pollinator Protection Act, which would eliminate consumer use of neonicotinoids, a widely-used class of pesticides...

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We’ve Changed a Life-Giving Nutrient Into a Deadly Pollutant—Can We Change It Back?...

Apr 6, 2016 Posted by

[Translate]   Environment In the process of producing food, we’ve inadvertently filled our planet with toxic forms of nitrogen. By Elizabeth Grossman / Ensia   VIA ALTERNET A lot of dead fish on the beach Photo Credit: Brandon Seidel/Shutterstock Coastal dead zones, global warming, excess algae blooms, acid rain, ocean acidification, smog, impaired drinking water quality, an expanding ozone hole and biodiversity loss. Seemingly diverse problems, but a common thread connects them: human disruption of how a single chemical element, nitrogen, interacts with the environment. Nitrogen is absolutely crucial to life — an indispensable ingredient of DNA, proteins and essentially all living tissue — yet it also can choke the life out of aquatic ecosystems, destroy trees and sicken people when it shows up in excess at the wrong place, at the wrong time, in...

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WILDFIRES, FLOODING AND EXTREME FARMING: CHECK OUT THESE ILLUMINATING NASA IMAGES OF EARTH...

Apr 6, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] NASA just released 2.95 million satellite images to the public VIDEO Peter Cooper  SALON.COM   Share Video Embed code Select Video link Select The Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) was launched in 1999 and has photographer 99% of the Earth’s surface! The initial projection was a five year run but it has far surpassed that time frame and will continue to monitor Earth.  2.95 million images were made public on April 1st. Watch the above video to get a small taste of the...

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CLIMATE CHANGE IS SUCKING THE COLORADO RIVER DRY...

Apr 4, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Shutterstock By John Upton GRIST Cross-posted from ClimateCentral Even as the number of Americans relying on the Colorado River for household water swells to about 40 million, global warming appears to be taking a chunk out of the flows that feed their reservoirs. Winter storms over the Rocky Mountains provide much of the water that courses down the heavily tapped waterway, which spills through deep gorges of the Southwest and into Mexico. ow water levels in late 2014 at Lake Powell, which is a Colorado River water reservoir built along the border of Utah and Arizona.Low water levels in late 2014 at Lake Powell, which is a Colorado River water reservoir built along the border of Utah and Arizona.Jessica Mercer But flows in recent decades have been lighter than would have been expected...

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GENETICALLY MODIFIED CROPS CAN THRIVE AS THE WORLD WARMS...

Apr 4, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] By Alex Kirby / Climate News Network  VIA TRUTHDIG     Rice harvesting in Indonesia. (Curt Caremark / World Bank via Flickr) This piece first appeared at Climate News Network. LONDON—Genetically engineering photosynthesis in plants could take advantage of rising global temperatures and increased levels of carbon dioxide, US scientists say. They believe this could achieve much higher yields on the same amount of land and help to stave off the prospect of widespread hunger as human populations increase. Researchers at the University of Illinois report in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B on their experiments with an enzyme that can determine the rate of photosynthesis—the way that plants use light to produce oxygen and organic compounds—and a molecule linked to plant growth They say field tests have shown that their...

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THIS PROGRAM WILL MAKE CUTTING CARBON EMISSIONS LUCRATIVE FOR FARMERS...

Mar 30, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Climate by Natasha Geiling CLIMATE PROGRESS CREDIT: Mark Isbell   When Mark Isbell, a third-generation rice farmer in central Arkansas, tallies up his profits for this year, he’ll count a few extra dollars from a unique source: the greenhouse gases that his 3,200-acre farm didn’t emit. Isbell is part of a small group of farmers participating in a new project piloted by the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), in conjunction with the USDA, and approved by the American Carbon Registry. The program encourages rice farmers in California and the Mid-South to adopt a series of greenhouse-gas mitigating practices on their fields by allowing them to cash in on the carbon emissions that they offset using California’s carbon market. “You always have to be looking forward,” Isbell told ThinkProgress. “It seems like this is the...

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CLIMATE DISRUPTION IN OVERDDRIVE: SUBMERGED CITIES AND MELTING THAT ‘FEEDS ON ITSELF’...

Mar 28, 2016 Posted by

[Translate]   By Dahr Jamail, Truthout | Report A flooded street sits unused in Elmhurst, Illinois, on July 24, 2010. (Photo: Clark Maxwell)   As the presidential campaign circus dominates headlines across the US, glaring signs the planet is undergoing abrupt anthropogenic climate disruption (ACD) abound. A major study published in Nature Climate Change shows that the planet is warming a stunning 50 times faster than when it comes out of an ice age. The implications of the rapidity of this warming, for those who care to digest it emotionally, are horrifying. The study shows that even if carbon reduction targets are achieved and the planet’s temperature is kept below the 2 degree Celsius warming threshold, sea-level rise will still inundate major coastal cities around the world, forcing one-fifth of the total world population...

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CARBON SINKS: THE NEXT BIG THING (PART 3)...

Mar 27, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] THE BLOG HUFFINGTON POST William S. Becker Executive Director, Presidential Climate Action Project This is the 3rd in a four-part post on using ecosystems to store carbon. Part 1 was about the need to bring the Earth’s carbon cycle back into balance. Part 2 discussed how restoring carbon sinks is a necessary part of America’s climate action plan. In this part, I describe why we should not always choose a technical fix to solve environmental problems. The late American critic Lawrence Clark Powell noted, “We are the children of the technological age”. He might have added that like children, we run to technology when we have a problem. We want a technical fix. A technical fix has appeal because it allows people to continue business as usual without the usual consequences — to...

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TRANSFORMING GUANTANAMO FROM PRISON CAMP TO ENVIRONMENTAL PARADISE...

Mar 26, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] The U.S. military in Cuba has preserved a unique ecosystem, and now scientists want to turn the notorious detention center into an ecological research center. A stretch of coastline in Cuba’s Guantánamo province. (Photo: DeAgostini/Getty Images) Padma Nagappan is a multimedia journalist who writes about the environment, renewable energy, sustainability, agriculture, and biotechnology. TAKE PART DAILY Can the United States’ notorious Guantánamo Bay prison camp for suspected terrorists be transformed into an American-Cuba research center dedicated to protecting the environment? Joe Roman, a conservation biologist at the University of Vermont, doesn’t think the idea is far-fetched if Guantánamo closes, given the recent progress in normalizing relations with Cuba and President Barack Obama’s historic visit to the Communist country this week Advertisement He says Cuba’s coastline is the “ecological crown jewel” of the Caribbean,...

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THE NETHERLANDS’ NEW DIETARY GUIDELINES TAKE MEAT OFF THE MENU...

Mar 25, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] by Natasha Geiling CREDIT: Shutterstock   The Dutch government has a new message for its residents: when it comes to meat, less is more. This week, the Netherlands Nutrition Centre — a government-funded program that creates dietary guidelines — issued a recommendation that people eat no more than two servings of meat per week. According to National Geographic, it’s the first time that the Nutrition Centre has placed a hard limit on the amount of meat a person should consume. The Centre released its recommendations after nearly five years of studying the health and ecological impacts of an average Dutch diet. The new guidelines recommend that a person should consume no more than 500 grams (or a little over a pound) of meat per week. Of that, no more than 300 grams should...

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NOW, EVEN SOIL IS ACCELERATING CLIMATE CHANGE...

Mar 24, 2016 Posted by

[Translate]   By Tim Radford / Climate News Network  VIA TRUTHDIG     Climate change is being accelerated by gases such as methane emitted by cattle. (Kman999 via Flickr) LONDON—In the great book-keeping of climate change, scientists have just discovered a big mistake. They have been wrong, they now think, to count on the mountains, the plains, the forests and the grasslands as an agency that slows climate change by absorbing carbon dioxide. It does absorb carbon dioxide. But the chilling news is that the soil itself may be making the world warmer. That is because humans have changed the way the landscape and its living things works, and now—thanks to those other greenhouse gases, methane and nitrous oxides, from cattle, fertilisers, manure and agriculture—the terrestrial biosphere is actually accelerating climate change. Twenty-three scientists...

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