Agriculture

The important role that agroecological farming can play to feed the world
September 23, 2014 11:02 AM - Nafeez Ahmed, The Ecologist

Governments must shift subsidies and research funding from agro-industrial monoculture to small farmers using 'agroecological' methods, according to the UN's Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food. And as Nafeez Ahmed notes, her call coincides with a new agroecology initiative within the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation. This is critical for future agricultural policies. Currently, most subsidies go to large agribusiness. This must change. Governments must support small farmers. Modern industrial agricultural methods can no longer feed the world, due to the impacts of overlapping environmental and ecological crises linked to land, water and resource availability.

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Record Radiation in South America
July 11, 2014 09:00 AM - Winfield Winter, ENN

Astrobiologists from the United States and Germany recorded the highest known level of solar UV radiation to reach Earth's surface. This was around 10 years ago. On December 29, 2003, the UV Index (UVI) peaked, reaching the blistering number of 43.3 over the Andes Mountains in Bolivia. To put this in context, a beachgoer in the United States would expect a UVI of 8 or 9 on a summer day. Even with an 8 or a 9, one may not escape the day without sunburn. Nonetheless, it has taken scientists 10 years to detail a report of this data while taking into account all of the variables and anomalies monitored from an international network of dosimeters — or Eldonets (European Light Dosimeter Network) — that measure UV radiation worldwide. This system is comprised of more than 100 stations across 5 continents to account for variation in the atmosphere above each station.

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SPOTLIGHT

Ski areas rejoice!

US Forest Service
The U.S. Forest Service finalized policy guidelines that will open opportunities for ski areas to promote year-round recreation activities that are natural resource-based and that will create additional jobs for communities with ski areas on the National Forests. "The new directives will help usher in a wider spectrum of developed recreation opportunities that will encourage more people to enjoy the national forests," said U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell. "This change will allow ski areas to offer expanded recreation choices that will benefit local communities and recreationists." The guidelines — referred to as directives — will be published in the Federal Register this week and take effect immediately. They will be used by agency administrators to determine which summer recreation activities and associated facilities will be allowed on ski areas operating on national forests. There are 122 ski areas on nearly 180,000 acres of public land administered by the Forest Service.

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