Agriculture

ADHD linked to pesticide exposure
January 29, 2015 06:57 AM - Rutgers University

A commonly used pesticide may alter the development of the brain’s dopamine system -- responsible for emotional expression and cognitive function – and increase the risk of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in children, according to a new Rutgers study.

Mice exposed to a commonly used pesticide in utero and through lactation exhibited several features of ADHD, including dysfunctional dopamine signaling in the brain, hyperactivity, working memory, attention deficits and impulsive-like behavior.

The research published Wednesday in the Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB), by Rutgers scientists and colleagues from Emory University, the University of Rochester Medical Center, and Wake Forest University discovered that mice exposed to the pyrethroid pesticide deltamethrin in utero and through lactation exhibited several features of ADHD, including dysfunctional dopamine signaling in the brain, hyperactivity, working memory, attention deficits and impulsive-like behavior.

Success! Private sector Soy Moratorium effective in reducing deforestation in the Amazon
January 23, 2015 08:12 AM - Kelly April Tyrrell, University of Wisconsin - Madison.

Today, fewer chicken nuggets can trace their roots to cleared Amazon rain forest.

In 2006, following a report from Greenpeace and under pressure from consumers, large companies like McDonald's and Wal-Mart decided to stop using soy grown on cleared forestland in the Brazilian Amazon. This put pressure on commodity traders, such as Cargill, who in turn agreed to no longer purchase soy from farmers who cleared rain forest to expand soy fields.

The private sector agreement, a type of supply chain governance, is called the Soy Moratorium and it was intended to address the deforestation caused by soy production in the Amazon.

Global wheat yields threatened by warming with serious consequences
January 19, 2015 08:23 AM - Paul Brown, The Ecologist

Just one degree of global warming could cut wheat yields by 42 million tonnes worldwide, around 6% of the crop, writes Paul Brown - causing devastating shortages of this staple food.

Market shortages would cause price rises. Many developing countries, and the hungry poor within them, would not be able to afford wheat or bread.

European study shows biofuel production can increase with low impacts
January 16, 2015 07:07 AM - EurActiv

EU countries could increase their production of biofuels with a minimum impact on the environment, Utrecht University scientists concluded in a study published on Tuesday (13 January). 

Biofuels are the main green alternative to fossil fuels used in transport, but they compete with feed crops that share the same agricultural land.

As a consequence, forests are being turned into farmland to increase the terrestrial surface for planting more food crops, a phenomenon known as indirect land use change (ILUC). 

Did Palm Oil Expansion Play A Role In The Ebola Crisis?
January 15, 2015 04:32 PM - Emmanel K. Urey, MONGABAY.COM

TThe Ebola outbreak in West Africa may have been the result of complex economic and agricultural policies developed by authorities in Guinea and Liberia, according to a new commentary in Environment and Planning A. Looking at the economic activities around villages where Ebola first emerged, the investigators analyzed a shift in land-use activities in Guinea's forested region, particularly an increase in oil palm (Elaeis guineensis) cultivation.

Why we need to reduce our "hidden water" usage
January 5, 2015 07:46 AM - ClickGreen staff, ClickGreen

The Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) is urging coordinated action to reduce the amount of hidden water used in food and drink production – estimated at up to 1.8 million litres per person every year equivalent to an Olympic size swimming pool. Each person consumes between 2,000-5,000 litres of water embedded in their food, every day – or between 730,000-1,825,000 million litres annually. Currently, around 90 per cent of all freshwater is used by agriculture (70 per cent) and industry (20 per cent), leaving just 10 per cent for domestic use.

Flavor and quality of wine impacted by Climate Change
December 30, 2014 09:07 AM - RP Siegel, Triple Pundit

It has been a challenge at times to get well-heeled and sometimes highly influential people to care about climate change. After all, having a great deal of money can serve to insulate someone from problems that afflict those less fortunate. Food prices going up, for example, not that big a deal. Coastal areas flooding out, go somewhere else for vacation. Many of those at the top of the heap are finding that business-as-usual is working very well for them, thank you very much. Besides, they might have significant investments in industries that could be threatened by changing to a more sustainable model. Perhaps, what is needed to get their attention is something that hits closer to home. Here is an item in England’s The Telegraph that might fit the bill: Apparently, rising temperatures in areas like France, Italy and Spain are affecting the flavor of certain wines. 

Carbon Dioxide Threat To Mussels' Shells
December 24, 2014 01:09 PM - The Ecologist, The Ecologist

The world's mussel population could be under threat as rising CO2 levels in atmosphere and oceans makes their shells weaker and more brittle shells - making them more vulnerable to stormy seas, and predation.

Going green has benefits beyond being good for you and the planet!
December 22, 2014 08:00 AM - ClickGreen staff, ClickGreen

You know that going green helps the environment and often your bank account, but it can also play a key role in reducing accidents. Green lifestyles are generally healthier ones, so don’t forget about that bonus perk when you go eco-friendly. Whether it’s reducing the amount of chemicals in your home, reducing the pesticides in your food, or avoiding the need for a DWI attorney because you never drive (especially not under the influence), here are a few ways eco-friendliness equates to fewer accidents: 

1. No chance of a car crash

Statistically, taking public transportation such as a bus or train, or walking or cycling, is much less dangerous than taking a car. Distracted driving is on the rise; just take a look at the official government (UK) Distraction.gov site for statistics on accidents caused from phones, radios, food and sleepiness. A greener approach to getting around is simply less prone to accidents than taking a car.
 

Can organic crops compete with industrial agriculture?
December 10, 2014 09:07 AM - UC Berkeley

A systematic overview of more than 100 studies comparing organic and conventional farming finds that the crop yields of organic agriculture are higher than previously thought. The study, conducted by UC Berkeley researchers, also found that certain practices could further shrink the productivity gap between organic crops and conventional farming.

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