Farm Bill is Loaded with Pork and Environmentally Disastrous Provisions
April 11, 2008 09:02 AM - , Organic Consumers Association
f you've ever driven through the southern end of California's Central Valley in September, you're familiar with the grids of lint-strewn cotton fields that blur by for nearly 2 1/2 hours. You might even have pondered the wisdom of planting such a thirsty crop as cotton on a million acres -- an area larger than Yosemite National Park -- in a state facing a water crisis. Then again, you might ask a similar question about the half a million acres of rice, a grain adapted to the monsoons of Asia, on the valley's northern end.
Can Amazonian Beef Be Sustainable?
April 11, 2008 08:56 AM - , Worldwatch Institute
One of Brazil's largest beef-export companies is expanding its Amazon operations, thanks in part to funding from the World Bank's private sector arm, the International Finance Corporation. The IFC says its investment is part of an historic effort to make cattle ranching in the region sustainable, but some environmentalists are skeptical.
Regulators urge halt in U.S. Pacific salmon fishing
April 11, 2008 08:31 AM - Reuters
SEATTLE (Reuters) - U.S. West Coast fisheries managers recommended on Thursday to halt virtually all commercial and sport salmon fishing in coastal waters off California and most of Oregon to preserve collapsing Chinook salmon stocks. The Pacific Fishery Management Council recommended what would be the strictest limits ever imposed on salmon fishing on the West Coast following a sharp decline on California's Sacramento River Chinook salmon run, typically one of the region's most abundant runs.
Food Prices Spiral Out of Control in the Developing World
April 10, 2008 09:50 AM - , Organic Consumers Association
These days you hear a lot about the world financial crisis. But there's another world crisis under way - and it's hurting a lot more people. I'm talking about the food crisis. Over the past few years the prices of wheat, corn, rice and other basic foodstuffs have doubled or tripled, with much of the increase taking place just in the last few months. High food prices dismay even relatively well-off Americans - but they're truly devastating in poor countries, where food often accounts for more than half a family's spending.
World food shortages to stay, riots a risk: FAO
April 9, 2008 07:32 AM - Reuters
NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Food riots which have struck several impoverished countries could spread with shortages and high prices set to continue for some time, the head of the United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said. A combination of high oil and fuel prices, rising demand for food in a wealthier Asia, the use of farmland and crops for biofuels, bad weather and speculation on futures markets have pushed up food prices, prompting violent protests in a handful of poor states.
Indonesia MP detained over forestry graft probe
April 9, 2008 07:01 AM - Reuters
JAKARTA (Reuters) - Indonesia's anti-graft body has detained for questioning a member of parliament in a suspected bribery case related to land use in protected forests in Riau islands off Sumatra, agency officials said on Wednesday. Five people, including the member of parliament, were detained in a five-star Jakarta hotel and a total of about 70 million rupiah ($7,599) was found in a room and a car, said Johan Budi, a spokesman for the agency, known as KPK.
California Threatens to Outlaw Sales of Raw Milk
April 7, 2008 08:22 AM - , Organic Consumers Association
California raw milk producers warn that a new law to impose strict requirements on raw milk, will outlaw and require the disposal of perfectly safe milk. AB 1735 requires that all raw milk sold in California be tested for 10 coliform bacteria per milliliter or less. But raw milk producers and activists say that most coliform bacteria is perfectly safe, and that tests are already carried out for a handful of such bacteria, including E. coli 0157:h7 and Listeria monocytogenes, that can cause disease in humans. The new law does not require testing for those bacteria.
More Companies Discontinuing Farm Animal Confinement
April 7, 2008 08:19 AM - Ben Block, Worldwatch Institute
More companies around the world are adjusting their farm-animal confinement policies and requesting clarification of consumer labels to reflect these changes. The moves come largely in response to U.S. voter-led initiatives and the implementation of farm policy reforms in the European Union. Animal confinement - forcing dense populations of chickens, pigs, or young cattle into cages, crates, or tight pens to more efficiently utilize farm space - is a common practice in the United States, Europe, and increasingly the developing world.
Bangladesh company makes yarn from cotton waste
April 2, 2008 07:28 AM - Reuters
DHAKA (Reuters) - Bangladesh has begun producing environmentally friendly yarn from cotton waste to save foreign currency on imports, a local company said on Wednesday. "We have set up the factory to produce cotton yarn by using waste from ready-made garment products to export to foreign markets," said Anwar-Ul-Alam Chowdhury Parvez, managing director of Evitex Polycot Limited (EPL).
World Mayors Propose Urban Water Declaration
April 1, 2008 09:40 AM - , Worldwatch Institute
Ankara, Turkey's capital and second largest city, dried up last summer. Faced with low rainfall and a shrinking reservoir, the city of 4 million resorted to water rationing. Hospitals delayed surgeries. Stray dogs died in the streets. Mayor Melih Gokcek asked residents to "wash your hair, not your bodies" and came under heavy criticism for alleged water mismanagement. In an effort to be better prepared for future droughts as well as the catastrophic dry spells expected to accompany climate change, Turkey's leaders and the World Water Council (WWC), a multi-stakeholder group based in Marseilles, France, are proposing a global declaration on urban water management strategies.