Agriculture

2011 Toyota Sustainable Mobility Seminar
April 7, 2011 03:48 PM - Kathleen Neil, Contributiing Editor,ENN

What choice will consumers make? After attending the 2011 Toyota Sustainable Mobility Seminar in La Jolla, California (April 4-7, 2011), this is what I walked away thinking. In all respects, Americans are already asking themselves questions like this about the life they live. With regard to the cars we drive it is time to think hard about the way we drive and what we drive. Presenters at the seminar addressed, and in many cases provided the current findings about fuel cells, hydrogen, electricity, the electric grid and electric cars. Economic forces, geopolitical forces and the DOE directed Future Transportation Fuels Study were explored in detail. The choices for a greener driving future are proliferating and each has its advantage and disadvantage. The economic costs to our society in moving toward a greener driving future were reviewed in exploring the many mobility choices we must make as a society and as consumers. Again this year I loved being behind the wheel of the almost to market (Spring 2012?) Plug-in Hybrid Prius and with the announcement during the Seminar of the sale of the one-millionth Prius in the U.S., it’s easy to see that Toyota understands what the hybrid consumer is looking for. Now a more focused approach to the spending of scarcer infrastructure/development dollars is warranted and the key to that approach will be all of us discussing what type of car we as consumers will pay a bit more for and how much it matters to us to be free to ‘put the pedal to the metal’. It’s like turning out the lights when you leave the room, we all know we should do it but don’t always stop to think.

Coffee Production and Climate Change
April 6, 2011 09:49 AM - Editor, Global Warming is Real

As if there were a need for even more evidence that global warming is a real, verifiable and evidenced threat, new research is showing Central and South American coffee production is drastically dropping because of higher global temperatures. Add extreme rainfall totals to the mix and the result is rampant insects and damaged plants. If economics won't convince people the earth is warming, perhaps interrupting their coffee supply will.

Maine Town Passes Local Food and Community Self-Governance Ordinance Becomes First in US to Declare Food Sovereignty
March 28, 2011 02:39 PM - John Reinhardt, Grown in the City, Organic Consumers Association

The town of Sedgwick, Maine, population 1,012 (according to the 2000 census), has become the first town in the United States to pass a Food Sovereignty ordinance. In doing so, the town declared their right to produce and sell local foods of their choosing, without the oversight of State or federal regulation.

Eco-farming can double food output in developing world
March 9, 2011 07:10 AM - Alister Doyle, Retuers Environment Correspondent OSLO

Many farmers in developing nations can double food production within a decade by shifting to ecological agriculture from use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, a U.N. report showed on Tuesday. Insect-trapping plants in Kenya and Bangladesh's use of ducks to eat weeds in rice paddies are among examples of steps taken to increase food for a world population that the United Nations says will be 7 billion this year and 9 billion by 2050. "Agriculture is at a crossroads," according to the study by Olivier de Schutter, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on the right to food, in a drive to depress record food prices and avoid the costly oil-dependent model of industrial farming. "Agroecology" could also make farms more resilient to the projected impact of climate change including floods, droughts and a rise in sea levels that the report said was already making fresh water near some coasts too salty for use in irrigation.

Tequila plant holds promise as arid biofuel source
March 8, 2011 08:49 AM - Lucina Melesio Friedman, SciDevNet

[MEXICO CITY] A plant more commonly known for its role in the production of the alcoholic drink tequila has been overlooked as a source of biofuel that would not compete with food crops, say experts. Agave plants can sustain high yields while enduring extreme temperatures, droughts and CO2 increases, with little need for irrigation, according to a series of papers in a special issue of Global Change Biology Bioenergy published last month (February).

Butanol as Gasoline Substitute from Bacteria
March 2, 2011 08:52 AM - Andy Soos, ENN

Butanol may be used as a fuel in an internal combustion engine. Because its longer hydrocarbon chain causes it to be fairly non-polar, it is more similar to gasoline than it is to ethanol. Butanol has been demonstrated to work in vehicles designed for use with gasoline without modification. University of California, Berkeley, chemists have engineered bacteria to churn out a gasoline-like biofuel (butanol) at about 10 times the rate of competing microbes, a breakthrough that could soon provide an affordable transportation fuel. The potential feedstocks are the same as for ethanol: energy crops such as sugar beets, sugar cane, corn grain, wheat and cassava, prospective non-food energy crops such as switchgrass and even guayule in North America, as well as agricultural byproducts such as straw and corn stalks.

Risk Management Rules and Farms
February 28, 2011 08:00 AM - Andy Soos, ENN

Farms do not have highly hazardous chemicals? It is not just factories that use such chemicals but so do farms. ADI Agronomy, Inc., which owns a group of farm supply facilities in southeast Missouri and northeast Arkansas, has agreed to pay a $54,922 civil penalty to the United States for chemical Risk Management Program violations at its Ag Distributors retail facility at Kennett, Mo., which sells liquid fertilizer made with anhydrous ammonia. EPA Region 7 issued an administrative compliance order to the Kennett facility in July 2010, after an inspection noted eight violations of the chemical Risk Management Program regulations contained in the federal Clean Air Act. Specifically, Ag Distributors failed to establish and implement maintenance procedures to ensure the ongoing integrity of its anhydrous ammonia process equipment, and failed to document that the equipment complied with recognized and generally accepted good engineering practices, among other violations.

ENN Community Launches
February 23, 2011 03:50 PM - Editor, ENN

Great news today! We've launched a brand new community for ENN! This feature brings a whole new dimension to our site by creating a vibrant space for our readers and environmental enthusiasts to interact with each other and weigh in with YOUR opinions about topics related to our news articles. That's right, it's your turn at the mic! Time to jump in and start sharing. We are really excited to have you all begin posting your thoughts and tips -- you can start by rating your favorite environment topics, and then begin to share tips and reviews as well. You can also check out the latest reviews from fellow readers to share your comments and compliments. There are lots of ways to get the most out of our new community -- take a few polls and see some of the badges that you can unlock, too. Have fun checking out the newest part of ENN and thanks for helping us kick off a thriving reader community!

WWF calls for more intensive beef production in Brazil
February 22, 2011 09:40 AM - Editor, Ecologist

More intensive beef production can limit deforestation in Brazil where the space used to rear cattle is ten times what you see in other countries, according to WWF Brazil CEO Denise Hamu.

Parrots and pigeons threaten Argentine sunflowers
February 17, 2011 07:22 AM - Maximilian Heath, Reuters, BUENOS AIRES

Flocks of hungry parrots and pigeons are plaguing sunflower farmers in some parts of Argentina, eating their crops and thinning their wallets. As swelling numbers of birds feed on fields, growers try to scare them away using balloons with "menacing eyes" painted on them. Farmers in the South American country, a leading global food exporter, also try to scare the birds using reflective tape, scarecrows, and by setting off fireworks. "The problem is huge, especially in Buenos Aires province. The flocks are getting bigger and bigger, and the plague is spreading," said Javier Dominguez, a farmer in Lujan, some 43 miles west of the city of Buenos Aires. Buenos Aires province is the Argentine region that produces the most grains, and some farmers say attacks by the voracious birds can cause crop losses of up to 60 percent.

First | Previous | 111 | 112 | 113 | 114 | 115 | Next | Last