Agriculture

Pandemic Fears as Flu Kills 68
April 27, 2009 06:11 AM - David Randall The Indepedent - UK

A swine flu virus outbreak that has rapidly claimed up to 68 lives in Mexico, and infected people in the US, was last night declared a "public health emergency of international concern". The decision, made by the World Health Organisation (WHO), means that countries are now being asked to step up surveillance for any cases.

Ontario to enact toughest pesticide ban in Canada

Ontario will enact the toughest rules in Canada when its pesticide ban takes effect today, a move that could land the province in the legal crosshairs of an international trade dispute.

Rise in dust storms spurs environmental fears
April 23, 2009 06:57 AM - MSNBC from Washington Post

An increasing amount of airborne dust is blanketing the West, affecting how fast the snowpack melts, when local plants bloom and what quality of air residents are breathing. The dust storms are a harbinger of a broader phenomenon, researchers say, as global warming translates into less precipitation and a population boom intensifies the activities that are disturbing the dust in the first place.

G8 Agriculture Ministers Conclude Summit on Food Stability
April 21, 2009 02:57 PM - Sabina Castelfranco, Voice of America

Agriculture ministers from the major industrialized nations called on Monday for increased agriculture production as a way to combat world hunger. At the end of a 3-day meeting in northern Italy, G-8 ministers also took a first step toward fighting speculators who have helped push up the price of basic foods, sparking riots in several poor countries.

Our "Foodprint:" It's Not Just the Miles
April 21, 2009 11:05 AM - , Worldwatch Institute

Our environmental "foodprint" is determined not just by how far food travels, but also by what we eat and how it was produced, according to the latest issue of World Watch magazine. In this first installment of a two-part series on the potential impacts of greater food localization, Sarah DeWeerdt explains that if what you eat matters as much as how far it travels, then red meat and dairy production remain agriculture's overwhelming "hotspots."

Pesticide exposure found to increase risk of Parkinson's disease

In a new epidemiological study of Central Valley residents who have been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, researchers found that years of exposure to the combination of these two pesticides increased the risk of Parkinson's by 75 percent. Further, for people 60 years old or younger diagnosed with Parkinson's, earlier exposure had increased their risk for the disease by as much as four- to six-fold.

Long-term solutions needed to feed the world's poor
April 17, 2009 08:23 AM - David Dickson, SciDevNet

More agricultural research funding and a farmer-centred approach to boosting food production are needed to prevent future food emergencies.

New study warns damage to forests from climate change could cost the planet its major keeper of greenhouse gases
April 17, 2009 06:59 AM - The Collaborative Partnership on Forests

The critical role of forests as massive "sinks" for absorbing greenhouse gases is "at risk of being lost entirely" to climate change-induced environmental stresses that threaten to damage and even decimate forests worldwide, according to a new report released today. The report will be formally presented at the next session of the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF) taking place 20 April-1 May 2009 at the UN Headquarters in New York City.

Midwestern ethanol plants use much less water than western plants, U of Minnesota study says

Ethanol production in Minnesota and Iowa uses far less water overall than similar processes in states where water is less plentiful, a new University of Minnesota study shows. The study, which will be published in the April 15 edition of the journal Environmental Science and Technology, is the first to compare water use in corn-ethanol production on a state-by-state basis. The authors used agricultural and geologic data from 2006-2008 to develop a ratio showing how much irrigated water was used to grow and harvest the corn and to process it at ethanol plants. Among the major ethanol-producing states, Iowa uses the least water, with about six gallons of water used for each gallon of ethanol. Minnesota, which in 2007 produced roughly a third as much ethanol as Iowa, uses about 19 gallons of water per ethanol gallon.

Got Nature? Why You Need to Get Out
April 13, 2009 04:30 PM - Andrea Thompson, Live Science

In our increasingly urbanized world, it turns out that a little green can go a long way toward improving our health, not just that of the planet. That could mean something as simple as a walk in the park or just a tree viewed through a window. It's not necessarily the exercise that is the key. It's the refreshing contact with nature and its uncomplicated demands on us.

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