'Cooling down' begins at Svalbard Global Seed Vault
November 16, 2007 08:57 AM - The Global Crop Diversity Trust
LONGYEARBYEN, NORWAY —Refrigeration units began pumping chilly air deep into an Arctic mountain cavern today, launching the innovative and critical “cooling down” phase of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault in advance of its official opening early next year as a fail-safe repository of the world’s vital food crops. Svalbard is now three days into the three-month “Polar Night” period when there is 24 hours of complete darkness.
Canada wine region adds electricity to its crops
November 15, 2007 09:02 AM - Reuters
Wine-making waste will be turned into electricity under a Canadian plan to capture methane gas from decomposing grape skins and seeds produced in southern Ontario's Niagara grape-growing region.
Paying Farmers to Protect the Planet is Future: U.N.
November 15, 2007 09:00 AM - Reuters
ROME (Reuters) - Paying farmers to protect the environment -- rather than just for their produce -- will be an important way to ensure a rapidly increasing demand for food does not destroy the planet, a U.N. agency said on Thursday.
The United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said paying for "environmental services" is set to be an important way to link two of humanity's greatest challenges: beating poverty and safeguarding the environment.
"(Farming) has the potential to degrade the Earth's land, water, atmosphere and biological resources -- or to enhance them -- depending on the decisions made by the more than 2 billion people whose livelihoods depend directly on crops, livestock, fisheries or forests," said FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf.
Greenpeace Blocks Shipment of Indonesian Palm Oil
November 15, 2007 08:35 AM - Reuters
JAKARTA (Reuters) - Greenpeace has blocked a tanker carrying more than 30,000 tonnes of palm oil from leaving an Indonesian port to protest against forest destruction blamed on plantations, the environmental group said on Thursday.
The protest came less than three weeks before a U.N. climate change meeting on the resort island of Bali, where delegates from 189 countries will debate ways to slow down global warming, including the impact of dwindling tropical rainforests.
EU parliament backs soil protection bill
November 14, 2007 01:01 PM - Reuters
The EU legislature, in its first reading of the draft laws, voted to have EU nations set up public inventories of sites where soil may be contaminated with dangerous substances and lay out ways to clean them up.
Palm oil: Cooking the Climate
November 13, 2007 08:33 AM - Greenpeace US
If, as you read this, you're eating a KitKat or reaching into a tube of Pringles, you might be interested to know that these products contain palm oil that is linked to the destruction of forests and peatlands in Indonesia. As our new report "How the palm oil industry is cooking the climate" shows, it's a recipe for disaster.
The manufacturers of these products - Nestlé, Procter & Gamble, and Unilever - are sourcing their palm oil from suppliers who aren't picky about where they site their plantations. As the volunteers at the Forest Defenders Camp in Sumatra have seen, this includes tearing up areas of pristine forest then draining and burning the peatlands.
Chocolate began as beer-like brew 3,100 years ago
November 13, 2007 08:26 AM - Will Dunham -Reuters
The chocolate enjoyed around the world today had its origins at least 3,100 years ago in Central America not as the sweet treat people now crave but as a celebratory beer-like beverage and status symbol, scientists said on Monday.
Researchers identified residue of a chemical compound that comes exclusively from the cacao plant -- the source of chocolate -- in pottery vessels dating from about 1100 BC in Puerto Escondido, Honduras.
Brown root rot -- a potentially serious forage crop disease -- is found throughout the Northeast
November 13, 2007 08:14 AM - Cornell University
Cornell plant pathologists have detected brown root rot -- a potentially serious forage crop disease -- in the northeastern United States. It is widespread in New York, Vermont and New Hampshire and has been detected in Pennsylvania and Maine.The findings are published in the October issue of the journal Plant Disease.
Life, biodiversity and harvesting honey in northern Kenya
November 13, 2007 08:12 AM - The World Conservation Union
Threats to the environment such as climate change, the scramble for water, and deforestation have created an urgent need for new ways of tackling these pressing issues which cater for all types of inhabitants.
In northern Kenya, an innovative programme steered by the African Union and partnered by IUCN’s East Africa Regional Office, aims to do just this. Known as the Dryland, Livestock/Wildlife Environment Interface Project (DLWEIP), the programme brings together all the stakeholders – community, government, donors, implementers – in a bid to manage natural resources equitably.
The Gulden Coffee Story
November 12, 2007 04:23 PM - Ana Trejos-Gulden, Global Policy Innovations Program
n 2002, I brought my husband Cem to visit the coffee regions of Colombia where I grew up. Traveling through these rural areas was like taking a journey back in time. The regions are unspoiled by modern development. Coffee growers tend to their crops with deep devotion, following a process that has been handed down for generations. When we witnessed the age-old tradition where beans are hand picked, dried in the sun, and oftentimes taken to market by mule, we knew we had found our calling and established GÜLDEN Coffee in 2003.