Increase in Grain Prices Affects U.S. Food Donations
October 22, 2007 09:22 AM - Jessica Hanson , Worldwatch Institute
From Illinois corn to Kansas wheat, U.S. grain crops are experiencing their fastest price hike since 1990. The rise in prices is being felt not only at the grocery store, but also in international food policy, as the costs of corn, cooking oil, and other items commonly purchased for U.S. food aid programs have increased sharply. The United States is the largest single donor of food worldwide, but the volume of aid provided through its leading assistance program, Food for Peace, dropped by more than half between 2000 and 2007, to 2.4 million metric tons, in response to a 35-percent increase in the cost of agricultural commodities in the last two years.
Don't go near the baobab at Nigerian heritage site
October 22, 2007 12:43 AM - Estelle Shirbon
SUKUR, Nigeria (Reuters) - Visitors to Sukur are warned not to approach a certain ancient baobab tree because, villagers say, it turns people into hermaphrodites.
It is an atmospheric introduction to this Nigerian World Heritage Site for the trickle of outsiders who come, but villagers who trek up and down from the remote hillside community are ready for an injection of modernity.
A road would be a start.
Turning Grey Into Green: Greywater Recycling Systems
October 19, 2007 03:13 PM - Paul Schaefer, ENN
Atlanta, Georgia - First a word about something called "greywater". Greywater is basically washwater. As homeowners, we make a lot of it each day. It's all wastewater excepting toilet wastes and food wastes derived from garbage grinders. No surprise, this partially used water can be re-used in your home for toilet flushing and watering gardens. Good for you, good for your water bill and good for the environment. Especially in drought stricken parts of the country like Georgia where the state's Environmental Protection Division declared a level four drought for sixty-one counties in the state.
Do food miles make a difference to global warming?
October 17, 2007 09:41 AM - Deborah Zabarenko -Reuters
The U.S. local food movement -- which used to be elite, expensive and mostly coastal -- has gone mainstream, with a boost from environmentalists who reckon that eating what grows nearby cuts down on global warming.
But do food miles -- the distance edibles travel from farm to plate -- give an accurate gauge of environmental impact, especially where greenhouse gas emissions are concerned?
India 'Lagging Behind' in Innovation Race
October 16, 2007 06:47 PM - T. V. Padma, SciDevNet
NEW DELHI - India is not realising its potential for innovation, warn experts, because its education and research institutes do not encourage a culture of experimentation and the exchange of ideas between disciplines.
Although India's potential is high, it is not nurturing innovation, Sri Krishna Joshi, scientist emeritus at India's National Physical Laboratory, told delegates at a conference on inventions and innovations in Delhi, India today (15 October).
India's education system "kills any spirit of innovation" by failing to close the gap between industry and academia, said S. Srinavasa Murthy, professor of electrical engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology in Delhi.
Invasive Oriental Beetle Shows Up In Midwest US
October 16, 2007 04:23 PM -
Purdue, Indiana - Indiana could be under attack by another invasive species very soon, said a Purdue University expert.Entomologist Doug Richmond said the U.S. Department of Agriculture confirmed an oriental beetle found in Tippecanoe County is the first in the state. One of our graduate students saw a beetle he didn't recognize, so he brought it into the lab and identified it as oriental beetle," Richmond said. The oriental beetle is an invasive species native to Japan that arrived in the United States in the 1920s. The larvae feed on roots of turf grasses, perennial plants, weeds, nursery stock and potted plants. Adults feed on the petals of flowers, including daisies, phlox and petunias.
China launches Effort To Green Inner Mongolian Desert
October 16, 2007 04:00 PM -
Bejing, China - Beijing and Seoul recently signed an agreement to launch a joint program to harness China's eighth-largest desert - the Ulan Buh in North China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.
About 15 million yuan (1.99 million U.S. dollars) will be spent growing trees and building greenhouses to prevent environmental deterioration in the Ulan Buh region, according to officials involved in the project.
Brazil urges Africa to join "biofuel revolution"
October 16, 2007 08:30 AM - Christian Tsoumou -Reuters
Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has called on Africa to join the "biofuel revolution," saying it would help strengthen the world's poorest economies and fight global warming.
Speaking during an African tour, Lula said Brazil's experience with biofuels showed the environmental and economic benefits of mass producing ethanol and bio-diesel.
Scientists ramp up ability of poplar plants to disarm toxic pollutants
October 16, 2007 08:21 AM - University of Washington
Scientists since the early '90s have seen the potential for cleaning up contaminated sites by growing plants able to take up nasty groundwater pollutants through their roots. Then the plants break certain kinds of pollutants into harmless byproducts that the plants either incorporate into their roots, stems and leaves or release into the air.
Researchers Genetically Alter Plants Hoping They'll Vacuum Up Toxins
October 15, 2007 10:41 PM - Julie Steenhuysen, Reuters
CHICAGO (Reuters) - Scientists hope they've figured out a way to trick plants into doing the dirty work of environmental cleanup, U.S. and British researchers said on Monday.
"Our work is in the beginning stages, but it holds great promise," said Sharon Doty, an assistant professor of forest resources at the University of Washington, whose study appears in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
In work they describe as preliminary, researchers at the University of Washington say they've genetically altered poplar trees to pull toxins out of contaminated ground water, perhaps offering a cost-effective way of cleaning up environmental pollutants.