Corn-based ethanol could worsen "dead zone"
March 11, 2008 02:01 AM - Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Growing more corn to meet the projected U.S. demand for ethanol could worsen an expanding "dead zone" in the Gulf of Mexico that is bad for crawfish, shrimp and local fisheries, researchers reported on Monday. The dead zone is a huge area of water -- some 7,700 square miles -- that forms above the continental shelf of the Gulf of Mexico every summer. It contains very low levels of oxygen.

Corn is King -- and Therefore a Growing Problem
March 8, 2008 11:13 AM - , Organic Consumers Association

Corn is a key element of the U.S. food supply. It is what dairy cows eat to make milk and hens consume to lay eggs. It fattens cattle, hogs and chickens before slaughter. It makes soda sweet. As the building block of ethanol, it is now also a major component of auto fuel. And that may signal trouble ahead.

U.S. activist circles globe to fight biotech crops
March 7, 2008 03:07 PM - Reuters

KANSAS CITY, Missouri (Reuters) - Jeffrey Smith is a man on a mission. Each day, ever day for the last 12 years, the 49-year-old Smith has made it his personal calling to travel the world preaching against genetically modified crops.

Manitoba bans new hog barns in half of province
March 4, 2008 08:19 AM - Reuters

WINNIPEG, Manitoba (Reuters) - Manitoba will permanently ban new hog barns and expansions in the eastern half of the province, where the industry is most concentrated, its conservation minister said on Monday. The government will immediately lift a temporary ban on new and expanding hog operations in the rest of the province, Stan Struthers said, but he said the entire industry will be subject to more environmental rules and scrutiny.

Ethanol and Intensive Confinement Factory Farms--A Toxic Synergy
March 3, 2008 09:27 AM - , Organic Consumers Association

CAFO's = Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations Also known as Factory Farms, Animal Factories, and blots on the U.S. rural landscape. They produce smelly wastes from "farm" animals including cattle and pigs -- variable wastes that are then disposed of in a wildly under-regulated, chemical witches brew commonly called Sludge. Also commonly mislabeled "Fertilizer," it's hazardously dumped in enormous quantities on U.S. food-growing farm fields.

Will global warming increase plant frost damage?
March 3, 2008 09:12 AM - American Institute of Biological Sciences

Widespread damage to plants from a sudden freeze that occurred across the Eastern United States from 5 April to 9 April 2007 was made worse because it had been preceded by two weeks of unusual warmth, according to an analysis published in the March 2008 issue of BioScience. The authors of the report, Lianhong Gu and his colleagues at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and collaborators at NASA, the University of Missouri, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, found that the freeze killed new leaves, shoots, flowers, and fruit of natural vegetation, caused crown dieback of trees, and led to severe damage to crops in an area encompassing Nebraska, Maryland, South Carolina, and Texas. Subsequent drought limited regrowth.

Spanish breeder to clone fighting bull
March 1, 2008 11:13 AM - Reuters

MADRID (Reuters) - A Spanish breeder of fighting bulls has decided to clone his favorite stud rather than risk buying a traditionally bred replacement. Victoriano del Rio wants to repeat the success he has enjoyed with Alcalde, who sired two bulls that so impressed famous bullfighter El Juli in the ring that he keeps their heads mounted at home.

Corporate Watch: The Selling of Organic
March 1, 2008 09:21 AM - , Organic Consumers Association

Organic farms have historically been small, family-run mixed farms producing for local markets, but this story is starting to change as conventional agribusiness and the supermarkets move in. Organic shops, too, are expanding, or being bought up, and increasingly resembling their non-organic counterparts.

Wither the Grapes of Worth?
February 28, 2008 09:53 AM - , Global Policy Innovations Program

The Svalbard Global Seed Vault opened in Norway this week, providing a permafrost home for the genetic diversity of the world's food plants. According to the Norwegian Ministry of Agriculture and Food, the vault can store 4.5 million different seed samples, duplicating seed collections from genebanks around the world. Genetically modified organisms (GMO) are currently not allowed in the vault without special approval. Though the underground facility is fortified against global warming, French Chardonnay is not, and a non-GMO version could become a thing of the past if temperature trends continue.

How to Save the Rainforests
February 27, 2008 09:50 AM - , Organic Consumers Association

While we have fixated on our little local worries over the past week, the biggest news story of the year passed unnoticed in the night. The Brazilian government was forced to admit that the destruction of the Amazon rainforest has returned to ecocidal levels. An area the size of Belgium, taking thousands of years to evolve, was destroyed in the past year alone. Some 20 per cent of the forest has now been trashed, with a further 40 per cent set to be slashed in my lifetime. This is steadily happening to all the rainforests on earth.

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