Green group wary of plans for "eco-friendly" palm
November 26, 2007 01:04 AM - Reuters
KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - An environmental group has threatened to withdraw its support for a plan to certify "eco-friendly" palm oil, accusing the world's two biggest producers of cynically exploiting the initiative.
Noah's Ark flood spurred European farming
November 17, 2007 07:19 PM - Reuters
LONDON (Reuters) - An ancient flood some say could be the origin of the story of Noah's Ark may have helped the spread of agriculture in Europe 8,300 years ago by scattering the continent's earliest farmers, researchers said on Sunday.
Using radiocarbon dating and archaeological evidence, a British team showed the collapse of the North American ice sheet, which raised global sea levels by as much as 1.4 meters, displaced tens of thousands of people in southeastern Europe who carried farming skills to their new homes.The researchers said in the journal Qua
'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.