Neonicotinoids Responsible for Pollinator Declines Worldwide
April 9, 2015 02:46 PM - Jonathan Latham, The Ecologist
Monarch caterpillars are vulnerable to neonicotinoid toxicity at concentrations as low as 1 part per billion, writes Jonathan Latham, and that makes them vulnerable to residues from commercial crops - and even more so from horticultural use in plant nurseries!
EPA Moves to Restrict Bee-killing Pesticides
April 7, 2015 01:45 PM - Alicia Graef, Care2
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has finally taken some action to restrict the use of pesticides that are believed to be causing serious declines in pollinators, but environmentalists are arguing the agency still needs to do more.
Why does water rationing in California exclude fracking and agribusiness?
April 6, 2015 07:31 AM - Evan Blake, The Ecologist
California has responded to the drought by rationing water, with $500 fines for domestic 'water wasters', writes Evan Blake. But agribusiness and water-intensive industries like fracking remain untouched by the restrictions, even though they consume over 90% of the state's water.
There are immense water efficiencies to be gained, but any rational reorganization is blocked by the US financial oligarchy, which, controlling the entire political system, will not abide any impingement on its profits.
The unprecedented drought gripping California has deepened for the fourth consecutive year, having already set new records for the lowest annual precipitation levels on record.
Plowing prairies for grains
April 2, 2015 09:08 AM - University of Wisconsin-Madison via EurekAlert!
Clearing grasslands to make way for biofuels may seem counterproductive, but University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers show in a study today (April 2, 2015) that crops, including the corn and soy commonly used for biofuels, expanded onto 7 million acres of new land in the U.S. over a recent four-year period, replacing millions of acres of grasslands.
Shifting temperatures will affect flavors, quality of food
March 27, 2015 10:34 AM - S.E. Smith, Care2
Love scrumptious vegan pizza? You’d better enjoy it while you can, because climate change is moving in to hog a slice. According to an Australian report, Appetite for Change, climate change isn’t just going to decimate existing crops — it’s also going to change the way the survivors taste. And not in a good way. The researchers say that we’re going to be eating increasingly bland, tasteless, mushy food because of the way shifting temperatures are affecting farming, and in fact, it’s already started happening.
United Nations warns on pesticides
March 23, 2015 09:55 AM - EurActiv
The UN's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) said Friday (20 March) that three pesticides, including the popular weed killer Roundup, were "probably" carcinogenic and two others, which have already been outlawed or restricted, were "possibly" so.
IARC classified the herbicide glyphosate – the active ingredient in Roundup – and the insecticides malathion and diazinon as "probably carcinogenic" on the basis of "limited evidence" of cancer among humans.
Canadian Grocer to Sell "Ugly" Fruit
March 19, 2015 08:54 AM - Leon Kaye , Triple Pundit
If you have traveled to regions such as the Balkans, India or rural Latin America, the appearance of misshapen fruit and vegetables everywhere would have hardly surprised you; and of course, they are delicious. But shopping trends on both side of the Atlantic have led consumers to believe fruit should be uniform in color and shape.
Oregon State University study provides new insight into forest life cycles and carbon storage
March 18, 2015 07:50 AM - Oregon State University
A century-long study in the Oregon Cascades may cause scientists to revise the textbook on how forests grow and die, accumulate biomass and store carbon.
In a new analysis of forest succession in three Douglas-fir stands in the Willamette National Forest, two Oregon State University scientists report that biomass – a measure of tree volume – has been steadily accumulating for 150 years. In the long term, such a trend is not sustainable, they said, and if these stands behave in a manner similar to others in the Cascades, trees will begin to die from causes such as insect outbreaks, windstorms or fire.
“Mortality will occur in the future,” said Mark Harmon, professor and Richardson Chair in Forest Science at OSU. “It just hasn’t arrived.”
Cropping Africa's wet savannas would bring high environmental costs
March 17, 2015 08:42 AM - B. Rose Huber, Princeton University
With the global population rising, analysts and policymakers have targeted Africa's vast wet savannas as a place to produce staple foods and bioenergy groups at low environmental costs. But a new report published in the journal Nature Climate Change finds that converting Africa's wet savannas into farmland would come at a high environmental cost and fail to meet some existing standards for renewable fuels.
An Organic Future
March 2, 2015 07:52 AM - Tim Sparke, Triple Pundit
The words ‘organic’ and ‘sustainability’ are bandied around quite a bit. While some won’t eat anything but organic, others deny that there’s any future in organic farming. After all, with a population that’s seven billion-strong and growing, how can we possibly expect organics to feed the world? Or so the critics ask. In their view, feeding the masses simply can’t be done without strong chemicals and genetic modification.