• Kenya Bans Imports of GM Food

    Scientists fear that Kenya's recent banning of the import of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) may be a significant blow to progress on biotechnology research and development in the country. A cabinet meeting chaired by Kenya's president, Mwai Kibaki, this month (8 November), directed the public health minister to ban GMO imports until the country is able to certify that they have no negative impact on people's health. In a statement to the press, the cabinet said there was a "lack of sufficient information on the public health impact of such foods". >> Read the Full Article
  • Study Investigates Public Trust in Agricultural Biotechnology in Africa

    Building trust in agricultural biotechnology as one of the potential solutions to food security in Africa is essential, according to a study. Published in Agriculture & Food Security this month (1 November), the study is the result of four years spent investigating how public trust in agricultural biotechnology in Africa can be developed. >> Read the Full Article
  • Meet your Meat

    Six weeks ago, I chopped the head off of a live chicken. Then I plucked, cleaned, and cooked it. All in the name of animal ethics. After almost a full semester in Animals and Ethics class, I said enough to antibiotic-filled poultry. I decided to take my food choices into my own hands…literally. So I attended a Meet your Meat workshop at the Duke Campus Farm in Hillsborough, NC. At the farm, I learned how to "kill, de-feather, and process a live chicken in a humane and efficient manner." >> Read the Full Article
  • New Development for Phytoremediation: Harvesting Collected Contaminants

    A team of researchers led by the University of Warwick are about to embark on a research program called "Cleaning Land for Wealth" (CL4W), that will use a common class of flower to restore poisoned soils while at the same time produce platinum and arsenic nanoparticles that can be used in a range of applications. A "Sandpit" exercise organized by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council allowed researchers from the Warwick Manufacturing group (WMG) at five universities to share technologies and skills to come up with an innovative multidisciplinary research project that could "help solve major technological and environmental challenges." >> Read the Full Article
  • Climate Change Impacts in New England

    In the northern hardwood forest, climate change is poised to reduce the viability of the maple syrup industry, spread wildlife diseases and tree pests, and change timber resources. And, according to a new BioScience paper just released by twenty-one scientists, without long-term studies at the local scale -- we will be ill-prepared to predict and manage these effects. Following an exhaustive review of more than fifty years of long term data on environmental conditions at the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest, located in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, the paper's authors arrived at a sobering conclusion: current climate change models don't account for real life surprises that take place in forests. >> Read the Full Article
  • Greenland becoming more green, thanks to Global Warming

    I don't want to be told that thanks to Global Warming - now accepted by the majority (77%) of Americans and so therefore, in my opinion, a new Tipping Point - strawberry plants can now survive a Greenland winter. I don't want to see neat little rows of budding lettuce plants growing outside a polytunnel. OUTSIDE a polytunnel; over-wintering under the snow but come the Spring, still alive and sprouting new shoots; cabbage and potatoes to follow. And I don't want to hear a Greenlander livestock farmer telling me that (once again, thanks to Global Warming) he now has enough newly ice-free pasture land to double the size of his 20,000-strong flock of sheep. >> Read the Full Article
  • Tree intercropping could save Africa's soils

    Scientists have reported in Nature that the agroforestry approach of planting nutrient-fixing trees with food crops could help replenish Africa's poor quality soils, tackling one of the biggest threats to food security on the continent. Planting certain perennial trees together with food crops can more than double yields for maize and millet, which are among Sub-Saharan Africa's staple foods, scientists say. >> Read the Full Article
  • Climate change predicted to hit poorest hardest

    All nations will suffer the effects of a warmer world, but the world's poorest countries will suffer most from food shortages, rising sea levels, cyclones and drought, the World Bank’s new report on climate change says. Under new World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, a former scientist, the global development lender has launched a more aggressive stance to integrate climate change into development. "We will never end poverty if we don't tackle climate change. It is one of the single biggest challenges to social justice today," Kim told reporters on Friday [16 November]. >> Read the Full Article
  • How the Worm Can Help Landfills and Sustainable Farming

    High in the northern mountains of Guatemala, near the ancient city of Quetzaltenango, there's an unusual new venture that is helping transform the way local communities think about the garbage they throw into landfills. It's also reforming the way people think about nature's most industrious ecologist: the worm. María Rodriguez, founder of Byoearth is teaching women the value of the red wiggler worm and the use of vermicomposting to support sustainable farming. It's a concept she believes in passionately and is having increasing success selling to both local farmers and non-profit aid organizations throughout Latin America. >> Read the Full Article
  • Risk of Parkinson’s disease Increases with Head Injury and Herbicide Exposure

    The combination of having a head injury and being exposed to the common pesticide/herbicide, paraquat has been found to increase the risk of developing Parkinson's disease by three times. Paraquat is one of the most widely used herbicides, typically used on crops to control weeds and pests. The chemical is also deadly to humans and animals. A person with an already compromised head injury can compound that injury greatly by being around this poison, to the point of getting Parkinson's disease. The study was conducted by researchers at UCLA and published in the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. >> Read the Full Article