• Palm oil: Cooking the Climate

    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.

     

    >> Read the Full Article
  • Chocolate began as beer-like brew 3,100 years ago

    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.

    >> Read the Full Article
  • Brown root rot -- a potentially serious forage crop disease -- is found throughout the Northeast

    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. >> Read the Full Article
  • Life, biodiversity and harvesting honey in northern Kenya

    Threats to the environment such as climate change, the scramble for water, and deforestation have created an urgent need for new ways of tackling these pressing issues which cater for all types of inhabitants.

    In northern Kenya, an innovative programme steered by the African Union and partnered by IUCN’s East Africa Regional Office, aims to do just this. Known as the Dryland, Livestock/Wildlife Environment Interface Project (DLWEIP), the programme brings together all the stakeholders – community, government, donors, implementers – in a bid to manage natural resources equitably.

    >> Read the Full Article
  • The Gulden Coffee Story

    n 2002, I brought my husband Cem to visit the coffee regions of Colombia where I grew up. Traveling through these rural areas was like taking a journey back in time. The regions are unspoiled by modern development. Coffee growers tend to their crops with deep devotion, following a process that has been handed down for generations. When we witnessed the age-old tradition where beans are hand picked, dried in the sun, and oftentimes taken to market by mule, we knew we had found our calling and established GÜLDEN Coffee in 2003.

     

     

     

     

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  • U.N.'s Ban says global warming is "an emergency"

    EDUARDO FREI BASE, Antarctica (Reuters) - With prehistoric Antarctic ice sheets melting beneath his feet, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called for urgent political action to tackle global warming.

    The Antarctic Peninsula has warmed faster than anywhere else on Earth in the last 50 years, making the continent a fitting destination for Ban, who has made climate change a priority since he took office earlier this year.

    "I need a political answer. This is an emergency and for emergency situations we need emergency action," he said during a visit to three scientific bases on the barren continent, where temperatures are their highest in about 1,800 years.

    >> Read the Full Article
  • Nations share blame for Indonesia deforestation: VP

    Foreign nations share the blame for the destruction of Indonesian forests and should pitch in to help restore them, Vice President Jusuf Kalla said on Friday.

    Indonesia, host of a U.N. climate change conference in December, has been a driving force behind calls for rich countries to compensate poor states that preserve their rainforests to soak up greenhouse gases.

    >> Read the Full Article
  • Human-generated Ozone Will Damage Crops, According to MIT Study

    A novel MIT study concludes that increasing levels of ozone due to the growing use of fossil fuels will damage global vegetation, resulting in serious costs to the world's economy.  The analysis, reported in the November issue of Energy Policy, focused on how three environmental changes (increases in temperature, carbon dioxide and ozone) associated with human activity will affect crops, pastures and forests.

    >> Read the Full Article
  • Researchers to develop improved cowpea varieties

    RIVERSIDE – Providing food security, one of the greatest challenges of our time, is a critical goal especially in the developing world, where crop destruction by drought, disease and pest infestation swiftly places millions of lives at risk of hunger.  Scientists will help meet this challenge by focusing on cowpea, a protein-rich legume crop of immense importance to Africa that complements starchy staple crops such as corn, cassava, sorghum and millets in the diets of millions of Africans.

    “Our project will develop the key genomic resources that are currently lacking in cowpea,” said Timothy Close, a professor of genetics and a co-principal investigator of the grant, who leads at the University of California, Riverside's cowpea genomics effort. “We will use modern plant breeding approaches that employ new and efficient molecular marker development methodologies.”

    >> Read the Full Article
  • What's Killing the Bees?

    The author of this commentary is Paul J. Tukey, HGTV Co-Host & Executive Producer,  Publisher, named by People, Places & Plants magazine the 2006 COMMUNICATOR OF THE YEAR by the American Horticultural Society, the author of The Organic Lawn Care Manual, National Spokesperson and the co-founder of safelawns.org.

    60 Minutes is on the case. NPR recently published an expose. The media everywhere is scrambling for an angle on one of the most chilling and compelling questions of our time: what is killing the bees?

    And while it’s exciting to see all the attention on this subject — since bees’ pollination accounts for about one third of the food we consume daily — it’s also enormously frustrating for beekeepers when many of our media brethren stop just short of telling the beekeepers’ version of the story. >> Read the Full Article