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Showing posts from April, 2014

Demitarians Unite!

April 27, 2014 – A report that makes a very thorough assessment of the environmental gains to be made by reshaping our farming methods was issued last Friday. The study was authored by scientists at two consulting firms: Climate Focus (CF) and California Environmental Associates (CEA).It was funded by the Climate and Land Use Alliance, a coalition of major U.S. foundations.Strategies studied were numerous; they include managing soil nutrients, halting deforestation, reductions in animal husbandry, using less fertilizer, storing carbon in croplands, and converting manure into compost and biogas through anaerobic digestion.Consumers, for their part, need to eat less meat and reduce food waste.A “demitarian” – a term I’d never heard before - is someone who cuts their consumption of red meat in half.
Countries poised to make the biggest contributions in this area are, no surprise, big ones: Brazil, China, India, the EU, and the United States.According to the report, yearly greenhouse ga…

Fungal Forest Fire

April 21, 2014 – Life just got more interesting.A fast-spreading wheat rust has scoured farmers’ fields from Africa to Latin America, the Middle East and Europe.Wheat is the world’s second most important grain crop, after rice.This modern epidemic began in North America’s wheat belt back in the 1950s, when the fungus that causes wheat rust destroyed 40 percent of the crop.Since that time it has traveled to other parts of the world.In response, rust-resistant varieties of wheat were developed.
A new era dawned in 1999, when an outbreak in Uganda was found to be the result of a virulent mutation of the wheat rust fungus.According to Dr. David Hodson of the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center in Addis Ababa, the mutation causes “large-scale destruction in a very short period of time over very large cultivated areas.”The speed with which the fungus spreads can be likened to a forest fire, says Hodson.Its wind-borne spores, which reproduce in the millions, are each capable of…

Time to Transition

April 14, 2014 – Alex Smith, of Radio Ecoshock, recently conducted a thoughtful interview with Dr. David Korowicz of Dublin.Honestly, the adjective hair-raising would be far more accurate, in light of the fact that Korowicz dares to examine, in all its particulars, how the world as we know it will come apart at the seams.He calls it rapid collapse.
Korowicz begins by studying a micro version of global collapse, that is, the economic disaster suffered by his own country of Ireland almost six years ago. He believes that the Irish were able to put the pieces back together, at least in part, because Ireland is a small country where people feel personally involved with the day-to-day running of national matters.This engenders societal trust, and a feeling that, with effort, things can once again be made right.The Irish economy is broad-based, with a manageable level of poverty.Since poverty is a leading cause of corruption, problems like nepotism, bribery, and tax avoidance didn’t need fi…

Know Your Limits

April 10, 2014 – I wrote this article a little while ago, and Transition Voice hasn’t used it.I think it’s useful, so I thought I’d publish it here.

Know Your Limits
There is a growing consensus that 2 degrees Celsius of global warming will be too much (http://www.livescience.com/41690-2-degrees-of-warming-too-much.html ).As the winter of 2013-2014 gradually winds down, we see the evidence of what less than 1 degree of warming can do all around us.The costs have yet to be tallied, but there is universal acknowledgement that budgets were virtually meaningless this winter.In order to keep the United States functioning at a level anywhere near normal, states and corporations had to break the bank.The alternative was inconceivable.
Yet merrily we roll along, calmly averring that there is still time before the climate will begin to wreak major havoc.The notion that 2 degrees of warming are somehow “ok” has become foundational to both national and international planning.After all, the thinki…