Sustainability

Category Archives: Agriculture and Food

Try ‘Wildevore Diet’ For Healthy Living

We have all heard of vegetarian, vegan and flexitarian diets. But have you heard about wildevore diet? Surely, no! Nowadays, dieting is considered a national obsession among everyone. These types of diets mentioned above are definitely healthy and less fatty, but it might have a negative impact on one’s health and sense of well being. Concerns about climate change, environmental stress and animal welfare mean that “what we eat is an ethical as well as a health issue.”

The two women, who are promoting the all-new ‘wildevore diet’, said that the new approach will help people to show how they can eat to benefit their own health while making planet-friendly choices at the same time. The Wildevore diet incorporates some of the philosophies of veganism, vegetarianism, flexitarianism, ethical omnivorism, and clean eating, but it looks more closely at the pressures on the environment and the impact that has on human health, according to The Ecologist.

The new eating approach identifies on how to make the best choices both ‘nutritionally and ethically’ and aims at educating the people about where their food originates from. Health problems Caroline Grindrod, an environmental conservationist, writer, and Wildevore coach, and Georgia Winfield-Hayes, a nutritionist both agree that the new eating diet is not for the “faint-hearted, requiring some serious homework and a desire to change habits.”

The system can work for vegans and meat-eaters, but there is an underlying need to understand the consequences of food choices. In the Wildevore diet, meat reared on regenerative farms and fed on natural diets is allowed for its human health benefits. Georgia, who has written extensively on human nutrition, said that a vegan diet does not ‘always’ provide the best results.

‘From a health perspective a vegan diet, in the short term is an amazing way to cleanse the body and this feels great,” Georgia said. “However, long-term it can create serious health problems. Soya, the main protein source for many vegans, is a hormone-disrupting food and can cause our own reproductive systems to stop working correctly,” she added.

https://www.mid-day.com/articles/try-wildevore-diet-for-healthy-living/19235171

Coffee and Deforestation: Addressing Coffee’s Footprint

About one third of the world’s land, more than four billion hectares, is forest. Every year, this area decreases by an average of 13 million hectares, about the same size as 35 football fields per minute. The largest losses are observed in Africa and South America, mainly due to agriculture.

Coffee originates from the humid, tropical forests of Southern Ethiopia and South Sudan, and around the globe it is largely grown in many former forest landscapes,  some of which are located in biodiversity hotspots or protected areas, such as the Mata Atlântica and the Cerrado region in Brazil, the Mesoamerican Forests in Central America and the Eastern Afromontane Forests hosting the genetic diversity of Coffea Arabica in Ethiopia.

Yet the relationship between coffee and forest cover today is weakly addressed in our sector. We look at many other aspects related to sustainability in coffee: Where will future production come from if young people continue migrating from rural areas? How can productivity be increased to meet growing demand? How strongly will climate change impact production volumes, quality or specific coffee regions? Which varieties should be promoted to cope with rising temperatures and more irregular rainfall patterns? How can supply chains strengthen coffee producers in their operations?

Coffee and Deforestation: Addressing Coffee’s Footprint

Ride shotgun on this game-changing farm in “One Hundred Thousand Beating Hearts,” streaming now on Salon Premium

Will Harris, a good ol’ boy Georgia rancher, may well be our nation’s best bet for a better, more sustainable future. He’s the subject of a documentary by Peter Byck, “One Hundred Thousand Beating Hearts.”

Tell us one story about the production.

When Will was taking me around the surrounding counties, to see the dying towns, small towns that had a strong agricultural base and that had been shriveling up due to poor economics for the local folks, we were filming along an old mill and rain was impending. I could see the coming squall down the road and it appeared to me to be about four minutes away. At about three minutes [out], when Will finished his answer to one of my questions, I grabbed the camera and tripod, told him we’d better run back to his truck, and as soon as we shut the doors, it started to really come down. He was impressed with my sense to read the rain. That made me feel good.

What’s been your past interest in sustainable animal agriculture?

I look to regenerative agriculture, and AMP [adaptive multi-paddock] grazing in specific, as a potential way to draw down significant amounts of carbon from the air and store it in the soils. Carbon is the currency for healthy soils — and healthy soils produce healthy foods and help farmers to make more food on their land. My experience is filming farmers and ranchers across the U.S., Canada and the UK. These innovative producers of food are my heroes.

General Mills is transitioning 53 square miles of South Dakota farmland to certified organic.

This headline from the smart website newfoodeconomy.org caught our attention: “General Mills is transitioning 53 square miles of South Dakota farmland to certified organic.” That’s 34,000 acres that will be converted to organic by planting a mix of hard red spring wheat (for pasta) hard red winter wheat, dry yellow peas, corn, soybeans, sunflowers and alfalfa. They call it Project Gunsmoke.

“The Gunsmoke project is an opportunity to use our scale to help convert large areas of acreage to organic as one of our tools to create a more stable supply chain,” General Mills said.

In short, demand for organic, or chemical-free, foods is growing exponentially and the major food suppliers can’t keep up.

http://www.stormlake.com/articles/2018/03/21/crops-are-changing

The ‘nightmare’ California flood more dangerous than a huge earthquake

California’s drought-to-deluge cycle can mask the dangers Mother Nature can have in store.

During one of the driest March-through-February time periods ever recorded in Southern California, an intense storm dumped so much rain on Montecito in January that mudflows slammed into entire rows of homes. Hundreds of homes were damaged or destroyed, and at least 21 people died.

It was a grim reminder that in a place so dry, sudden flooding can bring disaster.

Eighty years ago this month, epic storms over just six days caused widespread destruction across Southern California.

Rain fell as fast as 2 inches for a one-hour period. Wide swaths of the San Fernando Valley were inundated; floodwaters in the Los Angeles River mowed down bridges and pulled apart railroads.

Government officials responded with a major flood control campaign, building dams and deepening rivers and lining them with concrete to flush water out to sea before floodwaters could rise.

But even those protections have limits. And history shows there is precedent for even more devastation.

Several weeks of monumental storms would be all it would take to overwhelm California’s flood control system and cause widespread flooding and destruction.

http://www.latimes.com/la-me-california-flood-20180325-htmlstory.html

‘Dead zone’ in Gulf of Mexico will take decades to recover from farm pollution

A new study says that even in the ‘unrealistic’ event of a total halt to the flow of agricultural chemicals the damage will persist for 30 years.

The enormous “dead zone” in the Gulf of Mexico will take decades to recover even if the flow of farming chemicals that is causing the damage is completely halted, new research has warned.

Intensive agriculture near the Mississippi has led to fertilizers leeching into the river, and ultimately the Gulf of Mexico, via soils and waterways. This has resulted in a huge oxygen-deprived dead zone in the Gulf that is now at its largest ever extent, covering an area greater than the state of New Jersey.

A new study has found that even if runoff of nitrogen, a fertilizer chemical, was fully stemmed, the Gulf would take about 30 years to recover. Even this scenario is “not only considered unrealistic, but also inherently unsustainable”, researchers stated in the work, published in Science.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/mar/22/dead-zone-gulf-of-mexico-decades-recover-study

Buried, altered, silenced: 4 ways government climate information has changed since Trump took office

After Donald Trump won the presidential election, hundreds of volunteers around the U.S. came together to “rescue” federal data on climate change, thought to be at risk under the new administration. “Guerilla archivists,” including ourselves, gathered to archive federal websites and preserve scientific data.

But what has happened since? Did the data vanish?

As of one year later, there has been no great purge. Federal data sets related to environmental and climate science are still accessible in the same ways they were before Trump took office.

However, in many other instances, federal agencies have tampered with information about climate change. Across agency websites, documents have disappeared, web pages have vanished and language has shifted in ways that appear to reflect the policies of the new administration.

Two groups have been keeping a watchful eye on developments. We both belong to the Environmental Data Governance Initiative, the organization behind the data rescue events. The initiative now monitors tens of thousands of federal websites with the help of specialized tracking software. In January, the group published a report that describes sweeping changes to federal web resources.

https://theconversation.com/buried-altered-silenced-4-ways-government-climate-information-has-changed-since-trump-took-office-92323

In Blow to Monsanto, Arkansas Ban on Controversial Herbicide to Remain

Monsanto lost its bid to overturn Arkansas’ ban on dicamba, a controversial weedkiller linked to extensive damage to famers’ crops in the state as well as several other states.

The agribusiness giant makes a version of the herbicide called XtendiMax that’s paired with its seeds that are genetically engineered to resist the product. DuPont Co. and BASF SE also sell their own dicamba-based formulations.

https://www.ecowatch.com/monsanto-arkansas-herbicide-ban-2536779947.html

Ultra-processed foods may be linked to cancer, says study

Findings suggest increased consumption of ultra-processed foods tied to rise in cancers, but scientists say more research is needed.

“Ultra-processed” foods, made in factories with ingredients unknown to the domestic kitchen, may be linked to cancer, according to a large and groundbreaking study.

Ultra-processed foods include pot noodles, shelf-stable ready meals, cakes and confectionery which contain long lists of additives, preservatives, flavourings and colourings – as well as often high levels of sugar, fat and salt. They now account for half of all the food bought by families eating at home in the UK, as the Guardian recently revealed.

A team, led by researchers based at the Sorbonne in Paris, looked at the medical records and eating habits of nearly 105,000 adults who are part of the French NutriNet-Santé cohort study, registering their usual intake of 3,300 different food items.

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2018/feb/14/ultra-processed-foods-may-be-linked-to-cancer-says-study

 

Seabird poop warms the Earth, and cools it

Three new studies of how the world works show that seabird excrement plays an unexpected role, as do polar algae and rotting trees.

 

Three new studies of how the world works show that seabird excrement plays an unexpected role, as do polar algae and rotting trees.

 The world’s seabirds don’t just live off the land, they also nourish it: their excrement delivers 591,000 tons of nitrogen and 99,000 tons of phosphorus to feed plant communities in the soil and the water.

One polar plant community that happens to be flourishing is now to be found on the surface of Greenland’s icecap: green things are growing so well they are darkening the surface, which then reflects less light and absorbs more warmth. This algal darkening could be responsible for at least 5%, and possibly 10%, of the island’s total ice melt each summer.

And although the Arctic tundra wetlands are known to deliver between 16 and 27 million tons of methane to the atmosphere every year, they have unexpected competition in the natural greenhouse gas emission stakes.

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