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Ruth Milka – 2016: The year solar panels became cheaper than fossil fuels

It’s finally happened. The renewable energy future has arrived. According to the World Economic Forum (WEF), installing new solar panels is cheaper than a comparable investment in coal, natural gas, or other options. Solar and wind is now the same price or cheaper than fossil fuels in more than 30 countries. According to Michael Drexler, head of development investing at …

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How What We Eat Has Changed

Americans eat more chicken and less beef than they used to. They drink less milk – especially whole milk – and eat less ice cream, but they consume way more cheese. Their diets include less sugar than in prior decades but a lot more corn-derived sweeteners. And while the average American eats the equivalent of 1.2 gallons of yogurt a …

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Colin Todhunter – Entrenching Capitalist Agriculture in India Under the Guise of “Development”

This result has been the creation of food surplus and food deficit areas, of which the latter have become dependent on agricultural imports and strings-attached aid. Food deficits in the Global South mirror food surpluses in the North. Whether through IMF-World Bank structural adjustment programmes, as occurred in Africa, trade agreements like NAFTA and its impact on Mexico or, more generally, deregulated global trade rules, the …

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Anuradha Sengupta – They Lost Their Jungles to Plantations, But These Indigenous Women Grew Them Back

It is early morning in Dhepagudi, a sleepy hamlet nestled in the green hills of Odisha, India. Admai Kumruka is sifting millet in a traditional sieve made of bamboo strips. Children mill around, playing on a mud and sand mound. A few huts down, Rello Dindika is sorting through harvested corn. A group of women are chopping fresh pumpkin leaves …

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Joanna Hoyt – Here’s How Smart Homesteaders Avoid Cleaning Out Manure

Winter is coming, and for those of us who live in snowy climates the task of cleaning our barns and chicken coops is about to get more complicated. One solution is simply to stop cleaning out over the winter and try the deep-litter bedding approach. You’re probably already covering the floor of your stalls and coops with some kind of …

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Research into extreme weather effects may explain recent butterfly decline

Increasingly frequent extreme weather events could threaten butterfly populations in the UK and could be the cause of recently reported butterfly population crashes, according to research from the University of East Anglia (UEA). Researchers investigated the impact of Extreme Climatic Events (ECEs) on butterfly populations. The study shows that the impact can be significantly positive and negative, but questions remain …

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The Kolkata dump that’s permanently on fire: ‘Most people die by 50’

From Kartik Dhara’s home, the trucks at the top of the garbage mountain look like the toys he sees city children playing with on his rounds of Kolkata. A garbage truck driver in the eastern Indian city, Dhara can’t afford to buy toys for his own children, but he often finds discarded ones where he unloads rubbish every day. “You …

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Ronnie Cummins – The Long March Against Monsanto: A Letter from The Hague

We are today in the midst of a battleground for two very different approaches to agriculture. One is the agro-ecological approach based on the use of open source traditional seeds based on biodiversity and living in harmony with nature. The other is the mechanistic world of an industrial system based on monocultures, one-way extraction and the use of pesticides, poisons …

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KAREN PERRY STILLERMAN – Organic Farming is Growing (But Not Everywhere)

The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently released the results of its latest survey of organic farmers, and there’s good news. Organic farming is up nationally, with 12,818 farms generating $6.2 billion in certified organic product sales in 2015, up 13 percent from 2014. But the survey shows that all states aren’t pursuing organic farming equally. And one of the top …