Agriculture

Jonathan Marshall – Escalations in a New Cold War

May 16, 2016

If the United States ever ends up stumbling into a major conventional or nuclear war with Russia, the culprit will likely be two military boondoggles that refused to die when their primary mission ended with the demise of the Soviet Union: NATO and the U.S. anti-ballistic missile (ABM) program. The “military-industrial complex” that reaps hundreds of billions of dollars annually from support of those programs got a major boost this week when NATO established its first major missile defense site at an air base in Romania, with plans to build a second installation in Poland by 2018. Although NATO and Pentagon spokesmen claim the ABM network in Eastern Europe is aimed at Iran, Russia isn’t persuaded for a minute. “This is not a defense system,” said Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday. “This is part of U.S. nuclear strategic potential brought [to] . . . Eastern Europe. . . Now, as these elements of ballistic missile defense are deployed, we are forced to think how to neutralize emerging threats to the Russian Federation.” Read

Let’s Create A Better World – 04.30.16

April 30, 2016

We have two guests on the show. The first talks about food, water and how environmental change is playing a major role in the negative effects our food is having on us and the world in which we live. The second guest discusses overcoming alcohol addiction and living a healthy, "Soulfully Aware" life. Our first guest is Kari Hamerschlag, senior program manager for "Friends of the Earth". www.FOE.org She speaks about the harmful affects our current food and water supply are having on us and our environment. Furthermore, she discusses Food, Water, Agriculture, Climate Change and Biodiversity. Our second guest, Natalie Rountree, is an advocate for bringing awareness to the pain and struggles of women, mothers and others facing addiction to alcohol or in recovery. She is the founder of "Sober Living Soulful Living" www.SoberLivingSoulfulLiving.com which focuses on inspiring and encouraging those in recovery from alcoholism. Natalie has aided hundreds of people in their recovery since 2008 and continues to inspire thousands more daily with her story, her blogs, public speaking events, Facebook page, podcasts and more.

As Demand Skyrockets, Thousands of US Farms Are Going Organic

April 18, 2016

Organic food demand is so booming that multiple efforts are underway to support the acquisition of organic farmland. Even Cost-Co is getting in on the action by offering to help farmers buy land and farm equipment. People’s huge appetite for organics has been ignored by Big Ag for so long that land to grow food organically in the U.S. is rather scarce. Currently, organic farming acres make up less than one percent of total U.S. farmland. Instead of growing our own, we’re importing a bunch of organic corn, soy, and other products every year. This trend of people wanting organic products seems to be growing, too. U.S. Department of Agriculture statistics show that in 2014, certified organic operations in the U.S. had reached an astonishing number of 19,474, while a total of 27,814 certified organic operations exist around the world. Other studies report that another 3,000 farms are transitioning to organic. The word is out – individuals everywhere are quickly switching to organic. Read

Colin Todhunter – Capitalism And Global Agribusiness: From Ford To Monsanto, It’s For Your Own Good

April 13, 2016

“We must… build our own local food systems that create new rural-urban links, based on truly agroecological food production… We cannot allow Agroecology to be a tool of the industrial food production model: we see it as the essential alternative to that model, and as the means of transforming how we produce and consume food into something better for humanity and our Mother Earth… Agroecology is political; it requires us to challenge and transform structures of power in society. We need to put the control of seeds, biodiversity, land and territories, waters, knowledge, culture and the commons in the hands of the peoples who feed the world.” – Extract from The Declaration of the International Forum for Agroecology, Nyeleni, Mali, 27 February 2015 The above extract is something that the US government and the agribusiness interests it serves do not want to hear. It represents a grass-root challenge to their intertwined commercial and geopolitical interests. Rather than wanting to transform society and food and agriculture, these state-corporate interests require business as usual. Read

Exposure to glyphosate herbicides with sun exposure increases risk of skin cancer – study

April 12, 2016

People who are exposed to glyphosate herbicides in their work are more likely to suffer from an aggressive form of skin cancer called cutaneous melanoma, a new study shows. Over 80% of GM crops are engineered to tolerate being sprayed with glyphosate herbicides. Exposure to the fungicides mancozeb or maneb was also associated with a higher risk of this type of cancer. When subjects were exposed to both pesticides and occupational sun exposure, the risk increased even more. The study, published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, was conducted in two different geographic areas – Italy and Brazil – where the researchers were based. Detailed pesticide exposure histories were obtained from the subjects and possible confounding factors were controlled for. The study adds to the already considerable body of evidence linking glyphosate herbicide exposure to cancer, which led the World Heath Organisation’s cancer agency IARC to conclude that the herbicide is a probable

Energy Stew – Richard A. Bowell – 04.08.16

April 8, 2016

It looks like everything is polluted. Even our atmosphere has been polluting pristine wildernesses or what's left of them. Our economy, politics, agriculture, medicine - there's no secure place to turn. Can we even trust our minds in this frightening world? What's left? There is a place inside ourselves where we can experience our sacredness but not everyone can find it. Once we understand our own sacredness, we can see it in everything and contribute to the betterment of life. Evolution makes progress through truth, beauty and goodness and the more we can embrace it the more whole our future will be. Richard A. Bowell has written the book, "The Last Unpolluted Place on Earth is Inside Our Selves". Listen to this very insightful interview with Richard and find out why the only real way to make progress is to be true to our soul and pursue its higher purpose. Other than that, all our plans are just talk which is why progress is so hard to see. Richard is also working with Michael Shewchuk who he met at the UN and Michael's organization, Human Evolutionary Change, is partnering with Richard to foster this important transformation.

Can urban gardeners benefit ecosystems while keeping food traditions alive?

April 6, 2016

When conjuring up an image of a healthy ecosystem, few of us would think of a modern city. But scientists are increasingly recognizing that the majority of ecosystems are now influenced by humans, and even home gardens in urban landscapes can contribute important ecosystem services. “Ecosystem services are the benefits that ecosystems provide to humans. In a natural ecosystem, these are things like natural medicinal products or carbon that’s sequestered by forest trees. In an urban context, it would be similar types of things. For example, shade from trees provides microclimate control to keep us more comfortable,” explains University of Illinois landscape agroecologist Sarah Taylor Lovell. Lovell and her colleagues investigated the ecosystem services and disservices provided by home food gardens in Chicago, adding a cultural dimension by looking at gardening practices in specific ethnic communities. In an earlier study, they found a high density of food gardens in Chicago were in African American, Chinese-origin, and Mexican-origin communities. Read

Andrew J. Bacevich – Writing a Blank Check on War for the President

April 6, 2016

Let’s face it: in times of war, the Constitution tends to take a beating. With the safety or survival of the nation said to be at risk, the basic law of the land — otherwise considered sacrosanct — becomes nonbinding, subject to being waived at the whim of government authorities who are impatient, scared, panicky, or just plain pissed off. The examples are legion.  During the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln arbitrarily suspended the writ of habeas corpus and ignored court orders that took issue with his authority to do so. After U.S. entry into World War I, the administration of Woodrow Wilson mounted a comprehensive effort to crush dissent, shutting down anti-war publications in complete disregard of the First Amendment. Amid the hysteria triggered by Pearl Harbor, Franklin Roosevelt issued an executive order consigning to concentration camps more than 100,000 Japanese-Americans, many of them native-born citizens. Asked in 1944 to review this gross violation of due process, the Supreme Court endorsed the government’s action by a 6-3 vote. Read

Global shift in farmed fish feed may impact nutritional benefits ascribed to seafood

March 17, 2016

The fish-farming industry is increasing its use of plant-based ingredients in its feed and moving away from traditional feed made from fish, which could impact some of the health benefits of eating certain types of seafood, suggests a new analysis from the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future (CLF) at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The findings are published March 11 in the journal Environment International. Half of the seafood consumed by Americans is farmed. Fish farming, also known as aquaculture, is the fastest-growing food animal sector, outpacing the beef and poultry industries. While wild fish find their own food — which includes smaller fish for carnivorous species — intensively farmed fish are fed a manufactured aquaculture feed. Until recently, this manufactured feed was typically composed of high levels of fishmeal and fish oil derived from wild fish — but it has become unsustainable to catch more wild fish to feed growing numbers of farmed fish, so the industry has shifted the makeup of the feed. For example, twice as much soybean meal was used in commercial aquaculture feed in 2008 as compared to fishmeal, and the use of crop-based ingredients is projected to increase 124 percent

Bee flower choices altered by exposure to pesticides

March 15, 2016

Low levels of pesticides can impact the foraging behaviour of bumblebees on wildflowers, changing their floral preferences and hindering their ability to learn the skills needed to extract nectar and pollen, according to a study co-authored by a University of Guelph professor. The study, published March 14 in Functional Ecology, is the first to explore how pesticides may impact the ability of bumblebees to forage from common wildflowers that have complex shapes such as white clover and bird’s foot trefoil. Bees and other insects pollinate many of the world’s important food crops and wild plants, raising serious concerns about the impacts of reported global pollinator declines for food security and biodiversity. The researchers found that bumblebees exposed to a realistic level of a neonicotinoid insecticide (thiamethoxam) collected more pollen but took longer to do so than control bees. Pesticide-exposed bees also chose to forage from different flowers than control bees. “Bees rely on learning to locate flowers, track their profitability and work out how best to efficiently extract nectar and pollen,” said environmental sciences professor Nigel Raine, the Rebanks Family Chair in Pollinator Conservation at U of G and senior author of the paper. “If exposure to low levels of pesticide
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