Daily Archives: June 4, 2015

The Feeding of the 12 Billion | Reflections

Robert W. Herdt
Jennifer A. Herdt

How are we to feed the 7.2 billion people perched on this planet and the two to three billion more who will be here before 2050? Are there things we must not do, in our efforts to feed the hungry? Christians regard the world not simply as matter to manipulate but as God’s creation. May we “engineer” creation to alleviate hunger?

Fifteen percent of humanity is hungry today; world population will likely rise beyond 9.6 billion in 2050 to approximately 11-12 billion in 2100.1 Rising incomes of poor people mean they want to eat more and different food; production will have to increase about twice as fast as population. Many agricultural scientists find this a daunting challenge, understanding that if production does not keep pace with demand, food prices will rise and the poor will suffer first and worst.2 Christian love calls us to respond to hunger in the world with as good an understanding of God’s creation as we can muster.

Food-Water-Selves-2

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
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Food-Matters

Monsanto, RoundUp and Junk Science | Michael Hansen, Ph.D

https://www.organicconsumers.org/news/monsanto-roundup-and-junk-science
Michael Hansen, Ph.D Become a fan

Senior Scientist with Consumers Union

Posted: 05/29/2015 10:48 pm EDT Updated: 06/01/2015 1:00 pm EDT

Last weekend demonstrators joined a March Against Monsanto in some 428 cities in 38 countries, including more than 240 cities in the U.S. alone. What exactly has so many people riled up? Monsanto, of course, is an agrichemical and biotech giant, responsible for more than 90 percent of the traits in genetically engineered corn, soy and cotton sold worldwide. The company is a flash point for those who oppose the technology. But now a new issue has emerged. Monsanto’s herbicide glyphosate — trade name RoundUp

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Food-Matters

Monsanto Bids to Take over Syngenta—a Move to Assure a Pesticide-Saturated Future?

Monsanto recently made a bid to take over European agrichemical giant Syngenta, the world’s largest pesticide producer. The $45 billion bid was rejected, but there’s still a chance for a merger between these two chemical technology giants.

Monsanto is reportedly considering raising the offer, and as noted by Mother Jones,1 “combined, the two companies would form a singular agribusiness behemoth, a company that controls a third of both the globe’s seed and pesticides markets.”

As reported by Bloomberg,2 the possibility of Monsanto taking over Syngenta raises a number of concerns; a top one being loss of crop diversity.

“…[A] larger company would eventually mean fewer varieties of seeds available to farmers, say opponents such as [science policy analyst at the Center for Food Safety, Bill] Freese.

Another is that the combined company could spur increased use of herbicides by combining Syngenta’s stable of weed killers with Monsanto’s marketing heft and crop development expertise.

‘Two really big seed companies becoming one big seed company means even less choice for farmers,’ said Patty Lovera, assistant director of Food and Water Watch, a policy group in Washington.

…(read more).

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
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Food-Matters

Climate Interactive

The biggest challenges facing our lives on Earth are made up of complex, interconnected parts. People need better ways to understand the full picture.

That’s why we’re here.

Climate Interactive is a not-for-profit organization based in Washington DC. Our team helps people see what works to address climate change and related issues like energy, water, food, and disaster risk reduction. For example:

Overall, our easy-to-use, tangible, scientifically-grounded tools help people see for themselves what options exist today to create the future they want to see.

When it comes to helping people understand the big picture and see what works to address our biggest challenges, we draw on a suite of approaches, many of them developed at MIT in the fields of system dynamics and organizational learning. Our team benefits from decades of experience and mentorship from leaders like Dana Meadows, John Sterman and Peter Senge.

Global Climate Change
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Divest From Fossil Fuels Movement Explodes Across the U.S.

Cole Mellino | April 17, 2015 9:49 am

Many students have vowed to ramp up their divestment campaigns at universities across America this spring. One group who has garnered much media attention is Divest Harvard, which is wrapping up a week-long campaign known as “Harvard Heat Week.” Harvard has the largest endowment of any university in the world at $36.4 billion, and hundreds of alumni including Bill McKibben, founder of 350.org, and former Colorado Senator Tim Wirth are participating in the group’s efforts this week.

After a week of sit-ins that have shut down administration offices at Massachusetts Hall, President Faust finally reached out directly to students with Divest Harvard. ”I would be happy to meet with you and a representative group of your student colleagues when you have ceased disrupting university operations,” wrote President Faust in an email.

The students however were not pleased with the offer for another closed door meeting and called for a more open process on divestment that schools like MIT have convened. Divest

Harvard has made multiple requests for a more transparent process involving the entire student body, faculty and alumni. The group knows there is strong support for divestment because the student body voted 72 percent in favor of divestment and hundreds of faculty and thousands of alumni signed a letter supporting the initiative.

Divest Harvard has agreed to the meeting with the president, but explained that they would not stop protesting as long as Harvard continued to invest in fossil fuel companies. “Recent SEC filings revealed that the university septupled its investments in oil and gas companies last fall,” says Divest Harvard.

(read more).

Global Climate Change
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200 Protesters Block Building Entrance to Kick Off Harvard ‘Heat Week’ Demanding Divestment from Fossil Fuels

Anastasia Pantsios | April 13, 2015 10:26 am |

Harvard

students and supporters file into First Parish for a rally prior to their Heat Week divestment protest. Photo credit: Divest Harvard
Harvard University will be feeling the heat this week. That’s because April 12-17 was designated “Heat Week” by Divest Harvard, the student-led group which also includes alumni, faculty and friends, demanding that the university divest its $36 billion endowment—the largest of any university in the world—from funds that invest in fossil fuels.

According to the student newspaper the Harvard Crimson, the protest began 7:30 p.m. Sunday when about 200 supporters gathered in front of Massachusetts Hall, an administration building that houses the office of university president Drew Faust. That followed a packed rally at First Parish where speakers addressed the crowd and fired them up to march to Massachusetts Hall.

(read more).

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
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Corn Ethanol Is Worse for the Climate Than the Keystone XL Pipeline, According to EPA’s Own Estimates

The federal corn ethanol mandate has resulted in a massive influx of dirty corn ethanol, which is bad for the climate and bad for consumers. Photo credit: ShutterstockEmily Cassidy, Environmental Working Group | June 2, 2015 9:28 am

Do you think the federal government couldn’t order something worse for the environment than the Keystone XL oil pipeline?

Think again.

Using the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) own estimate, we calculate that the corn ethanol mandate has been worse for the climate than projected emissions from the controversial Keystone XL pipeline.

…(read more)

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
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90% of Americans Could Be Fed by Food Grown or Raised Within 100 Miles of Their Homes

Lorena Anderson, Phys.org | June 3, 2015 2:35 pm |

New farmland-mapping research published on Monday shows that up to 90 percent of Americans could be fed entirely by food grown or raised within 100 miles of their homes.

The popularity of “farm to table” has skyrocketed in recent years as people opt to support local farmers and get fresher food from sources they know and trust. Photo credit: Habersham County Farm to School

Professor Elliott Campbell, with the University of California, Merced, School of Engineering, discusses the possibilities in a study, “The Large Potential of Local Croplands to Meet Food Demand in the United States.” The research results are the cover story of the newest edition of Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, the flagship journal for the Ecological Society of America, which boasts a membership of 10,000 scientists.

“Elliott Campbell’s research is making an important contribution to the national conversation on local food systems,” influential author and University of California, Berkeley professor Michael Pollan said, “That conversation has been hobbled by too much wishful thinking and not enough hard data—exactly what Campbell is bringing to the table.”

‘Farm to table’

The popularity of “farm to table” has skyrocketed in the past few years as people become more interested in supporting local farmers and getting fresher food from sources they know and trust. Even large chain restaurants are making efforts to source supplies locally, knowing more customers care where their food comes from.

…(read more).

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
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Food-Matters

Is Antarctica Ice Melting or Growing? Watch This NASA Video and See for Yourself

larson

The Climate Reality Project | May 28, 2015 11:39 am |

You might have seen the news from NASA last week: Antarctica’s Larsen B Ice Shelf could disappear before the end of the decade.

But even while the Antarctic land ice disintegrates down south, and Arctic ice contracts further up North, climate change deniers are touting the record extent of Antarctic ice and using that to claim that climate change isn’t even happening.

What’s really going on with the polar ice caps?

In short, there’s a difference between sea ice and land ice. Antarctica’s land ice has indeed been melting at an alarming rate.

Land ice—also called “glaciers” or “ice sheets”—is ice that has accumulated over time on land. Sea ice is frozen, floating seawater.

Overall, the Antarctic sea ice has been stable—but that fact doesn’t contradict the evidence that our climate is warming.

The ice sheet—land ice—that covers most of Antarctica is melting at the rate of about 159 billion tons every year in recent years. When land ice melts, it flows as water into the ocean, contributing to sea-level rise. Antarctica’s melting land ice poses a direct threat to the hundreds of millions of people living on islands and near coasts.

Here’s more about why this is the case—and how glaciologists know this isn’t normal—from our friends at Yale Climate Connections:

…(read more).

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
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Arctic versus Antarctic Sea Ice


yaleclimateforum

Published on Nov 8, 2012

Suggestions that modest increases in sea ice around Antarctica offset significant losses in Arctic sea ice are based on a bogus “apples and oranges” comparison. Through interviews with a range of respected experts, Peter Sinclair’s newest Yale Forum video explains why such suggestions do not stand up to scientific scrutiny.

Dr Claire Parkinson, NASA press release on arctic vs antarctic ice
http://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/feat…

Univ of Illinois Cryosphere Today
http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/

Global Sea ice Graph
http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphe…

sea ice sediment cores
http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/sto…

Dr James Renwick interviews
http://vimeo.com/36812666
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J2PS7E…

http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/sto…

Global Climate Change
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