Daily Archives: November 20, 2015

Counting on Agroecology: Why We Should Invest More in the Transition to Sustainable Agriculture


Agroecological farming systems offer a science-based alternative to the industrial model that currently dominates U.S. agriculture. By adopting agroecological approaches, we can transform the way we produce our food in a more sustainable direction, with benefits for the health of farmland, farm workers, the environment and the climate.

But a 2015 analysis by UCS and partners shows that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is missing the boat when it comes to investing in agroecological research and education. The study found that only 15 percent of external USDA grants go to projects that include agroecology, and only 4 percent to projects that could be considered transformative.

Industrial agriculture: a dead end

Agriculture in the United States is succeeding at production—but failing at sustainability. Our farms and ranches produce vast quantities of food, fiber and fuel, but this abundance comes at the expense of the environment, public health, and even long-term agricultural productivity.

Our entrenched industrial agriculture system has spawned a host of problems. Practices like monoculture (planting the same crops in the same fields year after year) and frequent tillage degrade soil health. Excess fertilizer runoff produces toxic algal blooms and aquatic dead zones. Herbicide overuse has led to an epidemic of “superweeds,” and intensive pesticide use has raised concerns about environmental and human health impacts.

…(read more).

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice

The Sovereign Map: Theoretical Approaches in Cartography throughout History : Christian Jacob, Edward H. Dahl, Tom Conley: Books

Christian Jacob

Edited by Edward H. Dahl
Translated by Tom Conley

464 pages | 11 color plates, 45 halftones, 15 line drawings | 6 x 9 | © 2005

A novel work in the history of cartography, The Sovereign Map argues that maps are as much about thinking as seeing, as much about the art of persuasion as the science of geography. As a classicist, Christian Jacob brings a fresh eye to his subject—which includes maps from Greek Antiquity to the twentieth century—and provides a theoretical approach to investigating the power of maps to inform, persuade, and inspire the imagination.

Beginning with a historical overview of maps and their creation—from those traced in the dirt by primitive hands to the monumental Dutch atlases and ornate maps on Italian palace walls—Jacob goes on to consider the visual components of cartography: the decorative periphery, geometric grid, topographical lines, dots, details of iconographic figures, and many other aspects. Considering text on maps—titles, toponyms, legends, and keys—Jacob proposes that writing can both clarify and interfere with a map’s visual presentation. Finally Jacob examines the role of the viewer in decoding a map’s meaning and the role of society in defining the power of maps as authoritative depictions of space.

Innovative in its philosophical motivation and its interdisciplinary approach to looking at and writing about maps, The Sovereign Map is eagerly awaited by scholars from many different fields.

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice