Monthly Archives: October 2016

SPINNING FOOD » Real Food Media » Stories from the heart of the food movement

Project Description

We’re thrilled to announce the release of a report that Anna has been working on with Kari Hamerschlag at Friends of the Earth U.S. and Stacy Malkan at U.S. Right to Know Network. “Spinning Food,” investigates how Big Food and agrochemical corporations are deliberately misleading the public – and reporters – on facts about industrial agriculture and organic and sustainable food production.

Taking their cues from the tobacco industry, these companies have spent hundreds of millions of dollars in the past few years on stealth PR tactics, deploying over a dozen front groups to push coordinated messages attacking organic food production, defending pesticides and the routine use of antibiotics and promoting GMOs — messages that are making their way into the pages of our largest media outlets.

The report shows how these companies are trying to preserve their markets and advance policy agendas by deploying front groups; targeting moms, attacking journalists and scientists; grooming third-party allies that pose as independent sources; producing advertising disguised as editorial content and using other covert social media tactics to influence public opinion and sway policymakers — without most people realizing the story is being shaped behind the scenes to promote corporate interests.

This report aims to shed light on how the industrial food and agriculture sector is trying to defuse concerns about the real risks of chemical-intensive industrial agriculture and undermine public confidence in the benefits of organic food and diversified, ecological production systems. We hope this report helps reporters, policymakers, opinion leaders and the public bring increased scrutiny to the food industry’s messages and messengers. By revealing key groups and tactics used by industry, we also hope that it will help generate more balanced and accurate reporting on our food system.


Noam Chomsky on Economic Inequality

Chomsky’s Philosophy

Published on Sep 17, 2016


Ecosystem in a Bottle

Monsanto Company

Published on Sep 1, 2016

An ecosystem includes all of the living things in an area that interact with each other and with their environments. In an ecosystem, each element has its own role to play. With Ecosystem in a Bottle, you discover the relationships between living organisms, and their environment.


Science Magazine – Top Employer

Monsanto Company

Published on Oct 31, 2016

A few of our scientists wanted to celebrate the company being named a Science magazine Top Employer with reasons why they love working here (Beware: Puns may be included…)


Transitioning to Clean Energy Would Create More Jobs than Fossil Fuels


Published on Oct 30, 2016

Heidi Garrett-Peltier of the Political Economic Research Institute explains how the Solyndra controversy overshadows the enormous success of government investment in clean energy

EAT-Lancet Commission: scientific solutions for transforming global food system – Stockholm Resilience Centre

New solutions for our global food system

A new EAT-Lancet commission launched to tackle the global food system’s role in malnutrition and global change

  • The EAT–Lancet Commission will investigate connections between diet, human health & the state of the planet
  • The commission will scientifically assess whether a global transformation to a better food system is possible
  • The global assessment, due for completion in 2017, will be the first systematic analysis of the global food system

UPDATE 29 JULY 2016:

We are seeking a postdoctoral fellow to form part of the secretariat of the new EAT-Lancet commission on Healthy Diets from Sustainable Food Systems, placed at Stockholm Resilience Centre. Applicants are expected to hold a doctoral degree in public health or nutrition, sustainability science and/or food systems research. We are particularly interested in candidates that have shown capacity to work in interdisciplinary teams, and with strong systems thinking and quantitative analytical skills.

Read more and apply here

Out of five billion adults worldwide, nearly two billion are obese. Obesity rates are rising in nearly every country in the world and one in three people on Earth suffer from some form of malnutrition. Moreover, overconsumption of unhealthy food is increasingly coming at the expense of the resilience of the planet. This resilience – related to the oceans, atmosphere, ice sheets, land and freshwater – supports a population of 7,3 billion people and the economy.

Political progress on these issues have been slow and haphazard. Yet the science is becoming clearer: it may be possible to feed a growing population a healthy diet without further environmental degradation. Such a shift could reduce mortality and reduce food-related greenhouse gas emissions.

Centre director Johan Rockström and colleagues have written in the Lancet ,“No universal and comprehensive synthesis exists to elucidate how to implement sustainable healthy eating patterns at scale for both consumption and production.”

Read more about the scientific background to the EAT-Lancet Commission here

To address this Rockström, chair of the EAT Foundation Gunhild Stordalen and editor of The Lancet Richard Horton, have announced the EAT–Lancet Commission to investigate the connections between diet, human health, and the state of the planet to provide a basis for new, evidence-based integrated policies.

“The new commission will, for the first time, scientifically assess whether a global transformation to a food system delivering healthy diets from sustainable food systems to a growing world population is possible, and what implications it might have for attaining the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Climate Agreement.”

Johan Rockström, co-chair of the EAT-Lancet Commission

This global assessment, due for completion in 2017, will be the first systematic analysis of the global food system and will help policy makers by providing a roadmap for how transformation of the food system can help in attaining the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Paris Climate Agreement. It will explore synergies and trade-offs between food-related human and planetary health; identify knowledge gaps, barriers, and levers of change in support of the recent international agreements; and tackle issues such as food-price volatility and food waste.


How to succeed with sustainable intensification of agriculture – Stockholm Resilience Centre

Johan Rockström is the director of Stockholm Resilience Centre. He is an internationally recognized scientist on global sustainability issues, where he, e.g., led the recent development of the new Planetary Boundaries framework for human development in the current era of rapid global change.

Too intense?

Why global agriculture must become key contributor to sustainable development rather than largest driver of environmental change

Article Citation: Rockström, J., Williams, J., Daily, G. et al. 2016. Sustainable intensification of agriculture for human prosperity and global sustainability. Ambio doi:10.1007/s13280-016-0793-6

In June 2015 centre director Johan Rockström argued that “if we get it right on food, we get it right for both people and planet”. He was definitely on to something.

In an article recently published in Ambio, the scientific journal of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Rockström and colleagues conclude that we need to radically change the way we grow our food if we are to attain the twin objectives of feeding humanity and living within planetary boundaries.

Rockström is the lead author of the article together with Line Gordon, Hanna Wetterstrand and colleagues from e.g. Australian National University, FAO, Stanford University, CGIAR and Bioversity International.

In the article they argue for the repositioning of world agriculture to becoming a key contributor of a global transition to sustainable development.

Today, the situation is quite the opposite.

“Agriculture is the world’s single largest driver of global environmental change and, at the same time, is most affected by these changes.”

Johan Rockström, lead author

  • A three-step approach for sustainable intensification of agriculture within planetary boundaries is suggested
  • The approach includes better use of natural capital and multi-functional ecosystems to develop productive and resilient farming systems
  • Such intensification can deliver more food, better ecosystems, and improved livelihood resilience

Food is key to the global goals
Getting it right on food is key to world development. Actually, sustainable and healthy food is directly or indirectly connected to all of the UN Global Goals. To really deliver on the goals will, however, require an increase in global food production of between 60 and 110 % in a world of rising global environmental risks, Rockström and colleagues argue.

Such a production increase requires intensification on existing land without further jeopardising the livelihood resilience of 2.5 billion smallholder farmers who are the primary stewards of our natural resources.

“Much previous intensification has taken place with production increases being the primary, if not the sole, objective, whose negative consequences were understood after-the-fact and are now well documented,” they write.

Re-defining sustainable intensification
While many recent efforts have defined sustainable intensification of agriculture as “increased yields without adverse environmental impact and without the cultivation of more land”, Rockström and colleagues suggest that such a definition is “either not concrete enough or only partial”.

On the contrary, they ague that a comprehensive definition of sustainable intensification of agriculture in the Anthropocene must have a clear link to the planetary boundaries framework

“World agriculture must now meet social needs and fulfill sustainability criteria that enables food and all other agricultural ecosystem services such as climate stabilization, flood control and nutrition to be generated within a safe operating space of a stable and resilient Earth system,” they write.

In order to sustainably increase productivity in agriculture Rockström and colleagues suggest a three-step approach:

(1) be as resource efficient as possible combining e.g. locally relevant crop and practices that minimize inputs and close nutrient, carbon, and water cycles

(2) adopt practices that build landscape-scale resilience by sustaining ecosystem functions and services, such as water flows and biodiversity

(3) connect thinking, planning, and practice across scales to fully grasp field to biome interactions.

Key strategies for paradigm shift
The three-step approach above must also include improved and more equitable access to knowledge and resources including land tenure, common property, markets, and social relations, the authors suggest. Building on previous studies by colleagues around the world they list a number of key strategies for the much needed paradigm shift.

These include:

• Build robust institutions of small farmers, led especially by women, which enable an equitable interface with both markets and government.
• Adopt circular approaches to managing natural resources (e.g., nutrient recycling) and mixing organic and inorganic sources of nutrients.
• Harness agro-ecological processes such as nutrient cycling, biological nitrogen fixation, and biological pest control.
• Use natural capital (soil, biodiversity, nutrients, water) and multi-functional ecosystems to develop productive and resilient farming systems.
• Assist farmers in overcoming adoption barriers, rendering the ecological approach profitable in the long run.


A social-ecological legacy – Stockholm Resilience Centre

An integrated perspective of humans-in-nature more important than ever for both science and development

Already two decades ago centre science director Carl Folke and Canadian professor Fikret Berkes started to use the concept “social-ecological system” as part of an integrated perspective of humans-in-nature. They related it to the, at that time, emerging concept of resilience. Since then a lot has happened in the research on resilience in social-ecological systems. Today, with the new Sustainable Development Goals and a revived global environmental change research agenda this approach is as pertinent as ever.

In fact, the focus of international development efforts and science is slowly shifting from viewing the environment as an externality to the biosphere as a precondition for social justice, economic development, and sustainability.

This is the message from an article in Ecology and Society by Carl Folke, Reinette Biggs, Albert Norström, Belinda Reyers and Johan Rockström where they present how the social-ecological approach has developed over the years and why it is more important than ever.

“The social-ecological resilience approach emphasizes that humans and well-being fundamentally rest on the capacity of the biosphere to sustain us, irrespective of whether or not people recognize this dependence.”

Carl Folke, lead author

  • The concept “social-ecological system” has been in use for almost two decades in the scientific literature
  • Centre researchers present how this approach has developed over the years and why it is more important than ever both in science and development efforts
  • It is high time to view the biosphere as a precondition for social justice, economic development, and sustainability

Citation: Folke, C., R. Biggs, A. V. Norström, B. Reyers, and J. Rockström. 2016. Social-ecological resilience and biosphere-based sustainability science. Ecology and Society 21(3):41.

Carl Folke is science director of the Stockholm Resilience Centre. He has extensive experience in transdisciplinary collaboration and has worked with ecosystem dynamics and services as well as the social and economic dimension of ecosystem management and proactive measures to manage resilience.


Reinette (Oonsie) Biggs‘ is a Society in Science Fellow funded by the Branco Weiss foundation. Her research focuses on regime shifts — large, abrupt, long-lasting changes that can have dramatic impacts on human economies and societies.



Albert Norström is Executive Director of the Programme on Ecosystem Change and Society (PECS) and a researcher with a focus on coastal and marine systems.




Belinda Reyers is the Director of the GRAID (Guidance for Resilience in the Anthropocene: Investments for Development) programme at the Stockholm Resilience Centre. Her research involves regional and international collaborations which aim to integrate knowledge on social-ecological systems and their role in supporting resilient societies into the policies and practices of decision makers.


Johan Rockström is the executive director of the Stockholm Resilience Centre and an internationally recognized scientist for his work on global sustainability issues.


  • Folke, C., R. Biggs, A. V. Norström, B. Reyers, and J. Rockström. 2016. Social-ecological resilience and biosphere-based sustainability science. Ecology and Society 21(3):41.

Link to publication

TRIPS: The Story of How Intellectual Property Became Linked to Trade (6/7) – YouTube


Published on Oct 29, 2016

Professor Peter Drahos says the story of the trade agreement is not just a story of power, it’s also a story of clever psychology

Link to full series

Police Are Shooting Down Aerial Drones Over Standing Rock


Published on Oct 29, 2016

Protesters and protectors their the shootings of drones are meant to undermine reporting on #NoDAPL

Visit for more videos.