Daily Archives: January 21, 2021

Liberia’s Johnson Sirleaf discouraged by COVID vaccine roll-out plan | Reuters

Former Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf speaks during a Reuters interview in Kigali, Rwanda April 28, 2018. REUTERS/Jean Bizimana NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES.

GENEVA (Reuters) – The World Health Organization’s pandemic review panel co-chair Ellen Johnson Sirleaf on Tuesday expressed disappointment in COVID-19 vaccine roll-out plans which she said means shots will not be widely available in Africa until 2022 or 2023.

“The panel is discouraged and frankly disappointed by the unequal plans for vaccine rollout,” the former Liberian president and Nobel Peace Prize laureate told an Executive Board meeting of the WHO.

Reporting by Emma Farge; editing by Stephanie Nebehay

GRAIN | Digital control: how Big Tech moves into food and farming (and what it means)

The world’s biggest technology companies and distribution platforms, such as Microsoft and Amazon, have started entering the food sector. What does this mean for small farmers and local food systems?

  • It leads to a strong and powerful integration between the companies that supply products to farmers (pesticides, tractors, drones, etc) and those that control the flow of data and have access to food consumers.
  • On the input side, agribusiness are joining the trend of getting farmers to use their mobile phone apps to supply them with data, on the basis that they can give ‘advice’ to the farmers.
  • On the output side, big e-platform corporations can be seen buying their way into the sector and taking control of food distribution.
  • Together, they favour the use of chemical inputs and costly machinery, as well as the production of commodities for corporate buyers not local markets. They encourage centralisation, concentration and uniformity, and are prone to abusing their power and monopolisation.

A few years ago, the Japanese tech company Fujitsu erected a pilot, vertical farm on a parcel of land outside of Hanoi. The high-tech farm, which looks more like a factory, produces lettuce on stacked shelves in a completely enclosed high-tech greenhouse managed by central computers in Japan. The computers are connected to a cloud that Fujitsu operates in partnership with one of Japan’s largest food retailers, Aeon. The farm is at once impressive and confounding– such an enormous amount of resources and energy going into the production of a few trays of low-value lettuce.

The unlikely economics of vertical farming has not diminished its appeal in Silicon Valley. Since 2014, vertical farm start-ups have raked in US$1.8 billion from tech investors like of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and Japan’s SoftBank. This is an amount larger than all annual foreign direct investment flows into agriculture. Yet, despite the huge cash inflows, the high-tech farms these companies have built only occupy the equivalent of a measly 30 hectares of land worldwide.1 Hardly a game changer for global food production.

Just down the road from its vertical farm on the outskirts of Hanoi, Fujitsu is piloting another farm that offers a different and more realistic vision for how technology companies are moving into agriculture. This farm is located on an ordinary, outdoor field, indistinguishable from neighbouring farms. The only significant difference is that all workers on the Fujitsu farm carry smartphones supplied by the company and their movements are being monitored. The hours they work, their productivity, and the inputs they apply are carefully logged and registered in Japan on the company’s cloud. Fujitsu is deploying the latest in digital technology to the age-old corporate imperative of maximising labour exploitation.2

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Inaugural poet Amanda Gorman delivers a poem at Joe Biden’s inauguration

CNBC Television

Jan 20, 2021
Inaugural poet Amanda Gorman, the Youth Poet Laureate of 2017, delivers a poem at President Joe Biden’s inauguration. For access to live and exclusive video from CNBC subscribe to CNBC PRO: https://cnb.cx/2NGeIvi

Amanda Gorman, 22, became the youngest inaugural poet in U.S. history after reciting her poem “The Hill We Climb.”

“But while democracy can be periodically delayed, it can never be permanently defeated,” Gorman read. “In this truth, in this faith, we trust.”

Gorman is the current United States Poet Laureate. At age 16, Gorman became the Youth Poet Laureate of Los Angeles and later became the first National Youth Poet Laureate in 2017 as a sociology student at Harvard.

First Lady Jill Biden invited Gorman to participate in the inauguration in late December after hearing the poet at the Library of Congress.

Gorman immediately made waves following her reading at the inaugural ceremony, becoming the top trending Google search topic in the U.S.

Her words rang across the country: “A skinny Black girl descended from slaves and raised by a single mother can dream of becoming president, only to find herself reciting for one.”

Cooling the Climate Mess with Soil and Water

GBH Forum Network

Sep 18, 2019

Soil and climate scientist Walter Jehne works to educate farmers, policymakers and others about “the soil carbon sponge” and its crucial role in reversing and mitigating flooding, drought, wildfires, and rising global temperatures. He shows us how we can safely cool the climate and restore essential biodiversity by repairing our disrupted hydrological cycles, returning excess carbon to the soils, where it can build a sponge that soaks up water and revives the biosphere. WGBH Forum Network ~ Free online lectures: Explore a world of ideas

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Andhra Pradesh Community Managed Natural Farming

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Why Soil Matters

Our Changing Climate

Nov 3, 2017

A brief climate change video essay that looks at why the issue of soil degradation matters. Specifically, I look at how we’ve arrived at such poor soil conditions as a result of modern industrial agricultural practices and why this issue is important when facing climate change.

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Soil Solutions to Climate Problems – Narrated by Michael Pollan


To learn more visit: http://soilsolution.org

Nov 19, 2015

Narrated by Michael Pollan

To learn more visit: http://soilsolution.org

A powerful solution to the climate crisis can be found right beneath our feet—in the soil.

By harnessing the immense power of photosynthesis, we can convert atmospheric carbon, a problem, into soil carbon, a solution. Emerging science proves that shifting to regenerative forms of agriculture such as agroecology, agroforestry, cover-cropping, holistic grazing and permaculture will allow us to store excess carbon safely in the ground.

Transcript: Soil is a living miracle. In one handful of soil there are more organisms than there are humans on earth, and we are only beginning to understand this vast network of beings right beneath our feet. We rely on healthy soil for 95% of what we eat, yet we take it for granted. Thousands of years of ploughing, deforestation, and erosion have left our soils in dire shape, and we’re accelerating the loss of this essential resource. But there’s a lot more to the story. When soil is damaged, it releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, and this has had serious consequences for the climate. Too much carbon in the atmosphere is causing the earth to overheat. That excess carbon is also acidifying our oceans, threatening marine life. Meanwhile, there’s not enough carbon where it once was—in the soil. In fact, many of the world’s cultivated soils have lost more than 50% of their original carbon stocks. But there’s actually some good news! We now know how to put carbon back in the soil where it belongs. Plants capture carbon dioxide in their leaves and pump the carbon down through their roots to feed hungry microorganisms living in the soil. Now what had been atmospheric carbon, a problem, becomes soil carbon, a solution. Practices like keeping soil covered with plants, increasing crop diversity, composting, and carefully planned grazing are proven ways to put carbon back into the soil. Carbon-rich soils act like giant sponges, absorbing water during floods and providing it to plants in times of drought. And, adding carbon to soil makes the land much more productive. The French Government recognizes this and is calling on all countries to join them in increasing soil carbon by 0.4% each year. If every nation were to reach this ambitious, but achievable goal, we could store 75% of global annual greenhouse emissions—enough to make a real difference to our planet’s future well-being. Of course, we still need to reduce our fossil fuel emissions, but we don’t need to develop expensive or risky technologies. Instead, what we need is a lot more photosynthesis. Climate change can be overwhelming, yet there is real hope. Healthy soil can be a major sink for carbon, but this fact hasn’t been well-known. Until now, because now we know a soil solution is right beneath our feet.

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Put carbon where it belongs… back in the soil


Aug 12, 2015

Fossil fuels, deforestation and industrial agriculture have released dangerous amounts of carbon into the atmosphere. We can store and stabilize large amounts of carbon where it belongs – in the soil. Soil scientists, Dr. Christine Jones and Elaine Ingham share farming and land management methods that will return carbon to the soil – and keep it there – for healthier crops, more resilient farms, and less extreme weather. For further information on restoring soil carbon: http://www.nofamass.org/carbon.

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Soil carbon: with Walter Jehne

Murraylands and Riverland Landscape Board

Dec 16, 2018

Walter Jehne discusses the role of living plants in producing sugars which feed soil microbes and help initiate healthy soils, healthy pastures and healthy farms.

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Walter Jehne – The Soil Carbon Sponge, Climate Solutions and Healthy Water Cycles

Biodiversity for a Livable Climate
Apr 29, 2018

Biodiversity for a Livable Climate presents A talk by Walter Jehne Australian climate scientist and soil microbiologist Director of Healthy Soils Australia Introduction by Didi Pershouse April 26, 2018 Harvard University, Haller Hall.