Tag Archives: sustainable development

Mystery: No one knows what’s causing the big bee die-off

Every third bite of food we consume depends on pollination by bees. But the bees are disappearing and no-one seems to know why.

News of a mass die-off of bees first broke in 2006. By the spring of 2007 it was clear that the newly dubbed Colony Collapse Disorder was widespread. A quarter of all U.S. beekeepers had suffered losses and more than 30 percent of all bee colonies in the country were wiped out. Huge die-offs also came in Australia, Canada, Brazil, China, Europe and other regions. In Britain, losses averaged more than 30 per cent over 2007-08.

Is Globalization to blame?

Read more in The New Internationalist

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UC prof says factory farming will reduce GHGs from livestock

In 2006, The UN’s Food and Agriculture organization published “Livestock’s Long Shadow,” a much-criticized report suggesting that livestock accounted for more greenhouse gases than the planet’s entire motor fleet.

Now, a University of California professor has published a study suggesting the FAO overstated the impact of meat and dairy production on Climate Change. Dr. Frank Mitloehner says more efficient production methods — i.e. factory farming and feedlots — will reduce greenhouse gases from livestock.  

He adds that less industrialised countries should be helped to satisfy their populations’ growing demand for meat and dairy by adopting western-style factory farming.

“My concern is not to feed more meat to people in the developed world but to make nutrition available to people who are undernourished,” he said. “The current systems in Brazil, sub-Saharan Africa and Asia are very land-hungry because they are so extensive. We have the tools to show them how to do it using less resources.”

The FAO is doing a “Son of Livestock’s Long Shadow” report that should be completed next year.

Read more in The Ecologist.

Vandana Shiva: Green Revolution brought ‘water famine’ to India

Since 1966 – and as a consequence of the introduction of the Green Revolution model of water-intensive, chemical farming – India has over-exploited her groundwater, creating a water famine, Vandana Shiva writes.

Intensification of drought, floods and cyclones is one of the predictable impacts of climate change and climate instability. The failure of monsoon in India, and the consequent drought, has impacted two-thirds of the country, especially the breadbasket of India’s fertile Gangetic plains. Bihar, for example, has had a 43 percent rainfall deficit, and the story is the same in many other parts of India.

In the final analysis, India’s food security rests on the monsoon. Monsoon failure and widespread drought imply a deepening of the already severe food crisis triggered by trade-liberalisation policies, which have made India the capital of hunger. Read more in Resurgence.

Did American conservationists go too far in Africa?

Then, as they say, things went horribly wrong.
” ‘ ‘The Owenses earned a reputation in the valley for their intolerance of local people. “Their whole attitude was ‘Nice continent. Pity about the Africans,’ ” said another European who knew them.
P. J. Fouche, a professional hunter who manages a hunting concession in a game-management area near where the Owens couple lived, said that Mark Owens developed a proprietary feeling about the park’s wildlife. “He didn’t want them”—the Africans—“to be anywhere near his animals. That’s how he saw the animals, as his.’ ” Read more in The New Yorker.

Shell gets offshore drilling permit for NW Alaska

The Associated Press reports that the U.S. government has approved clean air permits for Shell Oil to drill exploratory wells in the Chukchi Sea off Alaska’s northwest coast.  U.S. Sen. Mark Begich made the announcement Thursday.

Shell wants to drill three exploratory wells on the Arctic Ocean acreage leased offshore in a 2008 sale.

The clean air permit issued by the Environmental Protection Agency clears a regulatory hurdle for Shell.  But the company faces others before drilling can begin off Alaska’s northwest coast.

The announcement came one day after President Barack Obama and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced a revised outer continental shelf leasing program that affects four areas off Alaska.

People of Earth: Turn out the lights

Earth Hour comes tonight from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. local time wherever your are. Your hour in the dark acknowledges Climate Change and shows support for Sustainable development.

Earth Hour began in Sydney, Australia, in 2007. Organizers are hoping more than 1 billion people in at least 125 countries will take part this year. That would be the largest mass statement about climate change  and sustainability in human history.

“Earth Hour is meant to unite the world,” says Dan Forman, manager of  Earth Hour sponsor World Wildlife Fund (WWF.) “A lot of people find the issue of climate change a priority, and on Saturday we’re going to make that statement to the world.”

Read more in The Christian Science Monitor

Cap and Trade: Devils in the details

Here’s another one from Annie Leonard of the “Story of Stuff” project.

This one’s “The Story of Cap and Trade.”  Watch it.