The Cult of Perma

April 28, 2017 Graham Strouts 0

Graham Strouts deconstructs the meaning and definition of permaculture and exposes the lack of data, rigor, and evidence to support any claims for superior productivity or environmental impact to the modes of production it is meant to serve as an alternative to.

When all is said and done, any contribution permaculture has to make will be practices that work will work independent of the whole edifice. Just as “alternative medicine” that works is just called “medicine” so anything that could be shown to work in what is called “permaculture” is simply “good farming”, “good design” or “good engineering”.

The FAFDL Earth Day Reader

April 22, 2017 Marc Brazeau 0

In honor of Earth Day, I thought it would be a good opportunity to gather together some of our most salient pieces on the environment and the food system. The pieces are grouped into three main sections: agriculture, food waste, and oceans. – MB

Carbon Farming for Fun and Profit. Good Policy Can Help.

April 17, 2017 Marc Brazeau 0

With shifting political winds and poor commodity prices, farmers may now be willing to consider new ways of generating income by adopting environmentally friendly practices, such as planting cover crops, extending crop rotations or eliminating tillage. Many farmers are already using these practices on a small scale. To combat climate change and stabilize incomes, farmers should look to policy to tackle both in tandem.

Mind the Gaps: Reducing Hunger by Improving Yields on Small Farms

February 10, 2017 Guest Authors 0

There are tremendous opportunities to increase yields throughout South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. Increasing yields through new farming practices could triple maize production in sub-Saharan Africa and increase wheat and rice production in South Asia by about 50 percent. Gains on this scale could dramatically reduce hunger and food insecurity in some of the most vulnerable nations in the world.

Why One Wet Winter Won’t Solve California’s Water Problems

February 10, 2017 Environmental Defense Fund 0

It’s been a good winter for drought-stricken California. Record-breaking precipitation in January has raised reservoir levels and added to the essential Sierra Nevada snowpack. It will take many years of consistent, above-average rainfall to fully recover from the drought, and that seems unlikely given the variable nature of the state’s climate. California’s water problems are not only the result of historically scant rainfall. Convoluted water policies, patchwork regulations and burdensome water politics perpetuate the problems, causing imbalances in the way water is managed.

Ecosystems are Not Smart, We Are

February 6, 2017 Andrew McGuire 0

If nature has not been optimized by any process that we know of, and therefore consists of mostly random mixes of species dictated primarily by natural disturbances, then there is no reason to “follow nature’s lead.” But if we don’t, what are we left with?

We are left with an agriculture based on human ingenuity.

Fate of Colombian Shellfish Pickers Closely Tied to Mangrove

February 6, 2017 Guest Authors 0

SANQUIANGA NATIONAL PARK, Colombia – Along the northern edge of Colombia’s Pacific coast region, thousands of people rely on an unassuming shellfish called a “piangua” for daily survival. The small, black clam lives tucked deep in the stinky mud of mangrove trees.

But the global decline of mangrove forests at about 1 percent annually, years-long decline of the piangua, encroaching drug traffickers, and the stigma surrounding piangua pickers are endangering the traditional practice of piangua picking

New Maps Show How Our Consumption Impacts Wildlife Thousands of Miles Away

February 3, 2017 Guest Authors 0

Global trade has made it easier to buy things. But our consumption habits often fuel threats to biodiversity — such as deforestation, overhunting and overfishing — thousands of miles away.

Now, scientists have mapped how major consuming countries drive threats to endangered species elsewhere. Such maps could be useful for finding the most efficient ways to protect critical areas important for biodiversity, the researchers suggest in a new study.

Don’t Mimic Nature on the Farm, Improve It

February 1, 2017 Andrew McGuire 1

Behind many efforts to make agriculture more sustainable is the idea that our farming systems need to be more like nature. in addition to being false, the whole idea of the “balance of nature” is misleading. From it has come the view that ecosystems are a highly complex, integrated system of interactions between species, complexity that is beyond our understanding. The evidence, however, points to different conclusions.

How Agriculture Can Help Drive a Low Carbon Economy

January 27, 2017 Environmental Defense Fund 0

The Obama administration White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) recently released an intriguing report on how the United States can transition to a low-carbon economy by 2050 while continuing economic growth. The report gives a starring role in this job to agricultural lands.

“Mid-Century Strategy for Deep Decarbonization” outlines a 3-pronged strategy for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent while accelerating job-creating innovation. Calling each strategy “critical,” CEQ first lists the familiar call to transition to renewable and low carbon forms of energy.

The second key strategy, however, is less often discussed: the potential of cropland and grassland soils, as well as forests, to store and sequester hundreds of millions of tons of CO2 annually. The report – informed by decades of scientific research – describes the opportunities to explore in this area.

New US Seafood Rule Shows Global Trade and Conservation Can Work Together

January 26, 2017 Guest Authors 0

On Jan. 1 the United States started enforcing a new import rule, which requires fisheries exporting seafood to the United States to protect marine mammals at standards comparable to those required for U.S. fisheries. This rule aims to leverage American market power to reduce marine mammal bycatch worldwide. It also aims to level the playing field for U.S. fishermen, who currently face monitoring costs and fishing restrictions to reduce marine mammal bycatch – unlike some of their foreign competitors.

Measuring Methane Emissions From Cows is Elusive, But We’re Getting Closer

January 23, 2017 Environmental Defense Fund 0

If farmers are to mitigate methane emissions, they need to know where and under what conditions the emissions occur. And they need management options that have been proven to make a difference.

Environmental Defense Fund, thanks to a generous grant, is helping to quantify methane emissions from different management approaches. This work builds on EDF’s earlier efforts to develop good estimates of methane released through the energy sector.

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