One smart day in Woods Hole Boston Globe Woods Hole is a kind of summer camp for inquiring minds, and even visitors who didn't do their high school science projects on the taxonomy of cephalopods can tap into some of that salt-air, gee-whiz...
Feeding a growing human population without increasing stresses on Earth's strained land and water resources may seem like an impossible challenge. But... focusing efforts to improve food systems on a few specific regions, crops and actions could make it possible to both meet the basic needs of 3 billion more people and decrease agriculture's environmental footprint.
The report... focuses on 17 key crops that produce 86 percent of the world's crop calories and account for most irrigation and fertilizer consumption on a global scale. It proposes a set of key actions in three broad areas that that have the greatest potential for reducing the adverse environmental impacts of agriculture and boosting our ability meet global food needs. For each, it identifies specific "leverage points" where nongovernmental organizations, foundations, governments, businesses and citizens can target food-security efforts for the greatest impact. The biggest opportunities cluster in six countries -- China, India, U.S., Brazil, Indonesia and Pakistan -- along with Europe...
The major areas of opportunity and key leverage points for improving the efficiency and sustainability of global food production are:
1. Produce more food on existing land. Previous research has detected the presence of a dramatic agricultural "yield gap" -- difference between potential and actual crop yield -- in many parts of the world. This study found that closing even 50 percent of the gap in regions with the widest gaps could provide enough calories to feed 850 million people. Nearly half of the potential gains are in Africa, with most of the rest represented by Asia and Eastern Europe.
2. Grow crops more efficiently. The study identified where major opportunities exist to reduce climate impacts and improve the efficiency with which we use nutrients and water to grow crops.
Agriculture is responsible for 20 to 35 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, largely in the form of carbon dioxide from tropical deforestation, methane from livestock and rice growing, and nitrous oxide from crop fertilization. The... biggest opportunities for reducing greenhouse gas production are in Brazil and Indonesia for deforestation; China and India for rice production; and China, India and the United States for crop fertilization.
With respect to nutrient use, ... worldwide, 60 percent of nitrogen and nearly 50 percent of phosphorus applications exceed what crops need to grow. China, India and the U.S. -- and three crops, rice, wheat and corn -- are the biggest sources of excess nutrient use worldwide, so offer the greatest opportunity for improvement.
With respect to water, rice and wheat are the crops that create the most demand for irrigation worldwide, and India, Pakistan, China and the U.S. account for the bulk of irrigation water use in water-limited areas. Boosting crop water use efficiency... could reduce water demand 8 to 15 percent...
3. Use crops more efficiently... making more crop calories available for human consumption by shifting crops from livestock to humans and reducing food waste.
The crop calories we currently feed to animals are sufficient to meet the calorie needs of 4 billion people. The... U.S., China and Western Europe account for the bulk of this "diet gap," with corn the main crop being diverted to animal feed. Although cultural preferences and politics limit the ability to change this picture, ... shifting crops from animal feed to human food could serve as a "safety net" when weather or pests create shortages.
In addition, some 30 to 50 percent of food is wasted worldwide. Particularly significant is the impact of animal products: The loss of 1 kilogram of boneless beef has the same effect as wasting 24 kilograms of wheat due to inefficiencies in converting grain to meat... U.S., China and India... reducing waste in these three countries alone could yield food for more than 400 million people.
"Sustainably feeding people today and in the future is one of humanity's grand challenges. Agriculture is the main source of water use, greenhouse gas emissions, and habitat loss, yet we need to grow more food... Fortunately, the opportunities to have a global impact and move in the right direction are clustered. By focusing on areas, crops and practices with the most to be gained, companies, governments, NGOs and others can ensure that their efforts are being targeted in a way that best accomplishes the common and critically important goal of feeding the world while protecting the environment." ...
What a star: Asteroid named after Country Day boy The Detroit News Shao last month left for the Research Science Institute hosted at MIT, a competitive summer research program that selects international high school students.
SpaceX is making a fourth attempt to launch its Falcon 9 v1.1 – tasked with orbiting six OG2 satellites for Orbcomm’s second generation constellation – on Monday. The latest attempt – from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral – is targeting a T-0 of 9:21am local time, with the window ranging out to 11:54am, should SpaceX require it.
The Golden Spike Company, the world’s first enterprise planning to undertake human lunar expeditions for countries, corporations and individuals, and Honeybee Robotics, a premier developer of advanced robotic systems, today announced they have completed a preliminary design study for unmanned rovers capable of enhancing the next human missions to the Moon.
In partnership with technical staff at Golden Spike, Honeybee engineers conducted trade studies of both flight-proven and promising technologies to design configurable robotic rovers that can collect and store several kilograms of scientific samples from the Moon’s surface in advance of or in conjunction with Golden Spike’s human expeditions.
Physicist James Franson of the University of Maryland has captured the attention of the physics community by posting an article to the peer-reviewed New Journal of Physics in which he claims to have found evidence that suggests the speed of light as described by the theory of general relativity, is actually slower than has been thought.
Using the largest laser in the world, scientists for the first time have experimentally re-created the conditions that exist deep inside giant planets, such as Jupiter, Uranus and many of the planets recently discovered outside our solar system.
ExtremeTech Biologists discover electric bacteria that eat pure electrons rather than ... ExtremeTech As you may recall from high school biology, almost every living organism consumes sugar to survive.
Chemistry for Everyone: A Helpful Primer for High School or College Chemistry - Kindle edition by Suzanne Lahl, Cris Qualiana. Download it once and read it on your Kindle device, PC, phones or tablets.
Camp at OSU gives high school students a chance to explore engineering Corvallis Gazette Times As part of the camp, which is intended to help inspire minority and female students to enter science, technology engineering and math fields, the...
This year, the 46th International Chemistry Olympiad will be held on July 20-29, 2014 in Hanoi, Vietnam is a multi-tiered competition designed to stimulate and promote achievement in high school chemistry
"If you want to improve the economy in Arkansas and get students interested in math and science and produce jobs with a better way of life and wealth, you have to have good STEM education and have choices." ...
Biophysics researchers have used short pulses of light to peer into the mechanics of photosynthesis and illuminate the role that molecule vibrations play in the energy conversion process that powers life on our planet.
A team of astronomers led by Dr Robert Wittenmyer of the University of New South Wales has discovered a super-Earth orbiting near the inner edge of the habitable zone of Gliese 832 (GJ 832), a red-dwarf star previously known to host a cold Jupiter-like exoplanet.