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Foodopoly: How Big Food Dominates Supermarket Choices

Our supermarket choices are being limited by the fact that just 20 companies produce most of the food eaten by Americans (yes, even organic brands).(Read more...)Categories: Food Crusaders Health Industrial Food Nutrition Political Voice Real Food...
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Farming, Forests, Water & Fishing (No Petroleum Added)
If no farmland and no forests and no water and no fish - then what?
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This Is What The World Would Be Like If Humans Had Never Existed

This Is What The World Would Be Like If Humans Had Never Existed | Farming, Forests, Water & Fishing (No Petroleum Added) | Scoop.it
If humans had never existed, the whole world would look strikingly similar to the Serengeti of Africa. There would be lions in America, and elephants and rhinos roaming Europe.

That's the conclusion of a new study that details how human-driven animal extinctions have influenced the distribution and populations of large mammals around the world.

"The study shows that large parts of the world would harbor rich large mammal faunas, as diverse as seen in protected areas of eastern and southern Africa today, if it was not for historic and prehistoric human-driven range losses and extinctions," Dr. Jens-Christian Svenning, a biologist at Aarhus University in Denmark and a co-author of the study, told NBC News.
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Micro-sensors stuck to honey bees to help solve mass deaths

Micro-sensors stuck to honey bees to help solve mass deaths | Farming, Forests, Water & Fishing (No Petroleum Added) | Scoop.it
(AFP) - Australian scientists revealed Tuesday they are using micro-sensors attached to honey bees as part of a global push to understand the key factors driving a worldwide population decline of the pollinators.

There has been a sharp plunge in the population of honey bees, which pollinate about 70 percent of global crops, or one-third of food that humans eat including fruits and vegetables, raising fears over food security.

Researchers have said the falling hive numbers were caused by threats such as the sudden death of millions of adult insects in beehives -- known as "colony collapse disorder" -- a blood-sucking mite called Varroa, pesticides and climate change.

"The micro-sensors that we are using help us to ask different questions that we couldn't ask before because we've never really been able to quantify the behaviour of bees both out in the environment and in their hives," Gary Fitt from Australia's national science agency CSIRO told AFP.
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Environment: Study finds neonicotinoid pesticides widespread in streams across the U.S.

Environment: Study finds neonicotinoid pesticides widespread in streams across the U.S. | Farming, Forests, Water & Fishing (No Petroleum Added) | Scoop.it
Neonicotinoid pesticides are spreading throughout the environment with as-yet unknown effects on human health, according to a new study by the U.S. Geological Survey.

The agency found the systemic pesticides in more than half the streams sampled across the country and in Puerto Rico during a survey between 2011 and 2014. This study is the first to take a nationwide look at the prevalence of neonicotinoid insecticides in agricultural and urban settings.

The research spanned 24 states and Puerto Rico and was completed as part of ongoing USGS investigations of pesticide and other contaminant levels in streams.
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Study quantifies environmental footprint of food waste

Study quantifies environmental footprint of food waste | Farming, Forests, Water & Fishing (No Petroleum Added) | Scoop.it
FRISCO — Food waste doesn’t just mean that a few scraps end up being tossed in the garbage bin. There’s a huge environmental footprint, including the waste of water associated with the production of the food.

In the EU, according to a new study, the surface and groundwater footprint from avoidable food waste has reached an average of 27 liters per person, per day, which is slightly higher than the average amount per capita municipal water use. The rainwater footprint is even higher, at 294 litres per capita per day, equivalent to the amount used for crop production in Spain.

And the amount of nitrogen contained in avoidable food waste averaged 0.68 kg per capita per year. The food production nitrogen footprint was 2.74 kg per capita per year, the same amount used in mineral fertilizer in both the UK and Germany put together.

The study took a close look at food waste in the UK, the Netherlands, Denmark, Finland, Germany and Romania, where consumer patterns are very different due to differing lifestyles and purchasing power.
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SustainOurEarth's curator insight, August 18, 7:48 PM

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Transylvania's wolves face uncertain future | Environment | DW.COM | 20.06.2014

Transylvania's wolves face uncertain future | Environment | DW.COM | 20.06.2014 | Farming, Forests, Water & Fishing (No Petroleum Added) | Scoop.it
Romania is believed to have the largest wolf population in Europe, but a culture of fear surrounding the predators may put their future at risk. Conservationists are calling for the wolves to be better protected.
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Global warming increases 'food shocks' threat - BBC News

Global warming increases 'food shocks' threat - BBC News | Farming, Forests, Water & Fishing (No Petroleum Added) | Scoop.it
Climate change is increasing the risk of severe 'food shocks' where crops fail and prices of staples rise rapidly around the world.

Researchers say extreme weather events that impact food production could be happening in seven years out of ten by the end of this century.

The authors argue that an over reliance on global trade may make these production shocks worse.

The impacts are most likely to be felt across Africa and the Middle East.

Poor harvests and low stocks of grains in 2008 combined with a host of other factors to produce a spectacular price rise in cereals, with a UN index of prices peaking at 2.8 times higher than it was at the turn of the millennium.
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Fossil fuel development looms at Florida preserve

Fossil fuel development looms at Florida preserve | Farming, Forests, Water & Fishing (No Petroleum Added) | Scoop.it
Risky business in one of the country’s most biodiverse regions

Staff Report

FRISCO — No place is safe from the never-ending quest to feed modern society’s addiction to fossil fuels. One of the latest targets is Florida’s Big Cypress National Preserve, where Burnett Oil, of Ft. Worth, Texas, is seeking a permit to do seismic testing across approximately 110 square miles.

The National Park Service is taking comments on the proposal at this website through Aug. 16, and conservation advocates are rallying supporters to try and block or limit the proposal.
Acknowledging that the enabling legislation for the preserve allows for fossil fuel exploitation, the nonprofit nonetheless says it’s a bad idea in one of the most biodiverse pieces of public land in our nation.
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Gulf Eats Away at Coast Outside Levee-Protected New Orleans

Gulf Eats Away at Coast Outside Levee-Protected New Orleans | Farming, Forests, Water & Fishing (No Petroleum Added) | Scoop.it
Rocky Morales is watching his small Louisiana town of Delacroix slowly melt into the water. The woods where he played hide-and-seek as a boy are gone. It's all water and mud back there now. So, too, is the nearby marsh where townsfolk once trapped for muskrat, otter and mink.

Many of the fishermen who once lived here — his friends and relatives — have disappeared as well, fleeing behind the intricate levee system protecting New Orleans out of fear that one more hurricane will be all it takes to send the rest of Delacroix into the sea.

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina ravaged the Gulf Coast — killing more than 1,830 people and causing more than $150 billion in damage in the nation's costliest disaster — New Orleans has been fortified by a new $14.5 billion flood protection system. But outside the iconic city, efforts have lagged to protect small towns and villages losing land every year to erosion. And as that land buffer disappears, New Orleans itself becomes more vulnerable.

In the past century, more than 1,880 square miles of Louisiana land has turned into open water — an area nearly the size of Delaware. And the loss continues unabated, with an estimated 17 square miles disappearing on average each year, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
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Marine Debris is Polluting the Earth's Oceans

Marine Debris is Polluting the Earth's Oceans | Farming, Forests, Water & Fishing (No Petroleum Added) | Scoop.it
Eight million metric tons of plastic ends up the marine environment each year. On The Point, we talk with marine researchers about where the plastic comes

Via AimForGood
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New study details global warming impact to forests

New study details global warming impact to forests | Farming, Forests, Water & Fishing (No Petroleum Added) | Scoop.it
FRISCO — The vulnerability of the world’s forests to global warming has been widely underestimated, a group of scientists concluded after taking a hard look at all the scientific data on forest mortality.
“We expect to see widespread declines in forest productivity, changes in the species composition and dominance patterns of forest trees, a shift to smaller-sized trees, and reductions in forest extent in some regions,” said U.S. Geological Survey researcher Craig Allen, adding that, even forests in wetter parts of the world are going to be affected by rapidly warming global temperatures.
For the study, scientists with the USGS, the University of Arizona, and Los Alamos National Laboratory teamed up to assess more than 400 research studies on forest mortality. They also included observational and experimental data, as well as modeling results to conclude that forest die-off to0date represent only the beginning of an increasing phenomenon of such mortality episodes.
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Corn Is Worse Than You Thought

Corn Is Worse Than You Thought | Farming, Forests, Water & Fishing (No Petroleum Added) | Scoop.it

I've been thinking a lot recently about how fertilizer from the Midwest'sbigcorn farms seeps into streams and causes trouble—fouling water supplies in Columbus, Toledo, Des Moines, and 60 other towns in Iowa, and generating a Connecticut-sized dead zone at the heart of the continental United States' most productive fishery, the Gulf of Mexico. (Farms in the region also plant soybeans, but corn is by far the bigger nitrogen user.) But there's another way the Corn Belt's fertilizer habit damages a common resource: by releasing nitrous oxide (N2O), a greenhouse gas with nearly 300 times the heat-trapping power of carbon dioxide.

 


Via The Planetary Archives Digital University, Demarcio Washington
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Eben Lenderking's curator insight, August 13, 8:41 AM

Sadly, one has no choice but to become a "lefty" on this issue of industrial agriculture.

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Bringing the Tasmanian devil back to mainland Australia would restore ecosystem health

Bringing the Tasmanian devil back to mainland Australia would restore ecosystem health | Farming, Forests, Water & Fishing (No Petroleum Added) | Scoop.it
Reintroducing Tasmanian devils to the mainland could improve biodiversity by limiting the spread of red foxes and feral cats in habitats where dingoes have been culled, a new study suggests.

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Environment: Study helps quantify plastic pollution from household cosmetic and cleaning products

Environment: Study helps quantify plastic pollution from household cosmetic and cleaning products | Farming, Forests, Water & Fishing (No Petroleum Added) | Scoop.it
FRISCO — Simple, everyday uses of some cosmetics and cleaning products releases huge amounts of plastic micropollution into the environment, potentially at levels harmful to marine life.

Scientists at Plymouth University recently tried to quantify the well-known environmental problem by studying brands of facial scrubs that listed plastics among their ingredients. They used vacuum filtration to sort out the plastic particles and analyzed the debris with electron microscopes, finding that each 150ml of the products could contain between 137,000 and 2.8 million microparticles.

The particles are used as bulking agents and abrasives in hand cleansers, soaps, toothpaste, shaving foam, bubble bath, sunscreen and shampoo. Because of their small size, many won’t be caught by conventional sewage treatment systems, thus ending up in rivers and oceans.
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Mississippi River Mouth Must Be Abandoned to Save New Orleans from Next Hurricane Katrina

Mississippi River Mouth Must Be Abandoned to Save New Orleans from Next Hurricane Katrina | Farming, Forests, Water & Fishing (No Petroleum Added) | Scoop.it
Hurricane Katrina demolished New Orleans 10 years ago, a grim anniversary to be marked next week. Huge earthen levees dissolved and concrete floodwalls toppled over. But the real culprit when the tropical cyclone made landfall was outside the city. Thousands of square miles of wetland marshes and swamps that had once provided a buffer between the city's coastline and the ocean had been badly tattered from decades of human damage. Thick, robust wetlands would have absorbed much of the surge of water that Katrina pushed up from the Gulf of Mexico. But levees had starved the wetlands of needed nutrients, making plants weak, and thousands of miles of manmade canals had torn the vegetation apart, allowing Katrina’s onrushing storm surge to flow right into New Orleans.

Extensive studies done after Katrina verified what lifelong residents of southeastern Louisiana already knew: Unless the rapidly disappearing wetlands are made healthy again, restoring the natural defense, New Orleans will soon lay naked against the sea (see satellite image, below).
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Oilseed rape pesticide linked to UK honeybee deaths, study finds

Oilseed rape pesticide linked to UK honeybee deaths, study finds | Farming, Forests, Water & Fishing (No Petroleum Added) | Scoop.it
Protecting oilseed rape crops with a controversial nicotine-like pesticide has led to the loss of honeybee colonies across England and Wales, a government-backed study has found.

The research, based on large-scale data on pesticide use, crop yields, and honeybee losses spanning 11 years, looked at the effects of coating seeds with imidacloprid in nine regions between 2000 and 2010.

Use of the pesticide led to reduced spraying with other insecticide chemicals – but was also significantly associated with the death of honeybee colonies, the results showed.

As imidacloprid usage went up, so did the decline in bee populations, according to the research.
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Bulgaria: Sofia goes green with grass tram lines - BBC News

Bulgaria: Sofia goes green with grass tram lines - BBC News | Farming, Forests, Water & Fishing (No Petroleum Added) | Scoop.it
Bulgaria's capital is grassing over some of its tram lines as part of a programme to make the city greener.

An initial 60m (197ft) stretch of the "green rails" has already opened in Sofia's Ruski Pametnik Square. Architects hope the new turf will muffle traffic noise, improve air quality and cool the often torrid Sofia summer heat, Nova TV reports. A drainage system has been installed to divert rain water off the rails into the soil beneath the grass.

Although other vehicles will use the square for the time being, the authorities want to include it in a car-free zone which will cover three blocks in the city centre by 2020. Other tramways elsewhere in the zone will be grassed over too, according to the plan.
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Beetle comeback: Europe's seven spot ladybug recovers from Asian 'attack' | Sci-Tech | DW.COM | 17.08.2015

Beetle comeback: Europe's seven spot ladybug recovers from Asian 'attack' | Sci-Tech | DW.COM | 17.08.2015 | Farming, Forests, Water & Fishing (No Petroleum Added) | Scoop.it
As is so often the case, things started to go wrong when humans got involved.

The East Asian beetle, Harmonia axyridis, was introduced to parts of North America and Europe as a means to control pests such as aphids - but it has since spread, almost uncontrollably, and become a problem in itself.

Otherwise known as the harlequin ladybug, because of its many colors, Harmonia axyridis has become a grape pest and a threat to native biodiversity.

It has also threatened the existence of Europe's most common - and much loved - ladybug, the seven spot, Coccinella septempunctata.

Experts say the first evidence of Harmonia axyridis in Germany is from 2002. Within two years, it was virtually the only ladybug you could find.
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Sodium cyanide threatens environment in Tianjin | Environment | DW.COM | 17.08.2015

Sodium cyanide threatens environment in Tianjin | Environment | DW.COM | 17.08.2015 | Farming, Forests, Water & Fishing (No Petroleum Added) | Scoop.it
More than 110 people have died and close to another 100 people are still missing after massive explosions destroyed a chemical warehouse in Tianjin, China.

In addition to immediate concerns of finding missing colleagues and loved ones, residents of the port city may now also have to worry about environmental consequences: toxins could have been spilled into the water surrounding the plant, and fumes could pollute the air.

Information about what exactly was stored at the warehouse, and how much of it, is only slowly trickling down. What is known: There were hundreds of tons of sodium cyanide there - even though the warehouse was only allowed to store 24 tons, according to reports from the "Beijing News" paper.

David Santillo, a senior scientist at the Greenpeace Research Laboratories in Exeter, the United Kingdom, told DW that until there are harder facts on which chemicals exactly were stored at the warehouse, it will be difficult to predict exactly how the explosions and the aftermath could affect the environment.

But the release of sodium cyanide alone, Santillo told DW, could have devastating environmental consequences.
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Palm Oil Plantations Threaten African Primates

Palm Oil Plantations Threaten African Primates | Farming, Forests, Water & Fishing (No Petroleum Added) | Scoop.it
As Asian agribusinesses eye new opportunities in Africa, conservationists work to protect gorillas, chimpanzees and monkeys
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Toxic threat of cyanobacteria may be growing worldwide

Toxic threat of cyanobacteria may be growing worldwide | Farming, Forests, Water & Fishing (No Petroleum Added) | Scoop.it
FRISCO — Dammed rivers, global warming and increased agricultural runoff all contribute to the growing threat of toxic cyanobacteria, scientists said after taking a far-reaching look at the issue of blue-green algae blooms in fresh water.

The study, conducted by researchers with Oregon State University and the University of North Carolina, found that the threat is poorly monitored and represents an under-appreciated risk to recreational and drinking water quality in the United States. More testing and monitoring is needed to track potential threats to human health, the scientists concluded.
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U.S. takes huge step to boost global marine mammal protection

U.S. takes huge step to boost global marine mammal protection | Farming, Forests, Water & Fishing (No Petroleum Added) | Scoop.it
FRISCO — The National Marine Fisheries Service wants to boost global efforts to protect marine mammals with a new set of proposed rules that would require commercial fishing operations in other countries to meet U.S. standards.

As proposed, seafood imports from other countries could be banned if they don’t meet those requirements. Scientists estimate that each year more than 650,000 whales, dolphins, and other marine mammals are caught and killed in fishing gear. These animals are unintentional “bycatch” of commercial fisheries and either drown or are tossed overboard to die from their injuries.NOAA is accepting public comment on the proposed rule until November 9, 2015. More information on the submission process can be found in the Federal Register notice.
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The rule, under the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), aims to level the playing field for American fishermen who comply with U.S. marine mammal conservation standards, and is intended to help foreign fisheries support a healthy and diverse marine ecosystem.

“This rule proposes a system that would lead many foreign nations to improve their fishing practices to protect marine mammals,” said Eileen Sobeck, assistant NOAA administrator for NOAA Fisheries. “Those changes to current practice across the world will mark one of the most significant steps in the global conservation of marine mammals in decades, and could save substantial numbers of these vulnerable animals from injury and death,” Sobeck said.
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World without Water: The Dangerous Misuse of Our Most Valuable Resource - SPIEGEL ONLINE

World without Water: The Dangerous Misuse of Our Most Valuable Resource - SPIEGEL ONLINE | Farming, Forests, Water & Fishing (No Petroleum Added) | Scoop.it
Men like Edward Mooradian are saving California. Indeed, there would hardly be any water left without them. And without water California, now in the fourth year of an epic drought, would be nothing but desert. That's why it's such a cynical joke and, most of all, a tragic reality, that men like Mooradian are also destroying California. In fact, they are actually aggravating the emergency that they are trying to mitigate. The Americans call this a catch-22, a situation in which there are no good alternatives. Either way, the game is lost.

On a Sunday morning in July, Mooradian is standing between rows of orange and lemon trees near Fresno in the Central Valley, the stretch of land in the heart of California that supplies the United States, Canada and Europe with fruit, vegetables and nuts. It is shortly before 8 a.m., but the temperature is already high and there is no wind. Mooradian, tanned and muscular, wearing a helmet and sunglasses, switches on the drill mounted on his truck. It gurgles furiously for a moment and drives a long pipe into the earth.
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Environmental impacts of land use have been underestimated

Environmental impacts of land use have been underestimated | Farming, Forests, Water & Fishing (No Petroleum Added) | Scoop.it
Environmental impacts of land use have been widely assessed in recent years. In particular, carbon footprints of food and bioenergy production have been studied. Environmental impact assessments are used in decision-making of public authorities, industry and individuals. Surprisingly, environmental impacts of land use have been underestimated in the majority of the life cycle assessment studies, according to the recent study.

Via SustainOurEarth, Demarcio Washington
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Heatwave shrivelling French wine production: experts

Heatwave shrivelling French wine production: experts | Farming, Forests, Water & Fishing (No Petroleum Added) | Scoop.it
A long period of hot weather threatens to hit the wine harvest in France's famous Burgundy and Beaujolais regions, experts told AFP on Tuesday.

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Greenpeace activists help stop illegal gillnet fishing in the race to save vaquitas

Greenpeace activists help stop illegal gillnet fishing in the race to save vaquitas | Farming, Forests, Water & Fishing (No Petroleum Added) | Scoop.it
More enforcement, support for sustainable fishing practices needed to protect world’s most endangered marine mammal
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — Marine mammal conservation advocates with Greenpeace last week said that their patrols in the northern Gulf of California found 10 illegal gillnets, which were removed by Mexico’s environmental authorities.
The patrols by the Greenpeace vessel Esperanza are aimed at protecting vaquitas, the world’s smallest and most critically endangered porpoise species. Based on the latest scientific surveys, there are less than 100 vaquitas remaining.
To try and protect the species, the Mexican government enacted a two-year gillnet fishing ban. The vaquitas are caught in the gillnets as fishermen illegally try to catch another endangered species — totoaba, which are sold illegally on the black market to satisfy Asian demand for their swim bladders.
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