The Glory of the ...
Follow
Find
2.5K views | +0 today
The Glory of the Garden
Food for Thought
Curated by David Rowing
Your new post is loading...
Your new post is loading...
Scooped by David Rowing
Scoop.it!

Biodiversity declines as global consumption reaches all-time high

Biodiversity declines as global consumption reaches all-time high | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it
Our ever-growing demand for resources is putting huge pressure on the planet’s biodiversity and threatening our future security and well-being, according to the Living Planet Report 2012, released today by WWF.

 

Key findings:

The global Living Planet Index has declined by up to 30 per cent since 1970.

 

It is currently taking 1.5 years for the Earth to absorb the CO2 produced and regenerate the renewable resources that people use within one year.

 

2.7 Billion people live in areas that experience severe water shortages for at least one month of the year.

 

The per capita Ecological Footprint of a high income country such as the USA is currently six times greater than that of a low income country such as Indonesia.

 

The UK has risen five places from 31st to 27th place  in the report’s global consumption ranking, which compares the Ecological Footprint per person, per country.

 

The top 10 countries with the biggest Ecological Footprint per person are: Qatar, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Denmark, United States of America, Belgium, Australia, Canada, Netherlands and Ireland

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by David Rowing
Scoop.it!

Airborne windmills produce fifty percent more energy

Airborne windmills produce fifty percent more energy | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it
Makani Power has created a tethered wind turbine that can generate power by flying aloft in large circles, much the way a kite does.

 

The Makani Airborne Wind Turbine flies at between 800 and 1,950 feet above ground level, meaning that it stays well below normal commercial and civilian aviation. At the same time, it flies at an altitude above that of most birds, meaning that any potential harm to flying creatures is minimized, it says. Meanwhile, at these heights the wind is stronger and more consistent than that which terrestrial wind farms encounter, and 90 percent of the material used in conventional wind turbines can be eliminated.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by David Rowing
Scoop.it!

Varied Views on Extreme Weather in a Warming Climate

Varied Views on Extreme Weather in a Warming Climate | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it
A climate scientist critiques a colleagues' conclusions.

 

Through decades of work, James E. Hansen of NASA has earned his plaudits as a climate scientist. But his intensifying personal push for aggressive cuts in emissions of greenhouse gases has come with a framing of climate science that is being criticized by some respected researchers for stepping beyond what peer-reviewed studies have concluded.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by David Rowing
Scoop.it!

UN adopts 'land grab' guidelines

UN adopts 'land grab' guidelines | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it
The United Nations adopts global guidelines to protect local communities when rich countries buy up land in developing nations.

 

"Problems can arise because in many parts of Africa local farmers, herders and gatherers do not have any formal documents for the land they use, which is often owned by the state.

 

Authorities often argue that big international deals bring investment and new technology to a region, benefiting local people. But this is not always the reality and human rights organisations have highlighted cases where tens of thousands of people have been forcibly removed from their ancestral homelands to make way for foreign investors."

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by David Rowing
Scoop.it!

Weatherwatch: Australia's 'big drought' officially over after a decade

Weatherwatch: Australia's 'big drought' officially over after a decade | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it

The Big Dry caused bush fires and dust storms and drove many farmers out of business, despite some £2.9bn spent on special assistance. Many Australian states have introduced new "drought-proofing" measures for the future. These include enhancing irrigation systems, recycling greywater from washing and bathing, subsidising domestic rainwater storage tanks, and building giant desalination plants

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by David Rowing
Scoop.it!

Environment Issues: Why do El Nino and La Nina trigger weather chaos?

Environment Issues: Why do El Nino and La Nina trigger weather chaos? | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it

From record floods to crippling droughts and wildfires, a natural swing in Pacific Ocean temperatures can trigger climate chaos around the globe. The El Nino ocean-weather pattern is linked to droughts in Australia and floods in parts of South America, while its sibling La Nina causes the opposite, with the two phenomena occurring at irregular intervals.

 

A powerful La Nina triggered record floods in eastern Australia in 2011 and has been blamed for the withering drought in Texas and severe dry spells in South America, hitting corn and soy crops. Forecasters say an El Nino might develop later in the year.

 

Following are some questions and answers on El Nino and La Nina and their billion-dollar impacts on economies.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by David Rowing
Scoop.it!

Climate Forecasting: A Break in the Clouds: Scientific American

Climate Forecasting: A Break in the Clouds: Scientific American | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it
Researchers are beginning to turn a corner in accurately simulating the large role of clouds and fine particles in setting Earth's temperature...

 

"In recent months, climate scientists have started rolling out initial results from the newest generation of models, which represent atmospheric chemistry and microphysics in much more sophisticated ways than previous incarnations. These models allow clouds and aerosols to evolve as they interact with each other and respond to factors such as temperature, relative humidity and air currents. And early results suggest that such processes have a much greater impact on regional climate than scientists had realized. Recent studies have shed light on the roles that clouds and aerosols might have in triggering major African droughts, altering Arctic climate and weakening the monsoon in southern Asia."

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by David Rowing
Scoop.it!

Global land deal guidelines could pave way to world without hunger

Global land deal guidelines could pave way to world without hunger | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it
José Graziano da Silva: New directives on access rights to land, fisheries and forests show constructive collaboration on food security is possible...

 

Weak governance of tenure hinders economic growth and the sustainable use of the environment. Small-scale farmers and traditional communities will not invest in improving their land, fisheries and forests if they could be taken away at any minute due to lack of recognition of customary rights, weak registration practices or corruption. In some countries, women, for example, despite doing all the farming, are denied legal recognition and protection of rights to their land plots.

 

The voluntary guidelines on the responsible governance of tenure of land, fisheries and forests in the context of national food security set foundations that are indispensable to resolve these issues. Responsible governance of tenure enables sustainable social, economic and environmental development that can help eradicate food insecurity and poverty, and encourages responsible investment.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by David Rowing
Scoop.it!

How Microbes & Plants Around Us Might Prevent Allergies | 80beats | Discover Magazine

How Microbes & Plants Around Us Might Prevent Allergies | 80beats | Discover Magazine | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it

"Bacteria are practically everywhere around us, including on and inside you, but that is in many ways a good thing. For instance, having a diverse set of microbes living on your skin might help prevent allergies. A new study published in PNAS links two factors related to how microbes might affect our health: the observation that diversity of microbes on a person is related to the diversity of microbes in their environment, and the hygiene hypothesis, which suggests that the modern uptick in allergies and autoimmune diseases is caused by childhood under-exposure to bacteria."

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by David Rowing
Scoop.it!

Top scientists urge governments to solve environmental 'dilemmas'

Top scientists urge governments to solve environmental 'dilemmas' | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it

The world's leading scientific institutions have urged governments to focus on three "global dilemmas": growing demands for water and energy, natural disasters and measuring carbon dioxide.

 

In a series of statements, the scientists recommended that governments should "engage the international research community in developing systematic, innovative solutions" to these pressing problems.

 

The heads of the national science academies of 15 countries, including the UK, the US, China, Germany, Russia and India, signed the statements, which are timed to be considered by governments at the forthcoming G8 meeting of the world's biggest industrialised economies, in the US.

 

They recommended that governments should prioritise the three areas they had identified, and work with scientists in order to develop ways of solving the problems.

more...
David Rowing's comment, May 10, 2012 3:41 PM
You're welcome!
Scooped by David Rowing
Scoop.it!

Q&A: carbon capture and storage

Q&A: carbon capture and storage | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it
How does it work, which countries are leading technological developments, and what is the future for CCS?

 

"The technology is designed to prevent the carbon dioxide exhaust from the burning of coal and gas from entering the atmosphere and driving further climate change. It does this by either stripping the CO2 from the smokestacks of conventional power stations, or by burning the fuel in special ways to produce exhausts of pure CO2. The greenhouse gas then is buried under the ground, usually in exhausted oil and gas reservoirs. ... "

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by David Rowing
Scoop.it!

Warming affects ecosystems not just biodiversity

Warming affects ecosystems not just biodiversity | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it
The four-degree rise in temperature predicted by the end of this century could change the way ecosystems work even if it doesn't affect biodiversity.

 

Ecosystems perform important tasks – like nutrient cycling, breakdown of waste, and carbon storage – on which humans depend, so it's important we understand how climate change might affect them.

more...
David Rowing's comment, May 9, 2012 3:47 PM
Thank you!
Scooped by David Rowing
Scoop.it!

World Bank calls on countries to take urgent steps to protect 'natural capital'

World Bank calls on countries to take urgent steps to protect 'natural capital' | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it

Some green NGOs and economists have suggested that countries should move away from ideas of economic growth, especially that measured by GDP, in order to conserve the environment. But Kyte said: "To talk about anything other than how to grow is a non-starter."

 

However, an alternative was to look at "GDP Plus", said Kyte, which would incorporate both traditional measures of GDP and measures of natural capital. This would include ways of valuing natural capital.

 

In 2010, India said it would become the first country in the world to publish accounts of its natural wealth as well as financial measurements such as GDP.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by David Rowing
Scoop.it!

Nature's 'water filters' threatened by development, urbanization|Nation|chinadaily.com.cn

Nature's 'water filters' threatened by development, urbanization|Nation|chinadaily.com.cn | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it
Although the Ergun Wetland Protection Zone attracts more than 1 million domestic and foreign tourists every year, local forestry authorities struggle to balance operating costs for the zone, one of the largest in Asia.

 

Lack of a national wetland protection law, however, has become the major barrier for wetlandpreservation across the country, experts said.

 

"China does not have a national law exclusively for wetland protection. Therefore, localgovernments have no rights to punish wetland violators, which speeds up the urbanization ofwetlands," said Niu Zhenguo, a professor of the Institute of Remote Sensing Applications underthe Chinese Academy of Sciences.

 

He added it is common for factories and villas to be built on wetlands or for dams and bridgesto choke off the water.



more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by David Rowing
Scoop.it!

Nature and culture loss 'linked'

Nature and culture loss 'linked' | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it
A study by US researchers highlights a link between the loss of biologically rich areas and a decline in linguistic and cultural diversity.

 

The decline of linguistic and cultural diversity is linked to the loss of biodiversity, a study has suggested. The authors said that 70% of the world's languages were found within the planet's biodiversity hotspots.

 

Data showed that as these important environmental areas were degraded over time, cultures and languages in the area were also being lost. The results of the study have been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by David Rowing
Scoop.it!

Conservationist's catch-22: What to do when one endangered species starts eating another

Conservationist's catch-22: What to do when one endangered species starts eating another | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it

It is the conservationist’s catch-22: what to do when one endangered species starts eating another. That is the problem facing environmentalists whose research shows that jaguars, themselves at risk of extinction, are increasingly preying on endangered turtle species.

 

Experts said that the predation of adult turtles by the big cats in a Costa Rican national park “has now reached a magnitude never before recorded”.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by David Rowing
Scoop.it!

Rhinoceros' & Elephants' Seed-Eating Habit Helps Biodiversity

Rhinoceros' & Elephants' Seed-Eating Habit Helps Biodiversity | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it

Elephants and rhinoceroses are essential to keeping biodiversity levels high, new research suggests. In areas where these large seed-dispersing animals have disappeared, like the tropical forest of South-East Asia, researchers found that biodiversity dropped off. Other herbivores like the small pig-looking tapir can't replace these large grazers.

 

"Megaherbivores act as the 'gardeners' of humid tropical forests: They are vital to forest regeneration and maintain its structure and biodiversity," study researcher Ahimsa Campos-Arceiz, of the University of Nottingham in Malaysia, said in a statement. The research was detailed in the March 2012 issue of the journal Biotropica.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by David Rowing
Scoop.it!

Poachers prevail

Poachers prevail | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it
Keep your chin up, old boy LAST year 438 rhinos, nearly all of them of the white (meaning wide-lipped) species, were known to have been illegally killed in South Africa, their horns often hacked off while...

 

“It is not an exaggeration to say that every rhino on the planet is now in mortal danger,” wrote the late Lawrence Anthony, a South African conservationist. “Unless something fundamental changes quickly, every last one in the world will eventually have been killed.”


Long prized in South-East Asia for its supposed medicinal and aphrodisiac vim, rhino horn is now being peddled as a cure for cancer too. With growing wealth in China and Vietnam unaccompanied by growing wisdom, demand seems insatiable. The horn, which is merely agglutinated hair, the same stuff as finger nails, has no pharmacological value. Yet its street price has soared to over $60,000 a kilo, more than for the same weight of cocaine or gold—a proven aphrodisiac.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by David Rowing
Scoop.it!

UK's only carbon-neutral chocolate arrives by sailing ship

UK's only carbon-neutral chocolate arrives by sailing ship | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it

Which ticks more ethical boxes? Fairtrade organic olive oil from the Palestinian territories? Or organic chocolate grown by a co-operative of Grenadian peasant farmers on a solar-powered farm and transported to Europe from the Caribbean in a sailing ship with no engines?

 

The olive oil sells for £8.50 for a 500ml bottle, but the first 24,000 bars of "handpressed, single-estate, vanilla-free, vintage rootstock, grown-with-a-windward aspect" chocolate in the world arrives in Portsmouth next week – winds permitting – on the Tres Hombres, a 32-tonne square-rigged wooden sailing cargo ship.

 

The environmental impact of growing, processing and transporting the chocolate is said to be minimal, but the retail price for the food billed to taste of fruit, tobacco and grass is eye-watering. A 100g bar of Gru Grococo will sell at an introductory price of £12.95, but if bought while still at sea will cost £60 for six bars – the equivalent of around £1.50 a mouthful.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by David Rowing
Scoop.it!

What is global dimming?

What is global dimming? | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it

Measurements from the 1960s to the early 1990s, backed up by a wide range of data and a number of independent studies, showed there were substantial declines in the amount of the sun's energy reaching the Earth's surface. This reduction is known as "global dimming".

 

The observed "dimming" has strong regional differences across the globe. While the southern hemisphere saw modest dimming in the period 1961–90 (which has continued to date), the northern hemisphere saw much more significant declines (reductions of 4–8%). Since then some parts of the world, such as Europe and North America, have seen partial recovery (known as "brightening"), while other regions (most notably China and India) have seen further although regionally mixed declines.

 

Global dimming is not thought to be due to changes in the sun's luminosity, as these have been too small to explain the magnitude of dimming observed. Instead, air pollution from human activity is thought to be the major contributor.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by David Rowing
Scoop.it!

MIT Study Shows That Sustainability is Profitable | Totally Green

MIT Study Shows That Sustainability is Profitable | Totally Green | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it

Outside pressure leads to profitability. “Harvesters,” or companies defined as those clearly profiting from sustainability-related activities, did not necessarily make such changes out of altruistic motives. The top three factors that led to a shift in these companies business models, according to the survey, were customer preferences, resource scarcity and legislative or political pressure.

 

Are the days of making the excuse that sustainability is a luxury or only good for public relations reasons over? According to MIT’s researchers, the proof is in the profits.

 

Read the entire report, learn the ties between sustainability and profitability and peruse through the data visualization tools here:


http://sloanreview.mit.edu/feature/sustainability-interactive-tool/

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by David Rowing
Scoop.it!

Map of Life goes live

Map of Life goes live | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it
Online mapping tool streamlines global species distributions.

 

Map of Life — an interactive resource for global biodiversity analysis — launches today, promising a new era in the visualization of species distributions.

 

On first glance, Map of Life may seem just one more in the dozens of biodiversity databases online, but it has a novel capability — a web-mapping tool that integrates disparate data types, from single-occurrence records in museum collections to expert-derived ranges found in field guides.

 

Funded in part by the US National Science Foundation, Map of Life will soon allow users to add or update species data, thereby becoming the first two-way portal of biodiversity information.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by David Rowing
Scoop.it!

Banking on Biodiversity: A New Commitment to Conserve Nature - Forbes

Banking on Biodiversity: A New Commitment to Conserve Nature - Forbes | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it

" ... the Natural Capital Declaration wisely makes clear that “no methodology yet exists to adequately report or account for Natural Capital in the global financial system” and that its signatories have agreed to “support the development of methodologies that can integrate Natural Capital considerations into the decision making process of all financial products and services.” In so doing, it will, of course, be useful for this new initiative to build on the use of terms set out by the Convention on Biological Diversity. It will also be useful to link with well-established commitments to sustainable finance such as the Equator Principles."

more...
No comment yet.
Rescooped by David Rowing from Vertical Farm - Food Factory
Scoop.it!

Last 12 Months Were Hottest on Record for US

Last 12 Months Were Hottest on Record for US | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it

The latest State of the Climate data from NOAA is in, with some dramatic results. As you can see in the image above, the twelve month period of May 2011 though April 2012 has proved to be the hottest period for the United States, since records began in the late 1800s.

 

NOAA says that last summer being the second hottest, last winter being the fourth warmest, and last March being the hottest on record all added up to mean that the average temperature for the lower-48 states was 55.7°F. That's 2.8°F above the 20th century average.


Via Alan Yoshioka
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by David Rowing
Scoop.it!

Wales gets tough over green travel

Wales gets tough over green travel | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it

"Wales is set to become the first country in the world to make it compulsory for local authorities to provide safe and integrated routes for walking and cycling as part of an ambitious plan to boost green travel and end the hegemony of the car."

more...
No comment yet.