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For Earth Day, 17 celebrated scientists on how to make a better world

For Earth Day, 17 celebrated scientists on how to make a better world | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it
Seventeen top scientists and four acclaimed conservation organizations have called for radical action to create a better world for this and future generations.

 

For their part, the Blue Planet laureates call on the world to rapidly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, switch out GDP (gross domestic product) for a more holistic measure of national well-being, decouple environmental destruction from consumption, drop subsidies for fossil fuels and environmentally destructive agricultural practices, put a market value on biodiversity and ecosystem services, work with grassroots movements to create bottom-up action, and finally address overpopulation.

"If we are to achieve our dream, the time to act is now, given the inertia in the socio-economic system, and that the adverse effects of climate change and loss of biodiversity cannot be reversed for centuries or are irreversible," the authors write.

 

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Earth Day celebrated in Google doodle

Earth Day celebrated in Google doodle | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it
Google replaces logo with animated flowers to mark Earth Day, observed since 1970 to raise environmental awareness...

 

This year's Earth Day is centred around a scheme called "one billion acts of green", which encourages individuals to make simple environmentally conscious pledges, such as switching off lightbulbs or reducing car journeys. Organisers say the day is now observed in 192 countries.

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Water scarcity to drive conflict, hit food and energy, experts say - AlertNet

Water scarcity to drive conflict, hit food and energy, experts say - AlertNet | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it
“Whether you live in Pakistan or the United States, the risk of extreme weather and water-related issues is increasing every year”...

 

"Water is increasingly becoming a scarce resource and shortages could drive conflict, hit food and energy production and threaten growth in renewable energy technology, experts warned at a water security conference on Monday. And climate change – which appears to be bringing more extreme weather events such as droughts and floods – is likely to make the situation even more difficult ...

 

But cutting waste in water use, particularly in irrigation, as well as making good use of mobile phone technology, gathering better data and putting in place better water use policies all could help stem conflict, improve safety and ensure better water security, particularly for the world’s poorest people, the experts said."

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Air pollution prematurely killing 13,000 people a year in Britain, says MIT

Air pollution prematurely killing 13,000 people a year in Britain, says MIT | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it

"Air pollution in London hit record levels last month in the heatwave and Britain already faces EU fines for consistently breaching air pollution laws. ...

 

Britain has some of the worst air pollution in Europe, but has consistently failed to meet targets and timetables to reduce both the quantity of soot in the London air (known as PM10s) and of nitrogen dioxide (NO2), a gas emitted mainly from burning diesel fuel. Faced with draconian European fines, it has argued successfully in Europe that it needs more time to meet deadlines."

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'Huge' water resource in Africa

'Huge' water resource in Africa | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it
Scientists say the notoriously dry continent of Africa is sitting on a vast reservoir of groundwater.

 

They argue that the total volume of water in aquifers underground is 100 times the amount found on the surface. The team have produced the most detailed map yet of the scale and potential of this hidden resource.

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Conquering Food Deserts With Green Carts

Conquering Food Deserts With Green Carts | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it
Programs to get fresh produce carts to areas with no access to healthy food work best when government and determined entrepreneurs team up.

 

When we think of a “desert,” we don’t picture southwest Philadelphia or a small town in upstate New York. But that’s the description given to areas of the United States that lack ready access to healthy food — like fresh fruits and vegetables. These grocery-store deprived zones have come to be known as “food deserts” and the federal government estimates that they are home to millions of Americans, including more than 23 million people who live in low-income neighborhoods that are more than a mile from a supermarket.

 

In rural areas, where the closest store selling fresh produce may be 10 miles away, or in the inner city, where it may be a 30-minute trip by bus, people often make do with what’s available at the corner store, the convenience shop or the neighborhood bodega. That rarely means healthy eating.

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Earth Day and All Days: 10 Ways to Learn About the Environment

Earth Day and All Days: 10 Ways to Learn About the Environment | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it
Activities for Earth Day, which is Sunday, or for learning about the environment on any day of the year.

 

Sunday will be the 42nd annual Earth Day celebration. Here are 10 ideas for commemorating the day, observed each year on April 22, or exploring issues related to the environment in the classroom or home on any day of the year.

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Is it Too Late for Sustainable Development?

Is it Too Late for Sustainable Development? | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it
Dennis Meadows thinks so. Forty years after his book The Limits to Growth, he explains why...

 

On March 2, 1972, a team of experts from MIT presented a groundbreaking report called The Limits to Growth to scientists, journalists and others assembled at the Smithsonian Castle. Released days later in book form, the study was one of the first to use computer modeling to address a centuries-old question: When will the population outgrow the planet and the natural resources it has to offer?

 

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Autism Linked To Industrial Food Or Environment

Autism Linked To Industrial Food Or Environment | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it

"A new study in Clinical Epigenetics, suggests that the epidemic of autism amongst children in the U.S. may be associated with the typical American diet. The study by Renee Dufault and his team explores how mineral deficiencies, affected by dietary factors, such as high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), could have a potential impact on how the human body frees itself of common toxic chemicals, for instance, pesticides and mercury.

 

The release comes shortly after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a report that estimates a 78% increase in autism spectrum disorder (ASD) between 2002 and 2008 amongst eight year olds. At present, 1 in 88 children has ASD, with the rate being almost five times higher in boys than girls."

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Insecticides killing the Earth, and You and Me

Insecticides killing the Earth, and You and Me | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it

Each year, our global biosphere endures an onslaught of some 5 billion pounds of insecticides. Many of these insecticides are neonicotinoids, which synthetically mimic a plant compound found in tomatoes, potatoes, peppers and tobacco. A neuroactive insecticide fashioned after nicotine, neonicotinoids poison nerves and prevent acetylcholine from enabling neurons to communicate with each other and with muscle tissue. In humans, for instance, these substances would trigger Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases.


Bees exposed to neonicotinoids also exhibit symptoms mimicking Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases. In fact, the French referred to the effect as "mad bee disease" and in 1999 were the first to ban the use of these chemicals. Germany, Italy and Slovenia have recently followed suit. The German agriculture institute concluded that the poisoning of the bees was a result of a "rub-off" of the neonicotinoid clothianidin from corn seeds.


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Study: Noisy Environment Affects Plants

Study: Noisy Environment Affects Plants | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it

In northwestern New Mexico’s Rattlesnake Canyon, gnarled juniper trees and piñon pines dominate a landscape of high mesas and rough sandstone cliffs. Tucked in among the trees are thousands of natural gas wells. About one-third of them are pressurized by ear-splitting compressors. “They run 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, with the exception of periodic maintenance, so they are going all the time,” says Clinton Francis, of the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center in North Carolina.

 

Since 2005, he’s been studying how Rattlesnake Canyon’s birds respond to the compressors’ non-stop racket.

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Flyover Farm - Kickstarter

An initiative to transform an unused rooftop into a thriving urban farm and community space.

 

Fresh & Local is a movement to facilitate urban farming in Mumbai. We started in the spring of 2010, in reaction to the lack of fresh and organic produce, and the lack of resources and support for urban farming in the city. We research and develop best practices, design gardens and garden products, host gardening workshops and work in partnership with NGOs and individuals to set up kitchen gardens across the city.
Fresh and Local’s Flyover Farm project is a natural progression and culmination of the work currently being carried out.


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Europe's water 'under pressure'

Europe's water 'under pressure' | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it
Continued inefficient use of water could threaten Europe's economy, productivity and ecosystems, a report warns.

 

The European Environment Agency (EEA) said that the continent's water resources were under pressure and things were getting worse. ...

 

Mr Gorbachev, the founding president of Green Cross International, said: "The deficit of freshwater is becoming increasingly severe and large-scale - whereas, unlike other resources, there is no substitute for water." ...

 

"The economy needs to be reoriented to goals that include public goods such as a sustainable environment, people's health, education, culture and social cohesion, including an absence of glaring gaps between the rich and the poor."

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Gaylord Nelson: Founder of Earth Day

Gaylord Nelson: Founder of Earth Day | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it
Gaylord Nelson was instrumental in establishing the first Earth Day which was held on April 22, 1970.

 

In Nelson’s view, Earth Day was to be a onetime event to stimulate and provoke the government to action. But in choosing to organize the event through grass roots organizations, Earth Day created a life for itself. No longer the purely American event it was in 1970, Earth Day is now recognized around the globe with some estimated 500 million people involved.

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Consumption of green vegetables linked to reduced cancer deaths

Consumption of green vegetables linked to reduced cancer deaths | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it
WOMEN diagnosed with breast cancer are more likely to survive if they eat up their greens, research suggests.

 

WOMEN diagnosed with breast cancer are more likely to survive if they eat up their greens, research suggests. A large Chinese study found a link between higher consumption of cruciferous vegetables such as greens, cabbage and broccoli, and reduced breast cancer death rates.

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Unused e-waste spotted in China

Unused e-waste spotted in China | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it
A blogger has highlighted the issue of unused electronics waste in one of China's most polluted towns.

 

The soil in Guiyu has been found to be so saturated with heavy metals such as lead, chromium and tin that groundwater has become undrinkable.

 

According to China's Shantou University, the town has the highest level of cancer-causing dioxins in the world, and local children suffer from an extremely high rate of lead poisoning.

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The megatrends companies must face to meet sustainability challenges

The megatrends companies must face to meet sustainability challenges | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it
Systems thinking comes of age as KPMG says environmental, social and economic problems cannot be solved separately...

 

KPMG correctly points out that over the next 20 years businesses will be exposed to hundreds of environmental and social changes that will bring both risks and opportunities.

 

In the same way that we need systems thinking to understand the hole we are digging for ourselves, we also need a holistic approach to help us climb back out. That means that no single player has all the answers and collaboration is needed from across governments, businesses and civil society.

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Freakonomics » Could It Be That U.S. Farm Policy Isn’t Making Us Fatter?

Freakonomics » Could It Be That U.S. Farm Policy Isn’t Making Us Fatter? | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it

“Contrary to common claims in the popular media, farm policies have more likely slowed the rise in obesity in the United States,” they conclude.


In other words, Americans have not been lured into unhealthy diets by agricultural policies designed to appease corporate titans. Instead, Americans have chosen their diets in a marketplace that is relatively unaffected if not unencumbered by crop subsidies.

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World’s cheapest food in USA; At what cost? | Food Freedom News

World’s cheapest food in USA; At what cost? | Food Freedom News | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it

"In 2010, Americans spent just over 9 percent of their disposable income on food (5.5 percent at home and 3.9 percent eating out).i This is a dramatically lower percentage spent just decades ago in the early 1960s, when over 17 percent was spent on food, and even more of a “bargain” compared to 1930, when Americans spent over 24 percent of their disposable income to feed their families.

 

When you compare what Americans spend to what people in other countries spend, you’ll also notice some great disparities. On the surface, having cheaper food may seem like an advantage, but in reality while Americans may be saving a few dollars on their meals, they’re paying big time in terms of their health, and the health of the planet."

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The glaciers are still shrinking – and rapidly

The glaciers are still shrinking – and rapidly | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it
Jonathan Bamber: A couple of glaciers shrinking more slowly than expected does not change the irrefutable fact that most are melting rapidly...

 

Glaciers are one of the natural environments most often used to illustrate the impacts of climate change. It is fairly indisputable that in a warming world, glaciers melt faster. Yet two recent studies published in top scientific journals (more here and here) suggest that in the Himalayas the rate of mass loss has been small and overestimated, and that further west, in the Karakoram range, the glaciers are actually slightly gaining mass.

 

Is there a conflict between these studies and the wider body of research indicating that, worldwide, glaciers have been receding for several decades?

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NASA photos show Dead Sea dying

NASA photos show Dead Sea dying | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it
Thanks to massive water-diversion and salt-evaporation projects, satellite images show how the ancient lake is gradually living up to its name.

 

So why is the Dead Sea becoming smaller and shallower? Largely because of water diversions from the Jordan River, which flows into the Dead Sea from the north. But as NASA explains, intensive salt-gathering projects are also encroaching from the south — and they're especially obvious in these photos. According to NASA:

"The ancient Egyptians used salts from the Dead Sea for mummification, fertilizers, and potash (a potassium-based salt). In the modern age, sodium chloride and potassium salts culled from the sea are used for water conditioning, road de-icing, and the manufacturing of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastics. The expansion of massive salt evaporation projects are clearly visible over the span of 39 years."

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Climate change doubles cost of conserving nature

Climate change doubles cost of conserving nature | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it

"Climate change will make conservation of biodiversity, and all the associated human benefits such as clean water and clean air, more challenging and expensive, with costs increasing by more than 100 percent in some cases, according to three new studies by a group of international researchers convened by Conservation International. Researchers called the studies a "wake-up call" for cost-efficient biodiversity conservation and climate stabilization."


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FAO Media Centre: A new deal to rid Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia of obsolete pesticides

FAO Media Centre: A new deal to rid Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia of obsolete pesticides | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it

"It is estimated that around 200 000 tons of obsolete pesticides, nearly half the world's stockpiles, can be found in twelve former Soviet Union republics. Kept in tens of thousands of unprotected sites, they pose a serious threat to the health of the people around them and to the environment."

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Scientists have come up with a blue strawberry by splicing them with Fish genes!

Scientists have come up with a blue strawberry by splicing them with Fish genes! | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it

"Scientists are genetically modifying strawberries in order to allow them to resist freezing temperatures better. They're doing it by artificial transfer of genes from a species of fish called the Arctic Flounder Fish. The Arctic Flounder Fish produces an anti-freeze that allows it to protect himself in freezing waters.

 

They isolated the gene that produces this anti-freeze and introduced it to the strawberry. The result is a strawberry that looks blue and doesn't turn to mush or degrade after being placed in the freezer. While they're not in production, research is ongoing. ... would you eat blue strawberries?"

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Not your average dairy | TheFencePost.com

Not your average dairy | TheFencePost.com | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it

When many people think of a dairy, they think of black and white cows. Some may even think of a goat dairy. However, a dairy located in Bushnell, Neb., is neither of those species. This dairy is a sheep dairy, and one of only about 100 in the U.S.

 

Sheep have been milked for centuries in Europe, but the industry is very much in its infancy in the United States. The Irish Cream Sheep Dairy was started in 1995 by the Halligan Family, who had been in the business of raising sheep for nearly 30 years.

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