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The Great Transition
Policy news & blueprints for the transition to a new Sustainable and Social Economy
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The world is closer to a food crisis than most people realise

The world is closer to a food crisis than most people realise | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Lester R.Brown: Unless we move quickly to adopt new population, energy, and water policies, the goal of eradicating hunger will remain just that...

 

Another warning but no one is listening until it is too late and then we will get the "free" rock concerts again.

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Eli Levine's curator insight, March 11, 1:29 PM

This should be truly terrifying to thsoe who hold political and social power at our present juncture.

 

Yet what are they doing to mitigate the problems of these impending crises, other than to prepare civilization for marshal law?  How are they actually helping others (and themselves) through the constant resorting to the jack-boot?

 

Not very enlightened.

 

Not every inspired.


Not very original.

 

Think abouti it.

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Auditors deal setback to EU agricultural reform

Auditors deal setback to EU agricultural reform | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
The European Court of Auditors today (17 April) dealt a blow to the European Commission’s overhaul of agricultural policies, saying in an opinion that the proposals are “too complex” and expose the EU to possible abuse in its direct payments scheme.
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Peak Meat: U.S. Meat Consumption Falling

Peak Meat: U.S. Meat Consumption Falling | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

"U.S. meat consumption has peaked. Data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture show that meat eating across the country fell from the 2004 high point of 184 pounds (83 kilograms) per person to 171 pounds in 2011. Early estimates for 2012 project a further reduction in American meat eating to 166 pounds, making for a 10 percent drop over the eight-year period. For a society that lives high on the food chain, this new trend could signal the end of meat’s mealtime dominance." (Source: Earth Policy Institute)

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Resolving the Food Crisis: Global leaders fail to make crucial reforms

Although various inter-governmental institutions have rung the alarm bell over global food prices, they have also avoided deeper structural reforms therefore leaving the world at risk of anuther devastating food crisis.

 

Interesting and critical report by Tuft University's Global Development and Environment Institute and the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy.

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Why Agriculture Needs to Catch Up on Climate Change Action

Why Agriculture Needs to Catch Up on Climate Change Action | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Agriculture is one of the first sectors that will be seriously affected by climate change, yet the sector is far behind in quantifying and reducing its carbon footprint.

 

Good article from GreenBiz.com.

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Can Ocean Farms Actually Be More Sustainable Than Even the Most Environmentally Sensitive Traditional Farms?

Can Ocean Farms Actually Be More Sustainable Than Even the Most Environmentally Sensitive Traditional Farms? | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
We know that big aquaculture operations can be a disaster, but small seaweed and shellfish operations offer a greener and cleaner solution.

 

Interesting article from Alternet on sustainable forms of ocean farming.

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George Monbiot on the EU's farming policy reform: Big Farmer

George Monbiot on the EU's farming policy reform: Big Farmer | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

"The poorest taxpayers are subsidising the richest people in Europe: and this spending will remain uncut until at least 2020."

 

George Monbiot's radical attack on the EU's proposals for reform of its Common Agricultural Policy. I only agree partially with George's critique. While financial help should be seriously capped, if not abolished, for these "big farmers", the EU needs a common farming and environment policy. In an age of increasing resource constraints and globalisation in reverse, we will need more farmers in the future, not less.

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EU agricultural policy: Responding to the crisis?

EU agricultural policy: Responding to the crisis? | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

From VoxEU: "As Europe battles a life-threatening crisis, the European Commission has found time to discuss the much-maligned Common Agricultural Policy. This column, by the former OECD Director for Trade and Agriculture, argues that far from seizing the opportunity to use CAP to benefit fiscal discipline, policymakers are maintaining an outdated and inefficient system for the financial benefit of farmers."


Another very critical assessment of the EU's new CAP reform proposals. Interesting but misses the CAP weaknesses in terms of responding to the "perfect storm" of climate change, water and energy scarcity, peak phosporus and other sustainability challenges.

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How to feed 7 billion of us without ruining the planet

How to feed 7 billion of us without ruining the planet | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
A new study says feeding all 7 billion of us is possible with the resources at hand -- we'll just have to rethink how and where we're farming.

 

Excellent article from The Grist summarising a new Nature study on how are current industrialised farming system is failing the feed the world and what can be done about it.

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Can We Feed the World and Sustain the Planet?: Scientific American

Can We Feed the World and Sustain the Planet?: Scientific American | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
A five-step global plan could double food production by 2050 while greatly reducing environmental damage...

Excellent recent article in Scientific American on the challenges of sustainable food production for the future.

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Solutions for a cultivated planet : Nature

Solutions for a cultivated planet : Nature | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

"Today, approximately a billion people are chronically malnourished while our agricultural systems are concurrently degrading land, water, biodiversity and climate on a global scale. To meet the world’s future food security and sustainability needs, food production must grow substantially while, at the same time, agriculture’s environmental footprint must shrink dramatically. Here we analyse solutions to this dilemma, showing that tremendous progress could be made by halting agricultural expansion, closing ‘yield gaps’ on underperforming lands, increasing cropping efficiency, shifting diets and reducing waste. Together, these strategies could double food production while greatly reducing the environmental impacts of agriculture."

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OECD review of EU farming reform remains blind to key sustainability challenges

OECD review of EU farming reform remains blind to key sustainability challenges | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

"As is to be expected from the OECD, the report frames its evaluation within the neoliberal free-market narrative of future farming. It recommends further market access, innovation, risk management and improved “environmental performance”, but gives little or no attention to the big energy and sustainability challenges facing the future of food and farming, not just in Europe, but the world as a whole."

 My latest op-ed for the Greening Europe Forum

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EU CAP review: vestiges of the past instead of signpost to the future

EU CAP review: vestiges of the past instead of signpost to the future | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

"this new “modernisation” of the CAP is continuing business as usual, with a bit of “greening” and a few technical improvements and simplifications here and there, but it does next to nothing to address the major ecological and energetic challenges facing our global and European food production system."

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It’s official: China now eats twice the meat we do

It’s official: China now eats twice the meat we do | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
China's meat consumption has changed a lot in the last 20 years -- so much so that corn to feed industrially raised animals is now more prevalent than rice.

 

China becoming the green transition leader? think again.

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New science reveals agriculture’s true climate impact

New science reveals agriculture’s true climate impact | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

"Scientists can finally prove that overuse of fertilizer in industrial farming is a major cause of climate change. Whether or not this will make it easier to hold Big Ag accountable is yet to be seen"

 

Excellent article in Grist on the need to cut nitrous oxide emissions.

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Agriculture and Climate Change, Revisited

Agriculture and Climate Change, Revisited | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Chagrined by the failure of delegates to embrace agriculture as a formal priority in climate change talks in Durban, a group of experts calls for more research and advocacy on the world's food system.

 

Excellent piece on the NY Times Green blog on why agriculture should get more attention in the climate change debate.

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Questions About Organic Produce and Sustainability

Questions About Organic Produce and Sustainability | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Even as more Americans buy foods labeled organic, the products are moving away from a traditional emphasis on local growing and limited environmental strain.
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Soaring Oil and Food Prices Threaten Affordable Food Supply

"The current global food system is highly fuel- and transport-dependent. Fuels will almost certainly become less affordable in the near and medium term, making the current, highly fuel-dependent agricultural production system less secure and food less affordable. It is therefore necessary to promote food self-sufficiency and reduce the need for fuel inputs to the food system at all levels."

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FAO report: "Energy-smart" agriculture needed to escape fossil fuel trap

FAO report:  "Energy-smart" agriculture needed to escape fossil fuel trap | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

High and fluctuating prices of fossil fuels and doubts regarding their future availability mean that agri-food systems need to shift to an "energy-smart" model, according to the report Energy-Smart Food for People and Climate.

 

Mandatory reading for all policymakers involved in the debate on the European Common Agricultural Policy reform.

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New Report: Achieving Food Security in the Face of Climate Change

New Report: Achieving Food Security in the Face of Climate Change | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

Interesting new report from the Commission on Sustainable Agriculture and Climate Change with recommendations for policymakers.

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New OECD report Risk management in agriculture

New OECD report Risk management in agriculture | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

"Farmers face multiple, often simultaneous, sources of agricultural risk - weather, market prices, disease and more. "


Interesting to see that his new report says very little about the risks of energy descent and resource depletion.

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The Story of Agriculture and the Green Economy

The Story of Agriculture and the Green Economy | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

Interesting new website from the Farming First Coalition on Sustainable Farming

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Food Sovereignty Report Launched | War on Want

Food Sovereignty Report Launched | War on Want | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

New report contrasts the UK government’s preferred approach of ‘food security’, based on free markets supplemented by aid, with the positive alternative of food sovereignty, which returns control over the food system to farmers.

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More Corn is Used For Ethanol in U.S. Than For Food or Feed — The Top Five Reasons We Should Stop This Madness

More Corn is Used For Ethanol in U.S. Than For Food or Feed — The Top Five Reasons We Should Stop This Madness | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

"Today, more corn is grown in America for ethanol than for food or for livestock feed. For every 10 ears of corn grown in the U.S., two are consumed by humans, and the other eight are used for feed and fuel."

Amazing figures from US corn farming: 4 times more corn used for fuel than for food.

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Leaked EU Texts Reveal Greener Farm Policy, ‘Recoupling’ Plans

Leaked EU draft texts confirm expectations that the 27-member bloc is likely to seek to ‘green’ farm subsidy payments after 2013 by adding new rules on protecting the environment. Controversially, though, the drafts also reveal new plans to allow some countries to re-allocate more direct payments to the production of particular crops - reversing prior attempts to ‘decouple’ farm support from production and thus reduce the trade distortions that this support might cause.

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