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  1. #41

    Agroforestry, an agricultural method where trees and crops are cultivated on the same land, is declared to be a win-win-win miracle approach with many benefits – from climate to biological diversity to economic development. Many experts stand behind the message that agroforestry can contribute to achieving most of the Sustainable Development Goals.

    So, if agroforestry is so good, why doesn’t everyone do it? This question has been broadly discussed during the World Agroforestry Congress 2019, and here are five barriers to agroforestry adoption and ways to overcome them.

    1. Change is always a risk
    2. Information isn’t enough – we need to tap into social norms and values
    3. No clear land rights – no agroforestry
    4. Underutilized species need better marketing
    5. Context is king

  2. #42
    Could Planting Tons of Trees Solve Climate Change?

    The analysis revealed the planet could currently support 4.4 billion hectares of forest. About 2.8 billion hectares already exist, which means more than 1.6 billion hectares are available for forest restoration. When the team excluded land already in use for urban and agricultural areas, they found there’s 0.9 billion hectares of land available for planting forests.

    “If you convert that into carbon, that’s about 200 gigatonnes of carbon,” said ecologist Jean-Francois Bastin, who co-authored the new work, in an accompanying video. Globally, humans have put about 300 gigatonnes of carbon into the atmosphere to date. The findings suggest forest restoration could cut humanity’s carbon footprint by two-thirds.

  3. #43
    German Nonprofit Creates New Open-Source License for Seeds

    We know about open-source software and hardware, but can the concept – decentralized development and open collaboration for the common good – be expanded to address other global challenges? The nonprofit OpenSourceSeeds based in the German town of Marburg has just launched a licensing process for open-source seeds, to create a new repository of genetic material that can be accessed by farmers around the world, in perpetuity.

    Our license is quite radical. It says that if a seed is licensed, this seed, and all further developments and modifications [of that seed] fall under this license. So this means you start a chain of contracts – if the person who has got the seed is giving further developments of this seed to a third person, he becomes a licenser, which means he or she is licensing a new variety

    In theory, this can be indefinite. There is no way back to private domain. [Our license] does not allow any seed company to take the seed, use it for breeding, and put a patent on it.You can work with is, you can earn your money with it, but you have no exclusivity.

    This is important because we are living in a time of not only privatization of genetic resources, but the monopolization of genetic resources. Big companies, they are interested in producing few varieties and extending and distributing these varieties for large acreages – the larger the acreage, the larger their return through royalties.

    License, first all of all says, there is no limitation to the use of this seed by the farmer. The only limitation is to refrain from privatization. Commercial seeds have become extremely costly, but the other point which is more important, the characteristics of a variety are not fully meeting the needs farmers have today.

    And this applies, in particular, to small farmers in the world who are not able to pay the high costs of seeds for seeds from the big companies, or who may not need the varieties which are offered.

    Our big challenge will be to extend the idea. But it will be an important task to get breeders to provide newly developed varieties to our initiative – and we hope that this will grow the number of open source licensed varieties, satisfactorily.

    Our license has stimulated initiatives in other sectors – there is for instance – the World Beekeeping Association – they have on their annual meeting decided to use our open source license and adapting it for bees, and doing open source licensing for bees. Another initiative is thinking about open source licensing of microorganisms, and there’s a third one which explores possibilities of using open source licensing for animal genetic resources – farm animals.

  4. #44
    Poland must obey UNESCO logging warning

    The UNESCO World Heritage Committee adopted a decision that recommends limiting any future logging in Białowieża Forest to necessary safety measures and activities related to nature conservation during this week’s summit in Azerbaijan.

    ClientEarth, a Non-profit environmental law organisation which led legal action last year to stop illegal logging in the forest, says that UNESCO’s warning sends a clear message to the Polish government to put conversation first in Białowieża.

    If Poland fails to comply with these recommendations, the forest will be placed on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

  5. #45
    Green Infrastructure is (de)paving a pathway to resilience

    America is becoming increasingly and dangerously waterlogged. And it’s not just rural areas. Cities are especially vulnerable to a phenomenon called urban flooding because they are less permeable than their rural counterparts due to concrete surfaces and inadequate infrastructure.

    Runoff overflow can turn streets into rivers. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, by the end of the century, floodplains could increase by as much as 45 percent, with climate change causing heavier rains and more storms.

    Fixing deteriorated pipes and building more infrastructure will help cities, but it’s expensive and disruptive. Fortunately, cities have another solution that’s cheaper, more sustainable, and can lift up communities and provide jobs: a back-to-nature approach called Green Infrastructure.

    Green Infrastructure is, at its core, about utilizing nature to manage stormwater. Pavement is impermeable, but vegetation and soil have an innate ability to manage water before it ever reaches a city’s sewers.

    Through strategically planted trees, parks, and wetlands, cities can reduce strain on their sewer systems, and reduce pollution at the same time.

    The Democracy Collaborative recently released a report recommending the use of green infrastructure as a community-based climate adaptation strategy.

  6. #46

  7. #47
    China's Sponge Cities Aim to Re-use 70% of Rainwater - Here's How

    Groundwater over-extraction, waterway degradation, and urban flooding are forcing China’s cities to address a vicious cycle. Sprawling urban development and use of impervious material prevent soil from absorbing rainwater, prompting further investment in infrastructures that typically impede natural processes and worsen flood impacts.

    China’s “sponge city initiative” aims to arrest this cycle through the use of permeable surfaces and green infrastructures. However, the initiative faces two challenges: lack of expertise of local governments to effectively coordinate and integrate such a complex set of activities, and financial constraints.

  8. #48
    10 best indoor air purifier plants

    These days the air pollution limit is touching the sky and due to this, you may get affected by several kinds of diseases. so, if you want to keep yourself and your family healthy the only way is to plant trees outdoor or indoor. These indoor plants are neither costly nor require any maintenance. Moreover, these are easily available in your local nursery or you may go online. According to the same research, one medium size plant can clean the air of 100 m2 area, so you may decide your requirement.

  9. #49
    Cycling Success May Hold Key to Land Savings

    Making minor changes to how food is produced, supplied and consumed around the world could free up around a fifth of agricultural land, research suggests.

    Scientists have applied the British cycling team’s strategy of marginal gains – the idea that making multiple small changes can lead to significant effects overall – to the global food system.

    They found that small steps – such as reducing food waste, tweaking diets and improving the efficiency of food production – could together reduce the amount of land required to feed the planet by at least 21 per cent.

    Altering diets in developed nations was also found to have the greatest potential to reduce the impact of food production.

  10. #50
    Shifts to renewable energy can drive up energy poverty, study finds

    Efforts to shift away from fossil fuels and replace oil and coal with renewable energy sources can help reduce carbon emissions but do so at the expense of increased inequality, according to a new Portland State University study.

    Findings, published recently in the journal Energy Research & Social Science, support previous claims by researchers who argue that renewable energy consumption may be indirectly driving energy poverty.

    Energy poverty is when a household has no or inadequate access to energy services such as heating, cooling, lighting, and use of appliances due to a combination of factors: low income, increasing utility rates, and inefficient buildings and appliances.

    McGee said that in nations like the United States where fossil fuel energy is substituted for renewable energy as a way to reduce carbon emissions, it comes at the cost of increased inequality. That's because the shift to renewable energy is done through incentives such as tax subsidies.

    This reduces energy costs for homeowners who can afford to install solar panels or energy-efficient appliances, but it also serves to drive up the prices of fossil fuel energy as utility companies seek to recapture losses. That means increased utility bills for the rest of the customers, and for many low-income families, increased financial pressure, which creates energy poverty.

    "People who are just making ends meet and can barely afford their energy bills will make a choice between food and their energy," McGee said. "We don't think of energy as a human right when it actually is. The things that consume the most energy in your household -- heating, cooling, refrigeration -- are the things you absolutely need."

  11. #51
    Agroforestry: An ancient ‘indigenous technology’ with wide modern appeal (commentary)

    The highly climate- and biodiversity-friendly agricultural practice of agroforestry is now practiced widely around the world, but its roots are deeply indigenous.

    Agroforestry is the practice of growing of trees, shrubs, herbs, and vegetables together in a group mimicking a forest, and its originators were indigenous peoples who realized that growing useful plants together created a system where each species benefited the others.

    Agroforestry is now estimated to cover one billion hectares globally and sequester over 45 gigatons of carbon from the atmosphere, a figure that grows annually.

    Indigenous communities around the world are not the only ones to benefit from agroforestry’s increases in food security and community resilience. Thanks to agroforestry, all manner of wildlife are finding more homes in the branches of these food forests.

    The world would do well to follow the lead of indigenous technologists by planting more trees in agricultural land-scapes, and in useful combinations. Even growing trees in cattle pastures, a technique known as silvopasture, is shown to yield better forage for the animals while capturing carbon and providing fruit, medicines, and other useful products.

  12. #52
    Smart Irrigation Model Predicts Rainfall to Conserve Water

    Fresh water isn’t unlimited. Rainfall isn’t predictable. And plants aren’t always thirsty.

    Just 3% of the world’s water is drinkable, and more than 70% of that fresh water is used for agriculture. Unnecessary irrigation wastes huge amounts of water – some crops are watered twice as much as they need – and contributes to the pollution of aquifers, lakes and oceans.

    A predictive model combining information about plant physiology, real-time soil conditions and weather forecasts can help make more informed decisions about when and how much to irrigate. This could save 40% of the water consumed by more traditional methods, according to new Cornell research.

  13. #53
    A small start-up has developed a market in providing organic produce grown by smallholders in Ethiopia to places like London and Dubai. Farmers are given credit for inputs like seeds as well as market access and extension services.

  14. #54
    Ethiopia plants 350m trees in a day to help tackle climate crisis

    About 350m trees have been planted in a single day in Ethiopia, according to a government minister.

    The planting is part of a national “green legacy” initiative to grow 4bn trees in the country this summer by encouraging every citizen to plant at least 40 seedlings. Public offices have reportedly been shut down in order for civil servants to take part.

    The project aims to tackle the effects of deforestation and climate change in the drought-prone country. According to the UN, Ethiopia’s forest coverage was just 4% in the 2000s, down from 35% a century earlier.

    Ethiopia’s minister of innovation and technology, Dr Getahun Mekuria, tweeted estimates of the number of trees planted throughout the day. By early evening on Monday, he put the number at 353m.

    The previous world record for the most trees planted in one day stood at 50m, held by India since 2016.

    Dr Dan Ridley-Ellis, the head of the centre for wood science and technology at Edinburgh Napier University, said: “Trees not only help mitigate climate change by absorbing the carbon dioxide in the air, but they also have huge benefits in combating desertification and land degradation, particularly in arid countries. They also provide food, shelter, fuel, fodder, medicine, materials and protection of the water supply.

    “This truly impressive feat is not just the simple planting of trees, but part of a huge and complicated challenge to take account of the short- and long-term needs of both the trees and the people. The forester’s mantra ‘the right tree in the right place’ increasingly needs to consider the effects of climate change, as well as the ecological, social, cultural and economic dimension.”

  15. #55
    From Italy Back To Poland In A Nissan Electric Van

    In a nutshell: the Nissan e-NV200 showed that we covered 5637 km (3503 miles) in 10 days (excluding the trip to Warsaw the following day to drop off the car). If it hadn’t been for the broken motorbike and miserable weather, we would have done much more. The e-NV200 proved to be a reliable partner offering a lot of cargo space. The EVs available on the market today let you travel conveniently far beyond the city – tourist trails of going from city to city, country to country, work well for EVs.

    The network of fast chargers in Poland and Europe is so well developed now that we normally have a few charging points to choose from. The only blank spots in charging infrastructure were in southern Sicily. As the route we planned was so long, we sometimes had to compromise and miss some tourist attractions, and probably didn’t see all the interesting landmarks. I still think you can plan an EV holiday like ours with stopovers every 300–400 km, instead of 600 km like us, and then without any compromises see what you like and enjoy traveling without pipe emissions. And EVs are fun.

  16. #56
    Putting ecocide on a par with genocide

    Calls for a new Geneva convention to protect wildlife and nature reserves in conflict zones are welcome (Make environmental damage a war crime, say scientists, 25 July).

    But we should go further. Humanity is waging a veritable war on wildlife and nature every day. We are destroying habitats, changing the climate and persecuting animals that encroach on farmland that was once their home.

    The pursuit of wildlife for “trophies” to adorn our walls and with which to pose is the cruellest wildlife crime of all. Scientists have warned that “sport” hunting of lions is leading to a loss of genetic diversity that puts their survival at risk.

    The combined rate of deaths from poaching and trophy hunting is now greater than the birth rate of elephants. Permits are granted to hunters to shoot species that are extinct in the wild and of which just small numbers remain in private collections.

  17. #57

  18. #58
    Biophilia: Sensory Contact With Nature Can Improve Your Overall Well-Being & Mental Health

    Biophilia is the tendency to connect with nature and its lifeforms.

    Research shows that acting on one's biophilia can significantly improve one's well-being and buffer against mental health issues.

    Biophilic designs also appear to promote sustainable growth.

  19. #59
    'Orthorexia' vying for classification as mental disorder as more people become obsessed with 'clean eating'

    Is an obsession with “clean eating” a bona fide mental disorder deserving of its own diagnosis in psychiatry’s official manual of mental illness?

    A flurry of new studies and reviews is breathing new life into so-called orthorexia nervosa, loosely defined as a pathological fixation on eating “pure” foods. At its extreme, adherents shun all sugar, all carbs, all dairy, all meat and animal products, gluten, starch, pesticides, herbicides — anything that isn’t natural, organic or “clean.”

    According to one new paper, orthorexia is a “cyberpathy,” a digitally transmitted condition of privilege. Whether it’s a “real” mental disease or an imaginary one, the behaviours and consequences are certainly real, according to the author.

    “As a cyberpathy, orthorexia lures the digital flâneurs in search of non-conventional health advice and colonises their imagination with promises and cajoling, micronutrient formulas and ‘biohacks,’ and aspiration/inspiration content,” she wrote.

    “Memes, pictures of ‘healthful’ and colourful meals and tan, muscular bodies in yoga posses, enthusiastic product endorsements and sage dietary and living advice proliferate in unknown numbers, evangelising the populace into the Gospel of Health.”

    Instagram and other social media channels have become the “vectors” of both transmission, and recovery, said Hanganu-Bresch, who described orthorexia as a most unhealthy manifestation of “healthism” — the idea that people are entirely responsible for their own health and that individuals who don’t scrupulously stick to healthy behaviours have only themselves to blame if they get sick.

    “The orthorexic will eliminate harmful or potentially unsuitable substances from the diet according to a logic that shifts with the winds of the food faddism du jour,” she wrote, “hence, the obsession with cleanses, juices, veganism, or raw and organic food.”

  20. #60
    Hybrid Power Plants Are Gaining Momentum. Can We Call It a Trend?

    If we are to believe NextEra Energy Resources, it's already possible to jam wind turbines and solar panels and lithium-ion batteries together into a profitable clean energy smorgasbord. The renewables developer has already done it at least twice, most recently in Oklahoma.

    The hybridization of solar and batteries is well underway, but these new plants represent something different. Instead of calling on batteries to stretch solar generation over a few extra hours of the day, they pair up complementary renewables for round-the-clock production, with batteries to smoothe the gaps in between. The upshot is a more consistent form of clean energy without an overwhelming premium charged for dispatchability.

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