Cary Fowler is a man with a mission. A mission that is about securing the foundation of nothing less than earth’s survival in the form of the world’s smallest currency: seeds! The scientist and tireless idealist Fowler has set out to collect all existing grain types in an enormous ‘cereal bank’ on the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard in the Arctic Ocean, before it’s too late. And too late it soon may be. The earth is overpopulated, there are more and more mouths to feed, and we are beginning to feel the disastrous effects of climate change on our planet. In recent decades we have experienced periods of drought and severe floods, and together with these disasters we have lost important grain types, which means that they will be extinct within a few years. But nobody understands what devastating impact the extinction of these grain types would have on mankind. It is not just about the survival of this generation, but that of future generations. The good news is that someone has started to do something about it! ‘Seeds of Time’ is simple in its style, but the story of Fowler’s struggle is both touching and inspiring.
via the Sustainability Research Institute (SRI)
Economic Crises, Land Use Vulnerabilities, Climate Variability, Food Security and Population Declines: Will History Repeat Itself or Will Our Society Adapt to Climate Change?
by Evan D. G. Fraser, March, 2009
Although many of today’s ecological, climatic and socio-economic problems seem unprecedented, similar events have occurred in the past. Western Europe’s “middle ages” (circa 11-14th century) may be one such case. By the 12th century, medieval Europe had shifted from the subsistence agrarian economy that emerged following the collapse of the Roman Empire to one where spatially dispersed trade in
agricultural commodities helped support a complex society that devoted considerable resources to cultural works. Continue reading
For over two years, director Matt Anderson traveled 16,000 miles to document firsthand our modern industrial world and the environmental destruction in its wake. In the process, he discovered exciting strategies to help humanity transcend the coming ecological and psychological crisis.
Some of today’s most progressive thinkers, from anthropologists and bio-architects to psychologists and journalists collectively recreate a story of humanity and the history of Earth, illuminating a desperately needed new path for us to take. Fall and Winter is a survival guide for the 21st Century.
Build topsoil. Fix creeks. Eat meat from pasture-raised animals.
Right now, the only possibility of large-scale removal of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere is through plant photosynthesis and related land-based carbon sequestration activities. These include a range of already existing, low- tech, and proven practices: composting, no-till farming, climate-friendly livestock practices, conserving natural habitat, restoring degraded watersheds and rangelands, increasing biodiversity, and producing local food.
In Grass, Soil, Hope, the author shows how practical strategies can be bundled together into an economic and ecological whole, with the aim of reducing atmospheric CO2 while producing substantial co- benefits for all living things.
It’s available through Chelsea Green Publishing
A 15-second NASA time-lapse video shows the steady and rapid warming of the planet since the middle of the twentieth century, with regions in the Arctic and Siberia warming as much as two to four degrees Celsius (3.6 to 7. 2 degrees Fahrenheit) above a long-term average:
Our Coming Food Crisis
By Gary Paul Nabhan
Published: July 21, 2013 in the New York Times
TUCSON, Ariz. — THIS summer the tiny town of Furnace Creek, Calif., may once again grace the nation’s front pages. Situated in Death Valley, it last made news in 1913, when it set the record for the world’s hottest recorded temperature, at 134 degrees. With the heat wave currently blanketing the Western states, and given that the mercury there has already reached 130 degrees, the news media is awash in speculation that Furnace Creek could soon break its own mark.
Such speculation, though, misses the real concern posed by the heat wave, which covers an area larger than New England. The problem isn’t spiking temperatures, but a new reality in which long stretches of triple-digit days are common — threatening not only the lives of the millions of people who live there, but also a cornerstone of the American food supply.
read the full article HERE
From his website:
With climatic uncertainty now “the new normal,” many farmers, gardeners, and orchardists in North America are desperately seeking ways to adapt how they grow food in the face of climate change. The solutions may be at our back door.
In Growing Food in a Hotter, Drier Land, Nabhan, one of the world’s experts on the agricultural traditions of arid lands, draws from the knowledge of traditional farmers in the Gobi Desert, the Arabian Peninsula, the Sahara Desert, and Andalusia, as well as the Sonoran, Chihuahuan, and Painted deserts of North America to offer time-tried strategies, including:
- Building greater moisture-holding capacity and nutrients in soils;
- Protecting fields from damaging winds, drought, and floods;
- Reducing heat stress on crops and livestock;
- Harvesting water from uplands to use in rain gardens and terraces filled with perennial crops;
- Selecting fruits, nuts, succulents, and herbaceous perennials that are best suited to warmer, drier climates; and,
- Keeping pollinators in pace and in place with arid-adapted crop plants.
“Emulating and refining these adaptations may help us secure food in the face of climate change,” writes Nabhan. Continue reading