the irresistible fleet of bicycles

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how long has big oil believed in climate change?

As the Union of Concerned Scientists unveiled in their July 2015 report, The Climate Deception Dossiers, Exxon internally recognized climate change as fact in 1981– right before they went on to spent $30 million on research that would support climate change denial. Are we surprised? No. Is it important? Yes. Read more at The Leap.

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how pope francis is reviving radical economics

Excerpt from: How Pope Francis is Reviving Radical Catholic Economics- Some Catholics have been quietly practicing them all along.

By Nathan Schneider

September 9, 2015

My friend Ryan Patrico, a doctoral
student in history at Yale, noticed something curious while studying the German nuns whose convents wound up in Protestant regions in the early, bloody days of the Reformation. He focused on those nuns who refused the option of relocating to Catholic areas where they could practice their faith more freely. They understood their vows as being not only to certain kinds of prayers and allegiance to a pope, but to stewarding a certain plot of land and shepherding the surrounding economy. “Their Catholicism bound them to a place,” Patrico writes. They felt their salvation was tied up with caring for the land.

These nuns are a reminder that Pope Francis isn’t coming out of nowhere with his often perplexing “small is beautiful” form of ecological economics. He calls for urgency in confronting the climate crisis, while declining to put his trust in modern technology and markets for the solution. His sources of inspiration are seemingly lost causes: the remaining vestiges of indigenous agriculture, cooperative business models, and a call for the mass rejection of consumerism.

To read more, Click Here!

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up to 90 percent of americans could be fed entirely by local agriculture

New farmland-mapping research shows that up to 90 percent of Americans could be fed entirely by food grown or raised within 100 miles of their homes.

Professor Elliott Campbell, with the University of California, Merced, School of Engineering, discusses the possibilities in a study entitled “The Large Potential of Local Croplands to Meet Food Demand in the United States.” The research results are the cover story of the newest edition of Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, the flagship journal for the Ecological Society of America, which boasts a membership of 10,000 scientists.

“Elliott Campbell’s research is making an important contribution to the national conversation on local food systems,” influential author and UC Berkeley professor Michael Pollan said. “That conversation has been hobbled by too much wishful thinking and not enough hard data—exactly what Campbell is bringing to the table.” To read more from, CLICK HERE!

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purdue chicken buys niman ranch

Many in the food world were shocked by this week’s announcement of the sale of Niman Ranch to poultry giant Perdue. As one of the go-to brands behind Chipotle’s antibiotic-free pledge, and a relatively accessible alternative to industrially-produced meat, Niman Ranch has carved out an important niche in a market where demand for antibiotic-free and humanely produced foods are steadily on the rise.

And while much of the public’s response has centered around how this change will affect consumers’ choices, the sale raises another equally important question: What will it mean for farmers? Click HERE to read more of this Civil Eats article!

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amazing new energy source: introducing TREES

Scientists at the Climate/Energy Design and Research institute (CEDAR) have just announced the discovery of an astounding new energy source that promises to solve several of humanity’s thorniest dilemmas at once.

“This is a paradigm-shifting moment,” says Dawn O’Newday, the engineer in charge of the project. “Whatever your game is, this changes it. Big time.”

The new energy source, called TREES (Totally Renewable Energy, Emissions capture, and Storage) is, as the name suggests, completely renewable. Unlike conventional power plants, TREES devices use no fuel; and unlike most solar and wind technologies, TREES requires no non-renewable materials for the manufacture of panels or turbines.

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how’s your gut going?

We know that our microbiome (or the collective bacteria in and on the human body) has been shown to play important roles in our digestion, metabolism, and possibly even our sleep cycles. But recent research is revealing that it also might profoundly affect our psychological disposition. In a June article in the New York Times (feature below), Peter Andrey Smith writes about the new field of study in psychobiotics, or the bacteria in our gut that may very well be affecting our moods, dispositions, and even our disorders.

(And, for a good primer on the groundbreaking and utterly fascinating research being done in this area, we recommend Michael Pollan’s 2013 New York Times article, “Some of My Best Friends are Germs.”)

Can Bacteria in Your Gut Explain Your Mood?
by Peter Andrey Smith

Eighteen vials were rocking back and forth on a squeaky mechanical device the shape of a butcher scale, and Mark Lyte was beside himself with excitement. ‘‘We actually got some fresh yesterday — freshly frozen,’’ Lyte said to a lab technician. Each vial contained a tiny nugget of monkey feces Continue reading

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research highlight: removing non-crop habitat does not increase food safety


Schematic of farm environment using co-management approach for food safety and environment.

In 2006, a deadly Escherichia coli O157:H7 outbreak in bagged spinach was traced to California’s Central Coast region, where >70% of the salad vegetables sold in the United States are produced. Although no definitive cause for the outbreak could be determined, wildlife was implicated as a disease vector. Growers were subsequently pressured to minimize the intrusion of wildlife onto their farm fields by removing surrounding non-crop vegetation. How vegetation removal actually affects foodborne pathogens was unknown. Researchers at UC Berkeley (including Daniel Karp and Claire Kremen of BFI‘s Center for Diversified Farming Systems), UC Davis, the Nature Conservancy, and the Natural Capital Project found that removal of non-crop vegetation did not in fact reduce incidences of enterohemorrhagic E. coli(EHEC). The study actually found a slight but significant increase in pathogen prevalence where non-crop vegetation had been removed, calling into question reforms that promote vegetation removal to improve food safety.

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