We are trapped in a vicious cycle: we will need to grow 50% more food by 2050 to feed 9 billion people but agriculture, which is paradoxically vulnerable to climate change, generates 25% of heat-trapping greenhouse gas emissions that lead to climate change. The more we grow using conventional methods, the more we exacerbate the problem. It’s time for a climate-smart agriculture but first we must address a few man-made problems.
First, there is a frustrating lack of attention paid to agriculture in the current global climate talks leading up to the Paris conference later this year. By definition, food production affects all countries, rich and poor, and it is hard to imagine any effective post-Kyoto climate change agreement that ignores 25% of the problem. So, we need a climate change agreement where agriculture is a big part of the solution, and delivers a triple win: higher agricultural productivity to feed more people and raise the incomes of poor farmers – especially women, greater climate resilience, and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.
via We need to grow 50% more food yet agriculture causes climate change. How do we get out of this bind? | Global Development Professionals Network | The Guardian.
The new survivalism..
In fact, something like the survivalist dream has become a compelling vision of sustainable future living. Environmental concerns, rising power prices, and the progress in alternative technologies have seen a growing number of people opting to disconnect and live “off grid”.This trend often shares a common picture of the ideal retreat; including, for instance, micro-hydro power, methane digester, water tanks, passive solar design, and avegetable garden.Rawles has suggested that his SurvivalBlog has “an increasing number of stridently green and left-of-centre readers”. Off grid housing is even being talked of as the “new normal”.This can be read as liberating moves towards sustainability, personal autonomy and self-determination. Survivalists also tend to privilege privatised, self-regulated, individualist modes of living.The Australian off-grid advocate Michael Mobbs has recently suggested rethinking the state’s responsibility for sewage. He argues that “mature citizens” should take care of their own waste.If it becomes the “new normal”, what could this sort of thinking mean for the way we live together?Common services and cooperative social institutions have helped form the city as a public good. When looking at the overlapping discussions of being “prepped” and “off grid”, or “resilient” and “sustainable” we should perhaps be wary. Who has the capacity to be off grid and who remains dependent?
via Architecture of doom: DIY planning for global catastrophe.
Last week there was a six-year-old boy wandering in the street, with either autism or post-traumatic stress disorder, and he was screaming. It sounds awful, but somebody had tied him to a tree. The International Committee of the Red Cross talked to the combatants, and it was arranged for an ambulance crew from the Palestinian Red Crescent Society to go to rescue him. But when they went to save the child the crew was attacked and the driver shot dead.Another time I was at a hospital dealing with 180 casualties who came in. A Palestinian doctor there was in tears, sobbing uncontrollably. He told me he had been called over from another hospital in the middle of the night because of an attack.One of the casualties was a girl, about 19 or 20, who had lost her baby and sister. This surgeon amputated her right leg, performed a vascular bypass graft, shortened her femur, and fixed up her abdomen. He was crying because she was his sister.There is terrible human suffering here. It needs to stop.
via Gaza is like the Apocalypse says British doctor David Nott | Mail Online.
“New Zealand’s economy has been hailed as one of world’s top safe-haven economies in recent years after it emerged from Global Financial Crisis relatively unscathed. Unfortunately, my research has found that many of today’s so-called safe-havens (such as Singapore) are experiencing economic bubbles that are strikingly similar to those that led to the financial crisis in the first place.
Though I will be writing a lengthy report about New Zealand’s economic bubble in the near future, I wanted to use this column to outline key points that are helpful for those who are looking for a concise explanation of this bubble.”
via 12 Reasons Why New Zealand’s Economic Bubble Will End In Disaster – Forbes.
I discovered two springs in a wood in Hilly Fields, Colchester. “Safe to drink?” my first reaction to the discovery, a sad reaction to the reality the human race has polluted most fresh water sources in our world.
via The choice of oil or water | The Liberated Way.
Chris Hedges spoke at Friday’s Interfaith Lecture in the Hall of Philosophy. He was the last to speak on the week’s theme, “Markets and Morals.” His lecture traced the demise of liberal values in America since World War I and emphasized the importance of social movements in maintaining democracy.
via Chris Hedges: The Empire Is Imploding + Q&A | Dandelion Salad.
“Today there is much less to sustain than when the term was coined in the 1980s. We’ve exceeded the limits to growth on nearly every aspect of development. Sustainable development will not dig us out of the hole we find ourselves in. We have to start thinking in terms of regenerative development. This means working towards giving back to nature as much we take.
If we harvest crops from fields in the hinterlands of a city, we must return compost from organic waste. We must make regenerative energies into the main source of power supply. And as long as we carry on burning fossil fuels we must ensure that trees and soils absorb our C02 emissions. In hot countries we must capture the rainfall from city roofs to recharge groundwater tables. We must create living landscapes to create habitats for natural pollinators and predators.
If we think along these lines – trying to be as generous to nature as nature is to us – then we may have a chance of harmonising our relationship to our planetary home.”
via Ecopolis: The emergence of ‘regenerative cities’ – News – The Ecologist.