GMOs — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor May 22, 2013
Kudos to Dr. Vandana Shiva for kicking this off. Watch the videos to find out more, and get involved!
Economics, Society, peak oil — by George Monbiot May 18, 2013
When scholars sell out, the consequences are grave.
In 1927 the French philosopher Julien Benda published a piercing attack on the intellectuals of his day. They should, he argued in La Trahison des Clercs (the treason of the scholars) act as a check on popular passions(1). Civilisation, he claimed, is possible only if intellectuals stand in opposition to the demands of political “realism” by upholding universal principles. “Thanks to the scholars,” Benda maintained, “humanity did evil for two thousand years, but honoured good.” Europe might have been lying in the gutter, but it was looking at the stars.
But those ideals, he argued, had been lost. Europe was now lying in the gutter, looking in the gutter. The “immense majority” of intellectuals, artists and clergy had joined “the chorus of hatreds”: nationalism, racism, the worship of power and war. In doing so, they justified and magnified political passions. Across Europe, scholars on both the left and the right had become “ready to support in their own countries the most flagrant injustices”, to abandon universal principles in favour of national exceptionalism and to proclaim “the supreme morality of violence”. He quoted the French anarcho-syndicalist Georges Sorel, who eulogised “the superb blond beast wandering in search of prey and carnage”.Comments (0)
Global Warming/Climate Change, Livestock, Plant Systems, Rehabilitation — by Rhamis Kent May 17, 2013
Reversing Global Warming while Meeting Human Needs
— an Urgently Needed Land-Based Option
Allan Savory never ceases to amaze and encourage me. It was really great seeing him present his recent TED Talk — and we now have another opportunity to see him speak. Tufts University hosted an event where he was given the floor to discuss Holistic Management and the many challenges and successes experienced in its development.Comments (0)
Community Projects, Urban Projects, Village Development, peak oil — by Earth Policy Institute May 15, 2013
by Janet Larson, Earth Policy Institute
When New York City opened registration for its much anticipated public bike-sharing program on April 15, 2013, more than 5,000 people signed up within 30 hours. Eager for access to a fleet of thousands of bicycles, they became Citi Bike members weeks before bikes were expected to be available. Such pent-up demand for more cycling options is on display in cities across the United States—from Buffalo to Boulder, Omaha to Oklahoma City, and Long Beach in New York to Long Beach in California—where shared bicycle programs are taking root.Comments (0)
Biodiversity, Insects, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss, Working Animals — by Catherine Sullivan
Photo © Craig Mackintosh
It’s score one for the bees. Last week the European Union banned neonicotinoid pesticides for a two-year period beginning early next year.
Key findings cited evidence of the role neonics play in destroying bee populations. The ban is specifically for flowering crops as neonics penetrate plants from treated seed through to affecting flower nectar and pollen, which bees and other non-target insects feed on. Bees in particular have a high acute toxicity to the systemic pesticides. It impairs their nervous systems, resulting in disorientation, navigational problems and coupled with damaged memory, affects their ability to forage. Neonic pesticides can also be retained in the soil profile for lengthy periods.Comments (1)
Economics, Global Warming/Climate Change — by George Monbiot May 12, 2013
Corruption and short-termism are pushing us along the path of sorrows.
The records go back 800,000 years: that’s the age of the oldest fossil air bubbles extracted from Dome C, an ice-bound summit in the high Antarctic. And throughout that time there has been nothing like this. At no point in the pre-industrial record have concentrations of carbon dioxide in the air risen above 300 parts per million. 400 is a figure that belongs to a different era.
The difference between 399 and 400ppm is small, in terms of its impacts on the world’s living systems. But this is a moment of symbolic significance, a station on the Via Dolorosa of environmental destruction. It is symbolic of our collective failure to put the long term prospects of the natural world and the people it supports above immediate self-interest.Comments (5)
Aid Projects, Community Projects, Economics, Society, Urban Projects, peak oil — by Andrew Willner May 9, 2013
We live in dangerous times, when economic collapse, climate chaos, and peak oil threaten the foundations of society, abundance, and all we hold dear. “Business as usual” will no longer suffice, because that way leads to certain pain, peril and impoverishment.
Unspeakable acts of violence like the slaughter at the Sandy Hook school or the Boston Marathon bombing; natural disasters like Katrina and Sandy; economic uncertainty; technical failure; “peak everything;” and climate change can offer opportunities for either despair and disengagement or innovative collaboration. In the aftermath of such disasters communities often experience a surge of purposefulness to deal with the crisis. As a result, there is a need for better understanding of the specific and general resilience of communities, ecosystems, organizations, and institutions to cope with change.Comments (0)
GMOs — by Stefan Boone
In the mid 1980s, scientists unlocked the genetic keys to manipulating our world. Suddenly everything seemed possible! There would be no more hunger or malnutrition; diseases would be vanquished and poverty wiped out. But twenty years on the situation looks very different. From the loss of biodiversity to health scares about GM food, the effects of genetic technology are prompting more and more debate.
Across the world, multinationals like Monsanto are meeting with unexpected resistance to their genetically modified products. But are these concerns justified? Or are activists battling the forces of progress? Renowned filmmakers Bertram Verhaag and Gabriele Krober sets out on a global journey to explore the development of genetic technology. Spanning three continents and beautifully filmed, this high quality doc hears from the scientists, farmers and activists at the heart of the debate.
Global Warming/Climate Change, Rehabilitation — by Lukas Oehmigen May 8, 2013
We are all pretty concerned these days about the ongoing battle for biodiversity and life on this planet. With new seed regulation in the EU, The Monsanto Rider in the US, the failure to prevent colony collapse of the global bee population, financial crisis, war crisis, humanitarian crisis, and probably countless other worrisome processes not on our radar yet, politics and economics prove to be disabled and defunct in setting off appropriate solutions. We find our society caught in a loop of ongoing cynical and senseless debates about a financial crisis and war on terrorism, witnessing billions if not trillions of euros and dollars being swapped around the globe, but knowing that these wasted energies won’t be able serve us any solution.
Amidst all these mind consuming and wasteful atrocities being played out against all species on this planet, we are distracted from the one big threat which is still severely ambuscading upon us in sub-visibility.Comments (9)
People Systems, Society, Village Development — by Stefan Boone May 7, 2013
The miracle of your mind isn’t that you can see the world as it is. It’s that you can see the world as it isn’t. — Kathryn Schulz
Genetically modified foods are a threat to our dwindling water supplies; they are less water-efficient and contaminate fresh water
Genetically Modified (GM) crops are widely recognised for their potential to damage both human health and the environment. Evidence is now accumulating of the contamination of streams, rivers, rain, as well as groundwater with GM-associated chemicals including Monsanto’s glyphosate-based herbicide, while genetic elements such as antibiotic resistant genes are emerging in water-borne microbes. Further, GM crops have been shown to be less water efficient, corroborating farmer’s reports of failing GM crops during droughts. Industrial farming in general has been shown to be ill-adapted to extreme weather events such as hurricanes as well as droughts; and GM crops are not expected to do any better.Comments (3)
Consumerism, Courses/Workshops, Education, Ethical Investment, Society, Village Development — by Kenton Zerbin May 4, 2013
All photos © Craig Mackintosh
In my previous article I stressed how there is no sounder thing to invest in than a) Yourself and B) Community.
In this article I want to share some of the simple ways one can invest in oneself. For some this may translate and lead to finding meaning, a career and community — after all what we are ultimately talking about here is finding connection. For some this will serve as one more swift kick in the butt to get out the door and be the change you want to see in the world. No matter who you are, I hope you find this hopeful, inspiring and informative.
Options for investing in yourself:Comments (3)
Biodiversity, Economics, Health & Disease, Insects, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss — by George Monbiot May 2, 2013
Amazingly, the UK government has not defined the precautionary principle and appears to have no idea what it is.
Here’s something remarkable I stumbled across while researching my column on Monday, but did not have room to include. I hope you’ll agree that it is worth sharing.
I was trying to understand the context for the new chief scientist’s cavalier treatment of scientific evidence, in an article he wrote opposing a European ban on neonicotinoid pesticides. These are the toxins which, several studies suggest, could be partly responsible for the rapid decline in bees and other pollinators.Comments (1)
GMOs, Health & Disease — by I-SIS
Small double-stranded RNA (dsRNAs) that aim to interfere with specific gene expression are increasingly used to create GM crops; unfortunately they have many off-target effects and can also interfere with gene expression in all animals exposed to the crops.
Genetic modification by RNA interference
Most commercially grown genetically modified (GM) crops are engineered to produce foreign proteins, but new ones are increasingly engineered to produce RNA of a special kind – double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) – that aims to interfere with the expression of a specific gene, usually to silence the gene  (Table 1).
Table 1 GM crops with dsRNA commercially approved or in the approval pipeline
|Flav Savr tomato||Monsanto||Withdrawn from market|
|High oleic acid soybean lines G94-1, G94-19 and G168||Monsanto||FSANZ*
Withdrawn from market
|New Leaf Y and New Leaf Plus Potato||Dupont Pioneer||FSANZ* approved 2001
Withdrawn from market
|High oleic acid soybean lind DP-305423-1||Dupont Pioneer||FSAMZ* approved 2010|
|Herbicde tolerant, high oleic acid soybean Line MON87705||Monsanto||approved 2011|
|Golden mosaic virus resistant pinto bean||Embrapa*||Brazil
|Papaya ringspot virus resistant papaya||Hawaii University||USA
1996, Canada 2003, Japan
|Altered grain starch wheat||CSIRO*||Approved for field trials & feeding experiment|
*CSIRO Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization
*Embrapa Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation
*FSANZ Food Standards Australia New Zealand
Click for more… Comments (0)
Economics, Society — by Aldo Leopold May 1, 2013
Aldo Leopold (1887-1948)
When god-like Odysseus returned from the wars in Troy, he hanged all on one rope a dozen slave-girls of his household whom he suspected of misbehavior during his absence. This hanging involved no question of propriety. The girls were property. The disposal of property was then, as now, a matter of expediency, not of right and wrong. Concepts of right and wrong were not lacking from Odysseus’ Greece: witness the fidelity of his wife through the long years before at last his black galleys clove the wine-dark seas for home. The ethical structure of that day covered wives, but had not yet been extended to human chattels. During the three thousand years which have since elapsed, ethical criteria have been extended to many fields of conduct, with corresponding shrinkages in those judged by expediency only.Comments (2)