Composting is a simple way to add nutrient-rich humus which fuels plant growth and restores vitality to depleted soil. It’s also free, easy to make and good for the environment.
The environmental impact of meat production varies because of the wide variety of agricultural practices employed around the world. All agriculture practices have been found to have a variety of effects on the environment. Some of the environmental effects that have been associated with meat production are pollution through fossil fuel usage, and water and land consumption. Meat is obtained through a variety of methods, including organic farming, free range farming, intensive livestock production, subsistence agriculture, hunting and fishing. As part of the conclusion to one of the largest international assessments of animal agriculture ever undertaken, the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations said:
The livestock sector is a major stressor on many ecosystems and on the planet as a whole. Globally it is one of the largest sources of greenhouse gasses and one of the leading causal factors in the loss of biodiversity, while in developed and emerging countries it is perhaps the leading source of water pollution.
Study shows red meat dwarfs others for environmental impact, using 28 times more land and 11 times water for pork or chicken.
Beef’s environmental impact dwarfs that of other meat including chicken and pork, new research reveals, with one expert saying that eating less red meat would be a better way for people to cut carbon emissions than giving up their cars.
The heavy impact on the environment of meat production was known but the research shows a new scale and scope of damage, particularly for beef. The popular red meat requires 28 times more land to produce than pork or chicken, 11 times more water and results in five times more climate-warming emissions. When compared to staples like potatoes, wheat, and rice, the impact of beef per calorie is even more extreme, requiring 160 times more land and producing 11 times more greenhouse gases.
Agriculture is a significant driver of global warming and causes 15% of all emissions, half of which are from livestock. Furthermore, the huge amounts of grain and water needed to raise cattle is a concern to experts worried about feeding an extra 2 billion people by 2050. But previous calls for people to eat less meat in order to help the environment, or preserve grain stocks, have been highly controversial.
Big news in the fight to protect bees: The Environmental Protection Agency just released a stunning new report admitting that popular neonicotinoid pesticides are partially to blame for the massive bee colony collapse.1
This new development is remarkable because the federal government is now finally admitting, after over 20 years in use, that “neonics” are killing bees. Yet, farmers are still spraying dangerous bee-killing neonics on tens of millions of acres of farmland across the United States while bees continue to die off in droves.2
The EPA has been notoriously slow at responding to this crisis, and its previous efforts to restrict neonics use have not gone far enough. We must ramp up pressure on the EPA to ban the use of neonicotinoid pesticides once and for all.
Bees and other pollinators play a vital role in our food production system by enabling the production of many of the nuts, fruits and vegetables in our diets. In total, pollinators make possible an astounding 35% of global food production and contribute more than $24 billion annually to the U.S. economy. But the number of managed honeybee colonies in the United States has declined from 6 million in the 1940s to just 2.5 million today – jeopardizing our food supply and domestic agriculture industry.3
And the outlook for bee colonies is getting worse. A recent survey, funded in part by the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, revealed that U.S. beekeepers lost over 42% of their colonies between April 2014 and April 2015, a significant upswing of losses from the previous year.4
Now that the federal government has admitted the definitive proof that neonics are contributing significantly to the collapse of bee colonies, it’s time for the EPA to take action to ban these dangerous pesticides nationwide before any further harm is done to bee populations.
Tell the EPA: Ban dangerous bee-killing neonicotinoid pesticides. Click the link below to sign the petition:
Thanks for all you do to save bees.
Josh Nelson, Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets
Add your name:
- EPA Releases the First of Four Preliminary Risk Assessments for Insecticides Potentially Harmful to Bees, United States Environmental Protection Agency, January 6, 2016
- Tom Philpott, The EPA Finally Admitted That the World’s Most Popular Pesticide Kills Bees—20 Years Too Late, Mother Jones, January 7, 2016
- “Fact Sheet: The Economic Challenge Posed by Declining Pollinator Populations,” The White House, June 20, 2014
- “Colony Loss 2014-2015: Preliminary Results,” Bee Informed Partnership, May 13, 2015
To sequester all of the annual atmospheric increase in CO2 with a citrus forest having a 30 tons per hectare per year CO2 uptake, an area equivalent with 0.8 that of Australia would need to be in active cultivation. A juvenile forest would sequester for some 20 years until the forest reached maturity. Henceforth, trees would need to be replanted and if the dead wood were left to decompose and return carbon to the atmosphere, the sequestration value would be for ‘just’ 20 years. …Hypothetically it does not sound like such a bad deal, 20 years. Yet again, the Australian outback is indeed enormous, equivalent with 50 times the area of New Mexico or 20 times Oman. Clearly massive scale reforestation should be widespread globally. Ambitious? God yes! Worth it? Hell yes!
Cleaning out the stables.
Centre for Alternative Technology
[Introductory remark: This is a slightly modified version of an article originally written for
the Permaculture magazine in the late 90s. You have to make allowance for its age and the
passage of time, but I would stand by most of what is written].
In Crash on Demand, David Holmgren not only updates Future Scenarios (2007) work but also builds on his essay Money vs Fossil Energy: The battle for control of the world (2009), as a running commentary on the rapid changes in the big picture context for permaculture activism, especially in the Australian context. It assumes understanding of these previous works and, of course permaculture. ‘Preaching to the choir’ it may be, but hopefully it contributes new perspectives to keep permaculture activists ahead of the game.
Permaculture teaching and activism have always aimed to work with those already interested in changing their lives, land and communities for the better, rather than proselytising the disinterested majority. Over many decades, idealistic youth have responded positively to the ‘can-do’, personal empowerment of permaculture design, but it has also attracted more experienced citizens disillusioned with top down mainstream environmentalism’s failure to stop the juggernaut of consumer capitalism. Similarly, disillusioned social and political activists are just starting to recognise permaculture as a potentially effective pathway for societal change as 20th century style mass movements seem to have lost their potency.
David’s argument is essentially that radical, but achievable, behaviour change from dependent consumers to responsible self-reliant producers (by some relatively small minority of the global middle class) has a chance of stopping the juggernaut of consumer capitalism from driving the world over the climate change cliff. It maybe a slim chance, but a better bet than current herculean efforts to get the elites to pull the right policy levers; whether by sweet promises of green tech profits or alternatively threats from mass movements shouting for less consumption.
Jill Redwood, an inspirational woman living on her own, off-grid, an hour from the nearest shop. This wonderful woman is Jill Redwood. Jill built her house in East Gippsland, Australia where she has lived alone for over 30 years entirely off-grid with no mains power, water, mobile reception or television.
Toby Hemenway shares his perspective on native plants. He is a powerful advocate of native plants. And, at the same time, is concerned that the passions of some other native plant advocates might lead down a path that is not as good for native plants. Specifically, the planting of exclusively native plants vs. planting of an edible garden.
Toby also explores the idea of “native to when?” with a focus on douglas fir trees.
Organic agriculture produces smaller harvests than conventional methods, but the difference can be minimized by employing the right techniques, a study finds.
Prominent food researcher Patricia Allen finds promise in the movement, but also raises concerns about the effects of alternative economic strategies that are found in community supported agriculture (CSA) and farmers market models
and the possibility that these types of “designer” food production schemes may create a two-tiered food system built upon class differences.
She also critiques the movement’s view that using food assistance programs is “dependence,” pointing out that in antihunger perspectives food is viewed as a right to be fulfilled by the state if the market, or for us the self-reliant community, fails.
Published on Mar 4, 2013
LaDonna Redmond is the founder and executive director of The Campaign for Food Justice Now. Previously, she was part of the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy in 2011 as the Senior Program Associate in Food and Justice. A long-time community activist, she has successfully worked to get Chicago Public Schools to evaluate junk food, launched urban agriculture projects, started a community grocery store, and worked on federal farm policy to expand access to healthy food in low-income communities. In 2009, she was one of 25 citizen and business leaders named a Responsibility Pioneer by Time Magazine. In 2007, she was awarded a Green For All Fellowship. LaDonna was also a 2003-2005 IATP Food and Society Fellow. Redmond is a frequently invited speaker, and currently hosts the weekly Monday evening radio program “It’s Your Health” on 89.9 KMOJ, The People’s Station. LaDonna attended Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio.
Accessing healthy food is a challenge for many Americans—particularly those living in low-income neighborhoods, communities of color, and rural areas.
A 2009 study by the U.S. Department of Agriculture found that 23.5 million people lack access to a supermarket within a mile of their home.
A recent multistate study found that low-income census tracts had half as many supermarkets as wealthy tracts. Another multistate study found that eight percent of African Americans live in a tract with a supermarket, compared to 31 percent of whites. And a nationwide analysis found there are 418 rural “food desert” counties where all residents live more than 10 miles from a supermarket or supercenter— this is 20 percent of rural counties.
Researchers find that residents who live near supermarkets or in areas where food markets selling fresh produce (supermarkets, grocery stores, farmers’ markets, etc.) outnumber food stores that generally do not (such as corner stores) have lower rates of diet-related diseases than their counterparts in neighborhoods lacking food access.