Category — Food Systems
“I think everyone was startled by what we saw in 2012,
and there was a lot of pressure to close down the fishery for the 2013 season.
The survey this summer found just 20 percent of the 2012 record low,
so it has fallen off incredibly sharply.”
John Annala, Chief Scientific Officer at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute
- Here’s a small example of how precarious ecosystems and their bounty can be. When you hear words like “surprised” or “startled”, it’s not good. This is also a hint of why we at Climate Today are deeply concerned about the issue of food. Similar situations of reducing diverse food yields are happening all over the world. - Editor
The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission voted unanimously to halt shrimping for the upcoming season. The annual shrimp survey in 2012 revealed the lowest abundance of adults ever recorded in the survey’s thirty-year history. During the last ten years the water temperature in the Gulf of Maine has been running about 5 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than the previous one hundred year average. Even if Northern shrimp prove themselves to be more heat tolerant than scientists predict, the warmer waters in the Gulf of Maine are proving deadly to the shrimp’s food supply, tiny zooplankton. Last spring, the usual surge in plankton never happened.
December 6, 2013 Comments Off
- It’s tempting to hope that nuclear power will save the day. The latest information on Fukushima is profoundly disturbing. If there is any problem moving the highly radioactive rods, far more radiation will escape, causing massive irreparable damage. The problem has not even begun to be solved. - Editor
“There are things that are important enough that you don’t tolerate any risk.
Risk estimates don’t work for rare but catastrophic events.”
Dr. David Schindler, University of Alberta’s highly acclaimed scientist
“Fukushima is the most terrifying situation I can imagine.”
Dr. David Suzuki, renowned scientist and host of The Nature of Things
Do watch the short 4 minute video-
David Suzuki has issued an ominous warning about the state of Fukushima’s nuclear power plant.
“Three out of the four plants were destroyed in the earthquake and in the tsunami. The fourth one has been so badly damaged that the fear is, if there’s another earthquake of a seven or above that, that building will go and then all hell breaks loose. And the probability of a seven or above earthquake in the next three years is over 95 per cent,” Suzuki said.
He added that a recent study found another earthquake could require evacuation of the entire North American coast — and as for Japan — “bye bye,” Suzuki said.
For video on Youtube- http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=iTqzqoKMLEg
Also- Radiation from Japan nuclear plant arrives on Alaska coast
Is the food supply safe? I don’t think anyone can really answer that definitively.
November 13, 2013 Comments Off
U.N. climate talks, with senior officials and environment ministers from almost 200 nations in Warsaw on November 11- 22, will be the first meeting since the U.N.’s panel of climate scientists, the main guide for government action, in September raised the probability that climate change is mainly man-made to 95 percent from 90 and said that “substantial and sustained” cuts in emissions were needed.
A leaked draft of a second report by the panel, due in March 2014, suggests climate change will cause heat waves, droughts, disrupt crop growth, aggravate poverty and expose hundreds of millions of people to coastal floods as seas rise.
For a list of Twitters covering the talks in Warsaw- http://www.rtcc.org/2013/11/04/twitter-watch-who-to-follow-at-un-climate-talks-in-warsaw/
For the IPCC report that was approved in September, and will not be totally official until January, 2014- Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis- Summary for Policymakers
AND this important report was leaked, and will be covered later in Climate Today.
Global food supply at severe risk from climate change, warns leaked study by UN-created panel
For the draft of the leaked report Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability- Summary for Policy Makers- http://nofrakkingconsensus.files.wordpress.com/2013/11/wgiiar5-spm_fgdall.pdf
November 8, 2013 Comments Off
Food Safety Modernization Act- ACTION: Make Your Comments Today- IMPORTANT- Must be in by November 15th!
- Parallel to the imperative of energy sources being transformed is the major transformation of our food systems. Again, we see government policies reinforcing what amounts to corporate monopolies. I could talk for days on WHY natural systems are the foundation of future food production. We stand at the historic food crossroads which will determine how we adapt to climate change. Dominant corporation near-monopolies are as bad for food as they are for energy. The latest attack is the Food Safety Modernization Act. - Editor
It’s better to write letters- http://salsa.wiredforchange.com/o/5735/p/salsa/web/common/public/content?content_item_KEY=9861
For an easier petition to sign- http://salsa3.salsalabs.com/o/50865/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=12303
In the name of food safety, proposals to subvert sustainable farming are now on the table, and we need to fight back. Tell the FDA that food safety regulations shouldn’t severely limit the use of manure and compost as fertilizers, and shouldn’t encourage habitat destruction!! Organic and small farms could be pushed out of business! - Editor
The FDA is seeking public comments on these proposed food safety rules by November 15th. Tell them to: Allow farmers to use sustainable farming practices, including those already allowed and encouraged by existing federal organic standards and conservation programs.
Ensure that diversified and innovative farms, particularly those pioneering models for increased access to healthy, local foods, continue to grow and thrive without being stifled.
Provide options that treat family farms fairly, with due process and without excessive costs.
Also rules must: state that habitat should not be destroyed, define the term “co-management,” require farm personnel to be trained about “co-management,” correlate the rules with National Organic Program requirements.
Cultivating healthy, living soil is the foundation of organic and sustainable agriculture. Organic and soil-savvy farmers rely on biological soil amendments, such as manure, compost and cover crops, to help build healthy soil, which in turn supports the growth of their crops. Studies have found that soils under organic management have improved soil quality, are more resilient to drought conditions and help reduce soil erosion. Organic soil management practices also help promote belowground biodiversity. As currently written, the rules:
severely limit the use of manure and compost as fertilizer on produce farms, conflict with organic farming practices, and are not based on science.
I have donated to this amazing small organization- the David fighting Goliath- for over 10 years- do consider donations- http://www.wildfarmalliance.org/
For the new A Farmer’s Guide to Food Safety and Conservation- http://www.wildfarmalliance.org/resources/FS_FactsTipsFAQ_web.pdf
For Saturday morning Food Chain Radio including archives- http://metrofarm.com/food-chain-radio/
November 1, 2013 Comments Off
- We know for a fact that the Fukushima radiation came to the United States and contaminated some of our food sources even in the middle of our country! For Japan to lose one fourth of its agriculture is tragic because it will be many centuries before that area is really safe again. People need safe food and water long before they need electric power for flat-screen TV’s! This short report also includes other countries now rethinking nuclear power. Physicians for Social Responsibility is a highly professional organization - Editor
More than two years since the nuclear disaster began at the Fukushima Daiichi reactors, its impact is massive and widespread. It will be decades before the full scope of the impacts of this ongoing disaster is fully understood but significant health, economic, environmental and social consequences are already evident and quantifiable.
25 percent of Japanese agriculture production or about 58 billion yen ($694 million) had been lost.
October 25, 2013 Comments Off
“The fundamental transformation of agriculture may well turn out to be
one of the biggest challenges, including for international security,
of the 21st century.
(These issues are) bound to increase the frequency and severity of riots, caused by food-price hikes,
with concomitant political instability, and international tension,
linked to resource conflicts and migratory movements of starving populations.”
- Mostly hidden, the corporatization of our world’s agricultural and food systems is extremely dangerous for multiple, fundamental reasons. For a U.N. report to entitle this “WAKE UP BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE- AGRICULTURE TRULY SUSTAINABLE NOW FOR FOOD SECURITY IN A CHANGING CLIMATE” is indeed a warning of great import. Multiple positive and effective systems do exist to produce sustainable, healthy food- and its concomitant political stability- while restoring the earth, but billion dollar companies pull the rings in politicians’ noses way too powerfully. One cannot effectively fight to end climate change, social injustice, and war without incorporating the battle for ecological, egalitarian food. Begin now by rejecting GMO’s and poisoned foods, and fill your bellies with healthy foods from ecological farms. - Editor
Transformative changes are needed in our food, agriculture and trade systems in order to increase diversity on farms, reduce our use of fertilizer and other inputs, support small-scale farmers and create strong local food systems. That’s the conclusion of a remarkable new publication from the U.N. Commission on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).
The report links global security and escalating conflicts with the urgent need to transform agriculture toward what it calls “ecological intensification.” We argued that trade liberalization both at the WTO and in regional deals like the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) had increased volatility and corporate concentration in agriculture markets, while undermining the development of locally-based, agroecological systems that better support farmers.
For the report- http://unctad.org/en/PublicationsLibrary/ditcted2012d3_en.pdf
To consider the relationship between food prices and the threshold for political stability- read Why food riots are likely to become the new normal- http://www.theguardian.com/environment/blog/2013/mar/06/food-riots-new-normal
September 27, 2013 Comments Off
- When thinking about how we will grow food when worldwide crops are frequently losing the battle to adjust to severe droughts, floods, and more, this building probably does not pop into your mind as a source of local food. Yet, two floors, with over 32,000 square feet, of this building are being dedicated to urban food. And how creative to invite people with ideas to participate, share ideas, and possibly get some of the space to lease!
America has underutilized malls, old manufacturing plants and more where this model could be used. Having cross-fertilization of aware people interested is brilliant and replicable anywhere! - Editor
Twenty potential developers have submitted concrete plans to realise an urban farming initiative in a partially empty office building near the centre of The Hague. The plans vary from cultivating mushrooms and raising fish to preparing and selling ready-made meals. Two floors with a total space of 3,000 square metres are available. The municipality is making this space available for an attractive rental price and will offer support in the area of PR and marketing.
At the networking reception, there was a high turnout, with many ideas discussed. The strength of this plan lies precisely that of cooperation and cross-fertilization.
September 6, 2013 Comments Off
“I think the I.P.C.C. on this point has once again erred on the side of
understating the degree of the likely changes.”
Michael E. Mann, climate scientist, Pennsylvania State University
The level of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas, is up 41 percent since the Industrial Revolution.
Emissions from facilities like coal-fired power plants contribute.
- The role of worst-case scenarios is to promote effective action. Trillions of dollars could easily be wasted with too optimistic adaptation. The IPCC report wallows in politics, and thus, as before, can easily underestimate coming changes. How much is wasted if a 3 foot barrier costing billions gets decimated- and everything behind it- by a 4 foot rise? Being truly prepared works for all of us, not just Boy Scouts. - Editor
An international panel of scientists has found with near certainty that human activity is the cause of most of the temperature increases of recent decades, and warns that sea levels could conceivably rise by more than three feet by the end of the century if emissions continue at a runaway pace. The scientists, whose findings are reported in a draft summary of the next big United Nations (IPCC) climate report, (state that) the basic facts about future climate change are more established than ever, justifying the rise in global concern. It also reiterates that the consequences of escalating emissions are likely to be profound.
They add that such an increase would lead to widespread melting of land ice, extreme heat waves, difficulty growing food and massive changes in plant and animal life, probably including a wave of extinctions.
The new document is not final and will not become so until an intensive, closed-door negotiating session among scientists and government leaders in Stockholm in late September. The document was leaked over the weekend.
Hundreds of millions of people live near sea level, and either figure would represent a challenge for humanity, scientists say. But a three-foot rise in particular would endanger many of the world’s great cities.
Also from the International Business Times in Australia-
Carbon Emissions Sure to Prompt Rise of Sea Levels to Three Feet http://au.ibtimes.com/articles/500366/20130821/global-warming-fuel-fossil-carbon-emissions-sea.htm
And for an array of news on the IPCC leak to see different coverage -
Al Jazeera Provides Best-In-Class TV Coverage Of IPCC Climate Report
August 23, 2013 Comments Off
- How many plans to reduce carbon emissions count nuclear as beneficial with zero emissions? As important as carbon emissions are, promoting inevitable serious problems is a policy failure. Check your local and state regulations and plans! - Editor
Every commercial nuclear reactor in the United States is insufficiently protected against “credible” terrorist threats, according to a new report from the Nuclear Proliferation Prevention Project at the University of Texas.
For the report- http://blogs.utexas.edu/nppp/files/2013/08/NPPP-working-paper-1-2013-Aug-15.pdf
For the Nuclear Proliferation Prevention Project- http://blogs.utexas.edu/nppp/
- Still serious problems after 2 and ½ years. This is not just a Japanese problem! Radiation has been found in our food grown in the Midwest of the U.S., so large contaminations go world-wide. - Editor
Fukushima operator reveals leak of 300 tonnes of highly contaminated water
Spillage is most severe since March 2011 as Tepco says it does not know how the water leaked out or where it has leaked to. News of the leak comes after Tepco admitted that up to 300 tonnes of highly contaminated water from the site was seeping into the sea every day. Government officials said they could not rule out the possibility that the site had been leaking radioactive matter since the plant suffered a triple meltdown on 11 March 2011.
Toxic Fukushima fallout threatens fishermen’s livelihoods
August 23, 2013 Comments Off
- Where is this happening in the U.S.? - Editor
The South Korean city of Gumi’s transit system will see the addition of two electric buses that draw their power from the road. It’s the latest step in the development of the Korea’s Online Electric Vehicle (OLEV) system, in which electric cables embedded in the asphalt provide power to vehicles traveling on its surface.
The appeal of OLEV lies in the fact that electric vehicles using the system don’t have to be equipped with large, heavy batteries, they don’t have to stop to recharge, and messy overhead trolley lines aren’t required. Instead, the cables in the road produce magnetic fields, which receiving devices in the vehicles’ undersides pick up and convert into electricity. It can be a continuous process, or cables can be placed in separate locations along the road, providing ongoing top-ups to a relatively small battery within the vehicle. Typically, only about 5 to 15 percent of the road surface needs to be excavated for the embedding of the cable.
August 16, 2013 Comments Off