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Beating Famine (Will Anybody Listen?)

The world has forgotten that farmers are the most important human beings alive.  Not only do they grow food, they also manage half the world’s land, three-quarters of its fresh water and a third of the atmosphere. The challenge facing the next farming generation is to double the global food supply, using half the water, […]

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Sugarcane Can Cool the Earth in More Ways Than One

In Brazil, products made from sugarcane are ubiquitous. From the nation’s favorite liquor, cachaça, to the clean-burning biofuels that power cars and buses, sugarcane has proven to be a particularly diverse natural resource — but as it turns out, the crop could do wonders for the planet’s health, too. According to the latest research, sugarcane […]

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Natural Gas from Shale Fracking Contributes to Global Warming

Natural gas extracted from shale formations has a greater greenhouse gas footprint — in the form of methane emissions — than conventional gas, oil and coal over a 20 year period. This calls into question the logic of its use as a ‘climate-friendly’ alternative to fossil fuels, according to Robert Howarth and colleagues, from Cornell […]

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Global Warming Solutions – What Can We Do?

The evidence that humans are causing global warming is strong, but the question of what to do about it remains controversial. Economics, sociology, and politics are all important factors in planning for the future. Even if we stopped emitting greenhouse gases (GHGs) today, the Earth would still warm by another degree Fahrenheit or so. But […]

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Governments urged to tackle work agreed in 2010 at UN climate meeting

The first United Nations (UN) climate change negotiating session for 2011 started in Bangkok, Thailand, on Monday, and UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) executive secretary Christiana Figueres called on governments to tackle work agreed to in 2010 and address shortfalls in climate action to put the world on a climate-safe path. She said […]

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Medical and Military Leaders warn that Climate Change Threatens Global Security

Medical and military leaders have come together to warn that climate change not only spells a global health catastrophe, but also threatens global stability and security. “Climate change poses an immediate and grave threat, driving ill-health and increasing the risk of conflict, such that each feeds upon the other,” they write in an editorial published […]

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Do we have a right to clean, fresh water?

Dear EarthTalk: Recently the UN voted to declare access to safe and clean water a “human right.” Isn’t that a no-brainer? What are the ramifications of this declaration? – P. James, Boston, MA In July 2010 the United Nations (UN) agreed to a new resolution declaring the human right to “safe and clean drinking water […]

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Living on a farm in the city

Many of the people who read this blog are interested in self-sufficiency, growing their own food, making food from scratch and raising animals for meat or fiber, if space (and laws) allow. However, many of those same readers also, like myself, live in the city. We enjoy the benefits of both worlds, adding in the […]

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Organic Farming: as productive as conventional and better at building soil

“Organic agriculture is a fine luxury for the rich, but it could never feed the world as global population moves to 9 billion.” That’s what a lot of powerful people — including the editors of The Economist — insist. But the truth could well be the opposite: It might be chemical-intensive agriculture that’s the frivolous […]

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