Business & Technology

From AFB with love: STFU

Industrial farming head just says ‘no’ to call for civility

For those of you wondering if we can have a more civil discourse over food and agriculture in this country, American Farm Bureau President Bob Stallman has an answer for you: Fat chance! According to Stallman [MS Word], the top challenge facing farmers isn’t the rising cost of seed, fertilizer, and pesticides. Or the alarming growth of superweeds (a new report says that over 50 percent of fields in Missouri harbor weeds resistant to the herbicide RoundUp, upon which the entire GMO production style is based). Or the threat posed by climate change, which could reduce U.S. grain yields substantially …

better dying through chemistry

Pesticides loom large in animal die-offs

Yale’s Environment 360 has a new must-read report by Sonia Shah linking pesticides to the high-profile die-offs among amphibians, bees, and bats. What makes this news timely isn’t necessarily the toxicity of the pesticides per se, it’s the indirect effects on these animals of chronic, low-dose exposure to chemicals: In the past dozen years, no fewer than three never-before-seen diseases have decimated populations of amphibians, bees, and — most recently — bats. A growing body of evidence indicates that pesticide exposure may be playing an important role in the decline of the first two species, and scientists are investigating whether …

The Story of a Can’t-Do Nation

The melting of America

This was originally published on TomDispatch and is republished here with Tom’s kind permission. Lately, I’ve been studying the climate-change induced melting of glaciers in the Greater Himalaya. Understanding the cascading effects of the slow-motion downsizing of one of the planet’s most magnificent landforms has, to put it politely, left me dispirited. Spending time considering the deleterious downstream effects on the two billion people (from the North China Plain to Afghanistan) who depend on the river systems — the Yellow, Yangtze, Mekong, Salween, Irrawaddy, Brahmaputra, Ganges, Indus, Amu Darya, and Tarim — that arise in these mountains isn’t much of …

Renewable energy is in big demand as states try to cut carbon emissions

Everyone Poops – – and a few spin gold

Thanks to the global effort to cut carbon, we could soon be spinning waste of all kinds -- including poop -- into big bucks.

All roads lead to green?

Transportation bill could produce environmental and job benefits in 2010

As advocates for clean energy and good jobs evaluate opportunities to advance their issues in 2010 — from a jobs bill that could include energy efficiency measures to a federal clean energy and climate bill — there is another oft-overlooked vehicle that advocates would be wise to consider. This year, Congress will likely pass a national transportation bill — legislation that comes up only about once every six years — through which the nation could reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector and significantly curtail petroleum use, thereby reducing U.S. dependence on foreign oil. The transportation bill also …

Dispatches From Someone Who Got Lucky

How do I find a green job?

This is the time-honored question, one I get asked so frequently, from very qualified individuals, that I decided to answer it online. It is heartbreaking (and encouraging) how many skilled and interested people are looking for work in the sustainability field. The good news is the sector is growing exponentially. If you ask anyone in the field they’ll probably tell you they got there by luck. That’s certainly true for me. I’m less smart, strong, and fast than other candidates, and much less skilled. But I happened to be in the right place at the right time. That said, there …

fleeting sales

U.S. car fleet shrank by four million in 2009

America’s century-old love affair with the automobile may be coming to an end. The U.S. fleet has apparently peaked and started to decline. In 2009, the 14 million cars scrapped exceeded the 10 million new cars sold, shrinking the U.S. fleet by 4 million, or nearly 2 percent in one year. While this is widely associated with the recession, it is in fact caused by several converging forces.  Future U.S. fleet size will be determined by the relationship between two trends: new car sales and cars scrapped. Cars scrapped exceeded new car sales in 2009 for the first time since …

Farm team

It takes a community to sustain a small farm

A local grocery store in Pleasantville, Iowa.Wikimedia Commons These days it seems the most popular person to be in the food system is the “local farmer.” Farmers markets are popping up everywhere, and their size and popularity grow all the time. Local food is trendy–even the First Family is in on it. But as anyone who has ever raised grain or livestock can tell you, the farmer is not the only person in the chain of players from her farm to your fork. In addition to producers, your food chain includes processors, distributors or transporters, and retailers. In other words, …

The Second Decade

The world in 2020: China, the U.S., the global South, and the planet

This was originally published on TomDispatch and is republished here with Tom’s kind permission. As the second decade of the twenty-first century begins, we find ourselves at one of those relatively rare moments in history when major power shifts become visible to all. If the first decade of the century witnessed profound changes, the world of 2009 nonetheless looked at least somewhat like the world of 1999 in certain fundamental respects: the United States remained the world’s paramount military power, the dollar remained the world’s dominant currency, and NATO remained its foremost military alliance, to name just three. By the …

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