More than 150 data sets accompany Lester R. Brown’s latest book, Full Planet, Empty Plates: The New Geopolitics of Food Scarcity. These tables and graphs help to explain the precarious situation in which humanity finds itself, as the world leaves an era of food surpluses and enters one of food scarcity. Here are some highlights from the collection. Food Prices Rising Between 2007 and mid-2008, world grain and soybean prices more than doubled. Record food price inflation led to food-related riots and unrest in some 60 countries. Prices eased somewhat due to the Great Recession, but even then remained well …
During tonight's second presidential debate, you will hear mention of A123. There's no question of that; Mitt Romney has already started working it into his regular routine. In keeping with our motto ("Post things on the web"), Gristmill is here to explain what, exactly, an "A123" is.
A123 Systems is (was?) a manufacturer of "advanced batteries," energy storage systems primarily used in electric cars. Today, after at least one high-profile attempt to raise revenue, the company filed for bankruptcy. According to the Department of Energy, Milwaukee-based Johnson Controls will purchase two of A123's manufacturing facilities and fund the company during its bankruptcy transition.
Why does the Department of Energy care? Because A123 was one of the department's investments in bolstering the domestic advanced-battery manufacturing sector.
After the 2000 census, many states used politics and innovative mapping technology to gerrymander new electoral districts to lock in gains for one party or the other. California politicians, for example, drew new “safe” seats and the result was hyper-partisanship and politicians who didn’t need to pay attention to anyone that wasn’t singing from their sheet music. Unfortunately, the results may also be dirtier air and a less sustainable future. Alarmed by the partisanship and its resulting gridlock, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger led an effort to reform the system and convinced voters to put re-districting in the hands of a non-partisan …
(At the Northwest Biocarbon Initiative we are constantly on the hunt for ways to improve the carbon storage capacity of natural systems. One of my partners in the project, Rhys Roth, came across this new scientific study on the importance of fish poop. One way to help remove the carbon load in the Earth's atmosphere! Patrick Mazza) Filed under: NBI, biocarbon, solutions, carbon, natural systems By Rhys Roth I love pizza, but the anchovies? Not so much. Little did I know that by skipping the anchovies I may actually be helping protect https://grist.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post-new.phpEarth’s natural CO2 cleansing system. Anchovy poop, …
I cook with lots of beets, carrots, and potatoes, and sometimes I branch out and roast something crazy, like a parsnip or some Jerusalem artichokes. But I've never considered cooking with arrowroot, lotus root, fresh horseradish, taro, or galanga before picking up Diane Morgan's new cookbook, Roots: The Definitive Compendium with more than 225 Recipes. Now, I'm actually looking forward to winter, (when most roots are in season). Here are a few recipes from this impressively varied cookbook that caught my eye. (And hey, if these beet-colored red velvet cupcakes sound iffy, just think of carrot cake!)
Rutabaga hash with onions and crisp bacon Serves 4 to 6
Make this hash for a weekend brunch or as an easy weeknight supper. I like to serve it with a tossed green salad or a steamed vegetable and a crusty loaf of bread. Pass Tabasco or other hot sauce at the table; the vinegary, smoky flavor of hot sauce complements the rutabagas, bacon, and chiles. Poach eggs to place on top of this hearty hash. The runny soft-cooked eggs are a perfect complement.
6 slices bacon, about 5 oz, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
2 lb rutabagas, ends trimmed, peeled, and cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 large yellow onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice
2 celery ribs, halved lengthwise, then cut crosswise into slices 1/4-inch thick
1 Anaheim chile, stemmed, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 jalapeño chile, stemmed, seeded, and minced
1/2 tsp kosher or fine sea salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
3 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish
Tabasco or other hot-pepper sauce for serving
1. In a 12-inch frying pan, preferably cast iron, cook the bacon over medium-high heat until crisp, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain.
2. Pour off all but 1/4 cup of the fat from the pan. Return the pan to medium-high heat, add the rutabagas and onion, and sauté, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium, cover, and cook, stirring once, for 7 minutes to steam the rutabagas. Uncover the pan, increase the heat to medium-high, and cook, stirring, until the vegetables are browned at the edges, about 1 minute longer.
3. Add the celery and chiles, stir briefly, and then cover and cook for 3 minutes longer. Uncover the pan and add the salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until the rutabagas are fork-tender and the celery is crisp but not raw tasting. Fold in the cilantro and bacon. Serve immediately, garnished with additional cilantro. Pass the hot-pepper sauce at the table.
A coal train in the Pacific Northwest. Photo by Paul K. Anderson. There's been a lot of buzz about coal exports lately, but if I was a betting woman, I'd say the smart money is on these coal industry pipe dreams never becoming a reality. That's because local communities that would receive the brunt of the pollution from transporting all that coal are standing up and saying no, one after another. Communities across the Pacific Northwest continue to band together in opposition to coal export terminals and the massive increase in rail traffic that would come with it. Especially breath-taking …
By Emily E. Adams and Janet Larsen The North Pole is losing its ice cap. Comparing recent melt seasons with historical records spanning more than 1,400 years shows summer Arctic sea ice in free fall. Many scientists believe that the Arctic Ocean will be ice-free in the summertime within the next decade or two, and some say that this could occur as early as 2016. The last time the Arctic was completely free of ice may have been 125,000 years ago. Between March 20 and September 16, 2012, the Arctic lost ice covering 11.8 million square kilometers—an area larger than …
Here we are, less than four weeks away from the election, and Mitt Romney finally has something to say about food and farming. Sort of.
In a white paper released Tuesday called “Agricultural Prosperity: Mitt Romney’s vision for a vibrant rural America,” the presidential candidate and his advisers outlined their farm agenda. But the 16-page document talks very little about actual farming; instead it uses agriculture as a lens on Romney’s preexisting tax, trade, regulation, and energy platforms. (For the record, that would be: less, more, less, and ethanol). He also promises to “strengthen our nation’s rural communities,” and “ensure that a strong farm bill is passed in a timely manner.” (This last part is especially amusing, considering the last farm bill actually expired on Sept. 30.) So ... timely? No longer possible.
Romney also plays up the “family farm” element throughout, with nostalgic odes like this:
… it is not only our core values that thrive in our small towns and family farms; our economy does as well, when hardworking men and women are supported by sound policies that promote growth while minimizing unnecessary interference from Washington bureaucrats.
Translation? Romney wants to do away with the estate tax.
I've lately become intrigued by the idea of "energy slaves" a deliberately unsettling way to highlight how unusual the last 200 years have been in terms of energy and economic growth. Suppose you were a wealthy white farmer in the antebellum South and owned 10 slaves. Assume you have no other access to energy beyond their muscle power. If you monopolize the fruits of their collective labor, you get a 10x force multiplier: the output of 11 men, harnessed to the sole benefit of one. That means you churn butter ten times as fast, harvest cotton ten times as fast, …
The first time I watched this is powerful new video, it stopped me in my tracks. It's the debut video for our latest project, a photo series from Sierra magazine called "The Cost of Coal." I think you'll agree -- the stories and images of these families who are facing the loss of their homes, loved ones, and lives to coal pollution are unforgettable. And while I was especially moved by the images from my home state of West Virginia, the real tragedy is that stories like these are being repeated across our nation. The Cost of Coal is new …