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Wild Thing, You Make My Heart Sink

Wilderness is pretty much a thing of the past, says report Regardless of whether humankind was given dominion over the earth, we've most certainly taken it. A new report in Science calculates that only 17 percent of global land mass has been untainted by human dwellings, agriculture, or roads. And that was as of 1995; we'd venture to guess that the percentage is even more depressing now. Speaking of depressing: Half of the planet's land surface is used for crops or grazing, says the report, and nearly six times as much water is artificially stored by dams in the world …

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We Always Thought It Was Industrial Strength

McDonald's to power U.K. delivery fleet with its own grease Proving once again that everything's cooler in Europe, McDonald's has announced that it will run all its U.K. delivery vehicles on biodiesel -- from its own greasy grills! The chain will convert the 155-lorry fleet to a mix of 85 percent fry grease and 15 percent rapeseed oil by next year, and says the switch will cut its U.K. carbon emissions 75 percent. Mickey D's has already made a similar move in Austria, and is apparently drumming up other plans around packaging and recycling. All this comes on the heels …

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Mongabay highlights for June '07

Some good news and some bad news

First up is an interview with Jack Ewing, owner of an eco-lodge in Costa Rica. I must admit that writing checks to conservation organizations is about as pleasurable as a trip to the dentist. Spending a week in a place like Hacienda Barú also supports conservation and is a hell of a lot more fun. I managed to photograph about half of the wildlife I saw while staying less than a week in Costa Rica. Best vacation I've ever had. I might put the video (much more interesting than photos) on YouTube one of these days. After reading that upbeat …

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A guide to grilling without red meat

As July 4th approaches, it's time to prepare for picnics and BBQs -- and, if you're eating less and less red meat these days, you're probably devising alternative strategies for these occasions. There are two main approaches to dealing with this situation: substituting other foods in place of red meat, or bumping dishes that used to be considered "sides" up to Main Attraction status and adding protein to them. I like to do a little bit of both. Where's the beef? Who cares? I realized several years ago that, while I really like all the "trimmings" on a burger, I …

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Gourmet mag goes Maverick

My farm hits the newstands

It's startling to see an article in Gourmet -- the "magazine of good living" -- end with a man groping for a bag of potato chips. It's even more startling when that man is you. That's the precise position I found myself in a few days ago, when the July issue of Gourmet (unavailable online) arrived. In it, Elizabeth Royte -- author of Garbage Land and probably one of the best non-fiction writers working in the U.S. -- trains her reportorial skill on Maverick Farms, the small farm project I helped launch in spring 2004 on land owned by my …

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About that organic broccoli from China

Helping U.S. farmers transition to organic

Organic food has take criticism lately, because a portion is flowing from overseas. (All those food miles, all that lost support for American farmers.) Well, there's a reason that trend is underway: Not enough American farms are growing organic crops and fewer still are converting, so demand is exceeding supply. With the Farm Bill, attempts are underway to address that problem. The organic farming community is seeking a few tender morsels off the Congressional table, to help farmers get into the organic sector. I explained these on Chews Wise, with links to more in-depth documents, but the main points are …

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Herbivorous hotties

PETA announces sexiest veggie celebs of 2007

PETA has announced this year's winners of their annual "Sexiest Vegetarian" contest. This year's hottest plant-eaters? Tonight Show band leader Kevin Eubanks and American Idol-crooner-turned Grammy-winner Carrie Underwood (who won in 2005 as well, but dropped to runner-up last year). This year's runners up include our favorite babe teenage sleuth Kristen Bell (who knocked Underwood from the top spot last year), Spider-Man 3's Bryce Dallas Howard, the studly Joaquin Phoenix, hottie Milo Ventimiglia of Heroes, and rocker/actor Jared Leto. Says Underwood: "I quit eating beef when I was about thirteen. I do it because I really love animals and it …

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Soil: The secret solution to global warming

A nifty video

Quantum Shift TV has made a video about the coming farm bill called "Soil: The Secret Solution to Global Warming." It opens with Canadian superstar farmer Percy Schmeiser, and segues into a smart discussion of farm bill politics. It's about 9 min. long. Check it out:

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Greenies read the NYT

Interesting (?): Three of the four top emailed NYT stories today (or at least, at this moment) have an environmental bent. "Waiter, There's Deer in My Sushi" is about Japan's quest to sushify various non-fish meats -- deer! duck! horse! -- as restrictions have gone into place to combat overfishing of tuna. "Enjoy Your Green Stay" is about the hotel industry getting on the environmental bandwagon. And "At Home Depot, How Green Is That Chainsaw?" discusses the DIY store's eco-labeling decisions. I think we all know what we've learned here.

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Moscow on the Cud Sign

Russian capital introduces label for GM-free food Now you can have your GM-free borscht and read it, too: next week, the city of Moscow will debut a groundbreaking label for foods that are free of genetically modified ingredients. Under the leadership of Mayor Yuri Luzhkov, the city has devised a voluntary system of testing and labeling that will allow products to carry a GM-free label for a year at a time. While the European Union requires producers to label food containing more than 0.9 percent GM ingredients, Moscow's plan is, say observers, the first of its kind: "It's very important …

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