Category: Biodiversity

Across the Board, European Farms Planting Non-GMO Seeds More Successful than GMO Crops in the U.S.

by Shicana Allen, Institute for Responsible Technology On its website, Monsanto uses the slogan “Producing more, Conserving more, Improving Lives” and celebrates the five-year anniversary of its 2008 Sustainable Yield Initiative. Calling itself a “sustainable agriculture company… developing better seeds and systems to help farmers with productivity,” the biotech giant boasts that, despite anti-biotechnology activist claims to the contrary, “GM crops generally have higher yields due to both breeding and […]

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Grain Yields Starting to Plateau

Editor’s Note: As regular readers will know, I don’t agree 100% with everything I post to the site. The article below, for example, has somewhat of a focus on fossil-fuel-based fertiliser, as the means to increasing yields. But, I put this piece up anyway, as the statistical information it contains on plateauing yields is an important one for all permaculturists (and all humans in general) to consider, acknowledge, and prepare […]

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Food or Fuel?

by Lester R. Brown, Earth Policy Institute At the time of the Arab oil export embargo in the 1970s, the importing countries were beginning to ask themselves if there were alternatives to oil. In a number of countries, particularly the United States, several in Europe, and Brazil, the idea of growing crops to produce fuel for cars was appealing. The modern biofuels industry was launched. This was the beginning of […]

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The Naturalists Who Are Terrified of Nature

A radical challenge to British conservation and its bizarre priorities. by George Monbiot Male capercaillie I’m writing this on the train home, after visiting two places in the north of England celebrated for their “wildness”. One of them is Ennerdale in the Lake District, now officially known as Wild Ennerdale, a valley in which the river has been allowed to move freely once more, and in which native trees are […]

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US Staple Crop System Failing from GM and Monoculture

Resilience, yields, pesticide use, and genetic diversity, all worse than Non-GM Europe by Dr Eva Sirinathsinghji A new study shows that the US Midwest staple crop system — predominantly genetically modified (GM) — is falling behind other economically and technologically equivalent regions. Western Europe, matched for latitude, season and crop type as well as economic and technological development, outperforms the US (and Canada) with regards to yields, pesticide use, genetic […]

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The Landed Mafia

It’s time we confronted the National Farmers’ Union and the millionaires it works for. by George Monbiot Is there any organisation as selfish, grasping and antisocial as the National Farmers’ Union? Is there any organisation, except the banks, which secures so much public money while offering so little in return? Here are some of the positions the NFU has taken over the past few months.

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A Serengeti on Our Doorsteps

Is it really possible? Yes, I think it is. by George Monbiot Here’s a video of the 15-minute talk I gave at 5×15, where I spell out the remarkable potential for rewilding in Europe, including the possibility of reintroducing the elephants, rhinos, hippos, hyenas and lions we’ve lost. I also talk about how this could transform our own lives. I love this subject more than any other. You can read […]

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Insecticide Blamed for Bee Decline also Lethal to Aquatic Organisms

Low chronic exposure to the soluble insecticide is lethal to fresh water shrimps. by Dr Eva Sirinathsinghji A fully referenced version of this article is posted on ISIS members website and is otherwise available for download here. A new study shows neonicotinoid insecticides are lethal to freshwater invertebrates following low but constant exposure. This group of insecticides are in the headlines again following a partial EU–wide ban agreed in April […]

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Ban GMOs Now – Health & Environmental Hazards Especially in the Light of the New Genetics

The most exhaustive, and up-to-date summary of the dangers of GM agriculture for 2013. GM agriculture is a recipe for disaster, as this report will make clear. It is also standing in the way of the shift to sustainable agriculture already taking place in local communities all over the world that can truly enable people to feed themselves in times of climate change. Order your copy now. (Executive Summary here, […]

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Farmed Fish Production Overtakes Beef

Janet Larsen and J. Matthew Roney, Earth Policy Institute The world quietly reached a milestone in the evolution of the human diet in 2011. For the first time in modern history, world farmed fish production topped beef production. The gap widened in 2012, with output from fish farming—also called aquaculture—reaching a record 66 million tons, compared with production of beef at 63 million tons. And 2013 may well be the […]

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Agricultural Hegemony

Why do farmers’ groups indulge in such ridiculous scaremongering about the restoration of the natural world? by George Monbiot The dam is beginning to crack, faster than I would have believed possible. Britain, one of the world’s most zoophobic nations, is at last considering the return of some of its extinct and charismatic mammal species. While wolves, lynx, bears, bison, moose, boar and beavers have been spreading across the Continent […]

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Living Soil Saves Lives!

A non-profit teaches a soil education program to combat the farmer suicide epidemic in rural India. By Tejal Heblekar, and edited by Eileen Mello A few kilometers from the Bay of Bengal in the Indian state of Orissa, rural farmers have gathered around a microscope to see what lies hidden in the ground. The Hummingbird Project, an American based non-profit organization, has equipped a soil laboratory with a microscope and […]

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