Category: Biodiversity

GMO Potato: Cisgenesis is still Genetic Modification with All the Attendant Risks

The new trial on GM blight-resistant potato is being sold as cisgenic technology to confuse the public, but it is still genetic modification with all the attendant risks — most of which are not addressed. by Dr Eva Sirinathsinghji A new genetically modified (GM) ‘blight-resistant’ potato is currently being tested in a three year large-scale field trial in Carlow, Ireland conducted by the Irish government in collaboration with the Dutch […]

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Return of the Native (UK)

Why are almost all the trees that councils plant exotic species? by George Monbiot The differences can be stark and remarkable: native trees tend to harbour far more wildlife than exotic species. Indigenous oak species, for example – according to the table extracted from scientific papers by the Offwell Woodland and Wildlife Trust – harbour 284 insect species in the UK. Birch supports 266. But horse chestnut, introduced from the […]

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DDT 2.0

We’re just beginning to understand the wider impacts of neonicotinoids. by George Monbiot A dead pike on the River Kennet. Photograph: Adrian Arbib/Alamy It’s the new DDT: a class of poisons licensed for widespread use before they had been properly tested, which are now ripping the natural world apart. And it’s another demonstration of the old truth that those who do not learn from history are destined to repeat it. […]

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Open Pollinated Seeds of Value

An open pollinated (OP) seed is a seed of value; it can be saved and re-grow the plant true-to-type. OP seeds are fertilized naturally by insects, birds, wind or their structure. Many of our seeds are called heirlooms who can trace their linage back before 1951 when hybrid and chemical sprays became widely adopted. Open pollinated seeds are your food security and freedom. Without the ability to save seed, your […]

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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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