Welcome to round eighteen of our News Linkfest, where we share the good, the bad, the ugly and the just plain interesting from what we’ve seen of late.
To have your interesting discoveries included in the next Linkfest, please email editor (at) permaculturenews.org with links (and ideally a summary sentence outlining the key point of each link) to noteworthy articles and news reports on the internet.
Off we go:
Good News (coz we all need it):
- Can family farming make poverty history? –"In just 12 years leading up to 2010, Vietnam cut the country’s malnutrition rate in half by investing in small scale farming. Poverty in the country has plummeted from 58 percent in 1993 to 18 percent by 2006, says development charity Oxfam, who cites the Asian country as a exceptional model for others around the world."
- European Union Votes To Ban Pesticides Linked to Bee Deaths
- Indefinite moratorium on GM field trials recommended — "A committee of technical experts comprising scientists from top public research laboratories and academic institutions set up by the Supreme Court last year has changed the 10-year moratorium on field trials of Bt transgenics that it recommended in October 2012 to what appears to be an indefinite moratorium on food crops in its final report."
- Bhutan set to plough lone furrow as world’s first wholly organic country — "Bhutan plans to become the first country in the world to turn its agriculture completely organic, banning the sales of pesticides and herbicides and relying on its own animals and farm waste for fertilisers."
- New Mexico County First To Ban Fracking In U.S.
- A Polish village says ‘no’ to fracking — "The people of Zurawlow once supported the proposal to drill in the "Grabowiec concession," a gas-rich region running beneath southeast Poland, in the hope that it would create much-needed jobs in the region. But that changed when two families’ well water turned black after Chevron’s seismic tests in 2010. People researched fracking online and found evidence that contradicted what they had been told."
- How planting trees can prevent violence in Africa’s drylands — The world needs to recognise the direct connection between environmental stability and sociopolitical stability. People living sustainable, healthy, meaningful lives do not need to take up arms…. Indeed, when human needs are not met, meeting them becomes a priority, over all else.
- India’s rice revolution — how small Indian farmers perplexed agronomists with world-record breaking harvests of rice, wheat, potatoes and more, with no GMOs, no chemicals, and less water. It shows what good husbandry, at small scale, can do. The take-home message for solving world hunger? We need more eco-literate, holistically educated people on the land.
- Africa Views – New tree-planting and water-use methods boost soil carbon to aid food security in Africa — "Just a 1-milligram increase of soil carbon on degraded cropland is expected to increase crop yield by 20 to 40 kilograms per hectare for wheat; 10 to 20 kilograms per hectare for maize; and 0.5 to 1 kilograms per hectare for cowpea, the CIFOR report says."
- Permaculture could be farming’s future — More permaculture exposure in non-permaculture news outlets.
- Forests as rainmakers: CIFOR scientist gains support for a controversial hypothesis — I don’t know why this hypothesis is described as ‘controversial’. We’ve known it for years…. It must be another ‘new discovery‘….
- Genetically engineered sugar beets destroyed in southern Oregon — Oh dear….
Bad News (coz we need to understand the challenges if we’re to design our way out of them):
- NASA has released two videos showing projected precipitation and temperature changes in North America by 2100
- Arctic methane ‘time bomb’ could have huge economic costs — It’s sad that the meltdown of planetary function is presented only in economic terms, but perhaps that’s the only way to get the powers that be to pay attention?
- Coastal Antarctic Permafrost Melting Faster Than Expected
- Schools Across The Country Are Considering Education Bills Crafted By Corporate Front Group — Maybe the above story is couched in economic terms because our society is full of drones educated with corporate interests in mind…? The privatisation of our education systems must stop….
- Insecticides Spreading to Wildflowers Poisons Bees — "Previous studies have mostly focused on insecticides, particularly neonicotinoids, as a cause of the widespread death of honey bees… However, the new study, published in PLOS ONE, suggests that banning neonicotinoids might not be enough to halt the disappearance of the bees. Other insecticides and fungicides harm bees as well."
- And yet…: EPA raises the acceptable pesticide levels on US crops
- Farming up trouble — "Microbiologists are trying to work out whether use of antibiotics on farms is fuelling the human epidemic of drug-resistant bacteria."
- Tar Sands development to increase…: Alberta Regulator Approves Jackpine Mine Expansion Despite "Irreversible" Environmental Impacts
- More on tar sands: Cold Lake oil spill leaking for months. Also see: Alberta oil leak cause stymies industry, scientists
- Goulburn Valley growers at risk of suicide after losing supply contracts — "Thousands of fruit trees, some almost a century old, are being ripped out of the ground in the Goulburn Valley, Victoria’s most productive fruit growing area. Farmers say cheap imports are destroying the local industry and around Shepparton, one in five suppliers to the local cannery have revealed they are suffering from depression."
- Major Coal Companies Completely Ignore the Clean Water Act: Report — The three rules of industry: externalise, externalise and externalise….
- UK Environment Secretary suffering from GM delusion — "The main reason for Paterson’s promotion of GM crops appears to be his belief that it’s needed to build the UK’s high tech exports, which will be set out shortly in the Government’s Agri-Tech Strategy. Mr Paterson appears blinded by technology and fails to address the real needs of farmers, consumers and the planet."
- Microwave Test — I’ve always been suspicious of what, exactly, microwaves are doing to our food. This article does not surprise me…, but it should make you think twice before serving DNA-corrupted food to your family.
- Monsanto’s Dirty Dozen — reflecting on all the wonderful products Monsanto has sold us….
- Plague-infected squirrel shuts Los Angeles park — "Parts of a national forest in California have been evacuated and closed down after a squirrel was found to be infected with the plague."
- When Trees Die, People Die — "The curious connection between an invasive beetle that has destroyed over 100 million trees, and subsequent heart disease and pneumonia in human populations nearby."
- Special Investigation: Fracking in the Ocean Off the California Coast — "The Pacific Ocean may be the next frontier for fracking technology."
- Livestock Falling Ill in Fracking Regions, Raising Concerns About Food — "In the midst of the domestic energy boom, livestock on farms near oil-and-gas drilling operations nationwide have been quietly falling sick and dying."
- Nearly Half of All US Farms Now Have Superweeds
- No Arrests on Wall Street, But Over 7,700 Americans Have Been Arrested Protesting Big Banks
- Flouride reduces IQ in children — Harvard Study
Just plain interesting or odd (coz we’re curious creatures):
- Where the Wild Things Are, and People Aren’t — "Stanford Woods Institute researchers look at why remote wilderness matters, and how best to conserve it"
- The sealed bottle garden, thriving 40 years without fresh air and water — David Latimer first planted his bottle garden in 1960 and last watered it in 1972 before tightly sealing it shut ‘as an experiment’.
- Veggies keep ticking over after harvest — "Fruit and vegetables are still alive after they’re picked, continuing to respond to changes in light across the day and night, a study has found. The findings suggest fruit and veggies should be stored using lighting to simulate day and night to keep them fresh and nutritious, US scientists report in the latest edition of the journal Current Biology."
- Big Lie: America Doesn’t Have #1 Richest Middle-Class in the World…We’re Ranked 27th!. On that note, check out this video also.
- Secret of bees’ honeycomb revealed — fascinating look into honeycomb construction.
- On that note, what, exactly, is honey?
- Roman Seawater Concrete Holds the Secret to Cutting Carbon Emissions — It seems the Romans made better concrete than we do today.
- Ball’s Pyramid, Home to the World’s Rarest Insect. Meet the "Land Lobster."
- The Pink Underwing Moth: Skull-Faced Caterpillar of Australia’s Rainforest — what a wonder of a world we live in!
- Extraordinary Toroidal Vortices — those fascinated by natural patterns will love this.
- Why Does Rain Smell Good?
As you travel the interweb, and find lots of interesting articles and news — please share! Don’t forget to send your links for the next linkfest (put ‘Linkfest’ in subject line)! – editor (at) permaculturenews.org