Wowowow I saw and bookmarked so many articles recently that I wanted to write about in more detail – but first, many of these articles already perfectly describe the issue, and I trust in your ability to read them too, if you want, and second I fear they will be out of date by the time I get round to looking closer into all of them, so let’s just get started with a little mid-week round up!
1. The IPCC finally released their next report on climate change, and Oxfam masterfully summarized the conclusions regarding agriculture. Pretty scary stuff. IFAD and some other organizations are hosting a webinar on what actions should be taken next – tomorrow, at 10 BST (11 CEST). Tune in – I know I will!
2. Experts from a coalition of NGOs warn that the World Bank’s new pilot project, “Benchmarking the Business of Agriculture”, could backfire and lead to more food insecurity as it ranks countries according to their ease of doing business and of accommodating foreign investors – which could lead to land-grabbing and disregard for the rights of smallholder farmers.
“It is time that the World Bank ceases to ignore that smallholders are the only future of an agriculture that can guarantee food security, ensure a sustainable use of natural resources and bring human development,” their statement concludes. “We know far too well how damaging large-scale industrial farming is to the environment and the people. This model shall not be expanded to the developing world.”
3. The scientific evidence of the environmental benefits of a lower meat consumption continue to accumulate. Though, [foreshadowing], my thesis kind of throws some doubt on this simplistic conclusion when you consider the effects of re-spending some of the income saved on meat, but that is a different topic for a different time.
4. In the US, chefs are getting more and more embroiled in political controversies, such as whether to allow concealed weapons in their establishments, or how to deal with nutritional information. Favorite quote:
“People are really looking to you for answers and guidance and your opinion on things,” Mr. Brock said. “You have to learn how to speak like a politician when you are speaking to people. Twenty or 30 years ago you were just a guy who made eggs Benedict.”
5. The International Court of Justice just ruled that Japan’s whaling program is illegal, since their thin veil of ‘scientific purpose’ does not hold up to international scrutiny. What happens now? Either they revamp their program significantly and try again to come up with a scientific reason to kill 850 minke whales a year or they give up the program entirely. The third option would be to join Iceland and Norway who openly flout the international consensus against commercial whaling, but officials said that Japan wouldn’t consider that option.
6. Google Glass might be used as a cool agronomy tool to help farmers be more efficient and (hopefully) more sustainable.
7. Coffee made from individual pods is about as wasteful as it gets, and yet has shown a skyrocketing rise in popularity.
“We can get to a cup of coffee dozens of different ways,” Martin Bourque, director of the Ecology Center, a non-profit in Berkeley, California, told the East Bay Express last year. “The best way is a large volume of coffee that goes into a cup that’s washed and re-used a thousand times, and the coffee goes to compost or mushroom production. That’s best-case scenario. The worst-case scenario is these pods.”
8. And, last but not least, this insightful essay on Grist by Nathanael Johnson – “Farmers and Eaters: Why Can’t We Be Friends?” – resonated with me so. much. If you only click through to one piece in this list, this should be it.
Happy rest of the week!