Vertical Garden Exhibit at Chicago MSI

Green roof design is becoming popular all over the world, but this vertical garden conceptual model – part of the Fast Forward exhibit at Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry (MSI) – takes the concepts of aquaponics, locally-grown produce, and urban farming to new heights by stuffing all those things into a single, “green” skyscraper. Vertical farming, which some experts claim uses just 1/6 of the resources required by conventional “flat” farming to produce a given quantity of produce, is…

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Popular GMO Labeling Mandate Makes California Ballot

The right of consumers to know whether the foods they eat have been genetically engineered is moving closer to being law. This November the California Right to Know Act will appear on the state ballot as Proposition 37. If passed the measure would be the first U.S. law that requires GMO foods to be labeled.

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Gulf Coast Deadzones: Environmentalists Sue the Toothless EPA

Oceanic dead zones are in the news again this week, and the lifeless sea regions seem to be spreading. Several environmental groups have filed a lawsuit against the EPA because of their stance on waterway contamination and their enforcement (or lack thereof) on pollution limits. Pollution is the major cause of oceanic dead zones, which are characterized by hypoxic (oxygen deficient) waterways that are uninhabitable to most living organisms.

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Ten Reasons Why the USDA Needs New Leadership

Considering the growing list of problems erupting from destructive modern agriculture practices, it is clear that new leadership is desperately needed at our Department of Agriculture (USDA). Many of these problems have been issues for decades, and only superficial responses have been made by the USDA.

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Food Stamp Usage Soars to Historic Record High

More people in the United States are using food stamps now than ever before in the history of our nation — 41.8 million Americans are currently getting food aid. The Department of Agriculture just released updated national participation numbers for food assistance programs, which show that the amount of food stamp recipients has jumped 18% from last year, and has increased 1.4% just since June. Although this ignoble new record is not really so very surprising; our nation’s dire economic situation has caused the number of families in need of food assistance to set new records for each of the last 20 months straight.

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Yemen’s Capital Out of Water by 2025?

I think the biggest topic of the following century might just be water. From the effect global weirding is having on water to our unsustainable pumping of groundwater to water pollution from agriculture, factories, and transportation, water is a growing concern. Recent news that Yemen’s capital, Sana’a, might be out of water by 2025 is not a completely unique case, I think, but an indicator of things to come. And if you haven’t considered how important water is to our…

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Vandana Shiva Accuses World Bank of Creating Global Food Crisis

Economist Dr. Vandana Shiva explains how the World Bank and the IMF are complicit in the food crises across the globe. Through the structure of their debt relief, these organizations pushed developing countries to stop growing staple foods, and to instead grow cash crops and commodities, like flowers and lettuce, for export to unstable international markets.

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Permaculture 101

Permaculture expert Penny Livingston-Stark explains how natural systems can teach us how to make more informed decisions about how we live, what we eat, and the manner in which we interact with the world. By observing basic permaculture concepts, we can create a more sustainable existence. Ms. Livingston-Stark is also one of the co-founders of the Regenerative Design Institute in Bolinas, California.

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Antibiotic Resistant Genes Increasing in Soil Microbes

Chemical structure of the antibiotic tetracycline–one of the four classes of antibiotics that sampled soil microbes showed increased resistance to in the 2009 Study. The prevalence of antibiotic resistant genes (ARG) in soil bacteria has been increasing steadily over the past seven decades, despite tighter controls on the use of antibiotics for agricultural purposes (in Europe). This is according to a recent benchmark study/analysis* of soil samples from five sites in the Netherlands. The research team, lead by David Graham…

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Ecovillage Spotlight: Findhorn Ecovillage, Scotland

Ecovillages are great habitats and support systems for people who want to live environmentally friendlier, happier, healthier lives. One of the most famous modern ecovillages, Findhorn Ecovillage, starts this ecovillage spotlight series. Ecovillages often combine ecological planning and design with innovative social, political and/or economic systems. Additionally, they often include certain cultural or spiritual goals. The Global Ecovillage Network (GEN) states, “Ecovillages are urban or rural communities of people, who strive to integrate a supportive social environment with a low-impact…

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Fossil Fuel CO2 Emissions Trends — 1990, 2000, 2008

Overall, global CO2 emissions from fossil fuels increased 29% between 2000 and 2008 and 41% from 1990-2008, and the current concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere is now at its highest in at least 2 million years, according to a new study in the journal Nature Geoscience. The new report published this week by an international team of researchers who are part of the “Global Carbon Project” shows emissions trends through 2008 (including changes in emissions causes and in the…

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Turning Desert into a Garden/Food Forest

About two kilometers from the Dead Sea and two from where Jesus was christened, in the country of Jordan, Geoff Lawton of the Permaculture Research Institute and his crew created a near miracle turning desert into a lush permaculture garden. In August in this location, Lawton says that temperatures could rise above 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit). People farming there were farming under plastic strips and using tons of synthetic chemicals and fertilizers. The idea to grow a lush…

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