System of Rice Intensification Brings Hope to Global Rice Production

More Crop Per Drop innovative rice field, photo courtesy of Lotus Foods

SRI methods generate higher rice yields using less water

Nearly one-third of the world’s population depends heavily on rice and rice products for food, with rice providing up to 70 percent of daily calories in some regions.  Over the last thirty years, milled rice consumption has increased by 40 percent, and by 2030, the global demand for rice is expected to increase up to another 40 percent. To meet this demand, rice paddies cover more than 300 million acres around the world.

Up to one-third of the planet’s annual freshwater use goes towards irrigating and growing rice.

But a new farming technique, called System of Rice Intensification (SRI), is generating hope, excitement and new possibilities for increased crop yields.

To learn more about this remarkably innovative farming technique and the amazing crop yields farmers are achieving with it, click here.

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Bats are helping to balance our ecosystem

Bats - Mexican Free-tail

Humans have an innate fear of bats. But there’s little reason behind this and much to be learned about these small winged creatures.

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No GMO’s in your favorite foods? Not likely.

photo by Margarita Persico @ www.thehealthydish.com

photo by Margarita Persico @ http://www.thehealthydish.com

There are plenty of headlines about GMO labeling and the mega-money being thrown against it by giant food manufacturers. For consumers, the information is often misleading and confusing.

The terms GMO – genetically modified organisms – and GE – genetically engineered  food – are often used interchangeably. These foods have been altered by adding a type of gene (or organism) that belongs to some other plant or animal. It changes the plant’s structure. Studies are now showing that these are producing some pretty nasty effects on our bodies. For example, they’re seeing  an extraordinary rise in cases and severity of asthma and allergies. To learn more about these and other effects of eating GMO’s, check out the film Genetic Roulette.

To learn more about the challenges of avoiding GMO foods you generally enjoy, read the full article.

Yellowstone to cull (kill) 900 buffalo this year

Just saw this news item and wanted to pass it along, with some educated corrections.

Yellowstone BisonIn order to  reduce its bison population this winter, authorities in Yellowstone National Park plan to cull (read slaughter) as many as 900 buffalo, or a fifth of the herd. They’d do this by killing off those animals that stray from the park. This would be the largest such culling in seven years, the park’s wildlife chief said on Tuesday.

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General Mills responds to petition to not oppose state GMO labeling laws

Participating in online petitions are an easy way to make your voice heard and have it count. 

I recently signed one asking General Mills to back off and not oppose state GMO labeling laws that are in process across the country, such as in Washington state. Interestingly enough, The following is the response I just received from General Mills’ Consumer Services division.

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Greenpop teaches kids about the importance of trees and reforestation

Deforestation in Africa

With deforestation, less than 30 percent of Africa’s rainforests still exist

According to the United Nations Environment Programme, the world has lost 80 percent of the forests that originally blanketed the earth. Since trees are the largest source of breathable oxygen and carbon storage, that’s a huge deficit we’ve created.

Deforestation in Africa is a critical issue. Logging and conversion of forest land to agriculture are the main culprits.  According to figures from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, only 22.8 percent of West Africa’s moist forests remain, much of this degraded.
Education and planting trees to reverse deforestation are the goals of the non-profit Greenpop, which was founded in 2010 as an effort to educate underprivileged schoolchildren about the importance of protecting the planet. It’s become o a movement backed by thousands of volunteers who’ve “joined the “treevolution”” and are helping facilitate the planting of over 40,00 trees in 286 communities throughout Southern Africa.

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A story of survival and hope – the Survival Pear Tree at the World Trade Center

 

Survivor Pear Tree at ground zero World Trade Center

On this anniversary of 9/11, it’s important to remember not only those we lost that day but also the stories of hope and inspiration. Such is the story of the pear tree that remarkably survived in the rubble after the World Trade Center towers came down.

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