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Posts Tagged ‘food security

“If we pollute the air, water and soil that keep us alive and well, and destroy the biodiversity that allows natural systems to function, no amount of money will save us”*…

Countries around the world depend on a range of vital natural services to help maintain the health and stability of their communities and economies. Better known as biodiversity and ecosystem services, these include food provision, water security and regulation of local air quality among others.

These services underpin all economic activity in our societies globally. Assessing biodiversity risks is complex, however, as there is a massive underlying collection of risks. To build understanding of this global issue and foster dialogue around biodiversity, Swiss Re Institute has developed a new Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (BES) Index.

Swiss Re Institute’s BES Index reveals that over half (55%) of global GDP is dependent on biodiversity and ecosystem services. It also shows that in a fifth of all countries, ecosystems are in a fragile state for more than 30% of the entire country area…

From SwissRe (the second-largest reinsurance company in the world): “Habitat, water security and air quality: New index reveals which sectors and countries are at risk from biodiversity loss.”

Pair with “The Library at the End of the World,” a bracing and important essay from Australia, one of the “front lines” in the fight against the devastating effects of climate change.

* David Suzuki

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As we recall that this is the only earth we get, we might spare a thought for Margaret Thomas “Mardy” Murie; she died on this date in 2003. Called the “Grandmother of the Conservation Movement” by both the Sierra Club and the Wilderness Society, she helped in the passage of the Wilderness Act, and was instrumental in creating the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. She was the recipient of the Audubon Medal, the John Muir Award, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom—the highest civilian honor awarded by the United States.

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“The future of the nations will depend on the manner of how they feed themselves”*…

 

 click here (and again) for larger (and legible) version

This map, compiled and published by meat-packing company Armour in 1922, illustrates the extraordinary range of agricultural activities in America at the time.  The broad message of the map is that America’s strength as a nation was substantially based on its strength as an agricultural power.  The huge expanse of American land and the vast number of climates across the country allowed the U.S. to grow a more diverse set of crops and raise more kinds of animals than other nations.  As Armour concludes, “the United States [was] the most self-sustaining nation in the world”…  but lots has changed in the near-century since then.

How nations feed themselves has gotten a lot more complicated. That’s particularly true in the US, where food insecurity coexists with an obesity crisis, where fast food is everywhere and farmer’s markets are spreading, where foodies have never had more power and McDonald’s has never had more locations, and where the possibility of a barbecue-based civil war is always near…

From Vox40 maps, charts, and graphs that show where our food comes from and how we eat it, with some drinking thrown in for good measure.

* French epicurean Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, 1826

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As we pick a peck, we might send tuneful birthday wishes to Woodrow Wilson “Woody” Guthrie; he was born on this date in 1912.  Guthrie traveled with migrant workers from Oklahoma to California and learned their traditional folk and blues songs. Many of his own songs are about his experiences in the Dust Bowl era of the Great Depression– and earned him the nickname, “Dust Bowl Troubadour.”

‘This Land is Your Land (in D)’By Woody Guthrie

CHORUS: This land is your land, this land is my land
From California to the New York island
From the Redwood forest to the Gulf Stream waters
This land was made for you and me

CANADIAN CHORUS:

This land is your land, this land is my land
From Bonavista to Vancouver Island
From the Arctic Circle to the Great Lake Waters
This land was made for you and me

SANIBEL CHORUS:

This land is your land, this land is my land
From California to Sanibel Island
From the Redwood forest to the Gulf Stream waters
This land was made for you and me

As I was walking that ribbon of highway
I saw above me that endless skyway
I saw below me that golden valley
This land was made for you and me

I roamed and rambled and followed my footsteps
O’er the sparkling sands of her diamond deserts
While all around me, a voice was saying
This land was made for you and me

When the sun came shining and I was strolling
And the wheat fields waving and the dust clouds rolling
As the fog was lifting, a voice was chanting
This land was made for you and me

As I went walking, I saw a sign there
On the sign it said NO TRESPASSING
But on the other side it didn’t say nothing
That side was made for you and me!

In the squares of the city, in the shadow of the steeple
In the relief office, I seen my people;
As they stood there hungry I stood there asking,
Is this land made for you and me?

Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking that freedom highway
Nobody living can make me turn back
This land was made for you and me

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Written by LW

July 14, 2014 at 1:01 am

Tastes like chicken…

Readers struggling with an appropriate response to the U.N.’s recent suggestion that all of us in the developed world should be getting much more of our protein from eating insects will be relieved to know of the brainchild of four London-based graduate students, the Ento Box…

What began as a graduate project has matured over the past two years, with a series of caterings and pop-up restaurants introducing insect-based dishes to new audiences around the U.K. Just before Easter, the founders of Ento (which is a portmanteau of bento box and entomology) served buffalo caterpillars at the Edinburgh Science Festival, the largest event they’ve participated in so far. They want Ento to grow organically–with more supper clubs this year and a restaurant in about 18 months. Slow growth allows them to see firsthand how the food is received, to understand their customers, and to build up good will en route to hitting supermarket shelves in a few years. Before mass consumption of insects can become a first-world reality, you need to fix the perception problem. With a nod to the aesthetics of sushi presentation, that’s precisely what Ento does…

“Sushi was a very inspiring story for us,” says cofounder Julene Aguirre-Bielschowsky, who met her cofounders at the Innovation Design Engineering MA/MSc double masters course at the Royal College of Art and Imperial College London. Aguirre-Bielschowski, who is German but is originally from Mexico, says she and her colleagues were initially met with skepticism from advisors, but she says they found inspiration in a 30-year-old Japanese travel book that advised tourists to beware of “strange Japanese restaurants that serve raw fish.”

If sushi could make fans out of skeptics in just three decades, then why not bugs?…

Read all of the appetizing tale at CoExist.

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As we struggle with our chop sticks, we might recall that it was on this date in 1955 that George B. Hansburg of Walker Valley, N.Y. was issued a U.S. patent for his invention of an improved pogo stick (No. 2,793,036).  In the event, while the design was a step forward over earlier incarnation, Hansburg’s 1955 version posed something of a risk to the user’s chin.  He went back to the drawing board and two years later patented something much more like the pogo stick we’ve come to know and love.

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Written by LW

May 21, 2013 at 1:01 am

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