Category Archives: Agriculture

World Environment Day Provokes Warnings That ‘To Care for Humanity, We Must Care for Nature’

U.N. chief António Guterres, Fridays for Future strikers, and other activists and experts demand bolder environmental action globally.

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-5-2020

“Today, nature is sending us a clear message. We are harming the natural world—to our own detriment,” United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres said Friday.. Photo: Pxfuel

As a pandemic that’s killed over 393,000 people rages on and demonstrations demanding racial justice continue across the globe, the international community on Friday marked World Environment Day with scientifically supported warnings about the importance of protecting nature for the future of humanity.

Climate campaigners, including members of the youth-led Fridays for Future movement, as well as other activists, scientists, policymakers, and global figures such as United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres publicly called for more ambitious environmental action around the world. Continue reading

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Earth Day 2020: Hope Gardens for your future

 

During WWII, America united in the war effort. We had a unified voice in all things that would help win against an enemy that most Americans would not see personally. Children rushed to dump the contents of their piggy banks because we needed copper for bullets. Women became workers that built ships, tanks and airplanes for the war and we celebrated Rosie the Riveter. We planted Victory Gardens and encouraged food preservation through canning because tin was needed for the war and workers were needed for the war effort. In 1942, roughly 15 million families planted victory gardens; by 1944, an estimated 20 million victory gardens produced roughly 8 million tons of food—which was the equivalent of more than 40 percent of all the fresh fruits and vegetables consumed in the United States.

Key to America’s survival in the homeland was the national push for Victory Gardens; symbolizing independence and American’s ability to adapt. Those who did not garden were left at the mercy of survival solely by governmental rations of food, long bread lines and ration stamps. Those who planted Victory Gardens had the needed food to continue working as the nation struggled toward victory. Only two of these original Victory Gardens survive to today. One is located at the Richard D. Parker Memorial Victory Gardens in Boston’s Fenway and the other is the Dowling Community Gardens in Minneapolis.

Jump forward to today. We are once again fighting an enemy we can not see with our only defense being equipment and supplies that are hard to come by. Our meat processing facilities are threatened by outbreaks while our grocery stores can not keep enough stock on hand to meet the needs of everyone eating at home. Production in the United States has always focused on two separate markets; the consumer market and the commercial market. There is no adaptability between the two systems that have been specialized to specific markets. Packaging, size, quality, preparation, transportation and pricing all affect these two separate supply chains.

The problem is compounded by extreme weather associated with climate change. The western United States in undergoing a drought that makes the Dust Bowl of the 40’s appear meaningless. Bee and pollinator populations continue to plummet after the current Administration approved broad, expansive insecticides that are known to kill bee and pollinator populations.

Absent a federal response that meets the gravity of the moment, we are left to figure out how we are going to move forward with hope for our families and our future. Your grandmother would most likely encourage you to plant a garden to supplement your food needs for the short term. Chances are, she did it when your parents were young.

In a space of 20 x 30 feet (600 square feet), you can grow enough food to feed two adults for close to 8 months. If your family is larger, you can use more space to grow your Hope Garden. There is a plethora of information available online. Your county extension office, local DNR or any Master Gardener site can also assist you.

Preservation of food has come a long way since 1943. Options now include traditional canning, freezing or dehydration. All are effective and fairly simple to accomplish even at beginning levels. Fresh apple pie in the dead of winter is as American as pot roast with potatoes, gravy and a side or two of garden vegetables. Home made jelly on a slice of home-baked bread still warm from the oven has a certain nostalgia that is hard to beat. Sweet corn in January that tastes like it was picked yesterday is beyond rewarding.

This is the time to make your decision. This is the time to remove the sod from the space you want to garden in, so you are not fighting weeds and grasses among your vegetables. This is the time to choose vegetables based on your family’s preferences and source seeds or bedding plants to get the most from your growing season.

Yes, gardening is a commitment. So is marriage, being a parent or having a career. But food is essential to survival. Being totally dependent on others for your food places you and those you provide for at risk. Reduce your risk by realizing you can do this, you can have hope, and you can have a Hope Garden to gain that edge up in what appears to be a crumbling system whose consequences are not fully understood yet.

 

 

 

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USDA’s $19 Billion in COVID-19 Relief for Farmers and Food Banks Sparks Questions About Who Will Benefit

The new plan, says the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, “lacks critical details to confirm whether it will actually reach all who need it.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 4-18-2020

Photo via salud-america.org

While some industry trade associationshunger relief organizations, and federal lawmakers welcomed the Trump administration’s new pledge to provide $19 billion in relief from the coronavirus pandemic to farmers and food banks nationwide, policy groups, and reporters highlighted that the announcement lacked critical details about who will benefit.

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced the plan at a Friday night press briefing with President Donald Trump. The president said that “the program will include direct payments to farmers as well as mass purchases of dairy, meat, and agricultural produce to get that food to the people in need.” Continue reading

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Damning New Report Says Every Nation Undermining Children’s Hopes for a Livable Planet

Children’s “collective concerns must now be heard, and effective actions taken to prevent the next generation inheriting an irreversibly damaged planet.”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-19-2020

Climate Strike demonstration in Melbourne, Australia. Photo: Julian Meehan/flickr/CC

A major new report released Wednesday says every nation on the planet is failing children because of the threats to their health and wellbeing from the climate and ecological crises and commercial exploitation.

The damming assessment comes from 40 global child and adolescent health experts in “A Future for the World’s Children?” The expert commission was convened by the World Health
Organization (WHO), UNICEF, and the prestigious medical journal The Lancet. Continue reading

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A military perspective on climate change could bridge the gap between believers and doubters

A soldier stands guard at the damaged entrance to Tyndall Air Force Base in Panama City, Florida, Oct. 11, 2018, after Hurricane Michael. AP Photo/David Goldman

Michael Klare, Hampshire College

As experts warn that the world is running out of time to head off severe climate change, discussions of what the U.S. should do about it are split into opposing camps. The scientific-environmental perspective says global warming will cause the planet severe harm without action to slow fossil fuel burning. Those who reject mainstream climate science insist either that warming is not occurring or that it’s not clear human actions are driving it.

With these two extremes polarizing the American political arena, climate policy has come to a near standstill. But as I argue in my new book,“All Hell Breaking Loose: The Pentagon’s Perspective on Climate Change,” the U.S. armed forces offer a third perspective that could help bridge the gap. Continue reading

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‘Victory for Farmers’ as Jury Awards Grower $265 Million in Damages From Drift of Monsanto’s Dicamba

“This verdict is just the tip of the iceberg.”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-17-2020

Field day participants make their way past dicamba damaged soybeans to hear University of Arkansas System Div of Ag Weed Scientist Jason Norsworthy talk about volatility of dicamba products on Aug 8, 2017. Photo: uacescomm’flickr/CC

German chemicals giant Bayer announced Monday its intention to “swiftly appeal” a U.S. jury’s decision to award a Missouri peach farmer over $265 million in compensation for years of crop losses as a result of drifting dicamba weedkiller.

The legal challenge was the first dicamba suit to go to trial and was brought forth by Bill and Denise Bader, owners of Bader farms. Dicamba is produced by Monsanto, which Bayer acquired in 2018. Continue reading

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‘The Saddest Thing Is That This Won’t Be Breaking News’: Concentration of CO2 Hits Record High of 416 ppm

“Emissions from fossil fuels and deforestation need to be reduced to ZERO to stop this trend!”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-12-2020

Bush fire at Captain Creek central Queensland Australia. Photo: Lithgowlights/CC

The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere hit a record high Monday, a reading from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration that elicited fresh calls from climate activists and scientists for the international community to end planet-heating emissions from fossil fuels and deforestation.

According to NOAA’s Mauna Loa Observatory, an atmospheric baseline station in Hawaii, the daily average of CO2 levels on Feb. 10 was 416.08 parts per million. In recent years, soaring rates of CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere have signaled that the world is not ambitiously addressing the climate crisis. Continue reading

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Earth is About to Enter a 30-Year ‘Mini Ice Age’ as the Sun Hibernates, Scientist Warns

Earth could see temperatures drop, resulting in food shortages on a global scale.

By Elias Marat. Published 2-4-2020 by The Mind Unleashed

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

A scientist has warned that Earth could be facing a mini ice age due to the Sun radiating less energy and heat toward our planet. According to the expert, this would mean that the planet would be plunged into a period of extreme winter and chilly cold storms during the next 30 years.

According to NASA, the Sun will reach its lowest activity in over two centuries in 2020. As a result of it going into a natural period of hibernation, Earth could see temperatures drop, resulting in food shortages on a global scale. The temperature could also drop by as much as one degree Celsius over a period of roughly 12 months—an incremental yet significant change in climate conditions that could have unpredictable results. Continue reading

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‘Global Precedent’ Set as UN Rules Climate Refugees Cannot Be Sent Back to Life-Threatening Conditions

Advocates praised the ruling as an “excellent step forward in refugee rights.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-20-2020

Irish Naval personnel from the LÉ Eithne (P31) rescuing migrants as part of Operation Triton. Photo: Irish Defense Forecs/flickr/CC

Human rights advocates on Monday applauded a “ground-breaking” ruling by a United Nations panel which stated that climate refugees seeking asylum cannot legally be sent back to their home countries if they face life-threatening conditions due to the climate crisis.

“Without robust national and international efforts, the effects of climate change in receiving states may expose individuals to a violation of their rights,” ruled the U.N. Human Rights Committee, “thereby triggering the non-refoulement obligations of sending states.” Continue reading

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With 14 ‘Billion-Dollar Disasters’ and Record-Breaking Heat in Alaska and Across South, 2019 Was a Year of Climate Extremes for US

“Americans are put at risk by the serious consequences of the climate crisis.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-8-2020

A fire burns near the Getty Center in Los Angeles. Screenshot: ABC News

Underscoring the need for urgent climate action, a new report on the climate of the United States in 2019 sheds light on numerous weather and temperature extremes that were observed throughout the year and the record amounts of money spent on weather disasters.

Alaska was among the states which recorded unusually high temperatures in 2019, according to an annual summary released Wednesday by NOAA ahead of its full U.S. Climate Report, which is scheduled to be released next week. Continue reading

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