‘The maker of Stone-Buhr flour, a popular brand in the western United States, is encouraging its customers to reconnect with their lost agrarian past, from the comfort of their computer screens. Its Find the Farmer Web site and special labels on the packages let buyers learn about and even contact the farmers who produced the wheat that went into their bag of flour.
The underlying idea, broadly called traceability, is in fashion in many food circles these days. Makers of bananas, chocolates and other foods are also using the Internet to create relationships between consumers and farmers, mimicking the once-close ties that were broken long ago by industrialized food manufacturing.’
‘At least since a 2006 United Nations report asserted that livestock is responsible for a full 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions — a higher percentage than that caused by transportation — a debate over meat consumption and climate change has been cooking.
The latest round involves a recent editorial in the Archives of Internal Medicine by Barry M. Popkin, a professor of nutrition at the University of North Carolina. In it, Mr. Popkin revisits several studies linking meat not just with heart disease and other health issues, but also with worldwide consumption of energy and water resources — and global warming.
Water use, Mr. Popkin writes, is two to five times greater worldwide for animal-source food than for basic crops such as legumes and grains. He further argues that livestock production accounts for 55 percent of the erosion process in the United States and is also responsible for one-third of the total discharge of nitrogen and phosphorous to surface water.’
‘Information gleaned from a Greenland ice core by an international science team shows that two huge Northern Hemisphere temperature spikes prior to the close of the last ice age some 11,500 years ago were tied to fundamental shifts in atmospheric circulation.’
‘Australia has issued a health warning about air pollution for travelers to Hong Kong. Australians with pre-existing breathing conditions or heart problems should be careful visiting the city. Much of the bad air in Hong Kong blows in from Guangdong, China’s most important manufacturing province. But there is plenty of evidence many factories are closing and many workers have left because the international economic crisis has cut demand for Guangdong’s industrial goods. That should mean less air pollution.
…Trade associations had been pressuring the local government to ease up on enforcing environmental regulations on struggling factories. But Wu Hong Jie, who heads the Pollution Control Division in Guangdong’s Environmental Protection Department, says no one’s backing down on enforcement. He says, “Whatever happens, we should stick to the environmental standards. We can find other ways to help companies survive. We shouldn’t just let them pollute.” But economic growth has long come first in this region.’
‘Three decades later, fears of an atomic catastrophe have been largely supplanted by fears about global warming, easing nuclear energy into the same sentence as wind and solar power. Dogged by price spikes and an environmental assault on carbon dioxide emissions, fossil fuels are the new clean-energy pariah.’
‘_ 1955: A U.S. government reactor makes Arco, Idaho, the world’s first town electrified by nuclear power.
_ 1957: The U.S.’ first commercial nuclear power plant becomes operational in Shippingport, Pa. (Nuclear reactors were already in service in the Soviet Union and the United Kingdom). It was retired in 1982.
_ March 29, 1979: Three Mile Island Unit 2 in Middletown, Pa., melts down. No one was killed or seriously injured that day, but the public relations disaster sets back the industry for decades.
_ April 26, 1986: Chernobyl nuclear power plant explodes in Soviet Ukraine, killing thousands. A radioactive cloud floats over much of Europe and large areas of Ukraine, Russia and Belarus are contaminated.’
‘[BEIJING] A project to improve water quality in China has been launched by the government, which says it is the largest expenditure on environmental protection since the founding of the People’s Republic in 1949.
The project, which has an estimated budget of more than 30 billion Chinese yuan (around 4.4 billion US dollars) over 12 years, aims to counter the deteriorating water quality affecting millions of Chinese people and their livelihoods.’