Showing posts with label Food. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Food. Show all posts

Wednesday, 12 February 2020

Climate change to create farmland in the north, but at environmental costs, study reveals


PHYS ORG
High Alpine Tundra in Noatak National Preserve, Alaska. 
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.
In a warming world, Canada's north may become our breadbasket of the future - but this new "farming frontier" also poses environmental threats from increased carbon emissions to degraded water quality, according to the first-ever study involving University of Guelph researchers.  Story here.

Thursday, 5 December 2019

Without drastic and immediate action, climate change will spell less food for the vast majority of Earth's population by century's end. Study. by Larry Powell

A disastrous 2019 growing season in Manitoba included drought,
rain and snow at the wrong times. Both seeding and harvesting
of food crops like canola (above) were disrupted,
yield and quality reduced. A PinP photo.
There are few bright spots in this body of research. 

If developed countries don't reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to a changing climate "promptly," it warns, a "perfect storm" will result. Food such as soy, corn, wheat and rice produced by the agriculture sector and seafood by marine fisheries, will go down for about 90 percent of Earth's population - more than seven billion, by 2100. Most of those affected already live in the most sensitive and least developed countries.

As overwhelming as the impacts would be, they wouldn't be universal. A scant three percent of the population would actually experience a food production increase over the same period.

And, if countries actually make those emissions cutbacks (a "best-case scenario"), "Most countries would experience net gains in both agriculture and fisheries production."

Even without concerted efforts, consequences for those living in high latitudes in North America and Europe may still not likely be as severe.  Canada and Russia, for example, "will experience losses of lower magnitude or even gains in some cases." That's because residents of those countries do not depend on food from farming and fishing as much as others do.

The authors, part of an international team of scientists, call the effects these changes will have on vulnerable human societies, "One of the grand challenges of our time."

Their findings were published recently in "Science Advances."

Friday, 1 November 2019

Agricultural impacts of our climate crisis are becoming more apparent


PhysOrg
Photo credit - IPCC.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change presents a sobering analyses addressing the substantial contributions of agriculture to climate change and the ways the climate crisis is projected to jeopardize global food security if urgent action isn't taken. Story here.

Tuesday, 10 September 2019

Healthy foods are expensive in poor countries, unhealthy foods cheap in rich countries. Study.


International Livestock Research Institute

Eggs and other nutrient-dense foods are expensive in poor countries, leading to child stunting, 
Photo by OXFAM.

while sugar and other nutrient-poor food are cheap in rich countries. 
Photo by Bennysaunders

Story here.

Thursday, 8 August 2019

To Slow Global Warming, U.N. Warns Agriculture Must Change


The Salt 
Humans must drastically alter food production to prevent the most catastrophic effects of global warming, according to a new report from the United Nations panel on climate change.
 Story here.
An intensive sheep operation.

Saturday, 1 June 2019

Climate change is already affecting global food production—unequally


PHYS ORG
A soy field in Canada. A PinP photo.
The world's top 10 crops— barley, cassava, maize, oil palm, rapeseed, rice, sorghum, soybean, sugarcane and wheat—supply a combined 83 percent of all calories produced on cropland. Yields have long been projected to decrease in future climate conditions. Now, new research shows climate change has already affected production of these key energy sources—and some regions and countries are faring far worse than others. Story here.

Monday, 20 May 2019

Manitoba's "Protein Advantage"

SETUP: 
A few months ago, the Government of Manitoba invited input from the public on a proposal to expand production of protein-rich food, whether plant or animal-based, in this province. It claims, meeting this fast-growing global demand offers much bigger opportunities than those which have existed before, for both farmers and investors. The province has embarked on a massive expansion of its industrial pork industry by relaxing both health and environmental regulations and obviously hopes through this new initiative,  to make it even bigger.
In this in-depth article, long-time farm activist and livestock producer, Ruth Pryzer, offers many valuable insights into why this all needs to be taken with several grains of salt.
l.p. 

Thursday, 18 April 2019

Corn-farming fouls the air to fatal effect


Nature - Agriculture
Harvesting corn in Canada. A PinP photo.
The dominant US crop plant has a voracious appetite for fertilizer, which leads to air pollution and health problems. More here.

Monday, 18 March 2019

Beat the Heat: Canada's French-fry potatoes in climate change trouble


Canadian Science Publishing
After PEI, Manitoba is Canada's largest potato-producing province. 
Over 1200 million pounds are processed here each year on about 80 thousand acres. 
A PinP photo.
Desiccating summer heat, brought on by climate change, could have adverse effects on Canada's potato industry. In a recent study, researchers examined the heat stress response of 55 potato varieties to estimate how they might fare under changing climate conditions. The news is not good.  Details here.

Tuesday, 8 January 2019

Could genetic modification be about to give a boost to the war on hunger?

by Larry Powell
A vegetable garden in Manitoba. A PinP photo.


American researchers believe they've found a way to genetically-engineer a dramatic increase in crop production. They've conducted field experiments with tobacco, using a new method which makes the critical process of photosynthesis much more efficient. (Tobacco was chosen because it's easy to modify and test. The same methods are now being tested on other crops including soybean, potato and tomato.) 

Photosynthesis allows plants to convert sunlight into energy and help them grow, increasing crop yield.
To do this, most plants use the world's most plentiful enzyme, Rubisco, to capture carbon dioxide from the air and expel oxygen. But in a strange twist of nature, Rubisco captures more oxygen than it should. This produces a toxic compound in the plant which requires a lot of energy to get rid of.

It could take more than a decade before this new technology can be put into widespread use. But, by fiddling with the internal pathways in the plants' cells, the researchers believe they can increase crop production by a whopping 40 percent! They liken the benefits of their discovery to food production to what the Panama Canal did for international trade many years ago!

The research team was made up of experts from the University of Illinois and the US Department of Agriculture. Their findings were published in the journal, Science.

Among those funding the research were the UK government and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.


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Thursday, 30 August 2018

Bad News for Crops! Global Warming = More & Hungrier Bugs!


PHYS ORG
A corn rootworm. Public Domain.
Crop losses for critical food grains will increase substantially as the climate warms, as rising temperatures increase the metabolic rate and population growth of insect pests, according to new research. More here.
Most harm will befall crops in the temperate zone (shown in green). 



Sunday, 6 May 2018

Agroecology: A better alternative in Sub-Saharan Africa


ScienceNews










Two "big rigs" ready to begin work in western Manitoba. PinP photo.
Agroecology is a better alternative than large-scale agriculture, both for the climate and for small farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa, according to researcher. This agricultural model preserves biodiversity and safeguards food supply while avoiding soil depletion. More here.

Tuesday, 6 March 2018

Wetter summers in warming climate bring disease and crop-failure risks


THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA
Warmer, wetter summers could produce unexpected impacts, such as disease outbreaks and crop failures. More here.

Sunday, 17 December 2017

In 10 years, the world may not be able to feed itself

The World EconomicForum









Combines in a wheat field in Manitoba, Canada. PinP photo.
By 2027 the world could be facing a 214 trillion calorie deficit, says Sara Menker, founder of an agricultural data technology company. In other words, in just a decade, we won’t have enough food to feed the planet. More here.

Monday, 19 June 2017

UN urges 'reboot' of drought responses to focus more on preparedness

UN News Centre

Investing in preparedness and building the resilience of farmers is fundamental to cope with extreme drought, because responding to such situations when they hit might be too late, the head of the United Nations agricultural agency said today. Story here.

Monday, 1 May 2017

It’s the end of the world and we know it: Many scientists see apocalypse, soon

SALON

Stephen Hawking is one of many scientists who see the possible near-term demise of our species. STORY HERE.

Sunday, 23 April 2017

First Nations Elder Loses Patience With the Modern Food System.

"Look at this, our food is laced with poison - exactly what we had been saying. Our industrial world is killing us. No wonder people are dying. The cost of doing mass production is our souls and health of our nations."

This is Dave Daniels, Elder on Long Plain First Nation, Manitoba and specialist in wild plants and herbal medicines. 

He was reacting to a recently-released finding by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. In studies conducted in '15 & '16, the federal food watchdog discovered traces of glyphosate, "a probable carcinogen," (World Health Organization) in almost 30% of food samples tested.

To better understand Mr. Daniel's story and his anger, please watch the video, below.


Monday, 20 February 2017

Crop destroying caterpillar rapidly spreading across Africa; maize production endangered


AgroNews
New research announced by scientists at CABI (Center for Agriculture and Bioscience Information) confirms that a recently introduced crop-destroying armyworm caterpillar is now spreading rapidly across Mainland Africa and could spread to tropical Asia and the Mediterranean in the next few years, becoming a major threat to agricultural trade worldwide. Story here.

Manitoba "crop-duster." PinP photo.

Monday, 23 January 2017

Climate change will hurt crops more than it helps them, study suggests

The Washington Post

A new study from institutes around the world, reaffirms the idea that high temperatures could seriously harm the production of some of the world’s most important food crops. Story here.
PinP photo.

Thursday, 22 December 2016

A Changing Climate Hits Coffee Harvest on The Slopes of Kilimanjaro.

environment360

Rising temperatures and changing precipitation are taking a toll on coffee farms worldwide, including the plantations around Mount Kilimanjaro. If the world hopes to sustain its two billion cup-a-day habit, scientists say, new climate-resilient species of coffee must be developed. Story here.

Beyond Covid 19. Are we risking yet another pandemic if we continue to embrace "assembly-line" livestock production into the future?

by Larry Powell No one would argue that Covid 19 demands our undivided attention. Surely,  defeating this "beast" has to be &...