Monthly Archives: September 2008

Synthetic Sea

We are turning our oceans into a chemical soup – the result being misery and death for billions of organisms, and serious health implications for ourselves.

When we throw things away, we must ask ourselves “where is away?” The clip below, one of the most frightening I have ever seen, will give you an idea of where at least one of these ‘away’ locations is. Much of our oil-based plastic products end up in our oceans, where they slowly break down into smaller and smaller pieces. Although this may sound like a good thing, in reality all it means is that they are more readily taken up by fish, dolphins, whales, turtles, birds and a myriad other organisms. The plastic molecules never actually disappear. Plastic diminishes in size until in appearance it almost perfectly imitates plankton – resulting in a situation where creatures actually compete with each other to eat it. And, worse, in some parts of the ocean the ratio of plastic to plankton is 6:1, and rising.

The following clip, put together by the Algalita Marine Research Foundation, projects a vision of human stupidity that defies comprehension.

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Posted in Pollution

75 Percent of Food Diversity Lost in Last Century

The average person, roaming supermarket aisles with their trolley, is under the impression that our modern globalised food production system, despite being damaging in every other respect, brings one major benefit to consumers — that being more food choices.

Wrong.

It’s a myth. The corporate takeover of agriculture is seeing a rapid and systematic decline in seed and crop diversity, as they seek to standardise all aspects of global food trade. This means that plants that have been developed and optimised for specific micro-climates and soil conditions over thousands of years are vanishing — fast, and forever.

That’s what makes the work of Stephan Fayon, who directs an international seed bank in Auroville, India, so significant. Check out this inspiring clip on his work:

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Posted in Diversity, Geopolitics & Economics, Seeds

Water Worries

Water, water, every where,
And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, every where,
Nor any drop to drink. – Samuel Coleridge (1772-1834). The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, II

If you look down on our earth from space, the predominant colour is blue. The surface of our earth is approximately 70% water. In that respect, perhaps our planet would have been better called the Ocean, than the Earth. Yet, excepting expensive, energy intensive and environmentally problematic desalinisation techniques (PDF), we cannot use it for our daily personal water intake requirements.

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Posted in Health, Pollution, Water

Look Mom, There’s a Farmer in Our Back Yard

Normally the words ‘business’ and ‘environmentally friendly’ do not fit harmoniously together in one sentence, but here’s a money-making venture with real merit: Donna Smith and Robyn Streeter, of Portland, Oregon, have started a business called YourBackyardFarmer. It’s about growing food in urban areas – i.e. close to where it’s consumed. This is urban farming with a twist! Instead of broken New Year’s resolutions from your derailed intentions of developing a green thumb, Donna and Robyn will come to your house, and do the work for you.

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Posted in Urban Gardening