UN moves towards recognising human right to a healthy environment

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Formal recognition would help protect those who increasingly risk their lives to defend the land, water, forests and wildlife, says the UN special rapporteur on human rights and the environment Jonathan Watts The Guardian It is time for the United Nations to formally recognise the right to a healthy environment, according to the world body’s chief investigator of murders, beatings and intimidation of environmental defenders. John Knox, the UN special rapporteur on human rights and the environment, said the momentum for such ... Read More »

How lasers and robo-feeders are transforming fish farming

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Fish farming is big business – the industry now produces about 100 million tonnes a year – and with salmon prices soaring, producers are turning to lasers, automation and artificial intelligence to boost production and cut costs. By Chris Baraniuk, Technology of Business reporter BBC How do you know if farmed salmon have had enough to eat? Well, according to Lingalaks fish farms in Norway, which produce nearly three million salmon each year, the fish make less noise once the feeding ... Read More »

Cape Town drought declared a ‘national disaster’

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South Africa has declared the drought which has seen Cape Town hurtling towards “Day Zero” a national disaster. BBC The government made the announcement after reassessing the “magnitude and severity” of the three-year drought. It has badly affected three of the country’s nine provinces. The decision came as Cape Town announced its water saving measures, which require each citizen to use less than 50 litres a day, had successfully pushed back “Day Zero” to 4 June. Just a matter of ... Read More »

Zimbabwe’s exiled farmers urged to return home as agricultural industry struggles

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The Zimbabwean Government’s message to exiled farmers is clear. Come home.  SALLY SARA ABC It is offering land leases to commercial farmers in an effort to re-start the nation’s agricultural industry Basil Nyabadza from Zimbabwe’s Agricultural and Rural and Development Authority says Zimbabwean farmers in Australia should return to home soil. “We have a lot of capital resource dotted around the world, including Australia,” Mr Nyabadza said. “We are saying, if you are Zimbabwean, there is now a real opportunity ... Read More »

Emmanuel Macron breaks French taboo on farm subsidies

French presidential election candidate for the En Marche ! movement Emmanuel Macron looks on in a farm in Usseau near Poitiers, central France, on April 29, 2017 while campaigning ahead of the second and final round of the presidential elections which takes place on May 7.  / AFP PHOTO / POOL / Eric FEFERBERG        (Photo credit should read ERIC FEFERBERG/AFP/Getty Images)

Facing a multibillion-euro cash crunch in the EU budget, Paris is dropping its insistence on preserving the status quo for farmers. By EMMET LIVINGSTONE, MAÏA DE LA BAUME AND DAVID M. HERSZENHORN Politico France’s president has crossed the manure-lined Rubicon In a shift liable to ignite a civil war in French politics, Emmanuel Macron is breaking with France’s traditionally ironclad defense of farmers’ subsidies. If one thing was ever considered certain in negotiations over the EU budget every seven years, it was that ... Read More »

Flemish farmer busts conventional wisdom on EU farm policy

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Community-supported model thrives without subsidies from Brussels By SIMON MARKS Politico LEUVEN, Belgium — The EU does not spend much time thinking about farmers like Tom Troonbeeckx. But as Brussels prepares to propose a reform of its landmark €58 billion-per-year Common Agricultural Policy in 2018, the softspoken Flemish farmer offers an alternative model to Europe’s conventional wisdom over the last half century. Troonbeeckx runs 30 hectares of farmland near the Belgian city of Leuven, only 20 kilometers east of Brussels, without… Flemish ... Read More »

Venezuela crisis: Farmers struggle as people go hungry

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The state of Portuguesa is Venezuela’s breadbasket – full of crops like rice, beans, soya and sunflowers. Katy Watson BBC It is also where Venezuela’s staple corn is grown – the raw material for much-loved corn patties or arepas. Imposing metal silos stand tall on the horizon. At a time when people in the country are going hungry, Portuguesa is a strategic part of the economy. But the breadbasket is looking a bit emptier these days. Ronald Lakra and his family ... Read More »

Bangladesh arrests cleric over fatwa against women farming

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A Muslim cleric accused of issuing a fatwa banning women from working on farms has been arrested in Bangladesh, police said on Dec. 13. DHAKA Hurriyet The imam and five mosque officials face charges after their announcement prompted locals in the western town of Kumarkhali to try and prevent women from going to work in the fields. “They took the decision after prayers on Dec. 8, banning women from going out of their homes,” local police chief Abdul Khaleque told ... Read More »

How Olive Oil Became Green Gold

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In the United States, profits from fraudulent oil can be more lucrative than dealing cocaine. Nicola Twilley and Cynthia Graber The Atlantic  Olive oil is not what you think it is. According to Tom Mueller, the author of Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil, an olive is a stone fruit like a plum or cherry—meaning that the green-gold liquid we extract from it “is, quite literally, fruit juice.” And, while we’re blowing your minds, have you ... Read More »

Modern slavery to be targeted in new laws recommended by Australian parliamentary committee

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Australia needs a comprehensive suite of new laws to stamp out modern slavery, a Federal committee’s report today tabled in Parliament has found. Sarina Locke  ABC The report by the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade’s inquiry was tabled in Parliament on the final sitting day for the year. It adds details to its earlier recommendations released in August. The committee recommended provisions for a mandatory supply chain reporting requirement that requires large businesses to report on… ... Read More »

If Everyone Ate Beans Instead of Beef

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With one dietary change, the U.S. could almost meet greenhouse-gas emission goals. Ecoanxiety is an emerging condition. James Hamblin The Atlantic  Named in 2011, the American Psychological Association recently described it as the dread and helplessness that come with “watching the slow and seemingly irrevocable impacts of climate change unfold, and worrying about the future for oneself, children, and…It’s not a formal diagnosis. Anxiety is traditionally defined by an outsized stress response to a given stimulus. In this case, the ... Read More »

A giant insect ecosystem is collapsing due to humans. It’s a catastrophe

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Insects have triumphed for hundreds of millions of years in every habitat but the ocean. Their success is unparalleled, which makes their disappearance all the more alarming Michael McCarthy The Guardian Τhirty-five years ago an American biologist Terry Erwin conducted an experiment to count insect species. Using an insecticide “fog”, he managed to extract all the small living things in the canopies of 19 individuals of one species of tropical tree, Luehea seemannii, in the rainforest of Panama. He recorded ... Read More »

Insectageddon: farming is more catastrophic than climate breakdown

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The shocking collapse of insect populations hints at a global ecological meltdown George Monbiot The Guardian Which of these would you name as the world’s most pressing environmental issue? Climate breakdown, air pollution, water loss, plastic waste or urban expansion? My answer is none of the above. Almost incredibly, I believe that climate breakdown takes third place, behind two issues that receive only a fraction of the… This is not to downgrade the danger presented by global heating – on ... Read More »

6 Reasons Why This Week’s ‘Our Ocean’ Conference In Malta Was So Important

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World leaders, EU representatives and the Prince of Wales were among those attending The Our Ocean conference is a major annual event aimed at encouraging countries and businesses to make concrete commitments to protect the marine environment. David Grech Urpani  Lovin Malta This year, it was Malta’s turn to host the global summit for its fourth edition, and very important points were raised. Among leaders from more than 100 nations and a large number of local and international NGOs in attendance, ... Read More »

The Oceans – a Challenged Resource

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The world’s oceans facilitate global transportation. They also offer a unique source of food: one that continues to give. Provided we manage this source responsibly, of course. Sustainable harvest must be combined with prudent Kåre R. Aas * HuffPost Based on an American initiative, the world’s maritime nations came together yesterday and today (Oct 5 and 6) for the 4th annual Our Oceans conference to discuss how to achieve this balance. The United States has hosted twice. This year, the chair ... Read More »

Monsanto banned from European parliament

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MEPs withdraw parliamentary access after the firm shunned a hearing into allegations that it unduly influenced studies into the safety of glyphosate used in its RoundUp weedkiller Arthur Nelsen The Guardian Monsanto lobbyists have been banned from entering the European parliament after the multinational refused to attend a parliamentary hearing into allegations of regulatory interference. It is the first time MEPs have used new rules to withdraw parliamentary access for firms that ignore a summons to attend parliamentary inquiries or ... Read More »