UN Climate Change Conference Negotiations Tackle Agriculture
Agriculture Finds Inclusion in Kyoto Protocol Negotiations
The UN COP17 Climate Change Conference recently drew to a close in Durban, South Africa. Near the end of the conference, the Kyoto Protocol was extended to 2017. The Kyoto Protocol mandates binding carbon emissions reduction goals for many developed countries, which now must ascertain the best ways to achieve those goals.
One of the most interesting results of the conference came in discussions over the UN-REDD program (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries) when animal agriculture was singled out as one of the leading contributors to deforestation and greenhouse gas emissions.
This is expected to spur new investment in small and sustainable farms, which are exceptionally capable at both reducing carbon emissions as well as improving local food security. However, the efficacy of the Kyoto Protocol is often a subject of debate. Has it been successful since its enactment in 2005? Will it be successful going forward? Certainly the environmental agenda will have a tough time competing with the economic crisis for prime-time attention, but that’s no reason to give up hope.
Read more about the Durban COP17 conference and its implications for the Kyoto Protocol.
Sustainable Coffee Company Provides Fair Wages to Coffee Growers
Sustainable Harvest: Making a Difference in the Coffee Industry
Sustainable Harvest is a company that imports coffee with a focus on building sustainable relationships with growers. One of the key tenets of sustainable agriculture is social responsibility–paying fair, living wages to workers that not only benefit the families they go to, but also their communities.
Sustainable Harvest seeks to do just that, having worked with over 200,000 coffee growers and paying more than $200 million to growers in Latin America and East Africa since 1997. As the Sustainable Harvest website states, the company also invests over “60 percent of operating expenses into farmer training, technology, and infrastructure that our supply chain partners — especially smallholder farmers — need to be successful.” Continue reading
How Sustainable Design is Shaping Everything from Architecture to Agriculture
Sustainable Design is Transforming Our Markets, Our Society, and Our Environment
We’ve previously talked about sustainable agriculture on this blog, but it should be said that this only one of many forms of the broader movement toward “sustainable design.” Sustainable design encompasses everything from architecture and urban planning to industrial design and, of course, agriculture.
Its basic intention is twofold: (1) to reduce or outright eliminate negative environmental impacts and (2) to reconnect people with nature and more holistic considerations of their place within it. Those overall aims go hand-in-hand, yet they are being pursued in a variety of different ways.
Below, we will discuss some of the basic principles of sustainable design alongside concrete examples of how it is shaping practices across a wide range of industries and disciplines. Continue reading
The 3 Best Ways to Make Your Diet Greener
Seize Your Diet by the Greens! How to Make Your Diet More Sustainable
Living sustainably not only requires us to reevaluate our energy production, transportation system, industrial output, and residential energy efficiency–it also requires changing our eating habits. The food and agriculture industry is one of the 5 major contributing sectors to greenhouse gas emissions on a global scale and we need to take a hard look at how we produce, distribute, and consume our food. If you’re interested in making your diet more sustainable, consider these three substantial ways to reduce the environmental impact of keeping yourself fed: Continue reading
The True Cost of Meat
Meat and the Environment
Cultivating animals for food has profound ecological consequences. When you include the land, food, water, and energy it takes, the cost is astonishing. So the next time you’re eying that delicious, fatty steak in the supermarket, consider some of the following:
Animal farms use a tremendous amount of land. 30% of the Earth’s land mass is used for raising animals, grazing, and growing animal feed. That makes it the most land intensive industry in the world. Over 260 million acres of forest have been cleared to grow animal feed crops in the U.S. and worldwide, more than 7 acres of land are being bulldozed every minute to clear more room for livestock production. Continue reading
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