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Posts tagged "agriculture"

Pesticide use around the world. Chart shows amounts of pesticides used on farms (conversion). Click to embiggen. Source, WaPo.

Video (couldn’t embed). Economist says impacts will cost $60 Trillion USD.

Asker jayjaypea Asks:
Sorry if you have already, but you should post something about the land grab in Africa by China, India, USA, etc. I've only read a little bit about it, but it seems to be an interesting issue, relating to both climate change and the increasing population (and the resulting problem of where the necessary food is going to come from). Great blog by the way, keep it up!
climateadaptation climateadaptation Said:

Hey jayjaypea, 

I’ve blogged a little about it in the past. The basic line is that China and and rich countries in the Middle East, like the UAE, have purchased tens of thousands of acres of prime lands in Africa. The rumor is that these countries want to own and manage their own agricultural supplies. And these countries are blamed for bribing local officials to kick off existing families and villages. 

Analysis and evidence are very thin for these claims, and I’ve backed off posting about it over the past couple years. And now, serendipitously, a new book is out debunking this myth. I’ve asked for a review copy and will post a mini-review if they send me one. 

The great African land grab? Agricultural investments and the global food systemby IIED’s Lorenzo Cotula in partnership with Zed Books and Centre of African Studies:

When:Monday 15 July, 6:00pm to 8:00pm
Where:  Brunei Suite, SOAS
Register:  Please register online at

About the book

Lorenzo Cotula’s book aims to debunk many of the myths surrounding land acquisitions in Africa and analyse their internal implications for African stakeholders and the external consequences for global food security.

Over the past few years, large-scale land acquisitions in Africa have stoked controversy, making headlines in media reports across the world. Land that only a short time ago seemed of little outside interest is now a commodity in high demand. Private-sector expectations of higher world food prices and government concerns about longer-term national food and energy security have both made land a more attractive asset.

Dubbed ‘land grabs’ in the media, large-scale land acquisitions have become one of the most talked about and contentious topics amongst those studying, working in or writing about Africa. Some commentators have welcomed this trend as a bearer of new livelihood opportunities. Others have countered by pointing to negative social impacts, including loss of local land rights, threats to local food security and the risk that large-scale investments may marginalize family farming.


Kate Wilson
Publications & Marketing Manager
International Institute for Environment and Development
80-86 Gray’s Inn Road, London, WC1x 8NH Follow us on twitter

Buy it here.



Stockholm Environment Institute’s beautiful interactive Annual Report 2012

SEI is a solid source of environmental governance theory and solutions, including theories behind and application of adaptation. I’ve applied to various adaptation research positions at SEI over the years, but am consistently out-brained. Their staff are among the best researchers on the planet. Their annual report is different - beautiful and easy to read interactive. Well worth your time. 

SEI is an independent international research institute. We have been engaged in environment and development issues at local, national, regional and global policy levels for more than a quarter of a century.

The institute was formally established in 1989 by the Swedish Government, and since then we have established a reputation for rigorous and objective scientific analysis in the field of environment and development.

Managing environmental systems: Growing populations, rapid urbanization and increased consumption put unprecedented pressure on land, water and air resources. Our research addresses how to manage these resources to enhance food security for our planet’s six billion people, to reduce the health impacts of air pollution and poor sanitation, and to protect ecosystem services through sound management of land and water resources.

Reducing climate risk: The goal of this theme is to contribute to a safer climate for all. We help design, develop and implement effective and fair strategies for adaptation and mitigation in developing and developed countries, taking into account the broader challenges and policy objectives of sustainable human development.

Transforming governance: Sustainable development is essentially about giving people the opportunity to build resilience by providing them with more options in their lives and livelihoods. We advance new insights into good governance for sustainable development in the face of social and ecological change.

Rethinking development: The global economy has brought prosperity to many in the world, but it has also depleted natural resources and vital ecosystem services. Our research shows the benefits of a low carbon future and describes how we can get there. We set out alternatives for sustainable futures, from the planetary scale down to local, on-the-ground solutions.

I cannot recall having Wisconsin or Minnesota branded maple syrup.  

The mystifying weather accounts for the record year, he says. “The late spring, combined with all the snow we had, meant temperatures were moderated so that the trees didn’t warm up too quickly.”

Maple syrup is made from sap, and producers need about 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of maple syrup. Throughout Minnesota, trees produced high levels of sap during the three-week sap run this year, and the sap they produced was good quality, according to Jacobson. In neighboring Wisconsin, producers reported record-breaking levels as well.

Wisconsin’s 2013 maple syrup production was 265,000 gallons, more than five times the production of 2012,” said Greg Bussler with the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (PDF). “This is the highest production since NASS began keeping track in 1992.”

Quite the story. 

Four of the National Missions under India’s National Action Plan on Climate Change focus on climate change adaptation in the areas of agriculture, water resources, forests and the Himalayan eco-system. Successful adaptation to climate change, however, requires recognition of poor women as critical partners in both driving and delivering solutions because women often constitute a majority of the work force in these sectors.

This pilot research documented some of the gender-differentiated climate change impacts and adaptation interventions. It also examined scientific evidence and women’s perceptions on how key climate parameters like rainfall, temperature and wind patterns are changing and how this is affecting their agriculture-related livelihoods. The research suggests specific gender-responsive policy and practice recommendations for the implementation of the four adaptation-focused National Missions.

Canada International Development Agency (CIDA) is a government agency that assists developing countries with disasters, food security, education, health, and sustainability. It is now a conduit for selling military equipment.

Asker evforija Asks:
I'll ask the same question I see many NYT commentors did: where the heck is China going to grow food!? Their country is already so polluted you can't breathe and the rivers are filled with dead pigs... and farmland is going to what? What will they eat? Are they counting on their emerging middle-and-upper-classes to want to import the best of everything from around the world, which I guess is already popular in Hong Kong and other affluent areas?
climateadaptation climateadaptation Said:

Re: China to force-move 250 million people to cities.

Hi teavelo,

No worries. The Chinese are very smart, and planned for that years ago… The only thing westerners can do is be armchair-appalled.


I read another article this morning about hive disruption syndrome and about bee-dieoffs in general. The article framed the issue in a wider context of a 'sixth extinction.' As a layman I'm generally sold on these theories, despite their grim outlook. Assuming (as I do) that they're probably the result of anthropogenic climate change, what do you think the proper adaptation methods will be, considering the necessity of honeybees in pollinating most crops around the world?
climateadaptation climateadaptation Said:

Hi exlegelibertas,

Great question and I did a little research for you (learned a lot, so thanks!).

The so-called “sixth extinction” theory has been around for a while. I’d avoid reading about it, since it’s all doom. Still, adaptation strategies for bees and other pollinators are only now being taken seriously. 

Keep in mind that environmentalism is ‘stewardship’ - it requires long-term thinking, far beyond your life-time. Solutions take time and decades of research and testing. So, managing impacts are part of a long transition…

Most adaptation strategies and responses are part of bigger plans that deal with ecosystems and agriculture, so they’re more likely to be a chapter in larger documents. Here a few resources: 

Hope that helps! 



Little Boy Makes a Strong & Touching Argument on Why He Shouldn’t Eat Octopus

This is a sweet moment between mom and son. I think a lot of parents have this same conversation, when their child connects their food to viable creatures. An old friend of mine has 5(!) kids, and I was there when one of them discovered that the chicken on her plate was from a “real chicken.” O’ the horror that ensued… This kid’s mom is quite level-headed, but other parents, unfortunately, have a more forceful “eat your food!” response. Well worth your time, especially if you’ve hung out with kids and witnessed their incredible perceptions.  

Free documentary: Salmon Confidential.