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  • cigarette butts

    Reusing Cigarette Butts, Filters, and Ashes

    Cigarette waste such as ashes and discarded filters can have important uses. Butts make excellent supercapitors, rust inhibitors and industrial pallets, while ashes can be turned into water filters. More

  • 5 Successful Reforestation Projects

    Between the Arab Spring, the weird weather, and, well, the Casey Anthony trial, you may have missed the fact that 2011 was proclaimed “The International Year of Forests” by the UN General Assembly. This celebration is long overdue: forests not only provide habitat to animals and plants, but also purify air and water, prevent soil […] More

  • The Greenpeace Australia GMO Wheat Action: A Sad Day For Bread. A Sad Day For Science

    On July, 14, three Greenpeace activists dressed in hazmat suits scaled a fence, and used weed whips to destroy a GMO wheat experiment in Canberra, Australia.  The experiment was being conducted by CSIRO (the USDA equivalent for Australia).  The activists posted video of the attack on You Tube.  They also posted “explanations” by activists who could […] More

  • cover crop

    A Vision For Truly Sustainable Fruit and Vegetable Farming

      Many responsible consumers would like to be able to buy fruits and vegetables that have been raised in a sustainable manner, and many retail and food service entities want to be able to respond to that demand.  There are multiple existing and in-process efforts to define “Sustainability” for the specialty crops that make up […] More

  • A Surprising Reason We Don’t Farm As Sustainably As We Could

    I recently posted a description of a highly sustainable form of row crop farming that combines high productivity with low environmental impact.  This is not just a theoretical vision but something which is actually being practiced on a significant commercial scale (e.g. non-tillage, cover cropping, controlled wheel traffic, variable rate fertilization…).  It is difficult to […] More

  • yellowfin tuna

    Tuna Truths: The Pros and Cons of Canned Tuna

    Growing up in South Dakota, I thought there were two kinds of fish. Trout and tuna. Trout were flappy and fun to catch, with beautiful rainbow-colored skin that my mom always complained about removing. They were in bountiful supply in the lake by my uncle’s mountain cabin. Conversely, tuna were small and round, with steel […] More

  • Five Key Limitations of Organic Farming

    (updated 8/22/11) Yesterday I posted about what I believe to be the five best things about Organic farming.  These are attributes that I seriously believe are good ideas for how we should farm, and ideas that make sense to increasingly bring into mainstream agriculture (more cover cropping, more diverse rotations, more focus on building the […] More

  • The Five Best Things About Organic Farming

    I have posted a number of blogs and documents over the past two years that address some of the common myths about Organic farming.  From that, one might conclude that I am “anti-Organic,” which I am not.  There are many things about Organic that I have appreciated ever since my grandfather first taught me about […] More

  • science

    Why World Food Prices May Keep Climbing

    By Lester R. Brown In February, world food prices reached the highest level on record. Soaring food prices are already a source of spreading hunger and political unrest, and it appears likely that they will climb further in the months ahead. As a result of an extraordinarily tight grain situation, this year’s harvest will be […] More

  • US Organic Farming: Digging into the Numbers

    In 2008, the National Agricultural Statistics Service of the USDA (USDA-NASS) conducted a first-time, in-depth survey of the US organic farming sector.  A summary was published in 2010 from which it is possible to see state-by-state and crop-by-crop how many organic acres were harvested, how much they produced, and how much the crop was worth. […] More

  • Topsoil: Civilization's Foundation Eroding

    By Lester R. Brown The thin layer of topsoil that covers the planet’s land surface is the foundation of civilization. This soil, typically 6 inches or so deep, was formed over long stretches of geological time as new soil formation exceeded the natural rate of erosion. But sometime within the last century, as human and […] More

  • Organic Farming Would Be Better In Terms of Climate Change Impact. Right?

    [social_buttons] I’m probably going to irritate some people with this post.  I apologize in advance because that is not at all my intention.  For those readers that don’t think climate change is a real problem, I respect the fact that there is uncertainty in that science, but if the majority position of climate scientists is true, the […] More

  • 50 Years of Truely Sustainable Agriculture to be Celebrated Next Year

    “No-till” Soybeans Following Wheat [social_buttons] There is a sub-set of farmers who have been practicing a much more sustainable form of agriculture for decades and we are coming up on the 50th anniversary of it’s beginnings.  I want to start writing about this event early because many environmentally-conscious folk are not aware of this hugely significant […] More

  • commercial scale composting

    An “Inconvenient Truth” about Composting

    Composting is a really green thing to do, right? I’ve always thought so since my Grandfather taught me to do it in the early sixties. Large-scale composting is getting to be quite the rage. The City of San Francisco attracted a great deal of attention with it’s mandatory food scrap recycling program and lots of local […] More

  • volcano smoke stack

    Top Global Warming Causes – Natural or Human?

    If you’ve followed the debate over climate change even a little, you likely know the main causes of global warming: concentrations of greenhouse gases build up in the Earth’s atmosphere, and create a “greenhouse,” or warming effect. You’re likely also aware that evidence of past warming periods has fueled the argument that natural causes are […] More

  • Melting Ice Could Lead to Massive Waves of Climate Refugees

    As the earth warms, the melting of the earth’s two massive ice sheets—Antarctica and Greenland—could raise sea level enormously. If the Greenland ice sheet were to melt, it would raise sea level 7 meters (23 feet). Melting of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet would raise sea level 5 meters (16 feet). But even just partial melting of these ice sheets will have a dramatic effect on sea level rise. More

  • White House to Plant Organic Vegetable Garden

    ABC news’ Brian Hartman has reported what many have been wishfully waiting to hear for months: the Obamas will soon plant an organic vegetable garden on the White House South grounds. Following a 60 Minutes interview with Chez Panisse chef, renowned slow foodist and activist for improved national eating habits in the US, Alice Waters, […] More

  • sustainability

    Paper Matters

    Paper appears to be high on the agenda of a number of organizations this week. It’s necessary. Paper is so ubiquitous – from tissues to toilet paper to memo pads to catalogs to the mess on your desk – that it is easy to forget, or perhaps more convenient to ignore, that paper manufacturing has […] More

  • compost

    Compost vs Landfill: Does it Really Make a Difference?

    Editor’s note: Many thanks to Dr. John at Flopping Aces for bringing this 6-year-old-post back into our “Popular Right Now” column for a few minutes. I hope he’s given himself a good pat on the back for his snarky observation; I hope you’ll read just a bit more than he obviously did…. it’s a short post, […] More

  • Ecopreneur or Entrepreneur: What’s The Difference?

    There are many ways in which entrepreneurs and ecopreneurs are similar. Both embrace failure and are idea-driven, innovative, creative, risk tolerant, flexible, adaptable, freedom-minded and independent. Perhaps you could add a few more defining characteristics as well. However, ecopreneurs go beyond organic, beyond compliance to laws and regulations (or redefine them), beyond consumerism, beyond minimum […] More