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Recognition that we human beings are all on a spaceship rose to the consciousness of greater humanity over 45 years ago, by two events in 1969. In March that year, R. Buckminster Fuller published his book Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth, which was noticed by only a few people then. Dr. Bruce Hector was a student of Dr. R. Buckminster (Bucky) Fuller more than 40 years ago. By July of that year, most of the world saw the Earth as a small blue globe against the black background of space with the moon’s surface in the foreground. As Fuller noted then: “We’re Still on Spaceship Earth and Still Without a Dashboard.” The image of the Earth starkly contrasted with the heretofore held belief of humans as isolated tribes, communities, states, nations leading us to realize we are all alone together in space have no where else to go.
This was part of the stimulus to make us recognize the need to care for our spaceship leading to the Clean Air and Water Acts a few years later under Republican President Nixon. Recently Dr. Hector was rereading Dr. Fuller’s small book of 120 pages and discovered that there are two dominant themes from it that directly apply to the world today. In Operating Manual Fuller notes that humans were provided a wonderful life support regenerative system unknown anywhere else in universe. However, the Creator provided no operating manual and left it to humans to learn the principles operative in the universe and use them to fulfill our material needs.
Fuller also noted that the human “nest” was equipped with millions of years of fossil fuel reserves to power our success until we are self-generating but that we have used a large portion of those fossil fuel reserves in a miniscule 150 years. These were the fuel reserves to serve ALL HUMANKIND for ALL TIME, not just a few generations. The book urged humans to mature on this planet, transfer to renewable energy sources identifying many of the numerous opportunities that have since been proven capable of meeting man’s needs. Hence my (Woodrow Clark) book The Green Industrial Revolution documents the current concerns today and what the solutions are. Fuller was aware of the pollution created by fossil fuels though he is also famous for saying, “Pollution is nothing but the resources we are not harvesting,” indicating this too is simply a design failure on human being’s part.
A second important point “Bucky” Fuller makes is that while humankind has been extremely successful as a species growing from about 1.5 billion in 1900 to more than 7 billion now, and expected to reach 9-10 billion by mid-century, we still have not evolved an accounting system for monitoring the impact of our activities. He bemoaned our failure to measure scientifically or in many cases even recognize the impact of our industrial activities because these events often occur outside the narrow range of the electromagnetic spectrum our senses can perceive. Most of the activity of the universe is unseen by humans but well known to be questionable by corporations and governments. Ninety-seven percent of companies fail to provide data on key sustainability indicators
Earth Accounting is the effort of a dedicated but as yet small group to create this real world activity accounting system and present it to people in a form useful to consumers who are responsible for 70 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). This presentation will allow consumers to use their purchasing power to promote sustainable industrial development. When refined it can also allow each consumer to monitor his “footprint,” empowering him to reduce his environmental impact. Who knows, perhaps one day humanity may even recognize that it is more important to tax a person’s planetary impact than his monetary income? Getting accurate and validated information on products, goods and services will help consumer awareness and then consumption. The result will be a dramatic result and change lowering greenhouse gases, carbon emissions and pollution.
For example, recently, in the December 2104 issue of Nutrition Action Letter, Executive Director Michael F. Jackson wrote a memo article titled “Good Luck” which noted five issues the FDA has authority to resolve but is unlikely to do so quickly: 1) setting regulations for food borne illness, 2) reducing antibiotic use in livestock; 3) banning partially hydrogenated oil; 4) setting standards for sodium intake; and 5) compelling food chains to note the calories of their menu items.
After each Jackson notes the lack of progress concluding that if consumers feel they will be protected—“Good Luck.” The public overwhelmingly wants this information, but government appears to be impotent to compel industry to provide it to us. Or “influenced” by companies to “not care.” With this history about something as important as the food we eat, one can imagine how long it will take for government to show appropriate concern about the impact of industrial processes on our Spaceship Earth!
Everyone should recognize these sad facts, which is another reason for the creation of the consumer-empowering app, EarthTouch being developed by Earth Accounting. We consumers must create the tools we need and history indicates neither industry nor government is likely to do so. We welcome your participation in this truly market driven approach to sustainability. For more information click here.
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Farms with just one or a handful of different crops encourage fewer species of pollinating and pest-controlling insects to linger, ultimately winnowing away crop yields, according to a new study.
Up to half of the detrimental impacts of the "landscape simplification" that monocropping entails come as a result of a diminished mix of ecosystem service-providing insects, a team of scientists reported Oct. 16 in the journal Science Advances.
Monocrop palm oil plantation Honduras.
SHARE Foundation / Flickr / CC BY-NC 2.0
"Our study shows that biodiversity is essential to ensure the provision of ecosystem services and to maintain a high and stable agricultural production," Matteo Dainese, the study's lead author and a biologist at Eurac Research in Bolzano, Italy, said in a statement.
It stands to reason that, with declines in the sheer numbers of insects that ferry pollen from plant to plant and keep crop-eating pests under control, these services will wane as well. But until now, it hasn't been clear how monocultures affect the number and mix of these species or how crop yields might change as a result.
Aiming to solve these questions, Dainese and his colleagues pulled together data from 89 studies cutting across a variety of landscapes, from the tropics of Asia and Africa to the higher latitudes of northern Europe. They tabulated the number of pollinating and pest-controlling insects at these sites — both the absolute number of individuals and the number of species — along with an assessment of the ecosystem services the insects provided.
In almost all of the studies they looked at, the team found that a more diverse pool of these species translated into more pollination and greater pest control. They also showed that simplified landscapes supported fewer species of service-providing insects, which ultimately led to lower crop yields.
The researchers also looked at a third measure of the makeup of insect populations — what they called "evenness." In natural ecosystems, a handful of dominant species with many more individuals typically live alongside a higher number of rarer species. The team found as landscapes became less diverse, dominant species numbers dwindled and rare species gained ground. This resulting, more equitable mix led to less pollination (though it didn't end up affecting pest control).
"Our study provides strong empirical support for the potential benefits of new pathways to sustainable agriculture that aim to reconcile the protection of biodiversity and the production of food for increasing human populations," Ingolf Steffan-Dewenter, one of the study's authors and an animal ecologist at the University of Würzburg in Germany, said in the statement.
The scientists figure that the richness of pollinator species explains around a third of the harmful impacts of less diverse landscapes, while the richness of pest-controlling species accounts for about half of the same measure. In their view, the results of their research point to the need to protect biodiversity on and around crops in an uncertain future.
"Under future conditions with ongoing global change and more frequent extreme climate events, the value of farmland biodiversity ensuring resilience against environmental disturbances will become even more important," Steffan-Dewenter said.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Mongabay.
Ivory Coast's rainforests have been decimated by cocoa production and what is left is put in peril by a new law that will remove legal protections for thousands of square miles of forests, according to The Guardian.
By Karin Kirk
Greenland had quite the summer. It rose from peaceful obscurity to global headliner as ice melted so swiftly and massively that many were left grasping for adjectives. Then, Greenland's profile was further boosted, albeit not to its delight, when President Trump expressed interest in buying it, only to be summarily dismissed by the Danish prime minister.
During that time I happened to be in East Greenland, both as an observer of the stark effects of climate change and as a witness to local dialogue about presidential real estate aspirations, polar bear migrations and Greenland's sudden emergence as a trending topic.
Heavy metals that may damage a developing brain are present in 95 percent of baby foods on the market. Cirou Frederic / PhotoAlto Agency RF Collections / Getty Images
Heavy metals that may damage a developing brain are present in 95 percent of baby foods on the market, according to new research from the advocacy organization Healthy Babies Bright Futures (HBBF), which bills itself as an alliance of scientists, nonprofit organizations and donors trying to reduce exposures to neurotoxic chemicals during the first three years of development.
By Kerstin Palme
Creepy-crawlies are among the oldest life forms on this planet. Before dinosaurs ever walked the earth, insects were certainly already there. Some estimates date their origins to 400 million years ago. They're also extremely successful. Of the 7 to 8 million species documented on Earth, around three quarters are likely bugs.
But several insect species could disappear for good in the next few decades and that would have serious consequences for humans.
Volvo introduced its first-ever all-electric vehicle this week, kicking off an ambitious plan to slash emissions and phase out solely gas-powered vehicles starting this year.
The report, released Wednesday, found that almost every European who lives in a city is exposed to unhealthy air, Reuters reported.