“If it can’t…” [#geekgirl]
“Open source comes to farms with restriction-free seeds” [#geekgirl]
[From an article at arstechnica.com] “There are now 29 kinds of plant varieties that are available under an open source license, reports NPR. On Thursday, a group of scientists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison debuted the Open Source Seed Initiative (OSSI), a set of seeds that can be used by anyone so long as they don’t restrict use by others through patents or IP protection.
The initiative is one answer to the heated battle between farmers and companies like Monsanto, which holds patents on plants that have features like resistance to certain herbicides or seeds that produce slightly different plants if they are resown from a first-generation crop. Soybeans in particular have been a point of contention, with both organic farmers who want to keep Monsanto’s products out of their farms and commercial farmers who want the right to multiple generations from one soybean seed purchase.”
Tant de Forêts [#geekgirl]
Jane Goodall: Seeds of Hope [#geekgirl]
[From an article at billmoyers.com which publishes an excerpt from Jane Goodall’s new book Seeds of Hope] “Right now the biggest new gardening trend in the United States is the elimination of fertilizer-dependent and water-draining grass lawns. Instead, gardeners are discovering the joys of creating more environmentally friendly habitats with native trees and plants — those that have been living in the area for hundreds of years and are adapted to the climate.
My botanist friend Robin Kobaly is an advisor to people who want to grow drought-tolerant gardens with native plants in the Southwest. She says that people are especially enthusiastic about native plants when they live in arid areas, but even in other parts of the country, where there’s more rainfall, gardeners are getting sick of the amount of water it takes to keep grass lawns green. At the moment, gardening with drought-tolerant native plants is just a popular eco-conscious trend. But soon, five to six years from now, Robin believes, “it will be imperative for everyone to change how they landscape and garden as the overriding reality of the lack of water becomes apparent.”
This new gardening movement not only reduces water waste but also provides an attractive habitat for the local wildlife…even the smallest of gardens can make a difference for the wildlife that is struggling to survive. Almost everyone I meet wants to save wild animals and insects, but they often don’t realize how important it is to preserve the anchors of the wildlife community — the native plants.
In urban areas where the gardens and yards are often small, some communities are joining together to create wildlife havens. There is, for example, the “Pollinator Pathway” in Seattle — where a group of neighbors have transformed the scruffy strips of grass in front of their homes, between the sidewalk and the street, into a mile-long bee-pollinator corridor, planted with native plants that attract and nourish bees. Other neighborhoods and individual properties are havens for migrating birds. Robin tells her gardening clients, “Think of your garden as a gas station for migrating birds, a place where they can fill up their tanks — they can’t migrate if they don’t have fuel.”
“Half of European bumblebees in decline, quarter face extinction…” [#geekgirl]
[From an article at RT] “Almost one-quarter of European crops’ vital pollinators – bumblebees – could die out in the coming years, as half of the species are declining, a new study says. Citing human factor and climate change, it warns of “serious implications” for agriculture.
A preview of the recent European Commission-funded study, published on the website of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) on Wednesday, says it has some “bad news” for Europe’s bumblebees.
As much as 46 percent of the 68 bumblebee species living in Europe have a declining population and just 13 percent are increasing in numbers, the study shows. According to IUCN, 24 percent of those species are “threatened with extinction.”
The study, which contributes to the European Red List of pollinators and is part of the Status and Trends of European Pollinators (STEP) project, stresses that three of the five “most important insect pollinators of European crops” are bumblebee species.
Bumblebees have for thousands of years played a “critical role” in agriculture as they help crops reproduce by transferring pollen from plant to plant. However, as agriculture and urban development have intensified in recent years and cultivated land has been changed, bumblebees have been hit by the loss of habitat and the loss of their preferred forage, as well as pollution and insecticides. “
“ICJ Rules Japan’s Southern Ocean Whaling ‘Not For Scientific Research’” [#geekgirl]
[Via an article at seashepherd.org] “In a stunning victory for the whales, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague announced their binding decision today in the landmark case of Australia v. Japan, ruling that Japan’s JARPA II whaling program in the Antarctic is not for scientific purposes and ordering that all permits given under JARPA II be revoked. The news was applauded and celebrated by Sea Shepherd Conservation Society USA and Sea Shepherd Australia, both of which have directly intervened against Japanese whalers in the Southern Ocean.
Representing Sea Shepherd in the courtroom to hear the historic verdict were Captain Alex Cornelissen, Executive Director of Sea Shepherd Global and Geert Vons, Director of Sea Shepherd Netherlands. They were accompanied by Sea Shepherd Global’s Dutch legal counsel.”
How #Wolves Change Rivers [#geekgirl]
GM contamination test case [#geekgirl]
[Via the ABC's Radio National] “The West Australian Supreme court will commence hearing a test case that has farmers around Australia and even across the world on the edge of their tractor seats.
It involves a farmer Steve Marsh who lost his organic certification when GM canola seeds from his neighbour’s crop sprouted on his land.
Steve Marsh has sued his neighbour for the economic loss that accompanied his loss of certification.”
Now #Abbott Plans to Destroy #Tasmania’s Forests…. [#GRRR] [#geekgirl]
[From the sumofus.org] "It’s not often that environmentalists, the timber industry and unions agree on forests -- but now Tony Abbott wants to shred their landmark agreement to protect Tasmania’s forests. In just a few days, the government will ask the World Heritage Committee to strip Tasmania’s forests of their protection -- and we can’t let this happen.
It’s less than one year since Tasmania’s forests were given the highest level of protection. Green groups and the timber industry still support the agreement -- and even the Forestry Industry Association is asking the government not to interfere. But Abbott’s determined to undo this historic agreement to save the forests, unless we can show him the public won’t accept it."
“Timon Singh West African Inventor Makes a $100 3D Printer From E-Waste” [#geekgirl]