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yes, organic farming can indeed feed the world!

i’m oftentimes confronted with the argument that organic farming is a flawed solution, because it cannot feed the entire population, let alone the 9 billion people we expect by 2050. that this is the product of false information from the industrial food lobby is not even so clear to many people in the ‘green movement’, so i thought i’d set the record straight.

in 2007, two researchers from my alma mater argue that organic farming can feed the world. in fact, they found organic farming can produce up to three times higher yields than conventional farming, with the average being around 80% in developing countries (paper here).

since one research paper might not impress you, there’s more: in 2008, the IAASTD published a 2500 page report (supported by the world bank, the UN, and the WHO, 60 world governments and 400 experts) that says that the industrial food system can’t feed the world in the long run, and the conventional system actually increases hunger, exhausts resources and aggravates climate change. unfortunately, the report has not garnered much media attention.

however, these findings are even shared with the highest UN authority on food. in march 2011, olivier de schutter, UN special rapporteur on the right to food, reports that “eco-farming can double food production in 10 years”, and is quoted in the corresponding press release: “we won’t solve hunger and stop climate change with industrial farming on large plantations. the solution lies in supporting small-scale farmers’ knowledge and experimentation, and in raising incomes of smallholders so as to contribute to rural development.” 

a recent video exposing koch industries yet again as environmental polluters: you can actually see steam coming from the water that is downstream from their factory in arkansas. the video shows several people suffering from cancer, which they claim to be a direct result of the polluted water.

what’s even crazier is that david koch actually had cancer himself, and even funded a cancer research center. but to stop pollution and get rid of a major source of cancer in the first place would probably cut too deep into their profits.

in case you haven’t heard of koch industries, it’s because they make it their business to stay out of the spotlight (probably with good reason). however, they are among the major air polluters in the US, as shown by this university of massachusetts study. even bloomberg, a fairly conservative medium, exposed koch industries’ sketchy business practices, including making illicit payments to win contracts, trading with a terrorist state, fixing prices, neglecting safety and ignoring environmental regulations.

koch industries is also a major cimate change denier, which is understandable as their wealth stems from the oil business. to say that they have oiled the denial machine is quite an understatement; it’s more like they were involved in building it:

[UPDATE: the koch brothers are also major supporters of the keystone XL pipeline, as naomi klein end bill mckibben recently pointed out. in case it’s unfamiliar to you, i blogged about keystone XL before]

today! 24 hours of climate reality via back-to-back web-livecasts! climate change is already happening, and we have to work harder to avoid runaway climate change!

check it out at www.climaterealityproject.org

join us on september 24 for the global day of action, moving planet! find your local event at moving-planet.org! in berlin, we’re going to have a silent climate parade, so if you’re around, join in and bring your friends!

great video on runaway climate change, tipping points, and what that all means for our future. also available in french, spanish, german, italian & hungarian.

according to the environmental working group, lamb has a higher carbon footprint than beef. most of the other items on this list are probably well known, but i thought i’d post it as a saturday reminder.

great interview with lutz pfannenstiel, the founder of an initiative i also support: global united f.c., which is the world’s largest football charity that deals with climate change and the environment.

i think football is a huge cultural force in our society, and as such, it can be a cultural impulse we need to rethink our world in a more sustainable way. i believe that football and footballers can spread a message, especially among kids, much quicker than perhaps politicians can, and it’s great to see that already 300 players support this organization!

somalia is currently experiencing the “worst humanitarian disaster” in the world due to the rain season being absent for the second year in a row. according to the world food program, 10 million people need humanitarian aid.

massive help is needed, and everybody can do something! for example, on saturday (july 23) a flea market is taking place at st. elisabeth-kirche (around rosenthaler platz) to collect money for médecins sans frontières’ crisis work: “KEIN DURST! Ein Flohmarkt der helfen soll”. great idea! i hope there will be lots of people who have wanted to free up some space in their apartments/basements anyway and/or want to find some new treasures so we’ll get some money together. a very pro-active answer and i wouldn’t completely rule out the possibility that a significant amount of money will be raised!

oh and yes, i know it’s impossible to link specific weather events to climate change, but the enormous amount and repeated occurrence of weather-related catastrophes suggest how very unlikely it is that there is no larger structural change at work. the world needs decisive and fair international political action ASAP!

al gore is planning a new presentation, and it will launch with a worldwide 24-hour event on september 14! it will be a round-the- clock, round-the-globe snapshot of the climate crisis in real time.

great preparation for the 350.org action day ‘moving planet’ on september 24!

another graphic plea to run those servers we use every day on renewable energy!

at home, naturstrom provides currently an energy mix of 72% water and 28% wind power. they are one of the four trustworthy green energy providers in germany. of course, this isn’t enough and we all need to push those tech companies to go greener. and we don’t have to start with the big companies. ask your IT-guy where your webpage is hosted, whether they use renewable energy and whether energy efficiency is on their agenda (and by when it would be possible to switch in case the answers are disappointing). or ask your favorite website(s)/blogs what they are doing.

and then there’s the big ones. i’m an apple user and i admit, i’d never switch just because of their eco-social footprint- my macbook pro is too damn useful. but that doesn’t mean i can’t send them e-mails with critical and impatient questions or suggestions. you can also use ecosia instead of google (and yes i know, WWF is currently under massive attack and i still haven’t seen the video in its entirety yet), which seems like a good alternative to me. of course also the greenpeace initiative ’unfriend coal’ asking facebook to get rid of those coal power plants (video)!

anyway, the electronics industry has a long way towards a sustainable future. no doubt, they offer spectacular opportunities to be smarter and greener. but they also need to keep their own house clean. and CO2-emissions are not even everything, heard of coltan mining yet?

by the way, while one could say that aviation only contributes 2% to the CO2-emissions, they are also responsible for other greenhouse gases (GHG) such as NOX or water vapor, a lot of which have a much higher global warming potential (GWP). since emissions taking place at higher altitudes, any responsible carbon footprint calculation should include the RFI (radiative forcing index), a multiplication factor of at least 2,7 (and up to 4, science is not yet 98% conclusive).

“in short, we have to live within nature’s budget of renewable resources at rates of natural replenishment” – very nice, post-carbon institute!