Wednesday, 29 April 2015

UN suggests indicators for sustainable food production (online)

Sustainable Consumption and Production Indicators for the Future SDGs

In the course of the ongoing discussions at the United Nations on the post-2015 development agenda, a consensus emerged that current and future social, environmental and economic challenges are interlinked and must be addressed through an integrated approach. In this spirit, the intergovernmental Open Working Group (OWG) on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) put forward, in July 2014, a proposal comprising 17 goals and 169 targets. This discussion paper aims to contribute to the development of an integrated, science-based set of indicators to monitor progress towards sustainable consumption and production (SCP) patterns which support achievement of the SDGs. The paper highlights a number of potential indicators which can serve for different goals and targets and which thus contribute to making the targets more actionable and transformative, by promoting an integrated approach.

Ecological choices for future global food production (#journal)

Sustainable food production: constraints, challenges and choices by 2050

We have a large range of choices in the way future food demand might be met. Meeting this future food demand has frequently wrongly been articulated as a crisis of supply alone, but in fact the crisis can be avoided by the choices we make. The food security debate will be enriched by a rigorous evaluation of all these choices and recognition that the eventual solution will reside in a mixture of these choices. We could move to a paradigm where ecological sustainability constitutes the entry point for all agricultural development. Such a paradigm shift could reposition world food production from its current role as the world’s single largest driver of global environmental change, to becoming a critical part of a transition to respect the planet’s biophysical processes and functions.

Unforeseen consequences of climate change adaptation (#journal)

The environmental impact of climate change adaptation on land use and water quality

Adaptation seeks to reduce the harmful consequences and harness any beneficial opportunities arising from the changing climate. However, adaptation itself also has the potential to generate further pressures. Policies designed to encourage adaptation may conflict with regulation aimed at preserving environmental quality. To highlight this, we analyse the trade-offs between two fundamental ecosystem services: provisioning services derived from agriculture and regulating services in the form of freshwater quality. Results indicate that climate adaptation in the farming sector will generate fundamental changes in river water quality. These findings illustrate the importance of anticipating the wider impacts of human adaptation to climate change when designing environmental policies.

Initiatives to make towns more sustainable (#journal)

Transition Towns and EcoDistricts: Local Sustainable Initiatives

The Transition Town movement seeks to assist towns to transition to a new future beyond the negative effects of Peak Oil and Climate Warming. A 12 Step Programme helps identify key sectors of transitioning, such as reducing energy use and providing more local food supplies and employment. A parallel movement is spreading through the United States; the EcoDistrict organization communicates its ideas through an active website, annual meetings and the development of university course linkages. These two examples of grass-roots activism provide an important addition to the ways in which urban places can become more sustainable and locally resilient.

Improve your funding bids (online)

The ten habits of highly unsuccessful research bid writers

Greening agrarian studies - 40 free articles (journal)

Greening Agrarian Studies Special Issue

A special issue of the Journal of Peasant Studies on 'Greening agrarian studies'. The articles are free to access. As the title suggests, this collection brings together 40 articles on various environmental themes that speak to critical agrarian studies. The editors hope academics will find this virtual special issue useful in their courses, that students will find it useful in building their theoretical foundations and that policy practitioners will find it relevant in informing policy debates. They hope agrarian, food and environmental activists will find it relevant in their political struggles.

Permaculture thriving in Malawi (online)

Permaculture in Malawi: using food forests to prevent floods and hunger 
Guardian (UK)20 April 2015
Permaculture projects in Malawi are developing sustainable food systems. It is time the development sector took this ‘marginal hippy movement’ seriously.

Reducing greehouse gases from crops (online)

Emissions from Crops - POST Note

Agriculture contributes 9% of the UK’s greenhouse-gases (GHG) emissions burden and 10-12% globally. Although there is a long-term declining trend from UK agriculture, the sector may account for a larger share of overall emissions in the future as other sectors reduce emissions. This POSTnote focuses on reducing GHG emissions from growing and storing arable and horticultural crops

Biodiversity auditing explained (online)

Biodiversity Auditing - POST Note 

Biodiversity supports the ecosystem services humans rely on for well-being and economic resources. Areas that have had an audit can make more effective use of ecological data to meet planning and conservation objectives for biodiversity. This POSTnote summarises the data sources used and the advantages of the audit approach for addressing biodiversity loss.

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Soil loss crisis (online)

Ploughing On Regardless 

Almost all other issues are superficial by comparison to soil loss. So why don’t we talk about it? George Monbiot's latest column for The Guardian newspaper discusses the growing crisis of soil...and argues permaculture is part of the solution.