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Moving the Giants – An Inspiring Film

When David Milarch of Archangel Ancient Tree Archive came back to life, he embarked on a spiritual mission. Enjoy Moving the Giants, this award-winning short film about his mission.

Moving the Giants: An Urgent Plan to Save the Planet tells the story of arborist David Milarch, as he helps California coast redwoods migrate northward to survive climate changes that threaten their current habitat. His is one path to promote “treequestration,” a mass movement to use one of nature’s most prolific methods to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and reduce the amount of future climate change.

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Pulses: Nutritious Seeds for a Sustainable Future

The aim of raising global awareness on the multitude of benefits of pulses was integral to the International Year of Pulses. This coffee table book is part guide and part cookbook— informative without being technical. The book begins by giving an overview of pulses, and explains why they are an important food for the future. It also has more than 30 recipes prepared by some of the most prestigious chefs in the world and is peppered with infographics.

Part I gives an overview of pulses and gives a brief guide to the main varieties in the world.

Part II explains step-by-step how to cook them, what to keep in mind and what condiments and instruments to use.

KEEP READING ON FOOD AND AGRICULTURE ORGANIZATION  OF THE UNITED NATIONS

Valuing What Really Matters: A Look at Soil Currency

Author: Randall Coleman | Published: July 2016

We have all heard the expression “cheaper than dirt.” But many experts disagree. Soil is a vital resource that the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates contributes about USD $16.5 trillion in ecosystem services annually. In fact, FAO named 2015 the International Year of the Soils in order to highlight the importance of soils in our food system.

Unfortunately, arable soil is depleting very rapidly due to erosion, by around 24 billion tons each year. This rate of erosion is 10 to 100 times greater than the rate at which soil is being replenished. The major contributing factors are urban development, desertification, and industrial agriculture. The use of chemicals, intensive machinery, and monoculture are increasing productivity in the short term but leading to fallow soil and desertification over the long term. The most widely discussed solutions around these issues include polyculture, reforestation, and climate-smart agricultural practices. But, what if the reason we do not see soil being replenished is because we are not properly valuing it? I believe soil can provide a way to increase food access in urban food deserts, increase healthy diets among low-income communities, and shield communities from increasingly volatile global markets. To do this, we can look to the world of economics for a solution.

Some practitioners, artists, and scholars are exploring the idea of soil as a currency. Economists, agronomists, and ecologists have already agreed and estimated the economic benefits we receive from soil ecosystem services. Because we can create certain types of topsoil and because we know how valuable it is, we can create an economic system that is based on the value of soil.

KEEP READING ON THE SOLUTIONS JOURNAL

Moving up the Mountain: Coffee Farmers Fight Against Climate Change

This story is part of a campaign called Living on the Edge of Climate Change, showing how the changing environment is affecting the world’s most vulnerable.

It’s only 10 a.m. on a Thursday, but no one here is lingering over a last morning cup of coffee.

No, in the community of Nuevo Eden in the department of San Marcos in Guatemala, these people are growing your coffee. It’s hard work that gets more difficult by the year.

Person after person—man, woman and child—pass with a quick “buenos días” and a smile, but they don’t linger. They have a long, dusty mountain road ahead of them as they carry huge sacks of coffee cherries on their backs. These cherries will eventually become cups of steaming coffee. But to these farmers that’s not their immediate concern. Just getting the beans to this point has been an uphill battle: a battle against circumstance, a battle against the climate, a battle against poverty. And it’s a fight that is still not won, especially against climate change.

This part of Guatemala is known for its quality coffee, and for its beauty. The mountains provide both a gorgeous landscape and a good location for growing the valuable beans. But these tall peaks also serve as symbols of struggle. This has not been a smooth road, and these farmers are definitely not rich. In fact, they are some of the most vulnerable people in our world. And we want you to meet them.

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How Urban Farming Is Revolutionizing Our Cities and Food System

Author: Dr. David Suzuki | Published on: August 30, 2016

Urban agriculture won’t resolve all food production and distribution problems, but it could take pressure off rural land while providing other advantages.

Humans are fast becoming city dwellers. According to the United Nations, “The urban population of the world has grown rapidly from 746 million in 1950 to 3.9 billion in 2014.”

Sixty-six percent of us will likely live in urban environments by 2050. The number of mega-cities (more than 10 million inhabitants) is also skyrocketing, from 10 in 1990 to 28 in 2014—home to more than 453 million people—and is expected to grow to 41 by 2030.

Along with concerns about climate change and the distances much of our food travels from farm to plate, that’s spurred a renewed interest in producing food where people live. Urban agriculture won’t resolve all food production and distribution problems, but it could help take pressure off rural land while providing other advantages. From balcony, backyard, rooftop, indoor and community gardens to city beehives and chicken coops to larger urban farms and farmers markets, growing and distributing local food in or near cities is a healthy way to help the environment.

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Restoring the Climate: War Is Not the Answer

Author: Judith Schwartz

Author and climate activist Bill McKibben has published a manifesto to “declare war” on climate change. While I agree about the urgency, I question the wisdom of invoking warfare. For one, how well have our battles against vast, multifaceted problems worked out? (Think: the war on drugs, the war on terrorism, the war on poverty.) Equally important, the language of combat is exactly wrong for addressing climate disruption. Rather, we need to wage peace with nature: to understand how natural systems regulate climate and to ally with the processes that maintain those functions.

But we’re running out of time.

“Increasingly, people are ready for a peace footing with nature.”

Shifting to renewable energy—the core of McKibben’s mobilization—is essential. But this alone won’t avert climate disaster. Even if we stopped fossil fuel emissions this minute, it would take centuries to bring CO2 down to appropriate levels. Plus, what remains unspoken: We could suck all the CO2 we want out of the atmosphere and still suffer the droughts, floods, heat waves and wildfires we now associate with climate change. We’re blind-sided by carbon, as if breaking our fossil fuel addiction were all that’s needed to restore climate dynamics. Climate is too complex to be reduced to a single variable.

Many ecological processes that influence climate reflect the movement and phase change of water. While carbon dioxide traps heat, water vapor acts as conveyer of heat, retaining and releasing heat as it circulates. Consider transpiration, the upward movement of water through plants. This is a cooling mechanism, transforming solar radiation to latent heat embodied in water vapor. According to Czech botanist Jan Pokorny, each liter of water transpired converts 0.7 kilowatt-hours of solar energy, an amount comparable to the capacity of, say, a large room air conditioner. A single tree can transpire upwards of 100 liters of water in a day. That’s a lot of cooling power—not to mention the shade, the drawdown of carbon, and everything else a tree does for us.

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