The number of people affected by food shortages is starting to rise again. Is the solution a new biotech version of the Green Revolution, or a green Green Revolution based on organic farming? The New York Times brought together six experts to address those questions. Most fall squarely on one side of the fence or the other, but I'm interested in the more balanced opinion of Jonathan Foley, director of the Institute on the Environment at the University of Minnesota. I've done a lot of research on agriculture issues recently, both for National Geographic News and Discover magazine, and Foley's "third way" seems to make the most sense to me, in context with what I've been hearing from global agriculture experts.
Currently, there are two paradigms of agriculture being widely promoted: local and organic systems versus globalized and industrialized agriculture. Each has fervent followers and critics. Genuine discourse has broken down: You're either with Michael Pollan or you're with Monsanto. But neither of these paradigms, standing alone, can fully meet our needs.
Rather than voting for just one solution, we need a third way to solve the crisis. Let's take ideas from both sides, creating new, hybrid solutions that boost production, conserve resources and build a more sustainable and scalable agriculture. There are many promising avenues to pursue: precision agriculture, mixed with high-output composting and organic soil remedies; drip irrigation, plus buffer strips to reduce erosion and pollution; and new crop varieties that reduce water and fertilizer demand. In this context, the careful use of genetically modified crops may be appropriate, after careful public review.
Can Biotech Food Cure World Hunger, in the New York Times, via the Science and Development Network.
The massive scale and force of the ongoing bushfires in Australia is hard to comprehend.
“To the world leaders and those in power, I would like to say that you have not seen anything yet. You have not seen the last of us, we can assure you that. And that is the message that we will bring to the World Economic Forum in Davos next week.” In the Swiss city […]
This is some pretty amazing and highly rare video — seldom do you get footage of five, count ’em FIVE, California mountain lions all hanging out together. The big cats were captured on home surveillance video, in a rare gathering of the typically solitary critters.
We’re all guilty of constantly staring at a variety of screens throughout the day. The only problem is that the blue light that’s emitted by most electronics — and even energy-efficient lightbulbs — is notoriously bad for our eyes and, subsequently, our health. Here are three glasses that offer superior protection for your eyes both […]
From OneDrive to Slack, there are numerous ways to store files online. Because many platforms offer a certain amount of free storage, it makes sense to mix and match. However, spreading your files across multiple apps can make things very confusing. Rethink Files offers a simple solution. By connecting to all your other cloud storage […]
Winter can be a difficult time of year for golfers. Between the freezing temperatures and frequent snow showers, maintaining your handicap can seem almost impossible. When the fairways are frozen solid, the PhiGolf simulator lets you practice at home. This device captures every nuance of your swing to provide virtual coaching. Better still, you can […]