The moringa oleifera is known as the "miracle tree" because it has been used in northern India and many parts of Africa for traditional medicine, food and cooking oil, a pesticide, a domestic cleaning agent and biofuel. Moringas are extremely hardy. They grow on marginal soils, regrow after being chopped down and are one of the few trees that produce fruit during a drought. They are native to the foothills of the Himalayas but Re widely cultivated in Africa, Central and South America, Sri Lanka, India, Malaysia and the Philippines Research in the past has shown that its seeds can … Continue Reading
For a long time, Apple products were the most easily repaired and upgraded computers on the market. Apple's new top-of-the-line MacBook Pro goes to the opposite extreme. The case is secured with proprietary pentalobe screws to prevent you from gaining access to anything inside. The RAM is soldered to the logic board. It can never be replaced or upgraded. The lithium-polymer battery is glued to the case – just in case you thought you might be capable of changing a battery. The display assembly is completely fused and there is no glass protecting it. If anything ever fails inside the … Continue Reading
Using oil and gas as an energy source is a remnant of old Industial Age technology and not normally part of our discussion of the developing Global Age. However, the increased price of fossil fuels, resulting from the world’s diminishing oil supply, has led to some extraordinary techniques being used to extract oil and gas from ‘unconventional’ sources. These techniques seem to have been shrouded in confusing jargon and emotional claims. In this post, I have attempted to set out my understanding of techniques such as fracking and coal seam gas extraction in plain language. Researching these techniques has led … Continue Reading
The conventional wisdom is that it takes as much as 10 units of grain to produce one unit of meat with the equivalent nutritional value. George Monbiot has recently pointed out that we should be comparing the amount of land and water required to grow meat with the land and required to grow plant products of the same nutritional value. And that when you do that you come up with radically different results. Many of the world’s animals are fed on products which humans don’t eat and could not eat. These include residues and waste and straw and grass which … Continue Reading
Professor Kjell Aleklett has told the ABC Science Show that oil production peaked in 2008 and has been in decline since. He says that the reserves are there but the flow is lower than in the past. Professor Aleklett, who is head of the Global Energy Systems group at Uppsala University in Sweden, also says the price spike in oil in July 2008 was the trigger for the Global Financial Crisis. Click here to listen to the interview or here to download it.
Oxfam America is promoting a new approach, called "the System of Rice Intensification" or SRI, for small farmers which helps them produce more rice at lower cost without relying on harmful fertilizers and pesticides that can decrease soil fertility and threaten clean air, soil, and water. Farmers using the SRI method simply transplant younger seedlings into un-flooded soils and space them in a square pattern a bit wider than in traditional methods. Soils are kept moist rather than continuously flooded. The plants become more resistant to pests and less fertilizer is required. Farmers in Vietnam who adopted the method increased … Continue Reading
According to Oxfam America, rice farmers could produce 50% more rice using less water than with current techniques. Rice farmers normally rely on flooding their fields to keep seeds covered in water throughout the growing season. But farmers in parts of Africa, Southeast Asia and India have been able to produce as much as 50 percent more rice with less water, and often with less labor, by planting seedlings farther apart, keeping fields moist instead of flooding them, transplanting seedlings to fields earlier and weeding manually. According to Oxfam, water-intensive rice farming accounts for as much as a third of … Continue Reading
Take a look at our new video about the amazing amount of coal and water that it takes to run a coal-fired power station – and the huge volume of carbon dioxide emitted, as well as all of the other pollutants.
A study, led by Tad Patzek, chairman of the Department of Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin, says that the world will face "peak coal" as soon as 2011. (The study defines "peak coal" as the peak in the amount of energy produced globally from coal.) In contrast, the U.S. Energy Information Administration projects coal consumption for electricity growing more than 50 percent by 2035 unless policies are put in place to stop the growth to prevent greenhouse gas emissions. Professor Patzek argues that the reserves estimates of the United States and other countries overstate … Continue Reading
The German magazine Der Speigel has published part of a leaked draft German military analysis of the possible consequences of peak oil. The study was carried ou by the Future Analysis department of the Bundeswehr Transformation Center, a think tank set up to fix a direction for the German military. Last week the Guardian newspaper reported that the British Department of Energy and Climate Change is also keeping documents secret which show the UK government is also far more concerned about an impending supply crisis than it publicly admits. According to the German report, there is "some probability that peak … Continue Reading