Archives for November, 2009

Green 2.0

One of the pleasures of reading Stewart Brand’s new book, “Whole Earth Discipline”, is that when it comes to managing the Earth’s ecosystem, he is unconstrained by conventional wisdom. In a break with many old-school environmentalists, Brand argues that the established Green agenda is outdated, too negative, too tradition bound, too specialized, too politically one-sided…

Guest blog by Mateo Burtch. Dear Ms. Doctor Ronald– I recently had the opportunity to read Simplicity Today, the magazine of the University of Reed alumni association, and its article on you (or someone who looks like you and has the same name as you and is apparently you). I found it to be fascinating…

Africa’s Organic Peasantry

An article in the Harvard International Review by Paul Collier paints a stark view of African peasantry. Collier presents a convincing argument that for African agriculture to become more productive, it needs modern agricultural technologies and new modes of organization

An appropriate technology, as asserted by the economist Schumacher in his book Small is Beautiful, should promote values such as health, beauty, and permanence. Low cost and low maintenance requirements are also of prime importance in Schumacher’s definition. Considering both Schumacher’s observations and the goals for ecological farming: • Produce abundant, safe and nutritious food…

Guest blogger Rob Hebert is a second-year student at Georgetown Law. Before moving to DC, he lived in Brooklyn, NY, just blocks from a bar that had over twenty-five beers on tap and thirty arcade machines that all played for a quarter. He can draw you a pretty interesting graph relating “Drinks Consumed” to “Last…

I am traveling now far away from home towards a large lake in Zurich. What a perfect time to receive this poem from Jan Visser. Le Lac (written in 1820 by Alphonse de Lamartine) Ainsi, toujours poussés vers de nouveaux rivages, dans la nuit éternelle emportés sans retour, ne pourrons-nous jamais sur l’océan des âges…

The Daily Star of Dhaka reports today that flood-tolerant rice will soon be officially released in Bangladesh. The flood-tolerant rice varieties (called Sub1- rice) can help farmers, many who live on less than $1/day, dramatically increase yield during floods.

In plant and animal innate immunity, like many of the dances of life, it takes two to tango. A receptor molecule in the plant pairs up with a specific molecule on the invading bacteria and, presto, the immune system swings into action to defend against the invasion of the disease-causing microbe. Unwrapping some of the…

The Changemakers international online community selected biofortified, a group website devoted to providing factual information and fostering discussion about plant genetics, especially genetic engineering, as the grand prize winner in the GMO Risk or Rescue Competition. This would not have been possible without the leadership of Karl Haro von Mogel, graduate student and blogger Anastasia…

Biotechnology for Sustainability

Kent J. Bradford, Professor of Plant Sciences and Academic Director of the Seed Biotechnology Center at UC Davis, is today’s guest blogger. Ever since our ancestors adopted an agricultural lifestyle about 10,000 years ago, our own sustainability has been intimately tied with that of our food production systems. Those systems currently support 6.7 billion humans,…