Farmers are on the front line of climate change and to some extent they are accelerating it (deforestation and extensive pesticide use), but smart farmers are fighting climate change and improving their crop yield at the same time. A very successful natural intervention farmers can use are known as praire strips. These are long thin strips of land on a farmer’s field that hosts native species and provide lots of benefits to the surrounding land. They attract insects that help crops, help retain water, and keep the soil healthy in a way that chemical interventions can’t.
Insect and bird populations are more than 2x in prairie strips compared to mono-crop fields – providing vital defense against pests and other ecosystem services
Pollinators increase at around the same rate
Prairie strips turn a veritable green desert into a thriving ecosystem
Anyone can be a gardener and you can too! All you need is a balcony or small plot of land and you can start growing your own food. To some people, the very idea of caring for other living things can be scary – what if all the plants die? Here’s the trick: start small and grow plants that can thrive in your area naturally. No green thumb is needed if you plant local.
An expert gardener has provide ten simple tips for first timers. You can do it!
2. START SMALL
If you are planning how to start a vegetable garden in your backyard then the potential size is likely dictated by what yard space you have. Some people may have grand plans when planning a kitchen garden, though if you are new to vegetable gardening then it may be best to start with a small space.
Starting with focusing on small vegetable garden ideas allows you to learn and get that satisfaction without the risk of getting frustrated by a large vegetable garden that gets weedy and out of control quickly. By starting small it means you can get a feel for how long things take to grow and nurture and the time involved in weeding, watering, fertilizing and harvesting.
It can take up more time than first expected and no-one wants to get disillusioned by turning over a huge space in their backyard to a vegetable garden that they don’t actually have the time in their busy lives to tend. If you do want to transform a large area, then it can be done slowly or sections not cultivated covered with thick cardboard or plastic to smother weeds.
Many people reduce their meat intake (which is good!) by swapping it with another animal protein source of fish. The problem here lies in how fishing is done around the world and the crimes committed by too many fishers. Indeed, crime on the high seas is alive and well with fishing vessels partaking in swaths of illicit behaviour. This all sounds bad, but the good news comes down to preventing it.
Indeed, researchers have published the results of a large effort to track when, where, and sometimes why fishing vessels turn off their tracking systems known as AIS. This is fantastic because it will help nations enforce the rules of the ocean by stopping illegal maritime activities.
AIS disabling is also strongly correlated with transshipment events –exchanging catch, personnel and suppliesbetween fishing vessels and refrigerated cargo vessels, or “reefers,” at sea. Reefers also have AIS transponders, and researchers can use their data toidentify loitering events, when reefers are in one place long enough to receive cargo from a fishing vessel.
It’s not unusual to see fishing vessels disable their AIS transponders near loitering reefers, which suggests that they want to hide these transfers from oversight. While transferring people or cargo can be legal, when it is poorly monitored it can become a means of laundering illegal catch. It has beenlinked to forced labor and human trafficking.
Lentils (and other pulses) are a fantastic way to save money, but did you know it’s good for your health and the planet? Researchers have concluded that if people who currently eat meat cut out just red meat it can make a big, positive, difference in their lives and communities. A simple diet change by a lot of people can make a big difference in addressing the climate crisis. Start eating lentils today to save money, protect your health, and to help save the planet.
New Zealand researchers investigated five diets which replace some or all red meat, finding they all could provide the recommended amount of nutrition, save the health system thousands of dollars per person, and cut diet-related greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 35%. The greatest benefits for all of the above were seen for a diet which replaces all meat with minimally-processed plant-based alternatives such as legumes – which also had a 7% lower average grocery cost.
Everybody knows that factory farming isn’t a sustainable use of land, but it’s still be practised because people think it’s more efficient. It turns out that low intensity farming produces some stellar results too. Researchers looking into cattle on farms found many benefits from a low intensity approach. Indeed, by practicing low intensity farming farmers cane bring life back to their soil and help benefit many species suffering through the ongoing climate crisis. Let’s be less intense, and if you’re looking for a faster fix to help farm fields recover you can reduce the amount of meat you consume.
Researchers found that less intensively managed grassland had greater diversity of plant species and, strikingly, this correlated with better soil health, such as increased nitrogen and carbon levels and increased numbers of soil invertebrates such as springtails and mites.
In the same study, the researchers used the same methods to examine the plant diversity and soil from grasslands on 56 mostly beef farms from the Pasture Fed Livestock Association (PFLA) – a farmer group that has developed standards to manage and improve soil and pasture health.
The researchers found that plots of land from PFLA farms had greater plant diversity – on average an additional six plant species, including different types of grasses and herbaceous flowering plants, compared to intensively farmed plots from the Countryside Survey. In addition, grassland plants on these farms were often taller, a quality which is proven to be beneficial to butterflies and bees.