Feeding 9 billion


This article takes a land-sparing approach…I’ll be sure to post more about that. I don’t necessarily think we need to pit land-sparing against land-sharing approaches, but a lot of times we might assume that anything ‘sparing’ land from agricultural use MUST automatically be good for the environment.

I am actually a fan of the idea of leaving more of the Earth’s area alone to try to bounce back from environmental degradation. (Which won’t happen, btw, if we create irreversible climate change.)


“Green Growth” or Greenwashing?

A short but sweet video outlining some evidence that green growth may not be possible.

If you’re wondering where they got the number of 50 billion tonnes as a maximum for resource extraction, it appears the number comes from the following study for UNIDO (United Nations Industrial Development Organization) and others:

Dittrich, M.; Giljum, S.; Lutter, S.; Polzin, C. Green Economies around the World? Implications of Resource Use for Development and the Environment; SERI: Vienna, Austria, 2012.

China’s National Sword – recycling

China is tightening its standards and refusing to accept as many contaminated recyclables from other countries.

Well, it does point to a problem that has to be dealt with eventually, right? We have to deal with contaminated batches of recyclable materials (hopefully through better prevention and reduced waste overall, as well as new legislation regarding how manufacturers are allowed to package their goods – maybe it’s time all disposable food containers were compostable???). Some of the problems include bales of moldy paper – which is a potential public health risk – and improperly sorted or badly soiled mixed plastics that end up needing to go in the garbage.

Nobody wants to be stuck dealing with a bunch of somebody else’s trash. If we want recyclables to actually be recycled, and to really be a resource, we have to clean up our act.


Chew on This! Canadian campaign to alleviate poverty and hunger in Canada

On Tuesday, October 17, you can easily participate in this great campaign to end hunger in Canada by targeting poverty (which is preventable and solvable, by the way!)


Basically, the campaign holds that the Canadian government should have an anti-poverty plan, instead of leaving the symptoms of poverty to be ‘addressed’ by emergency-aid-type responses led by charitable organizations and faith-based groups. While these charitable groups do some amazing work to help Canadians to cope short-term with symptoms of poverty, they can’t get at the root causes of poverty, so they’re forced to continually fight an uphill battle.

…Food Banks, for example, were supposed to be a temporary measure to help Canadians get emergency food in the 1980s during economic recession. In 2017, food banks are very much still here…and the need for them just keeps growing. It’s not a sustainable situation, and it’s not a solution to hunger. The food bank where I work does not receive any financial support from any level of government – and we aren’t asking for their support either, because the government should be focusing on poverty prevention and alleviation at the roots.

So here’s a proposed Plan to deal with root causes of poverty in Canada so that we can stop the endless uphill battle: https://dignityforall.ca/our-plan/

The map at the bottom of the page here shows where you can check out an event being hosted near you. Attending in person lets you talk to volunteers about the issues, find out more, and sign-on to the campaign in person to show your support. Also, pick up some swag to tell more people!

If you’re not able to stop by an event in person, you can also take action here (including signing-on to the campaign online): https://dignityforall.ca/take-action/

Should we stop talking about ‘decoupling’ growth from environmental impacts?

I often hear about the idea that GDP growth can be “decoupled” from environmental impacts. There are a lot of articles out there explaining how this might be achieved, and there are a also a lot of good articles explaining why it can’t be done. I wanted to share an overview of why GDP can’t keep increasing in a meaningful sense (so de-growth or steady-state might be the only options).