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Water, Food Production Systems and Society

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Significant ideas:

1) The hydrological cycle is a system of water flows and storages that may be disrupted by human activity.

2) The ocean circulatory system (ocean conveyor belt) influences the climate and global distribution of water (matter and energy).

3) The supplies of freshwater resources are inequitably available and unevenly distributed, which can lead to conflict and concerns over water security.

4) Freshwater resources can be sustainably managed using a variety of different approaches

5) Aquatic systems provide a source of food production.

6) Unsustainable use of aquatic ecosystems can lead to environmental degradation and collapse of wild fisheries.

7) Aquaculture provides potential for increased food production

8) Water pollution, both to groundwater and surface water, is a major global problem, the effects of which influence human and other biological systems.

Bangladesh's water crisis: A story of gender. Bill Gates launches chicken plan to help Africa poor. Image copyright Reuters Microsoft founder Bill Gates has launched a campaign to help extremely poor families in sub-Saharan Africa by giving them chickens.

Bill Gates launches chicken plan to help Africa poor

The billionaire and philanthropist says raising and selling the birds can be efficient to tackle extreme poverty. He has promised to donate 100,000 chickens, and the project's page has already been shared thousands of times. The UN estimates that 41% of people in sub-Saharan Africa live in extreme poverty. Origin of crops. By Colin K.

Origin of crops

Khoury, Harold A. Achicanoy, Carlos Navarro-Racines, Steven Sotelo, and Andy Jarvis at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT). 'Biodegradable' Plastics Are A Big Fat Lie. India to 'divert rivers' to tackle drought. Image copyright AP.

India to 'divert rivers' to tackle drought

Denmark could hike tax on red meat in a bid to boost vegetarianism to help environment  Urban Aquaponic Farmer and Chef Redefines Local Food in Orange County, CA – Yardfarmers. Editor’s Note – Adam Navidi is looking at different growing methods like aquaponics in order to produce local, sustainably produced food.

Urban Aquaponic Farmer and Chef Redefines Local Food in Orange County, CA – Yardfarmers

This article was originally posted on Seedstock and written by AJ Hughes. Global food production threatens to overwhelm efforts to combat climate change. Each year our terrestrial biosphere absorbs about a quarter of all the carbon dioxide emissions that humans produce.

Global food production threatens to overwhelm efforts to combat climate change

This a very good thing; it helps to moderate the warming produced by human activities such as burning fossil fuels and cutting down forests. But in a paper published in Nature today, we show that emissions from other human activities, particularly food production, are overwhelming this cooling effect. This is a worrying trend, at a time when CO₂ emissions from fossil fuels are slowing down, and is clearly not consistent with efforts to stabilise global warming well below 2℃ as agreed at the Paris climate conference.

To explain why, we need to look at two other greenhouse gases: methane and nitrous oxide. The other greenhouse gases Each year, people produce about 40 billion tones of CO₂ emissions, largely from burning fossil fuels and deforestation. The human emissions of these gases are largely associated with food production. How Northern European waters soak up carbon dioxide. Image copyright AFP The seas around the UK and the rest of northern Europe take up a staggering 24 million tonnes of carbon each year.

How Northern European waters soak up carbon dioxide

It is a mass equivalent to two million double-decker buses or 72,000 747 jets. Four billion people face severe water scarcity, new research finds. At least two-thirds of the global population, over 4 billion people, live with severe water scarcity for at least one month every year, according to a major new analysis.

Four billion people face severe water scarcity, new research finds

The revelation shows water shortages, one of the most dangerous challenges the world faces, is far worse previously than thought. The new research also reveals that 500m people live in places where water consumption is double the amount replenished by rain for the entire year, leaving them extremely vulnerable as underground aquifers run down. Many of those living with fragile water resources are in India and China, but other regions highlighted are the central and western US, Australia and even the city of London. These water problems are set to worsen, according to the researchers, as population growth and increasing water use – particularly through eating meat – continues to rise. Boosting food crop yields 'can protect biodiversity' Increasing crop yields could help meet the rising global demand for more food while sparing land to protect biodiversity, a study has suggested.

Boosting food crop yields 'can protect biodiversity'

The expansion of agriculture is deemed to be one of the main drivers for global habitat and biodiversity loss. Researchers from the UK and Brazil say that boosting yields could help - but only if policies such as incentives or land-zoning are implemented as well. Their findings have been published in the journal Science. "The least bad way we can reconcile the rising demand for food production over the next 50 years with the need to protect the environment... is through this notion of land-sparing, which is pursuing sustainable but high-yield farming on farmland," said co-author Andrew Balmford, professor of conservation science at the University of Cambridge.

He told BBC News that it was probably the "least bad" option in terms of of a policy approach for food security and environmental protection - if it was possible to deliver. How the meat industry marks the land. I first came across these feedlots on Google Earth and had no idea what I was seeing.

How the meat industry marks the land

The mass and density of the black and white dots seemed almost microbial. Fishing boats become citizen science data platforms - BBC News. Fishermen in South Devon, UK, have turned their boats into "massive data platforms" for a citizen science study.

Fishing boats become citizen science data platforms - BBC News

They have become the first commercial fishers to gather data for the Secchi Disk Study, which is gathering data on the state of the oceans' phytoplankton. To date, there is little scientific information on the health of the tiny marine plants that form the basis of global food chains. The data will also help fishermen manage stocks, a skipper told BBC News. Bug-killing book pages clean murky drinking water - BBC News. TOXIC: Garbage Island. By Thomas Morton Photos by Jake Burghart I’m not one of those guys who corners folks at parties to rant at them about biodiesel or calls people “fucking idiots” for being skeptical about global warming. But I should also point out that I’m not one of those Andrew Dice Clay “Fuck the whales” types either. The problem with all the bravado on both sides of the ecology debate is that nobody really knows what they’re talking about.