Link roundup: think smart, act fast, do good.


Three star plants for the urban gardener via Permaculture Magazine

And dumbest headline of the week award goes to NPR’s “How Making Food Safe Can Harm Wildlife And Water” Dumb not only because it’s misleading about the situation, but it’s also misleading about the content which tells the uphill battle farmers face in regards to food safety and natural balance. 

The economics of poverty looks at how, if we are to change behaviour patterns, we need to truly understand the situation and not just expect people to help themselves.

For example,offering Kenyan farmers half-price fertiliser at sowing time didn’t work,because they hadn’t saved enough money from harvest time to buy it. But selling farmers a full-price voucher directly after the harvest,when they could afford it,to be exchanged for fertiliser at sowing time when they needed it,increased fertiliser use by 50%. When aid is carefully designed to navigate the specific socio-cultural landscape of its recipients’ lives,it begins to deliver the sort of results Sachs claims.


[Our] resistance to measures that could improve [our] lot is often due to a universal truth of human nature known as “time inconsistency”, he explains. “It means something very simple. It means there are lots of decisions that you think today you’d like to implement and stick to, but which – once you get to the sticking-to part – you don’t want to stick to any more.

If you happen to be mostly depressed about the state of your life, I don’t know whether you feel like doing impulse control. If you are like me and you see that you have a bunch of ambitions that you actually think you have a reasonable chance of realising in life, you may be very different in terms of your willingness to give up the almond croissant. But if I feel that everything I’ve hoped for never worked, then what am I restraining myself for? That’s a completely legitimate way to think.

Eat less meat to prevent climate disaster, study warns. “Fertilisers used in growing feed crops for cattle produce the most potent of the greenhouse gases causing climate change” — (It’s odd how newspapers aren’t news so much as ‘maybe this is news to someone. I doubt it’s news to you, dear Reader. Ed

What does a sustainable dairy look like? Dairy 2020 is a vision and framework for a sustainable UK dairy industry (and a lesson in building trust and working together)  

Agriculture’s environmental impact is soon to be accurately measured after a new way of tracking nitrous oxide has been invented by a team at UCBerkeley. Which is good because agricultural overuse of fertiliser has contaminated the drinking water of whole regions of California, and nitrogen-caused, oxygen-depleted marine “dead zones” around the world are bigger than ever. Oh, and nitrous oxide is around 300 times more potent as a greenhouse gas. And it’s also a major ozone-depleting chemical.

There is no such thing as a Sustainable Business: only business says Martin Chilcott on the Spayne & Lindsay blog. And quite right, too, of course.  

There are four main reasons FMCG companies need to be sustainable:

  • Supply chains are susceptible to an unnecessary waste of fuel, energy, resource and cash. A sustainable business strategy uncovers this in a way traditional lean processes fail to do. This is the big up side.
  • Resources are getting scarcer and availability is struggling to keep up with demand; and that is putting pressure on procurement. This is across the board, from fish to cotton and rare earths.
  • Transparency is placing brands under higher scrutiny than ever before.
  • The business vulnerability caused by the resource risk and transparency means that brands need to work to protect their reputation and relationships with their commercial customers and consumers. Retailers are beginning to demand FMCG companies do something.

And finally of course the latest edition of The Foodie Bugle 

Author: Ed

Ed is the founder of Sustaination. He believes that a better world is possibly, desirable, and necessary, and gets rather frustrated by people who aren't prepared to give it a try.

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