Big farm opportunities seen for business in 2030 U.N. goals

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Businesses could earn hundreds of billions of dollars a year by 2030 by investing in better agriculture and food ranging from micro-irrigation of crops to reduced waste, an international study said on Friday.

A commission including chief executives of Unilever and Aviva as well as academics and civil society groups said companies could exploit U.N. plans to end poverty and hunger and protect the planet by 2030.
“Instead of treating it as ‘Oh my God, another huge global problem to worry about’ … you can break it down into chunks of real business possibility,” Mark Malloch-Brown, chair of the Business and Sustainable Development Commission, told Reuters.
The Commission, launched in January, said businesses could unlock about $2.3 billion a year in food and agriculture sectors by investing $360 billion a year to help achieve the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals for 2030.

It listed opportunities in 14 areas including farming technology, restoring land and forests, urban agriculture, irrigation, aquaculture and better packaging. Continue reading “Big farm opportunities seen for business in 2030 U.N. goals”

Guide To Sustainable Soil Management

BuildingSoilsOriginal A thorough, free, easy-to-read guide for ecological soil management which includes nutrient management, nutrient cycles, cover crops and other soil-improving practices. “Building Soils for Better Crops is a one-of-a-kind, practical guide to ecological soil management, now expanded and in full color. It provides step-by-step information on soil-improving practices as well as in-depth background—from what soil is to the importance of organic matter. Case studies of farmers from across the country provide inspiring examples of how soil—and whole farms—have been renewed through these techniques. A must-read for farmers, educators and students alike.” LINK: http://www.sare.org/Learning-Center/Books/Building-Soils-for-Better-Crops-3rd-Edition DIRECT DOWNLOAD: https://planetpermaculture.files.wordpress.com/2015/04/buildingsoilsforbettercrops.pdf

Glass Roofing Tiles Collect Heat To Warm Homes

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SolTech Energy, a Swedish company selling solutions for clean solar power, has developed a unique home heating system contained within roofing tiles made out of ordinary transparent glass. The attractive house-warming tiles (somewhat ironically) give roofs a beautiful, icy appearance quite unlike anything else we’ve ever seen before.

In 2009, the SolTech Energy System was selected by a jury and nominated among nine as the year’s “Hottest New Material.” Based on votes by the people, the company’s glass tiles were awarded with a gold medal from the North Building Fair, Nordbygg. “The winning entry combines an attractive design with essential functions for clean and sustainable energy. It is an innovative product that is well in time,“ said the chairman of the jury, PhD. Bengt Toolanen.

So what makes the system so special and award worthy? For starters, the tiles are made from ordinary glass and have about the same weight as those made of clay. Secondly, the system doesn’t, like competitors’ versions, heat up water or vacuum pipes, but clean air. The tiles are installed on top of a black nylon canvas, under which air slots are mounted. The black colour absorbs heat from the sun and the air starts to circulate. The hot air is then used to heat up water, which is connected to the house’s heating system via an accumulator. The beauty of the system is that it cuts energy costs throughout the year, during dark winter days as well as night time, due to its capacity to store heat in the isolating layers of air under the canvas.
Continue reading “Glass Roofing Tiles Collect Heat To Warm Homes”

Why Fresh Water Shortages Will Cause The Next Great Global Crisis

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Last week drought in São Paulo was so bad, residents tried drilling through basement floors for groundwater. As reservoirs dry up across the world, a billion people have no access to safe drinking water. Rationing and a battle to control supplies will follow

Water is the driving force of all nature, Leonardo da Vinci claimed. Unfortunately for our planet, supplies are now running dry – at an alarming rate. The world’s population continues to soar but that rise in numbers has not been matched by an accompanying increase in supplies of fresh water.

The consequences are proving to be profound. Across the globe, reports reveal huge areas in crisis today as reservoirs and aquifers dry up. More than a billion individuals – one in seven people on the planet – now lack access to safe drinking water.

Last week in the Brazilian city of São Paulo, home to 20 million people, and once known as the City of Drizzle, drought got so bad that residents began drilling through basement floors and car parks to try to reach groundwater. City officials warned last week that rationing of supplies was likely soon. Citizens might have access to water for only two days a week, they added.

In California, officials have revealed that the state has entered its fourth year of drought with January this year becoming the driest since meteorological records began. At the same time, per capita water use has continued to rise.

In the Middle East, swaths of countryside have been reduced to desert because of overuse of water. Iran is one of the most severely affected. Heavy overconsumption, coupled with poor rainfall, have ravaged its water resources and devastated its agricultural output. Similarly, the United Arab Emirates is now investing in desalination plants and waste water treatment units because it lacks fresh water. As crown prince General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan admitted: “For us, water is [now] more important than oil.”

Continue reading “Why Fresh Water Shortages Will Cause The Next Great Global Crisis”

Building An “Earthship” Inspired Home In France

Check out my favorite episode of the “Grand Designs” program. This one covers a family building an earth ship inspired home in the south of France in a place called Brittany. It runs through all the stages of building the home and then goes back and revisits it a year later to see how everythings worked out for them.

A realistic example of what is achievable if you’ve got the money to build a home, meaning an “eco friendly carbon neutral home one is definitely a viable option. It also explores the limitations you might encounter if you try and build a home like this in England, it’s almost impossible for most due to planning regulations. Wales on the other hand are very open to the idea of sustainable homes. Hopefully things will change sooner rather than later.

Who doesn’t want a home that has no utility bills and even earns you a small profit everyday?

For more information: http://www.groundhouse.com/

Launched Today: Collectively.org

A newly launched website aimed at young people and them taking action to influence policy and create change in their community, specifically in regards to sustainability. As they say “In our articles, we will not only give readers a great story full of useful information, but also something they can do to begin creating the world they want to live in.” What to know more, check this out: https://collectively.org/en/article/what-is-collectively

“Collectively is where the power of positivity and collaboration make sustainability the new norm. Watch as we follow several young people across the globe that took a stand against the status quo to help build a better world around them. From emissions-cutting inventions to socially responsible travel, hear their inspirational ideas and let us know what you think. “

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Liberal Democrats Pledge To Build “Garden Cities”

Nick Clegg is to move on Monday to differentiate the Liberal Democrats from the Tories on the highly contentious issue of garden cities by pledging to build five new towns along a train line linking Oxford and Cambridge.

The deputy prime minister, who accused the Tories earlier this year of adopting a nimby approach to house building, will say that the plan will help to create an extra 50,000 new homes in an area of intense demand for housing in the home counties.

A coalition row over housing flared up earlier this year after it emerged that the Tories had declined to publish a Whitehall report which suggested that two new garden cities needed to be built in southern England to relieve pressure on housing.

Clegg will say that the Lib Dems would insist in any future coalition negotiations that 10 new garden cities should be built, with five along a new express railway line linking Oxford and Cambridge. This used to be dubbed the “varsity line” but Clegg is now calling it the “garden city line”.

Continue reading “Liberal Democrats Pledge To Build “Garden Cities””