Tag Archives: Permaculture

New Analysis: Curbing Pesticides Key to Reversing Insect Apocalypse

Global Research Feb 1, 2019 – By Center For Biological Diversity 

More Than 40 Percent of World’s Insect Species on Fast-track to Extinction

Authors of a major new scientific review of the catastrophic decline of insects say a “serious reduction in pesticide usage” is key to preventing the extinction of up to 41 percent of the world’s insects within the “next few” decades.

The review, published online this week in Biological Conservation, highlights that reversing the insect declines will require an “urgent” push to replace the ever-escalating use of harmful synthetic pesticides and fertilizers with more ecologically based, sustainable farming practices.

“This analysis is an alarming wake-up call that we need to dramatically reduce pesticide use,” said Tara Cornelisse, an entomologist and senior scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Dumping more and more insecticides on our food crops is like fixing a noise under the hood by yanking out the car’s engine. Insects are the foundation of every healthy ecosystem, so we need to quit poisoning landscapes with millions of pounds of toxic pesticides every year.”

Among the authors’ most sweeping conclusions is that

“A rethinking of current agricultural practices, in particular a serious reduction in pesticide usage and its substitution with more sustainable, ecologically-based practices, is urgently needed to slow or reverse current trends, allow the recovery of declining insect populations and safeguard the vital ecosystem services they provide.”

The meta-analysis of 73 studies assessing insect declines over a period of at least 10 years found that industrial farming practices driving habitat loss and extensive use of pesticides and fertilizers is associated with 47 percent of reported declines.

The authors found clear evidence for decline in all insect groups reviewed, but especially for butterflies and moths, native bees, beetles, and aquatic insects like dragonflies. It is estimated that half of butterflies, moths and beetles are declining at about 2 percent per year, and one in six bee species has disappeared in many regions.

A growing body of research indicates that insects are declining about twice as fast as vertebrates.

Earlier studies of insect loss showed declines of insect specialists — those that need specific habitat for nesting, or pollinate only one type of flower. But more and more studies are now documenting large-scale insect loss that includes generalist species, like the endangered rusty patched bumble bee, that were once common throughout their range.

The decline of widely ranging generalist insect species shows that habitat loss, alone, is not enough to explain insect declines. Mounting evidence now demonstrates that a significant driver is the widespread use of pesticides and fertilizers.

“We know neonicotinoid pesticides are a major cause of bee decline and are working to ban them, but this review highlights the urgent need for sweeping pesticide reform,” Cornelisse said. “That reform must start with the EPA replacing its long, troubling embrace of pesticide makers with a truly independent review process for assessing these dangerous poisons.”

SOURCE

Agroecology and the fight against deadly capitalist agriculture

Climate and Capitalism, June 17, 2018 by Colin Todhunter

Agroecology can free farmers from dependency, manipulated commodity markets, unfair subsidies and food insecurity. It is resisted by giant corporations that profit from the status quo.

Colin Todhunter is an extensively published independent writer and former social policy researcher based in the UK and India. This article was originally published as “Dangerous Liaison: Industrial Agriculture and the Reductionist Mindset,” on his blog, East by Northwest. Colin invites readers to follow him on Twitter.

Food and agriculture across the world is in crisis. Food is becoming denutrified and unhealthy and diets less diverse. There is a loss of biodiversity, which threatens food security, soils are being degraded, water sources polluted and depleted and smallholder farmers, so vital to global food production, are being squeezed off their land and out of farming.

A minority of the global population has access to so much food than it can afford to waste much of it, while food insecurity has become a fact of life for hundreds of millions. This crisis stems from food and agriculture being wedded to power structures that serve the interests of the powerful global agribusiness corporations.

Over the last 60 years, agriculture has become increasingly industrialised, globalised and tied to an international system of trade based on export-oriented mono-cropping, commodity production for the international market, indebtedness to international financial institutions (IMF/World Bank).

This has resulted in food surplus and food deficit areas, of which the latter have become dependent on (US) agricultural imports and strings-attached aid. Food deficits in the Global South mirror food surpluses in the North, based on a ‘stuffed and starved’ strategy.

Whether through IMF-World Bank structural adjustment programmes related to debt repayment as occurred in Africa (as a continent Africa has been transformed from a net exporter to a net importer of food), bilateral trade agreements like NAFTA and its impact on Mexico or, more generally, deregulated global trade rules, the outcome has been similar: the devastation of traditional, indigenous agriculture.

SOURCE

INHABIT: A Permaculture Perspective – Bonus video/Panel discussion…Business applications

Genres: Documentary
Duration: 1 hour 32 minutes
Subtitles: 5 languages + Show
Availability: Worldwide
Inhabit explores the many environmental issues facing us today and examines solutions that are being applied using the ecological design process called “Permaculture”. Permaculture is a design lens that uses the principles found in ecosystems to help shift our impact from destructive to regenerative. Focused mostly on the Northeastern and Midwestern regions of the United States, Inhabit provides an intimate look at permaculture peoples and practices ranging from rural, suburban, and urban landscapes.
BONUS VIDEO (50 min)
Inhabit: A Permaculture Perspective:                                             Post-film Discussion at Red River Theatres
LESSONS: Examples of permaculture business applications during the panel discussion (starts at 1 min 47 sec)

(May 2, 2017) Kicking off spring gardening season was a showing of Inhabit: A Permaculture Perspective, part of a larger series of events leading up to this years’ NH Permaculture Day in August.

The video is a follow-up Q & A with local practitioners of permaculture including (L-R) Steve Whitman (who is interviewed in the film), Sam Durfee, and Ryan Hvizda.