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soil & fertility

A desert storm is engulfing India

Indira Khurana writes: A whopping 25 per cent of India’s total land (329 mn ha) is undergoing desertification while 32 per cent (105 mn ha) is facing degradation that has reduced productivity, critically affecting livelihoods and food security of millions across the country. Combating desertification brings together three interdependent natural resources: Land, water and biodiversity.

Christopher Alexander’s neglected challenge to Permaculture

Dan Palmer writes: Christopher Alexander is a radical architect and writer respected by permaculture practitioners. According to him, a whole is created by putting together parts. The parts come first: and the form of the whole comes second, but “it is impossible to form anything which has the character of nature by adding preformed parts.”

Interview: DJ Bagyaraj – India’s only contributor to the Global Soil Biodiversity Atlas

Chethan Kumar reports: The recently Global Soil Biodiversity Atlas, is a first-of-its-kind attempt to present the latest research and raise awareness on the role of soil organisms. Bangalore-based scientist D.J. Bagyaraj, the only Indian contributor to the Atlas, talks about the vital role of soil biodiversity for sustainable food production and prevention of land degradation.

India’s perfect storm: Environmental and demographic stresses building up

Kanti Bajpai writes: India’s water crisis is a clear sign that a storm of epic proportions is on its way. India’s per capita water availability is now below the threshold level of 1,400 cubic metres per person. If so, India is heading from ‘water stress’ to ‘water scarcity’ and the possibility of internal water wars.

Bastar: Conservation in the time of conflict

Madhu Ramnath reports: Unknown to the rest of the country, a small group of adivasis from the forested villages in central Bastar have been busy doing work that would make conservationists proud. People from Sandh Karmari, Kakalgur, Kangoli and nearby villages have been gathering native seeds and raising them in nurseries in fairly large numbers.

Seven projects around the world that protect soil

Rocco Pallin writes: Thirty-three percent of soil worldwide is degraded, and 50,000 square kilometers of soil are lost each year. Soil is not a renewable resource and “isn’t recoverable within a human lifespan,” but sustainable practices could increase the world’s food production by 58 percent. Here are seven projects helping to restore the world’s soil.

Organic agriculture, agroecology and the parallel reality of the GMO evangelist

Colin Todhunter writes: GMO enthusiasts insist that agroecological farming could never feed the world. But it has been feeding us all for millennia – and it’s the only way to continue while enriching the soils on which all farming depends. Gandhi once called industrial agriculture a nine-day wonder. And its time will soon be up.

New book: Elemental India : The Natural World in Crisis

From the blurb: Around the world, people are increasingly facing a future that is crowded and hot, subject to violent weather extremes and a changing climate, where the rich and poor inhabit separate spheres and governments are unable or unwilling to confront these most vital challenges. For India, this reality is the very tangible present.

Only 60 years of farming left if soil degradation continues

Generating three centimeters of top soil takes 1,000 years, and if current rates of degradation continue all of the world’s top soil could be gone within 60 years, a senior UN official said Chris Arsenault, Reuters  ROME (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Generating three centimeters of top soil takes 1,000 years, and if current rates of degradation

Oxfam Report: 10 Million at Risk of Hunger Due to Climate Change and El Niño

Common Dreams At least ten million of the poorest people face food insecurity in 2015 and 2016 due to extreme weather conditions and the onset of El Niño, Oxfam has reported. In Oxfam’s new report called Entering Uncharted Waters, erratic weather patterns were noted including high temperatures and droughts, disrupting farming seasons around the world.

Shashank Kela: Some notes on the ecological crisis in India

Who cares about the environment? Some notes on the ecological crisis in India Shashank Kela The past few months have been exceptional, in one respect at least, for the Indian press: a serious structural problem has actually been given the attention it deserves. The Economic Times continues to play a prominent part in discussing air pollution in

LibCom series on Capitalist agriculture

Part 4 – Capitalist agriculture: class formation and the metabolic rift Libcom.org In this fourth installment on our series on food and climate, we look at the dynamics of capitalist agriculture in terms of production, class formation, and the ‘metabolic rift’ in the nitrogen cycle. Part 1 (Climate, class, and the Neolithic revolution) looked at the

George Monbiot: Soil – the crisis to beat them all?

War, pestilence, even climate change, are trifles by comparison. Destroy the soil and we all starve. George Monbiot Imagine a wonderful world, a planet on which there was no threat of climate breakdown, no loss of freshwater, no antibiotic resistance, no obesity crisis, no terrorism, no war. Surely, then, we would be out of major

Book: Ecological Agriculture in India

Ecological Agriculture in India – Scientific Evidence on Positive Impacts and Successes Alliance for Sustainable & Holistic Agriculture (ASHA) Note on the book by by Kavitha Kuruganti of ASHA: Very often, when ecological agriculture (whether it goes by the name of organic farming or natural farming or bio-dynamic farming) approaches are advocated for large scale replication

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