Gardening

California’s colorful despite drought

Sara Aminzadeh calls it out for Popular Resistance:
As the drought continues, Californians are stepping up to conserve water, and collectively exceeded Gov. Brown’s 25 percent reduction mandate in June 2015. Nonetheless, water-intensive lawns and other hallmarks of an English garden-style landscape still remain a huge draw on our state’s dwindling water supply.

Outdoor watering accounts for about half of residential […]

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Growing food at home is legal!

Read about it at Insteading:
As surprising as it may seem, you actually don’t have the right to grow your own fruits and vegetables on your own private property. In some states- Florida, namely- people have been fined thousands of dollars for planting vegetable gardens and even gone to prison for trying to live off the […]

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Grow food year-round in any climate

Ecowatch has a way, adapted from native people, who have always had to eat year-round:
From vertical farms to solar-powered “farms from a box,” we’ve seen how farming technology has grown leaps and bounds in recent years. But for those who prefer something a little more rustic, growing food from a hole in the ground is as low-tech […]

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Pesticides contaminate streams

(Beyond Pesticides, August 21, 2015)
Neonicotinoid insecticides contaminate over half of urban and agricultural streams across the United States and Puerto Rico, according to a study released earlier this week by the U.S. Geographical Survey (USGS). Neonicotinoids (neonics) are bee-toxic insecticides that have been linked to the global decline in bee populations by a large body […]

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This Jail’s Urban Farming Project Benefits Inmates, Local Charities

The next time flowers are delivered to your door in Chicago, the bouquet just might be made up of blooms nurtured by an inmate at Cook County Jail.
Chicago-based startup Flowers for Dreams, last week, announced the start of a partnership with the jail’s urban farming initiative, which offers nonviolent inmates an opportunity to learn job […]

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Insecticides poison all insects

McGill University research shows more effects of insecticides:
Insecticides that are sprayed in orchards and fields across North America may be more toxic to spiders than scientists previously believed.

A McGill research team reached this conclusion after looking at changes in the behaviour of individual Bronze Jumping Spiders both before and after exposure to Phosmet, a widely […]

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Cooks feel drought’s limits

The NYTimes reports:
SANTA CRUZ, Calif. — Andrea Nguyen, who writes cookbooks for a living, knows that making pho in a pressure cooker is not the solution to California’s drought. Still, developing a reasonable version of the Vietnamese noodle soup that can be made in less than an hour, with half the water, matters to her […]

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Women feed the world

Bill Moyers republishes an article by Vedana Shiva on how women and their agricultural practices are the true path to feeding the world, NOT industrial agriculture. We’ve got to change that message the agribusiness giants have sold us. They are ruining the soil and reducing nutrtious yields, not feeding the world.
The two great ecological challenges […]

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More research on bees

Christian Science Monitor calls for more research:
The honey bees are disappearing.
In a 12-month period ending in April, populations of managed honey bee colonies in the United States dropped by more than 40 percent — up from about a 35 percent drop the previous year, and the second-highest annual loss recorded to date, according to a […]

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Bees and Almonds

Tom Philpott writes for Mother Jones:
Growing 80 percent of the globe’s almonds in California doesn’t just require massive amounts of water. It also takes a whole bunch of honeybees for pollination—roughly two hives’ worth for every acre of almonds trees, around 1.7 million hives altogether. That’s at least 80 percent of all available commercial hives in the […]

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Bee protection, but not from insecticides

The Guardian points out gaps in the President’s program:
The White House has announced an ambitious plan to “promote the health of honeybees and other pollinators” in the United States in a bid to help reverse a worrying trend that has seen the honeybee population fall by half over the last seven decades.
It includes making millions […]

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How to save the bees

Marla Spivak has a TED Talk about How to Save the Bees. It’s posted on Upworthy. Her solution involves flowers and plants — didn’t you want more of those anyway?
UPDATE: Since Spivak gave this talk, the U.S. EPA has put a moratorium on the use of neonics, the class of pesticides she describes. Some places […]

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California’s water statistics

An editorial from the Sacramento Bee:
There has been too much finger-pointing, but if we’re going to target the biggest water users, everyone should be on the firing line – not just suburbanites with lush lawns or farmers with thirsty crops, but also industrial plants and commercial businesses that guzzle water.
Unfortunately, we rarely know who the […]

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Lowe’s To Stop Selling Neonicotinoid Pesticides That May Be Harmful To Bees

Home improvement chain Lowe’s Cos Inc will stop selling a type of pesticide suspected of causing a decline in honeybee populations needed to pollinate key American crops, following a few U.S. retailers who have taken similar steps last year.
The class of pesticides known as neonicotinoids, or neonics, are sold by agrichemical companies to boost yields […]

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Insecticides kill butterflies

Insecticide Blamed for Monarch Butterfly Decline
Posted by Jim Crabtree in Latest News, RSS, Toxics, Wildlife on April 6, 2015 8:19 am / no comments

 Environment News Service reports:
[Note from Christine: Why are we surprised that chemicals designed to kill insects kill butterflies? ]
WASHINGTON, DC, April 5, 2015 (ENS) – The neonicotinoid insecticide clothianidin is a […]

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California drought: Fracking and agriculture

As California’s drought bites, its $500 fines for ‘water waster’ households, but the water’s still flowing for the state’s powerful agribusiness sector. Photo: Malcolm Carlaw via Flickr (CC BY).
Evan Blake writes about the notable omissions in Governor Brown’s water restrictions for The Ecologist:

California has responded to the drought by rationing water, with $500 fines for […]

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Califnia’s continuing drought

David Siders and Jeremy White report for the Sacramento Bee on Governor Jerry Brown’s water restrictions:

When Gov. Jerry Brown issued the first statewide water use reduction order in California history on Wednesday, he put his emphasis squarely on cities and towns.
In this “new era” of drought, Brown said, “The idea of your nice little green […]

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Portland Bans Neonicotinoid Insecticides On City Lands To Protect Declining Honey Bees

Oregon’s biggest city on Wednesday banned the use of an insecticide on city lands blamed by conservationists as a factor in the decline of honey bees in recent years.
Despite protests from farmers who argued the insecticide was crucial for crop production, the Portland City Commission voted unanimously to immediately suspend use of products that contain […]

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Ontario reduces pollinator pesticides

The David Suzuki Foundation reports:
TORONTO — The Ontario government announced a plan today to protect bees, butterflies and other pollinating insects from the harmful effects of neonicotinoid, or neonic, pesticides. In a discussion paper posted to the Ontario Environmental Bill of Rights (EBR) registry, the government outlined a strategy to reduce the use of neonic-coated […]

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Monarchs in California

Monarch butterflies winter in California. They are a tourist attraction along the coast.  One of the major problems confronting them is loss of the milkweed that is their only food. Milkweed is being eliminated by herbicide spraying on crops. It’s gotten worse — that is, more milkweed has been eliminated — as farms become more […]

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