Ecological Agriculture: can it feed the world?

The latest edition of the Monthly Review (November 2009, Volume 61, Number 6) includes a paper from Jules Pretty is professor of environment and society at the University of Essex, UK. titled Can Ecological Agriculture Feed Nine Billion People?

Below is an extract from the paper

Something is wrong with our agricultural and food systems.Despite great progress in increasing productivity in the last century, hundreds of millions of people remain hungry and malnourished. Further hundreds of millions eat too much, or consume the wrong sorts of food, and it is making them ill. The health of the environment suffers too, as degradation of soil and water seems to accompany many of the agricultural systems we have developed in recent years. Can nothing be done, or is it time for the expansion of an agriculture founded more on ecological principles and in harmony with people, their societies, and cultures?

Read the full paper at the [SOURCE: MonthlyReview – Can Ecological Agriculture Feed Nine Billion People?]

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Scientists unveil plant DNA barcode

Telegraph reports

Scientists meeting at the third International Barcode of Life conference in Mexico City last week have agreed on a region of DNA that will be used to identify plants by genus in a new system of codification.

Although genetic “barcoding” of animals, which allows scientists to identify animals from a small section of their DNA, is already well-established, the system has until now not worked for plant species.

SOURCE: Telegraph – Scientists unveil plant DNA barcode

Masdar to use more PV’s to power city

Solar power plant (Serpa, Portugal)

Image via Wikipedia

With the recent drop in costs for photovoltaics (PV) and the effect of dust and haze on solar-thermal technology(the technology originally planned) has caused a rethink in supplying energy to Masdar. The utilities management company has decided to use 50% photovoltaics and 50% solar thermal due to costs. Although photovoltaics produce 20% less energy than solar thermal they will cost 33% less to install. The use of solar power will cost more than 2.5 times the cost per kwh than the current method generating energy via natural gas.

via the [SOURCE: The National]

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New carbon-negative cement wins Competition

London Development Agency reports

The London Development Agency (LDA) has congratulated a London company that has been recognised for its innovative and environmentally-friendly approach to construction.

The company was recognised for its potential contribution to the engineering and construction industries at the London Technology Fund (LTF) Competition awards ceremony held on Wednesday night at the Royal Bank of Scotland’s head office. Sarah Ebanja, Deputy Chief Executive at the LDA presented the Environment Award to Novacem, a start-up company developing carbon-negative cement.

Novacem, a spin-out from Imperial College London, has developed a groundbreaking type of cement, which has the potential to transform the cement industry from being a significant emitter of CO2 to being an absorber of CO2. Novacem estimates that for every tonne of ordinary Portland cement replaced by Novacem cement, around 0.75 tonne of CO2 could be captured and stored indefinitely in construction products.

[SOURCE: London Development Agency – New carbon-negative cement wins LDA-supported London Technology Fund Competition]

Vectorworks gets European versions

Nemetschek North America announced recently that they have released a European versions of Vectorworks 2010 software and are now available in Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands.

“Our localized version is developed by Nemetschek North America, and then enhanced by us to meet the local requirements in our country,” explains Carlos Lüthy, CEO of ComputerWorks GmbH, Germany. “This year there has been much excitement and anticipation about the Vectorworks 2010 line of products, as this version is already getting rave reviews in the English-speaking countries.”

The English-language versions of the Vectorworks 2010 product line were released in the U.S., Canada, U.K., Australia, New Zealand, and other international markets on September 15, 2009.

SOURCE: Tenlinks.com

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