This Week in Eco News - January 13, 2017

Video of the Week

Planning for a Sustainable Local Food System
This video highlights the importance of local food as it travels from the farm to the table. By producing more of the food we consume locally, we keep money in the region, support local businesses and have delicious, fresh produce to eat. [Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP)]

Take Action: Learn about the impacts of industrial livestock production.

News From Around the Web

How "Open Source" Seed Producers from the US To India Are Changing Global Food Production
Plant breeders have joined the Open Source Seed Initiative as part of a global movement that opposes corporate control of the food system by freely storing and distributing "open source" seeds. "Control over the seed is what's at the core of all environmental sustainability that we're working toward," say OSSI board member, Jack Kloppenburg. "We will not have food sovereignty until we have seed sovereignty." [Ensia]

Chinese Farms Face New Environment Tax
As the world's largest hog producer, China is also the world's largest producer of hog manure, which has terrible pollution effects on water and air. To make sure that hog and other animal waste is properly handled, the Ministry of Environmental Protection will impose a new pollution tax on larger-scale animal farmers that have 50 cows, 500 hogs and 5,000 chickens. [Global Meat News]

Will New FDA Rules Curb the Rise of Antibiotic-Resistant Superbugs?
The meat industry is facing mounting pressure to phase out antibiotic use. Here, we trace how a widespread use of those drugs can be bad for public health. [The Guardian] 

These Foods Aren't Genetically Modified but They Are 'Edited'
A new generation of crops known as gene-edited rather than genetically modified is coming to the market. Created through new tools that snip and tweak DNA at precise locations, they, at least for now, largely fall outside of current regulations. [New York Times]

The Next Generation of Farmers Is Being Trained in New York City High Schools
In New York City, some 600 public school students are enrolled in an exciting new program at Queen's John  Bowne High School: a specialized, four-year agriculture program. Like most of their schoolmates, the Aggies follow an ordinary curriculum of English, math and social studies. But they also learn the building blocks of diverse careers in the booming industry of agriculture, which sees almost 60,000 new jobs open up in the US every year, according to the USDA. [NPR]

Design of GMO Corn 'Equivalence' Study Flawed: US Animal Scientist
A new study from researcher Seralini, whose previous work generated controversy, claiming that a type of GM corn and it's corresponding non GM corn variety are not substantially equivalent, has spurred serious scientific debate after a prominent UC Davis geneticist who was asked to assess the study pointed out several experimental design flaws in the study that "complicate the interpretation of the results." [Feed Navigator]

Kimbal Musk - Elon's Brother- Just Opened a Shipping Container Farm Compound in New York City
Kimbal Musk is trying to change the way we eat by creating what he calls a "real food revolution." In early November, Musk and fellow entrepreneur Tobias Peggs launched Square Roots, an urban farming incubator program in Brooklyn, New York. The setup consists of 10 steel shipping container farms where young entrepreneurs work to develop vertical farming startups. Unlike traditional outdoor farms, vertical farms grow soil-free crops indoors and under LED lights. [Business Insider]

Warming Oceans Could Boost Dangerous Toxins in Your Shellfish Dinner
A new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences has found a link between warming ocean conditions and a dangerous neurotoxin called domoic acid that builds up in sea life. Seafood lovers got a glimpse of that threat in 2015, when record high ocean temperatures and lingering toxic algal blooms raised the domoic acid in Dungeness Crab to unsafe levels, shutting down the West Coast crab fisheries for several months from Alaska to Southern California. [NPR]

Monday Campaigns

UC Davis Irrigation Experiment Shows Big Increase in Alfalfa Yield per Acre Foot of Water
Lowering the water footprint of California's alfalfa through deficit irrigation is a big deal because about 10 percent of all the state's water goes to that thirsty crop, which is a primary feed for the US's largest dairy industry. In other words, this could shrink the water footprint of the mozzarella on your slice of pizza. [JFleck at Inkstain]

Sustainable Tuna Fishing Is Bad for Climate - Here's Why
Fishing that selectively targets seeks out certain species, like tuna, and leaves others to swim off is good to avoid problems of bycatch and general fish population depletion, but not-so-good for greenhouse gas emissions because fishing boats are out to sea longer and burn more fossil fuel. A balance must be struck between overfishing and emissions to be truly sustainable. [New Scientist]

Monday Campaigns

The Monday Campaign's Peggy Neu on Inspiring Healthy Behaviors
Check out this video featuring Peggy Neu of the Monday Campaigns to learn more about what it takes to keep to your New Year's Resolutions, and how a Monday restart can be the key to success! [Cheddar]


'Less Meat Less Heat' starring Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger
The Governator wants you to consider eating less meat to help control greenhouse gases. It's a great request because according to the UN, livestock is responsible for over 14 percent of human-cause greenhouse gas emissions and cattle represent about 65 percent of those, primarily from feed production and cow farts (that's right, we said cow farts!).  [Wild Aid]

How Fracking Impacts Water-Stressed Regions
Ceres researchers mapped water use in hydraulic fracturing across the US, using data from and the World Resources Institute. They found that 57 percent of hydraulically fractured oil and gas wells were in regions of high water competition from January 2011 to January 2016. This interactive map shows water use by shale play and operator. [EcoWatch]

Eco News contributed by Gabrielle Blavatsky; Kai Olson-Sawyer;James Rose and Robin Madel.

Image "Alfafa Fields" by  Ken Figioli on Flickr used under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic license.