Archive for the ‘climate change’ Category

Is your Wonder Bread destroying the ozone layer?

June 9, 2009
smokestacks_3

The smokestack on the left is for conventionally produced bread, while that on the right is for organic. (Photo: Stock.xchng)

Organic food, bread specifically, just picked up a little more gleam for its halo. Research by the German environmental policy think tank Öko-Institut in Freiburg, Baden-Württemberg, suggests that organic wheat flour breads are better for the environment because they emit up to 25 percent less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than conventionally produced bread.

That applies to most organic foods, according to the Oko-Institut study. The bread finding was just one result of comprehensive research into the carbon dioxide emissions of food.

Carbon dioxide, or CO₂, is a naturally occurring compound and is used in a wide range of capacities from food processing and mining to dry cleaning and refrigeration. Evidence shows that our reliance upon CO₂ has dramatically increased the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, leading to an uptick in atmospheric temperatures. Atmospheric carbon dioxide has increased by about 35% since the beginning of the industrial age in the early 1700s.

“This difference was largely attributed to the higher amounts of energy used to produce synthetic nitrogen fertilizer in conventional agriculture,” according to Bakeryinfo.co.uk, which reported on the study.  “Organic farming was also said to increase the content of organic matter in the soil, locking in up to 1.5 tons of CO₂ per hectare per year.”

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California game fish face extinction

November 20, 2008
Seventeen species of California game fish face “poor chances of survival” and three species of salmon face “very poor chances of survival” according to a report just issued by fish advocacy group California Trout. The report’s findings were the lead story in today’s San Francisco Chronicle.

The damming of the state’s waterways and global warming are two of the factors that threaten the fish, and chances are good they may be extinct before the century’s end, says the report.

“Our fish need cold, clean water to survive, but they’re getting less and less of it,” said Peter Moyle, author of the study and a professor of conservation biology at UC Davis. “Dams block access. Climate change is now looming to exacerbate the threat, and it increases the urgency. All of these things are pushing our fish toward extinction.”

California’s recreational fishing industry is worth $2 billion to the state’s economy, according to another study published earlier this year by California Trout, and each salmon caught in the dammed Klamath River could be worth $200 to the local economy. (Full story)