global foods

Obama delivers remarks on climate change at Milan convention

  • Former President Barack Obama addressed a sold-out crowd Tuesday at the Global Food Innovation Summit in Milan.
  • The event was aimed at confronting the challenges of “climate change and the issues linked to food supply in an increasingly populated world with progressively scarce resources.”
  • During his keynote remarks, Obama directly addressed the subject of the Paris agreement, saying it had not so much solved climate change as it had “put together the architecture, the mechanism where each year, each country could progressively do more to reduce its carbon emissions.” Read more (5/10/17)

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Cute Things the Signs Do

Aries: They get excited about something and then start talking faster and faster until they can hardly keep up with themself

Taurus: They use a ‘baby voice’ whenever they talk to their pets (some would do this in front of the president, and others would take the secret to their grave)

Gemini: Anticipates cliché pickup lines before they’re said but still flattered by them

Cancer: Laughs at their own jokes

Leo: Scared of the tiniest bugs

Virgo: Is sad when the sushi isn’t round

Libra: Ticklish asf

Scorpio: Still likes foods like chicken nuggets, goldfish crackers, and fruit roll-ups made for children

Sagittarius: They absolutely melt if/when you play with their hair

Capricorn: Won’t look you in the eye after they’ve rejected you for anything because they can’t stand to see you sad

Aquarius: They claim to hate being fawned over but actually enjoy it

Pisces: Would sacrifice themself to save the polar bears

Next week, between 150 and 200 people will gather for a Passover seder at Temple Beth-El in Richmond, Va. When the traditional Passover question is posed — “Why is this night different from all other nights?” — there’s a new answer. Guests at the Seder, co-sponsored by the refugee aid agency ReEstablish Richmond, will include approximately two dozen locally resettled immigrants from Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria.

Passover, after all, is the ultimate refugee holiday. It’s about an ancient flight to freedom by Israelites who were oppressed in Egypt. And the world is currently facing an unprecedented refugee crisis, with 65.3 million refugees worldwide.

One new version of the Haggada, from the American Jewish World Service, makes a direct connection: “Around the world today, courageous people are making similar journeys — leaving behind violence, poverty and persecution and seeking security, freedom, prosperity and peace.”

Against this backdrop, a number of Jewish organizations are offering new readings and rituals to include at the festive meal known as the Seder. These additions, says Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, are in keeping with the fact that the Haggada — the text read at the Seder — has always been flexible, “less of a fixed text than a user guide to tell the story.”

Why Add A Banana To The Passover Table?

Illustration: Franziska Barczyk for NPR

“The UN special envoy on food called it a ‘crime against humanity’ to funnel 100 million tons of grain and corn to ethanol when almost a billion people are starving. So what kind of crime is animal agriculture, which uses 756 million tons of grain and corn per year, much more than enough to adequately feed the 1.4 billion humans who are living in dire poverty?”

-Jonathan Safran Foer, Eating Animals

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Climate change could have a serious affect on coffee  — and may make it less flavorful

  • According to a new study published in the journal Nature Plants, climate change could mean major changes ahead in the coffee world.
  • The new research shows that 39–59% of the area where coffee is grown in Ethiopia, could become “unsuitable for coffee farming” because of climate change.
  • “That is a really significant reduction, and that’s from now until the end of the century,” Aaron Davis, a biologist at London’s Royal Botanic Gardens and a co-author of the study, told Public Radio International on Thursday.
  • This would have a significant impact not only on Ethiopia, where coffee growing sustains around 15 million farmers, but on the availability of Arabica coffee, the country’s signature crop and one of the most popular coffee beans, PRI reported. Read more (7/7/17)

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bbc.com
Video captures moment plastic enters food chain - BBC News
A video captures the moment plankton ingest a plastic microfibre.

A scientist has filmed the moment plastic microfibre is ingested by plankton, illustrating how the material is affecting life beneath the waves.

The footage shows one way that waste plastic could be entering the marine and global food chain.

An estimated 150 million tonnes of plastic “disappears” from the world’s waste stream each year.

Waste plastic in the world’s seas has been recognised by the United Nations as a major environmental problem.

“When I saw it, I thought that here was something, visually, to convey to the public the problem of plastic in the sea,” said Richard Kirby, who recorded the footage.

“What intrigues me is that because the fibre has made a loop inside the animal’s gut, you can actually see the consequences of something as small as the arrow worm consuming microplastic.”

youtube

Okja (2017)

From visionary Director Bong Joon Ho, this grand global adventure follows a friendship too big to ignore. Meet Mija, a young girl who risks everything to prevent a powerful, multi-national company from kidnapping her best friend – a massive animal named Okja. Following her across continents, the coming-of-age comedy drama sees Mija’s horizons expand in a way one never would want for one’s children, coming up against the harsh realities of genetically modified food experimentation, globalization, eco-terrorism, and humanity’s obsession with image, brand and self-promotion.

Directed by:   Bong Joon-ho

Starring:   Tilda Swinton, Ahn Seo-hyun, Jake Gyllenhaal, Paul Dano, Lily Collins, Steven Yeun, Giancarlo Esposito, Devon Bostick, Shirley Henderson, Daniel Henshall, Choi Woo-shik

Release date:   June 28, 2017

theguardian.com
Arctic stronghold of world’s seeds flooded after permafrost melts
No seeds were lost but the ability of the rock vault to provide failsafe protection against all disasters is now threatened by climate change
By Damian Carrington


Hey, don’t worry; there’s no definitive proof climate change is real. :-/

So a couple weeks ago, I promised @copperbadge a review of the book I was currently reading, “Sorting the Beef from the Bull: The Science of Food Fraud Forensics.” And then my cat had a life threatening medical emergency (he’s okay!) and I got a little distracted. But, hey, better late than never, right?
First things first. I’m not a huge chemistry nerd. The word “science” is in the title for a reason. There’s a fair amount of it in here. I skimmed most of it. But there are two other aspects to the book that are fascinating and, honestly, rather terrifying. First, actual stories of food fraud throughout the world and history. Second, the non-immediate implications of it, looking at what it means for politics, economics, health, and the environment. It’s an extremely strong argument for the importance of regulations and, if you’re not terrified by the current push in the US government to deregulate, you will be. It’s a sadly timely book.

It starts out with an overview of the field, a couple anecdotes of food fraud (fake eggs in China, horse meat found in hamburger in UK grocery stores- one of the authors is British, so lots of examples from there), a breakdown of some of the scientific methods using the example of honey and why the whole issue is important.

Most people probably can think of the economic implications of things like olive oil being cut with cheaper oils. Consumers lose out on money, because we’re paying for a product based on the label, not what’s in it. Plus, it impacts honest sellers who have their market undercut by the cheaters. Raises some interesting questions on the idea that deregulation makes for a “freer” market place. 

The environmental implications are also concerning, and frankly, I may stop eating seafood. Turns out a lot of fish is mislabeled. Some of this can be chalked up to inconsistent naming conventions across countries, but given that fish are almost always mislabeled as more expensive varieties, that’s doubtful. But, important for those of us who try to eat responsibly, there have been cases of endangered species relabeled as allowable ones. Apparently, seafood laundering is a real thing. (A terrible thing, with a name that cracks me up). And good luck trying to be sure that your organic food is really organic. you may just be paying extra for the same stuff the rest of us are eating. 

But the scariest is the health implications. Olive oil is a good example in two cases. Mostly, you’re just overpaying, but it’s been adulterated with peanut oil in some cases. And then there’s the Toxic Oil Syndrome in Spain, where colza oil intended for industrial use was sold as “olive oil” in 1981 and killed over 600 people. Other horrifying examples include “monkfish” that turned out to be puffer fish (yikes!), fake baby formula in China, and chicken deemed not fit for human consumption that was washed up, trimmed of the ugly bits and then sold.

Some of it is not so horrifying from a health perspective, but more offends our sensibilities. The horse meat example, for instance, is not something that would hurt many people’s health. Heck, it’s probably lower in fat than beef. Ground meat was commonly found to contain other meat sources than the label said. All beef products, such as sausages, were found to contain chicken or pork, the later of which would certainly offend Jewish and Muslim consumers, but I’m fairly sure most religions don’t hold you responsible for something you are completely unaware of. A few have been found to contain rat, which certainly makes us go “ick” but unless it’s diseased, it probably won’t hurt us. 

The end result is a very strong argument of the importance of funded regulatory bodies, because the average consumer can’t determine this stuff for themself. Heck, the average chemist probably can’t figure out some of this stuff, because it’s ever evolving and our global food stream means there are too many points along the way where it takes one person looking to make a buck to screw people over, and people are really fucking creative at times. There are some amazing ways to catch issues, but a lot of people won’t want to pay for them, so only a portion of cases get caught. 

I was talking with a friend about the book and her response was “Wow, that’s important to know. Not sure I WANT to know.” True that.

theguardian.com
Just 100 companies responsible for 71% of global emissions, study says
A relatively small number of fossil fuel producers and their investors could hold the key to tackling climate change
By Tess Riley

“ExxonMobil, Shell, BP and Chevron are identified as among the highest emitting investor-owned companies since 1988. If fossil fuels continue to be extracted at the same rate over the next 28 years as they were between 1988 and 2017, says the report, global average temperatures would be on course to rise by 4C by the end of the century. This is likely to have catastrophic consequences including substantial species extinction and global food scarcity risks.“

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In Ambitious ‘Okja,’ A Teen Attempts To Save Her Super Pig From Slaughter

Fresh Air film critic Justin Chang says: 

“The wildly inventive sci-fi thriller Okja tells the story of a courageous 13-year-old Korean girl named Mija (played by An Seo Hyun), who is determined to protect her closest companion from being chewed up and spat out by the forces of 21st-century capitalism. That companion is Okja, an enormous, genetically modified pig — a “super pig,” as she’s been branded by the executives at Mirando, a multinational agrochemical corporation that is trying to spearhead a revolution in global food production.

Ahn makes you root for Mija at every step of her journey, and Okja immediately takes her place among the most touching and realistic computer-generated characters ever made; Andy Serkis couldn’t have played her any better. Okja begins streaming on Netflix this Wednesday, and will also be playing a limited theatrical run in Los Angeles and New York. If the latter option is available to you, seize it; this super pig is worth seeing on the biggest screen you can find.”

anonymous asked:

um, so lets say that letting loose a whole bunch of animals onto the planet wasn't a problem. the pesticides, fertilizers, and poisons that agricultural farmers set/spray would be detrimental to water supplies, and would pollute groundwater, so really, being vegan would be just as bad as being a meateater if the whole world were to participate.

…I’m sorry what? Why exactly are we letting loose a whole bunch of animals and increasing our pesticide use? Those are some pretty massive assumptions right off the bat. First of all, if the world went vegan it’d happen over time, we wouldn’t suddenly have 60 billion farmed animals roaming the streets. As demand goes down, so does the number of animals being bred to fulfill that demand, which is basic economics. The ones who do remain can comfortable live out their lives in sanctuaries, as the lucky few already do.

As for pesticides, I think you must be assuming that if we all went vegan we’d need more vegetables to feed the population, but you’re very wrong about that. If we look at cows, for example, it takes 16 pounds of grain to make one pound of beef. That’s 94% more land, and 94% more pesticides than just eating that grain directly. All told, livestock consume 70% of all the grain we produce, 98% of all soy, and a fifth of all water consumed globally. Farmed animals take in far more calories in crop feed than they will ever give out in meat, meaning that they are literally detracting from the global food supply. If the world went vegan, we would add an addition 70% to the world’s global food supply.

All of this is also assuming that we would still be using pesticides and animal fertilizers, but by your own hypothetical the whole world is vegan, so why exactly would we be using products which harm animals? Plant ferifilisers are very effective and veganic farming already exists. It is not the case that crops can’t be grown without harming animals or people. I think if you’re really honest with yourself, the reason you aren’t vegan isn’t because “all the animals would be released and we’d use loads of pesticides if everyone went vegan", it’s because you like eating animals. I’d honestly prefer you just admit that instead of inventing these nonsensical straw man hypotheticals which waste everyone’s time.