Posts filed under ‘Population’

Which diet makes best use of farmland? You might be surprised.

Land needed to support different diets

Vegetarian? Omnivore? Vegan? What should we eat if we want to feed a growing population while minimizing the need to farm more land? We know that meat-based meals require more farmland than plant-based ones. But which diet is the best fit for the mix of croplands and grazing land that supports agriculture today? That’s a different question with a potentially different answer, since much of the land we use to produce our food is better suited for grazing livestock than growing crops.

Since production of different types of food requires different types of agricultural land, researchers distinguished among three distinct categories of land: grazing land, cultivated cropland and perennial forage cropland.

A new study published in Elementa explores this perplexing question of the “foodprint” of different diets.

Read Which diet makes best use of farmland? You might be surprised. by Kristen Satre Meyer at Ensia.


April 19, 2017 at 10:57 am Leave a comment

Six Foundations for Building Community Resilience

Many people think of a community’s resilience as its ability to “bounce back” from disruption, and efforts to build resilience often focus on the impacts of climate change. Climate change is indeed an urgent and existential threat, with untold potential to destroy and disrupt countless lives. But it is not the only crisis we face, nor is preparing for disruption the only way to build resilience. Truly robust community resilience should do more. It should engage and benefit all community members, and consider all the challenges the community faces—from rising sea levels to a lack of living wage jobs. And it should be grounded in resilience science, which tells us how complex systems—like human communities—can adapt and persist through changing circumstances.

Resilience is, in a way, the original aspiration of human communities. Since the dawn of civilization we have banded together for long-term mutual well-being and betterment in the face of future stresses and shocks. History is full of communities—even highly complex ones—that persisted for thousands of years: they found ways to be resilient despite natural disaster and internal discord, embedding their wisdom and practices in place-based cultures. Of course, history is also full of communities and civilizations that succumbed to external or internal crises, often far larger than they had any possibility of anticipating. While we should heed the warnings of that history, we can also consider ourselves fortunate in the modern era to have a broader view of what crises we might face, and access to countless examples of community resilience both ancient and contemporary. Six Foundations for Building Community Resilience aims to help us better understand what made those examples successful, and help existing and future resilience-building efforts across the country be more effective.

Read the full report HERE.

November 18, 2015 at 12:06 pm Leave a comment

This is what a climate refugee looks like

“From 2006 to 2010 [Syria] had a climate-related drought that destroyed 60 per cent of their farms and killed 80 per cent of their livestock and drove a million and a half climate refugees into the cities of Syria, where they collided with another million and a half refugees from the Iraq War, and the WikiLeaks disclosure of documents inside the Syrian government in that era show their discussion [of] ‘we can’t deal with this’.”

The chaos was foretold 12 years ago by the Pentagon, who warned that an “abrupt climate change scenario,” would lead to shortages of key resources including water, owing to altered rainfall patterns causing floods and droughts. Decreases in net global agricultural production would also lead to food shortages, and increased sea ice levels and storms might disrupt access to energy supplies, in its October 2003 report titled An Abrupt Climate Change Scenario and Its Implications for United States National Security.

The haunting picture of Kurdi’s corpse galvanized Canadian politicians of all stripes into action, but their focus so far is on helping refugees, not addressing the part that climate change played in destroying Syria.

[Marc] Garneau said that a Liberal government would resettle 25,000 Syrians in Canada, a number matched by Elizabeth May’s Greens. The NDP are promising, if elected on Oct. 19, to allow 10,000 people in under government auspices and an unlimited number via private sponsorship. Stephen Harper’s Tories are stressing that Islamic State atrocities are the “root cause” of Kurdi’s death.

Read the full article HERE on National Observer.

September 9, 2015 at 9:57 am Leave a comment

Limits to Growth was right. New research shows we’re nearing collapse

The 1972 book Limits to Growth, which predicted our civilisation would probably collapse some time this century, has been criticised as doomsday fantasy since it was published. Back in 2002, self-styled environmental expert Bjorn Lomborg consigned it to the “dustbin of history”.

It doesn’t belong there. Research from the University of Melbourne has found the book’s forecasts are accurate, 40 years on. If we continue to track in line with the book’s scenario, expect the early stages of global collapse to start appearing soon.

Read the full article HERE.

Please join Transition Cornwall+ for our first event of the fall season:

HAPPY! the movie, 1 pm – 3:30 pm Sunday, September 21, at Cornwall Public Library.

Join the discussion after the film, exchanging ideas and exploring a deeper understanding of how we can bring happiness into our lives and into our world. Happy! the movie

September 10, 2014 at 10:08 am Leave a comment

Converging Energy Crises – And How our Current Situation Differs from the Past

Gail Tverberg, actuary and author of the blog Our Finite World, has been writing and speaking about peak oil and energy related issues since 2006. Posts from Our Finite World are now copied by a number of sites, including Zero Hedge, Financial Sense, The Energy Collective, Business Insider,,, The Bull, Resilience, and other sites. Here is just one of the many interesting articles posted on her blog.

At the Age of Limits Conference, I gave a talk called Converging Crises (PDF), talking about the crises facing us as we reach energy limits. In this post, I discuss some highlights from a fairly long talk.

Read the full article here.

July 9, 2014 at 11:23 am Leave a comment

Nasa-funded study: industrial civilisation headed for ‘irreversible collapse’?

A new study sponsored by Nasa’s Goddard Space Flight Center has highlighted the prospect that global industrial civilisation could collapse in coming decades due to unsustainable resource exploitation and increasingly unequal wealth distribution.

Noting that warnings of ‘collapse’ are often seen to be fringe or controversial, the study attempts to make sense of compelling historical data showing that “the process of rise-and-collapse is actually a recurrent cycle found throughout history.” Cases of severe civilisational disruption due to “precipitous collapse – often lasting centuries – have been quite common.”

However, the scientists point out that the worst-case scenarios are by no means inevitable, and suggest that appropriate policy and structural changes could avoid collapse, if not pave the way toward a more stable civilisation.

The two key solutions are to reduce economic inequality so as to ensure fairer distribution of resources, and to dramatically reduce resource consumption by relying on less intensive renewable resources and reducing population growth.

Read this thought-provoking article here.

March 19, 2014 at 10:19 am Leave a comment

Population growth and climate change explained

Let me show you the world, says Swedish academic Han Rosling as he demonstrates the dynamics of population growth, child mortality and carbon dioxide emissions. The challenge for the world is to get everyone out of extreme poverty and get the richest people to use less fossil fuels so that everyone can share their energy levels, he says.

June 5, 2013 at 9:29 am Leave a comment

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