Rob Greenfield gardened, fished and foraged to eat more sustainably and encourage others to do the same. But to succeed, he needed the community
For the last year I grew and foraged 100% of my food. No grocery stores, no restaurants, not even a drink at a bar. Nature was my garden, my pantry and my pharmacy.
Most people would imagine I live in the countryside on a farm, but actually I live in a city; Orlando, Florida, a few miles from the centre. When I arrived here, I didnt own any land, so in order to grow my food I met people in the neighbourhood and turned their lawns into gardens and shared the bounty of food with them. Im a big believer in the philosophy grow food, not lawns.
I also needed a place to live for my two-year stay in Orlando and I also found this through the local community. I put the message out that I was looking for someone with an unused backyard who could benefit from my being on the property. After a short search I found Lisa, a woman in her early 60s with a lifelong dream of living more sustainably. I built a 100 sq ft tiny house in her backyard and in exchange I turned her entire front yard into a garden, set up rainwater harvesting, composting and grew her fresh produce. Together, we helped meet each others basic needs through an exchange, rather than using money.
Decades of adding fertilisers and manure to drive Iowas crop production has loaded the land with nutrients that are ending up in the water supply
Brent Bierbaum climbs into the ditch running alongside one of his corn fields and dips a nitrate testing strip into the water. He checks the strip: the reading is somewhere between 10 and 20 parts per million. It confirms the water running off this field contains nitrates at levels that would be unsafe, and illegal, in drinking water.
Brent, whose family have been farming in this part of south-west Iowa for five generations, never used to worry about the runoff from his fields. On a hot day, cutting thistles in the corn fields, hed go down to the creek and drink straight from the tile line the water coming off the fields. Cold, clean its the best water around, he says.
Things changed when his local town, Griswold, started having problems with their drinking water. Nitrates are a soluble form of nitrogen that is added to fields as synthetic fertiliser and animal manure; nitrates from Brents fields, and other neighbouring farms, were making their way into the towns wells. Nitrate from farmland in Iowa is already a major contributor to the chemicals making their way to the Gulf of Mexico via the Mississippi river, suffocating marine life in the dead zone. Suddenly what had been a distant problem, more than a thousand miles away, was on the doorstep, threatening the health of friends and neighbours.
Oh my gosh, he says. We all have friends who drink the water in town; we drink the water in town, so we all had an interest in it.
Like most small towns in rural Iowa, Griswold is surrounded by vast fields of corn and soya bean. Giant grain silos glinting in the spring sunshine are all that punctuate the landscape for miles around.
Iowas world-famous soils are packed with nitrogen a gift from nature that allowed commercial agriculture to take root here but decades of adding synthetic fertilisers and animal manure to drive production has loaded the land with nutrients it cant hold on to. Crop production in Iowa is still the main source, but animal manure from the states 20 million pigs has contributed to the problem.
The long read: Demand for healing crystals is soaring but many are mined in deadly conditions in one of the worlds poorest countries. And there is little evidence that this billion-dollar industry is cleaning up its act
In February, crystals colonised Tucson. They spread out over carparks and gravel lots, motel courtyards and freeway footpaths, past strip malls and burger bars. Beneath tents and canopies, on block after block, rested every kind of stone imaginable: the opaque, soapy pastels of angeline; dark, mossy-toned epidote; tourmaline streaked with red and green. There were enormous, dining-table-sized pieces selling for tens of thousands of dollars, lumps of rose quartz for $100, crystal eggs for $1.50. Crystals were stacked upon crystals, filling plastic trays, carved into every possible shape: knives, penises, bathtubs, angels, birds of paradise.
It was the month of the Tucson gem shows, a series of markets and exhibitions that collectively make up the largest crystal expo in the world. More than 4,000 crystal, mineral and gemstone vendors had come to sell their wares. They were expecting more than 50,000 customers to pass through, from new age enthusiasts with thick dreadlocks and tie-dye T-shirts, to gallery owners, suited businessmen and major wholesalers. Deals done here would determine the fate of tens of thousands of tonnes of crystals, dispatching them across the US and Europe into museums and galleries, crystal healing and yoga centres, wellness retailers and Etsy stores.
Five years ago, crystals were not a big deal. Now, powered by the lucrative combination of social media-friendly aesthetics, cosmic spirituality and the apparently unstoppable wellness juggernaut, they have gone from a niche oddity associated with patchouli and crushed velvet to a global consumer phenomenon. On Instagram, hashtags for #crystals and #healingcrystals tick into the tens of millions. In 2017, the New York Times heralded the great crystal boom and in 2018 Hello! described them as the years biggest health and wellness trend. Sold as lamps, sex toys, facial massagers or vaginal eggs hawked by Gwyneth Paltrows lifestyle empire Goop, there is now a crystal for every possible occasion. As Kim Kardashian was recovering from her robbery at gunpoint in 2016, she embraced healing crystals. The model Miranda Kerr has said that she filters all her skincare products through rose quartz to give the vibration of self-love.
Scientists state July a minimum of equated to and might have beaten most popular month on record
The record-breaking heatwave that roasted Europe last month was a one-in-a-thousand-year occasion made up to 100 times most likely by human-driven environment modification, researchers have actually computed.
Around the world, July a minimum of equated to and might have gone beyond the most popular month on record, according to information from the World Meteorological Organization. This followed the hottest June on record.
The severe heat is especially uncommon since it is not an El Nio year– the phenomenon generally related to extended temperature level rises. Rather, researchers state it is driven to a big degree by carbon emissions from vehicle exhausts, power plant chimneys, burning forests and other human sources.
How much these aspects filled the dice in the 2- to three-day heatwave throughout the recently of July was the topic of an attribution research study by a consortium of meteorologists and climatologists at the UK Met Office, Oxford University and other popular European organizations.
It discovered that the severe heat in France and the Netherlands, where temperature levels peaked above 40C, was made a minimum of 10 times and potentially more than 100 times most likely by environment modification. In the UK, which set a record of 38.7 C on 25 July, the human effect on the environment made the heats a minimum of 2 to 3 times more possible.
There was substantial variation from location to location, however in all the studied areas the researchers stated it would have been 1.5 C to 3C cooler without environment modification.
The Indonesian capital topped the charts for the worlds most contaminated city a lots times in June
Tired of breathing in a few of the world’s filthiest air, a group of activists and ecologists in Jakarta has actually chosen to take legal action against the Indonesian federal government to do something about it.
Social media users have actually published photos of the Indonesian capital blanketed in smog under the hashtag, #SetorFotoPolusi.
On 25 June, the capital signed up an air quality index (AQI )of 240 according to the vibrant IQAirVisual index. For contrast, London’s present index reading is 12 while San Francisco is on 26.
The Jakarta smog has actually now triggered more than 30 complainants, consisting of activists, ecologists, civil servants, artists, and businesspeople to unite and deal with sending a civil claim versus the federal government this month.
The case will be submitted versus the Indonesian president, along with the ministries of health, house affairs and environment, and the guvs of Jakarta, Banten and West Java.
“We hope that through this claim the federal government can enhance existing policies and take efficient actions to get rid of air contamination due to the fact that present policies are not working,”described Ayu Eza Tiara, a legal representative from the Jakarta Legal Institute, which is dealing with the case.
“In the recently of June, based upon our information, the air contamination index is typically truly bad, “stated Ayu,”It is typically high at a loss zone, which is categorized as extremely unhealthy.”
According to the vibrant IQAirVisual index, Jakarta topped the charts for the world’s most contaminated city a minimum of half a lots times this June.
The AQI reading is based upon measurements of particle matter, consisting of PM 2.5, little particles less than 2.5 micrometers in size that can be breathed in and trigger major health issue.
Last year Jakarta was ranked the most contaminated city in south-east Asia, based upon a research study by Greenpeace and AirVisual, released this March.
In addition to Jakarta’s infamously bad traffic , Greenpeace thinks the city’s markets, prohibited and legal smelters, open-waste burning and coal-fired power plants are likewise to blame.
But the Indonesian federal government appears hesitant to acknowledge the issue.
The acting head of the Jakarta ecological firm just recently dismissed the bad June readings, stating the federal government “does not actually react to real-time information”and in basic the air quality had actually been”moderate”this year.
Jakarta guv Anies Baswedan has actually put the issue to the high variety of automobiles on the roadway, however Greenpeace energy advocate Bondan Andriyani argues that is just part of the photo.
” In 2018 the information revealed that traffic in Jakarta was enhancing, however the air quality, decreased. It’s a contradiction,”stated Bondan, “The PM 2.5 information revealed that variety of unhealthy days practically doubled in 2018 from the year previously.”
Parts of Okuma are open for organisation when again, however just a few hundred previous homeowners have actually moved house
A town beside the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactor partly resumed on Wednesday, 8 years after a triple disaster required 10s of countless individuals in the location to leave.
About 40% of Okuma, which sits right away west of the plant, was stated safe for homeowners to make a long-term return after decontamination efforts considerably lowered radiation levels.
However, media reports stated simply 367 individuals from Okuma’s pre-disaster population of 10,341 had actually signed up as homeowners, recommending that extremely couple of individuals will go back to areas that have actually been deserted because a fatal earthquake and tsunami triggered a triple disaster at the nuclear plant in March 2011.
Most of Okuma, nevertheless, stays off-limits due to high radiation levels. Homeowners have actually been allowed to make daytime gos to to keep their houses, however Kyodo news reported that just 48 individuals, coming from 21 families, had actually up until now signed up to remain over night.
Local authorities hope the opening next month of a brand-new city center and other facilities tasks will encourage more individuals to return.
Concern over the possible health results of direct exposure to radiation stays high amongst individuals from locations near the plant, especially households with young kids. A survey by the Asahi paper and a regional broadcaster discovered that practically two-thirds of left homeowners felt nervous about radiation in spite of main claims that decontamination work had actually been a success.
Part of Okuma is likewise being utilized as an interim storage website for countless cubic metres of hazardous soil collected throughout an unmatched decontamination drive to decrease radiation to levels that would make it possible for 10s of countless evacuees to return house.
The federal government has actually pledged to move the soil out of Fukushima prefecture by 2045, however has yet to discover an irreversible storage website.