Environment

Monsanto's signature herbicide glyphosate, first marketed as "Roundup," is now the most popular weed-killer in the history of chemical agriculture in both the U.S. and globally, according to a paper in Environmental Sciences Europe written by economist Dr. Chuck Benbrook, a staunch opponent of conventional agriculture.

Unlike 2,4-D, smart strategies have limited weed resistance and unlike DDT, glyphosate has never had a 'Rachel Carson event' which has kept it in use.


What is a great way to ensure that conservation has no support at all from the public? Hand nature over to centralized bureaucrats and create environmental groups full of lawyers to sue to make sure people are treated as the enemy.

Or just have centralized government tell people what to do, as in the communist dictatorship China.

Yet there is a better way. Communists love cold, hard cash just like capitalists, and conservation programs that compensate citizens for changing habitat-damaging behavior really work, according to results of a program in China that aims to restore forests and habitat for the endangered giant panda.


There is a growing demand for fruit and vegetables across the Western world, thanks to increased awareness of their nutritional and health benefits. But we’ve always been taught they might not be safe to eat straight out of the supermarket, and they have to be washed first. Is this the case? And what might happen if we don’t?

Farm to fork, locally grown and all of the other progressive terms for agriculture self-identification leave out one important fact: People would starve.

Seattle, for example could feed 4 percent of its population with P-Patches and backyard gardens teeming with kale. Organic agriculture for the masses is a popular myth but urban agriculture is a plain old pipe dream.

And 4 percent may be the high number, it could be more like 1 percent, according to a new University of Washington study - that's even if all viable backyard and public green spaces were converted to growing produce. 


Though 90,000 out of every 100,000 years in recent geological cycles have been Ice Ages, and it has been 12,000 years since the last one, a new glacial inception hasn't happened.

That's because humanity has become a geological force that is able to suppress the beginning of the next ice age, according to a paper in Nature

Scientists of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research found the relation of insolation and CO2 concentration in the atmosphere to be the key criterion to explain the last eight glacial cycles in Earth history. Even moderate human interference with the planet's natural carbon balance might postpone the next glacial inception by 100,000 years. 


Fire use for brush control is nature's way of keeping the ecosystem thriving but as the 20th century progressed, natural methods gave way to environmental lobbying and legal bullying. California, which led the nation in environmental activism, has seen fire hazards run out of control. 

This was no surprise to experts in land management. Dr. Bill Rogers, a Texas A&M AgriLife Research professor in the department of ecosystem science and management in College Station, notes that fire has historically played an important role in achieving land management objectives and further eliminating its use could have detrimental effects.


Nitrogen is an essential nutrient for plant growth, and nitrogen fertilization and is often used in agriculture in the developing world and in organic process farming in wealthy countries. But organic farmers have to worry about yield also, and that has led to overuse and misuse that has resulted in the accumulation of surplus nitrogen in soil and its eventual migration to soil layers and groundwater.


It's no secret that the organic growing process is harder on the environment, with more toxic pesticides, less efficient use of the land, and lower yields, but some practices are exceptionally harmful, like growing crops in organic (peat) soil. 

When organic soils are drained and cultivated the organic matter in the soil will decompose which leads to emissions of greenhouse gases, finds a study in Denmark, and that makes up as much as 6 percent of Denmark's total greenhouse gas emissions.


In the 1980s, the recycling debate was all the rage, with arguments for and against government doing it. The argument against government doing it was predictable; government is inefficient and expensive and the landfills waiting for a recycling list that would grow with every environmental lobbying effort would be the size of regular landfills.

Government recycling won and now there are giant landfills of recycling material that can never actually be recycled - all those glossy magazine pages with perfume on them, for example. Most of California recycling is actually done in China, after being shipped there in emissions-belching boats.


Hydraulic fracturing is an important technological advance in the extraction of natural gas and petroleum from black shales, but wastewater produced along with shale gas and petroleum following fracking is extremely saline and contains high concentrations of barium.