Novihum: A Better Way To Grow

Aug 11

Monsanto Accused of Biopiracy

Things haven’t been looking great for Monsanto in Asia. Between knockoff high-yield crop seeds and a critique of the company in The Guardian last week, the biotech agriculture giant could use some good news.

Unfortunately, Monsanto is now being taken to court in India for “biopiracy.” Essentially, the company is accused of using local eggplant varieties to develop its genetically modified high-yield version without “prior approval of the competent authorities.” This complaint is similar to what many multinational firms have been facing in India, which involves patenting and packaging traditional Indian products and simply selling them at a higher price.

Aug 02

A Carbon Tax from the Ashes of the Debt Deal

Yes, yes, everybody is tired of hearing about the US debt crisis. As one business editor for The Atlantic said: “I think I’ve reached my limit on debt ceiling stories, so I think I’m going to write about Dippin’ Dots.”

But hold on a second. ClimateWire suggests that a climate tax might just be the solution to the federal government’s need for new revenue sources:

A carbon tax could be an appealing alternative to even more ambitious cuts to entitlements and defense spending as well as a national value-added tax, repealing the home mortgage tax deduction, or higher income taxes,” [economist Joe] Aldy said in an email. “A well-designed carbon tax could raise some revenues to finance deficit reduction and enable a reduction in payroll tax rates, for example.”

Really hope this actually happens, because a carbon tax would really help to reduce emissions, which helps the environment in the long run. An effective carbon cap is long overdue: the recent ClimateWorks report says that we’re fast running out of time to reduce carbon emissions. In short, carbon emissions will have to peak by 2020 in order to avert severe damage to the planet. At the rate we’re going, we won’t make the 2020 cutoff.


Grain Production Plummets, Prices Skyrocket as Soil Erosion Worsens

Treehugger spotlights soil erosion in Haiti, Mongolia, North Korea, and Lesotho, showing that soil erosion has caused grain harvests to fall by almost half. As a result, Lesotho and Haiti depend heavily on food imports and U.N. World Food Program donations.

(image by Mark Fischer)

Soil erosion is a direct cause of misery for many people in underdeveloped countries. In addition to providing immediate food relief, we should be donating to organizations that aim to reclaim desertified land through the use of soil conditioners and tree-planting. As the adage goes: “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.”

Jul 31

"Succulent Experiments" by AGrowingObsession -

Denise Ginger’s blog showcases her beautiful experiments in horticulture. She works with plants that are naturally suited to her gardening zone, which conserves resources and results in a much more unique garden.

I love what she’s done here with succulents, or water-retaining plants. They don’t just look beautiful — they make use of recycled parts! Denise made the hangers from car jacks, old window screens, and salvaged metal strips. 

This project is a perfect example of conservation: growing water-saving plants in artful containers made from salvaged parts. Bravo!

Click here for the full post.

Jul 29

theatlantic:

Summer Festivals

Summer weather brings people together outside to enjoy music festivals, county fairs, carnivals and religious observations. I’ve gathered here some recent images of these celebrations, including a flaming horseman in Kyrgyzstan, Bastille Day in France, a German fun park inside a former nuclear power plant, and much more. 
Above: A girl on her father’s shoulders looks through a maze of sunflowers growing in a field during a three-day sunflower festival in the town of Nogi, Tochigi prefecture, north of Tokyo, on July 24, 2011. A total of some 200,000 sunflowers welcomed guests for the summer festival, an annual draw for the small town. (Kazuhuro Nogi/AFP/Getty Images)

See more wonderful photos at In Focus

theatlantic:

Summer Festivals

Summer weather brings people together outside to enjoy music festivals, county fairs, carnivals and religious observations. I’ve gathered here some recent images of these celebrations, including a flaming horseman in Kyrgyzstan, Bastille Day in France, a German fun park inside a former nuclear power plant, and much more. 

Above: A girl on her father’s shoulders looks through a maze of sunflowers growing in a field during a three-day sunflower festival in the town of Nogi, Tochigi prefecture, north of Tokyo, on July 24, 2011. A total of some 200,000 sunflowers welcomed guests for the summer festival, an annual draw for the small town. (Kazuhuro Nogi/AFP/Getty Images)

See more wonderful photos at In Focus

Jul 28

If you’re looking for a special houseplant that your neighbors probably won’t have, why not opt for this delicate and sleep Lucky Bamboo?
The bamboo grows best in indirect light, but moves to follow the sun. With daily care, you can make it grow into any number of designs, including the popular coil pictured above.

If you’re looking for a special houseplant that your neighbors probably won’t have, why not opt for this delicate and sleep Lucky Bamboo?

The bamboo grows best in indirect light, but moves to follow the sun. With daily care, you can make it grow into any number of designs, including the popular coil pictured above.

Jul 27

Recycled soda bottles house an entire herb garden

Treehugger showcased a home in Brazil where recycled PET bottles were used to grow dozens of small plants, primarily herbs.

Design house Rosenbaum carried out this creation. It’s especially inspiring because it helps improve the lives of three women who live in a one-bedroom home on a salary of less than $130 per month.

Read the full article here

The only concern that popped to mind: Won’t the small amounts of soil run out of fertilizer rapidly? How tedious it must be to have to regularly fertilize each individual pod!

Jul 25

Leaf art by Lorenzo Duran

Leaf art by Lorenzo Duran

McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish can neutralize lead in soil

The bones of the Alaskan pollock, the famously fishy ingredient in the Filet-O-Fish sandwich, are being used on lead-contaminated soil to neutralize the toxic substance.

How it works: Fish bones contain calcium phosphate, which migrates into the soil when the bones decompose. Calcium phosphate binds to lead and the two become pyromorphite, which is harmless even when consumed (good thing: eating dirt mixed with fishbones is high on my list of priorities).

The military has recently started using this tactic, but I wouldn’t recommend adopting this for your yard just yet. It take 1.1 tons of fishbone to neutralize a contaminated yard. And, as workers found out, fishbone reeks when left out in the scorching heat (a warning to all you East Coasters out there!)

NEVERTHELESS, I love the idea of a natural remedy to a man-made problem. And though using bones and other organic refuse to condition soil is nothing new, this scientific approach tickles the fancy.

So, the takeaway point is: next time you go to McDonalds, consider ordering a Filet-O-Fish. Or two.

Saving the world, one artery-clogging sandwich at a time

(Source: The New York Times)

Jul 24

I’m incredibly tempted to purchase this Zoku Ice Pop maker. Ice pops + pop art = genius! It’s such a fun and healthy way to use those excess strawberries and cucumbers from your garden.
Let’s not even get me started on the cocktail ice pop possibilities…

I’m incredibly tempted to purchase this Zoku Ice Pop maker. Ice pops + pop art = genius! It’s such a fun and healthy way to use those excess strawberries and cucumbers from your garden.

Let’s not even get me started on the cocktail ice pop possibilities…