Wednesday, 27 March 2013
This paper is a reflection of an innovative project that complements existing higher education for sustainable development approaches within universities by providing an alternative path to embed sustainable lifestyles within the student population. It presents the SLEUTH project; an initiative born out of the need to reduce energy consumption of students at university but that, due to its systemic design, transforms and goes beyond purely energy reduction and brings Happiness as an approach to build sustainable lifestyles.
Over the past three decades optimism has ebbed away and the future seems not only increasingly uncertain but also potentially catastrophic in the face of global warming and declining energy resources. Changes are now starting to take place, indicating new directions in urban development, initially in the local provisioning of food through urban and peri-urban agriculture (UPA) growing rapidly almost everywhere in the world. Whilst food security is, in many cities, the primary consideration, there are many other concerns, motivations, starting points and means of organising UPA initiatives. This paper analyses the background to the growth of UPA and describes some contrasting examples. It ends with a return to the consideration of where, in the longer term, the UPA movement may be going, speculating on an eventual re-ruralisation of populations and the decline of cities.
The purpose of this paper is to report on the product of a ten year study, the PhD thesis, “Feminist Systems Thinking: Principles and Practice”, conferred in April, 2012 by the University of Queensland, which contains a set of five practical principles, to assist in policy directions for enhanced community development and project management. The research adapted Constructivist Grounded Theory to complete Part A, a theoretical imbrication of Cultural Ecofeminism and Critical Systems Thinking. Part B of the thesis is a set of four applied case studies utilising participatory action research. It is influenced by permaculture principles.
The ancient method of growing vegetables in hot beds, used by the Victorians and by the Romans, harnesses the natural process of decay to cultivate out-of-season crops. Jack First has revived and modernised this remarkable technique, and produces healthy vegetables at least two months earlier than conventionally grown crops. With just stable manure (or alternatives), a simple frame and a small space to build your bed, you can be harvesting salads in March and potatoes in early April.
The Passivhaus Handbook: A practical guide to constructing and retrofitting buildings for ultra-low-energy performance
A major issue of potato cultivation in temperate zones is the potato cyst nematode Globodera rostochiensis. In this study, the nematophagous fungus Paecilomyces sp. was used for the first time to efficiently reduce the population of G. rostochiensis in two crop cycles.
Agroecology is a recent scientific field that has become increasingly active since 1990. It has moved away from conventional emphasis on crops and productivity and has embraced a systemic, multidisciplinary approach that focuses on agroecosystems or food systems and their sustainability. This article analyzes original articles in agroecology that have been published in eight major global databases in order to establish where agroecology is taking place and what topics focus on agroecology.
Thirty-five percent of global production from crops including at least 800 cultivated plants depend on animal pollination. The transformation of agriculture in the past half-century has triggered a decline in bees and other insect pollinators. This article reviews the literature providing mounting evidence that the restoration of plant biodiversity within and around crop fields can improve habitat for domestic and wild bees as well as other insects and thus enhance pollination services in agroecosystems.
Tuesday, 26 March 2013
Wednesday, 13 March 2013
Afforestation is a good mitigation activity to climate change because it causes sequestration of CO2 from the atmosphere and stores it as the living biomass and the dead organic matter. However, the response of soil organic carbon (SOC) to afforestation in deep soil layers is still poorly understood. This article surveys 56 previously published studies for changes in deep SOC after afforestation of both croplands and grasslands. It concludes that converting cropland to forestry has a highly positive impact on SOC (1.3-1.6 times greater), converting grassland to forestry much less so.
Tuesday, 12 March 2013
Monday, 11 March 2013
, produced 51% (by value) of the total agricultural output of the Russian Federation. This represents 384 billion rubles (approx. US$14 bn at the then current exchange rate), or 2.3% of Russia’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), greater than the contribution to the GDP of the coal (54 bn rubles), natural gas (63 bn), and oil refining (88 bn) industries combined. It means 51% of food was produced on just 3% of agricultural land. He argues that the only thing that has kept Russia from major domestic conflict has been the ability of ordinary Russians to feed themselves from their gardens.