Humans

Towers Of Vegetables Go Up As Singapore Builds First Vertical Farm

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Peter Murray
Sky Green hopes to see the prices of their vegetables go down as more vertical farms go up.
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Short on arable land? One solution would be to plant…up. Singapore, a small country that imports most of its food, has now begun selling vegetables from its first vertical farm. And even while they’re more expensive the vegetables are already selling faster than they can be grown. ... Read more about Towers Of Vegetables Go Up As Singapore Builds First Vertical Farm

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Ban Ki-moon: World on course to run out of water

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John Parnell
UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon said business as usual will mean demand for freshwater outstripping supply (Source: UN/Mark Garten)
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Speaking on the UN’s International Day of Biological Diversity, Ban said there was a “mutually reinforcing” relationship between biodiversity and water that should be harnessed.

“We live in an increasingly water insecure world where demand often outstrips supply and where water quality often fails to meet minimum standards. Under current trends, future demands for water will not be met,” Ban said. ... Read more about Ban Ki-moon: World on course to run out of water

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No end to poverty without better governance

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Sri Mulyani Indrawati
Noor Jahan, 5, sleeps on chalk drawings she made as her mother begs for alms at a railway station in Mumbai, on Dec. 7, 2012. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui
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In April the World Bank governors endorsed two historic goals: to end extreme poverty by 2030 and to ensure that prosperity is shared. It will take a lot to end poverty: strong growth, more infrastructure investments, increased agricultural productivity, better business environments, jobs, good education, and quality health care. We have to do more of this in tough places, particularly those that are fragile and conflict-affected. ... Read more about No end to poverty without better governance

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We can end poverty, but the methods might surprise you

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John Podesta, Casey Dunning
South Africa has written food, water and health care protections into its constitution. Photograph: Clive Mason/Getty Images
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"Ending extreme poverty in all its forms" is no longer a platitude or a dream for development experts – it's the guiding vision of the United Nations High Level Panel, as well as an achievement that's closer to being realized than ever before, thanks to the millennium development goals. ... Read more about We can end poverty, but the methods might surprise you

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Chinese fishing fleet in African waters reports 9% of catch to UN

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John Vidal
The alleged gross misrepresentation of the official Chinese catch suggests that many countries are being systematically cheated, leaving them unable to devise effective management plans to conserve stocks. Photograph: Kim Ho-Cheon/AP
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Just 9% of the millions of tonnes of fish caught by China's giant fishing fleet in African and other international waters is officially reported to the UN, say researchers using a new way to estimate the size and value of catches.

Fisheries experts have long considered that the catches reported by China to the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation (UNFAO) are low but the scale of the possible deception shocked the authors. ... Read more about Chinese fishing fleet in African waters reports 9% of catch to UN

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World seed banks get funds to tackle climate, other threats

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Alister Doyle
Reuters
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OSLO, Jan 31 (Reuters) - Scientists have agreed on a $109 million plan to strengthen the world's biggest seed banks of crops such as rice and wheat to help protect and develop new varieties resistant to climate change and other threats.

The Global Crop Diversity Trust and the CGIAR Consortium of agricultural researchers said on Thursday that a five-year plan would help secure storage of more than 700,000 samples of crops at 11 existing gene banks from the Philippines to Belgium. ... Read more about World seed banks get funds to tackle climate, other threats

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Europe 'has failed to learn from environmental disasters'

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John Vidal
The remains of Chernobyl nuclear power plant reactor number four. Europe has failed to learn the lessons from many environmental and health disasters like Chernobyl, the report warns. Photograph: Igor Kostin/Corbis
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Europe has failed to learn the lessons from many environmental and health disasters like Chernobyl, leaded petrol and DDT insecticides, and is now ignoring warnings about bee deaths, GM food and nanotechnology, according to an 800-page report by the European Environment Agency. ... Read more about Europe 'has failed to learn from environmental disasters'

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Environmental threats could push billions into extreme poverty, warns UN

Author: 

Claire Provost
A Filipino boy washes his face in murky waters in Manila. Inaction on the environment will accelerate global poverty, warns the UN. Photograph: Francis R Malasig/EPA
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The number of people living in extreme poverty could increase by up to 3 billion by 2050 unless urgent action is taken to tackle environmental challenges, a major UN report warned on Thursday.

The 2013 Human Development Report hails better than expected progress on health, wealth and education in dozens of developing countries but says inaction on climate change, deforestation, and air and water pollution could end gains in the world's poorest countries and communities. ... Read more about Environmental threats could push billions into extreme poverty, warns UN

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