In the Amazon the cattle sector is the largest driver of rainforest destruction, accounting for 60 to 70 percent of deforestation. To put it in concrete terms: every eighteen seconds on average one hectare of Amazon rainforest is being lost to cattle ranchers. As if the carbon emissions resulting from cattle deforestation were not enough, consider bovine methane emissions (or cow farts, if you want to be less delicate). While much of the debate surrounding global warming has centered upon carbon dioxide--the world’s most abundant greenhouse gas--methane, which has twenty-one times the warming potential of carbon dioxide, is seldom mentioned. [...more]
The study shows that various types of intimate violence serve as a tool to solve conflict between couples, and is usually the result of a decision-making process [...more]
We can join Bill McKibben on Oct. 24 in nationwide protests over rising carbon emissions. We can cut our consumption of fossil fuels. We can use less water. We can banish plastic bags. We can install compact fluorescent light bulbs. We can compost in our backyard. But unless we dismantle the corporate state, all those actions will be just as ineffective as the Ghost Dance shirts donned by native American warriors to protect themselves from the bullets of white soldiers at Wounded Knee. [...more]
"What we need is a less exploitative model of agriculture. Vast areas of the developing world are being turned over to cattle grazing, or soy for cattle or biofuels so the rich world can eat more meat and drive around in ecological cars when the priority should be ensuring there is enough affordable food for everyone. [...more]
The push to "eat local" has far less impact on the environment compared with eating lower on the food chain. A central fact that some advocates of eating locally do not grasp is that eating chicken, beef or other animals involves the use of grains and beans that were transported hundreds and thousands of miles (even when they are partly grass-fed). While the cow may have been raised, and even slaughtered, close to where you live, its fodder was transported great distances, using plenty of fossil fuels or other types of energy. And it takes many pounds of the protein from grains and beans to produce a pound of beef protein. [...more]
In a first-of its-kind study, epidemiologists at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine found that, on average, guns did not protect those who possessed them from being shot in an assault. The study estimated that people with a gun were 4.5 times more likely to be shot in an assault than those not possessing a gun. [...more]
A 16-year-old might be quite capable of making an informed decision about whether to end a pregnancy -- a decision likely to be made after due consideration and consultation with an adult -- but this same adolescent may not possess the maturity to be held to adult levels of responsibility if she commits a violent crime, according to new research into adolescent psychological development. [...more]
Just being around green products can make us behave more altruistically, a new study to be published in a forthcoming issue of Psychological Science has found. But buying those same products can have the opposite effect. Researchers found that buying green can lead people into less altruistic behavior, and even make them more likely to steal and lie than after buying conventional products.
The number of hungry people, which was declining for several decades, bottomed out in the mid-1990s at 825 million. It then climbed to 915 million in 2008 and jumped to over 1 billion in 2009. With world food prices projected to continue rising, so too will the number of hungry people, leaving millions of families trying to survive on one meal per day.
“We know from studying earlier civilizations such as the Sumerians, Mayans, and many others,” says Brown, “that more often than not it was food shortages that led to their demise. It now appears that food may be the weak link in our early twenty-first century civilization as well.
The Earth has nine biophysical thresholds beyond which it cannot be pushed without disastrous consequences, the authors of a new paper in the journal Nature report. Ominously, these scientists say, we have already moved past three of these tipping points. [...more]