Category Archives: Environment

“Chocolate Chirp Cookies”

NPR The Salt: Should Hyping Edible Bugs Focus On The Experience Instead Of The Environment?

“Farming insects may be more sustainable than raising meat, but so far that hasn’t been quite enough to convince most Westerners to eat them.

Marketing them as delicious, exquisite delicacies, though? That might do the trick.
[…]
Current marketing tactics for eating insects tend to point out environmental and health benefits. But a new study published in Frontiers in Nutrition suggests it might be better to focus on taste and experience, such as highlighting how much dragonflies taste like soft-shelled crabs.”

Best food name ever: “Chocolate Chirp Cookies” for cookies baked with cricket flour.

“While visitors are enjoying the free access, they may be doing irrevocable damage to America’s national parks.”

The Guardian: Joshua Tree national park announces closure after trees destroyed amid shutdown.

“For 17 days, a host of volunteers and a skeleton staff kept the trash cans and toilets from overflowing at Joshua Tree national park.

But on Tuesday, 18 days after the federal government shutdown furloughed the vast majority of national park staff, officials announced that vandalism of the park’s distinctive namesake plants and other maintenance and sanitation problems will require closure starting Thursday.

“While the vast majority of those who visit Joshua Tree do so in a responsible manner, there have been incidents of new roads being created by motorists and the destruction of Joshua trees in recent days that have precipitated the closure,” spokesman George Land said in a news release.”

Vox: Joshua Tree National Park has been trashed in the shutdown. Now visitors are cutting down trees. “Despite severe damage, the park will not shut down entirely.”

“A week ago, Joshua Tree National Park in Southern California was forced to shut down its campgrounds due to “health and safety concerns over near-capacity pit toilets,” according to CNN.

But despite the partial closure, things continued to get worse.

According to National Parks Traveler, visitors are creating illegal roads and driving into some of the park’s most fragile areas. They are also chopping down trees, setting illegal fires, and graffitiing rocks. With Joshua Tree being roughly the size of Delaware, the eight on-duty law enforcement rangers had no way to stop all the prohibited activity.”

Links via MetaFilter.

I’ve been to Joshua Tree National Monument during a school exchange back in 1992, before it became a National Park, and again with André in 1999. It’s been on my list of places to re-visit more thoroughly, but now I’ll have to find out if it’s still worth it. It’s a shame that this is happening to Joshua Tree and many other National Parks because of a stubborn and incompetent president.

Keine Frage: Schützen!

WDR Doku: Wölfe – Schützen oder schießen? (YouTube, 43:50min) “Die Wölfe sind zurückgekehrt und breiten sich in Deutschland aus. Aber sind Wölfe automatisch gefährlich für den Menschen? Tendenziell sollen Menschen für den Wolf uninteressant sein, aber was sagen Experten? Ob in Niedersachsen, Sachsen oder jüngst in Nordrhein-Westfalen, allerorten werden die Raubtiere gesichtet – Der Wolf ist zurück in der deutschen Wildnis.”

A picture-perfect Hebridean island

The Economist: Scottish islanders are buying out their lairds. “But remote settlements will need more than new owners to survive.”

“In June Ulva was bought by its residents, a result of sweeping land reform by the Scottish government. “For the first time, the people who live on the island will get to decide what happens to it,” declared Rebecca Munro, an islander.

When Ulva was put on the market last year, Mrs Munro and her family feared that a new landlord might terminate their tenancies. A brochure portrayed the island as a private playground, they said, listing the dates when tenants could be evicted. Community ownership, by contrast, suggests security and self-determination. But the fate of fragile and marginal places depends on more than land changing hands.

Who owns what, and why, has a particular emotional pull in Scotland. Half the country’s private land is owned by fewer than 500 people. Nationalists view this as a legacy of English colonialism, which saw the appropriation of land that under the clan system had been mutually owned. The clearances of the 18th and 19th centuries, when rich landowners forcibly evicted poor tenants to make way for sheep farming, loom large in the cultural imagination.”

Huffington Post: Meet The Island Communities Fighting Back Against Wealthy, Absent Landlords. “These tiny Scottish communities are taking control of their own destinies.” (Includes a 10min video worth watching.)

“Eigg is one of the Scottish Small Isles, an archipelago of islands a few miles off the country’s west coast, and when Fyffe arrived, the population was at an all-time low of 39.

The island was owned by businessman and former Olympic bobsleigher Keith Schellenberg. Schellenberg had bought Eigg in 1975 for the equivalent of $360,000 (274,000 pounds), and despite some initial investment, things had progressively declined. In an interview with the West Highland Free Press in 1991, he enthused that under his ownership the island had kept its “slightly rundown … Hebridean feel.”

Fyffe and her neighbors saw it differently. “We were in extreme circumstances,” she says. “With no security of tenure, no one was investing; the community hall was falling apart; the only shop was in a corrugated shed with no water or electricity.”

Fed up and desperate for change, the community decided to do something about it. When Schellenberg’s divorce led to the island being put on the market, Eigg passed briefly to a German artist, before the newly formed Isle of Eigg Trust raised $1.97 million to buy it ― one-third from hundreds of small donations and two-thirds from a woman who has remained anonymous to this day. Last year, Eigg celebrated its 20th anniversary of community ownership.”

Links via MetaFilter.

Da bleiben einem Nutella, Rocher und Küsschen im Halse stecken…

Deutsche Welle: Haselnüsse für Nutella vergiften Chile. “Eine der wichtigsten Zutaten für die Produkte des Süßwarenherstellers Ferrero sind Haselnüsse. Die werden unter anderem in Chile angebaut – unter fragwürdigen Bedingungen.”

“Ein Grund für die steigende Produktion von Haselnüssen in Chile ist vermutlich die lasche Umweltgesetzgebung. Die fehlenden Regulierungen beim Einsatz von Pflanzenschutzmitteln machen den Anbau kostengünstiger und effizienter. Auf den Haselnuss-Plantagen wird das wahrscheinlich krebserregende Glyphosat eingesetzt. Agrichile steht außerdem unter dem Verdacht, das giftige Pflanzenschutzmittel Paraquat zu verwenden. Paraquat wurde von der englischen Firma Imperial Chemical Industries entwickelt, deren Agrarsparte heute Teil des Schweizer Unternehmens Syngenta ist. In Chile wird das Umweltgift von Arysta und Anasac vermarktet.

Untersuchungen des Pestizd-Aktion-Netzwerks in Chile RAP (Red de Acción en Plaguicidas y sus Alternativas en Chile) warnen vor Gesundheitsschäden durch den Einsatz von Paraquat wie Nierenversagen, Atemnot, Lungenschmerzen, Seh- und Leberschäden, schweren Hautverletzungen, Todesfällen sowie Embryoschädigung. In der Europäischen Union ist Paraquat verboten, in Chile nicht.”