Call it "carbon compensation": in a randomized experiment in western Uganda, scientists demonstrated the effectiveness of paying rural farmers not to chop down trees (responsible for annual CO2 emissions worldwide), studying for two years the declines in forest cover between a control group (no payment) and the participant group (paid). Thus building on a United Nations project in which wealthy nations pay poorer ones in an attempt to equalize the costs of responding to climate change, the design and outcome of the project proves the existence of a low-cost environmental policy solution to stemming rising global temperatures.
The United Kingdom is finding creative ways to simultaneously address renewable energy needs and waste disposal. Combined Heat and Power (CHP) plants are utilizing chicken manure from farms and coffee grounds to create electricity. The initiatives have the added benefit of improving standards for the treatment of poultry, as well as reducing the distribution of harmful toxins from the waste.
In agricultural communities across Kenya, global warming has led local farmers to turn to camels -- as an alternative to cows -- for dairy products both to feed their families and take to the local markets to sell: thanks to their ability to go weeks without water, camels are much more drought-tolerant than cattle, and they consume less water in general, too. Furthermore, with an uptick in demand both regionally and nationally for camel milk, farmers are finding themselves with new purchasing power for various goods and services -- and some are planning to export the milk and yogurt to neighboring Somalia, where the product is also quite popular.
Community leaders are working together to address the issue of food insecurity in Mansfield, caused not just by lack of access to grocery stores and fresh food sources, but also often by unemployment, high housing costs, low wages, poverty, and health care costs. The North End Local Foods Initiative is installing food gardens in these communities, creating access to fresh produce, to educational opportunities, recreational activity and more.
New Jersey legislators are introducing a series of actions that can help drastically reduce food waste and ensure more food is provided to those going hungry. The varied measures include provisions for farms where post-harvest produce is collected and donated, as well as clarifications on food labeling to help prevent confusion about expiry dates.
For many years, the city of Cairo has been dealing with dense smog, known as the "black cloud," that covers the city. This air pollution was initially set off by farmers burning surplus crops, but now is the cause of 42% of the nation's air pollution, according to the Egyptian Environment Ministry. Now, the government is taking action to fight against the smog with new programs and fees, aided by the inventions created by members of the Cairo community.
By 2050 the percentage of the world's population living in cities will increase to two-thirds. The environmental impact, particularly in regards to pollution and strain on resources, is already extensive.
But people around the world are implementing creative solutions to meet growing demand, while also making cities more sustainable. In Colombia, a company called Conceptos Plasticos collects recyclable plastic material, melts it down and moulds it into bricks used to build houses for the local community. Singapore too, is on the cutting edge of environmentally sustainable urban solutions including vertical farms and living buildings.
As the global population flocks to urban centers, challenges to ensuring sufficient food production and access to nutrition increase, especially with concern to poor communities. To help ensure availability of food in these neighborhoods, researchers, entrepreneurs, activists, and even corporations are looking at cities as fertile ground to grow hyperlocal produce. The BLK ProjeK’s Libertad Urban Farm in the Bronx is one example of successful urban agriculture projects that are as much about community building and economic empowerment as they are about nutrition.
While the USPS has seen a drastic decline in revenues and capacity in recent years due to growing competition from the private sector and social changes, First Class Meal is reimagining the role that this institution has to play: improving national access to healthy food. Using the existing USPS app to connect organizations and food banks that struggle to distribute donations, postal drivers out on their normal routes would pick up donations, deliver to food banks or pantries, and store food in post offices with excess capacity.
New Jersey was one of seven states chosen by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to participate in a pilot program for SNAP recipients, where eligible participants can use food stamps for grocery purchases online for the first time.
Regenerative farming practices such as cover crops can be environmentally friendly and financially profitable. But federal crop insurance rules and certain characteristics of the agriculture industry have prevented farmers from employing these techniques fully. However, one farmer, Gail Fuller, has been working to broaden access to such techniques.
Hospitals in the United States spend over $340 billion on health services, but with those funds they could also help neighborhoods struggling with socioeconomic issues. The Democracy Collaborative is research center that helps hospitals link up with local institutions to encourage job growth, buy regionally produced food, and reinvest back into their local economy.
Food access for low-income Americans is still a challenge across the country. Campus Kitchen Project, a national community service project that operates at 53 colleges, leverages the readily-available manpower and compassion of university and high school students to help provide meals to those in need.
New Jersey looks for those solutions being implemented successfully in other regions around the country to fight hunger in food deserts and poor neighborhoods, assessing what can be replicated in their local communities to address these issues.
Unexpected weather patterns began affecting crops in Kenya. The Government of Makueni region provided a group of local leaders weather text messages to distribute into the community to assist plan food crops.
A threatened wildlife exists along side some poverty stricken communities on the Arizona-Mexico border. Conservation scientists are hoping to alleviate poverty while repairing the local environment by providing jobs that help preserve and renew the environment.
In this episode of New Mexico in Focus, we examine the economic impact of medical cannabis in rural communities in our latest report for Small Towns, Big Change. Producer Sarah Gustavus also looks at the potential impact of legalizing recreational marijuana in New Mexico.
For something as important as food, many communities in the West struggle. That's because agricultural systems aren't really geared for the communities that harvest the food. In this episode of West Obsessed, the writers and editors of High Country News discuss some of the most interesting challenges — and solutions — to rural food supply.
Columbia University has a food insecurity problem among its students, but their meal sharing app Swipes was struggling to allocate donated food to those in need. New York University has developed an app called Share Meals that succeeded in pairing needy recipients with meal donors, and also encouraging repeated donations. So far, the app has enabled over a thousand meal donations. Columbia now is looking to learn from their success.
Climate change causes intense weather, such as droughts and hurricanes, which damage vegetation and cultivation of farming practices. In addition, farming can contribute to climate change because it causes greenhouse gas emissions. The Malawi Farmer to Farmer Agroecology project has offered low-cost and low-technology techniques, as well as farmer-to-farmer teaching, which has successfully diversified crops and improved food security.
Hunger is a hidden crisis in the U.S., and in places like Rio Arriba County, New Mexico - a food desert and poverty-stricken community - a few dedicated food pantries are all that stands between thousands of people and going hungry. A longstanding relationship with Farmers Markets authorized to use SNAP benefits has also allowed farmers to donate overstocked produce to those in need - though the greater battle against the poverty that causes hunger is yet to be won.