Dig up your lawn and plant your flowerbeds with spuds. Marry a farmer. Buy land. The United Nations, commodity brokers and hedge funds, banks and governments all seem to agree that high food prices are here to stay.
According to mySupermarket and other food price-tracking sites, a typical shopping basket in Britain now costs around 6% more than it did last year but specific foods and key staples are clearly much dearer. Some English butter is up 40% in a year, chocolate biscuits 50%, coffee 20% and pasta 29%.
Globally, the UN also sees food prices rising over the next 10 years as higher energy and fertiliser costs affect farmers. In a recent report, the UN said it expected cereal prices to be 20% higher on average, compared with the previous decade, while meat prices would be up to 30% higher.
Inevitably this will hit the poorest the most. In Britain, families spend around 15% of their budget on food. In developing countries, this rises to 50% or more.
Al Gore, the former vice president, Nobel Prize winner and climate campaigner-in-chief, is opening a new global climate change activism program called the Climate Reality Project.
The group’s first program will be a live-streamed event called 24 Hours of Reality and held on Sept. 14-15. According to a press release from the organization, “people all around the globe living with the impacts of climate change will connect the dots between recent extreme weather events — including floods, droughts and storms — and the man-made pollution that is changing our climate.”
The idea is to educate the public about the impacts of global warming and to counter what Mr. Gore considers the well-financed disinformation and denial campaign run by the fossil fuel industries.
In June 2010, faculty, staff and administrators at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire had their desk trash cans replaced with six-inch-tall cartons. One year later, Dartmouth has sent 200 less tons of trash to the landfill, and recycling is up by one third.
From afar, the EcoArk Pavilion in Taipei has the look of many modern structures that grace the world's biggest cities. Its polished exterior and oblique angles give it the appearance of a futuristic glass ship. But approaching the structure, something remarkable becomes apparent: Its walls are constructed entirely of interlocking plastic bottles.
The polygonal bottles, known as Polli-Bricks and made of recycled PET plastic, ensure that the building is not only structurally sound--it can withstand earthquakes and typhoons--but also that it is environmentally friendly. Even more importantly, it's cheap.
Felicity Barringer writes her experience as a bike commuter on the New York Times.
Two things about my colleague Christine Haughney’s article on the reluctance of New York-area women to become bicycle commuters were striking. One was the main reason cited: fear. (Excessive sweating followed.) The second was an accompanying graphic with data from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey indicating which cities have the most bike commuters and from an Australian study looking at gender differences in bike commuting.