Be The Change You Want To See: From Environmental Depression to Inspired Action in Six Books

I tend to get pretty down after reading many economic, international development and environmental books—factual, fiction or otherwise. If you do not know what I mean, I highly recommend reading Daniel Quinn’s 1992 novel Ishmael. Set up as a conversation between a teacher and student, where the former happens to be a hyper-intelligent, talking gorilla, the book slowly takes the reader through environmental philosophy on how we have managed to get ourselves into the present day environmental mess. Read More »

Graphics: Pollution and Innovation—How Sustainable is Latin America?

To coincide with INESAD’s November Environmental Sustainability month, today’s Monday Graphics series is investigating pollution and sustainable innovations in Latin America.

The first infographic, entitled Pollution in Latin America, was compiled by Hispanically Speaking News using reports from the Economist Intelligence Unit, Yale and Columbia University, the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Bank and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), to show how pollution is affecting Latin America. In addition to illustrating the health hazards of pollution, such as the two million deaths a year attributed to it, countries like Nicaragua and Costa Rica are exemplified as countries heading towards environmental improvement. In fact, along with ranking fifth globally for its positive treatment of the environment, Costa Rica ranks first in a recent Happy Planet Index released by the New Economics Foundation, which measures how happy people are in relation to their ecological footprint. Read More »

INESAD News: Five Sustainable and Fascinatingly Fun Pest Management Techniques

Development RoastINESAD’s Ioulia Fenton has spent the summer researching food and agriculture issues with Worldwatch Institute‘s Nourishing the Planet (NtP) project. Here is her latest article featured today by NtP:

Five Sustainable and Fascinatingly Fun Pest Management Techniques.

According to a recent report by the Pesticide Action Network, the use of chemical pesticides in agriculture is costly to human health and biodiversity: the effects of excessive exposure range from skin and eye irritation to disruptions of the immune system and death by poisoning. It is also increasingly expensive for farmers who have to keep up with pests’ natural ability to adapt to chemical formulas and resilience. But many farmers are abandoning chemicals for more natural methods that are not only chemical-free, but are also fascinating and fun.

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INESAD News: Ducks in Rice Paddies, Bees in Bushes and Chicken Sanitation Crews

INESAD’s Ioulia Fenton is currently researching food and agriculture topics at Worldwatch InstitutesNourishing the Planet project (NtP). Check out her latest article that was featured on the NtP website:

Five Holistic Alternative Farming Methods: Agroecology at its Best

In March 2011, the United Nations Special Rapporteur, Olivier De Schutter, presented a report highlighting how agroecology holds promise for alleviating hunger, reducing poverty, preserving the environment, and fighting climate change. Read More »

Relevance of Ancient Technologies to Today’s Global Problems

“More and more and higher-level technology” is heralded as the way that the human population will eventually get itself out of the global troubles it has wreaked. Under-researched genetically modified seeds to be sold to poor rural farmers in India; financially, socially and environmentally expensive Three Dams Project in China; and ethically dubious biofuel alternatives made in order to stem the toxic air pollution of the global transport industry. Each high-tech solution has its merits and its downfalls, of course, but do we always need to be looking forward or could we learn something from our ancestors? Read More »

INESAD News: Crowd Sourcing Solutions to Poverty—What Do You Think?

Over the last two days I have been involved in a global experiment – a 48 hour brainstorming session between 1,600 people, from 50 countries who identified the barriers to solving poverty and put forward ideas for solutions.

The experiment was set up in a form of a game called Catalysts for Change. The more you contributed by putting down your thoughts, critiques, questions and ideas in less than 140 character soundbites, the more points you collected. In the end, the two short days yielded over 18,600 soundbite playing cards covering a range of topics from improving education to challenging capitalism itself. Read More »

What Would You Buy if You Had Much More Information Than Just the Price?

Last week Development Roast asked you what you would pay for a beautiful purple butterfly silk shawl if you received positive information about the social and environmental conditions under which it was produced.

Now how would you view products of lesser credentials if you received more relevant information about them?

Would you buy this gorgeous Thai silk pashmina if its tag said this: Read More »

What Would You Pay if You Didn’t Have a Price?

Imagine yourself in a different world. You wake up on an ordinary sunny weekend morning like any other and go shopping for a birthday gift for your mum. You go to her favourite high street retailer and find the perfect looking present, a beautiful silk shawl. You look for the price, but instead of a normal price tag indicator, you find a fold out label like THIS. What would you pay?

Do you think that changing our shopping environments would encourage more ethics, responsibility and sustainability? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Ioulia Fenton leads the food and agriculture research stream at the Center for Economic and Environmental Modeling and Analysis (CEEMA) at INESAD. 

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