STARTING WITH THE SEED – BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY, CLIMATE CHANGE AND FOOD SECURITY

By JOHN THOMPSON, STEPS Centre member Each year, the 22nd of May is celebrated as the ‘International Day for Biological Diversity’. This year’s theme has been designated as ‘Biological Diversity and Climate Control’. The links between biodiversity and climate change run both ways: biodiversity is threatened by human-induced climate change but, biodiversity resources can reduce…

RISK IN INDIA: NEW CROP TECHNOLOGIES OR NEW DISEASE?

By ESHA SHAH, STEPS Centre member A deadly strain of disease has been identified as spreading fast across the wheat fields of Asia and Africa and scientists are worried that it could potentially cause mass starvation, according to new reports in the Indian and the UK press. The Hindu recently picked up on an article…

AAAS DAY 2: NEXT YEAR’S THEME

BY JOHN THOMPSON, STEPS Centre member AAAS Day 2: Friday 16 Feb 2007   The AAAS clearly sees itself as a global organisation, despite maintaining the ‘American’ bit it its title. To build on this year’s meeting theme of ‘Science and Technology for Sustainable Well-Being’ and reinforce its international credentials, the AAAS announced that the…

AAAS DAY 2: NEW UNIT OF MEASURE – “THE RUMSFELD”

BY JOHN THOMPSON, STEPS Centre memberAAAS Day 2: Friday 16 Feb 2007 In a wide-ranging lecture on “The Intersection of Burgeoning Human Populations and Natural Hazards, Caltech geologist Kerry Sieh introduced a new unit of measure today during a widely talked-about speech on earthquake preparedness. He explained that 1 “rumsfeld” (in honour of former US…

AAAS DAY 2: IMPROVING WATER MANAGEMENT IN AGRICULTURE

BY JOHN THOMPSON, STEPS Centre memberAAAS Day 2: Friday 16 Feb 2007 Another interesting session looked at the challenge of producing more food with less water by improving water use efficiencies in a variety of ways. While the focus of most of the presentations was US irrigation systems and technologies, the issues they raised are…

AAAS DAY 2: BIOENERGY TO THE RESCUE?

BY JOHN THOMPSON, STEPS Centre memberAAAS Day 2: Friday 16 Feb 2007 Renewable energy from biomass is all the rage these days, with policy makers from Brazil to the US diverting huge sums of money into R&D in a race to develop new biofuels to reduce their country’s dependence on imported fossil fuels and generate…

AAAS DAY 1: HOLDREN & THE 10% ‘TITHE’

BY JOHN THOMPSON, STEPS Centre memberAAAS Day 1: Thursday 15 Feb 2007 AAAS President John P. Holdren (pictured right) used his presidential address to urge swift action to build a sustainable future. Challenges such as poverty, climate change and nuclear proliferation pose global risks that require scientists and engineers to join with political and business…

Inside track from the AAAS annual meeting

John Thompson was among the 10,000 scientists, journalists, students and members of the public to attend the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in San Francisco over the past five days. The theme this year was ‘Science and Technology for Sustainable Well-Being’.Representing the STEPS Centre, John sat in on…

PRO-POOR RICE FARMING METHOD FACES HOSTILITY

A new system of rice farming that is “good for poverty, good for the environment and costs less” is facing “antagonism, indifference and hostility” from the mainstream agricultural and scientific industry. Farmers in Asia are experiencing 50-100% increase in yields from the new system that costs less and can better withstand the environmental challenges of…