Removing Dams Could Save Atlantic Salmon From Extinction | EcoWatch


Atlantic salmon have a challenging life history — and those that hail from U.S. waters have seen things get increasingly difficult in the past 300 years.

Dubbed the “king of fish,” Atlantic salmon once numbered in the hundreds of thousands in the United States and ranged up and down most of New England’s coastal rivers and ocean waters. But dams, pollution and overfishing have extirpated them from all the region’s rivers except in Maine. Today only around 1,000 wild salmon, known as the Gulf of Maine distinct population segment, return each year from their swim to Greenland. Fewer will find adequate spawning habitat in their natal rivers to reproduce.

Source: Removing Dams Could Save Atlantic Salmon From Extinction – EcoWatch

In the Tigray War, Weaponized Starvation Takes a Devastating Toll


Millions of people in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region are facing starvation. Until now, it’s been a crisis without pictures. Those wrenching images of emaciated children and mothers with dull-eyed gazes, so sadly familiar from famine zones, have yet to emerge. But that’s because journalists aren’t permitted to travel to the worst-hit areas of Tigray, where hunger is deepening by the day. When the media can finally get access, or when starving villagers abandon their homes and flee to towns, the pictures will surely remind viewers of drought victims from Ethiopia’s 1984 famine, which prompted the famous LiveAid benefit concert and a vast outpouring of charity.

Now, though, there is no drought and no harvest failure. Tigrayans are hungry today because starvation is being used as a weapon of war—relentlessly and systematically.

Source: In the Tigray War, Weaponized Starvation Takes a Devastating Toll

64% of World’s Farmland at Risk From Pesticide Pollution, Study Finds | EcoWatch


About one third of the world’s agricultural land is at high risk from pesticide pollution, a new study has found.

The research, published in Nature Geoscience Monday, looked at the use and spread of 92 active pesticide ingredients in 168 countries. They considered an area at risk if the concentration of a chemical exceeded the limit at which it would have no effect, and at high risk if that concentration exceeded the limit by a factor of 1,000.

Source: 64% of World’s Farmland at Risk From Pesticide Pollution, Study Finds – EcoWatch

Climate Change Threatens Potato Chip Production, Global Food Storage | EcoWatch


Climate change poses significant dangers to global food supplies as rising temperatures make storage more difficult, The Associated Press reports.

Food around the world is stored outside after harvest, before processing, but rising temperatures and other altered weather patterns threaten to drive prices higher as more food is lost and producers are forced to install costly equipment to protect food stores.

Source: Climate Change Threatens Potato Chip Production, Global Food Storage – EcoWatch

How inheritance became a gift, a necessity, and a curse | Vox


Technically, Megan is a farming heiress.

Her mom grew up on a wheat farm, and for years, the government had been paying her family $15,000 a year to not farm. It was an attempt to keep land from being overused, and that money was basically the extent of Megan’s relationship with agriculture: the source of a yearly gift, the money she and her mom would wait for before, say, buying furniture or making home repairs. Now Megan, who asked to be referred to by a pseudonym to speak freely about her finances, receives that money directly.

In 2019, at the age of 64, Megan’s mother died. It was expected and unexpected. Her mom had been a cancer survivor for 20 years. But chemotherapy had damaged her heart, and two years ago, she went into cardiac arrest.

On the phone, Megan, 38, runs me through the process of settling her mother’s estate.

Source: How inheritance became a gift, a necessity, and a curse – Vox

How to choose a bottle of wine | Psyche Guides


Regardless of what’s highlighted on the label – grape, origin or producer name – none of it is any use unless you have some idea of each wine’s flavour profile. In short, trying to decipher the label is a recipe for confusion. The only route out of the randomness-versus-routine conundrum is to learn a little bit about wine.

From the perspective of a wine lover, learning about the stuff is, of course, a total joy, but whatever you’re interested in, there’s something in the wine world to please you. People who love poring over maps will get a kick out of the way that wine style interacts with geography. Geologists find that the further they dig down, the more they’ll discover about different soils producing different kinds of wines. There’s plenty going on during winemaking to attract microbiologists and biochemists, while those whose interests lie in the humanities find much to love in the way that wine and culture interact. Historians enjoy contemplating the way that older vintages become time capsules of history, making them think about what happened during the year the wine was bottled. Students of human nature love the way that a winemaker’s personality is often reflected in the wines they make, while food lovers will enjoy experimenting with pairings of flavors.

Whatever your interests, all newcomers to wine have the same simple question: how do I find a wine I’ll enjoy?

Source: How to choose a bottle of wine | Psyche Guides

Bottom Trawling for Fish Boosts Carbon Emissions, Study Says | Time


It’s been well established by now that the agricultural systems producing our food contribute at least one fifth of global anthropogenic carbon emissions—and up to a third if waste and transportation are factored in. A troubling new report points to a previously overlooked source: an industrial fishing process practiced by dozens of countries around the world, including the United States, China, and the E.U.

The study, published today in the scientific journal Nature, is the first to calculate the carbon cost of bottom trawling, in which fishing fleets drag immense weighted nets along the ocean floor, scraping up fish, shellfish and crustaceans along with significant portions of their habitats.

Source: Bottom Trawling for Fish Boosts Carbon Emissions, Study Says | Time

Damming Rivers Is Terrible for Human Rights, Ecosystems and Food Security | EcoWatch


There’s some good news amidst the grim global pandemic: At long last, the world’s largest dam removal is finally happening.

The landmark agreement, which was finalized in November 2020 between farmers, tribes and dam owners, will finally bring down four aging, inefficient dams along the Klamath River in the Pacific Northwest. This is an important step in restoring historic salmon runs, which have drastically declined in recent years since the dams were constructed. It’s also an incredible win for the Karuk and Yurok tribes, who for untold generations have relied on the salmon runs for both sustenance and spiritual well-being.

The tribes, supported by environmental activists, led a decades-long effort to broker an agreement. They faced vehement opposition from some farmers and owners of lakeside properties, but in 2010, they managed what had seemed impossible: PacifiCorp, the operator of the dams, signed a dam removal agreement, along with 40 other signatories that included the tribes and the state governments of Oregon and California. Unfortunately, progress stalled for years when questions arose around who would pay for the dam removals.

Source: Damming Rivers Is Terrible for Human Rights, Ecosystems and Food Security – EcoWatch

Our grasslands have been poisoned by intensive farming | Aeon Essays


Progress has manifested itself in odd ways in agriculture. Grass farmers say: ‘Animals have legs, and plants have roots, for a reason.’ Allowing cows out to harvest their own feed and spread their own manure is the most profitable means of producing meat and milk.

But, somehow, agricultural science has encouraged farmers to mount a treadmill of increasing yields of milk or meat by increasing the amount of production per unit input. This means reliance on three intensive practices: first, genetic alteration for higher plant feed and animal yields; second, the application of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides and growth compounds; and third, concentrating livestock in barns and feedlots where they can be fed a carefully balanced, high-priced diet, and their excreta is collected and redistributed elsewhere.

These strategies were wildly successful with respect to increasing yields. But they have come with two general downsides that are inescapable: first, the profits of the system accrue mainly to the suppliers of seed, pesticides, fertilizers and genetics; and second, the costs of the system accrue to all of society in the form of devastating environmental degradation.

Source: Our grasslands have been poisoned by intensive farming | Aeon Essays

UK ‘in denial’ over fisheries losses from Brexit deal | EURACTIV.com


Fishing communities are still counting the costs of lost business resulting from the new bureaucratic requirements for them to export seafood to the EU market and the UK government is in ‘denial’, industry leaders told UK lawmakers on Thursday (4 February).

Fishermen are “beginning to get goods into the EU so we’re not going to say we’re not moving any seafood,” Jimmy Buchan of the Scottish Seafood Association told the House of Commons Scottish Affairs Committee.

“Seafood is beginning to flow and each day is an improving situation but it’s far from being perfect, said Buchan, adding that “the government is still in denial, these are not teething problems.”

In 2019, fish exports to the EU, worth £1.4 billion, made up 67% of all fish exports from the UK, while £1.2 billion worth of fish were imported from the bloc.

The UK fishing sector was expected by Boris Johnson’s government to be one of the main beneficiaries from the UK leaving the EU and its Common Fisheries Policy, with ministers claiming that UK fishermen could have additional fishing opportunities worth more than £750m thanks to Brexit.

Instead, however, the industry has struggled to cope with the new customs processes caused by the UK’s new trade agreement with the EU, resulting in protests outside Downing Street.

Source: UK ‘in denial’ over fisheries losses from Brexit deal – EURACTIV.com