Thursday, 29 March 2012

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Research in Real TimeNewsletter_Mar2...Madagascar  

Dear Naresh,   

Today, the Worldwatch Institute released Vital Signs 2012, a compendium of all the Vital Signs trends we posted online over the last year from our Vital Signs Online. From organic farming to global meat production and consumptionVital Signs 2012 documents 24 trends that are shaping our future in concise analysis and clear tables and graphs. Click here to purchase a copy today.

According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, roughly a third of all food produced for human consumption----approximately 1.3 billion tons----is lost or wasted each year. With nearly 1 billion people suffering from hunger, this amount of wastage is unacceptable. 

Luckily, organizations, such as Love Food, Hate Waste and Practical Action, are working with consumers and farmers to reduce that waste. But we want to know, what you are doing to reduce food waste? What are steps that we all can take to reduce food waste? Email me and let me know your thoughts! We will highlight some of your suggestions on Nourishing the Planet. 
All the best,
Danielle Nierenberg
Nourishing the Planet Project Director
Worldwatch Institute
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Here are some highlights from the week:

Our Nourishing the Planet TV episode this week discusses a program that is helping farmers in Tanzania work together to increase their incomes, while healing the land. CARE International's Equitable Payment for Watershed Management program encourages, and works closely with, smallholder farmers to use intercropping and terraces to help restore soil.
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The United Nations' World Food Programme (WFP) and Italian energy company Enel are teaming up in an effort to address food security and climate change by providing green cook stoves and solar panels to communities. Enel Trade has committed support to WFP's Safe Access to Firewood and Alternative Energy in Humanitarian Settings Initiative, which provides high-efficiency cooking stoves to schools, community centers, and poor households for use in cooking WFP food rations.  
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In this guest post, Marketing Communication and Multi-media Specialist with the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), Jerome Bossuet discusses a new pilot project in the Indian states of Gujarat, Rajasthan, and Andhra Pradesh. Led by the Water and Agriculture Working Group and run by ICRISAT, the project seeks to scale up the adoption of water-saving irrigation practices via the development of a simple, farmer-friendly irrigation decision-making tool. The project is developing a Simple Water Impact Calculator for farmers, which estimates the impact of their current practices on water conservation, and explores ways to use water more efficiently. 
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In this post, we discussedFirst Peoples Worldwide (FPW), an indigenous-led organization that aims to strengthen indigenous communities through the restoration of control over their assets. FPW advocates on behalf of Indigenous Peoples with governments, economic development institutions, and funders. It calls for U.S. and foreign governments to work directly with Indigenous Peoples in establishing mutually beneficial agreements. 
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In this TedxManhattan talk, "Raising Pigs & Problems: Saying No to Antibiotics in Animal Feed," the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy's Dr. Wallinga explains that producers in the large-scale meat production industry often incorporate antibiotics into their animal feed in an attempt to ward off disease, which can spread rapidly among animals kept confined in close quarters. But widespread use of antibiotics can actually create antibiotic resistance, making it harder to fight illness among animals and humans alike. Antibiotics that are present in animal waste leach into the environment and contaminate water and food crops, posing a serious threat to public health.   
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In this guest post, Agro-Insight Director, Paul Van Mele discussed his organization's partnership with theInternational Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropicsto create a comprehensive series of 10 farmer-to-farmer videos to combat Striga, one of the world's most troublesome weeds. The "Fighting Striga" videos have been shown in farmer exchange visits and discussed at open-air evening screenings. They are effective because they are made according to the zooming-in, zooming-out (ZIZO) method, which relies on strong interactions with farmers. The ZIZO method results in regionally relevant and locally appropriate farmer-to-farmer training videos and can be applied to many topics.  
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Check out this National Geographic article, written by Worldwatch senior fellow and Freshwater Fellow of the National Geographic Society, Sandra Postel, which discusses a new study on humanity's water consumption, or its water footprint. Many everyday items contain surprisingly high water footprints----it takes 2,700 liters (713 gallons) to make a cotton t-shirt and 2,400 liters (634 gallons) to make a hamburger. The study alerts consumers and producers to areas where they can contribute to decreasing our global water footprint.  
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The Worldwatch Institute's 16th Annual State of the World Symposium will take place on April 11 and will be hosted at the Woman's National Democratic Club in Washington, D.C. Worldwatch President Robert Engelman and senior researchers Michael Renner and Erik Assadourian will speak at the event, where they will officially release State of the World 2012: Moving Toward Sustainable ProsperityState of the World 2012 includes sustainability discussions that range from agriculture to biodiversity, green jobs to economic degrowth, communications technologies to sustainable buildings, and local politics to global governance. Click here for more information and here if you would like to register for the event. 
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What did you think of this newsletter? Please give us your feedback...we will use your comments to constantly improve our work. Write Danielle Nierenberg, Senior Researcher and Project Director of Nourishing the Planet, at

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