Cooking with whatever means possible – Solar Ovens

“Because of the expenses of gas, it’s cheaper to use the solar ovens and using natural energy from the sun,” Esthel said in Spanish through a translator.

A small number of communities in the Dominican Republic are buying solar ovens to cook their meals, avoiding cooking with gas stoves or wood that present financial and health problems.

Sometimes we forget that ensuring food security is not just about having sufficient food supply, but the people also need the means to be able to cook the food for consumption (food safety). This also contributes to a country’s food consumption.

Source: http://pulitzercenter.org/reporting/cooking-revolution-dominican-republic-communities-change-lifestyles-solar-ovens

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Why the South China Sea matters – Part 2 of the South China Sea dispute

A continuation from the Spratly Islands dispute post

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Nat Geo Reporter Rachel Bale reports her investigation into giant clam poachers on reefs in the South China Sea, like those on the Spratly Islands, in the video below:

In 2012 Philippine authorities found a Chinese fishing boat loaded with corals, live sharks, and giant clam shells at Scarborough Shoal, some 138 miles (220 kilometers) from the Philippine coast.

The government contacted Gomez with a question. Why in the world would the Chinese have so many giant clam shells? Gomez didn’t know, but he soon found out. A friend gave him a tip, advising him to visit the port town of Tanmen, on the island of Hainan.

When he got there, he was flabbergasted: “Rows and rows of shops selling nothing but giant clam carvings, giant clam shells, and corals,” he says. “There must have been, I would guess, a mile and a half of stores.”

It turned out that the giant clam handicraft market in China had exploded, and the South China Sea was its epicenter.

By the late 1990s Hainan fishermen had overfished their coastal waters. Their catches were getting smaller, and they were looking for ways to supplement their income, says Zhang Hongzhou, a research fellow at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.

The government helped them out with a special fuel subsidy to travel more than 500 miles (800 kilometers) south to the Spratly Islands, as well as subsidies for bigger and better boats.

Source: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/08/wildlife-giant-clam-poaching-south-china-sea-destruction/

Sustainable farming practices – No-till farming

The image above (Source) shows how no-till farms look like. See the dried up weeds/ plants between the rows.

The video starts on a no-till field — one that isn’t ever plowed. Instead of tilling, or turning over the soil to kill weeds, farmers plant directly into the thatch of grasses and usually use an application of herbicide to knock down weeds. When farmers leave fields bare, like in the other field, soil washes away and local waters are polluted.

Groundcover protects the soil and dramatically reduces erosion. People often think sustainable farming means no chemicals, but sometimes judicious use of chemistry allows for more environmentally friendly options — like keeping the ground covered.

Click below for video.

Source: http://grist.org/briefly/a-clear-contrast-of-sustainable-and-unsustainable-farming-practices-in-20-seconds/