As our global population concentrates itself in cities, urban areas are becoming increasingly vulnerable from a food security standpoint. Some cities are already sitting on a knife’s edge with regard to food security, with comparatively small stockpiles of locally available food reserves in the event food shipments arriving by road, air, or sea are disrupted unexpectedly.
Widespread consensus exists that the use of research is very important for achieving development goals. But what’s the best strategy for ensuring that research results make it beyond the journal article and into the real world?
I remember the cyclone in 1970s, this was before the polders were built. Thousands died in that storm. I am 100% sure that polders would have saved them.
Unprecedented challenges at a planetary scale may sound daunting. Luckily there are people around the globe working to face these challenges, and on November 17th their tools and ideas will be available and open to anyone with an internet connection as a free MOOC – massive open online course.
Over the last two decades, “ecosystem services” have taken center stage in the field of conservation as a way of emphasizing that protecting nature should be about sustaining and enhancing the benefits nature provides to people. But how do we do this in practice and achieve both conservation and development goals? Can WLE rise to the challenge?
For IWMI Director General, Jeremy Bird, the world’s emerging water crisis in most places is one of management rather than of absolute water shortages — of not making the most of clean water, and of profligate disregard for the value of waste water.
For many rural communities in Africa and Asia, collecting and managing water for home use and domestic gardening is “women’s work”. Yet women seldom have a say in how water is managed or how water infrastructure is planned.
Most people don’t realize there are two Noahs in the bible. There’s the man with the animals and the ark, and then there’s the woman who fought for equitable property ownership rights for men and for women. Noah and her sisters appealed to Moses for women’s inalienable and legal right to control their own land, with or without male co-ownership. This Noah is my namesake.
The length of coastal areas around the globe is over 1.6 million kilometers, skirting approximately 150 countries. Many of them are in the tropics with sprawling cities along the coast not far from rural populations. Farmers may be adapting environmentally unsustainable agricultural practices similar to what is being adapted in Keta and Kalpitiya, two coastal regions that are continents apart. Is this level of intensification ecologically sustainable?
We are all searching for ‘innovation’. It seems to be bandied about in every meeting and in every project proposal. WLE is in the process of designing and facilitating a series of workshops across four focal regions to foster innovation at the regional level.
Constantly monitoring where and when problems occur allows health professionals to predict potential trouble spots and target their interventions. It is perhaps surprising then, that other challenges to our wellbeing do not always receive such close attention. Take soils for example.
Any day now, a hundred Bangladeshi smallholder farmers will be planting their annual aubergine crop. But this year this select band will not be planting their usual seeds of the crop; these family farmers, chosen by the country’s agricultural researchers, will be growing a genetically modified (GM) variety.
Mongolian herders are maintaining the centuries old practice of moving from season to season to find new grasslands for their livestock, the primary source of their nomadic livelihood. Right now it is time to move to their winter camps and enter the most critical period of the year – the months of extremely cold weather.
Working with fellow ecologists and Friends of the Earth’s Big Ideas project, I have been exploring the way in which natural systems function as living organisms. How we might best use this understanding when it comes to producing food? And what role could technology play?
For big decisions, like buying a car, we may do a bit of research; but most of the time, we simply follow our gut feeling as a guide. But do we want those who make decisions on some of the biggest issues in development to also follow their gut instinct? Decision analysis tools can improve the decision making process.
Imagine a workshop where people come together with the stated aim of producing documents to carry forward a body of work ten years in the making. We suggest there are a number of essential ingredients in this currently unorthodox format.