Day 37 100words100days Can organic food support a world population of 9 billion?

Does writing 410 words make up for two days of not writing at all?

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Organic food is food that is produced without the use of fertilizers, pesticides, and other artificial (read: not naturally occurring) chemicals. Is it healthier, safer, more environmentally acceptable? That depends on whom you are talking to. There is no consensus.

The contention is that this kind of food, the kind our not-too-distant forebears ate, will not be sufficient to feed a population that shows no signs of slowed growth. It will not be sufficient because it will not be able to resist pests, bear an adequate quantity of fruit/grain/etc. It will not be sufficient because we don’t currently have enough land to grow low-yielding crops on, and we would need to turn over more soil to meet demands.

How true is this?

Apparently, the difference between “conventional” yields and organic yields isn’t quite as bad as we have been led to believe.

We would still need to grow more food. Urban farming is one way to do that. Cities are the largest consumers of food. Of course they would be, with the number of people who are city-dwellers, including me. Why not have more farms within city limits, on rooftops, in courtyards, and plants in pots on verandahs?

In rural, suburban or exurban areas, practices like kitchen gardening, multicropping, crop rotation and community farming need to become more prevalent.

As for the fish and meat we eat- free range as far as possible. I know the industrial poultry farms and mega moo-houses won’t send their animals out into the world. Maybe if we ate less meat there wouldn’t be a need for quite so many methane-producing, resource-intensive farms. (It’s just a thought. Don’t throw steak at me.)

I’m not just being an idealist here. Nor am I saying that feeding 9 billion is possible with the land the world currently has under the plow. We need to look at new methods, and grow accustomed, once again, to smaller farms and more humane production processes. We also need to address food waste, over-fishing, and land use, because the discussion would be incomplete without them.

We have a little time: the 9 billionth is expected to be born around 2050. Within my lifetime, I will have seen the arrival of 4 billion people (the 5 billionth is estimated to have arrived the same year as me, the 6 billionth was born in 1999, the 7 billionth about 3 years ago). That is a whole lot of mouths to feed. But I think it can be done; yes, even with organic food.

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Day 38: Pick a hymn and write a secular story that could have it as a theme song/soundtrack element

Day 30 100words100days Careers in sustainability

If I get a chance to study full-time again, I definitely think sustainability is something I would choose to pursue.

I recently audited a MOOC on Coursera by Lund University- Greening the economy: Lessons from Scandinavia, during which I learned a lot about the policies and practices that have come to shape the world of the future. It was, without a doubt, worth the hours I spent on it.

199 words

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The UNEP has come up with the following simple definition for a green economy: “one which is low carbon,resource efficient and socially inclusive.” To paraphrase, this economy is one that the planet can sustain and that promises growth for the people of this planet.

There are quite a few possibilities open to job-seekers, all across the green spectrum from the formal qualifications-required, standards-to-be-upheld kind, to the grassroots, experience-is-the-best-teacher sort, and everything in between.

Armed with the right information, you could join a multinational company’s CSR/sustainability team and help them offset the GreenHouse Gases (GHG’s) they are producing. You could be a consultant and analyse the production processes of different products in an effort to find ways to make them more efficient for the planet. You could help companies, campuses, communities go carbon neutral.

If you are more of the hands-on kind, you could run an urban farm, or help set up alternative-energy generators. You could build cutting-edge tech out of recycled materials. Speaking of recycled materials, you could be involved in the whole wealth-out-of-waste revolution which encompasses everything

The world is waiting. For a list of  green jobs that includes facts and figures and high-quality images, go here.

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Day 31: Navigating the internet for a senior citizen.

Day 13 100words100days Make a list of ways the average person can be an Earth steward

Ahhhh, the how-to. I didn’t want to put a number in the title, because I like to be contrary on occasion. 375 words.

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Are you a current inhabitant of Planet Earth? Congratulations! You have the necessary qualification to be an Earth steward. All you need is a little dedication to this funny little spheroid and her people, and you are good to go.

You require only minimal training to fulfill your duties. Much of the knowledge that will help you do your job well can be gained from other people through such means as talking to them, reading books and articles they have written and understanding why some of them refuse to get involved.

Detailed below is the job description. You may perform all or some of these duties, as you are able to.

  • Educate somebody about the benefits of looking after the environment. Make sure you do this properly. Beware: you don’t want to come across as bossy, because this will detract from the positive work you are trying to do. (#TrueStory)
  • Recycle, upcycle. This includes accepting gifts that are recycled or upcycled. Money is sometimes a better gift than a poorly-assembled, though thoughtful, present. Related: Do not shame a recycler.
  • Reduce, but always bear in mind that you are also a steward of the economy. Consume responsibly.
  • Accept that not everyone wants your lifestyle. Keep telling them that they have to accept that you don’t want theirs either. Dialogue is important, as is setting a good example.
  • Encourage policy makers and businesses in your village, town or city to adopt practices that are good for the planet. Every little bit counts, but the big bits count more.
  • Prepare to do a little to a lot of research. Some suggestions: Calculate your carbon footprint and work on reducing it. Find out what a carbon footprint is.
  • Invest your money in clean technology and programmes encouraging clean development. A solar charger for your phone, perhaps.
  • Don’t waste, especially what is on your plate. If you can’t eat it in the restaurant, take it home.

Regarding your appraisals- future generations of animals (including humans and humanoids) and plants will judge you.

As for remuneration, you will be paid in clean air and water, a prosperous green economy, and not so many natural disasters (if you’re lucky). A possible, but not promised, bonus: you might get to save the world.

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For tomorrow, Day 14: Write a sonnet . Or two.

Oh dear. That will not be easy.