by Tom Bosschaert

Oct. 7, 2016

Tom Bosschaert

Welcome to the September wormfood. We collected some intriguing news to inspire you. Some of the remarkable things that happened over the last month: Paris climate agreement is closer to reality while climate change is jamming the world's ocean circulation. Human-made ecosystems are evolving, starting from the introduction of more robots in agriculture to the realization of a rainforest in the desert. Our health is threatened by an undiversified diet and UN is seeking for antibiotic-free meat while the Monsanto monopoly of seeds production is going to the chemical company Bayer. Read all about it in this wormfood. Want to get it first? Make sure to Subscribe.

Global News

  • UN agrees to fight 'the biggest threat to modern medicine': antibiotic resistance. All UN member states are set to sign a declaration to combat drug-resistant infections. Bacteria have always evolved so that they can resist new drugs. In recent years, the pace at which we are discovering novel antibiotics has slowed drastically, while antibiotic use is rising. Fast food chains are asked to curb the rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria by using antibiotic-free meat.
  • German giant Bayer’s buys controversial US Monsanto: called a 'marriage made in hell'. Agricultural biotech giant Monsanto has accepted a US$66-billion takeover bid by Bayer, the biggest deal of the year so far. The deal, announced on 14 September, could reshape the agricultural technology industry. "Without a healthy and quality product, without diversity, a chef can’t express his creative talent", the open letter from over 100 chefs read.
  • Global climate accord closer to reality. U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping formally joined the Paris climate agreement, and with the world’s two largest emitters of carbon pollution now on board the deal among more than 190 countries may enter into force this year. The Paris agreement only goes into effect if 55 nations sign on.

Energy & Environment

  • SEED: The Untold Story. A film that follows passionate seed keepers protecting our 12,000 year-old food legacy: the diversity in our seed stocks is in danger. The official trailer has been released. For some scientists monoculture is not the problem as much as the lack of crop rotation: “having only one crop increases our ability to mechanize planting”. But as Michael Pollan says, “monoculture in the field leads to monoculture in the diet”. Growing bigger with cheaper means is leading towards an undiversified diet, reduction of food species and food corporate oligarchy. We need to change our food system: poor food is risking health of half the world.
  • A 3-million-year ice age is coming to an end. The Arctic sea ice, which polar bears depend on for survival, is shrinking. A new study finds that ice is melting even earlier in spring than thought, and growing back later in autumn. The massive amount of cooler water could jam the world's ocean circulation.
  • 'Rainforest' in the desert. A rainforest in a desert with 3,000 plants and 800 animals. it’s the Green Planet in the United Arab Emirates, a four-storey, exotic jungle inside a biodome, complete with the world’s largest man-made tree. Up to fifteen educational programmes in five areas of eco-exploration are scheduled.

Business & Economy

  • JetBlue makes biofuels deal to curtail greenhouse gases. JetBlue, seeking to get ahead of looming restrictions on airliners’ greenhouse gas pollution, has agreed to buy more than 330 million gallons of renewable fuel over 10 years.
  • Macro and climate economics: the "Elephant in the Room". To achieve future energy, climate, and economic goals, we must start to use improved economic models. The current models appear to output that economic growth will always occur. The reason is because growth is actually input as an assumption. In macroeconomic models, this is the so-called elephant in the room.
  • Peer-to-Peer and commons economy. What is the best way to produce goods and create value that is free, fair, and sustainable? The following 10 ideas for action are the result of 10 years of research at the P2P Foundation on the emerging practices that work for people and planet.

Science, Technology & Design

  • Rise of the small farm robots. The global farm robot space is bigger, more intelligent and closer-to-commercialization that you may realize. Could farming robots be the solution to hunger and pollution? This is what Farmbot is hoping, providing a 100% open-source home garden solution . Other similar ideas are being developed, such as the less high-tech SeedSheet.
  • Uber’s self-driving cars. Hot on the heels of the launch of its self-driving car demo in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Uber has hinted that it may expand to the heart of the U.S. auto industry. The ridesharing company plans to open a facility in Detroit, Michigan, according to Automotive News. Detroit could also become a testing ground, Michigan is one of a handful of states that has legalized the testing of self-driving cars on public roads.
  • Mystery bright spots could be first glimpse of another universe. Light given off by hydrogen shortly after the big bang has left some unexplained bright patches in space. Are they evidence of bumping into another universe?

Urban Environment

  • US teens often forced to trade sex work for food. Shocking study suggests widespread hunger in one of the world’s wealthiest country.
  • Feral: children raised by animals. A collection of stories teaches us how much social interaction makes us ‘human’. People isolated from human contact, from a very young age, copy the behaviour of animals.
  • Placemaking and Health. From obesity and chronic disease to depression, the world faces very different health challenges today than it has in the past, and many of these challenges are directly related to how our public spaces are designed and operated.

Unexpected and Intriguing

  • Who is not strong should be smart: weakness become strength points. We did not invent clothes simply to stay warm.The lack of hairs has forced our ancestors to make additional technological advances, which ultimately gave us the edge when the climate got extremely cold [about] 30,000 years ago. Rather than having to evolve the ability to live somewhere, we could simply create better clothing.
  • World's worst restoration? China's Great Wall covered in cement. It's the repair job that's so ugly you can probably see it from space.
  • Bill Mollison, Goodbye. A world class environmental visionary, co-inventor of Permaculture, has died.

See a news item suited for Wormfood, or a theme for a newsletter? Let us know, we'll do our best to make some magic happen!

Oct. 7, 2016