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The decision whether to allow the commercialization of the first genetically modified (GM) food crop (mustard) in India is nearing. Serious conflicts of interest and outright fraud could mean the decision coming down in favour of commercialization.
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The concept of tolerance isn't relevant only in the microbial world. All biological life has the ability to tolerate, including humans. A perfect example of this phenomenon occurs in those able to eat hot, spicy foods. You might think they are simply born with stronger tongues. But that isn't the case. Instead, in most cases, a biochemical modification has occurred in one of the proteins found on the tongue.
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Across the globe healthy, sustainable agriculture has been uprooted and transformed to suit the profit margins of these transnational agribusiness concerns. If we continue to hand over the control of society's most important infrastructure -- food and agriculture -- to these wealthy private interests, what might the future look like? We don't need to imagine: We can see the effects right now.
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As I travel, I'm learning how dire it is when these companies with massive international funds behind them invade and usurp regional cultures with global products that have no soul, no passion, and certainly no emotional resonance for those regions.
Monsanto is now very much embedded in India. It has even been called the 'contemporary East India Company' and says GM food is necessary to feed the world's burgeoning population. Such claims are hidden behind a veil of humanitarian intent, which is easily torn away to expose self-interest. India does not need GM to feed itself and no false argument or regulatory delinquency to force them in can disguise this.
When it comes down to it, it's not really a case of being pro- or anti-GMO. It's a case of being anti-corruption and pro-democratic. When hugely powerful corporations flex their political and financial muscle, they can and do effectively slant science, politics and regulation to suit their own self-interest.
Biofuels offer several advantages over fossil fuels. Most are less toxic. Crops used to produce them can be grown quickly, so unlike coal, oil and gas that take millions of years to form, they're considered renewable. They can also be grown almost anywhere, reducing the need for infrastructure like pipelines and oil tankers and, in many areas, conflicts around scarcity and political upheaval.
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At last year's Paris climate change agreement, all countries committed to help adapt to climate change and reduce emissions. Canada's official development assistance (ODA) now needs to focus on realizing these commitments. Ensuring maximum impact will require attending to areas where need is greatest and where Canada has particular expertise.
Feeding more than seven billion people with minimal environmental and climate impacts is no small feat. That parts of the world are plagued by obesity while starvation is rampant elsewhere shows part of the problem revolves around distribution and social equity. But agricultural methods pose some of the biggest challenges.
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Menstruation is universal, it is a part of a woman's identity and is something all women have to go through every single month. What the advertising neglects us to see is the thousands of women out there who have to work under very harsh conditions while having their periods.
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Next week is Local Food Week in Ontario, a celebration of the rich agricultural bounty we're so lucky to have access to in this province. The local food movement has been all the rage for the past few years, and shows no signs of stopping anytime soon. Grocery stores highlight local produce when it's in season, innumerable "farm to table" restaurants have popped up, and farmers markets continue to grow in popularity.
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Industrial agriculture has made it possible to produce large amounts of food efficiently, but comes with problems, including pollution, reduced biodiversity, pesticide resistance and consequent increased chemical use, destruction of forests and wetlands, and human health issues such as antibiotic resistance.
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Alberta saw a hike of 11.6 per cent.
While governments attempt to find the right balance between agriculture and human health, researchers have turned to our microbial counterparts in the hope of finding species capable of breaking down chlorpyrifos. The goal has been primarily to find beneficial candidates with little concern for public health. After all, it's rare that one can get the best of both worlds. Yet this indeed may be the case.