Posts Tagged ‘Worldwatch Institute’


Chase Campaign: Feeding and Educating Our Youth

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By Devon Ericksen 

This month, The Worldwatch Institute celebrates the role of youth in the creation of a just and sustainable future. Nourishing the Planet knows that we must not only teach our children about proper nutrition to ensure that they live healthy lives, but also to care about the future of sustainable agriculture. Around the world, children face problems ranging from malnutrition and lack of access to education in developing countries, to obesity and poor school lunches in developed countries.

The future of the world’s food system depends on what we teach and feed our children today (Photo Credit: Food Network)

Though the problems may differ, the solution remains the same: develop local agriculture systems with which to sustainably produce nutritious food for our children. In August, we highlighted ways that people are working to bring agriculture closer to home in our post, “From a Garden in South Africa to a Cafeteria in California: Sharing Meals and Good Ideas”. By making fresh produce more accessible, whether it is delivered from a local farm or grown in the schoolyard, organizations such as Abalimi Bezekhaya in South Africa, the Community Alliance with Family Farmers in California, and the Washington D.C. Farm to School Network are all working to feed our youth healthier food, whether they live in situations of poverty or wealth, whether they are obese or malnourished.

Just in time for school to start, we provided ideas and examples for improving school lunches in our post 15 Innovations to Make School Lunches Healthier and More Sustainable. These changes are badly needed at a time when one-third of American children are overweight or obese—a recent study found that children who eat school lunches are much more likely to be obese than children who bring lunch from home. From school gardens to healthy vending machines, change is happening across the country as people realize the importance of feeding our children healthier food.



Barilla Center for Food and Nutrition and Worldwatch Celebrate Earth Day with the Release of “Eating Planet”

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By Leah Baines

Across the globe, the food system is broken. Worldwide, 30 percent of food is wasted, 1 billion people go to bed hungry each night, while another 1 billion suffer from health problems related to obesity and agriculture contributes roughly one-third of global greenhouse gas emissions, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Meanwhile, people are increasingly disconnected from how their food reaches their plate, making solutions to the global agricultural system seem even more difficult to attain.

The Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition, in collaboration with Nourishing the Planet, is releasing its book, Eating Planet, today. (Image credit: Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition).

The Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition (BCFN) is collaborating with the Worldwatch Institute’s Nourishing the Planet project to release their report, Eating Planet, today, April 22, (Earth Day). Eating Planet will highlight the challenges facing the food and agricultural system, as well as the numerous benefits that reform could bring.

The book incorporates findings from the report with contributions from many renowned experts and activists worldwide. “The study’s conclusions represent a major step toward ensuring that agriculture contributes to health, environmental sustainability, income generation, and food security,” said Nourishing the Planet project director Danielle Nierenberg. “The ingredients will vary by country and region, but there are some key components that will lead to healthier food systems everywhere.”

The report is divided into four sections: Food for All, Food for Sustainable Growth, Food for Health, and Food for Culture. Each section describes the challenges we face in providing safe, healthy, and environmentally sustainable food and offers concrete recommendations, proposals, and actions to help solve the global food crisis. The book also draws upon experts’ specific suggestions for food and agricultural reform, including healthy eating and lifestyles, fair food prices, and transparent and responsible food trade.



State of the World 2012 Launches in Washington, D.C.

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The Worldwatch Institute’s 16th Annual State of the World Symposium will take place on April 11 and will be hosted at the Woman’s National Democratic Club in Washington, D.C. Worldwatch President Robert Engelman and senior researchers Michael Renner and Erik Assadourian will speak at the event, where they will officially release State of the World 2012: Moving Toward Sustainable Prosperity.

The Worldwatch Institute’s 16th Annual State of the World Symposium takes place on April 11 in Washington, D.C.

Over the past 40 years, the world’s middle and upper classes have doubled their consumption levels, and in the coming years, an additional 1 to 2 billion people will aspire to join the consumer class. The report concludes that our planet cannot maintain these increases in resource demand, and therefore we must act quickly to redefine our understanding of the “good life” and redouble our efforts to make that life sustainable.

State of the World 2012 includes sustainability discussions that range from agriculture to biodiversity, green jobs to economic degrowth, communications technologies to sustainable buildings, and local politics to global governance. This wide array of topics will aid Rio+20 participants, as well as global leaders and concerned citizens, to reconsider how we fundamentally change our unsustainable economic system and consumer culture and collectively re-prioritize sustainable living.

After the initial overview presentations, the symposium will feature two panel discussions with other contributing authors of the report, including Joseph Foti of the World Resources Institute, Mia MacDonald of Brighter Green, Michael Replogle and Colin Hughes of the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy, Diana Lind of Next American City, and Bo Normander of Worldwatch Europe.

Click here for more information and here if you would like to register for the event. The launch will also be streamed live, with more details on how you can tune in to follow.

You can also pre-order a copy of the report by clicking here.


What Women Really Want for Valentine’s Day

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By Robert Engelman 

Valentine’s Day has long celebrated love with caring notes, decadent chocolates, and romantic arrangements of flowers. But this Valentine’s Day, perhaps it’s time to celebrate with a gift many of the world’s women desperately want and need: reproductive health.

Many women are not empowered to make their own decisions regarding if or when to have children. (Photo credit: Bernard Pollack)

According to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), 1,000 women die every day due to pregnancy or childbirth, or one woman every 90 seconds. Ninety-nine percent of these deaths occur in the developing world, 90 percent in Africa and Asia. A handful of complications account for 80 percent of these maternal deaths—severe bleeding, infections, high blood pressure, obstructed labor, and unsafe abortion—and the bulk of these deaths are preventable.

Reproductive health, including access to the information and means to plan a family, is a human right the world’s nations have recognized in various forms since 1968. Access to family planning and other reproductive health services safeguard the lives of women and their children and promote families that are emotionally and economically healthy.

In my book, More: Population, Nature, and What Women Want, I explore centuries of reproductive history and concludes that, if given the chance to do what they really want, women on average have smaller families, with childbirths later in their lives. This pattern is safer for women and children, and promotes environmental sustainability through the slower population growth that lower fertility rates and later births bring about.

The Health of Women and Children

The UNFPA report Women and Girls in a World of 7 Billion notes that poverty, marginalization, and gender inequalities based on culture are key challenges to reproductive health. The report relays that women own less than 15 percent of the land worldwide; their wages, on average, are 17 percent lower than men’s; and they make up two-thirds of the world’s 776 million illiterate adults.



Concise and Accessible Roadmap on Sustainable Agriculture

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Check out this latest review of State of the World 2011: Innovations that Nourish the Planet in the New Agriculturist.

“From innovations in rice breeding in Madagascar and grain trading in Zambia to solar cookers in Senegal and wastewater irrigation in West Africa, State of the world 2011 provides practical accounts of innovations that are helping the poorest communities feed themselves.”

Click here to read the full review.

To purchase your own copy of State of the World 2011: Innovations that Nourish the Planet, please click HERE. And to watch the one minute book trailer, click HERE.



State of the World 2011 Launched in Mexico

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On November 24th, Worldwatch Institute launched La Situación del Mundo: Innovaciones para Alimentar el Planeta in Mexico City.

(Image Credit: Africam Safari)

Representatives from the University of the Americas Puebla (UDLAP), Mexico’s Secretary of the Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT), the Department of Sustainability and Territorial Government Puebla (SSAOT), Africam Safari, Fundación Televisa, the Organization of American States (OAS), and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) all participated in the event.

The gathering was held at El Parque Bicentenario in Azcapotzalco, the site of a former oil refinery that was converted into a public garden and green space last year.

To learn more about the Spanish translation of the book, please click HERE. To purchase your own copy of State of the World 2011: Innovations that Nourish the Planet, please click HERE. And to watch the one minute book trailer, click HERE.


State of the World to Launch in France

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We are launching the French edition of State of the World 2011: Innovations that Nourish the Planet in Paris next week, in partnership with the GoodPlanet Foundation.

Image credit: GoodPlanet Foundation

The event will take place on Monday, December 5th at 6:30 PM at Université Paris’s Institut de Géographie. Nourishing the Planet project director Danielle Nierenberg will be at the launch where she will join local agricultural experts in a discussion highlighting agricultural innovations that are working to alleviate hunger and poverty around the world.

Please click here for more event details.

To purchase your own copy of State of the World 2011: Innovations that Nourish the Planet, please click HERE. And to watch the one minute book trailer, click HERE.




State of the World 2011 Now Available in Turkish

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State of the World 2011: Innovations that Nourish the Planet is now available in Turkish.

This year’s edition of our flagship report is a compelling look at the global food crisis, with particular emphasis on global innovations that can help solve a worldwide problem. It not only introduces us to the latest agro-ecological innovations and their global applicability but also gives broader insights into issues including poverty, international politics, and even gender equity. Watch the one minute trailer for the book here.

Click here to purchase your own Turkish copy of State of the World 2011.



World Grain Production Down, But Recovering

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World grain production fell in 2010, exacerbating a global food situation already plagued by rising prices, according to new research published by the Worldwatch Institute for its Vital Signs Online publication. Despite record rice and maize yields around the world, global wheat production dropped substantially enough to bring total grain output to just below 2008 levels.

Wheat harvesting in drought-plagued Russia. (Photo credit: MercoPress)

Maize, wheat, and rice provide nearly two-thirds of the global human diet and serve as critical inputs for both animal feed and industrial products. The significance of these crops guarantees that a decline in production will produce ripple effects throughout the global economy, particularly as increased food prices continue to take a toll on the world’s neediest populations. Overall, rice and wheat production have tripled since the 1960s, and maize production has quadrupled, despite global acreage of these crops increasing by only 35 percent.

Production increased worldwide, but there was greater reliance on irrigation, synthetic fertilizers, and pesticides—all of which take resources, can be costly, and may cause substantial environmental degradation. As farmers have begun to witness these impacts, many have been forced to abandon their fields because of infertile soil.



Renewable Energy on Capitol Hill

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On Tuesday, November 15th, at 1 PM, the Worldwatch Institute will be hosting an event on the Hill to discuss the Renewables 2011 Global Status Report, which provides an integrated perspective on the state of renewable energy worldwide.

Over 44 million rural households already use biogas made in household digesters, like this one. (Photo credit: Bernard Pollack)

Renewable energy and farming are a winning combination—wind, solar, and biomass energy can be harvested, providing farmers with a long-term source of income. According to the report, over 44 million rural households use biogas made in household digesters, and more than 166 million households now rely on a new generation of more-efficient biomass stoves, which can be better for the environment and more cost-effective than fossil fuel-based energy sources, such as oil.

The event is free and open to the public. Please click here for more event details.