When genetic engineering is the environmentally friendly choice

August 9, 2017 by  
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CRISPR gene editing can fight crop disease far more benignly than conventional practices.

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When genetic engineering is the environmentally friendly choice

To feed 9 billion, will we need ‘GMO 2.0’?

June 28, 2017 by  
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The directors of the new documentary, “Food Evolution,” share an inconvenient truth: For safe, sustainable food, we may have to turn to GMOs.

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To feed 9 billion, will we need ‘GMO 2.0’?

Why mobility tech could be $600 billion boon for cities

June 28, 2017 by  
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From the way we use land to the emissions from public and private transit, an upheaval in transportation tech has big implications.

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Why mobility tech could be $600 billion boon for cities

Bayer’s proposed $66B Monsanto takeover renews call for monopoly investigation

September 15, 2016 by  
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With little warning, Germany chemical giant Bayer made a bid to take over U.S.-based Monsanto for $66 billion. Together, the fused companies would create the world’s largest seed and pesticide company, which many argue would equate to a monopoly. The U.S. Department of Justice has already investigated Monsanto’s monopoly over the nationwide market, and the merger will most certainly give the company more influence over agriculture than it has ever had before—a terrifying thought. Monsanto has been the subject of heated debates at all levels, from public meetings in community centers to the federal level. The company’s top-selling product, RoundUp, contains glyphosate as its active ingredient, which has been linked to cancer, respiratory ailments, and autism. Glyphosate is already banned or highly restricted in Europe and other parts of the world, but regulators in the U.S. have failed to act swiftly, in part due to the heavy influence of Monsanto. The pesticide maker has also lobbied widely and even filed lawsuits to block GMO labeling and bury the World Health Organization’s report on glyphosate as a carcinogen . For years, environmentalists and health advocates have been fighting against Monsanto, but the company’s deep pockets have made it an uphill battle. With the Bayer takeover threatening to increase those resources, public concern should be on the rise. Related: Mark Ruffalo confronts Monsanto chief: “You are poisoning people” “The attempted takeover of Monsanto by Bayer is a threat to all Americans,” said Bernie Sanders on Wednesday, decrying the Bayer bid. “These mergers boost the profits of huge corporations and leave Americans paying even higher prices. Not only should this merger be blocked, but the Department of Justice should reopen its investigation of Monsanto’s monopoly over the seed and chemical market.” Bayer’s proposed bid led Friends of the Earth Europe’s senior food and farming campaigner Adrian Bebb to issue sharp criticism . “Bayer’s buyout of Monsanto is a marriage made in hell, which threatens to further lock in industrialized agriculture at the expense of nature, farmers and the wider public,” said Bebb. “While public support for local and greener food continues to boom, this mega corporation will be doing its best to force damaging pesticides and GM seeds into our countryside.” Via The Guardian Images via Mike Mozart , Paul and Cathy/Flickr and Bayer  

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Bayer’s proposed $66B Monsanto takeover renews call for monopoly investigation

First-of-its-kind university building in Spain achieves LEED Platinum certification

September 15, 2016 by  
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The first building faces Madrid Street and is connected to an existing building via several walkways and a big foyer linking the new park with the rest of the campus. Concrete pillars are distributed along a grid reflected on the ventilated ceramic facade of the building, with large spans solved using post-tensioned slabs. Related: Green-Roofed University Building in Japan Serves Double Duty The facade was designed as a uniform surface clad with ceramic panels and windows scattered throughout to break up the monotony of the rhythm. The building combines two innovative concepts-a flexible approach to designing educational spaces and a growing commitment to environmental sustainability. + Estudio Beldarrain Via World Architecture News Photos by Francisco Berreteaga

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First-of-its-kind university building in Spain achieves LEED Platinum certification

Vermont’s GMO labeling law is finally official

July 6, 2016 by  
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On July 1, a Vermont law requiring food manufacturers to label genetically modified ingredients on food labels officially took effect . It’s the first law of its kind in the country, and it imposes a $1,000 penalty for each day GMO product isn’t labeled. Supporters of the law are concerned that it may not last long if federal legislation overriding its requirements is passed. The US Senate is currently considering an alternative nationwide labelling law that creates massive loopholes for food manufacturers. Instead of requiring a plain English description on the label, the proposed law would allow companies to hide GMO ingredients on a website that could be accessed through a QR code on the product’s packaging. Only consumers with a smartphone and an internet connection would be able to learn what ingredients were in their food — a huge step down from the level of disclosure required in Vermont. To make matters even worse, a wide variety of common GMO foods, including corn products, beet sugar, and soybean oil, might be exempt from the requirement. Since these are the most common GM crops found in the food supply, this would render the law effectively useless . Companies found to be in violation of the law might not even be fined or penalized in any way. Related: Don’t let Monsanto and Whole Foods kill GMO labeling The Senate is set to vote on the new national GMO labeling law this week. That said, the law would still need to pass in the House before it could go to President Obama to be signed. Considering that Congress will be out of session from July 15 until September, that doesn’t leave much time for the bill to pass. It’s unclear whether it will be addressed this session or later in the year. For the moment, Vermont’s law remains on the books. While some large companies like Campbell Soup have already made the switch in labeling in advance, others, like Coca Cola, claim there may be temporary shortages of some products in Vermont while they print new labels. There is a 30-day grace period for companies to correct any GMO labeling violations, which should also give stores time to move some of the older products off their shelves. Via ABC News Images via  Alexis Baden-Mayer  and  Nicolas Raymond

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Vermont’s GMO labeling law is finally official

Can genetically modified rats save the Galapagos Islands?

June 13, 2016 by  
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The Galapagos Islands’ precious biodiversity is at risk with invasive rat species sneaking on ships and preying on endangered eggs and hatchlings. One potential solution is to genetically modify the rats to only be male, effectively dooming future reproduction. But the irony of such unnatural selection is not lost on critics of the idea. The Island Conservation nonprofit tasked with ridding islands of invasive species have been eyeing the Galapagos ’ recurring rat problem. The organization is considering using what is called a “gene drive” to alter the DNA of rats in the area so there will only be males. The thing with genetically altering wildlife is that there’s no going back once you introduce GMOs into the wild. Luckily, the ocean would provide a natural barrier to an uncontrollable spread, but some are considering the ethical question of whether we should , rather than the practical question of how. Related: Millions of genetically altered mosquitoes are being released in the Cayman Islands to fight Zika Gene drives are responsible for preventing the spread of malaria through GMO mosquitos and are being considered for Zika outbreaks , as well. Using this technology for rats would be considered less harmful than poisoning, as it would allow the creatures to live out their natural lives. Wired reports that a massive rat poisoning campaign from 2007 to 2014 rid the islands of most of the rodents, yet the hardy critters will surely be back and a more permanent solution just may be the ticket. Via Wired Images via Wikipedia , Wikimedia

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Can genetically modified rats save the Galapagos Islands?

Unique exhibition in France resurrects Jean Prouv’s lightweight steel structures

June 13, 2016 by  
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The site will become a setting where examples of outstanding industrial heritage will be integrated within a labyrinth of stone walls , part of an old, lead-extracting plant that operated between 1851 and 1925. The exhibition will reference Prouvé’s œuvre and his experiments with lightweight steel structures . Related: Jean Prouvé’s Maison 8×8 Pioneered Affordable Prefab Design Way Back in 1948 Friche de l’Escalette is part of the Parc National des Calanques and is under strict conservation order. Therefore, Touchaleaume’s project will remain modest and simple to avoid disrupting the existing landscape. + Éric Touchaleaume Architecture + Design XXe

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Unique exhibition in France resurrects Jean Prouv’s lightweight steel structures

Opportunities and threats of genetic engineering

April 19, 2016 by  
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Rapid advancement of genetic engineering in food ingredients, household products and industry has left us with a cloudy understanding of its value.

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Opportunities and threats of genetic engineering

‘Edited’ food: Is this obscure tool a game changer for GMOs?

February 5, 2016 by  
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Gene editing offers dramatic advances in speed, scope and scale of genetic improvement. It also offers an opportunity for more nuanced GMO governance.

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‘Edited’ food: Is this obscure tool a game changer for GMOs?

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