The Noah Project

Rebuilding a sustainable world.

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Russia Bans GMO’s

'GMO products cause cancer and obesity' - food safety expert

According to a recent article in The Voice of Russia. food safety experts in the nation have banned GMO’s as research shows they cause obesity and cancer.

Russia is firm: no genetically modified organisms in food production, the head of Russia’s Ministry of Agriculture Nikolay Fyodorov stated at the All-Russian Meeting of Agrarians. GMO-foods controversies between scientists, ecologists and producers have a long history. Russia, which is now going organic, has faced these problems just recently.
The battle is being waged by two camps: while scientists lack arguments and evidence that GMO is harmful, huge and powerful production corporation have resources and political links. Scientists say they will need another couple of decades for a comprehensive research, but some threats are obvious already now, says Biology Professor and international expert on eco and food safety Dr. Irina Ermakova:
“These organisms are all dangerous because the very technology of their production is far from being perfect ­– it features pathogenic bacteria and viruses. When scientists tested the aftermath of GMO-produce on animals, they were horrified with the results – cancer and obesity. So the best things would be to ban such foods at all, as European countries do”. Continue reading

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Russian Army Choir Performs Stirring Rendition of Adele’s Skyfall

Skyfall sung by the Russian Army Choir in St. Petersburg.   The seven man group delivered their rendition of Adele’s Oscar-winning theme tune from the 2012 film Skyfall, on a breakfast television show on the city’s Channel 5.

Founded in 1928, Russia’s military choir is better known for military classics like Katjusha, which tells the tale of a military wife yearning for her husband at the front.

But the choir also has a proud tradition of stirring cover versions of popular songs. In the past they have covered Sweet Home Alabama and reworked Men at Work’s Land Down Under as a Russian folk song.


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Lost Opportunity to Protect Marine Areas

Phillip Mladanov’s post at the Oxford University Press blog looks at the lost opportunity for sustainable ocean management due to the blockage of two of the world’s largest marine protected areas at a special meeting of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) in Bremerhaven:

It is sobering to compare the efforts we put into protection of terrestrial environments compared to marine environments. We take national and regional parks and protected areas on land for granted as a prudent requirement for preservation of significant and representative areas of terrestrial wildlife and landscape in the face of growing human pressures. At this time about 12% of the planet’s land area is now under some form of protection. The corresponding figure for the oceans is well less than 1%, with most of this area still open to some form of exploitation. The area of the oceans where human exploitation is completely restricted is miniscule, consisting of a small number of scattered “no-take” marine reserves.
How much of the Global Ocean do we need to protect in order to allow sufficient over-exploited marine systems to recover and contribute to a more sustainable marine harvest? The consensus among marine scientists is that somewhere in the vicinity of 20%-40% of the oceans need to be protected to maximise the amount of food we can harvest from the oceans. This means we would need roughly 50 times the area presently under protection. Continue reading

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Global Shipping Lanes Being Developed in the Arctic

Well. steer me sideways <i>(Image: Arctech)</i>

Thinning ice in the Arctic is making new shipping lanes possible. Olivier Dessibourg writes about a new breed of ice breaking vessels that can clear wider swathes of ice to boost the development of global shipping lanes in the Arctic. The article appeared in this month’s New Scientist on-line magazine.

THE clank of hammers, the grind of machinery and the crackle of welding torches echo in a seemingly endless shed at the Arctech Helsinki shipyard in Finland.
Since June, about 200 workers have been assembling the skeleton of the Baltika, the first of a new breed of ice-breaking ship designed to cut a wide path through Arctic ice with its asymmetric hull. On completion early next year, Baltika will enter service under the Russian flag, clearing the way for large ships bound for ports like St Petersburg in the Gulf of Finland. Continue reading

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Russia’s new economy minister also a ‘dissident poet’

The Global Post brings us news of another (yes there’s more than one) high ranking Russian offical that is also a poet:

Russia’s newly appointed economy minister Alexei Ulyukayev has written a harshly-worded poem urging Russians to leave the country and seek freedom, the Moskovsky Komsomolets daily reported Tuesday.

President Vladimir Putin appointed Ulyukayev, 57, a former deputy central bank governor, as minister on Monday in a widely anticipated move.

But the minister is also a published poet who has written verses that “are not at all patriotic,” Moskovsky Komsomolets wrote, saying that his political verses “put you in shock.”

Two years ago Ulyukayev published a poem in the prestigious Znamya, or banner, journal that compares Russia to a prison camp and begins “Get out, my son, get out of here.”

It encourages Russians to go “where a convoy of prison guards does not always send its men against boys” and “where there is not always a gag in your mouth.”

“It can be that people speak the truth./ Your head can be high and your feet down low,” he writes.

In the poem quoted in full, Ulyukayev writes longingly of a place “where they do not scatter rotten wood in bread and don’t laugh at the down-and-out,” sparking associations with adulterated bread rations during World War II. Continue reading

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What the Russians can teach us about growing organic crops!

Christina Sarich at touts the success of small scale organic farming in Russia and encourages Americans to learn from it:

On a total of about 20 million acres managed by over 35 million Russian families, Russians are carrying on an old-world technique, which we Americans might learn from. They are growing their own organic crops – and it’s working.

According to some statistics, they grow 92% of the entire countries’ potatoes, 77% of its vegetables, 87% of its fruit, and feed 71% of the entire population from privately owned, organic farms or house gardens all across the country. These aren’t huge Agro-farms run by pharmaceutical companies; these are small family farms and less-than-an-acre gardens.

A recent report from Agro-ecology and the Right to Food says that organic and sustainable small-scale farming could double food production in the parts of the world where hunger is the biggest issue. Within five to 10 years we could see a big jump in crop cultivation. It could also take the teeth out of GMO business in the US.