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Feb 23, 2019, 01:10 AM
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 on: Feb 21, 2019, 05:17 AM 
Started by Linda - Last post by Helena
Hi Kristin and Deva,

Thank you too for your words. Kristin, about your comment, i really laughed when after writing Lilith always in company of other Deities realising that yeah Lilith is now in Libra :-)

I was reflecting on what you've both said and have a question, that if you see in your experience, distorted SN Lilith in Cancer coming out more frequently as the woman having to grow up too fast, with much responsibility at young age so the inner child is not allowed to play so to speak? Or maybe this is just on the outside? I ask because i don't have many examples that i know more closely of, but the ones i know and also we can see it as far as what's public about Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and how she had to work double to help her family, do fall in this category. So my question is more in a sense that when we have a SN, a past and something already dealt with, in case of a distortion of the archetype and considering Lilith relates to the inner strength, if these women will tend more to roll up their sleeves and get to work, Lilith energy incorporating Capricorn in a distorted, i would say forced manner, so to function in a man's world in a man's way, so on the outside this would be what appears to be in place, and the reality of the inner life something completely different like the emotional situations you refer?

Also Kristin and Deva i want to thank you too for your last talk at Guiding Stars on Jupiter/Mercury , really inspiring! It might sound unrelated but something you said about how sound and music balances the soul reminded me of a recent event and how specifically drums and drumming correlates to the root chakra and centering the soul, would you agree?
I will share my experience when i was having a very stressful week earlier this month. After living in the city all my adult life i recently moved back to the country and whenever i am in the city do do something all sorts of problems suddenly show up like a big "go away!" :-) and here i was in the car trying to solve things and a music that i really like with strong drumming starts playing in the radio and i suddenly felt me back into myself again, if that makes sense, all stresses away. Reminded me of something i read a long time ago about a way we honour Capricorn energy is by staying with the pace, entering the rhythm of life and ultimately drums and drumming, from ancient shamanic cultures to now remind the soul to keep grounded. I don't know if this makes sense to the fact Lilith correlates to the root chakra? Now that we're experiencing all this Capricorn energy by transit if we don't have it ourselves in our charts (i know do!), it's a good reminder to stay in place :-)

All the best,

 on: Feb 21, 2019, 05:15 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Darja
TRAPPIST-1, the dwarf star with seven Earth-sized planets, is older than our solar system


The solar system with seven potentially habitable planets is much older than our own.

TRAPPIST-1, with the much less attractive technical name 2MASS J23062928-0502285, is an ultra-cool brown dwarf just slightly larger than Jupiter. Despite its small size and low temperature, it’s one of the most interesting stars we’ve discovered out there. In February this year, NASA announced the discovery of seven Earth-sized planets around the star, all in the habitable zone — the so-called Goldilocks area where it’s just the right temperature for liquid water to exist. To make things even more exciting, this solar system is a ‘mere’ 40 light years away. It’s far enough to be inaccessible for the foreseeable future, but given the sheer immensity of our galaxy, 40 light years is just peanuts.

But having an Earth-like figure and being located in the habitable zone isn’t nearly enough to support life. That’s why astronomers at NASA have been studying the system assiduously, trying to learn more about it and establish its conditions. Now, for the first time, they’ve put an age on it — or rather, an age range. TRAPPIST-1 is between 5.4 and 9.8 billion years old. This makes it a very old system compared to our own, which is ‘just’ 4.5 billion years old.

It’s indeed a very broad range, but at least it enables us to say that the system is old, though we’re not yet sure how old. Also, while it’s a broad constraint, it’s still a constraint. When it was first discovered, we only knew that the star had to be older than 0.5 billion years, since that’s how long it takes for these stars to contract. It could have been almost as old as the universe itself.

    “Our results really help constrain the evolution of the TRAPPIST-1 system, because the system has to have persisted for billions of years. This means the planets had to evolve together, otherwise the system would have fallen apart long ago,” said Adam Burgasser, an astronomer at the University of California, San Diego, and the paper’s first author.

It’s not clear exactly what this means for the habitability of the planet. It’s known that older stars tend to flare less than younger stars, thus having less of a chance of wiping out potential life. But this also means that the planets have absorbed billions of years of high-energy radiation, which might imply that their atmospheres have boiled off. A decent analogy here is Mars, which once hosted an atmosphere which has since been wiped off by radiation.

But there are more aspects to consider. TRAPPIST-1 planets have lower densities than Earth, which makes it more likely for them to hold vast reservoirs of volatile molecules, which could generate thick atmospheres, strong enough to protect the planets from radiation. Especially the two outer planets, planet g and planet h might have been lucky enough to escape with an atmosphere.

But if any life exists on these planets, it’s almost certainly way more hardy than that on Earth.

    “If there is life on these planets, I would speculate that it has to be hardy life, because it has to be able to survive some potentially dire scenarios for billions of years,” Burgasser said.

Future observations will focus on identifying potential atmospheres around these planets. If such an atmosphere exists, then it likely existed for billions of years, which makes the possibility of extraterrestrial life significantly more likely. The observations will also help astronomers better understand other similar systems form and develop.

    “These new results provide useful context for future observations of the TRAPPIST-1 planets, which could give us great insight into how planetary atmospheres form and evolve, and persist or not,” said Tiffany Kataria, exoplanet scientist at JPL, who was not involved in the study.

 on: Feb 21, 2019, 05:12 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Darja

Lipstick in kindergarten? South Korea’s K-beauty industry now aims for the super young

By Min Joo Kim and Simon Denyer
February 20 2019
Wa Post

Last year in kindergarten, Yang Hye-ji developed her morning routine. Uniform? Check. Homework? Check.

Makeup? Definitely.

“Makeup makes me look pretty,” the 7-year-old said on her second visit to the ShuShu & Sassy beauty spa in Seoul.

She was wrapped in a child-size pink robe and wearing a bunny hairband. Her face was gently touched up with a puff. Her lips got a swipe of pink gloss.

South Korea’s cosmetics industry, known as K-beauty, has become an Asian powerhouse and global phenomenon for its rigorous step-by-step regimens.

But exacting beauty norms also put enormous pressure on South Korean women, making the country one of the world’s centers for plastic surgery. And increasingly, the beauty industry is looking at younger and younger girls.

That is stirring concerns that touch on many core social debates in South Korea: how much a society should value appearance, whether messages about beauty crowd out other aspirations for young girls, and whether it’s right to add even more pressure to an already stress-packed childhood of long school hours and make-or-break exams.

The global phenomenon that is South Korea’s cosmetics industry, known as K-beauty, is gaining popularity even with children as young as 4. (Min Joo Kim/The Washington Post)

“The shiny cartoon heroines young girls admire are fully made up from head to toe,” said Yoon-Kim Ji-yeong, a professor at the Institute of Body and Culture at Seoul’s Konkuk University. “As they put on the makeup and put on the dress to imitate the characters, girls internalize that a woman’s success is closely associated with beauty.”

Advertisers are not subtle.

“I watch my mom and I follow her. I am growing up today,” a billboard advertisement selling makeup kits for 6-year-olds proclaims, with a photo of a young girl in school uniform applying lipstick.

A YouTube video of a 7-year-old putting on lipstick, titled “I want to wear makeup like mom,” has attracted 4.3 million views, while similar videos show young girls sharing their “elementary school makeup routine” and “unboxing my Hello Kitty makeup kit.”

ShuShu Cosmetics is a pioneer in K-beauty’s outreach to children. Started in 2013, it operates 19 boutiques across South Korea, offering “healthier” cosmetics for kids, such as water-soluble nail polish and nontoxic lip crayons in a range of “edible” colors.

There are sticker earrings and tattoos, “sun-whipping” cream cleanser, “fancy girl” soap and goat-milk shampoo carrying the slogan: “I’m not a baby.”

In the spa and beauty parlor, girls ages 4 to 10 can enjoy a spa experience for $25 to $35, featuring a foot bath, a foot and calf massage, a face mask and makeup, and a manicure and pedicure.

“The motto of our beauty spas is that children can connect with their moms while playing with them,” said Grace Kim, a manager at ShuShu Cosmetics. “Our products are safe for pregnant women as well.”

This is hardly a trend that is exclusive to South Korea. Kylie Jenner has built a cosmetics empire worth an estimated $900 million largely targeting teenage girls, while child beauty vloggers are also popular in the United States and elsewhere.

For decades, academics of all stripes have pored over the impact of pressure on teenagers and young women in the West to conform with unreasonable standards for appearance and body type.

But such concerns in South Korea also now include girls so young they can barely read the packaging on the beauty products aimed at them.

South Korea is home to one of the world’s top 10 beauty industries, worth in excess of $10 billion, according to market research firm Mintel.

It has one of the highest rates of plastic surgery in the world, with 1 in 3 women ages 19 to 29 saying they have undergone procedures, especially on their eyelids, according to a Gallup survey. It also has the world’s highest number of plastic surgeons per capita, according to a 2017 study by the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.

K-beauty is also becoming popular in the United States. Last month, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) shared her skin-care routine inspired by K-beauty’s elaborate, multistep regimen involving an arsenal of products.

ShuShu is already selling its kids’ cosmetics in Singapore and Thailand, and plans to expand to the United States and elsewhere.

The kids’ beauty market is expanding as makeup is promoted as a “new play culture” for children, said Lee Hwa-jun, an expert on South Korea’s beauty industry at Mintel. “Cosmetic companies in South Korea are increasingly interested in children as potential new consumers.”

Relatively small start-up companies are leading the way, Lee says. “Cosmetic giants also show interest in expanding their customer base to younger women, but they are carefully weighing the pros and cons, as targeting children could stir a backlash.”

Some women are already fighting back.

Freelance makeup artist Seo Ga-ram declared that she would refuse clients’ requests to apply cosmetics to child models.

“I found it absolutely bizarre that actual makeup kits have come in place of toys that children play with,” she wrote in a Facebook post in May. “Please stop consuming images of children posing with heavily colored cheeks, red lips and curled hair.”

Nevertheless, the trend appears impossible to stop, said Kim Ju-duck, a professor of beauty studies at Sungshin Women’s University in Seoul, with the media increasingly showing images of young girls wearing makeup, and with cosmetics accessible to preteens and younger children.

He surveyed 288 girls in elementary school in 2016 and found that 42 percent wore makeup. He said the proportion has risen since then.

At the PriPara Kids Cafe on the outskirts of Seoul, girls ages 4 to 9 can dress up like their favorite anime character, enjoy a spa and have light makeup applied. They can bounce on a trampoline, shop for food in a play store, strut down a catwalk, perform their favorite K-pop song in a recording booth and dance in a mirror-lined studio.

PriPara positions itself as a “fun-filled space for children to learn beauty and grooming in a hazard-free environment,” said the cafe’s manager, Moon Young-sook.

“Girls naturally like to play with their mom’s makeup,” she said. “Rather than putting on Mom’s lipstick laden with chemicals, the pretend makeup here is a safer way to fulfill girls’ dreams.”

Kwon Ji-hyun, 36, brought her 6-year-old daughter and her 2-year-old son on a recent visit. She said the space reflects “a girl’s fantasies, a girl’s psyche.”

“It does take children too early into gender roles,” she said. “But my daughter doesn’t have a skewed gender role. I didn’t raise her to have a very set idea about gender roles.”

But critics see a more damaging trend.

“From K-pop divas to K-beauty cosmetics, the market capitalizing on women’s objectification has become a hyper-saturated ‘red ocean’ in South Korea,” said Yoon-Kim of Konkuk University, using a term describing an existing market with cutthroat competition.

“The market sees a ‘blue ocean’ for expansion in younger customers, ready to instigate and monetize their insecurities about their appearance.”

 on: Feb 21, 2019, 05:07 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Darja

Plantwatch: salt marshes are the unsung heroes saving our coastlines

Although they are refuges for fish and birds, and help capture CO2, many are under threat

Paul Simons
21 Feb 2019 21.30 GMT

Salt marshes are not glamorous – muddy flats on coasts and estuaries, washed with seawater on the tides, where only specially adapted plants can survive in such a tough salty environment.

Although frequently ignored, salt marshes are unsung heroes. They help protect coastlines from storms, storm surges and erosion by creating a buffer between dry land and the sea, building up the height of the coast by trapping silt during floods and adding new soil from their decaying vegetation.

Less well known is that salt marshes lock away vast amounts of carbon by taking carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere through their plant leaves and storing it in the roots. And, when the plants die, the carbon becomes part of the soil. Salt marshes also provide a refuge for birds, fish and invertebrates; they provide clean water by filtering runoff, and they are low maintenance because they naturally self-repair.
Navigating Norfolk’s hidden creeks and salt marshes – in a 1950s whelk boat
Read more

But, in many places, salt marshes have been destroyed by drainage for land reclamation, coastal developments, sea walls, pollution and erosion. Globally, about 50% of salt marshes have been degraded and the rest remain under threat.

Schemes to restore salt marshes have proved successful, though, such as the Wallasea Island project in Essex, the largest scheme of its kind in Europe. Land that had been reclaimed for agriculture long ago has been turned back into wetland.

 on: Feb 21, 2019, 05:05 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Darja

Why the zebra got its stripes: to deter flies from landing on it

Pattern seems to confuse flies, researchers who dressed horses up as zebras find

Nicola Davis
21 Feb 2019 19.00 GMT

The mystery of how the zebra got its stripes might have been solved: researchers say the pattern appears to confuse flies, discouraging them from touching down for a quick bite.

The study, published in the journal Plos One, involved horses, zebras, and horses dressed as zebras. The team said the research not only supported previous work suggesting stripes might act as an insect deterrent, but helped unpick why, revealing the patterns only produced an effect when the flies got close.

Dr Martin How, co-author of the research from the University of Bristol, said: “The flies seemed to be behaving relatively naturally around both [zebras and horses], until it comes to landing.

“We saw that these horseflies were coming in quite fast and almost turning away or sometimes even colliding with the zebra, rather than doing a nice, controlled flight.”

Researchers made their discovery by spending more than 16 hours standing in fields and noting how horseflies interacted with nine horses and three zebras – including one somewhat bemusingly called Spot.

While horseflies circled or touched the animals at similar rates, landing was a different matter, with a lower rate seen for zebras than horses.

To check the effect was not caused by a different smell of zebras and horses, for example, the researchers put black, white and zebra-striped coats on seven horses in turn. While there was no difference in the rate at which the flies landed on the horses’ exposed heads, they touched and landed on the zebra coat far less often than either the black or white garment.

Further insights, gathered through video recordings of the zebras and a smaller group of horses, revealed flies failed to slow down steadily when zooming towards zebras,unlike they did for horses, and often simply careered into the animals.

The team said the study showed stripes did not act as a long-range deterrent but had an effect when the flies got up close – possibly because of the flies’ low-resolution vision.

“From distances of greater than two metres or so, a zebra would just look like a grey horse – they won’t be able to see the stripes at all,” said How. He added that the most likely mechanisms for the deterrent effect are either that the “sudden reveal” of the stripes on close approach either surprised the insects and made them veer off, or interfered with their perception of how fast objects were moving past them, affecting their ability to land.

The team said the results supported the idea that stripes might have evolved in response to biting flies.

“Zebra – evolutionarily speaking – have developed in parts of the world where flies carry pretty nasty diseases and so there can be some very big fitness consequences to being bitten by flies. Whereas domestic horses haven’t had the same sort of driving force,” said How.

However he added that the explanation might not be the full story: researchers have previously suggested the stripes could offer camouflage, aid thermoregulation or be involved in some sort of social function. While How said there is some evidence for the latter, he pointed out that lions, for example, don’t seem to be confused by stripes. “Zebra are preferential prey for a lot of predators, so it is not really stopping [them],” he added.

That said, How noted the latest experiment was carried out in Somerset rather than around the biting flies of Africa. Other limitations included that the path of the flies could only be seen in two dimensions from video recordings and that the horse coats were made of different materials.

How said outdoor enthusiasts could take inspiration from zebras, suggesting patterned tops and body paint as useful tools to help them dodge nasty bites.

 on: Feb 21, 2019, 05:03 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Darja

Country diary: what a joy to welcome the much-maligned magpie

Crook, Co Durham: A nest in a neighbour’s garden is reused annually, growing as each new pair makes additions

Phil Gates
Thu 21 Feb 2019 05.30 GMT

The discordant cackling of magpies has joined the dawn chorus. A pair – “two for joy”, according to the children’s rhyme – has laid claim to an old nest in a tree in a neighbour’s garden. Magpies originally built it in the hawthorn outside our bedroom window, many years ago. They arrived carrying large twigs gripped at their mid-point, balanced for flight, then found they couldn’t force them through the tangle of branches. But the magpie (Pica pica) is a problem solver and these birds quickly discovered that by shifting their grip to the end they could easily drag their burden into the heart of the tree.

All to no avail, though. Builders arrived to work on our house. The birds took umbrage and decamped to our neighbour’s hawthorn, dismantling their handiwork and laboriously ferrying their construction materials to the new location.

The current nest has been reused annually, growing as each new pair makes additions. The impressive ball of sticks is now a fortress. This morning, while the cock magpie stood guard on the highest branch, long tail raised, the hen evicted an angry grey squirrel that sat chattering and shaking its tail in fury.

Despite its handsome pied plumage with rainbow iridescence, some people hate this bird. They dislike its raucous, swaggering demeanour, and those of an Aesop’s Fables mindset, attributing human morality to animal instinctive behaviour, consider them evil because of their habit of taking songbirds’ eggs. Outside the breeding season, magpies’ diet consists of soil animals, carrion and plant material.

“Too many magpies” is a common reaction, but human activity has surely played a part in its increase and predilection for living around human habitation; discarded fast food and traffic roadkill provide easy winter food sources, just as peanuts on the bird table support the blue tit population.

Wildlife gardens, unnatural, anthropogenic habitats, provide irresistible opportunities for this adaptable bird. Nevertheless, during all the years that magpies have nested here, blue tits, goldfinches, tree sparrows, blackbirds, wrens, song thrushes, hedge sparrows, collared doves, wood pigeons and robins have also managed to raise successful broods, despite losses from these egg predators. Locally, domestic cats pose a greater threat to the songbird population.

 on: Feb 21, 2019, 05:01 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Darja

Virgin births: is there something fishy about Mary the stickleback’s little miracles?

Researchers are perplexed why a fish in Scotland hadn’t laid eggs as normal but was instead found to be carrying 54 stickleback embryos. Could it be immaculate conception?

Wed 20 Feb 2019 16.20 GMT

Name: Mary the virgin stickleback.

Age: Between one and two years old.

Appearance: Just your regular harried mother.

Wait, “mother”? I thought you said she was a virgin? That’s right. She was. Sort of.

How can you be sort of a virgin? OK, how much do you know about sticklebacks?

Are they the fish with the stickly backs? Great, so not much. Look, normally, a female stickleback lays eggs in a nest, which are then fertilised by the male stickleback who went to the trouble of building the nest.

Right. But Mary – whom researchers found during an expedition in the Outer Hebrides – was discovered to be pregnant with babies. She didn’t lay eggs; instead, she had dozens of stickleback embryos growing inside her.

Wow! Is she OK? No, she’s dead.

Oh. The researchers decided to retrieve the embryos by caesarean, and Mary had to be “put to sleep” for it to happen.

Oh, no. But this meant that 54 stickleback embryos, which might have otherwise died, got to be born and live. So it’s a happy ending really.

This is a rollercoaster. And here’s the best bit: it looked as if Mary fertilised her own eggs. It was an immaculate stickleback conception.

So are you suggesting that one of her children is stickleback Jesus? Oh no. No, I’m not. Definitely not. God, imagine the trouble we’d get in if we started declaring random fish to be the actual son of God. We would never hear the end of it.

Is there a scientific explanation for this? There are three possibilities. First, parthenogenesis, a system of asexual reproduction usually found in insects, lizards and plants. Second, that Mary could have been a hermaphrodite. However, both these possibilities have been ruled out.

So what does that leave? Well, the researchers performed some genetic testing on Mary’s children, and discovered that they all had versions of genes that Mary didn’t possess. This means that they must have had a father.

Really? Yes. The current working assumption is that Mary went to lay her eggs as normal, but she ventured too close to a pile of another fish’s already-fertilised eggs, and some stray sperm got inside of her and, instead of laying the eggs, she became pregnant.

I wonder if that’s also what happened with … If you are about to argue that Jesus wasn’t the result of a virgin birth, and that the real Virgin Mary simply experienced something similar to Mary the virgin stickleback, then please don’t.

Do say: “Mary’s 54 fish offspring are a biblical miracle.”

Don’t say: “Now bring me 54 very small loaves of bread.”

 on: Feb 21, 2019, 04:59 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Darja

Giant tortoise believed extinct for 100 years found in Galápagos

Adult female discovered 113 years after only other living Chelonoidis phantasticus was found

Associated Press
Thu 21 Feb 2019 09.31 GMT

A living member of species of tortoise not seen in more than 110 years and feared to be extinct has been found in a remote part of the Galápagos island of Fernandina.

An adult female Chelonoidis phantasticus, also known as the Fernandina giant tortoise, was spotted on Sunday by a joint expedition of the Galapagos National Park and the US-based Galapagos Conservancy, Ecuador’s environment ministry said.

Investigators think there may be more members of the species on the island because of tracks and scat they found. The team took the tortoise, which is probably more than 100 years old, to a breeding centre for giant tortoises on Santa Cruz Island, where it will stay in a specially designed pen.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature has the Fernandina giant tortoise listed as critically endangered and possibly extinct.

The only other living member of the species was found in 1906, the group said. Since then, expeditions have encountered tortoise scat and bite marks on cacti, and there was a possible unconfirmed sighting in 2009. But Sunday’s discovery was the first confirmed sighting and together with the possibility of finding more members of the species has raised the possibility of breeding.

“They will need more than one, but females may store sperm for a long time,” said Stuart Pimm, a professor of conservation ecology at Duke University. “There may be hope.”

Fernandina is the third largest Galapagos island and features the La Cumbre volcano, one of the most active in the world. The archipelago lies in the Pacific Ocean about 620 miles (1,000km) off Ecuador’s mainland.

In listing the Fernandina tortoise as possibly extinct, the conservation group said on its website that the species may have succumbed to “the frequent volcanic lava flows that nearly cover the island”.

The Galapagos archipelago hosts unique species and wildlife whose characteristics helped Charles Darwin develop his theory of evolution. It was declared a Unesco world heritage site in 1979.

 on: Feb 21, 2019, 04:58 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Darja

Teachers to join climate protests to demand curriculum reform

On Friday demonstrators will protest against ‘negligent’ climate change education

Jonathan Watts
Thu 21 Feb 2019 07.00 GMT

Teachers will follow on the heels of striking students on Friday with a protest to demand the national curriculum be reformed to make the climate and ecological crisis an educational priority.

The Extinction Rebellion group will support the demonstration outside the Department for Education, which organisers describe as a “peaceful nonviolent protest that may involve civil disobedience”.

It is intended as a show of solidarity for pupils who skipped classes last Friday to express their frustration at the failure of older generations to adequately address climate change. Organisers said more than 10,000 young people in at least 60 towns and cities in the UK joined the strike.

More would be likely to follow, they said, if the government did not live up to a Paris climate agreement promise to enhance climate change education. Instead, they say, there is currently no requirement for children to be taught about the climate crisis so it is treated, at best, as a peripheral subtopic of subjects like geography and science.

They are also unhappy that part of the curriculum appears to cast doubt on the evidence for man-made climate change, even though governments, the UN and the overwhelming majority of scientists accept that it is happening. Government guidelines for key stage 4 chemistry say pupils should be taught “evidence, and uncertainties in evidence, for additional anthropogenic causes of climate change”.

Tim Jones, a secondary school teacher from Lewisham, said students in the state system could easily go through 11 years of compulsory education and hear climate change mentioned in fewer than 10 lessons out of approximately 10,000. Given the scale of the crisis, he believes this is “negligent”.

“Climate and ecological breakdown will define the life of every child and student alive today. They and we are facing an unimaginable catastrophe. But when I tell my students, it’s hard for them to take me seriously when it plays almost no part in the content of their education,” he said.

Earlier this month, the group Teachers for Climate Truth wrote to the DfE to request an overhaul of the current curriculum to prepare children for a future that will be shaped by ecological and climate crisis

“When we have had the evidence for decades, why does it amount to little more than a footnote in our national curriculum – a vague and marginal concern?” asks the letter. “If we keep this information out of the public domain – out of schools, for example – perhaps we might avoid some awkward conversations in the years to come … after all, who wants to tell a child that, unless we make unprecedented changes to how we live, we are heading for societal collapse, famine, war and the increasing likelihood of human extinction?”

The picture is not black and white. There is considerable scope for schools and teachers to go beyond guidelines.

The government said the current curriculum already included many related issues including classes on seasonal changes, the water cycle, the carbon cycle, eco-systems, the composition of the atmosphere and the impact of carbon dioxide on the climate. “Children are very engaged, otherwise they would not be joining protests. That shows they are obviously being taught quite well,” said a government official.

The education secretary, Damian Hinds, has criticised the young strikers. “Missing class won’t do a thing to help the environment; all they will do is create extra work for teachers,” he said.

Friday’s demonstration is expected to draw between 100 and 200 teachers and academics, most of whom are on half-term holiday. Organisers are also in talks with unions to discuss how to increase support during the next global youth climate strike on 15 March, with possibilities ranging from a walkout by teachers to the setting of homework on climate topics. Extinction Rebellion will also offer workshops for students.

Elsewhere, the stakes are growing. In Australia – which has seen waves of school walkouts in recent months – the New South Wales education minister, Rob Stokes, warned students and teachers that they will be punished if they skip classes to join a global climate rally on 15 March.

The initiator of the school strike movement, Greta Thunberg, responded with a defiant tweet. “OK. We hear you. And we don’t care. Your statement belongs in a museum.”

Last week, 200 academics expressed support for the youth activists in an open letter on the Guardian. Among the signatories was Alison Green, a doctor of psychology who resigned from her position as pro-vice chancellor of Arden University so that she could concentrate on climate activism. She will join the protest on Friday.

“It’s incredibly brave for schoolchildren to confront what must be a terrifying prospect; that the future they hope for isn’t available to them,” she said. “We’ve been humbled that children have gone on strike despite threats of detentions and other punishments. We should at least match their courage.”

 on: Feb 21, 2019, 04:55 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Darja

European farms could grow green and still be able to feed population

Research shows loss in yields could be offset by reorienting diets away from grain-fed meat

Rebecca Smithers
21 Feb 2019 06.00 GMT

Europe would still be able to feed its growing population even if it switched entirely to environmentally friendly approaches such as organic farming, according to a new report from a thinktank.

A week after research revealed a steep decline in global insect populations that has been linked to the use of pesticides, the study from European thinktank IDDRI claims such chemicals can be phased out and greenhouse gas emissions radically reduced in Europe through agroecological farming, while still producing enough nutritious food for an increasing population.

Agroecology takes into account natural ecosystems and uses local knowledge to plant crops that increase the sustainability of the farming system as a whole. The IDDRI study, entitled Ten Years for Agroecology, used modelling to examine the reduction in yields that would result from a transition to such an approach.

Reductions, the authors argue, could be mitigated by eliminating food-feed competition – reorienting diets towards plant-based proteins and pasture-fed livestock, and away from grain-fed white meat. More than half the EU’s cereals and oilseed crops are fed to animals. The study models a future in which European meat production has been cut by 40%, with the greatest reductions in grain-fed pork and poultry.

“Pesticide-hungry intensive production is not the only way to feed a growing population” said Rob Percival, the head of food policy at the Soil Association. “The Ten Years for Agroecology study shows that agroecological and organic farming can feed Europe a healthy diet, while responding to climate change, phasing out pesticides, and maintaining vital biodiversity.”

The study suggests that agroecology – using ecological principles first and chemicals last in agriculture – presents a credible way of feeding Europe by 2050. But it says action is needed now, with the next 10 years critical in engaging Europe in the transition. The agriculture bill now going through parliament in the UK makes no mention of agroecology, although an amendment drafted by a cross-party group of MPs proposed that farmers using the approach should receive some sort of payment.
Could flexitarianism save the planet?
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“The idea of an entirely agroecological Europe is often considered unrealistic in terms of food security because agroecology sometimes means lower yields,” said Percival. “But this new research shows that by refocusing diets around plant-based proteins and pasture-fed livestock, a fully agroecological Europe is possible.”

The study is being published in parallel with the UK launch of the Eat-Lancet “planetary health diet”, which proposes a shift towards a more plant-based diet. The agroecology study addresses similar concerns, but places greater emphasis on farmland biodiversity.

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