The Importance of Integrated Pest Management

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When you look at the state of our environment it’s clear that things are going to have to change, though it’s not clear whether it’ll be voluntarily or out of necessity. What will help define that answer will be the actions that we decide to take as a society. One thing we can do to help our situation will be to incorporate Integrated Pest Management into our practices, whether in gardening or in agriculture, so that the techniques and education around it can become widespread. It’s going to take an effort on all our behalves because it won’t be easy due to the various factors in play that could interfere with the adoption of IPM.

One said factor is the belief that many farmers have that “the only good bug is a dead bug.” At its core, this statement goes against everything that IPM stands for. Integrated Pest Management is all about seeing nature as an ecosystem rather than just a tool for our survival. It requires an understanding of how plants interact with their environment and how that relationship can be affected and have negative or positive consequences. It requires monitoring in order to understand the ecosystem that you are interacting with, as everyone has different factors that will affect it. The soil is different, the climate is different, and therefore the plants and animals that thrive in that environment are different. For this reason, the type of management for pests will be different, which requires a lot of monitoring in order to understand the proper approach for each individual circumstance. First and foremost, this means those farmers who believe that there are no good bugs will have to go through a perspective change. Maybe equally as difficult, they will have to invest in education and experimentation in order to get an understanding of how to incorporate IPM into their agricultural practices. Unfortunately, not everyone has the luxury or the resources to invest in either of those two. For some farmers, experimentation can lead to an unsuccessful season, which could mean the loss of their farm. Agriculture is a cutthroat business, and ironically, those who help feed our society many times don’t have enough to feed their own families.

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Urban Farming

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      When you turn on the tv and watch the news, you’re quickly bombarded with bad news about climate change destroying the world as we know it and billions of people facing potential food and water shortages. It’s daunting, and it’s tough to assess where the data ends and sensationalism takes over, making it even more difficult to do something about the situation. It’s easy to feel insignificant when looking at the scale of the problem, which in turn leads to a lot of people feeling like they can’t contribute to finding a solution. This isn’t the case. There are opportunities to take control of your life, and in turn have a positive effect on the environment as well as your local community. One of these opportunities comes in the form of Urban Farming, and it’s starting to gain traction.

      An urban farm is “a part of a local food system where food is cultivated, produced and marketed to consumers within that urban area.” These farms can take a variety of forms, including non-profit gardens and for-profit businesses, which provide jobs, job training, health education, as well as contributing to better nutrition and health for the community by providing locally grown, fresh produce. In addition, these urban farms can be used to help revitalize any abandoned or underutilized urban area and remediate the soil in brownfields. This remediation tackles the problem of contaminated land that may have negative consequences on our ground water and increases the amount of usable, fertile land.

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Moon Parka: Powered by Proteins

Spider silk, the toughest material on earth, only scratches the surface of the potential offered by proteins. Skillful combination of the 20 types of amino acids enables us to produce endless variations of materials with unique, unprecedented versatility. We have designed and synthesized over 600 types of original proteins, carefully analyzing their material properties to accumulate a massive amount of data. In the near future, proteins will be widely used as a basic industrial material, just as metals, glass, and plastics are used today. We have the vision, the drive and the determination to lead this revolution—and our partners are committed to the cause.

The Crop That Changed The World

In honor of Industrial Hemp being legalized in California, we shed a light on the story behind this beautiful crop.

Industrial hemp is a crop that has the potential to lower the environmental impacts of textile production, empower small-scale farmers and create jobs in a wide variety of industries. Two non-profit groups, Fibershed and The Growing Warriors Project, are working to reintroduce industrial hemp into Kentucky—and eventually U.S. agriculture. Dan Malloy and a small film crew from Patagonia, paid a visit to farmer and military veteran Michael Lewis to see how it was going.

Before The Flood

Act Now #BeforeTheFlood:
For every use of #BeforeTheFlood across Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram between October 24 – November 18, 21st Century Fox and National Geographic will together donate $1 to Pristine Seas and $1 to the Wildlife Conservation Society, up to $50,000 to each organization.

About Before the Flood:
Before the Flood, directed by Fisher Stevens, captures a three-year personal journey alongside Academy Award-winning actor and U.N. Messenger of Peace Leonardo DiCaprio as he interviews individuals from every facet of society in both developing and developed nations who provide unique, impassioned and pragmatic views on what must be done today and in the future to prevent catastrophic disruption of life on our planet.

The Utmost Respect For Coyote

Boasting the world’s 2nd most painful sting, the Tarantula Hawk also happens to be the largest species of wasp in North America! These enormous spider wasps are most notorious for their macabre breeding habits but are also becoming well known for their ranking on the insect sting pain index. Only trailing in behind the bullet ant in terms of “sting pain” Coyote felt it necessary to experience this fear inducing sting before taking on the highly anticipated bullet ant challenge.