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Organic agriculture in Bulgaria is growing rapidly
20 September 2018 - Bulgaria has a small but rapidly growing organic sector. The converted or under conversion agricultural area has more than tripled in two years to reach 161,000 hectares in 2016 -- of which 89,000 hectares arable land and 33,000 hectares permanent crops. The number of organic producers has almost doubled in the same period, reaching 7,000 holdings. (more)

More evidence exercise may be good for your mood
20 September 2018 - People who exercise may experience symptoms of mental health disorders less often, a U.S. study suggests. That may be true even when the exercise involves doing household chores, researchers found. (more)

US: Harvest of Ideas forum to explore how Univ of Wisconsin-Madison can support organic agriculture in Wisconsin and beyond
20 September 2018 - Agricultural researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and members of Wisconsin's agricultural community are invited to attend the upcoming Harvest of Ideas forum to explore how the UW-Madison can best leverage its strengths to contribute to the advance of organic agriculture locally, nationally, and globally through the university's education, research, and outreach activities. (more)

Eat, pray, farm: U.S. churches turn faith lands into food
19 September 2018 - Across the United States, more than 200 faith groups are members of an emerging Christian Food Movement, which promotes more sustainable food systems by growing their own crops, bringing idle land into use, and feeding the poor and hungry. (more)

Scottish global gathering for good sees young, bright future for business
19 September 2018 - Young people are driving the growth of businesses that benefit society and the environment, the organizer of a global gathering of ethical entrepreneurs said as it opens on Wednesday (12 September). Some 1,500 people are meeting in Edinburgh as the tenth Social Enterprise World Forum -- one of the most important networking events for the sector -- returned to its birthplace ... 'Increasingly young people are looking for careers of purpose, looking at social enterprise as a way of being involved in business and doing social good -- and that has to be significant and heartening and positive,' Gerry Higgins, head of CEIS, which convenes the forum, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. (more)

Agrovoltaics: a solar-powered safety net for Massachusetts farmers
18 September 2018 - The long-term, steady income of solar power complements the higher revenue, but harder work of traditional farming. The Massachusetts SMART program looks to increase this trend with 'agrovoltaic' incentives for solar co-located with crops. (more)

Solar power helping with Puerto Rico's energy problems
18 September 2018 - A group in Puerto Rico is working to make residents less energy dependent after Hurricane Maria destroyed the island's electrical grid one year ago. When Puerto Rico suffered an island-wide blackout after the storm, a solar-powered building in Adjuntas became a lifeline for many. People came to Casa Pueblo to charge their phones and medical equipment. The nonprofit organization, which is located in a mountainous town about two hours west of San Juan, still had electricity. (more)

The 52 Places Traveler: In Lucerne, kindness trumps the (stunning) views
18 September 2018 - Lucerne, Switzerland, is best known -- rightly so -- for its mountains, lake, and views. What sticks with me [New York Times travel writer Jada Yuan] most, though, is the pervasive sense of hospitality and human kindness I found there. (more)

In Pakistan, a high mountain water pipe brings a bonus: peace
17 September 2018 - When a pipeline was installed last year to bring spring water and snowmelt to the village [Siksa, Pakistan] of 500 households in northern Pakistan, it brought something else as well: peace. The pipeline, sunk three feet into the ground, uses gravity to carry water six kilometres (3.7 miles) from the heights of the Karakoram Mountains in Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan's northern-most region. A reliable supply of water also has allowed villagers for the first time in year to sell a surplus of vegetables grown in the nearby market towns of Khaplu and Skardu ... (more)

He served 3.6 million free meals after Hurricane Maria. Now he's feeding people hit by Florence
17 September 2018 - When disaster strikes, the Red Cross and the National Guard are always there to help. And these days, so is Jose Andres. The renowned chef, equipped with a team of cooks and volunteers and a ton of food, is feeding people in the Carolinas who were hit by Hurricane Florence. Andres and his nonprofit World Central Kitchen team arrived in North Carolina a week ago -- days before the storm arrived . . . The team served more than 3.6 million meals in Puerto Rico in the aftermath of 2017's Hurricane Maria and stayed on the island through an entire year to make sure people weren't left hungry. (more)

Why Uganda is the 'world's fittest country'
15 September 2018 - Uganda is the most physically active nation in the world, according to a recent report by the World Health Organization. The BBC's Patience Atuhaire went to find out why. The study, tracking the level of physical activity around the world, found that only 5.5 per cent of Ugandans had an insufficient level of activity. Mozambique, Tanzania, Lesotho, and Togo too are also doing quite well. (more)

Koreas open 1st liaison office for better communication
14 September 2018 - The rival Koreas on Friday [14 September] opened their first liaison office near their tense border to facilitate better communication and exchanges ahead of their leaders' summit in Pyongyang next week. The office's opening in the North Korean border town of Kaesong is the latest in a series of reconciliatory steps the Koreas have taken this year. The office is the first of its kind since the Koreas were divided at the end of World War II in 1945. (more)

Organic farming methods favors pollinators
14 September 2018 - Pollinating insects are endangered globally, with a particularly steep decline over the last 40 years. An extensive 3-year study from Lund University in Sweden has found that organic farming methods can contribute to halting the pollinator decline. This beneficial effect is due to both the absence of insecticides and a higher provision of flower resources. (more)

U.S. climate summit aims for a new carbon goal: zero
14 September 2018 - When the chairman of Indian conglomerate Mahindra announced on stage at a climate summit in San Francisco that his $20 billion multinational would slash its greenhouse gas emissions to zero, it came as a surprise --- even to the company's chief sustainability officer. ... At a summit -- which aims to give momentum to the fight by cities, regions and businesses against climate change -- there is an increasing buzz about efforts to fully eliminate -- or offset -- emissions. (more)

U.S. climate summit ends with California promising satellite carbon monitoring
14 September 2018 - After a week in which cities and companies announced plans to speed action on global warming, a San Francisco climate summit ended Friday (14 September) with host California promising to launch its own satellite to track major emissions sources. Company executives unveiled expanded plans to reduced climate-changing emissions, and mayors and governors committed to abandon coal and champion clean energy, she [Jennifer Granholm, a former Michigan state governor] told 4,500 delegates to the summit. (more)

From space stations to factories: Five interesting ways that solar power is being harnessed
13 September 2018 - Solar power is becoming an increasingly important part of the planet's energy mix. In 2016, for example, new solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity increased by 50 percent globally, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). The IEA also noted that, for the first time, solar PV additions grew faster than any other fuel. This article looks at five interesting ways solar power is being used around the world. (more)

Ambitious climate summit gets underway in San Francisco
12 September 2018 - As California Governor Jerry Brown's ambitious climate summit got underway Wednesday (12 September) in San Francisco, dozens of political leaders from around the world gathered to step up efforts to cut carbon emissions linked to global warming. They met as part of the Under2 Coalition, a worldwide collection of states, cities, and regional governments that have pledged to do their part to help meet the goals set in the landmark 2016 Paris agreement on climate change. (more)

World's local governments rally in California to fight climate change
11 September 2018 - Local authorities will carve out a larger role in fighting rising temperatures globally, as national governments have been slow to take action, said organizers of a climate change summit beginning on Wednesday (11 September) in San Francisco. About 4,500 delegates from city and regional governments, as well as industries and research institutions, will attend the Global Climate Action Summit, which was put together by Californian authorities and the United Nations. (more)

Ethiopia-Eritrea border opens for first time in 20 years
11 September 2018 - On Tuesday (11 September), the leaders of Ethiopia and Eritrea reopened crossing points on their shared border, clearing the way for trade between the two nations. The development was part of a series of reconciliation moves that began in July, when Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed of Ethiopia and President Isaias Afwerki of Eritrea signed a formal declaration of peace. (more)

New sleep study shows its importance for academic performance
11 September 2018 - College students who want good grades may want to skip the all-nighters ... because a new study suggests lack of sleep is at least as bad for academic success as binge drinking or doing drugs. 'When you're approaching school work well rested, you can accomplish work and complex problem solving much more efficiently,' said study co-author J. Roxanne Prichard, scientific director of the Center for College Sleep at the University of St. Thomas in Saint Paul, Minnesota. (more)

Authorities show off extraordinary discovery of Roman coins
10 September 2018 - Italian authorities are unveiling the 'epochal' discovery of hundreds of Roman-era gold coins that were found during excavations to build a new apartment building in northern Italy. Construction crews digging in the historic center of Como discovered the small stone jar containing about 300 coins last week. Culture Minister Alberto Bonisoli said the coins, believed to date from 474 B.C., were extraordinary but still not fully understood ... (more)

Huge gold-encrusted rocks unearthed in Australia
10 September 2018 - Miners in Western Australia say they have discovered two huge gold-encrusted rocks that are each estimated to be worth millions of dollars. One mining engineer described the finds as 'exceedingly rare'. The mining company valued the largest rock at about C$4m. It said the second-largest -- a 63kg specimen with an estimated 1,600 ounces of gold -- was worth C$2.6m. (more)

US: California Governor commits to 100 percent clean energy
10 September 2018 - California Governor Jerry Brown on Monday (10 September) signed a bill requiring the state to source electricity from exclusively carbon-free sources by 2045, a move aimed at combating climate change. The law makes California the largest global economy to commit to 100 percent clean energy. Hawaii is the only other U.S. state to set a similar goal. The law sends a message that California supports the global Paris agreement to fight climate change, Governor Brown said. (more)

Italy: Hundreds of Roman gold coins found in basement of old theater
9 September 2018 - Archaeologists are studying a valuable trove of old Roman coins found on the site of a former theater in northern Italy. The coins, at least 300 of them, date back to the late Roman imperial era and were found in a soapstone jar unearthed in the basement of the Cressoni Theater in Como, north of Milan. Archaeologists also uncovered a golden bar inside the jar. The Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities did not place a value on the coins. But reports in the Italian media suggest they could be worth millions of dollars. (more)

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