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Demand for healthy food boosts India's organic exports
26 May 2018 - Exports of organic products from India have risen over 20 percent in the fiscal just ended owing to the 'growing global appetite for healthy food' that is free from chemical and pesticide residues. This is also a leg-up for the government's plans to expand the area under eco-friendly and sustainable farming, stakeholders say. (more)

India: In Kerala, a push for organic food turns professionals into gardeners
26 May 2018 - Just five years ago, Kerala, a tropical state in southwestern India, imported almost 70 percent of its food. But today, the state is about halfway toward its ambitious goal of going 100 percent organic and agriculturally self-sufficient by 2020. Kerala hosts a highly literate workforce, and many people choose to work abroad, so the state used to rely on imported food. When doctors and the public started to blame rising cancer rates on chemical pesticides from this imported food, it kickstarted an urgency to go organic. ... many Keralans are now embracing organic agriculture as a side hobby or even a second career. (more)

US: Utah teens convince lawmakers to recognize climate change
24 May 2018 - A group of Utah teenagers convinced state lawmakers to adopt a resolution that recognizes the consequences of climate change and encourages the reduction of emissions. The resolution, which is a formal statement and not a law, observes that the impacts of climate change affects Utah residents and calls for the use of sound science to understand the causes. It also encourages the reduction of emissions while calling for innovation to grow the economy. (more)

US: Conservation group to revamp 1,500 vacant lots in Michigan
24 May 2018 - A conservation group is beginning a three-year drive to revamp about 1,500 vacant lots in east-central Michigan by planting flowers. The Saginaw Basin Land Conservancy started its campaign last week to transform nearly half of the 3,000 vacant lots owned by the Saginaw County Land Bank into plots planted with flowers, the Saginaw News reported. 'It started out as a conservation idea -- pollinators are imperiled they're declining all over the world,' said Zachary Branigan, executive director of the conservancy. (more)

Strict curbs on global warming would buoy world economy: study
23 May 2018 - Stringent limits on global warming would bolster the world economy by averting tens of trillions of dollars in damage this century from heat waves, droughts and floods, a U.S. study said on Wednesday (23 May). The report, among the first to assess the economics of the 2015 Paris climate agreement, said the toughest temperature curbs would benefit 90 percent of the world's population, especially in poor nations in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. (more)

Global plan powers up to supply clean energy for refugees
23 May 2018 - Aid agencies and governments are transforming the way they provide energy to families forced to flee their homes around the world -- from setting up solar power plants at camps for Syrians in Jordan, to funding a small solar panel for a Malian refugee to run a fridge for her water shop in Burkina Faso. (more)

Australia: Solar power take-up accelerates throughout the New England North West
22 May 2018 - The take-up of solar power has accelerated throughout the New England North West region, with a local community bulk-buy program adding two per cent more installations in the last eighteen months alone. 'We've seen the level of community interest in solar power grow greatly over the ten years that we have been coordinating the Farming the Sun community collaboration', said project director, Adam Blakester. (more)

Major new organic food fair to launch in Madrid
21 May 2018 - A major new food trade show, Organic Food Iberia, will take place in Madrid in June 2019 at the IFEMA exhibition centre. . . . Spain has the largest organic production area in Europe and its creation is a direct response to feedback from a number of Spanish producers calling for a dedicated international show to promote this market. (more)

Gladys West - the 'hidden figure' of GPS
20 May 2018 - From the sat nav in your car, to the tags on your social media posts, many of us use global positioning systems, or GPS, every day. Gladys West is one of the people whose work was instrumental in developing the mathematics behind GPS. Until now, her story has remained untold. (more)

Royal wedding 2018: Prince Harry and Meghan married at Windsor
19 May 2018 - Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have become husband and wife in a moving ceremony at Windsor Castle. The wedding service combined British tradition with modernity and the bride's African-American heritage. Lady Jane Fellowes, the sister of Prince Harry's late mother, Diana, Princess of Wales, gave a reading from the Song of Solomon. After the service, the [couple] travelled through Windsor along a route lined by tens of thousands of well-wishers. (more)

Canada launches $40 million electric bus trial
19 May 2018 - A fleet of electric buses are to be tested in the new Pan-Canadian Electric Bus Demonstration and Integration Trial project with standardized and interoperable buses and chargers in mind. The Canadian Urban Transit Research and Innovation Consortium (CUTRIC), a nonprofit consortium founded in 2014 with nearly 100 members representing public and private stakeholders across Canada, launched the $40 million CAD (nearly $32 million USD) project at TransLink in Vancouver. (more)

Scotland: Paisley hosts British Bagpipe Band Championships
19 May 2018 - Thousands of people have descended on Paisley [Scotland] to see more than 130 of the world's best pipe bands battle it out in the British championships. More than 4,000 pipers and drummers -- some from as far afield as Denmark -- gathered on St James Playing Fields. (more)

U.S. bishop wows Royal Wedding with impassioned sermon on love
19 May 2018 - African-American bishop Michael Curry electrified the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle with a barnstorming sermon on the power of love that won smiles in the ancient British chapel and praise across the internet. 'There's power in love. Don't underestimate it. Don't even over-sentimentalise it,' he said at the start of an address that jolted the congregation after a long period of serene choral music and ceremony. Members of the royal family, including Harry's brother Prince William, could be seen on TV smiling during the lengthy address. (more)

India now has a railway station that's fully powered by solar energy
18 May 2018 - After experimenting with solar-powered train coaches last year, India's diesel-guzzling railways now have an entire station that runs on renewable energy. The Guwahati railway station in the capital city of Assam is the first railway station in the country to be fully solar-powered. A major railway thoroughfare in India's northeastern region, the station handles around 20,000 passengers every day. (more)

Good eating: Scottish cafe chain builds village for homeless
18 May 2018 - A cafe chain that employs homeless people and runs a scheme to provide free food to rough sleepers has gone a step further, building a village of 11 houses in Scotland. Up to 20 homeless people will be given accommodation in the new village to the north of the Scottish capital Edinburgh built by Social Bite, which was set up in 2012. Last year the Scottish government pledged 50 million pounds ($67.53 million) to fund homelessness prevention schemes over the next five years. (more)

US: San Francisco moving to all-electric bus fleet by 2035
18 May 2018 - San Francisco is joining other world cities in moving toward a zero emissions public transportation fleet. Last week, the city and the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency announced that all public buses operating in the city will be electric no later than 2035. To achieve that goal, new buses purchased in 2025 and thereafter will be battery operated. (more)

Pew Research finds broad bi-partisan support for solar power in US
17 May 2018 - The Pew Research Center has established a reputation for using high quality polling techniques that generate meaningful results. The latest Pew poll . . . found that large majorities of Americans favor expanding at least two types of renewable sources to provide energy: 89% favor solar panels . . . (more)

US: San Francisco seeks 100% electric bus fleet by 2035
17 May 2018 - On Tuesday (15 May), the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SF Muni) Board of Directors passed a resolution to begin procuring zero emission battery buses to replace electric hybrid vehicles by 2025, with a goal of achieving a 100 percent electric bus fleet by 2035. The resolution allows SF Muni to catch up to other Californian transit agencies from Los Angeles to Stockton that have already started switching their bus fleets to zero-emissions electric buses. (more)

Canada protects largest coniferous forest in the world (+ BBC News video)
16 May 2018 - Canada will soon have the largest protected boreal forest -- an area twice the size of Belgium -- on the planet. Some 1.6m hectares of remote land in the province of Alberta are being made into new or extended provincial parks. A 6.7m hectare conservation zone will now be protected and free from logging or oil and gas exploration. Boreal (or coniferous) forests occur in northern climes with long, cold winters and short summers. They are among the world's densest forests. (more)

Hamburg takes steps to impose Germany's first big city ban on old diesels
16 May 2018 - Hamburg said on Wednesday (16 May) it had begun putting up signs to enforce what will be the first ban on older diesel vehicles from streets in a major German city, after a court ruled in February that cities were entitled to impose such bans. German cities are under pressure to meet legal clean air targets to reduce illness caused by emissions. (more)

Ocean Array Cleanup, the first revolutionary system that removes ocean plastic is ready to set sail
16 May 2018 - The Ocean Array Cleanup invented by Boyan Slat is headed towards the Great Pacific garbage patch where it will begin to gather tonnes of plastic waste accumulated by oceanic currents. (more)

US: Minnesota seeing explosive solar growth
16 May 2018 - Ben Butcher and his wife live on a small farm on the outskirts of Backus, Minnesota, where they raised their four kids. He used to work as an automotive mechanic, which is where he got his first experience working with direct current -- the kind of electricity that comes out of solar panels. These days, Butcher works with a lot more of it -- kilowatts, in fact -- as a solar installer. Like a growing number of people in the state, he makes his living directly from the sun. ... in Minnesota the sector is stronger than in most states. Last year solar jobs dropped 4 percent nationwide, while in Minnesota they rose 48.2 percent to a total of 4,256, according to the Solar Jobs Census. (more)

Solar power could save water in thirsty Middle East, North Africa, analysis says
15 May 2018 - Thirsty Middle Eastern and North African countries could tap into their solar-energy potential to cope with freshwater scarcity, according to resource experts. Water could be saved by switching to renewable solar energy from fossil fuel electricity generation that uses up water, said the World Resources Institute (WRI). Fresh and sea water is often used in the process of cooling fossil-fuel power plants, ubiquitous in the Middle East and North Africa, according to the World Bank. ... Solar panels, meanwhile, require little or no water to install and maintain. (more)

Amid conflict, Jews and Muslims in US seek solidarity
15 May 2018 - As turmoil spreads through the Middle East, American Jews and Muslims have been forming alliances to build trust and seek solidarity in more ambitious ways than in the past, a sharp contrast to the violence engulfing their homelands this week. Muslims and Jews have dispatched members into mosques and synagogues to learn about each other's faiths, made a joint trip to tour civil rights sites in the South, and formed partnerships involving CEOs of major corporations. Leaders of the groups said the challenging world events have provided impetus for the outreach efforts ... (more)

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