Daily Green Wrap-Up 24.January, 2012

One of the most toxic and carcinogenic threats in the human food supply is a natural chemical called “aflatoxin” that is produced by a fungus called Aspergillus. This opportunistic plant pathogen has the capacity to grow on a wide range of foods and feeds (corn, peanuts, cotton seed, tree nuts, dried spices and chiles…). The chance that it will contaminate a crop is enhanced by drought and/or insect damage – unfortunately both conditions expected to be more common with the onset of climate change.
Although the overall tone of this year’s North American International Auto Show had a far lower emphasis on “green vehicles” than we’ve seen in recent years, we were nonetheless surprised to see three different niche companies with electric vehicles present on the main floor. Two of these compaines, Tesla and Coda, had all-battery EVs; the third, VIA Motors, has pickups and vans with electric drive and onboard generator for extended range driving, much like the Chevy Volt.
IKEA is marketing its big annual sale with a line of clever furniture pieces made entirely out of the company’s very own flat pack furniture packaging. IKEA commissioned advertising agency AUGE Headquarter in Italy to make a big splash for their 40% sale, and that’s exactly what they’ve done by designing a table, a chair, and a table lamp – all made out of cardboard.
Call it a fire drill for the day the world runs out of petroleum. London motorists awoke this morning to a news report that they might not have gasoline.
In her backyard in Nashville, Tenn., Trazana Staples is growing turnip greens, mustard, kale, and two kinds of garlic (white and Siberian). “That’s the winter garden,” she says, with a tone of pleased satisfaction.
Her vegetable patch isn’t just a good source of produce. For Staples, it’s a daily reminder that profound personal change is possible.
It’s a complicated world. On the one hand environmentalists strategize on how to end factory farming. On the other, we get excited about the potential for urban aquaponics to help feed the world. But at what point does a space- and resource-efficient method of growing animal protein and vegetables become just another form of factory farming?

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