A nice infographic for International Day of Forests:
The International Day of Forests, celebrated by the United Nations for the first time today, March 21, highlights the vital importance of forests in our lives and the need to defend the world’s forests from pressures on several fronts.
Read FAO Director-General Jose Graziano da Silva’s blog post on the day to learn more about the importance of forests and trees to all life on earth and about the threats facing them.
“On the first International Day of Forests we can make a start by planting a tree and giving back to forests just a little of what we have taken. In planting a tree we plant our future. In giving to forests we give to ourselves and to our children.”
Or watch this somewhat eerie video:
The University of California, through its Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, will convene some of the world’s leading experts April 9 at the Global Food Systems Forum to address how to sustainably feed 8 billion people by 2025.
The daylong forum, which will bring together farmers, researchers, policymakers, economists, environmentalists and other experts, will feature two moderated panels and keynote addresses by Mary Robinson, former president of Ireland and president of the Mary Robinson Foundation – Climate Justice, and Wes Jackson, founder and president of The Land Institute.
Michael Specter, global issues writer for The New Yorker magazine, will moderate the first panel, which will focus on the geopolitical, ethical, economic, environmental and technical challenges facing food systems from a global perspective. Award-winning author and journalist Mark Arax will moderate the second panel, which will address the implications, responsibilities and innovative opportunities from a California perspective.
The panelists will include a mix of UC and non-UC experts and thought leaders. View a list of speakers at http://food2025.ucanr.edu/Speakers.
To learn more about the UC Global Food Systems Forum and to register to watch the live webcast, visit http://food2025.ucanr.edu.
If you’re like me, a trip to the supermarket fish counter often leaves you fishing for answers: What is this fish? Where does it come from? Is it endangered?
Now, thanks to AppliFish – a new mobile application developed by the fisheries and biodiversity knowledge platform i-Marine, with support from FAO, answers to these questions and more are available at the touch of a button, anytime, anywhere.
Human consumption of fish products has doubled in the last half century, and around 30 percent of the world’s marine fish stocks assessed in 2009 were overexploited, according to FAO’s State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture 2012.
“With AppliFish, consumers can choose fish that’s not endangered, helping ensure that there will be enough for future generations,” says FAO’s Marc Taconet, Senior Fishery Information Officer and chair of the iMarine board. “Consumers can also use the application to learn more about species, capture levels and habitats, as well as the level of threats faced by these species.”
AppliFish offers basic information on over 550 marine species, such as a common names and sizes, distribution maps, as well as maps featuring expected changes in species distribution caused by climate change.
Quinoa, the Andean “superfood” known by the Incas as the “mother of all grains”, is getting a promotional boost from the United Nations, which has declared 2013 the International Year of Quinoa.
The spotlight is overdue for this long-neglected crop, for centuries grown almost exclusively by indigenous communities in the Andean highlands but now being heralded by foodies and nutrition-conscious consumers around the world.
Why? Because quinoa packs a potent nutritional punch. In fact, it’s so rich in nutrients that NASA chose to include it in astronauts’ diets. Rich in protein and minerals, Quinoa is the only plant containing a complete range of amino acids. It’s also gluten free. What’s more, it is able to adapt to different ecological conditions and climates. Resistant to drought, poor soils and high salinity, it can be grown from sea level to an altitude of four thousand meters and can withstand extreme temperatures.
At the recent ceremony to kick off the International Year at UN Headquarters in New York, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon emphasized quinoa’s potential to contribute significantly to the “Zero Hunger Challenge” he launched in June 2012, while helping counter the effects of a warming planet.
New ally in hunger fight
FAO head José Graziano da Silva declared quinoa “a new ally in the fight against hunger and food insecurity” and noted that the crop was already showing potential in Kenya and Mali and could also be developed in other arid regions of the world.
The effort to promote quinoa is part of a broader FAO strategy to promote traditional or forgotten crops as a means to combat hunger and promote healthy eating.
“The International Year of Quinoa will serve not only to stimulate the development of the crop worldwide, but also as recognition that the challenges of the modern world can be confronted by calling on the accumulated knowledge of our ancestors and the small family farmers who currently are the major producers of the crop,” said Graziano da Silva.
FAO hopes that the yearlong series of cultural, artistic and academic activities, as well as scientific research, will contribute to the well-being of thousands of smallholder farmers and to consumers worldwide.
Gift of the Andes
Quinoa was of great nutritional importance to pre-Colombian Andean civilizations, second only to the potato. Traditionally, quinoa grains are roasted and then made into flour for bread. It can also be cooked, added to soups, used as a cereal, as pasta and even fermented into beer or chicha, the traditional drink of the Andes.
Quinoa production now extends beyond the Andean region and – besides Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Chile, Colombia and Argentina – it is also produced in the United States, Canada, France, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Denmark, Italy, Kenya and India.
Simple actions by consumers and food retailers can dramatically cut the 1.3 billion tonnes of food lost or wasted each year. Think.Eat.Save. – a new campaign launched today by FAO and the United Nations Environment Programme – aims to cut food waste worldwide and help shape a sustainable future.
Wasted food also means wasted energy, land, water and lost opportunities to improve lives. Learn more about ways to reduce your foodprint.
In Syria’s neighbouring countries, food vouchers help refugees keep hunger at bay. After decades of excessive logging and reduced water flow, Mount Kenya is becoming green again. And a new plant breeding technique helps farmers in the high Andes of Peru.
Today is International Mountain Day. Did you know that mountains are extremely vulnerable to climate change? Find out more in this animated video: