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Soil: Treating It Like Dirt

January 22, 2011, 2:23 amFiled under: Eco Health — Posted by Eco-Question Editor

Content by: EcoHealth101 – www.ecohealth101.org
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Soil: Treating It Like Dirt © Bongkot P.

Soil isn’t just dirt. Healthy soil is a complex community of living things. These organisms make farming possible. Yet current agricultural practices often treat soil like dirt. That can affect our food – and our health.

"Wow! Look at that beautiful soil." That’s not something you hear very often. Most people take soil for granted and few give it much thought. Yet we benefit from it many times each day – whenever we eat. Soil plays a crucial role in our ability to grow food.

 

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Stay Cool: Solutions to Global Warming

January 17, 2011, 1:50 amFiled under: Eco Health — Posted by Eco-Question Editor

Content by: EcoHealth101 – www.ecohealth101.org
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Stay Cool: Solutions to Global Warming © NASA/courtesy of  nasaimages.org

Global warming is, well, global. The solution will need to be global too. That means convincing vastly different peoples and nations to work – and sacrifice – together. It won’t be easy. But what’s the alternative?

Obvious as it sounds, the first step toward solving any problem is admitting it exists. Even today, some governments and individuals refuse to acknowledge – much less address – global warming. They argue that rising temperatures are just part of a long history of natural variations. Gradually, though, the buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and increasingly sophisticated computer models are changing quite a few minds.

 

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Plants: Medicines from Nature

January 15, 2011, 3:49 amFiled under: Eco Health — Posted by Eco-Question Editor

Content by: EcoHealth101 – www.ecohealth101.org
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© Napapun Wongtala
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Plants: Medicines from Nature © Napapun Wongtala

Plants have incredible power to heal, and contribute to many of today’s most widely-used medicines. But with many of the world’s species in danger of extinction, countless medicinal treasures could be lost.

Nearly 270,000 known species of plants – and many that remain undiscovered – play a starring role in our lives. They give us food. They add beauty. They even keep us alive, absorbing harmful carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and supplying the oxygen humans and animals need to breathe.

 

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Deforestation: Easy Profits, Hard Problems

January 14, 2011, 3:33 amFiled under: Eco Health — Posted by Eco-Question Editor

Content by: EcoHealth101 – www.ecohealth101.org
Posted by: Eco-Question Editor
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  • © Napapun Wongtala
  • © United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) – www.unep.org

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The Earth is losing a large percentage of its forests. Tearing down all those trees puts our planet’s climate, its biodiversity – and our health – at risk.

While forests die as part of a natural process, humans destroy about 27 hectares (67 acres) of forest every minute, according to the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization. Those minutes and hectares add up fast. Over the course of a year, our planet loses some 14 million hectares (35 million acres) of forest. That’s an area roughly the size of New York State. The World Resources Institute estimates that about 80 percent of the Earth’s original forest cover has been destroyed or degraded.

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Water Control: Going with the Flow

January 7, 2011, 2:44 amFiled under: Eco Health — Posted by Eco-Question Editor

Content by: EcoHealth101 – www.ecohealth101.org
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Controlling water – to stop flooding or to generate power – has challenged humans for centuries. But tinkering too much with Mother Nature can also cause a flood of problems.

People who lived in early communities didn’t turn on the faucet to get fresh water. They simply made their home by the bank of a river. It’s no accident that ancient cities arose near major waterways.

To live near a waterway also meant growing food without complete reliance on rainfall, and faster ways to carry goods from one place to another.

But living near water can also be dangerous. Because precipitation is unpredictable and never uniform, most rivers often overrun their banks. These floods carry vital nutrients to nearby land but can bring disaster to homes and farms – and living things in their wake. Floods are on the rise – in the 1990s, floods and droughts accounted for 86 percent of all natural disasters worldwide.

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Agriculture: Green Revolution, Red Alert

January 5, 2011, 3:21 amFiled under: Eco Health — Posted by Eco-Question Editor

Content by: EcoHealth101 – www.ecohealth101.org
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Modern farming produces huge amounts of food, yet more than 800 million people go hungry. Despite its successes, moreover, agriculture can harm our planet – and our health.

Roughly 10,000 years ago, humankind had one of its biggest breakthroughs: the advent of farming. That may not sound glamorous, but agriculture changed everything. Freed from the constant search for food, humans could settle down and form communities. From there came the development of trade, then cities, then science, then technology, and then the world we know today.

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