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African Parks secures $100M for conservation in Africa
20 September 2021 - African Parks, a South Africa-based conservation group that manages 19 protected areas covering 14.7 million hectares in several African countries, has secured a $100M commitment from the Rob and Melani Walton Foundation. The grant, which will be allocated over the next five years, will be split between a $75 million endowment, that will fund organizational needs into perpetuity, and near-term support for parks under African Parks' management, according to a statement put out by the NGO. (more)

Michelin moves to award more plant-based restaurants
20 September 2021 - This year, the beknighted gourmet judges at Michelin awarded 57 vegetarian and 24 vegan restaurants around the world with their highly coveted stars. And that number is growing. From vegan superstars Joia in Milan and King's Joy in Beijing to vegetarian Cookies Cream in Berlin, Eleven Madison Park in New York and Le Comptoir in Los Angeles, the choices for those moving away from meat and fish are many and varied. (more)

The woman saving Palestinian heirloom seeds
19 September 2021 - West of Bethlehem, rugged stone-strewn mountains frame a green valley winding into the sun-hazed distance. The West Bank village of Battir nestles onto the side of one of the mountains. From afar, the only other hint of human inhabitants is the ancient terracing that lines the mountain like a giant staircase. These terraces are rock-walled agricultural plots that have grown olives and vegetables since antiquity. Such farm designs, along with the ancient spring-fed irrigation system, secured Battir a place on the Unesco World Heritage List in 2014. This ancient landscape couldn't be a more perfect home for an initiative, led by Vivien Sansour, that saves Palestinian heirloom seeds and in turn preserves cultural roots. So far, Sansour has saved 47 varieties of Palestinian heirloom seeds. (more)

US: Ford to boost F-150 Lightning production capacity to 80,000 per year (+Reuters video)
19 September 2021 - Ford Motor Co said on Thursday [16 September] it would boost its F-150 Lightning production capacity to 80,000 per year due to strong demand for the electric pickup truck, adding that the vehicle would go on sale next spring. The Lightning, which has over 150,000 reservations to date, is an electric version of Ford's best-selling gas-powered F-150 truck, whose popularity has made it the subject of some songs. (more)

US: Maine's Mountain View Correctional Facility teaches inmates how to grow their own food
19 September 2021 - In a recent report, Impact Justice highlighted Maine's Mountain View Correctional Facility as one prison that is on the right track [for improving the quality of food it serves]. Its garden can produce more than 100-thousand pounds of vegetables each year. Head cook Tim Rooney is serving time at Mountain View but says he likes working in the kitchen where the emphasis is on making meals from scratch using vegetables grown and harvested by other residents. (more)

The 'world's safest city' for 2021 revealed
18 September 2021 - While Asian cities like Tokyo, Singapore, and Osaka have continuously occupied the top spots year after year, it's a European destination that holds the number one position for 2021. Copenhagen has been named the world's safest city for the first time, scoring 82.4 points out of 100 in the annual report. (more)

This European capital has overtaken Tokyo and Singapore as the world's safest city
18 September 2021 - Copenhagen has been named the world's safest city in a new wide-reaching study from the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). The Danish capital surpassed former frontrunners like Tokyo, Singapore, and Osaka in the fourth edition of the EIU's biennial Safe Cities Index, which for the first time included environmental security metrics. The European city was followed closely behind by Toronto with 82.2 points. (more)

Nigeria: Expert advises Plateau farmers to adopt organic farming to protect soil, improve yield
17 September 2021 - The Plateau Agricultural Development Programme (PADP) has advised farmers to adopt organic farming practices to protect soil and improve yield. The PADP equally said inorganic (use of chemicals) farming practices in vogue have adverse effects on the soil and the environment generally. (more)

6th generation Wisconsin farm goes back to its roots, spurred by harm caused by pesticides (+TMJ4 video)
17 September 2021 - A sixth generation farm is going back to its roots. We [TMJ4] went to visit the Evansville, Wisconsin family's nearly 120-year history, and why they changed to a certified organic farm. The farm is called Doudlah Farms Organics. Doudlah Farms Organics sells seeds, beans, honey, flour and more to Outpost Natural Foods. (more)

Canada: More and more farmers converting to organic with the help of the Support Organic Change Fund
17 September 2021 - With a booming $8.138 billion in annual sales, Canada is the sixth largest organic market in the world. Yet, despite double digit production growth, demand continuously outpaces supply in Canada. Two thirds of Canadians purchase organic products weekly, and organic is the fastest growing part of the Canadian agriculture landscape. As a response to mounting domestic and international demand, the Canada Organic Trade Association (COTA) launched the Organic Conversion Support Program in 2019, through the Support Organic Change Fund, to support farms and livestock producers as they convert their operations to certified organic to meet this global demand. (more)

Blowers, mowers, and more: American yards quietly go electric
16 September 2021 - There's a quiet transformation going on in yards across the country. Longstanding complaints about the roar and fumes from gas-powered leaf blowers, mowers, and other equipment have grown even louder as more people work from home because of the pandemic. Meanwhile, the quality of zero- to low-emissions electric landscaping equipment has improved markedly, with battery packs that last longer. (more)

Kew Gardens: Royal Botanic Gardens breaks record for largest plant collection
16 September 2021 - Kew Gardens has set a new record for the largest living plant collection at a single site, according to Guinness World Records. Established in 1759, the Royal Botanic Gardens (RBG) at Kew had 16,900 unique plant species as of May 2019. 'It re-enforces the importance of botanic gardens around the world, as not only beautiful places to enjoy, but as essential hubs of inspiration and education,' said Richard Barley, director of horticulture at the gardens. (more)

US: Ospreys, still threatened in Illinois, are making a comeback
16 September 2021 - After essentially disappearing from Illinois, the osprey is making a comeback thanks to a decades-long effort to eliminate harmful pesticides and provide safe places for the large, slender hawks to nest. (more)

New York passes law that will ban all gas-powered car sales by 2035
15 September 2021 - In 14 years' time, no fossil fuel-powered vehicles will be sold in New York anymore. The state has passed a new law that bans the sale of gas vehicles starting in 2035, requiring all new cars to be zero emission. New York's Senate and Assembly passed the bill and Governor Kathy Hochul signed it into law last week. The move will help reduce the state's greenhouse gas emissions by 35 percent and help it achieve its climate targets, including an 85 reduction in GHG emissions by 2050. (more)

General Motors to invest $50M in Detroit education, jobs, neighborhoods
14 September 2021 - General Motors plans to invest $50 million by 2025 to help improve access to education in Detroit, employment opportunities and city neighborhoods. The automaker said Tuesday [14 September] that it is working with the city on the initiative and that the funding will go through Detroit-based nonprofits. (more)

US: Pulitzer Prize winner launching literacy program in Iowa
14 September 2021 - A Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist known for her writing on race is joining with educators in Iowa to launch a free community-based after-school literacy program in her hometown. Nikole Hannah-Jones said the 1619 Freedom School will hold a soft launch in October at the Dr. Walter Cunningham School for Excellence with a small number of students before opening the full program in January at the Masonic Temple in downtown Waterloo, the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reported. (more)

Britain's Tesco joins refillable revolution with in-store trial
13 September 2021 - Britain's biggest supermarket group Tesco launched a trial on Monday [13 September] that allows customers to buy food, drink, household and beauty products in reusable packaging, part of its strategy to cut plastic waste. Britons have become increasingly aware of the amount of plastic they use in recent years, with television documentaries such as naturalist David Attenborough's 'Blue Planet II' particularly highlighting the dangers of plastic pollution to marine life. (more)

Tesco zero-waste trial launches at 10 stores in England
13 September 2021 - Supermarket chain Tesco is to trial its zero-waste shopping service at 10 stores in the East of England. Customers will be able to buy common household goods in reusable packaging that can be returned to the store to be used again. The trial aims to meet demand for less single-use plastic packaging. (more)

US: Kansas targets early literacy with $15M in pandemic funds
13 September 2021 - Kansas is setting aside $15 million in federal pandemic funds to improve early literacy, state education officials said. Kansas Commissioner of Education Randy Watson said Wednesday that early literacy is critical to long-term academic success. (more)

Harvard University to end investment in fossil fuels
12 September 2021 - Harvard University is ending its investments in fossil fuels, the school's President said on Thursday [9 September], drawing praise from divestment activists who had long pressed the leading university to exit such holdings. (more)

US: California may impose toughest rules on recycling labels
12 September 2021 - California lawmakers have approved what advocacy groups say are the nation's strongest protections against falsely labeling items as recyclable when they in fact are destined for landfills. The measure sent late Thursday [9 September] to Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom for his consideration would reserve the 'chasing arrows' recycling symbol for items that actually can be recycled. (more)

Hubble captures a sparkling cluster
11 September 2021 - [A] star-studded image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope depicts NGC 6717, which lies more than 20,000 light-years from Earth in the constellation Sagittarius. NGC 6717 is a globular cluster, a roughly spherical collection of stars tightly bound together by gravity. Globular clusters contain more stars in their centers than their outer fringes, as [the] image aptly demonstrates. (more)

Jordan: Agriculture Ministry prepares ground for organic farming
10 September 2021 - Organic farming is making inroads into Jordan's conventional agriculture system as many are encouraged to adopt environmentally friendly cultivation methods. 'Organic agriculture produces high quality products that meet international standards. It has a positive impact on human health and the environment,' according to the Jordan Organic Agriculture Association website. (more)

US: Two life-changing events led an Illinois family to embrace organic farming
10 September 2021 - Harold Wilken is a steadfast believer in letting nature take its course. Under his watch, Janie's Farm Organics in Danforth, Illinois, has transitioned from conventional farming practices -- such as the use of pesticides and GMOs -- into a 100 percent organic operation growing yellow and white hybrid corn, soybeans, wheat, and rye, and he couldn't be prouder. Raised in a farming family that dates back several generations, Wilken was riding tractors with his dad at the tender age of 2 years old. (more)

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