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May-June 2010

Borneo experiment shows how saving the apes could save ourselves

Shawn ThompsonWebsite

A reforestation scheme in Borneo could radically reshape wildlife protection, land conservation, and indigenous stewardship—simultaneously. Halfway around the world, on the eastern side of the island of Borneo, near the oil city of Balikpapan, a new tropical rainforest is being created out of what was once a poisonous wasteland. It is a story of radical […] More »

Exclusive: When Ontarians conserve power, wind farms will be first to shut down

darcy higgins

Despite its recent investment in wind energy, Ontario will periodically ask wind operators to turn off their turbines, leaving gas and nuclear operating, This Magazine has learned. Conservation efforts and more energy production have led to an occasional surplus of electricity in the province, requiring Ontario to power down some generators at certain times of […] More »

Stop Everything #22: "Transition Towns" find peak oil's silver lining

darcy higgins

With any legitimate climate work being continually ignored by government, Canadians are growing weary. In tandem with our American friends, we’ve for years been witnessing the leadership void at the federal level being filled by some provincial, state and municipal governments, universities and businesses. With Earth Hour showing that widespread participation in environmental initiatives is […] More »
March-April 2010

Innovative Ethiopian food-aid scheme starving for funds

Joshua HergesheimerWebsite

When Ethiopia asked the world for food aid last October, former subsistence farmer Terefi Tekale was not among the 6.2 million people desperate for help. Though his family’s long-held plot in Ethiopia’s Konso region has done poorly in recent years—the soil is sterile, his corn stunted and his hillside eroded—an ambitious new development plan means […] More »
January-February 2010

Could farm-friendly ‘biochar’ suck up a fifth of the world’s carbon emissions?

Brad Badelt

The Claim Proponents believe that biochar—a fine charcoal produced when biomass is burned without oxygen—could dramatically cut our carbon emissions while improving soil productivity. The Investigation Here’s how it works: When organic matter decomposes, it releases carbon back into the atmosphere. This naturally occurring breakdown contributes a whopping 220 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide to the […] More »
November-December 2009

Support small farms and get tastier cheese — Legalize Raw Milk

Rosemary Counter

Unpasteurized milk is better, argues outlaw milk farm Michael Schmidt, and he’s willing to go all the way to the supreme court to prove it Despite numerous guilty verdicts, rogue milk farmer Michael Schmidt will not back down. He will not pay the $55,000 in fines, and he won’t cease selling his illegal product. “It […] More »
September-October 2009

Canada’s an urban nation. Why is our literature still down on the farm?

Darryl WhetterWebsite

CanLit has the literary equivalent of the Y2K bug—it can’t flip over into this century When he delivers public lectures, editor and writer John Metcalf is fond of illustrating CanLit’s paradoxical obsession with tales of the rural past by describing the query letter he once received from a then-unheard-of Russell Smith. Metcalf claims that Smith […] More »

"Microforests" enrich Kenya's environment—and its farmers, too

Siena AnstisWebsite

Birthplace to some of the continent’s most varied and breathtaking landscapes, Kenya is also facing one of the highest deforestation levels in the world. Between 1990 and 2005 alone, the country lost 500,000 acres of its indigenous forests. Famous for its white beaches and warm ocean, Kenya’s infamous coast is particularly hard-hit. Faced with few […] More »

Friday FTW: Further adventures in backyard farming, honeybee edition

Graham F. Scott

One of the most popular articles in the last issue of This was on urban chicken farming. One of the British companies mentioned in that piece, Omlet, which makes a stylish backyard chicken coop called Eglu, is expanding its urban-agro-empire again. This time, they’re selling Beehaus, a colourful backyard apiary for starting your own honeybee […] More »

Farming how-tos help Kenyan farmers adapt to climate change

Siena AnstisWebsite

Year-round, Mama Agnes feeds a family of six with a comparatively 100 square-metre plot of land. She stands in her backyard garden, an oasis of green in a landscape left yellow and cracked by the hot sun. She points to tomato plants heavy with still-green fruits, sukuma (kale), onions, and spinach. Mama Agnes is currently […] More »
July-August 2009

Be an urban chicken farmer in 5 easy steps

Erica Butler

A growing number of Canadians are extolling the virtues of the urban chicken. And why not? They’re an affordable source of fresh, local, organic protein; eat lawn-destroying insects; produce nitrogen-rich fertilizer; and are fun to have around. Intrigued? Here are some key steps toward taking on your own personal flock. 1. Look before you leap. […] More »