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globalbriefs


News and resources to inspire concerned citizens to work together in building a healthier, stronger society that benefits all.


Freebie Fruit Online Mapping Points the Way


Falling Fruit (FallingFruit.org), created by Caleb Philips, co-founder of Boulder Food Rescue, and Ethan Welty, a photographer and geographer based in Boulder, Colo- rado, uses a map to cite locations of fruits and vegetables that are free to forage around the world. It looks like a Google map, with reported locations marked with dots. Zoom in and click on one to find a description of what tree or bush is there. The description often includes information about the best season to pluck plant fruits, the quality and yield, a link to the species’ profile on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s website and additional advice on accessing the spot.


Welty compiled most of the half-million or so locations from various munici- pal databases, local foraging organizations and urban gardening groups. Addition- ally, the map is open for Wikipedia-style public editing. He says, “Falling Fruit pinpoints all sorts of tasty trees in public parks, lining city streets and even hang- ing over fences from the UK to New Zealand.” It also lists beehives, public water wells and even dumpsters with excess food waste.


Killing Fields Neonicotinoid Pesticides Threaten Birds and Insects, Too


Controversial neonicotinoid pesticides linked to catastrophic honeybee declines in North America and Europe may also kill other creatures, posing ecological threats even graver than feared, according to a new report by the American Bird Conservancy. It claims that dangers to birds and stream- dwelling and soil-dwelling insects accidentally exposed to


the chemicals have been underestimated by regulators and downplayed by industry. “The environmental persistence of the neonicotinoids, their propensity for runoff and for groundwater infiltration and their cumulative and largely irrevers- ible mode of action in invertebrates raise environmental concerns that go well beyond bees,” according to the report co-authors, pesticide policy expert Cynthia Palmer and pesticide toxicologist Pierre Mineau, Ph.D., who both work for the nonprofit. They note that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency typically sets guidelines for bird exposures using laboratory tests on just two species, which ignores widely varying sensitivities among hundreds of other species. Scott Black, executive director of the Xerces Society, an invertebrate con- servation group, says that integrated pest management (IPM), which combines precisely targeted chemical use with other, non-chemical means of pest control, can deliver industrial-scale yields in an environmentally sustainable way. To the detriment of wildlife, “[Our nation] has moved away from IPM, from scouting a farm, putting in habitat for beneficial insects and spraying only if there’s damage,” he warns. “With neonicotinoids, they don’t do that anymore,” instead returning to indiscriminate blanket spraying.


Primary source: Tinyurl.com/ABCBirdReport


Fare Sharing Three Is the Perfect Number


With increasing traffic congestion and escalating gas prices, carpooling has become a way of life in America’s biggest cities. Now new high-tech in- novations such as ridesharing apps that make the process more efficient have given rise to a new class of riders know as “slugs”. The term was originally coined by bus drivers trying to distin- guish between commuters awaiting carpool drivers and people standing in line for the bus, just as they used to stay vigilant for fake bus tokens known as slugs.


In many urban centers with spe- cific lanes dedicated to cars with three occupants (HOV-3), having clearly marked entry and exit points benefits everyone—drivers move faster and save gas; riders get to work; and the environment gets a break. The magic number is three—something about having just two occupants doesn’t seem as safe to many people, although the concept is the same. If the worst happens and no drivers show up, there’s always the bus.


Source: Grist.com a


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SEPT 7–8, 2013


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Find out more at GFEXPO.COM natural awakenings September 2013 11


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