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19 July 2012

Introducing the European Geoscience Union – Soil Systems Science Division

The European Geoscience Union, a leader in the free dissemination of scientific research, has rolled out its Soil Systems Science Division (SSSD). The SSSD has a blog newsletter with some fine articles and beautiful images about soils and surface geology of Europe. When Editor Jessica Drake (Soilduck) kindly invited me to write a short “why I do soil science” biographical piece, I jumped at the chance. Being that I’m American, …

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1 June 2011

New Soil Blogs

Years ago, a fellow geology major and friend who went on to graduate school to focus on structural geology and tectonics liked to “razz” those of us interested in surficial processes, dismissing it all as “superficial geology.” In rebuttal, someone would remind him that structure and tectonics are only significant to the extent those things are expressed at or near Earth’s surface where we all try to make a living. …

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20 November 2010

Economic and Ecological Benefits of Perennial Wheat

The Wheat Field, Sunset by Vincent van Gogh (1890). Researchers at Michigan State University, Washington State University and The Land Institute at Kansas State University have been running trials on “perennial wheat.” Perennial wheat gets planted once and is harvested several times, unlike conventional wheat that requires tilling and seeding the soil every growing season. With only a few months to grow, conventional wheat develops shallow roots and soil is …

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1 August 2010

Eaarth: Bill McKibben's New Book

I’ve been enjoying Bill McKibben’s new book Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet. At one point he writes this about soil and farming: “We need to stop thinking of farming in abstract terms, as a “low rung on the ladder of economic development,” and remember again what it involves: using water and sunshine to grow plants rooted in soil that can provide the nutrients people need….When you …

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27 May 2010

Wetland Scientists Wade into Deepwater Horizon Disaster

Wetland Scintists call for inspection of all offshore oil operations, moratorium on new drilling and extraction. In response to the Deepwater Horizon disaster, the following is a statement released by the Society of Wetland Scientists. Statement from the Environmental Concerns Committee Society of Wetland Scientists Dennis F. Whigham, Chair Stephen W. Broome Curtis J. Richardson Robert L. Simpson Loren M. Smith May 18, 2010 Coastal wetlands are essential components of …

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28 March 2009

Author Ann Vileisis: "Food Has Stories"

Ann’ book, Kitchen Literacy: How We Lost Knowledge of Where Food Comes from and Why We Need to Get It Back is available at Amazon. What intrigues me is the idea that “food has stories.” That means food is not just about plants and animals raised for consumption, but also about people, places, motives, risk, success, failure, redemption, and (hopefully) new lessons and insight. Ann’s other book, linked in the …

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26 March 2009

Put Livestock Back Out to Pasture

Grazing livestock would enhance soil fertility, raise healthier animals, and improve public health. “…an estimated 70 percent of all U.S. antibiotics and related drugs are given to animals that are not sick. This overuse of antibiotics contributes to the development of antibiotic resistant bacteria, with the result that antibiotics we commonly use are becoming less effective in fighting human illnesses, including some life-threatening infections.” – Union of Concerned Scientists In …

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24 June 2007

Globalized Agriculture and Third-World Farmers

Photo by Nicksail No need to feel guilty about growing your own food. On the contrary, you may help peasant farmers keep their sustaining piece of land. The Environmental News Network picked up this article called Food Miles May Be Green, but Are They Fair? from Reuters. The thrust of the article suggests that the local food movement hurts the Third-World peasant farmer struggling to sell a crop. Craig Mackintosh’s …

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