Friday, October 28, 2011

A dose of common sense about food from an agribusiness nation

The future bread-basket of the world. It’s a phrase that Brazilians say with pride, and one that big agricultural conglomerates like to repeat, particularly when faced by criticism of environmental types worried about the degradation of land or the excessive use of chemicals in food production. Factory farming and large-scale agribusiness are increasingly seen as the only ways to feed a global population approaching 7 billion.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Green construction? Try growing steel in your backyard

It’s not just for stir fry any more.

Brazil last month passed law creating incentives for the cultivation and processing of one of the world’s most overlooked green construction materials: bamboo.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Brazil's ad council targets greenwashers

The biggest winner of Brazil's Greenwashing Award (note: I just made this award up myself) over the last five years is without a doubt Petrobras -- the company was playing up its green credentials while selling diesel that had a sulfur content almost 20 times the maximum permitted in Europe. Now it's only allowed to sell that diesel in rural areas.

American medical waste becomes Brazilian clothing ... yikes ...

I didn't think this hospital waste business could get any worse. I wish I still thought that.

Monday, October 17, 2011

How dirty is clean hydro power?

I have a problem with the term clean energy: most energy as we know it isn't clean. I am a proponent of alternative energy sources such as wind and solar because I think they are considerably cleaner than fossil fuels. But true clean energy basically boils down to very few things, such as using sunlight to dry your clothes. Hydro power, for example, is often thought of as clean energy, when it might make more sense to think of it is “cleaner” energy.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

A really unfortunate twist in Brazil's recycling miracle

There was a big kerfuffle back in 2009 when a boatload of hospital waste including syringes and catheters showed up at the port of Santos, under the innocouos label of recyclable aluminum cans. The British Embassy even stepped in and apologized after the it surfaced that the cargo had been brought in by a group of limeys. Last year when an entire cargo of soiled diapers was slipped in on a ship purporting to carry something else. Yuck.

Brazil's land reform agency emerges as big deforestation offender

Today, O Globo has an interesting story describing how the government's land resettlement agency Incra has racked up a record number of fines for deforestation this year.

The Incra is charged with helping provide land to rural squatters and strengthening patchy property titles in rural areas. It has resettled thousands of families throughout Brazil in efforts to provide the rural poor with not only land but also credit, technical skills and access to markets.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Brazil's trash boom

A great O Globo story from today sums up Brazil's growing problem of trash generation and inadequate disposal.