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Cloth or disposable? The diaper debate is back

Here’s a report from the Christian Science Monitor of the latest developments in the long-running debate between cloth or disposable diapers. While it doesn’t commit unequivocably to one or the other, the report does note that a baby can use 8000 diapers, and America cuts down 250,000 trees to produce disposable diapers, which contribute 3.5 million tons to the nation’s landfills. American ingenuity has developed new recyclable diapers, and the report lists resources to find diaper services.

 
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Could cows heal the West?

There are no panaceas, of course, but holistic management of cattle ranges can contribute a lot to improving the soil and its productivity, and not just in the United States but worldwide. That’s the main message of this informative article from the Christian Science Monitor. By applying holistic management techniques, overgrazed, degraded rangeland can be returned to health and productivity.

 
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Eating the wild

Yesterday it was frogs, today it’s turtles that are under threat, mostly from human over-consumption.  So says no less credible a source than the New York Times.  According to this reputable news source, two-thirds of all species of tortoises and fresh-water turtles soon may be eaten into extinction.  The Times calls for stiffer regulations and closer monitoring.

 
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Study pinpoints main source of Asia’s brown cloud

Scientists at Stockholm University in Sweden have determined that Asia’s brown cloud, the subjects of years of study, is about two-thirds due to the burning of wood, dung and other biomass for cooking and agriculture, and only about one-third to the burning of fossil fuels in cars, power plants, etc.  This proportion is much greater than found in earlier studies using different methodologies.   The implications of the research, to be published in the journal Science, are that controlling agricultural burning and improving cookstove technology may dissipate as much of the brown haze over South Asia as restricting cars of building cleaner power plants.

 
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A billion frogs on world’s plates

The estimate is derived from UN trade data, but the researchers from Adelaide University in Australia acknowledge considerable uncertainty in the consumption figure.  Why it matters is because about 1/3 of all species of amphibians are threatened by extinction.  France and the US are the two biggest importers of wild frogs, and frog legs are consumed heavily in several European and East Asian countries.  Indonesia exports the most frogs, 5,000 tons per year, and is a major consumer.  In addition to hunting for consumption and the pet trade, frogs are subject to climate change, pollution, habitat loss, and disease.  Scientist worry that amphibians may soon suffer the same fate as global fisheries that have crashed after overfishing.  Farmed frogs are not included in the analysis.

 
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