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News at Brighter Green

Brighter Green Associate Wanqing Zhou interviewed by Our Hen House 7/23/14

Brighter Green Associate Wanqing Zhou was interviewed by Our Hen House on Brighter Green's What's For Dinner? and China screening tour in June and July 2014.

Brighter Green and Partner Global Forest Coalition Published in "Square Brackets" 7/1/14

Brighter Green and partner Global Forest Coalition published their article "Implementing Aichi Target 3 in the livestock sector" in "Square Brackets: CBD Newsletter for Civil Society".

Brighter Green Releases June 2014 Newsletter 6/27/14

Brighter Green releases its June 2014 newsletter highlighting achievements and events in the first part of 2014. You can view the newsletter here.

Brighter Green Launches "What's For Dinner?" China Screening Tour 6/15/14

Brighter Green launches the China tour of the short documentary film "What's For Dinner?". The film is screened in multiple cities through July 2014 and provinces including Beijing, Shanghai, and Zhejiang province. To learn more please click here.

Brighter Green Presents at the Global Research Forum on Sustainable Production and Consumption 6/11/14

Brighter Green Associate Wanqing Zhou presented her paper, "The Triangle: Factory Farming in the U.S., China and Brazil" in Shanghai, China at the Global Research Forum on Production and Consumption.

BG Partner Global Forest Coalition Releases Paraguayan Case Study 5/22/14

Brighter Green partner Global Forest Coalition publishes Paraguayan case study on the environmental and social impacts of unsustainable livestock and soybean production.

Brighter Green and Global Forest Coalition New Report and Briefing Paper 5/22/14

Brighter Green and the Global Forest Coalition announce the release of a new report and briefing paper on redirecting government support for unsustainable livestock production as the key to biodiversity conservation.

Brighter Green Appears in the Scientific American Magazine 5/20/14

The Scientific American article "China's Appetite for Meat Swells, Along with Climate Changing Pollution" references Brighter Green research as well as quotes Executive Director Mia MacDonald and Associate Wanqing Zhou.

What's For Dinner? Page on Icarus Website 5/9/14

Brighter Green's short documentary film What's For Dinner? is now featured on Icarus Films' website, WFD's North American distributor. Visit the website for more information on screening or purchasing the film.

Brighter Green Releases Policy Brief of "Beyond the Pail: the Emergence of Industrialized Dairy Systems in Asia" 4/28/14

Brighter Green released the policy brief for the most recent policy paper, Beyond the Pail: the Emergence of Industrialized Dairy Systems in Asia. The brief, available here, provides a succinct summary of the paper and recommendations.

Brighter Green's film What's For Dinner? to be featured in the Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital 3/21/14

Brighter Green's short film What's For Dinner? was recently selected to appear in the Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital. It appeared on March 19th at 12PM in the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, along with a discussion partnering with the China Environment Forum.

Associate Sangamithra Iyer Publishes eBook 3/5/14

Brighter Green Associate Sangamithra Iyer publishes an eBook entitled The Lines We Draw distributed by Hen Press, the publishing arm of Our Hen House. The book explores the boundaries — physical, biological, and ethical — evolved out of a conversation with the late Dr. Alfred Prince, a hepatitis researcher, about the use of chimpanzees in medical research, and is expanded into a larger discussion about ethics.

Brighter Green Releases New Policy Paper on Industrialized Dairy in Asia 2/20/14

Brighter Green releases their newest policy paper Beyond the Pail: the Emergence of Industrialized Dairy Systems in Asia exploring the trend toward increased dairy consumption and production in Asia and argues that the growth of industrial systems results in severe consequences for the environment, public health, animal welfare, and rural economies. You may access the paper here.

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Record-Setting Droughts in China Could Send Food Prices Even Higher

March 1, 2011 12:23pm

China's parched earth has far-reaching impacts

Both the United Nations and China's government are sounding the alarm as Shangdong province is facing its worst drought in over sixty years. Shangdong province is of central importance because it is the center of wheat production in China, which is also the world's top wheat producer. Water shortages and crop damage has also been felt in China's Western, Northern and Central regions. The consequences of continued drought could continue to drive up global grain prices, with myriad effects on both the developing and developed world.

In China the effects are being felt by an estimated 2.6 million people and an additional 2.8 million livestock. Beijing is also feeling the strain, as it has not received rain in over three months. Urban areas like Beijing are one factor in the water shortage for agriculture, as the concentrated population's demand for water for domestic and industrial use draws away water supplies for farming. The scope of the drought's effects on crop land are staggering, as at least 5.6 million hectares have been affected, which make up two thirds of the country's wheat crop.

Despite recent snowfalls, the Ministry of Agriculture reports that the situation has not improved. Desperation has led to meteorologists and the Chinese military attempting to seed clouds in order to encourage precipitation. The government has announced that it will start releasing some of its grain reserves in order to reduce strain on the market, and has pledged more than 1 billion dollars worth of emergency water aid to farmers. Follwing Prime Minister Wen Jibao's call for increased investment in drought-mitigating technologies, China's officials have initiated water desalinization projects, well digging, and irrigation improvements. However, some of the help may have come too late.

According to Robert S. Zeigler, the director of the International Rice Research Institute, "China's grain situation is critical to the rest of the world. If they are forced to go out on the market to procure adequate supplies for their population, it could send huge shock waves through the world's grain markets." Higher food prices are especially problematic for developing countries, many of which import food and are already struggling to feed their people. The current high food prices are even said to have contributed to the political and social unrest recently seen in Tunisia, Egypt, and other parts of Northern Africa and the Middle East.

Global wheat prices increased by 76% in the last year, partly because of rising demand and climate impacts on Canadian production, as well as Australian flooding, European and Russian dry spells. Growth in global demand for grain has been driven by several factors, including population growth, increasing affluence, and the use of grain to fuel automobiles.

Lester R. Brown, president of the Earth Policy Institute argues in reference to food prices that "we can no longer expect that things will soon return to normal, because in a world with a rapidly changing climate system there is no norm to return to."
Despite this grim prognosis, governments can and must act in concert to avert catastrophe by aiming for more sustainable agricultural practices and by reducing their greenhouse gas emissions. Everyone has to eat, after all.

Image courtesy of Mundoo