Paying for Organic Farming up Front

In an interesting twist on free market driven farming, the Times reported that several large food company customers are helping to pay for the costs incurred by farmers to grow organic produce. These costs are usually affiliated with the need to transition the land from standard, AKA petrochemical driven practices, to organic farming practices. A period that can take several years.

Organic Farming CostsIs this out of the goodness of their hearts? No, it is a consequence of the law of supply and demand. There is now a greater demand for organic produce and thus, to meet that demand, companies are investing in improving the supply of available land. After all, pesticide free land is the basis of organic farming.

Nice to see the market work and have something good come from it as well.

Read the full article:
Paying Farmers to Go Organic, Even Before the Crops Come In
Limited free access; NY Times subscription may be required.


In New Zealand, Land and Rivers are People Too

New Zealand has made a determination that Te Urewera, an 821 square mile park, now has all of the legal rights of a legal person.

New Zealand - Te Urewera National Park

Sound crazy? Well really, if you study indigenous people throughout the world, those that we would say in the west are not civilized, you will find that in their relationship to the land, they deemed that all parts of the land were equal to them. Accordingly, they had to show respect for the land, the plants, the rivers and the animals.

Of course, we have, in our civilized society, removed ourselves mentally and physically from the land. We have misinterpreted scripture to allow us to dominate rather than steward the very planet that keeps us alive.

Cudos to New Zealand for listening to the history of the Maori People and becoming a bit more civilized.

Read the full article:
In New Zealand, Lands and Rivers Can Be People (Legally Speaking)
Limited free access; NY Times subscription may be required.


A 600 Year Old New Jersey Oak Tree is Dying

Sometimes a story about the environment is really about something that is just fascinating. The New Jersey Oak Tree in this story certainly qualifies as fascinating. 600 years. Now that is quite a lifetime. Way beyond that of its species (White Oak).

New Jersey Oak Tree GraphicThe tree is now in its declining years and that is a shame.

So all that I can really write about this great living history is that before it dies, you should make a trip to see it. I remember the tree in better years from college, and indeed it has declined. But hey, none of us will look this good at 600…

And for those who don’t have a context…that means that this tree was growing before Columbus came to our shores.

Read the full article:
600-year-old New Jersey oak tree is dying


PSE&G’s View on Energy

PSE&G recently published a white paper on energy…I don’t want to spend much time going over the paper as it is simply too long for me to discuss in depth here. However, I did want to take a key set of statements from that paper as I see it…

Moving Energy Efficiency from the Periphery to the Center

Energy Conservation GraphicThe fact is: Energy Efficiency is less costly and more impactful than renewables. Yet, while we set aggressive goals for renewables, we have only taken baby steps in the area of Energy Efficiency.

It is estimated that Energy Efficiency can deliver similar benefits as solar or wind at one-tenth the cost. We believe Energy Efficiency must be the centerpiece of a comprehensive effort to build a sustainable energy future in New Jersey.

The cheapest kilowatt remains the one saved.

So what aren’t we doing more?

Read PSE&G’s published white paper:
New Jersey’s Energy Future