An Alternative To Conventional Farming: Aquaponics

With the increasing demand for sustainable and environmentally friendly agricultural solutions, more individuals are turning to and investing in the Aquaponics system. The aquaponics system is a financially viable and eco-friendly option as its water consumption is far less than that used with conventional farming methods. Aquaponics is the symbiotic relationship between fish farming and hydroponics, which enables food to be grown all year round without soil.



Getting started with an aquaponics system can cost anywhere from $800 to $6000, but the benefits seem to far outweigh the initial start-up capital. Systems can be started for small individual home use, or larger commercial ones are available as well. With one gallon of water in your fish tank, you can have a grow bed that is ½ to 1 sq feet of grow space, and one lb of fish requires roughly 10 gallons of water.The most popular fish that people decide to use for their aquaponics system is Tilapia, while some other individuals have opted to go with catfish, trout, or some other variety. The system can be setup indoors or outside, and food can be grown all year.

aquaponicsaTo get started, the system does require reliable access to electricity and water, and will continuously require careful water quality monitoring. Aquaponics is showing to be the best of both hydroponics and aquaculture, it is increasingly described as being more efficient than traditional soil based farming and gardening. Although urban homesteading can sometimes make more economic and ecological sense . With the growing trend of conscious consumers, it isn’t surprising that more individuals are opting for a convenient, and sustainable, solutions which gives them direct control over what goes into the food that their families are eating.


How Does It Work?

aquaaaThe fish are fed, and then produce Ammonia rich waste. The bacteria [which is cultured in the grow beds and fish tank] breaks down the ammonia into nutrients: nitrites and then nitrates. Plants then take in the converted nitrates as macronutrients (acting like a fertilizer). Essentially, the plants take up the fish waste. Plant roots help to filter the water, and the recycled water then gets put back into the fish tank and used all over again. Environmental concerns have a growing impact on the economy, and consumers are increasingly looking for sustainable and efficient options. It’s no wonder the popularity of aquaponics is growing, seeing as it allows individuals to grow more organic food items using less space, and involves overall less water consumption.

Recently, a ground-breaking aquaponics initiative sponsored by Topeka-based Trash Mountain Project was put into motion, and will involve establishing aquaponic systems in the Dominican Republic, and then in many other impoverished nations around the world. The estimated cost to build a system overseas is $20,000, but it is believed that the system once up and running that it will be able to produce 1,000 lbs of tilapia every six to eight months. Aqua Design Innovations have also ventured into designing a miniature aquaponics ecosystem, in the hopes of raising environmental awareness and educating others on the system. They’ll be launching a crowd-sourcing effort to fund their miniature aquaponics EcoQube project starting in November.

Conventional farming techniques using fungicides, pesticides, and other poisons, destroy soil ecology and can reduce the nutritional value of your food.  The aquaponics system allows the individual to become more self-sufficient, and to grow and consume healthier food for themselves and their family. If not a full solution to food scarcity, it offers a decently priced method of raising fish and plants in a symbiotic fashion; reducing waste and increasing yields.



What is TTIP and why we need to stop it.

The internet connects all parts of the world. More and more people are gaining access to knowledge and participating globally.
Because of this, International corporations see their business models at risk. They fear that they are losing control, that there is a shift in power.
Trade agreements such as Trips and ACTA are intended to erect barriers to prevent that. They represent undemocratic and opaque corporate power.
The U.S. and Europe are currently negotiating TTIP, with little media scrutiny and without public participation.
The object is an agreement on the largest free trade area on the face of the earth: a defense alliance of the Western industrial nations.

TTIP threatens drastic changes for Europe: Genetically modified food, hormone-treated beef and chlorine-washed chicken will end up on our plates.
US industrial standards will spur an attack on the diversity of European agriculture.
Investor-state dispute settlement with the possibility of vast compensation claims by corporations will threaten regional markets and civil rights.
Workers’ rights, banking supervision and climate protection could fall far below European standards.
Weak data protection and stronger enforcement of intellectual property rights will help deliver our privacy unprotected to corporations.

Stop TTIP – For a publicly negotiated global agreement with proper public participation.
Stop TTIP – People first, then the financial markets.
Stop TTIP – Because the world belongs to us all!

‘You really do have to be an utter moron to support this system.

Occupy London

Bullingdonmorons in the Guardian says. ‘You really do have to be an utter moron to support this system.
Decades from now, history books will record these years of Neo-Liberalism as the dumbest period in human history. They will tell of a system that created vast wealth for a handful of people whilst leaving millions struggling to survive, a system designed to transfer wealth from the poor to the rich, a system that promoted a Malthusian hatred of the poor and a complete indifference to the plight of others whilst extolling the virtues of greed and ignorance.
The last 10 years spanned the worst financial crisis in history, a crisis caused by the sheer greed and criminal behaviour of the richest people on the planet aided by the very deregulation and free market ideology that the right wing so craves, and was only solved by using billions of taxpayers money.
But who has paid the price? In 2004, you needed £700 million to be in Britain’s 50 wealthiest people. 10 years later, that figure is now £1.7 billion. In 2004, the richest 1,000 people owned assets worth £200 billion, today they are worth £519 billion. The 5 richest families now own more wealth than the bottom 20% combined. The average salary for a FTSE 100 CEO is now £84,000 A WEEK.
Meanwhile, for the rest of us? 20% of the population, 13 million people, are now classed as living in poverty, of which over 8 million come from families who are IN WORK. In 2004, the median weekly wage was £462. Today, it is £427 a week. The cost of living has risen by 34% since 2004, meaning that the average disposable income per household is now almost £1,200 a year lower.
In addition, 913,138 people used food-banks in 2013/14, compared to 346,992 in 2012/13 and 26,000 in 2008/09. There has been a 74% increase in the number of malnutrition-related hospital admissions since 2009, whilst cases of rickets have risen by 25% in 4 years. Public health experts have warned that the rise of malnutrition in the UK “has all the signs of a public health emergency.”
And this is happening right now, IN ONE OF THE RICHEST COUNTRY ON EARTH.
The ruling elite already own all our land, gas, electricity, railways, water and media. They are now coming for our pensions, our NHS, our roads, our schools and our green spaces. They have systematically destroyed the unions, dismantled our protections, created mass unemployment and are dismembering the welfare state. They make it easier to sack us, make us work longer hours for less pay, force our kids to work for nothing, raise the retirement age whilst cutting our pensions and weaken our health and safety laws. Yet executives of blue-chip companies enjoyed a median pay rise of 32% in the last year alone.
We are being shafted.
So, It’s time to get angry, and we need someone to express that anger, because none of our politicians are going to do it. Someone to speak for the millions of hard working people who only want a decent life for themselves and for their kids to have a secure future. Someone that speaks up for all of us, not just a privileged few. Someone that tells us that our worth is not measured by our wealth, but our value as human beings. Someone that tells us that compassion and empathy are not bullshit. Someone that tells us that ordinary people can expect to have a decent job, a decent house and decent healthcare. Someone that tells us our elderly can live out their final years in a degree of comfort. Someone that tells us our sick and disabled should be allowed to exist with a shred of dignity. Someone that tells us that the most disadvantaged will not be looked down upon as scum.
Someone that tells us that our kids can still have hopes and dreams.
To paraphrase Lloyd George whilst talking about the Great War: “If the people really knew the truth about what was happening, it would be ended tomorrow, but they must never know.” ‘

Well, it is time we did know, and time we all stood up and said, enough is enough.   SOURCE….

Deceitful compromise clears the way for GMO crops in Europe

An unholy alliance of pro- and anti-GMO countries have struck a deal that will sweep away the obstacles to genetically engineered crops in the EU, writes Lawrence Woodward.

An unholy alliance of pro- and anti-GMO countries have struck a deal that will sweep away the obstacles to genetically engineered crops in the EU.

By allowing – under limited circumstance – individual member states to prohibit the growing of GMO crops on their territory, the European Commission expects to boost GMO cropping in the EU overall.

An indicative vote of Member State representatives taken in a closed meeting this week indicated near unanimous support for the proposal which is being promoted by Greece – the current holders of the EU Presidency.

A formal vote will take place at a meeting of Environment Ministers on the 12th June. If agreed – as seems likely – it will then go to the European Parliament for approval.

The significance of this move is that it breaks the political stalemate that has largely prevented GMO crops from being grown in the EU.

The proposal is based on the deceit that both pro- and anti-GMO countries can have want they want, and the unity of the EU Single Market can remain intact.

These fields of oilseed rape / canola near Avebury, Wiltshire, England, could soon be GMO if the EU deal is approved next week. Photo: *Bettina* via Flickr.

An unholy alliance

Just how bizarre and ludicrous the deal is can be seen by the member state responses;

Pro -GMO Britain hopes it will allow for more rapid approval of GM crops in the EU: “This proposal should help unblock the dysfunctional EU process for approving GM crops for cultivation”, said UK Environment Secretary Owen Paterson

Anti-GMO France welcomed the deal as “good news”. It has recently imposed a domestic ban on GMO maize (corn).

Germany – which doesn’t seem to know where it is on the issue these days; whose abstention cleared the way for EU approval; and whose Ministers have been quoted as saying they wanted to break the EU logjam – praised the deal, saying it opened the way for a formal ban in Germany.

“The viewpoint of the people in Europe differs greatly on this matter and this earns respect”, German Agriculture Minister Christian Schmidt said in a statement.

He has a strange concept of respect. No-one outside of the Brussels bubble has a good word to say about the deal.

Widespread criticism

Environmental campaigners say it gives too much power to corporations.

The EU’s Green Parties say it is a “misleading proposal” which only“pretends to give Member States more freedom to ban GMOs on their territory. With a very weak premise and legal grounds, the proposal may in fact be instrumental allowing numerous new GMO crops for cultivation in the EU.”

The GM industry is also unhappy with the deal. They say it could allow crops to be banned on “non-scientific grounds” and undermines the Single Market.


Wall Street Mega-Banks Are Buying Up The World’s Water

“Water is the oil of the 21st century.” Andrew Liveris, CEO of DOW Chemical Company (quoted in The Economist magazine, August 21, 2008)

“Why Big Banks May Be Buying up Your Public Water System,” in which I detailed how both mainstream and alternative media coverage on water has tended to focus on individual corporations and super-investors seeking to control water by buying up water rights and water utilities. But paradoxically the hidden story is a far more complicated one. I argued that the real story of the global water sector is a convoluted one involving “interlocking globalized capital”: Wall Street and global investment firms, banks, and other elite private-equity firms — often transcending national boundaries to partner with each other, with banks and hedge funds, with technology corporations and insurance giants, with regional public-sector pension funds, and with sovereign wealth funds — are moving rapidly into the water sector to buy up not only water rights and water-treatment technologies, but also to privatize public water utilities and infrastructure.

Shuar leader Patricio Tiwiram sits below a waterfall along the Rio Kupiamias. This is a sacred spot for the Shuar and one threatened by nearby mining concessions.

Water Grabbing Is Unstoppable

Unfortunately, the global water and infrastructure-privatization fever is unstoppable: many local and state governments are suffering from revenue shortfalls and are under financial and budgetary strains. These local and state governments can longer shoulder the responsibilities of maintaining and upgrading their own utilities. Facing offers of millions of cash from Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, UBS, and other elite banks for their utilities and other infrastructure and municipal services, cities and states will find it extremely difficult to refuse these privatization offers.

The elite multinational and Wall Street banks and investment banks have been preparing and waiting for this golden moment for years. Over the past few years, they have amassed war chests of infrastructure funds to privatize water, municipal services, and utilities all over the world. It will be extremely difficult to reverse this privatization trend in water.


As of this week, 150 million acres of Amazon rainforest are now safe.


On May 21, 2014, the Brazilian government, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and partners announced the creation of a $215 million fund to ensure long-term protection of the world’s largest network of protected areas — 150 million acres of the Brazilian Amazon rainforest .

In the last ten years, this partnership effort has already resulted in almost 100 protected areas encompassing 128 million acres — a mix of tourist sites, biological research areas and sustainable use areas where local people can harvest natural resources. The challenge over the years, however, has always been long-term financing to properly manage these areas. The $215 million will be used as a transition fund to be paid out to Brazil over 25 years. During that time, Brazil will gradually increase its own contributions with the intention of establishing permanent financing.

Not only does a network of protected areas that size have immense conservation implications (carbon, freshwater, biodiversity, etc), it also presents a new model for large-scale conservation that can be applied in other countries.


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