Over-inflated Pests

“A pioneering genetically modified (GM) wheat crop that emits an insect alarm pheromone to ward off pests has not worked in field trials. … Compared to a control crop of wheat, the GM crops showed no improved yields, no reduction in aphids and no increase in attacks by aphid predators (such as parasitic wasps and ladybirds). … Making the site secure added around £1.8 million (US$2.8 million) to the study’s research cost of £732,000.” (http://www.nature.com/news/gm-wheat-that-emits-pest-alarm-signals-fails-in-field-trials-1.17854)

Humans appear to be the only alarming pests here.

“‘Double-muscled’ pigs are made by disrupting, or editing, a single gene … and … the breed could be among the first genetically engineered animals to be approved for human consumption. … The pigs provide many of the double-muscled cow’s benefits — such as leaner meat and a higher yield of meat per animal. However, they also share some of its problems. Birthing difficulties result from the piglets’ large size, for instance. And only 13 of the 32 lived to 8 months old.” (http://www.nature.com/news/super-muscly-pigs-created-by-small-genetic-tweak-1.17874)

And here too the humans rather than the pigs seem to be the sentient monsters.

How about working with nature, instead of failing to trump it?



“The world is running out of chocolate. That’s because climate change and crippling poverty are driving Africa’s cocoa farmers to produce other crops. … In the next 40 years, the temperature in Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire, where 70% of cocoa is grown, is set to rise by 2C. That’s going to make it too hot and dry for cocoa trees.” (http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/jun/09/no-beer-chocolate-coffee-how-climate-change-ruin-your-weekend)

Climate Change will require serious adaptation. Cocoa plants need 20-30C, humidity and some shade. I am prepared to share my bath.

Meanwhile, though who knows for how long, fair trade and organic chocolate is available from Ethical Superstore.

Rhyming Cygnet

“A poison used on cropland to kill rodents also killed at least a handful of more than 2,000 snow geese that fell dead from the sky in Idaho.” (http://uk.reuters.com/article/2015/05/16/us-usa-geese-idaho-idUKKBN0O100S20150516)

So, how much is a handful of goose?
The eco-detective follows the clues…
Snow fell from the sky like a blanket of fleece.
But how much is a handful of geese?
A poison on crops saves farmers on cats;
A dead goose in the hand’s worth a bushel of rats.


“New varieties, innovative growing methods – including the use of LED lights … [and] climate-controlled glasshouses have allowed growers to extend the season for British strawberries. As a result, British strawberries are now available from March to December.” (http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/may/18/strawberries-record-breaking-year-forecast-uk)

With all the nutritional value and flavour of wet toilet paper.


“The EU’s long-awaited move to put the brakes on biofuels is a clear signal to the rest of the world that this is a false solution to the climate crisis. This must spark the end of burning food for fuel.” (http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_round_up/2848021/orangutans_reprieve_europarl_votes_to_limit_biofuels.html)

Moving to brake and sparking an end, on top of oily fuels, is a clear signal of farce.


“The industry has received scrutiny for how it disposes of undrinkable water produced during oil drilling. … In many instances, that water is provided to agriculture to grow crops.” (http://uk.reuters.com/article/2015/04/02/us-usa-drought-california-oil-idUKKBN0MT05K20150402)

Another example of industry generously oiling the wheels, weeds and weevils.