2013 in review

First of all, Happy New Year! I hope that 2014 is a great year for you – and for the environment!

2013 was in a lot of ways, a depressing year in food and the environment. The repeal of climate change legislation in Australia, the removal of SNAP from the Farm Bill in the US, continued development of the tar sands in Canada. And all the while, climate change has, if anything, accelerated and inequalities in our food systems continue to be pronounced.

At the risk of being repetitive (there are quite a few year-that-was recaps around at the moment), I thought I’d do a quick run through of my 3-most-important-things-of-2013.

1) The election of the Abbott Government in Australia

I don’t think that there’s too much more that I need to add on top of this post. Truly. I’ll explode if I think about this too frequently.

2) The EU ban on neonicotinoids

Back in January I wrote about a petition for the EU to ban the use of pesticides that had been shown to cause dramatic declines in bee populations. In May, the EU enacted a two year moratorium on the use of neonicotinoids. Rare good environmental (and food) news from 2013!

4) 97%: The Consensus Project

In 2013, the results of a project analysing climate change literature from the past 21 years were released. These results found that 97.1% of the papers endorsed the science of anthropogenic climate change. 98.4% of the scientists who authored the papers also endorsed the science. The findings of the study were another huge step in dismantling the credibility of climate change ‘denialists.’ See theconsensusproject.com for more.

Of course, there were other big happenings in 2013, but these are the ones that most struck me. I would like to think that the news will be a little brighter in 2014, and I’ll admit that I’m tentatively hopeful. While Australia looks like going to hell in a handbasket, President Obama actually rolled out a climate plan in June, and while there are still huge issues around Keystone XL and other fracking projects, this is at least a step in the right direction. China is making leaps and bounds in the development of thorium reactors, looking at how these might be a viable alternative energy source to reduce their dependency on coal and traditional uranium nuclear. If they can take this further, and if the rest of the world is on board, this could be a fantastic stop-gap measure to reduce GHG emissions while battery technologies for wind and solar power are improved. Big Food is fighting against GMO labelling laws, but the fight will continue into this year, hopefully with gains by those who support a truthful food future.

Here’s to you, 2014.

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