Thursday, 21 January 2010

Tropentag 2010

Another note about the Conference on Tropical and Subtropical Agricultural and Natural Resource Management (Tropentag). This year Tropentag is taking place in Zurich, Switzerland, 14 - 16 September 2010.

The Tropentag conference has just put out a call for papers. This years conference is titled: "World food system: A contribution from Europe" and will feature many young scientists from all over the world.

Tropentag is an annual conference for sustainable resource use and poverty alleviation. The style of the conference is interdisciplinary and involves people from a range of backgrounds addressing food security, sustainable land management among other things.

Tropentag has been called 'The most important International Conference on development-oriented research in the fields of Food Security, Natural Resource Management and Rural Development in central Europe' (CATST Hohnheim).

Tropentag will be a great opportunity for networking with professionals in sustainable forestry and agriculture, learning the 'state of the art' and meeting many of my professors and colleagues from Witzenhausen, Göttingen and Kassel.

This Blog is now listed on Best Green Blogs

Sunday, 17 January 2010


I came across'Joy' by Julie Cadwallader Staub this morning and had to share:

'Who could need more proof than honey—

How the bees with such skill and purpose
enter flower after flower
sing their way home
to create and cap the new honey
just to get through the flowerless winter.

And how the bear with intention and cunning
raids the hive
shovels pawful after pawful into his happy mouth
bats away indignant bees
stumbles off in a stupor of satiation and stickiness.

And how we humans can't resist its viscosity
its taste of clover and wind
its metaphorical power:
don't we yearn for a land of milk and honey?
don't we call our loved ones "honey?"

all because bees just do, over and over again, what they were made to do.

Oh, who could need more proof than honey
to know that our world
was meant to be


was meant to be

I also wanted to take the opportunity to talk again about the importance of beekeeping. I was blogging about Bees last year on Dr. Green's Perspectives website and wanted to press again the importance of bees in our lives for joy, for biodiversity and for the sustainability of ecological systems. The bees need our help.

The best way to help the bees is to start keeping your own. To start keeping your own bees pick up a book, or better yet, talk to your local beekeeper association or society; they are proud, happy and informative people. Responsenet is working on a set of pedagogical and direct action programs to support wild bees and to promote sustainable beekeeping practices. The International Bee Research Association has resources for professional and new beekeepers. And Apimondia the International Federation of Beekeepers' Associations offers a network for information, and connections to local beekeepers.

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Saturday, 2 January 2010

List of 25 Blasphemous Quotes Published by Atheist Ireland

The scary news this morning is that the Irish government has decided to make it illegal to offend religious beliefs - Effective yesterday blasphemy is now a crime punishable by a €25,000 fine.

It may not have a lot to do with 'Sustainable Practices' but it is nevertheless important; today I am writing to support free speech in Ireland by publishing some quotes that are considered blasphemy. 

Here are some of the quotes from Atheist Ireland

Mark Twain, describing the Christian Bible in Letters from the Earth, 1909: “Also it has another name - The Word of God. For the Christian thinks every word of it was dictated by God. It is full of interest. It has noble poetry in it; and some clever fables; and some blood-drenched history; and some good morals; and a wealth of obscenity; and upwards of a thousand lies… But you notice that when the Lord God of Heaven and Earth, adored Father of Man, goes to war, there is no limit. He is totally without mercy - he, who is called the Fountain of Mercy. He slays, slays, slays! All the men, all the beasts, all the boys, all the babies; also all the women and all the girls, except those that have not been deflowered. He makes no distinction between innocent and guilty… What the insane Father required was blood and misery; he was indifferent as to who furnished it.” Twain’s book was published posthumously in 1939. His daughter, Clara Clemens, at first objected to it being published, but later changed her mind in 1960 when she believed that public opinion had grown more tolerant of the expression of such ideas. That was half a century before Fianna Fail and the Green Party imposed a new blasphemy law on the people of Ireland.

Tom Lehrer, The Vatican Rag, 1963: “Get in line in that processional, step into that small confessional. There, the guy who’s got religion’ll tell you if your sin’s original. If it is, try playing it safer, drink the wine and chew the wafer. Two, four, six, eight, time to transubstantiate!”

Randy Newman, God’s Song, 1972: “And the Lord said: I burn down your cities - how blind you must be. I take from you your children, and you say how blessed are we. You all must be crazy to put your faith in me. That’s why I love mankind.”

Matthias, son of Deuteronomy of Gath, in Monty Python’s Life of Brian, 1979: “Look, I had a lovely supper, and all I said to my wife was that piece of halibut was good enough for Jehovah.”

Frank Zappa, 1989: “If you want to get together in any exclusive situation and have people love you, fine - but to hang all this desperate sociology on the idea of The Cloud-Guy who has The Big Book, who knows if you’ve been bad or good - and cares about any of it - to hang it all on that, folks, is the chimpanzee part of the brain working.”

Salman Rushdie, 1990: “The idea of the sacred is quite simply one of the most conservative notions in any culture, because it seeks to turn other ideas - uncertainty, progress, change - into crimes.” In 1989, Ayatollah Khomeini of Iran issued a fatwa ordering Muslims to kill Rushdie because of blasphemous passages in Rushdie’s novel The Satanic Verses.

Bjork, 1995: “I do not believe in religion, but if I had to choose one it would be Buddhism. It seems more livable, closer to men… I’ve been reading about reincarnation, and the Buddhists say we come back as animals and they refer to them as lesser beings. Well, animals aren’t lesser beings, they’re just like us. So I say fuck the Buddhists.”

Amanda Donohoe on her role in the Ken Russell movie Lair of the White Worm, 1995: “Spitting on Christ was a great deal of fun. I can’t embrace a male god who has persecuted female sexuality throughout the ages, and that persecution still goes on today all over the world.”

George Carlin, 1999: “Religion easily has the greatest bullshit story ever told. Think about it. Religion has actually convinced people that there’s an invisible man living in the sky who watches everything you do, every minute of every day. And the invisible man has a special list of ten things he does not want you to do. And if you do any of these ten things, he has a special place, full of fire and smoke and burning and torture and anguish, where he will send you to live and suffer and burn and choke and scream and cry forever and ever ’til the end of time! But He loves you. He loves you, and He needs money! He always needs money! He’s all-powerful, all-perfect, all-knowing, and all-wise, somehow just can’t handle money! Religion takes in billions of dollars, they pay no taxes, and they always need a little more. Now, talk about a good bullshit story. Holy Shit!”