Is the alarmism about climate change justified?
Bjorn Lomborg and David Wallace-Wells debate the issues:
Is the alarmism about climate change justified?
Bjorn Lomborg and David Wallace-Wells debate the issues:
Veganuary: Can veganism save the planet? – Jacqueline Rowarth:
Whether you enjoyed your festive dinner with gusto, defiance, guilt, or smugness in the knowledge that you chose non-animal food, you can make a resolution to embrace a more environmentally friendly diet for the future.
You’ll be able to do this by eating food in moderation to meet the needs of your body and mind.
Extreme diets, over-eating and simply the number of people doing the eating are the main causes of environmental impacts associated with food, not animals per se.
This doesn’t fit with the message from activists to save the planet by becoming vegan, but the science doesn’t fit the message either. . .
A year after heavy and persistent rain destroyed millions of dollars of Central Otago cherries, growers are thankful for this month’s sun, but are facing another sort of problem.
Last year, heavy rain began on New Year’s Day and continued for 36 hours, causing the Fraser River to breach its banks and localised flooding, and making cherries split in what were expected to be bumper crops.
3 Kings Cherries manager Tim Paulin said rain early in the season last month had caused some splitting in the Sweetheart cherries, but fine weather since meant the fruit was now in good condition.
The company started operations last month in a large new packhouse on the hill above the Clyde bypass, and staff were busy last week packing fruit for another grower. . .
Preparing for a 24-hour shearing event is not unlike preparing to run a marathon except the race is much longer.
Cole Wells is one of four shearers who will spend 24 hours on the boards in the historic Wohelo Station woolshed, high in the hills of West Otago at Waitangi weekend, for the Shear4Blair event.
He’ll be joined by Eru Weeds, Braydon Clifford and David Gower, who will collectively aim to shear more than 9500 lambs in 24 hours, donating their wages to the Southland Charity Hospital.
They’ll shear 12 two hour runs, starting at 6am on Saturday morning, finishing at 2pm on Sunday afternoon. . .
For services to agricultural science and business
“Exceptionally surprised, to be perfectly honest,” is how Dunedin scientist Dr Peter Fennessy describes being made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to agricultural science and business.
Dr Fennessy, who said he was honoured by the accolade, has had a broad and distinguished career as a scientist, mentor, consultant, and entrepreneur over 45 years and has held governance and management roles across numerous small-to-medium agri and biotechnology startups and enterprises, including a long-term involvement with Blis Technologies as a director and chairman.
He was general manager of AgResearch Invermay from 1992 to 1997 before entering the private sector and founding highly successful agribusiness consulting firm AbacusBio in 2001. . .
How did Steve Carden, whose curriculum vitae includes a stint at the high-powered US consultancy McKinsey and Co, end up running Landcorp?
Carden, who is soon leave to the state-owned farming giant for NZX-listed winemakerDelegat’s, says it was a matter of “falling in love” with agriculture.
Landcorp, which has the brand name Pāmu (to farm) produces dairy, beef, lamb, wool, venison, trees and of all things, sheep and deer milk from a vast estate of 144 farms, covering a million acres (404,000 hectares).
Before joining Pāmu in 2013, Carden was general manager of PGG Wrightson Seeds Australia from 2010 having earlier joined the company as its group manager of business development. . .
Splashy headlines have long overshadowed inconvenient truths about biology and economics. Now, extensive new research suggests the industry may be on a billion-dollar crash course with reality.
Paul Wood didn’t buy it.
For years, the former pharmaceutical industry executive watched from the sidelines as biotech startups raked in venture capital, making bold pronouncements about the future of meat. He was fascinated by their central contention: the idea that one day, soon, humans will no longer need to raise livestock to enjoy animal protein. We’ll be able to grow meat in giant, stainless-steel bioreactors—and enough of it to feed the world. . .
This is the triumph of politics over science:
The Free Speech Union can reveal that two academic fellows are being investigated by The Royal Society of New Zealand for being among those to put their name to a letter in defence of science which was published earlier this year in The Listener Magazine.
Two distinguished New Zealand scientists and members of The Royal Society of New Zealand co-authored a letter to the Listener in July in which they claimed that “…Indigenous knowledge is critical for the preservation and perpetuation of culture and local practices and plays key roles in management and policy. However, in the discovery of empirical, universal truths, it falls far short of what we can define as science itself…”.
Emeritus Professor Michael Corballis was a third individual who signed the letter to also be included in the investigation, yet he sadly passed away on Saturday morning after a battle with cancer. This leaves Professor Garth Cooper and Emeritus Professor Robert Nola to face investigation by the Society after several complaints were made against them. They have been informed that their membership could be terminated.
And the investigation appears to have a preconceived outcome, as The Royal Society has already published criticism of the 7 letter signers, including the two fellows who face disciplinary action.
Free Speech Union Spokesperson, Jonathan Ayling, says the investigation is an affront to free speech.
“The Royal Society was set up for the purpose of advancing and promoting science, technology, and the humanities in New Zealand. This investigation sends a chilling message to other academics: defend science at your peril.
“The process of the human pursuit of science depends on free speech, including of those who may hold views contrary to the mainstream. The Royal Society are abandoning its own heritage and tradition of academic freedom.
“Academics should be the critics and conscience of society, not group-thinkers aligned to any particular ideology.”
The Free Speech Union has launched a crowdfunder to defend these individuals and academic freedom from the Royal Society and similarly close-minded organisations.
“We stand behind the academics freedom of speech and are proud to help them defend their right to critique and raise consciousness of important contemporary issues” said Mr Ayling.
The Royal Society Te Apārangi has strategic objectives to “better inform and educate Aotearoa New Zealand” and “develop an increasingly diverse Academy and membership”. Their code of conduct states that members must “not harass, bully or knowingly act with malice towards individuals or groups of people;” Yet the authors seem to have been subjected to bullying themselves.
“The academics have been called ‘racist’ and smeared by fellow scientists and are now having to engage lawyers to defend their opinions on science from an institution that should, instead, be encouraging debate and promoting science.”
Scholars within a university frequently disagree, and the role of academic institutions is to maintain the ground on which that disagreement can take place, in good faith and in a scholarly fashion. That means that The Royal Society of New Zealand, like the FSU, ought to take a neutral stance, to unequivocally defend the right and duty of its academics to make good-faith arguments, and to defend them from unfair attacks on their reputations. Instead, the Royal Society has chosen to proceed with disciplinary investigation and so has made it more difficult for academics in New Zealand to voice honestly-held views on contentious topics in the future.
New Zealanders who wish to support the Free Speech Union’s efforts to defend the two academics and the principle of academic freedom are encouraged to support the cause at www.fsu.nz/donate_academic_freedom.
Similarly, all academics, and members of the Royal Society are encouraged to join the Union at www.fsu.nz/join
The Royal Society ought to be encouraging debate not stifling it.
If the professors were wrong, it would be easy to counter their arguments, but the censoring is based on politics not science, where opinion can trump facts.
The global effort to vaccinate people against SARS-CoV-2 in the midst of an ongoing pandemic has raised questions about the nature of vaccine breakthrough infections and the potential for vaccinated individuals to transmit the virus. These questions have become even more urgent as new variants of concern with enhanced transmissibility, such as Delta, continue to emerge. To shed light on how vaccine breakthrough infections compare with infections in immunologically naive individuals, we examined viral dynamics and infectious virus shedding through daily longitudinal sampling in a small cohort of adults infected with SARS-CoV-2 at varying stages of vaccination. The durations of both infectious virus shedding and symptoms were significantly reduced in vaccinated individuals compared with unvaccinated individuals. We also observed that breakthrough infections are associated with strong tissue compartmentalization and are only detectable in saliva in some cases. These data indicate that vaccination shortens the duration of time of high transmission potential, minimizes symptom duration, and may restrict tissue dissemination.
The vaccines do not stop people getting COvid-19, but the vaccianted are less likely to contract the disease and if they do they are less likely to infect others and less likely to become seriously ill.
But are they safe?
“The way we eliminate this virus is vaccination,” Le Gros said. . .
This vaccine is the safest vaccine I’ve ever seen,” he said.
Le Gros’ confidence in the vaccine comes from seeing the “rigerous” testing and monitoring it has undergone since being released, he said.
The vaccine is monitored both globally by health authorities who report on it. He says providers also do interior testing while also seeing if there are any effects for numerous demographics including the elderly and those with asthma.
“It drives a scientist like me nuts with how rigorous [testing the vaccine] is,” Le Gros said.
“It doesn’t just stop with looking at the data once, they are forever monitoring in what they call ‘phase four’ of the trial.” . .
Why do so many people still question the efficacy and safety of the vaccines?
Despite the constant monitoring, Le Gros conceded there is misinformation spreading about the vaccine through numerous channels making it more difficult for New Zealand to hit its vaccination targets.
It’s an issue Dr Vanisi Prescott has been trying to tackle on social media with informative videos on platforms such as Tik Tok, but she told Breakfast it’s an uphill battle.
“It’s heartbreaking seeing our most vulnerable communities being effected by this misinformation,” Prescott said. “There’s so much misinformation out there and it’s difficult to decipher what information to actually listen to.
“The issue with social media is that it doesn’t differentiate truth from rumour and it’s become such an issue that it’s caused a lot of animosity and division as well as anxiety and fear among our people.”
Prescott said she understands people have their reasons if they choose not to get vaccinated but misinformation from social media shouldn’t be one of them.
“Social media masks the fact that there have been a vast majority of studies and medical opinion out there to confirm that this is a safe vaccine and good for all of us.
“Try not to rely on what we see out there but trust in sources or people you trust in like your GP.”
Prescott added she has extra motivation for informing those who are both vulnerable to the virus and misinformation.
“With me being a Tongan GP, I stand firmly in terms of my culture and my values and that is to respect, love and care for my patients – I wouldn’t be standing in front of everyone advocating for a vaccine if we didn’t know it was safe. . .“
Charlie Mitchell’s three weeks down the misinformation rabbit hole of dangerous misinformation shows how easy it is to find misinformation and views that foster fears.
There’s lots to be said for not taking everything that comes from official sources as gospel, for questioning and challenging authorities and for doing your own research.
But that doesn’t mean thinking something you find by googling should carry more weight than the data and evidence resulting from scientific rigor by qualified people with experience in the field.
Some people are against all vaccines.
Some aren’t anti all vaccines but are hesitant about some or all of the ones that offer some protection from Covid-19.
I am not one of those. I’ve been vaccinated against a lot of diseases, most recently Covid-19.
I’ve had both jabs and will accept a booster if it’s offered in a few months time:
* To not die from Covid-19.
* To not clutter a hospital bed if I get sick.
* To hug my vaccinated family and friends.
* To be able to go to functions, events and places from which unvaccinated people will be restricted.
* To be free to travel domestically and internationally.
* To live my life.
* To know that children can go back to school, participate in cultural performances and play sport.
* For Covid-19 to be more of a minor nuisance than a potentially life-endangering threat.
* To live in a country where businesses and jobs won’t be at risk from repeated lockdowns.
* To play my part in protecting other people and the health system which is overwhelmed at the best of times.
I have read quite a lot about the vaccine but don’t have the scientific or medical knowledge to understand it all. I know even less about the vaccines I had as a child, the boosters I’ve had since, the ones I’ve had before travelling, and the medicines and anesthetics I’ve had from my GPs or in hospital.
I also don’t know what’s in over the counter medication I’ve taken for colds, ‘flu, allergies and other ailments, nor do I know what’s in processed food I buy or make-up I use.
There’s a lot of things I don’t know but I do know that life is short, very short, so I still want to do something other than staying cloistered at home or doing what staying in the farm-bubble allows. I still want to spend time with family and friends, travel and go to events without fear, find a little feeling of life “before”.
I’ve been vaccinated for mumps, measles, rubella, polio, tetanus and whooping cough. More recently I’ve had boosters for some of those and had several other vaccines before I’ve travelled. I trusted the science for those and never had to suffer through or transmit any of the diseases from which they protected me.
Of course, those other vaccines have been around for a lot longer than the Covid-19 ones, but at some stage they were new and most people accepted the risk from taking them was less than the risk of becoming ill without their protection.
Yesterday morning I was on a Zoom call with a doctor in Houston who said Covid-19 is still raging in the USA and that children’s hospitals in particular are being overwhelmed. He said it was the unvaccinated who were most seriously ill.
That is the experience of Dr Anita Sircar who is running out of compassion for the unvaccinated:
My patient sat at the edge of his bed gasping for air while he tried to tell me his story, pausing to catch his breath after each word. The plastic tubes delivering oxygen through his nose hardly seemed adequate to stop his chest from heaving. He looked exhausted.
He had tested positive for the coronavirus 10 days ago. He was under 50, mildly hypertensive but otherwise in good health. Eight days earlier he started coughing and having severe fatigue. His doctor started him on antibiotics. It did not work.
Fearing his symptoms were worsening, he started taking some hydroxychloroquine he had found on the internet. It did not work.
He was now experiencing shortness of breath while doing routine daily activities such as walking from his bedroom to the bathroom or putting on his shoes. He was a shell of his former self. He eventually made his way to a facility where he could receive monoclonal antibodies, a lab-produced transfusion that substitutes for the body’s own antibodies. It did not work.
He finally ended up in the ER with dangerously low oxygen levels, exceedingly high inflammatory markers and patchy areas of infection all over his lungs. Nothing had helped. He was getting worse. He could not breathe. His wife and two young children were at home, all infected with the virus. He and his wife had decided not to get vaccinated.
Last year, a case like this would have flattened me. I would have wrestled with the sadness and how unfair life was. Battled with the angst of how unlucky he was. This year, I struggled to find sympathy. It was August 2021, not 2020. The vaccine had been widely available for months in the U.S., free to anyone who wanted it, even offered in drugstores and supermarkets. Cutting-edge, revolutionary, mind-blowing, lifesaving vaccines were available where people shopped for groceries, and they still didn’t want them.
Outside his hospital door, I took a deep breath — battening down my anger and frustration — and went in. I had been working the COVID-19 units for 17 months straight, all day, every day. I had cared for hundreds of COVID patients. We all had, without being able to take breaks long enough to help us recover from this unending ordeal. Compassion fatigue was setting in. For those of us who hadn’t left after the hardest year of our professional lives, even hope was now in short supply.
Shouting through my N95 mask and the noise of the HEPA filter, I introduced myself. I calmly asked him why he decided not to get vaccinated.
“Well, I’m not an anti-vaxxer or anything. I was just waiting for the FDA to approve the vaccine first. I didn’t want to take anything experimental. I didn’t want to be the government’s guinea pig, and I don’t trust that it’s safe,” he said.
“Well,” I said, “I can pretty much guarantee we would have never met had you gotten vaccinated, because you would have never been hospitalized. All of our COVID units are full and every single patient in them is unvaccinated. Numbers don’t lie. The vaccines work.”
This was a common excuse people gave for not getting vaccinated, fearing the vaccine because the Food and Drug Administration had granted it only emergency use authorization so far, not permanent approval. Yet the treatments he had turned to — antibiotics, monoclonal antibodies and hydroxychloroquine — were considered experimental, with mixed evidence to support their use.
The only proven lifesaver we’ve had in this pandemic is a vaccine that many people don’t want. A vaccine we give away to other countries because supply overwhelms demand in the U.S. A vaccine people in other countries stand in line for hours to receive, if they can get it at all. . .
The patient accepted medication that had only recently been approved by the FDA and used far less widely than Covid vaccines. It was too late. He died.
So will many more who choose not to be protected by the vaccine.
The burden of this pandemic now rests on the shoulders of the unvaccinated. On those who are eligible to get vaccinated but choose not to, a decision they defend by declaring, “Vaccination is a deeply personal choice.” But perhaps never in history has anyone’s personal choice affected the world as a whole as it does right now. When hundreds and thousands of people continue to die — when the most vulnerable members of society, our children, cannot be vaccinated — the luxury of choice ceases to exist.
If you believe the pandemic is almost over and I can ride it out, without getting vaccinated, you could not be more wrong. This virus will find you.
If you believe I’ll just wait until the FDA approves the vaccine first, you may not live to see the day.
If you believe if I get infected I’ll just go to the hospital and get treated, there is no guarantee we can save your life, nor even a promise we’ll have a bed for you.
If you believe I’m pregnant and I don’t want the vaccine to affect me, my baby or my future fertility, it matters little if you’re not alive to see your newborn.
If you believe I won’t get my children vaccinated because I don’t know what the long-term effects will be, it matters little if they don’t live long enough for you to find out.
If you believe I’ll just let everyone else get vaccinated around me so I don’t have to, there are 93 million eligible, unvaccinated people in the “herd” who think the same way you do and are getting in the way of ending this pandemic.
If you believe vaccinated people are getting infected anyway, so what’s the point?, the vaccine was built to prevent hospitalizations and deaths from severe illness. Instead of fatal pneumonia, those with breakthrough infections have a short, bad cold, so the vaccine has already proved itself. The vaccinated are not dying of COVID-19.
SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, has mutated countless times during this pandemic, adapting to survive. Stacked up against a human race that has resisted change every step of the way — including wearing masks, social distancing, quarantining and now refusing lifesaving vaccines — it is easy to see who will win this war if human behavior fails to change quickly.
The most effective thing you can do to protect yourself, your loved ones and the world is to GET VACCINATED.
And it will work.
Covid-19 vaccines offer pretty good protection and there’s plenty of evidence to show that people who are vaccinated are a lot less likely to be seriously ill if they do become infected.
No vaccine is 100% effective but the more people are vaccinated against Covid-19, the more protection we all have from lockdowns and an overburdened health system.
Proposals for NCEA science risk taking our curriculum down a rabbit hole at a time when the Government should be focused on turning around our declining achievement in science, National’s Education spokesperson Paul Goldsmith says.
The proposals divide science into ‘mātauranga putaiao’ (Māori understanding of the natural world) and ‘western science’.
“Western science’? Since when has science been defined by geography?
Mr Goldsmith says he would like to see Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins call it ‘western science’ to the leading rocket scientists or specialists in artificial intelligence in China and India.
“It suggests the curriculum leaders don’t know the first thing about the subject. Science is universal no matter where you come from. Calling it ‘western science’ is an insult to half the world.
“But more importantly, how will these sorts of muddled distractions help turn around our declining achievement in the subject?
“International studies show Kiwi kids are falling behind the best in the world in science and in the latest National Monitoring Study of Student Achievement of Science just 20 per cent of year 8 students were achieving at or above expectations.
“An equally important question is what is meant by the statement, ‘the two world views and bodies of knowledge (mātauranga putaiao and so-called western science) are separate and need to be considered separately. One should not be given greater status than the other – both have authority.’
That doesn’t appear to be a statement based on science.
“Is the Government telling our children that the collective wisdom of all the cultures of the globe, over millennia and up to today, what we might call modern science, should be given no greater authority in the subject of science than the insights and traditions of one culture?
“In practical terms, and in terms of limited class time, what does this mean? How will this help us reverse our declining relative performance in the global endeavour that the rest of the world calls science?
“Our nation’s prosperity depends on Kiwi kids receiving a world class education in science.
“This Government has lost sight of the basics in education: getting the kids to school, teaching them a world class curriculum and measuring performance to ensure they’re making progress.
“If we want our kids to succeed globally, we need to educate them to the highest global standards.”
Two of the major problems facing the world at the moment are Covid-19 and climate change. Solutions to both require the best science. New Zealand farming is world-leading but faces myriad challenges. Addressing those will require the best science. We have a shortage of health professionals, engineers and scientists, their training must be based on the best science.
That’s real, universal science which the Science Council defines as:
Science is the pursuit and application of knowledge and understanding of the natural and social world following a systematic methodology based on evidence.
Scientific methodology includes the following:
No single culture’s understanding is included in that definition of science, nor of any other I could find and nor should it be.
You’d think that science would be one subject where scientific rigor rather than a political view would apply to its teaching.
Alas, science education isn’t going to be strictly scientific any more.
A concerning thread from Michael Reddell:
Perhaps the people who are campaigning to get religious teaching out of school could extend their efforts to this.
Science is defined as: the observation, identification, description, experimental investigation, and theoretical explanation of phenomena; the state of knowing : knowledge as distinguished from ignorance or misunderstanding; a branch of knowledge or study dealing with a body of facts or truths systematically arranged and showing the operation of general laws.
There is no place for myths in any of those definitions nor should there be a place for myths in the science curriculum.
They might fit in literature, social studies and perhaps in history, but including them in science is anything but scientific.
Free range and pasture-fed are good for marketing, researchers are looking at the science behind the claims:
New Zealand scientists are conducting a ground-breaking research programme to explore the differences between pasture-raised beef with grain-fed beef and alternative proteins.
Most of the global research around the nutritional, environmental and health impacts of producing and consuming red meat have been based on grain-finished cattle.
However, New Zealand specialises in free-range, grass-fed farming without antibiotics and hormones aka pasture-raised meat. Not only are the farming styles different, but so too is the meat.
Researchers, scientists, dietitians and nutritionists from AgResearch, the Riddet Institute and the University of Auckland recognised that difference and are kicking off a ground-breaking new research programme that will compare pasture-raised beef and lamb against grain-finished and protein alternatives – products like plant-based alternatives.
Learn more at Beef + Lamb NZ
Auckland Professor of Medicine Des Gorman is less than impressed with the ‘deja vu’ lockdown:
The situation the country has found itself in was “déjà vu” after the second lockdown in less than a month, one medical professor says.
The latest cases of Covid-19 have plunged Auckland back into Level 3 lockdown, with the rest of the country at Level 2 – coming barely two weeks after the last three day lockdown.
Auckland University professor of medicine Des Gorman told Mike Hosking it seemed plans were being made up on the spot.
He said it showed our “inconsistent risk-management approach”, and the Government needs to improve
“If we needed to be in level three two weeks ago, then coming down to level two in one was clearly precipitous and early.”
Why is it like this?
Gorman said the Government’s Covid-19 response was too much politics and not enough science. . .
The way Prime Minister Jacinda Arden chose to put herself front and centre of the daily sermons from the podium of truth made the response overtly political.
There might have been grounds for her presence and delivery at first in reassuring the country as we faced the first lockdown and growing numbers of Covid-19 cases.
But she chose to stay in the limelight long after one of her ministers and more appropriately Director General of Health Ashley Bloomfield should have been the ones delivering updates.
That paid off with the election result giving Labour an outright majority but it came with risks that MIchael Bassett points out are now becoming apparent.
Watching TV last night, I couldn’t help thinking that the Prime Minister’s extraordinary luck is starting to run out. Every aspect of her lockdowns was questioned. Endless bungling over the South Auckland community outbreaks of Covid 19 were revealed, and she didn’t seem very happy about any of it. She has only herself to blame. After twelve months of wrestling day in, day out with the virus it was inevitable that eventually she would lose control of issues, given that so many other things have to be dealt with by any Prime Minister.
This is why successful leaders of governments have learned over the years to delegate. Jacinda Ardern has a bloated ministry of 26 members with two under-secretaries as well, but she insists on doing too much herself. She’s been told by her advisers that she is the surest pair of hands in the Ministry and that her popularity is vital to Labour’s standing with the public. For three years now that has been true, and even although she has sometimes seemed to be engaged in a running totter around the lip of chaos, she has remained upright. The overwhelming impression I gained from last night’s news was that if she insists on handling every detail and fronting every day on Covid 19 she will fall in. After twelve months of testing, getting the results takes far too long, contributing to the recent South Auckland problems; contact tracing has been haphazard of late; assurances the Prime Minister kept giving about lockdown rules and their enforcement proved to be wrong; her line on whether to pursue people who break the rules has been wobbly to say the least; and the silly decision to stop short of vaccinating front-line GPs in South Auckland, which wasn’t her call, reflected back on Ardern because her control of everything Covid is so omnipresent. . . .
That worked for her when she had our trust but that is being eroded by repeated lockdowns and the apparent failure to accept mistakes are being made and to learn from them.
Perhaps the international praise has gone to her head.
There is no doubt New Zealand looks good when compared with many other countries, but as Heather du Plessis-Allan points out, we don’t compare well with others:
We will always tell ourselves another lockdown is fine if we keep comparing ourselves to the worst Covid-hit countries, especially the UK and the US. Because seven days looks paltry compared to the months and months they’re pulling in the UK.
But what about all the places fighting Covid without yo-yoing in and out of lockdowns What about all the places that haven’t even had a single lockdown?
We’ve talked about Taiwan ad nauseum. Not a single lockdown there, and only nine deaths. By comparison we’ve had 26 deaths and several lockdowns.
What about New South Wales, which is increasingly looking like an example of how to combat Covid. They haven’t had a single state-wide or Sydney-wide lockdown this entire pandemic. Meanwhile, Auckland has had four lockdowns, which will be a total of 11 weeks – or nearly three months – at the end of this week.
NSW’s biggest city, Sydney, hasn’t had a single week with the whole place in lockdown. NSW has had 54 deaths, which isn’t bad for a population of about 8 million.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian’s response is nuanced. They lock down suburbs and hotspot areas, so if there’s a flare-up in the Northern Beaches, the restrictions are limited to the area, not the entire state, or even the entire city. Compare that to NZ, where Invercargill is in level 2 right now.
NSW is actively trying to avoid lockdowns. They have an excellent contact tracing system so they can put sick people into isolation, rather than all people into lockdown.
And last I checked they just went 40 days or so without a community case.
You are welcome to keep comparing us with northern hemisphere countries who are in the depths of winter to see how well we’re doing, because we’re always going to be better than the absolute worst in the world.
Or you can compare us to NSW, just across the ditch, to see how much better we could be doing.
Lack of compliance with isolation requirements is the immediate cause of the latest lockdown but as the ODT editorialises, we can point our fingers at the government too:
The Government, and especially the Ministry of Health, does not escape blame. Despite many hard-won improvements over the past 12 months, parts of the ministry’s operations are still lethargic when these crises hit.
New Zealand’s lucky streak, supposedly, ended because of the community case from one of the few Papatoetoe High School families not contacted for about a week after contract tracers went to work. Apparently, various phone numbers were often tried.
The failure to door-knock within days, however, was not misfortune but lack of urgent drive. Any decent media reporter, when phone calls failed, would have been visiting the family home long before the first family positive test.
Similarly, the wait by patients for many hours for advice from Healthline is poor.
How many people, who should have been tested, simply gave up? An underlying message is that the Government, despite all the strong words, might not really care that much. Only now, late as usual, do we learn of further scaling of surge capacity on Healthline.
There remain major questions, too, about the lack of use of saliva testing. . .
There are also questions about the MInistry’s and government’s competence when contact tracing is failing us:
After more than a year of dealing with Covid-19 the Government is still failing its own contact tracing performance measures and is failing to be open and transparent about locations of interest, National’s Health spokesperson Dr Shane Reti says.
Information supplied to National from the Health Minister show that in both the recent Northland case and the Papatoetoe outbreak, the Ministry of Health failed against two measures of contact tracing that were considered ‘critical’ by the Government.
The Government sets a target of having 80 per cent of contacts of an index case located and isolated within four days. But in some cases related to these two incidents, only 52 per cent of contacts were isolated within four days.
“Alongside reports from the current Papatoetoe outbreak that contacts were called but not visited, this shows the Government needs to do better with contact tracing,” Dr Reti says.
“Dr Ayesha Verrall’s audit into the Government’s contact tracing regime last year made it clear that our system was lacklustre, and the Government promised to turn this around.”
The Government needs to say whether its contact tracing indicators have ever been completely met in any of the many community outbreaks since the Americold community cases sent Auckland into lockdown last year, Dr Reti says.
“There is no excuse for not implementing Dr Ayesha Verrall’s recommendations in full given she’s sitting right there at the Cabinet table.”
Meanwhile, recently released documents show six locations of interest were undisclosed in the recent Northland outbreak – nearly 20 per cent of all the locations in that case.
“The Director General of Health has said non-disclosure is a rare event but nearly 20 per cent of all locations can’t possibly be considered rare,” Dr Reti says.
“It’s important that the public knows these locations because it impacts not only the people inside but potentially those outside, like kerbside rubbish collectors.
“Properly identifying locations of interest would likely lead to more people coming forward, rather than less.
Claiming that medical centres don’t need to be disclosed because they have an appointment book that shows who was there doesn’t really work as an excuse, Dr Reti says.
“As someone who has owned and managed many medical centres, I know it’s not possible to tell who is in the waiting room at any one time, who are accompanying patients, or who has entered just to use the bathroom or pass a message on.
“We need to understand the rules for non-disclosure and they need to be consistently applied and with an assurance that the risk of transmission is exceptionally low.”
They might have got away with mistakes in the early days when, as they pointed out there was no rule book.
But it’s now a year since the first case of Covid-19 was diagnosed in New Zealand and that excuse has long past its use-by date.
Most of us have done as requested but patience wears thinner with each lockdown and the government’s failure to be open about its plans over where-to-from-here raises questions over whether or not it has one.
Businesses are justified in asking for the plan to be made public.
Some of the country’s most powerful business leaders are demanding the government lay out its Covid-19 plan, including how it is measuring its current strategy and its plans to get the border open. . .
The group is calling for clarity and openness, saying the details need to be made available beyond government circles.
Mercury chair Prue Flacks said major New Zealand businesses would welcome the opportunity to assist the government in its longer-term planning.
“We’ve seen the open and transparent approach taken by Australia on its vaccine roll-out plan, the launch last week by the United Kingdom government of a clear plan to manage a path out of its current lockdown and the ongoing success in Taiwan of avoiding lockdowns through using technology to manage home isolation.
“It will be beneficial for all New Zealand if the Ministry of Health and other agencies take an open and transparent approach to the development of a path towards sustainable virus management.” . . .
We are all justified in not just asking for the plan, but asking that it be less about politics and more about science.
Lucky to be alive – Nigel Beckford:
Sheep and beef farmer Jack Cocks almost died from an aneurysm. Now he’s sharing with other farmers what his recovery taught him about resilience.
Jack’s part of the team that runs Mt Nicholas, a high-country merino sheep and cattle station, on the western shores of Lake Wakatipu. “I grew up on a sheep and beef farm, went to uni, travelled overseas and came back and worked in an agribusiness consultancy. My wife Kate and I came here to work in 2009. There’s a team of four of us that run the farm. It’s probably more of a democracy than a lot of farms but it works well. It means we can use all our different skills.”
Jack says Mt Nicholas is a great place to work and raise a family (they have two kids). “Although we’re in an isolated situation, there is a team of us here so we might see more people during our working day than many sheep and beef farmers. I really love what farming offers – that mix of running your own business as well as working outside doing practical things. We enjoy a huge variety of work.”
All that was suddenly at risk when he suffered his aneurysm in 2013. “I’m very lucky to be here,” he says, remembering the night it happened. . .
IrrigationNZ is heartened by the release of Te Waihanga’s (Infrastructure Commission) state-of-play report #3 on water released today and agrees with many insights .
“The report acknowledges that the status quo of water management is unlikely to be sustainable – and we 100% agree,” says IrrigationNZ chief executive Vanessa Winning.
“We are pleased the report highlights the need for a holistic and long-term strategic view of water to ensure optimal, sustainable and inclusive outcomes. This is long overdue and something we have advocated for. . .
There is a pressing need for scientific testing of the anecdotal claims being made about regenerative agriculture. A new white paper sets out 17 priority research topics identified by 200+ representatives of New Zealand’s agri-food system.
Regenerative agriculture has been proposed as a solution for some of Aotearoa New Zealand’s most acute challenges. Advocates suggest it can improve the health of our waterways, reduce topsoil loss, offer resilience to drought, add value to our primary exports, and improve the pervasive well-being crisis among rural farming communities.
With a groundswell of farmers transitioning to regenerative agriculture in New Zealand, there is an urgent need for clarity about what regenerative agriculture is in New Zealand and for scientific testing of its claimed benefits.
A new white paper, Regenerative Agriculture in Aotearoa New Zealand – Research Pathways to Build Science-Based Evidence and National Narratives, sets out 17 priority research topics and introduces 11 principles for regenerative farming in New Zealand. . .
Young inventor on mission to transform wool sector – Annette Scott:
The strong wool industry can pin its hopes on a resurgence with $5 a kilogram return for coarse wool fibre in the sights of Kiwi inventor and entrepreneur Logan Williams.
Just 25 years of age and hailing from Timaru, Williams hit the headlines when he developed and successfully exited four revolutionary inventions, including polarised contact lenses to treat photosensitive epilepsy and a system to destroy methane gas produced on farms.
He received awards for his inventions, including a National Merit Award at the Eureka Science and Innovation Competition. . .
Roped in for life by rodeo – Sally Rae:
As the rodeo season continues around the country, Southland farmer and cowboy Greg Lamb has overcome a few hefty obstacles to get back in the saddle again. Business and rural editor Sally Rae reports.
That sums up Greg Lamb, a Southland sheep and beef farmer and rodeo champion who has battled injury — and a brain tumour — while pursuing and succeeding in the sport he loves.
Mr Lamb (43), who farms near Waikaka, might be a bit banged up at the moment — he hit the ground with his shoulder “fairly hard” at Wairoa rodeo last month, fracturing his shoulder blade, four ribs and a vertebra — but he is focused on making a return this season. . .
Westland Dairy Company Limited’s new CEO Richard Wyeth is looking forward to bringing the strength of a global dairy giant to the opportunities that lie ahead for the West Coast dairy processor after taking up the leadership role this week.
Mr Wyeth’s arrival at Westland yesterday was welcomed by resident director of Westland Dairy Company Limited, Shiqing Jian, who stepped down as interim CEO. Mr Jian served as interim CEO following the resignation of former Westland CEO Toni Brendish in August last year.
“We hope Richard is as excited as we are about the opportunities that lie ahead for Westland as he takes stewardship of this iconic New Zealand company,’’ Mr Jian said. . .
There’s a lesson for New Zealand here:
Europe’s refusal to permit its farmers to cultivate genetically engineered (GE) crops led to the avoidable emission of millions of tonnes of climate-damaging carbon dioxide, a new scientific analysis reveals.
The opportunity cost of the EU’s refusal to allow cultivation of GE varieties of key crops currently totals 33 million tonnes of CO2 per year, the experts say.
This is equivalent to 7.5 percent of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the entire European agricultural sector, or roughly what might be emitted each year by 10-20 coal-fired power stations.
Given that farmers in North and South America adopted GE crops from the late 1990s onward, this analysis implies that over subsequent decades the additional carbon emitted due to the EU’s opposition to genetic engineering will likely be in the hundreds of millions of tonnes.
The findings result from from the fact that GE versions of major crops produce a higher yield because they can better resist damage from insects and competition from weeds.
With Europe’s farmers condemned to lower total agricultural yields because of GE crop non-adoption, more farmland globally has to be kept in production or plowed up which otherwise might be available for forests to sequester carbon in trees and soil. . .
Can our government learn from the EU’s mistake?
If they want us to accept the science on climate change it must base policy on countering it on science and allow us to use tools which science has proved are both safe and effective.
Climate Change Minister James Shaw wants to ban imports of fossil-fuelled cars by 2030:
. . . The UK is planning to ban all new combustion engine vehicles by 2035 – though British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to bring this forward to 2030.
Shaw, the Green Party co-leader, is concerned about the fate of the UK’s cars after the UK ban, considering most of the world drives on the right. “If we let those into New Zealand, we are stuffed. We will have no chance of being able to reduce our transport emissions, which are the fastest-growing sector,” he said. . .
He is right there is a potential for dumping should the UK ban actually happen.
But a ban here is unlikely to do anything to reduce emissions. Instead it will encourage people to stock pile diesel and petrol fuelled cars before the ban comes in and to keep old cars longer once the ban is in place.
But worse, mass conversion to electric vehicles could increase global emissions.
Bjorn Lamborghini says:
Electric cars require large batteries, which are often produced in China using coal power. The manufacture of one electric car battery releases also a quarter of the greenhouse gases emitted by a petrol car over its entire life time.
. . .For example, two-thirds of all cobalt production happens in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). According the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), about 20 per cent of cobalt supplied from the DRC comes from artisanal mines, where human rights abuses have been reported, and up to 40,000 children work in extremely dangerous conditions in the mines for meagre income.
And in Chile, lithium mining uses nearly 65% of the water in the country’s Salar de Atamaca region, one of the driest desert areas in the world, to pump out brines from drilled wells. This has forced local quinoa farmers and llama herders to migrate and abandon ancestral settlements. It has also contributed to environment degradation, landscape damage and soil contamination, groundwater depletion and pollution. . .
Back to Lomborg:
Second, electric cars are charged with electricity that is in most countries powered by fossil fuels.Together this means a long-range electric car will emit more CO2 for its first 60,000km than its petroleum equivalent. . .
Most of New Zealand’s power comes from renewable energy now, but could existing generation cope with a steep increase in demand from charging cars if the nation’s fleet had a lot more electric vehicles?
We need a reality check. First politicians should stop writing huge cheques just because they believe electric cars are a major climate solution. Second, there is a simpler answer. The hybrid car saves the same amount of CO2 as an electric car over its lifetime. Third climate change doesn’t care where CO2 comes from. Personal cars represent about 7% of global emission and electric cars will only help a little.
RIght now electric car subsidies are something wealthy countries can afford to offer virtue-signaling elites. But if we want to fix the climate, we need to focus on the big emitters and drive innovation in fusion, fission, geothermal, wind and solar energy. Advances that make any of these cheaper than fossil fuels would mean it’s not just rich Londoners changing their habits, but everyone, including China and India, switching large parts of their energy consumption towards zero emissions.
The problem with Shaw’s policy is that it’s driven by politics when it needs to be driven by science.
Sciblogs asks which milk is best for the environment?:
Any plant-based milk, be it made from beans, nuts or seeds, has a lighter impact than dairy when it comes to greenhouse gas emissions, as well as the use of water and land. All available studies, including systematic reviews, categorically point this out.
But studies and reviews don’t paint the full picture.
Dairy milk and the juice pretenders do not have the same nutritional value and when we’re talking about feeding the world that matters.
He said a lot of current reports are measuring how much emissions per gram, or kilogram.
But the issue is that we don’t live by kilos. We survive as humans by calories.”
He said if you look at it from a calorie point of view, it painted a clearer picture of the amount of carbon output along the whole supply chain versus what calorific value you obtained from that food – and also better reflected the amount of processing.
However, humans don’t live on calories alone, we also need nutrients.
He used milk as an example (with findings from the report Nutrient density of beverages in relation to climate impact, by Annika Smedman et al), as it was consumed by 6 billion of the world’s 7.7 billion people.
It had lots of “pretenders” competing for its market share, such as plant derived “milks”, many of which sold themselves as healthy alternatives.
Milk production also represents 3-4pc of global carbon emmissions.
“And that brings us to the fact that people think that cows are polluters – it’s a big issue. That’s what people think about it.”
He said the Australia-New Zealand region did have the lowest output of carbon in the world per litre of milk produced.
“If you look at 100 grams of milk, it produces 100g of CO2. But if you look at the most important thing, which is actually the nutrition density of milk, it’s 50 (nutrients that we need daily).
“It’s a very high nutrition density.”
“Let’s look at the emission of soya drink – it has very low emissions (per unit of volume). But then let’s look at the nutrition density of soya drink, the problem is it has only one or two nutrients that we need every day.
“So are we measuring the right thing? Nope. Are we telling the right story? What’s better? Milk, or soya drink?
“Is the industry telling what is better for the environment?”
He said if you correlate the emissions with the nutrient density, you get a clearer picture of nutritional value against emissions output.
Mr Marttin said people must start asking what is the nutritional value per amount of carbon emitted, or else food production from farming will never get to the four megatonnes target.
And, as a society, if we don’t understand that, we will continue to make the wrong decisions and produce foods that are actually not nutritious and be emitting carbon in the process. . .
Good science should not just look at emissions. It ought to look at the whole picture.
Comparing the emissions of dairy milk with the pretenders without taking into account is a bit like comparing the emissions from an ambulance with those from a sports car.
The ambulance does life saving work, the sports car is a toy.
Milk from cows is a food, the non-dairy pretenders are not.
Federated Farmers is pleased the Green Party has called for us all to embrace science:
Federated Farmers couldn’t agree more with the call from the Green Party today that science should guide the policies and decisions of MPs.
“They issued the challenge in relation to the recent positive COVID-19 cases in Auckland but as a party that should be interested in consistency and logic, we look forward to the Greens also applying this ‘listen to the science’ principle to issues such as genetic engineering technologies and methane emissions,” Federated Farmers President Andrew Hoggard says.
In a press statement headlined ‘Greens call for continued commitment to science from political leaders’, co-leader James Shaw said in the wake of the new cases of COVID-19 from community transmission “… now is the time to band together as a country, be directed by the science, and back good decision making”.
Policy should be backed by science and that should support good decision making all the time, not just in relation to Covid-19.
“This is spot on,” Andrew said. “Science also tells us that unlike the long-lived greenhouse gases carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide, biological methane from New Zealand’s farmed livestock does not need to be reduced to net zero to have no additional effect on global warming.
“A reduction of 10-22% by 2050 is sufficient, yet the climate change legislation put in place by the government has a much harsher, non-science based target which will only add extra significant economic costs and undermine the competitiveness of our meat and dairy in the international market.”
Environment Commission Simon Upton told the government that forestry could be used to offset biological methane but not emissions from fossil fuels and Shaw ignored him.
The Greens have been similarly science obtuse in relation to GE.
“Gene editing technologies have huge potential in our fight to be predator-free, to deal with pest plants such as wilding pines, and to develop new types of grasses that will lead to ruminant animals emitting less methane. But the Greens appear to have had a closed mind on GE, despite scientists such as Sir Peter Gluckman endorsing the need to debate and embrace these technologies,” Andrew said.
The opportunity cost of New Zealand’s stubborn policy toward GE will only increase as the exciting technology continues to mature, leaving New Zealand worse off and offering an increasing competitive advantage to other countries.
Opposition to GE is usually based on emotion not science.
“All we are asking is that consumers and producers are empowered to make their own decisions on the technology, rather than being hamstrung by restrictive regulations that ignore the best available science.
“The Greens’ new professed enthusiasm to be guided by science is most welcome,” Andrew said.
If only the Greens acted on Shaw’s call. Unfortunately the party only supports science when it suits it.
“Organic” is good, chemicals, pesticides in particular, are bad?
Chemistry is not that simple.
When you’re pregnant you have hopes and dreams for your babies and their futures, dreams you probably aren’t fully aware of unless you lose them.
Some of our dreams were dashed when our sons were diagnosed with degenerative brain disorders and died young, Tom aged 20 weeks, and Dan 10 days after his fifth birthday.
Life with the boys who had multiple disabilities and passed none of the developmental milestones wasn’t easy, nor was coming to terms with their deaths.
Many people who learn about Tom and Dan say they couldn’t cope if that happened to their children. I’d probably have thought the same until I had to. Then, the only alternative to coping was not coping and through necessity, I coped.
That doesn’t mean I always did it well. There were some very long nights and some very dark days; nights when I fell into bed exhausted by grief but couldn’t sleep, days when it felt like I was stuffed full of dark clouds and was ready to burst. But even at the very worst of times I had the love and support of my husband, wider family and friends, shining light against the darkness of despair.
And our sons, who could do so little, taught us so much: how blessed we are to have that support; that people are people regardless of what they can or cannot do and that ability isn’t a right it’s a privilege
Our response has also been governed by the knowledge that it would only compound the tragedy of our son’s difficult lives and early deaths if being bitter and twisted and focusing on what we’d lost stopped us appreciating and enjoying all we still had and could have.
And we still had their older sister who gave us the joys and challenges children provide.
None of those challenges were major until nearly three years ago when she was diagnosed with low grade serous ovarian carcinoma (LGSOC), a type of ovarian cancer that is frequently incurable. Jane, at just 32 years old, was told with current treatments her life expectancy was likely to be only five to 15 years.
Ovarian cancer is the 5th most common cause of female cancer death in New Zealand. Yet we knew almost nothing about the symptoms. For two years Jane was told by doctors her symptoms were not serious, right up until she required emergency surgery from cancer complications. You can read more about the symptoms here:
Not letting what we’ve lost with the lives and deaths of our sons, blind us to what we still have is, of course, easier in theory than practice and it has been harder still to focus positively in the wake of Jane’s diagnosis.
There’s been a lot of tears, a lot of prayers and a lot of swears. There are nights of restless sleep when I wake to find the nightmare is real, and days when I cry easily and often. But again we’ve got wonderful support from family and friends, and just as she gave me a reason to not just survive but live a full life when her brothers died all those years ago, Jane’s example is providing an inspiration for me now.
18 months after diagnosis and 8 weeks after breaking her leg skiing.
If it’s hard for me as a mother, how much harder must it be for her, a young woman living under the cancer sword, facing what it’s already cut from her life, the pain of that and the knowledge that it could take so much more?
She could have sunk into depression and stayed there. She could have chosen to focus only on herself. Instead she is doing much, much more.
She is fighting not just for herself but for all the other women around the world who share her cancer, many of whom are young like her.
What will determine whether women like our daughter live or die is research. Rare cancers like Jane’s, account for almost half of all cancer deaths yet receive just 13.5% of research funding. The limiting factor isn’t science, it’s the money for the scientists to study it that’s lacking.
When Jane was diagnosed there wasn’t any way to donate directly to her cancer anywhere in the world. She knew that had to change if she and other women were to survive. She liaised with doctors, researchers and charities around the world and founded Cure Our Ovarian Cancer – a registered charitable trust, that facilitates donations for low-grade serous cancer research both in New Zealand, and internationally.
Jane spends most of her days connecting with women and researchers around the world, fundraising for research into her cancer. Through Cure Our Ovarian Cancer and it’s partner charities, she’s helped raise more than $200 000 in less than two years. And aside from a small payment fee, 100% of every dollar raised goes to research.
She’s humbled by the public’s generosity, but also overwhelmed by how far is left to go. Tens of millions are needed if change is to happen in time for her. But as Jane says, “How can I do nothing? Knowing that in 10, 20, 30 years time, women will continue to die in droves without research. You just have to try.”
We’re in awe of everything Jane is doing while living with this awful cancer. It’s heartbreaking but her example pushes us to do better every day.
As a family we are committed to helping in every way we can. We’ve funded three research projects in the US and NZ and continue to do what we can. But this problem is too big for one family to solve without help.
This is why we’re going public. Because our daughter, and all the other women with this dreadful disease, need your support.
Our message to you is simple. Please donate, please fundraise and please tell everyone you know about our incredible girl and this horrible cancer. Women’s lives are on the line.
Learn more: cureourovariancancer.org
Jane’s personal blog is janehascancer.com
Climate change agitation started on the left.
Some of it was driven by genuine concern for the environment. Some had, and still has, a wider anti-capitalist political agenda.
Climate change is now an issue that spans the political spectrum but most response is still shaped by the left with its usual recipe of less of this here and more tax on that there.
Ironically, given climate change activists’ demands to accept the science, a lot of the response does not follow the science.
Much of the response is also simplistic and does not take into account all the costs and consequences of prescribed actions nor does it follow the prescription for sustainability which requires a balance of economic, environmental and social concerns.
The teaching resource on climate change issued by the Ministry of Education exemplifies this, mixing misinformation and preaching with the science and teaching.
There is a huge opportunity here for the right to promote a much more positive response that will counter the eco-pessimism and provide real solutions with technology and innovation.
That is what has provided answers to problems that have beset the world in the past and that is what is needed if we’re to safeguard the health of the planet for the future.
Get on with it – Neal Wallace and Colin Williscroft:
Politicians might be slow acting on climate change but retailers and consumers who buy New Zealand produce aren’t and they expect Kiwi farmers to reduce their carbon footprint, special agricultural trade envoy Mike Petersen says.
He urges food producers to stop arguing about details and start reducing carbon emissions to preserve demand in lucrative markets.
“It is very real in-market,” he said.
Peterson said “If people think this is being dreamed up by NZ politicians to get at NZ farmers then you need to think again.”
It is being driven by those who buy our food.
“Companies and consumers are driving climate change. . .
Number of natives under one billions trees anyone’s guess -Eloise Gibson:
How many of the one billion trees planted in the next decade will be native species? Government tree planting agency Te Uru Rakau has clarified that it can’t hazard an estimate.
The Government’s tree planting agency, Te Uru Rakau, says it can’t estimate what proportion of the one billion trees programme will be native species, saying a previous figure it gave to Newsroom was meant to be purely “illustrative”.
The illustrative figure was used to calculate the estimated climate benefit from the tree scheme, which Te Uru Rakau has put at 384 million tonnes of carbon dioxide over the trees’ lifetimes. . .
Bunds offer phosphorus solution – Richard Rennie:
Capturing phosphate in water spilling off farm catchments has been made easier thanks to work done by a Rotorua farmer group and a doctoral student who have developed detainment bunds on trial properties.
A field day later this month gives farmers the chance to look at work that has largely been under the radar but offers a practical, farmer-focused solution to improving water quality. Richard Rennie spoke to the group’s project manager John Paterson.
While nitrogen mitigation has played on the minds of most regional councils and many farmers, phosphorus losses are also required, under the Government’s latest water quality rules, to be measured and curtailed. . .
Exotic breeds offer genetic diversity – Yvonne O”Hara:
Anieka and Nick Templer like a bit of variety in their dairy herd, adding panda-eyed, triple-cross Montbeliarde, Normande, Fleckvieh and Aussie Reds to their mix.
They are are 50/50 sharemilkers on 230ha near Balfour, with 630 cows, and they are targeting 500kgMS/cow and 330,000kgMS production this season. Their herd includes 35 pedigree Ayrshires.
The 2015 Southland/Otago Farm Manager of the Year winners have daughter Maycie (5) and employ two Filipino staff: Emman Orendain and David Lupante.
Mrs Templer grew up on a dairy farm and has always been interested in the more unusual cattle breeds. . .
AgForce Queensland chief executive Michael Guerin says “if we lose these communities, we won’t get them back”, as “unprecedented” drought conditions continue to affect Australian farmers.
Hundreds of drought-stricken farmers have reportedly stopped receiving payments in the past two years, through a government assistance program, after having reached the four-year limit.
Under the allowance, more than 1,300 households are given $489 a fortnight.
“This federal government is working with us, trying to work with communities that are in incredible trouble” Mr Guerin told Sky News host Paul Murray. . .
Eggs are bad; eggs are good. Fat is bad; fat is good. Meat is bad; meat is… OK?
The answer is that many of the nation’s official nutrition recommendations — including the idea that red meat is a killer — have been based on a type of weak science that experts have unfortunately become accustomed to relying upon. Now that iffy science is being questioned. At stake are deeply entrenched ideas about healthy eating and trustworthy nutrition guidelines, and with many scientists invested professionally, and even financially, in the status quo, the fight over the science won’t be pretty.
Red meat is a particularly contentious topic because people have such strong objections to eating meat for a variety of reasons: the environment, animal rights and even religion (Seventh-day Adventists advise against it). . . .
Meat has been getting a bad rap in some parts of society, being blamed for everything from increased cancer to greenhouse gas emissions by environmental and commercial influencers. This has led to Professor Frédéric Leroy, Professor of Food Science and biotechnology at Vrije Universiteit, Brussels, to concluded that meat has effectively become a scapegoat for commercial and environmental advocates, much of which was based on bad science. Speaking at a lecture at the University of Auckland, Professor Leroy discussed how this scapegoating came about and whether it is justified. . .
The anti-farming rhetoric is not based on the good practices followed in New Zealand where cattle, deer and sheep are raised on extensive farms, ranging free.
The anti-meat rhetoric overlooks the important part moderate amounts of beef, lamb and venison play in a healthy diet.
EPA is issuing guidance to registrants of glyphosate to ensure clarity on labeling of the chemical on their products. EPA will no longer approve product labels claiming glyphosate is known to cause cancer – a false claim that does not meet the labeling requirements of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). The State of California’s much criticized Proposition 65 has led to misleading labeling requirements for products, like glyphosate, because it misinforms the public about the risks they are facing. This action will ensure consumers have correct information, and is based on EPA’s comprehensive evaluation of glyphosate.
“It is irresponsible to require labels on products that are inaccurate when EPA knows the product does not pose a cancer risk. We will not allow California’s flawed program to dictate federal policy,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “It is critical that federal regulatory agencies like EPA relay to consumers accurate, scientific based information about risks that pesticides may pose to them. EPA’s notification to glyphosate registrants is an important step to ensuring the information shared with the public on a federal pesticide label is correct and not misleading.”
In April, EPA took the next step in the review process for glyphosate. EPA found – as it has before – that glyphosate is not a carcinogen, and there are no risks to public health when glyphosate is used in accordance with its current label. These scientific findings are consistent with the conclusions of science reviews by many other countries and other federal agencies. . .
This is a win for science and the environment and a reminder that users must be responsible for their own actions in following instructions on the label.
Glysophate is an important tool in minimum tillage which reduces fuel usage and protects soil from erosion.