Feed the World with Potatoes
1. As food prices continue to rise rapidly,there is growing concern about the effect it will have among the world’s poor.
2. Increasingly, experts are looking to thepotato as a possible low-cost solution to feeding the hungry. To emphasize the issue, the United Nations has called the potato “a hidden treasure” and named 2008 the International Year of the Potato. Here’s how potatoes could end the food crisis.
3. The potato matures more quickly, on less land and in harsher climate than most other major crops. Up to 85 percent of the plant is eatable, compared with around 50 percent of cereals. Its broad adaptability to a wide variety of farming systems is also note worthy.
4. Potatoes are an excellent source of complex carbohydrates, which is release their energy slowly, and have only 5 percent of wheat’ s fat content. They contain only a quarter of the calories of bread and,according to the Potato Center, when boiled, potatoes have more protein and nearly twice the calcium as corn. Additionally, they are good source of vitamin C, iron, potassium(钾)and zinc(锌).
5. The food and Agriculture Organization recently surveyed food price inflation in over 70 of the poor countries. Cereal price inflation was much higher and far more widespread than for potatoes. A significant factor behind the potato’ s affordability is the fact that unlike other agriculture products, the potato is not yet a global commodity, and has therefore not attracted speculative investors. Raw potatoes are heavy and carrot during transmit, so global trade has been show to take off. Also, potatoes are susceptible(易受影响的) to infection with disease, hindering(阻碍) export. According to analysts’ estimates, less than 5 percent of potatoes are traded internationally, with prices driven primarily by local tastes instead of international demand.
Time to Stop Traveling by Air
Twenty-five years ago a young British man called Mark Ellingham decided that he wanted a change of scenery. So he went to Australia, stopping off in many countries between. He also decided to write about the experience and produced a guide for other travelers making similar journeys.
In 1970, British airports were used by 32million people. In 2004, the figure was 216 million. In 2030, according to government forecasts, it will be around 500 million. It's a growth driven by the emergence of low cost airlines, offering access to all parts of the world for less than ￡100.
This has made a huge contribution to global warming. One return flight from Britain to the US produces the same carbon dioxide(二氧化碳)as a year's motoring(驾车). A return flight to Australia equals the emissions(排放)of three average cars for a year. And the pollution is released at a height where its effect on climate change is more than double that on the ground.
Mark Ellingham built his business on helping people travel. Now he wants to help people stop – at least by air.
He is calling for a ￡100 green tax on all flights to Europe and Africa, and ￡250 on flights to the rest of the world. He also wants investment to create a low-carbon economy, as well as a halt to airport expansion.
Mark Ellingham's commitment is important because his readers aren't just the sort of young and adventurous people who would happily jump on a plane to spend a weekend exploring a foreign culture. They are also the sort of people who say they care about the environment. It's a debate that splits people down the middle.
The tourist industry has responded by offering offsetting(补偿)schemes. A small increase in the price of a ticket is used to plant trees.
But critics say that it is not enough to just be carbon neutral. We should be actively cutting back on putting green house gases into the atmosphere. And for the average person, making a plane journey will be his or her largest contribution to global warming. It maybe good to repair the damage we do. But surely it is better not to do the damage in the first place.
Mark Ellingham spent quite a few days in China on his way to Australia 25 years ago.
A round trip flight from Britain to Australia produces the same amount of carbon dioxide as three average cars do in a year.