Some Chemical and More-Than-Human Transformations of Sugar/Energy

June 21, 2017

Katie Ulrich

Oblivious, or maybe not, to a warming planet and intense global discourse around renewable bioeconomy futures, a tiny sugar molecule one day is synthesized and then makes its way into a cell wall of a sugarcane plant in the southern region of Brazil. This is not the type of sugar that would be found on the kitchen table. The molecule remains there for the life of the plant, offering fibrous structural support for the towering stalks as they grow up to five meters tall. This sugar compound is called cellulose and is found in all plants and several types of microbes. It is the earth’s most abundant biopolymer made on land and its largest carbon reservoir (Li et al. 2014). While not on the kitchen table per se, cellulose is likely in it (if the table is wooden).

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New Featured Article!

“Food Sovereignty”

June 9, 2017

The latest Environment and Society featured article is now available! This month’s article—”Food Sovereignty: A New Rights Framework for Food and Nature?”—comes from Volume 2 (2011). In her article, Hannah Wittman reviews the origins of the concept of food sovereignty and its theoretical and methodological development as an alternative approach to food security, building on a growing interdisciplinary literature on food sovereignty in the social and agroecological sciences.

Visit the featured article page to download your copy of the article today before it’s gone! A new article is featured every month.

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Can We Have a Moment, Please?

The Potential of Multiple Perspectives on Beekeeping and Pollinators

June 7, 2017

Daksha Madhu Rajagopalan and Emily Elsner (Adams)

A Mini Research Moment: Social Science and Pollinator Declines

Honey bees and pollinators have been a core environmental news item in the English-speaking media for the past five to eight years: dying of mysterious illnesses, affected by pesticides, and as generally responsible for the production of many fruits and vegetables on which we rely. Honey bees in particular have had a long, close relationship with people, something often forgotten in the flurry of crises and new discoveries. However, their increasingly frequent presentation alongside polar bears and glaciers as emissaries of environmental collapse and human destruction means it is important to consider both the biological/ecological and the social when discussing honey bee and pollinator declines (Harries-Jones 2009; Mathews 2011). However, bridging this divide can be challenging—and we’d like to know how to do it more effectively.

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