Sabtu, 17 Desember 2011

Ecosystems, sustainability, and animal agriculture

The long-term sustainability of animal agriculture is examined in an ecological context. As an aid to defining agriculture, animal agriculture, and sustainable agriculture, a broad overview of the structural and functional aspects of ecosystems is presented. Energy output/cultural energy input ratios were then calculated for 11 beef cattle management systems as relative measures of their long-term sustainability. Energy output was estimated by direct conversion of whole body mass of steers to caloric values. Cultural energy inputs were estimated using published forage and cereal grain production budgets in combination with estimated organic matter intakes. Cultural energy inputs included raw materials, manufacturing, distribution, maintenance, and depreciation of all equipment and products used in a 250-animal cow-calf farm/ranch operation. Management systems evaluated included 1) spring calving with slaughter beginning at either weaning (age of calf approximately 6 mo) or after 84, 168, or 252 d in postweaning finishing lot; 2) spring calving with slaughter beginning at about 18 mo of age after either 0, 42, 84, or 126 d in finishing lot; and 3) fall calving with slaughter beginning at about 14 mo of age after either 63, 126, or 189 d in finishing lot. Estimated efficiencies were < 1.0 in all treatments, even when assumed marketed calf crop was 100%. Product energy output/cultural energy input ratios ranged from a high of .40 in the spring calving--stocker--126 d in finishing lot treatment to a low of .23 in the spring calving--slaughter at weaning treatment. The low levels of efficiency were found to be largely the result of the interaction effects of the high levels of cultural energy required to maintain a productive cow herd and grow and finish calves in the rather harsh environment of the Northern Great Plains. Results pointedly reveal the high level of dependency of the U.S. beef cattle industry on fossil fuels. These findings in turn bring into question the ecological and economic risks associated with the current technology driving North American animal agriculture.

Training course organized

Training course organized 

As part of the YOUrope needs YOU! Project, a one week training course *from 9-13 december *about how to create your own workshops and organise them in high schools, with an special focus on the thematic of higher education will be organised in the beautiful city of Groningen. Improve your knowledge about European values, the Bologna process, the European year of Volunteering and the possibilities of young European citizens within the EU. Sharpen your presentation skills, design workshops, bring them into practice and evaluate them together with 40 enthusiastic students.
This training course will help you to prepare for your own workshops on high schools where you can empower high school students and show them how to become active European citizens! And this all will happen in the beautiful city of Groningen, which you will explore in day- and nighttime together with 40 new European friends! We'll make sure that you'll get a taste of the Dutch culture!
*Several subjects of the workshops and skills to be gained are:*

*- How to organise a good quality workshop
- Facilitating abilities
- European citizenship
- European values
- What YOUrope Needs YOU! is
- How to get involved in the European Year of Volunteering
- What the Bologna Process includes
- What the possibilities of Non Formal Education are
- How to make a good presentation
- How to create their own workshop
- What the influence and the value of the European Union is in the life ofyoung Europeans.
- What Youth in Action is and what you can do with it.
- To try out  different already prepared WS and evaluate them together with our participants- about subjects  such  as : democracy, human rights, breaking  prejudices, higher education  and European  identity. Based on this the participants  shall come  up with  own  ideas  for good workshops , test and improve  them, so  they  will feel confident to hold them laterat High Schools  in their home  cities