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Agriculture

Pam Wahurst: How We Can Eat Our Landscapes

Power of small innovations. "We are all part of a local jigsaw, and we're all part of the solution." That's what Pam Warhurst said about her innovation of turning our landscapes into edible displays of vegetation. Instead of growing a prickly bush by the side of your house or office, grow an apple, or a pear tree. It's difficult to assign cost savings to growing your own food, but there are multiple proven benefits: Personal satisfaction, superior taste and freshness, and better nutritional value (http://www.newdream.org/blog/2011-09-calculating-the-savings-in-growing-your-own-food). Choosing to grow your own garden is a Million Dollar Choice because it is investing in you and your family. It teaches the value of hard work and delivers the blessing of satisfaction knowing you can sustain life.

Shimon Steinberg: Pest Control Using Bugs

Using natural, living organisms, to control noxious plants and pests is an alternative method to the expensive chemical pest control. In tests ran by Shimon Steinberg and his business in Israel, by introducing good, living insects, to combat the bad pests, they saw a reduction in the use of chemical pest control by up to 80 percent. Using a conservative number of $45 per month on chemical pest control, that means you could save up to $432 annually on an averaged size house. That is definitely a source of a Million Dollar Choice.

Mohamed Hijri: A Simple Solution to the Coming Phosphorus Crisis

Plants are the basis of all energy and life on earth. To be successful plants need an essential nutrient, phosphorus. In modern agriculture, we add phosphorus through chemical fertilizers. 100 percent of the phosphorus is being used, but only 15 percent is going to the plants. The other 85 percent is being run off into lakes and streams, causing a build-up of blue algae. The problem here, is that by 2030, we will reach the peak of phosphorus, and by the end of the century, it will all be gone. To fight this, there is a little mushroom called mycorrhiza that has adapted over millions of years to seek out phosphorus and make it useful to the plant. The beauty is that there is an abundance of mycorrhiza and it is fairly inexpensive (starting at $16 at your local Wal-Mart). Through many studies, mycorrhiza has proven to increase plant health and provide greater yields. This could be the source of saving money on unnecessary fertilizers and will also save money on groceries, because your plants will produce more.

Richard Turere: My Invention that made peace with lions

This talk is very inspirational. It is about a young man from Nairobi that was struggling to protect his livestock from lions. With no additional money spent, this young man created a strobe light system to place around the cowshed to protect the livestock. He used household items and spare parts for the invention. There are so many times in our lives where we justify buying new things to fulfill our needs. In reality, we have many things around us that we could utilize. For example, this young many used a spare car battery to power his invention. We could put to use old/broken items to support our house and way of life.

Ron Finley: A Guerilla Gardener in South Central LA

In today's world, it is so easy to go to the McDonalds on the street corner and purchase a McChicken. The misconception is that fast food is cheaper. According to a study performed by Oakton Community College, the weekly cost of a fast-food diet is $87, and the weekly cost of a healthy diet is $43 (http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/price-difference-between-healthy-food-fast-food-11002.html). Ron Finley also points out that in his neighborhood, he sees obesity rising, scooters for getting around being sold like used cars, and medical clinics popping up like Starbucks. Ron suggests that growing your own garden not only saves you money on food, but also in health care costs. It can also be a means of helping people learn the value of work and set them on a course for success in this life. He also said that growing your own food is like printing your own money. If kids grow kale, they eat kale. If kids grow tomatoes, they eat tomatoes.

Dan Barber: How I Fell in Love with a Fish

How can we create conditions that enable every community to feed itself? We need to focus on resources and conditions that promote self-reliance and that make the ecosystem better. It's all about creating agriculture that uses resources more efficiently. In this Ted talk, the fish farm talked about actually purifies the water as well, providing for a healthier ecosystem and better fish. This relates to possible Million Dollar Choices because it shows how it is possible to incorporate many things to achieve a single desired outcome. This is pooling resources together and saving costs. We can all look for ways to make our lives better and less expensive.

Chris Downey: Design with the Blind in Mind

This talk is given by Chris Downey, a man who lost his sight after having a brain tumor removed. He speaks of the change he saw in how people reacted to him, and he attributes this to our common belief in humanity and in being kind to one another. His innovation was to design cities with the blind (and other disabled folks) in mind. Doing so will make our cities predictable and comfortable for all who have to travel its streets.

Johan Rockstrom: Let the Environment Guide our Development

Over the past 30 years, our consumption as humans has increased dramatically. This increase in consumption has led to a decay of our global ecosystem. The 3 main areas of concern are Nitrogen flow, Loss of Biodiversity, and Climate change. We need to have a shift in our mindset towards sustainable development. This new mindset needs to change from how we are headed into a dark future, to what are the boundaries of the future in which we can safely operate and develop? We can do this by investing in, and placing our trust in local innovations. To deal with the global issues, the solution begins at the local level.

Cary Fowler: One Seed at a Time, Protecting the Future of Food

The earth has been blessed with many varieties of agricultural crops. For example, there are hundreds of thousands of different varieties of rice and wheat. Unfortunately, this diversity is becoming more and more thin. Diversity in our crops is important to maintain due to the ever changing climate. In the future, perhaps a rarely eaten type of rice will be the only one that can withstand the increased heat. This potential situation applies across the board of our agricultural crops. Diversification also applies on an individual level. Having a diversity of food storage ensures optimal health and well-being. It also serves as a type of insurance in case a certain type of food doesn't keep as well as another. Diversification is essential for ensuring the continuance of the human race.

Jonathan Foley: The Other Inconvenient Truth

Today's agriculture provides over 30 percent of greenhouse gas emissions. That is more than the electrical and industrial industries combined. It is also greater that the airline industry and vehicles we drive combined. The inconvenient truth is that despite all this, agriculture is also the most important thing for the human race. We need it to survive. As a global community, we need to come together to figure out a solution to this problem we face. Despite the argument and facts Jonathan Foley presents, this talk is not fulfilling the desired results of this research.