BIODIVERSITY

All of us have an impact, whether positive or negative, on biodiversity – the amazing variety of life on earth. This may come through the way we choose to live our lives, the way we farm, the way we care for the environment or the way we dispose of our waste. In just a few pages this issue attempts to bring more understanding both about changes in the diversity of life on earth and of how recent scientific advances may impact on our lives.

Please find below articles from Footsteps issue 47 in html.

To download a pdf version of Footsteps issue 47 click here (848K).


  • Bible study: Biodiversity in the Bible

    Biodiversity in the Bible ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the skies and seas.’ With this blessing in Genesis 1:22, God filled the sky, land, and sea with abundant and diverse life! ‘How many are your works Oh Lord! In wisdom you have made them all; the earth is full of your creatures’ (Psalm 104:24). And responding, all creatures pour out their praises to God (Psalm 148).

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  • Caring for life on earth

    The term biodiversity is used to describe the huge variety of life on this planet. An astonishing 1.8 million different species have been identified and named by scientists. Yet we still do not really know how many there are in the world.

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  • Cooking with cassava leaves

    While reading Footsteps 43 on encouraging change, a reader from Kenya wondered whether cassava leaves are edible. Two people have responded with recipes. Mr Gilbert comments, ‘The majority of people in our country (Democratic Republic of Congo) eat them as basic green vegetables.’ He shares the most common method used in the Bunia region where he lives. Mr Ramampiandra of Madagascar says that cassava leaves are widely used in his country.

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  • Editorial

    All of us have an impact, whether positive or negative, on biodiversity – the amazing variety of life on earth. This may come through the way we choose to live our lives, the way we farm, the way we care for the environment or the way we dispose of our waste. In just a few pages this issue attempts to bring more understanding both about changes in the diversity of life on earth and of how recent scientific advances may impact on our lives.

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  • Farmers’ questions

    About biodiversity and GM crops by Avice Hall. The Women Workers’ Training Centre in the flat arid plain of Tamil Nadu works with about 100 villages in the surrounding area. Many years there is hardly any rainfall and there is widespread poverty. Most farmers are subsistence farmers and lack money to own the oxen needed for ploughing the land.

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  • Genetically modified crops – greed or need?

    Will genetically modified (GM) crops bring large harvests and food for all? Or will they bring monster tomatoes and biopiracy (the unacceptable ownership of genetic material and traditional knowledge)? It is still too early to know what impact genetically modified crops will have.

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  • Improving bio-diversity at local level

    Case study from Maradi, Niger by Trudi Dickins and Joel Matthews. The Maradi Integrated Development Project (MIDP) is a Christian development programme which is part of SIM (Society for International Ministries) Niger. They believe the gospel is at the heart of true and lasting development. They encourage stewardship of the earth and living in harmony with both God our Creator, and the earth he created to be enjoyed.

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  • Letters

    Benefits of tree planting Since 1978 the Methodist Mission Agricultural Programme in The Gambia has helped construct hand-dug wells in many parts of the country to encourage village orchards and dry-season vegetable gardens. With Ansumana Mendy, the Manager, and Lamin Badji, Supervisor of well digging, I visited the community vegetable garden in Nyofelleh Bah village. When the four wells there were dug, back in 1981, the site was without trees and the wells had dried up so quickly that the ...

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  • Neem: who owns it?

    Traditional property rights and biopiracy by Nigel Poole. For many centuries, the medicinal value of the leaves and seeds of neem (Azadirachta indica) has been known in India, its country of origin. Neem products have valuable medicinal properties and many traditional uses as medicines, pesticides, insect repellents, fertiliser, diabetic food, soaps, toothpaste and contraceptives.

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  • Partridge rearing

    In answer to Mabete Miankenda’s query about raising partridges in Footsteps 45, I have bred and reared three kinds of partridges. I hope that you have available some broody hens. I would suggest that you begin by searching for nests of wild partridges. When they have 10–15 eggs, take most of them away leaving just two or three eggs in the nest. Place the eggs immediately under your broody hen. Hopefully the partridge will then lay some more eggs but you should let her hatch these because you do ...

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  • Pattavam Village makes history

    In April 1997 a special ceremony took place in Pattavam village in Kerala, South India. In a symbolic and moving ceremony, an old farmer handed over to a young child of the village, a register of nearly every species and crop growing within the village boundaries.

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  • Producing neem oil

    Neem trees live for between 100 and 200 years, growing up to 30 metres high. They start producing fruit after a few years and become fully productive after ten years.

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  • Resources

    Outreach education packs There is a set of three useful Outreach packs on Genetic Diversity and Food Crops with a total of over 200 pages. These packs are available free-of-charge to ‘multipliers’ in the Outreach network. Multipliers include newspaper journalists, radio broadcasters, community workers, representatives of NGOs, teacher trainers, curriculum developers and others involved in educating children in third world countries about environmental and health issues. If you would like to ...

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  • Setting priorities

    For health or development workers, each day is likely to bring many problems and concerns that need immediate attention. However it is easy to let these immediate problems take over any long term planning. We all need to set priorities in our lives and in our work and try to make sure that these really do ‘take priority’ and take up most of our time. Otherwise we will look back over the past year and realise that we have not helped achieve any practical and long term benefits.

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