The Pesticide Paradox: How Modern Agriculture is Both Feeding and Poisoning the World

Written and illustrated by: Nia Johnson

Edited by: Sophie Hill, Henry Ertl, Jessica Li, and Jennifer Baker

Have you ever wondered how we are able to feed nearly 8 billion people globally? Presently, agricultural lands make up the world’s largest biome, covering over 1/3 of the ice-free land area. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, these 5 billion hectares of land produce around 550 billion tons of crops annually. This is equivalent in weight to 110,000 Empire State Buildings each year! Agriculture is not only a major source of income for 40% of the world’s population, but it also makes up 30% of GDP in low-income countries. While technological advances and agricultural expansion are projected to keep up with the rising pressures of human population growth (about 10 billion people by 2050), the unintended impacts of modern agriculture have advocacy groups and scientists alike concerned about the long-term consequences.

Continue reading “The Pesticide Paradox: How Modern Agriculture is Both Feeding and Poisoning the World”

When venom becomes your painkiller

Author: Attabey Rodriguez-Benitez
Editors: Patricia Garay, Alison Clair Ludzki, and Noah Steinfeld.

Imagine you are not in frigid Michigan but are swimming in the warm waters of the Caribbean. The warm waters caress your skin. While you dive past a colorful reef with a plethora of fish, you see an anemone. You know you cannot touch it, because it might sting you with its toxins. Little do you know; these anemones are not the only ones capable of stinging. The reef harbors a far deadlier and more beautiful creature: cone snails. While cute on the outside, these little creatures can contain a venom cocktail of more than 100 toxins.  However, if they do sting, you will not feel any pain at all. This prompted a pivotal change in Professor Baldomero Olivera’s career. Dr. Olivero is a researcher currently at the University of Utah, where he transitioned from studying DNA synthesis to studying cone sails indigenous from his hometown in the Philippines. Continue reading “When venom becomes your painkiller”

Invasive species: An alien attack from out-of-place!

By Alisha John

BREAKING:Planet Earth is under attack by alien species from out-of-place. They may be lurking in your backyard right now. These invasive species take many forms – from plants to fish to mammals. But one thing is certain: they threaten the delicate balance of our native ecosystems.

Invasive species threaten native ecosystems and wildlife

As defined by Executive Order 13112 signed by President Clinton in 1999, an invasive species is an alien species which causes harm or is likely to cause harm to the environment, economy, or human health. Continue reading “Invasive species: An alien attack from out-of-place!”