Sunday, June 29, 2008

Can Weeds Help Solve the Climate Crisis?

A long NYT article, here is the highlight:

"What he and his colleagues have found, he said, is that weeds benefit far more than crop plants from the changes in CO2 and that the implications of this for agriculture and public health are grave."

"MacDougall clearly doesn’t like the prospect, but he admits he can imagine a future so generally disturbed that we may well be grateful for what he calls the “positive services” — the aggressive adaptability — of the botanical aliens."

"With the challenges, he insisted, come opportunities. Kudzu, for instance: Ziska has been seeking financing to study its potential as a source of biofuel."

"Ziska says that he worries about mankind’s ability to feed itself in a fast-changing future. Paradoxically, it is weeds, he says, that can provide solutions...An answer to the Irish potato blight of 1845-6 was eventually found among the potato’s wild and weedy relatives; a wild oat found in Israel in the 1960s helped spawn a more robust, disease-resistant strain of domesticated oats."

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