Every flush by a typical toilet sends about 6 to 16 litres of fresh water to wastewater treatment centres.
Existing toilets aren't a good fit for parts of sub-Saharan Africa because many areas lack water and there's often no proper plumbing.
Crops, soils and fungus are a tricky mix.
An ancient relationship between plants and fungi could be used in sustainable agriculture. But there's still a lot we don't know, and new research suggests these fungi can sometimes do more harm than good.
Ammonia production is one of the most energy-intensive industrial processes on the planet.
Producing ammonia, which is a key ingredient in fertilizers, is one of the world's most energy-intensive chemical manufacturing processes. Now there's a new low energy option in development.
The new funding is focused on measures that are already in the foreground.
The federal government's new $500 million funding package for the Great Barrier Reef seems predominantly focused on the tactics that are already being tried, without much success.
Coffee’s usefulness doesn’t have to end here.
Plenty of cafes these days will let you take home some used coffee grounds, to put on your garden. It's a versatile material with loads of potential uses - as long as you treat it properly first.
Affordable tractors improved food security in Nigeria
Mugisha Don de Dieu/Flickr
There were some African food security initiatives from 2017 that deserve a special mention for the precedent they set.
Water quality is one of the major issues that threatens the Great Barrier Reef’s health.
AAP Image/Dan Peled
The updated plan for improving water quality on the Great Barrier Reef still doesn't address the need to curb intensively farmed crops such as sugar cane, and to enforce existing environmental laws.
The stuff of life.
It is essential to maintain global food supply, but the clock is ticking.
Val Handumon / EPA
The main source of global warming isn't baking or transport, but fertiliser used to grow wheat.
Our food system depends on nitrogen fertilisers.
Nitrogen image from www.shutterstock.com
Somehow we need to grow more food to feed an expanding population while minimising the problems associated with nitrogen fertiliser use.
Gardening in Australia requires, to varying degrees depending where in the country you are, pesticides, herbicides and fertilisers.
When working with garden chemicals, always make sure you are wearing gloves. Apply sprays and dusts downwind and wear goggles if necessary. Always follow the directions.
A market that lets sugar cane farmers trade ‘nitrogen permits’ could help keep a cap on fertiliser use.
You've heard of cap-and-trade schemes for greenhouse gases. Perhaps we also need one to limit the amount of fertiliser runoff onto the Great Barrier Reef.
Beefy problem: livestock emit methane, but the soils where they graze can be much more climate-friendly than cropland.
AAP Image/Caroline Duncan Photography
Eating meat means greenhouse emissions. But the emissions from growing crops may have been underestimated, meaning that a climate-friendly diet isn't as straightforward as simply going vegetarian.
Nitrogen is one of the most important nutrients for soils and Africa doesn’t have enough.
Nitrogen inputs in African soil must be carefully used. If they're not, there will be unintended consequences for the environment and human health.
Zoubeir Souissi / Reuters
You know that greenhouse gases are changing the climate. But when did you last worry about phosphorus?
Esteban De Armas / shutterstock.com
Too much fertiliser can kill all life in parts of the ocean. It has happened before – and could do so again.
Nitrogen pollution is one of the factors driving outbreaks of crown-of-thorns - giant starfish that devour the reef.
Kenneth Taylor Jr/Flickr
The latest Great Barrier Reef report shows some improvements to water quality over the past five years, but there's still a lot to do on one particular problem: nitrogen.
A Malawian mother and her child in front of maize harvested in Lilongwe. A fertiliser programme has increased crop yields.
Malawi's large-scale subsidy for farmers has resulted in higher maize production, lower food prices and higher wages. But this has come at significant costs.
Good for plants, bad for the atmosphere.
Carbon dioxide is the “face” of the greenhouse gases, but nitrous oxide (N2O) merits its own spotlight. The same “laughing gas” once used by dentists as an anaesthetic and used today by people looking…
Put innovative farming techniques in the right hands.
Africa will be able to feed itself in the next 15 years. That’s one of the big “bets on the future” that Bill and Melinda Gates have made in their foundation’s latest annual letter. Helped by other breakthroughs…