2020年4月16日 星期四

Radical Changes Urged for Huge E.U. Farm Program 歐盟農業政策 須大幅修正

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2020/04/17 第299期 訂閱/退訂看歷史報份
紐時周報精選 Radical Changes Urged for Huge E.U. Farm Program 歐盟農業政策 須大幅修正
Why Soap Works 為何肥皂能對付細菌和病毒?
Radical Changes Urged for Huge E.U. Farm Program 歐盟農業政策 須大幅修正
文/Selam Gebrekidan
譯/李京倫 核稿/樂慧生


Europe's $65-billion-a-year farm program needs to change radically if it is to protect the environment and support small farmers, a group of European scientists said in a paper published in the journal "People and Nature" .


The 21 authors of the paper said a planned overhaul of Europe's farm policy is inadequate. They said policymakers must stop paying farmers based on the acres they cultivate and instead reward environmentally friendly practices such as organic farming or agroforestry. The scientists also asked the European Union to cut off subsidies that encourage livestock farming, which is linked to a rise in greenhouse gas emissions.


"Billions of euros of taxpayers' money are about to be poured down the drain," the scientists said in a statement.

A new Green Deal plans to make Europe the first climate-neutral continent by 2050. Last month, the European Commission outlined plans to make the deal legally binding for all member states.


But the package will not reform farming because it has adopted old policies and repackaged them as climate-friendly measures, the scientists said.


"The climate measures are unjustifiable. There is nothing in there," said Guy Pe'er, a German conservation biologist and the leading author of the paper.


Pe'er has collected signatures from more than 3,600 scientists and researchers on his website supporting the paper's findings.


The scientists said that Europe's farm policy has sidelined small farmers and supported practices that have led to global warming, soil erosion, land degradation and the loss of biodiversity. Subsidy programs that could have curbed the damage have been paltry and underfunded.


Last year, a New York Times investigation showed the disconnect between Europe's green image and its farm policy, which has caused lasting environmental damage and left visible pockmarks across Europe. Decaying algae release deadly gas on some beaches in France. Farm runoff has helped expand dead zones in the Baltic Sea. And farmland emissions of greenhouse gas are on the rise.


The farm subsidies program accounts for nearly 40% of Europe's budget, making it one of the biggest in the world. It is riddled with corruption and self-dealing, especially in Eastern and Central Europe, where leaders have diverted money to underwrite their governments or companies, the Times investigation found. Attempts to change the system or make it more accountable have failed partly because its biggest beneficiaries are in charge of setting policy.


Why Soap Works 為何肥皂能對付細菌和病毒?
文/Ferris Jabr


It probably began with an accident thousands of years ago. According to one legend, rain washed the fat and ash from frequent animal sacrifices into a nearby river, where they formed a lather with a remarkable ability to clean skin and clothes. Perhaps the inspiration had a vegetal origin in the frothy solutions produced by boiling or mashing certain plants. However it happened, the ancient discovery of soap altered human history. Although our ancestors could not have foreseen it, soap would ultimately become one of our most effective defenses against invisible pathogens.


People typically think of soap as gentle and soothing, but from the perspective of microorganisms, it is often extremely destructive. A drop of ordinary soap diluted in water is sufficient to rupture and kill many types of bacteria and viruses, including the new coronavirus that is currently circling the globe. The secret to soap's impressive might is its hybrid structure.


Soap is made of pin-shaped molecules, each of which has a hydrophilic head — it readily bonds with water — and a hydrophobic tail, which shuns water and prefers to link up with oils and fats. These molecules, when suspended in water, alternately float about as solitary units, interact with other molecules in the solution and assemble themselves into little bubbles called micelles, with heads pointing outward and tails tucked inside.


Some bacteria and viruses have lipid membranes that resemble double-layered micelles with two bands of hydrophobic tails sandwiched between two rings of hydrophilic heads. These membranes are studded with important proteins that allow viruses to infect cells and perform vital tasks that keep bacteria alive. Pathogens wrapped in lipid membranes include coronaviruses, HIV, the viruses that cause hepatitis B and C, herpes, Ebola, Zika, dengue, and numerous bacteria that attack the intestines and respiratory tract.


When you wash your hands with soap and water, you surround any microorganisms on your skin with soap molecules. The hydrophobic tails of the free-floating soap molecules attempt to evade water; in the process, they wedge themselves into the lipid envelopes of certain microbes and viruses, prying them apart.


"They act like crowbars and destabilize the whole system," said professor Pall Thordarson, acting head of chemistry at the University of New South Wales. Essential proteins spill from the ruptured membranes into the surrounding water, killing the bacteria and rendering the viruses useless.


In tandem, some soap molecules disrupt the chemical bonds that allow bacteria, viruses and grime to stick to surfaces, lifting them off the skin. Micelles can also form around particles of dirt and fragments of viruses and bacteria, suspending them in floating cages. When you rinse your hands, all the microorganisms that have been damaged, trapped and killed by soap molecules are washed away.







例如高官問責制,英文叫accountability system,就是只要是發生問題,不管是誰的過錯造成,單位主管首先要承擔責任,必須向上級解釋為什麼發生問題,而不是把責任全部推給犯錯的下屬。


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