Showing posts from February, 2014

How the U.S. manages to waste $165 billion in food each year

With people dying of starvation around the world, the California drought, plus all that fresh water, land, fertilizer and energy wasted, AND yet we still have an obesity epidemic?? You have to say . . . . WTF By Brad Plumer Each year, about 40 percent of all food in the United States goes uneaten. It's just tossed out or left to rot. And that's a fairly large waste of resources. All that freshwater and land, all that fertilizer and energy — for nothing. By one recent estimate, Americans are squandering the equivalent of $165 billion each year by rubbishing so much food.  But these statistics don't tell the full story. How does the food actually get wasted? For that, here's a new report from the Natural Resources Defense Council that tries to track food waste up and down the system, from "farm to fork." 1) Farming: Roughly 7 percent of the produce that's grown in the United States simply gets stranded on fields each year. Some growers plant mo

Who Really Benefits from the Keystone Pipeline project?

Though President Obama has not made a final decision on whether he will green light the controversial Keystone XL Pipeline, it will no doubt create a firestorm, especially with the environmentalists, if he does. Labeled the Dirtiest Pit on the Planet, the Alberta tar sands During a recent survey, when asked about the Keystone Pipline project, most people didn't know much about it except that it will generate a lot of jobs and reduce US reliance on Mideast and Venezuelan imports.  They knew less about the kind of crude oil it would transport, or the environmental consequences, and none realized it was a mining procedure and not conventionally drilled.  And proponents want to keep it that way. The dumbing down process at its best. Back in 2010, in our November edition , and before it became politically newsworthy, we published an article, "The Dirtiest Pit on the Planet." It discribed the Alberta tar sands oil field as one giant nightmare. This is the oil the K

We're Starting to Get It . . . .

A record-high 71 percent of Americans consider the environment as one of their top priorities when they shop.  That's up from 66 percent in 2008. However, almost three-quarters of them wish companies would do a better job helping them understand environmental terms and issues. In reality, while we all would prefer to buy green products and buy them from greener companies, all things equal, it's hard to know which "purposeful brands" are really getting the job done. As consumers, we don't have enough knowledge readily available to help make meaningful choices. So, we're skeptical and, at times, confused. Right now, the confusion is preventing progress because everybody can talk about "going green" but no one really knows what anyone is doing specifically. That makes it easy for some companies to not do much. When companies are more transparent, and that information becomes easily available and in one consistent format, consumers can make smarter

Cities May be the New Environmental Hubs

Over 38% of DC residents own no cars, while in many neighborhoods “people own more bikes than cars."   January 17, 2014 | Ethan Goffman   Chicago and New York have been vying for the title of greenest city in America, and for 2013 Washington, DC has joined them, with a new plan, Sustainable DC. The idea, according to Mayor Vincent Gray, is to “make the District of Columbia the healthiest, greenest, and most livable city in the United States.” To do so, Washington, DC is focusing on seven areas: the built environment, energy, food, nature, transportation, waste, and water. Of these, transportation has been drawing attention, particularly the goal of getting automobile use down to 25% of local trips. This has led critics to charge that DC is waging a “war on cars,” but city officials describe the plan as putting other means of transportation on an equal footing with automobiles. Everything Is Connected Transportation is part of the Sustainable, DC plan because it’

What the FDA Knew (and Hid) About Antibiotics in Animal Feed

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has known for more than 12 years that routine use of antibiotics in livestock is harmful to human health, yet it has taken no meaningful action. Routine use of antibiotics in food animals has promoted a rapid rise in antibiotic-resistant disease, which now claims more lives than emphysema, HIV/AIDS, Parkinson’s disease, and homicide combined. Two million American adults and children become infected with antibiotic-resistant bacteria each year, and at least 23,000 of them die as a direct result of those infections. Virtually all animal feed additives containing penicillin and tetracycline antibiotics—both of which are used to treat human disease—pose a “high risk” to human health, according to a new report   Many bacteria are developing cross resistance; a situation where a bacteria becomes resistant to multiple drugs, making them virtually impossible to eradicate once they infect you.   Read full story