header_img2
Home


quote
Faux Food
January 2012

Demand Labels on Genetically Engineered Foods

Faux_FoodThe United States is a rarity among developed countries in that it does not require labeling of genetically engineered (GE) foods. Russia, Japan, China, Australia, New Zealand and 15 nations in the European Union require notice of GE content. A poll by ABC News shows that 93 percent of Americans want the federal government to require mandatory labeling of these foods.

The nonprofit Center for Food Safety (CFS) has filed a petition with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) demanding that the agency require the labeling of GE foods, on behalf of the Just Label It campaign (JustLabelIt.org), a coalition of 350 companies, organizations, scientists, doctors and individuals dedicated to food safety and consumer rights.

In 1992, the FDA issued a policy statement that GE foods were not “materially” different than traditional foods, and so did not need to be labeled. Agency policy severely constricts differences only to alterations that can be tasted, smelled or otherwise detected through the five senses.

CFS Executive Director Andrew Kimbrell states, “Current FDA policy uses 19th-century rationale for a 21stcentury issue, leaving consumers in the dark as to hidden changes to their food. It is long overdue that the FDA acknowledges the myriad reasons genetically engineered foods should be labeled and label these novel foods once and for all.” Critics claim that GE foods are linked to both personal health and environmental risks.


Tell the FDA to label GE foods and more at CenterForFoodSafety.org and TrueFoodNow.org.

 
Future Fuels
January 2012

U.S. Renewable Energy Surpasses Nuclear

Renewable_EnergyBeginning in 2011, renewable energy production in the United States surpassed nuclear production in overall quantity and percentage. As a percentage of total U.S. energy generation, renewables are steadily, if modestly, gaining. California’s leadership goal targets the utilization of 33 percent renewable energy sources by 2020.

Hydroelectric, geothermal, solar/photovoltaic, wind and biomass combined make up a growing segment of the mix: 11.7 percent as of June 2011, surpassing nuclear at 11.1 percent. For the same period in 2010, nuclear was 11.6 percent, and renewable was 10.6, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Forbes reports that many environmentalists, however, think that the two prominent technologies that currently make up much of the renewables sector—hydroelectric power, at 35 percent, and biomass, at 48 percent—are the least attractive. (Wind is the third-largest, at 13 percent of renewable, 1.5 percent of the total.) Large-scale hydroelectric power production has harmful impacts on river ecosystems and has become less popular in the developed world. As for biomass, each of the many types of feedstock must be evaluated individually for its emissions profile, water footprint and other considerations, such as whether farm fields or forests need that material to decompose in place in order to retain soil or ecosystem function.

 
The Greenest Tree
December 2011

Go Natural for Christmas

treeThe star of many families’ seasonal décor, the annual Christmas tree does not need to become an environmental burden if selected with care. While some individuals have strong opinions about the virtues of a natural tree versus an artificial one, each can have pros and cons.

The National Christmas Tree Association points out that 85 percent of the plastic trees sold in the United States are imported from China and may contain toxic chemicals, while evergreen trees can be grown in all 50 states. Even with a real tree, however, there are factors to consider.

How far did the tree travel? The distance traveled from its source impacts the carbon footprint, due to the fuel expended to transport it. Most vendors can tell you the state of origin, but how about pesticides? Conventional Christmas tree farms are reputed to use abundant pesticides to keep their product looking picture-perfect. Ask if the seller is the grower and/or knows the answer. Typically, a temporary sidewalk or street corner seller may not; a better bet can be a u-pick-it tree farm.

Put a cut tree in water within a few hours after trimming the base a flat one-half to one inch; some people add an aspirin to the water to enhance absorption.

According to the 2009 National Geographic Green Guide, Americans annually discard 30 million cut trees after the holidays, with the wood wasted in landfills. Alternatively, a program in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, collects them to combat coastal erosion.

Locate tree growers by state and learn how to dispose of trees responsibly atPickYourOwnChristmasTree.orgGreenPromise.com publishes a list of organic Christmas tree farmers at Tinyurl.com/65oqh9.

When choosing a live tree, keep it properly hydrated and just repot it in the yard after the celebrations conclude. Find detailed steps for care and planting from WikiHow.com atTinyurl.com/6dyauj and Tinyurl.com/3rj582n.

 
Meaningful Giving
December 2011

Tips to Simplify the Season

homemade_gift'Tis the season, and a U.S. poll by Harris Interactive reveals that a majority of the stress 90 percent of us feel about the holidays is related to gift-giving. So, solving this problem will set us well on our way to ajoyeux noël. The same study found that given a choice, most of us prefer investing in good family relationships instead of more material things, anyway.

Natural Awakenings has uncovered four ways that we can make the holidays less hectic and more relaxing and meaningful. First, says Barbara Kilikevich, author of A Mindful Christmas–How to Create a Meaningful, Peaceful Holiday, we have to stop buying into the notion that more is better and that extravagant, expensive gifts are equal to how much we care for one another. “We need to stop believing that doing it all is productive and having it all is meaningful.”

 
<< Start < Prev 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 Next > End >>