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Wasting Food Equals Wasting Energy

A recent study published in the October issue of Environmental Science and Technology discovered that wasted food represents about 2% of our annual energy consumption in the U.S.   In some ways, it's a bit of a conundrum because with the obesity epidemic, we don't want to encourage people to eat when they're not hungry.  But what can we do to minimize the amount of wasted food?  ... read more

Frito-Lay Discontinues Most Compostable Sun Chips Bags

When I initially read this article about Frito-Lay pulling most of their compostable Sun Chips bags due to noise complaints, I thought it was a fake article.  It just seems so absurd.  These bags are biodegradable, and because they're too LOUD people want them gone?!  And Sun Chips sales are hurting??

With all that we know about the environment, I don't understand how this can even be such a big deal.  It really goes to show you what people really care about.   There are all sorts of Facebook groups that are against the new Sun Chips bag, such as the eloquent:  "I don't care if the new Sun Chips bags are compostable THEY'RE ANNOYING!"... read more

Toxic Sludge in the Danube

A state of emergency has been declared in three countries after a toxic sludge leak.  Today, the toxic sludge from a factory in Hungary has reached the legendary Danube River.  Workers tried to contain the spill by pouring plaster in the Marcal River, but it still reached the Danube.   It has already killed several people, and it is likely to put animals into danger, as the Danube is rich in wildlife.  Watch a news video here.  I will post again when I find out information about cleanup efforts.  ... read more

How does an animal get on the endangered species list?

Last week I posted an Endangered Species Glossary, discussing what the differences are between an animal that's endangered, threatened, etc.  The next question is, how does an animal fit the criteria for being put on the endangered species list?

It's not as easy as I initially thought it would be.  It takes careful observation and lots of crunching numbers.

For an animal to be considered critically endangered, the animal must be at least an 80% reduction over the last 10 years (or three generations).  For an animal to be considered endangered, the reduction percentage must be at least 50%.  For vulnerable, it's 10%.... read more

October Challenge: Becoming a Localvore

In September, I pledged to be greener by going paperless. In an effort to kick my paper habit, I downloaded Android apps to manage my shopping lists and balance my checking account (and I used them), I stated a recycling bin for myself and my officemates, I gave a reusable coffee cup to my assistant so she could stop using new paper cups every day, I utilized the Google To-Do list portion of my calendar over sticky notes, and I started a marker board to-do list for my officemates to use. ... read more

Where have all the fireflies gone?

As a little kid in a sorta rural area of New Jersey, I loved fireflies.  We'd catch 'em in jars, watch them light up, and set them free.  I moved to California (where they don't have fireflies) in 1997, and then back to the Northeast in 2004.  Since moving back here, I've seen very few fireflies.  At first I thought that maybe Massachusetts was too far north to have fireflies, but even when traveling down to New Jersey or New York, I saw few fireflies.  I kept wondering why.  What happened to all the fireflies?

Today, I stumbled upon a website about the lack of fireflies.  It's true, firefly populations are indeed declining.  I learned that fireflies did typically live in Massachusetts.  (Read about where they live)  But why?  And what can we do about it?... read more

Eat AND Drink Local: Finding Local Beer

Apparently I have imbibement on the brain, between my earlier post about wine and this one.  

If you're a beer lover trying to lower your carbon footprint, one way you can do so is by supporting your local breweries.  I know that Chimay is sooo good, but obviously beer brewed in your locale has a far lower carbon footprint than your favs shipped over from Belgium.

Here is a fantastic resource for finding breweries or learning which beers you see on menus and at the stores are actually brewed in your area:  The Brewer's Association National Directory.    Some breweries may also be pubs, others might give tours where you can taste beer.  (Yum!)... read more

Eco-Friendly Wine

making your own wineI'm a big fan of making things from home instead of buying them.  We've been into canning our own marinara sauce and jam and my husband is a homebrewer.  With the whole localvore movement, few things are more local than things you can make yourself.  It's nice to know exactly what goes into what you make (no sulfites, insecticides, etc.)  

Obviously, it has a much lower carbon footprint than buying something that comes from across the country.  Sure, you may love your Napa wines if you live in NYC, but think of how far it has to travel.  (Last year, Liz wrote a great post about wine.  I learned that living on the East Coast, I'm better of buying European wine than wine from California.)... read more

Ben & Jerry's to Drop "All Natural" Label

Last year I wrote about food labels, All Natural vs. Organic.  To get an organic label, the USDA needs to certify it, but food labeled Natural or All Natural means very little.  

The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), a health advocacy group, contacted Ben & Jerry's saying, "At least 48 out of 53 flavors of Ben & Jerry’s 'All Natural' ice cream and frozen yogurt contain alkalized cocoa, corn syrup, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, or other ingredients that either don’t exist in nature or that have been chemically modified. Calling products with unnatural ingredients 'natural' is a false and misleading use of the term, according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest."... read more