July 2nd, 2015

Sweet Summertime Fun that Goes Green on the Grill

Posted by Lisa Carey

Image By: Brendan C/Flickr

Your next BBQ should be fun filled but doesn’t have to fill up lands fills. Here are tips and ideas for keeping your next cook out party and weekends eco-friendly. With long holiday weekends and summer time many friends and families will spending some time in the great outdoors cooking out. Many of us have greened our daily living routines and are choosing more eco-friendly products and habits but those green values don’t have to go up in BBQ smoke when we party and cook out.

Eco-friendly Drinks for BBQ

A cooler full of bottled waters and cans of sodas or cans and bottles of beer has been a long time staple during “cook out.” You can reduce the wastefulness of plastic water bottles and aluminum cans by serving pitchers of ice water, lemonade, ice tea or kid-friendly juices. These are healthier options for your guest and will save you money too.

Put out permanent markers for guests to write their names on their cups to eliminate waste.

If you’re serving bottled beer, canned beer or wine, or having a BYOB, be sure to put out clearly marked recycling bins so your party spirits don’t become landfill ghosts.

BBQ with Green Paper Products:

When we’re having friends, family and neighbors over for a BBQ, it’s not always possible to avoid paper products but today there are more eco-friendly paper products available. When you need to use disposable dishes, look for products that are recycled, biodegradable or made from unbleached paper products.

The well-known Solo brand has products that include both renewable and compostable options. Renewable paper-ware is made from bamboo, sugar cane, wood, reed and other natural materials. Compostable paper-ware is made from renewable sugar cane and comes in the hip and functional new square designs. These earth friendlier cookout options are available at Target. Chinet offers an eco-friendly square design paper plate which is a hit with hostesses. It looks trendy and gives guests lots of room for loading up on your picnic foods.

Grill Green with Forest Stewardship Council certified Charcoal:

Hot dogs, hamburgers, shrimp, steaks or corn on the cob on the grill create a smokin’ BBQ menu but did you know that your choice of charcoal matters? Choosing eco-friendly Forest Stewardship Council certified charcoals ensures that no trees from endangered woodlands were cut to produce the charcoal for your barbeque.

Forest Stewardship Council certified charcoals also reduces greenhouse gases that are emitted when your charcoal burns. Even better for your family and your party guests, it means that no unhealthy additives are released into the air or onto your food during your grilling.

One example of certified charcoal is Cowboy Charcoal, a natural lump charcoal that can be found at Whole Foods stores and Lowe’s stores. Cowboy Charcoal produces a cleaner-tasting food with no petroleum after taste. Fewer ashes makes clean up easier too.

Everyone wants to relax and enjoy some time off over the summer holidays and with these projects can be your whole family can enjoy a fun filled “labor of love” for Mother Earth. It’s a great time to start new green traditions with your friends and family as you celebrate together.

June 19th, 2015

GMOs may soon be seen on food labels if consumers get their way

Posted by Lisa Carey

quaker4

According to poll data released by the Associated Press, two- thirds of Americans support GMO labeling on food products. This poll shows that 81% of single moms say they support mandatory labeling.  This report by ABC News shows that “93 percent — says the federal government should require labels on food saying whether it’s been genetically modified, or “bio-engineered” (this poll used both phrases). Such near-unanimity in public opinion is rare.” Regardless of what Americans may actually think about GMOs, the majority agree that GMO labeling is important, As a result Americans are placing pressure on Quaker and other food giants to come clean and disclose GMO ingredients on all food products.

At the heart of the genetically modified labeling argument is the basic right to know. Those who are concerned about consumption of genetically modified organisms should at least be able to see which foods contain GMOs and which do not. With this clearly indicated on a food’s label, consumers will be better able to make an informed choice. Without clear labeling, Americans are left wondering whether or not bio-engineered ingredients are, indeed, added to their favorite foods. Those who are not concerned about genetic modification will not be harmed in any way by knowing that a food contains GMO so it only makes sense that food companies disclose this information. It’s a win- win situation for all consumers.

As it stands right now, food companies and those who create the GMO seeds used to make a larger portion of our corn, soybean, and other foods crops have the upper hand. They know which foods contain GMOs and can conceal this fact from consumers. It’s really very simple, consumers have a right to know what is contained in what they eat. Food companies are already required to disclose nutritional information on labels, including grams of sugar, sodium, fat, etc. If they are required to disclose these components of food, then why shouldn’t they also have to disclose whether a food contains GMO additives?

Currently, GMO labeling is still a voluntary action. That is, food companies can label GMO or not label GMO. They can choose whether or not to disclose this information and more often than not, they choose not to disclose because they fear that an informed public might be less likely to purchase their products. Even more frightening is not just the unwillingness to disclose that our foods contain these ingredients, is the fact that some food giant companies are even trying to stop the labeling in its tracks. They are working with the trade association, the Grocery Manufacturers Association, and they’re supporting a bill in Congress commonly known as the DARK Act – because it would Deny Americans the Right to Know whether our food has been genetically engineered.

Are you one of the many who believe labeling of our foods is important? Then take a minute and let the Quaker and their parent company know it’s important to you. Sign this petition, which offers a pre-written letter or you can add your own language.  Then pass it on to a friend.

What these companies don’t seem to realize is that, if they did provide labels, they could actually see a rise in sales as opposed to the wary consumers who may drop present food brands and switch to those verified as GMO free.

Regardless of your individual position is on the use of GMOs in food, take a stand and demand that food companies tell the truth. Consumers can do more than just answer a poll. Tell Quaker and other leaders in the industry that we, as consumers, deserve to know what our food is made from. If they are convinced that GMO aren’t so bad, then they should have no problem supporting the labeling of foods containing genetically modified organisms.

No matter how you look at it, there are plenty of consumers who want to know just like I do. And we have the right to know. I want them to #JustLabelIt. Don’t you?

 

June 5th, 2015

Will Quaker Oats Conceal or Reveal GMOs on their Labels?

Posted by Lisa Carey

AskQuaker

Did you know that Quaker’s parent company, PepsiCo, is spending millions to keep you and your family from knowing what’s in your food? Quaker is one of the Big Food companies using their deep pockets to lobby against mandatory GMO labeling. Through the trade association, the Grocery Manufacturers Association, they’re supporting a bill in Congress we call the DARK Act – because it would Deny Americans the Right to Know whether our food has been genetically engineered.

herbicide

It’s hard maintaining that honest image when they’re stopping consumers from knowing what’s in their food.
GMO crops have led to huge increases in herbicide use, which contributes to an array of threats to the health of people and the environment.

Did you know?

  • Most GMO crops introduced in the last 20 years have been engineered to be herbicide resistant.
  • The World Health Organization recently labeled the primary herbicide encouraged by GMO crops as probably carcinogenic.
  • Increased herbicide use, promoted by the planting of GMO crops, has been so severe that according to the U.S. Geological Survey, 60-100 percent of the rain in Midwest farming communities now contains herbicides.
  • GMOs thus result in millions of pounds of probable carcinogens in our air and water.

People all across the country are fed up with being kept in the dark. We have the right to know whether GMOs are in our foods. That’s why I’m working with Just Label It to bring the Conceal or Reveal campaign to Quaker’s doorstep. But we need your voice, too.

Sign the petition: Ask Quaker to support mandatory FDA labeling of GMOs, stop funding anti-mandatory labeling efforts, and stand up against the DARK Act!

April 17th, 2015

Entenmann’s Little Bites partners with Arbor Day Foundation and Terracycle

Posted by Lisa Carey

 

 

Entenmann's Earth Day

More and more frequently businesses are creating eco-friendly relationships and Entenmann’s Little Bites is one of them.  For the third year in a row, Entenmann’s will partner with TerraCycle, an international leader in the collection and reuse of non-recyclable post-consumer waste, for the Little Bites “Turn Trash to Cash” recycling campaign. Entenmann’s will also partner with the Arbor Day Foundation for Earth Day 2015 to launch a special Facebook Sweepstakes to help plant up to 25,000 trees in forests in need throughout the United States. Find out more about each of these endeavors and how you can make them even more eco-friendly, exciting and successful, as well as enter for chance to win an Entenmann’s Little Bites Gift Pack!  Read the rest of this entry »

March 8th, 2015

$39 Million Florida Beach Restoration Project: Better Beaches While Protecting Wildlife

Posted by Lisa Carey

Florida’s Space Coast’s beach restoration project is making for better beaches while protecting wildlife. Cocoa Beach has added 4.7 million cubic yards of beach sand as part of the beach restoration project and has expanded its shoreline by 160 feet. Cocoa Beach was recognized in a ceremony in Washington, D.C. for being one of four beaches to be named as a “Best Restored Beach” by The American Shore and Beach Preservation Association.

The restoration on Florida’s Space Coast began as an effort to protect the 72-mile-long coastline from beach erosion and storms, according to a recent press release. The wider beach was also created to help create healthy habitats for wildlife while also creating an area for tourist recreation such as surfing, fishing, and sunbathing.

Florida’s Space Coast restoration project used a natural and sustainable approach than what other projects on other Florida coasts. The project used sand instead of seawalls which improved storm protection for residents and minimized the impacts on wildlife habitats. One of the habitats that is protected is that of the loggerhead sea turtles.

“With the success of the North Reach Project spanning from Cocoa Beach to Cape Canaveral, we have successfully created a way to keep sand on the beach and continue to protect our homes, businesses and communities from the devastating effects of storms,” said Vice Chairman, Jim Barfield, District 2 Commissioner, whose District includes the City of Cocoa Beach and Cape Canaveral. “The North Reach Project is a perfect example of a beach restoration project that has proven its worth over and over again, sustaining our tourism, environment and driving our economy upward year after year.”

March 4th, 2015

Hershey Drops GM Ingredients from Chocolate

Posted by Lisa Carey

Hershey recently announced that it will soon remove genetically modified ingredients (GM) from its milk chocolate and Hershey Kisses line by the end of 2015. The company has also pledge to move to simple ingredients. Hershey is a consumer-centric company so pleasing consumers is important. The company decided to make these changes after a group of consumers started a petition to get the company to remove GM ingredients from their chocolate.

Hershey plans to use non-genetically modified sugar, sustainable, traceable palm tree oil, and rBST-free milk. Hershey answers the question “what is the end game?” on their website in connection with these changes:

“Our iconic brands are about delivering goodness – both in how they are made and how they taste. We are moving our product portfolio to simpler ingredients. This will take time and as part of that journey we will be sharing more about what’s in our products, and how they are sourced and manufactured. All of this is based on knowledge and insights about what our consumers care about most.”

Other ingredients the chocolate company plans to remove include artificial vanilla and the emulsifier polyglycerol polyricinoleate (PGPR). Hershey will also be rolling out products that do not contain high-fructose corn syrup or artificial colors and flavors. These shifts to natural, non-genetically modified food should be easy since the company already made the shift in Canada years ago.

The announcement of Hershey’s removal of GMOs and artificial ingredients comes on the heels of Nestle USA’s announcement that it would remove artificial colors and flavors from its confectionary products.

 

February 9th, 2015

Petition to Stop BHT in Kellogg’s and General Mills Cereal

Posted by guest

FoodBabe.com has launched a petition through Shift in Action to get Kellogg’s and General Mills to stop using butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) in cereals sold all over the world. BHT is a controversial product. Kellogg’s and General Mills have used the product as an additive to improve the shelf life of products like Rice Krispies, Mini Wheats, and Cinnamon Toast Crunch.

Both companies have cereal in countries all over the world, but the cereal delivered to other countries does not contain BHT. The cereals created by these companies in other countries has been replaced with safer alternatives to protect shelf life.

FoodBabe.com asks fans to sign the petition to get Kellogg’s and General Mills to remove the controversial chemical from the cereals they sell in North America. BHT was a commonly used as a food additive. U.S. regulations allow for small percentages to be used as a food additive now although most companies have move to using butylated hyroxyanisole (BHA) instead of BHT.

According to the petition, the reasons for stopping BHT in the food world include possible links to cancer, interference with hormones, and the fact that the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) classifies the chemical compound as a “caution” ingredient that is unnecessary. Another reason for the petition is because the data surrounding BHT is controversial and conflicting. BHT hasn’t been proven as a safe ingredient.

Kellogg’s has not responded to consumers since the launch of the campaign. General Mills was happy to announce that it was removing BHT from its cereals. There are no set dates on when the ingredient will be removed from America’s favorite breakfast foods.

If you wish to sign the petition to keep the pressure on Kellogg’s and General Mills visit Food Babe.

 

Linda St.Cyr is a writer, blogger, activist, and short story author. She writes about news, sustainability, green energy, food, celebrities and much more. Often she is busy being vocal about feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, and shedding a light on human rights violations all over the world.

January 31st, 2015

Obama Plans to Cut Methane Emissions from Oil and Gas Industry

Posted by Lisa Carey

by, Linda St. Cyr

President Barack Obama plans to cut methane emissions from the oil and gas industry over the next decade. He plans to cut as much as 45% of emissions by 2025. The plan will help Obama cement his climate change legacy. But Republicans are already mobilizing opposition to the new plan.

The new rules may not apply to existing oil and gas installations. This is the last big effort that Obama has to make good on his promises of climate change in America. Any new Environmental Protection Agency standards need to be finalized by the end of 2016 when Obama leaves office.

Obama made good on his first promises to push climate change by cutting emissions from power plants and by cutting emissions from the car and truck industry during his first term. His move to cut emissions in the oil and gas industry is his first push to make climate change a reality in an industry that has had a fair amount of latitude in the climate change race.

According to the Guardian, “Methane accounts for about 9% of greenhouse gas emissions, according to the EPA. The biggest share of this by far comes from the oil and gas industry, which has exploded over the last decade.”

The new methane standards will be focused on plugging leaks. Leaky and faulty equipment on newly fracked wells, ageing infrastructure, and miles of pipelines are the biggest emitters of greenhouse gases. The new standards will be incorporated with voluntary guidelines already in place.

“If you take steps to reduce volatile organic compounds, those steps would automatically have the secondary benefit of reducing methane emissions,” said Sandra Snyder, an environmental attorney at the Bracewell Giuliani law firm.

Linda St.Cyr is a writer, blogger, activist, and short story author. She writes about news, sustainability, green energy, food, celebrities and much more. Often she is busy being vocal about feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, and shedding a light on human rights violations all over the world.

 

January 28th, 2015

Columbian Farmers’ vs. BP court case near verdict over environmental damage

Posted by guest

by, Linda St. Cyr

It has been almost seven years since Columbian farmers’ brought about a case against oil giant BP alleging severe environmental damage to their lands from a pipeline. The UK high court is due to decide whether BP is responsible for the £18m ($27m USD) in lost production to Columbian farmers.

British oil giant BP laid a pipeline across the land of over 100 small farmers. The Ocensa pipeline was buried up to 1.8 metres deep along its 828km length in the mid- 1990s. The pipeline takes in approximately 650,000 barrels of crude a day from the giant oilfield. The farmers’ whose land the pipeline stretches across claim that the work was done unsatisfactorily and that the design of the pipeline was at fault.

The farmers claim that their streams and water sources were blocked, leading to uncontrolled erosion, and the creation of marshy areas. One farmer claimed that he could not keep pigs or chickens because there is not enough water for them. Another farmer claimed that the mud created from the pipeline made farming difficult and claimed he could not sell the farm because of the pipeline. The farmers also claim a loss to much of their income during the management of the pipeline’s construction. BP has rejected all the allegations against them.

A judgment in the case is expected to come in February after both sides give their closing submissions. The case has been ongoing in legal arguments for seven years. The latest arguments have been focused on the alleged damage to four small farms.

“Our water supply has been damaged by sedimentation since the pipeline was laid and I have lost cattle,” Velez Montoya, from Segovia, told Judge Stuart-Smith in the London Technology and Construction Court, according to the Guardian.

This is the first time that BP has faced a UK court over its actions overseas. BP claims no wrongdoing in the case saying that it has acted in a fair manner toward the farmers with generous compensation at the time of the pipeline’s construction and that the construction of the pipeline was carried out to a high standard. BP claims that the farms were declining in productivity before the pipeline was constructed.

Linda St.Cyr is a writer, blogger, activist, and short story author. She writes about news, sustainability, green energy, food, celebrities and much more. Often she is busy being vocal about feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, and shedding a light on human rights violations all over the world.

 

January 5th, 2015

Congress Tells Nutritionists to Not Talk About Environment

Posted by Lisa Carey

My Plate

Top nutrition experts have been assigned to lay the groundwork for new dietary guidelines in the United States. Earlier this year the government-appointed group began collecting data on the environmental implication of various food choices. Prior dietary guidelines have not considered the effects of food choices on the environment.

Congress isn’t happy about the data collection by nutrition experts and has issued a directive to the Obama administration to ignore such factors in the revision that deal with the environment. Congress attached the directive in a massive spending bill that was passed by both the House and the Senate. In the directive, Congress expressed concern that the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee “is showing an interest in incorporating agriculture production practices and environmental factors.”

Congress wants environmental factors ignored. NPR reports that the directive is not legally binding, but that it could provoke another battle between the currently hostile Obama administration and Congress.

The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee works through the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion and is supported by the USDA’s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion. Both departments review recommendations from the committee and work together to develop and publish revised Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

Dietary Guidelines for Americans have been established since 1980. The guidelines, as mandated by the National Nutrition Monitoring and Related Research Act of 1990, are reviewed, updated and published every five years. This is a joint effort between the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Agriculture.

The committee is made up of top nutrition experts and the recommendations are based on current scientific and medical knowledge. The new guidelines will take current literature into account. It will be up to the committee to decide if they want to ignore Congress’ directive and address the environmental impact that eating has the health of Americans or address the scientific evidence in that there is an impact between agricultural production and food choices in the updated Dietary Guidelines.

Linda St.Cyr is a writer, blogger, activist, and short story author. She writes about news, sustainability, green energy, food, celebrities and much more. Often she is busy being vocal about feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, and shedding a light on human rights violations all over the world.

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