Sustainability

Category Archives: Agriculture and Food

6 Ways To Reduce Your Exposure To Toxins, Without Driving Yourself Crazy

There are plenty of ways humans can be exposed to toxins like endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs), carcinogenic and mutagenic pollutants, and harmful chemicals in personal care products and pharmaceuticals.

Regulation is in place to prevent, control, and mitigate the presence and the effects of these pollutants. But the chemical universe is large, and it’s unclear how much governmental regulatory bodies can protect us from potentially damaging exposures, so it’s important to recognize where we can take more control of our exposures and where we can’t.

These days, there is a lot of talk about “nontoxic living,” but it’s virtually impossible to live in a world that is totally free of toxins. Chemicals and other toxins are ubiquitous in our air, soil, water, and homes. Trying to be completely pure in what we do, eat, buy, and see can will just stress us out. With that being said, here are some action steps we can take that are within our control:

https://amp.mindbodygreen.com/articles/how-much-to-actually-avoid-toxins

Americans are expected to eat a record-breaking amount of meat and poultry this year: more than 220 pounds per person, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

That’s about three pounds more per person than last year, and about 50 pounds more per person than was consumed by Americans in 1960. Another number that is on the rise, according to Maine farmers, merchants and a Consumer Reports 2015 survey, is the number of consumers who want to know that the animals they are eating were raised in an ethical manner. But, short of visiting the farms and seeing how the cows, pigs and poultry actually live, it is not always easy to know for sure. Labels can help with that, but are not a panacea. And supermarket packaging that touts words such as “local,” “family farms” and “naturally raised” do not always mean what consumers think they do.

For Clark, who also has certifications for his farm through the Non-GMO Project and Where Food Comes From, Inc., labels help prove that farmers do what they say they are doing. And that is important to him.

https://amp.bangordailynews.com/2018/01/12/homestead/you-want-to-eat-meat-thats-been-ethically-raised-but-how-can-you-know-for-sure/

MONROE, MAINE — 01/10/2018 — Heide Purinton-Brown pets the pigs at Toddy Pond Farm in Monroe Wednesday. Heide and her husband Greg Purinton-Brown pride themselves on the ethical and humane treatment of their farm animals. Although their primary focus is dairy they also raise one or two steers, several pigs and chickens every year to sell as meat.
Gabor Degre | BDN

British supermarket chickens show record levels of antibiotic-resistant superbugs

Food Standards Agency reports ‘significant increase’ of harmful pathogen campylobacter in British-farmed chickens.

Chickens for sale in Britain’s supermarkets are showing record levels of superbugsresistant to some of the strongest antibiotics, new research from the governmenthas found.

The results are concerning because resistance to antibiotics among livestock can easily affect resistance among humans, rendering vital medicines ineffective against serious diseases.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/jan/15/british-supermarket-chickens-show-record-levels-of-antibiotic-resistant-superbugs

Animal welfare groups call for higher standards for farmed chickens

Retailers and restaurants urged to sign up to new cross-European guidelines amid growing concerns over cruelty in intensive meat production.

New welfare standards for farmed chickens have been demanded by a large coalition of European animal protection groups, including the RSPCA, in a bid to address growing concerns about inhumane conditions in the intensive and large-scale production of meat.

Supermarkets and restaurants are being urged to sign up to the new blueprint, which represents the first time a single set of requirements has been agreed on across the continent.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/jan/13/animal-welfare-groups-call-for-higher-standards-for-farmed-chickens

Atmospheric CO2 Reaches Highest Level in Nearly a Million Years

According to the World Meteorological Organization, atmospheric CO2 levels have reached the highest level in 800,000 years – a gain that took just a few decades. The agency warns that urgent action is needed to reverse this worrying trend — and notes that we have the technology, but perhaps not the political will.

This announcement is especially alarming, given that the Trump administration has adopted aggressively anti-environmental policies, including placing climate change deniers in key policymaking positions.

https://www.care2.com/causes/atmospheric-co2-reaches-highest-level-in-nearly-a-million-years.html

 

California is preparing to defend its waters from Trump order

In its first act to shield California from the Trump administration’s repeal of regulations, the state’s water board has prepared its own rulesprotecting wetlands and other waters.

The proposed new rules, scheduled for a vote by the board this summer, could insulate the state from President Donald Trump’s executive order toroll back the reach of the Clean Water Act. That rollback would strip federal protection from seasonal streambeds, isolated pools and other transitory wetlands, exposing them to damage, pollution or destruction from housing developments, energy companies and farms.

California is preparing to defend its waters from Trump order

Sally and Mike Gale raise grass-fed beef and lambs and grow apple trees on un-irrigated pastureland dependent on rain at Chileno Valley Ranch in Petaluma, CA.

Farming for a Small Planet

How we grow food determines who can eat and who cannot—no matter how much we produce.

People yearn for alternatives to industrial agriculture, but they are worried. They see large-scale operations relying on corporate-supplied chemical inputs as the only high-productivity farming model. Another approach might be kinder to the environment and less risky for consumers, but, they assume, it would not be up to the task of providing all the food needed by our still-growing global population.

Contrary to such assumptions, there is ample evidence that an alternative approach—organic agriculture, or more broadly “agroecology”—is actually the only way to ensure that all people have access to sufficient, healthful food. Inefficiency and ecological destruction are built into the industrial model.

https://www.commondreams.org/views/2018/01/12/farming-small-planet

 

New Report on Radioactive Tap Water Renews Concerns About Trump Nominee

New Report on Radioactive Tap Water Renews Concerns

About Trump Nominee for Top Environmental Role

Critics are challenging Trump’s “outrageous” and “alarming” move to renominate the former head of a Texas environmental agency who has admitted to falsifying reports of radiation levels in drinking water

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/01/12/new-report-radioactive-tap-water-renews-concerns-about-trump-nominee-top

AND

http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/43195-embattled-trump-nominee-inadvertently-draws-attention-to-radiation-in-drinking-water

GMOs, Global Agribusiness and the Destruction of Choice

One of the myths perpetuated by the pro-GMO (genetically modified organisms) lobby is that critics of GMOs in agriculture are denying choice to farmers and have an ideological agenda. The narrative is that farmers should have access to a range of tools and technologies, including GM crops. 

Before addressing this issue, we should remind ourselves that GMOs have been illegitimately placed on the commercial market due to the bypassing of regulations. Steven Druker’s book Altered Genes, Twisted Truths (2015) indicates that the commercialisation of GM food in the US was based on a massive fraud. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) files revealed that GM foods first achieved commercialisation in 1992 but only because the FDA covered up the extensive warnings of its own scientists about their dangers, lied about the facts and then violated federal food safety law by permitting GM food to be marketed without having been proven safe through standard testing.

GMOs, Global Agribusiness and the Destruction of Choice

Poke Bowls Are Trendy, but Are They Sustainable? (video)

Poke, a dish made from raw tuna, is enjoying huge popularity far beyond its native Hawaii. But where is all that fish coming from? It turns out that tracking down the source of that tasty yellowfin or bigeye can be a hard task—and that raises some major sustainability concerns. (2 min.)

https://www.ecowatch.com/poke-tuna-oceana-2522775789.html

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