“It’s important for us to pay attention to our own health and well-being. Eating a healthy diet, surrounding ourselves in a toxin-free environment, and staying away from chemicals whenever possible are all ways to help make your life the best it can be.”

Lifestyle

{Wednesday Roundup} 5/2/2012 This Week’s Top Eco Stories

by Lindsay E. Brown

Future Weather: New Sustainable Film
Future Weather premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival to rave reviews. I had the chance to see the film, and can attest to its greatness. The story surrounds a 13-year-old girl who is abandoned by her mother and tries to compensate through an obsession with climate change. Check out the film’s Kickstarter campaign here.

EPA to Rule on Whether Greenhouse-Gas-Emitting Palm Oils Can be Used as Biofuel
You might recall when Girl Scout cookies came under fire for using an edible vegetable oil called palm oil as an ingredient in cookies which contributes to deforestation, releases huge stores of carbon into the air, and destroys endangered species habitats and old-growth trees. Palm oil plantations have also been known to employ children and treat their workers badly.

Well, palm oil is back in spotlight. The Environmental Protection Agency recently refused to designate it as a biofuel, as it does not meet the agency’s greenhouse gas requirements laid out in the 2007 Renewable Fuel Standard. Agencies representing palm oil interests are lobbying the EPA to reverse its decision.

Heroines for the Planet: Human Rights Advocate and Sexual Slavery Survivor Somaly Mam
Internationally recognized human rights advocate, Somaly Mam, talked with me about the multi-billion dollar sex trafficking industry, what needs to be done to stop this global issue — which is a huge problem even in America — and how her time enslaved in Cambodian brothels fueled her to help rescue and rehabilitate women around the world.

Kashi Promises (Some) ‘Natural’ Products Will Be GMO-Free
Last week Kashi — owned by Kellogg — found itself amidst controversy because of its use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in some of its products. The news picked up on Twitter and Facebook after a grocer in Rhode Island tacked this sign on the shelf.

“You might be wondering where your favorite Kashi cereals have gone. It has recently come to our attention that 100% of the soy used in Kashi products is genetically modified, and that when the USDA tested the grains used there were found to be pesticides that are known carcinogens and hormone disruptors.”

Clouds’ Effect on Climate Change is Last Bastion for Dissenters
New York Times reporter and recent winner of Columbia Journalism School’s Oakes Award for distinguished environmental journalism, Justin Gillis, just published the latest installment in his “Temperature Rising” series which focuses on global warming and its consequences.  This article takes on climate change deniers’ most recent argument, or, last resort if you will: that clouds will save us.

Burger King Pledges to Go Completely Cage-Free
Burger King announced major plans to change the way it does business by enhancing its standards of animal welfare. The second-largest fast-food giant will improve the treatment of the chickens and the pigs which provide eggs and meat by using only products from uncaged chickens, and from pigs that have not been confined to gestation crates.

The dramatic shift from cruelty to awareness, hasn’t come easy. Thanks to groups like The Humane Society and PETA — who have worked to raise awareness of farm animal cruelty — consumers better understand the true cost of fast-food.

Buildings Don’t Have to Be New to Be Green
A recent study published by the National Trust for Historic Preservation found that retrofitted buildings are greener than building new. “I think the broader trend from an environmental, as well as a business standpoint, is that we’ll probably see more rehab of buildings rather than reconstruction. I don’t think it’s bad for the developers,” said Robert Watson, chairman and CEO of green-building consultant and operator EcoTech International.

Have a tip you’d like us to include in our next roundup? Tweet @LauraSeydel and @LindsEBrown using hashtag #EcoRoundup

This post was written by eco-contributor Lindsay E. Brown. She’s the managing editor at Eco-Chick.com, publisher of BrownLovesGreen.org, an author, and regularly contributes to EarthHour.org and a host of other sites across the web. Follow her on Twitter: @LindsEBrown
Photo Credit: Future Weather

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