“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} 2/13/2013 This Week’s Top Eco Stories

 

 by Lindsay E. Brown

Obama’s State of the Union Call May Buy Time for EPA

Obama’s SOTU drew mixed reactions from climate advocates. Though Obama didn’t deliver a detail-rich emissions reduction plan, he did address climate change. Obama said that if lawmakers don’t act, he will order agencies across his administration to come up with ways to address global warming “for the sake of our children and our future.” (more…)

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{Wednesday Roundup} 2/7/2013 This Week’s Top Eco Stories

by Lindsay E. Brown 

Timberland Empowers Local Farmers and Communities 
Timberland planted 2.2 million trees in the rural area surrounding Gonaives and continues to support an agroforestry program to train Haitian farmers to improve crop yields.

In 2010, Timberland partnered with the Smallholder Farmers Alliance, a non-governmental organization, to help them meet their commitment of planting 5 million trees in a five-year period. (At that time, Haiti was 98 percent deforested.) An additional 1 million trees will be planted this year as well as in 2014 and 2015.

We know that trees are vital to our health. They help clean the air of pollutants, lower temperatures and generally make people feel better and reduce stress. These planted trees also serve as physical borders around farms to prevent flooding and erosion, as food sources, sustainable fuel and as shade from the harsh sun. (more…)

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{Wednesday Roundup} 1/30/2013 This Week’s Top Eco Stories

By Lindsay E. Brown

Another Bangladesh Factory Fire: This is Fast Fashion 
Seven workers were killed — all women — and more than 15 injured on Saturday following a fire in a garment factory in Mohammadpur in the western part of Dhaka City, Bangladesh. The Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights reports that the workers were crushed as they tried to escape the burning floor, which is located on the second story of the building. Two of the women killed were teenagers, aged 15 and 16, according to the group. (more…)

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{Wednesday Roundup} 1/23/2013 This Week’s Top Eco Stories

by Lindsay E. Brown

Speech Gives Climate Goals Center Stage 
President Obama called for renewed efforts to tackle climate change and develop alternative energy in his inaugural address on Monday. He did so in the context of urging Americans to work together to “face the realities of our time.”

Both President Obama’s and Mitt Romney’s failure to discuss climate change throughout most of the election and during the debates stirred up quite a controversy among environmental and health advocates and groups. That’s why when the President addressed the topic so forcefully during his speech, everyone was taken aback. It was the most he has said on climate change in quite a while.

“We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that failure to do so would betray our children and future generations,” Mr. Obama said. “Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires, and crippling drought, and more powerful storms.” (more…)

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{Wednesday Roundup} 1/16/2013 This Week’s Top Eco Stories

by Lindsay E. Brown

 

Ivory Trade Ban in Thailand Urged By the World Wildlife Fund 
Wildlife crime is a big business. Run by dangerous international networks, wildlife and animal parts are trafficked much like illegal drugs and arms. The World Wildlife Fund said “massive quantities” of African ivory are being imported illegally into Thailand, where they are carved into Buddhist statues, bangles and jewelry that are then sold to tourists or smuggled. “Many foreign tourists would be horrified to learn that ivory trinkets on display next to silks in Thai shops may come from elephants massacred in Africa,” said Elisabeth McLellan, manager of WWF’s Global Species Program. The U.N. Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, banned all international ivory trade in 1989. But Thai traders and smugglers have thrived because the ban never addressed the domestic markets, and without DNA testing, it is difficult to tell where ivory originated. The ivory trade is no small deal. Africa is in the midst of a crisis that saw tens of thousands of elephants slaughtered last year alone. According to the WWF, the international trade in ivory has reached its “highest ever recorded rate.”

The Future of Social Activism
There’s been a substantial increase in the number of young adults (ages 20-28) who now actively support the causes they care about. According to this infographic:

  • 3 out of 4 young adults would think more highly of a company that supports a social cause.
  • 4 out of 5 would be more likely to purchase from a company that supports a cause they care about.
  • 3 in 4 believe corporations should create economic value for society by addressing its needs.

Walmart Pledges to Add $50B in American-Made Products
The world’s number one retailer has made a decision to source more American-made products. The company’s 10-year commitment, totaling $50 billion comes on the heels of mounting pressure concerning its overseas sourcing because of a deadly fire in November in Bangladesh that killed more than 100 people at a factory used by Walmart suppliers.

Walmart said the plan to buy more U.S.-made goods is an effort to create U.S. jobs and spur economic growth. It also said on Tuesday that it plans to hire 100,000 newly discharged veterans over the next five years.

4 US Meetups Bringing American Gardeners Together
If you have a green thumb, read the stories and connect with these four gardening meetups who are bringing gardeners together all across the country. One such meetup is Atlanta Organic Gardening and More. This group’s events include hands-on gardening, lectures on organic gardening and food, cooking and food preparation with organic foods, and local farmers market trips.

The New York Times Dismantles Its Environment Desk
The New York Times closed its environment desk last week, and reassigned the journalists and editors to other departments. “It wasn’t a decision we made lightly,” Dean Baquet, the paper’s managing editor for news operations, told InsideClimate. “To both me and Jill [Abramson, executive editor], coverage of the environment is what separates the New York Times from other papers. We devote a lot of resources to it, now more than ever. We have not lost any desire for environmental coverage. This is purely a structural matter.”

Coca-Cola Fights Obesity? Oh, please. 
Coca-Cola’s new ad campaign positions itself as a public health advocate. In a two-minute ad — which you can watch by clicking the above link — the company argues that they are “producing lower-calorie products in smaller sizes and promoting community activity, that all calories count, and that it’s up to you to fit Coke into your healthy active lifestyle.” But soda has been identified by numerous studies as unhealthy, and some even compare its pernicious effects to the hazards of cigarette smoking, according to this Eco-Chick article. Drinking soda reduces bone density, by pulling calcium from bones and soda consumption (even diet soda consumption) is linked to obesity and diabetes.

NYC Will Turn 12,000 Old Parking Meters Into Bike Racks
Two years ago, New York City’s Department of Transportation decided to transform some of the city’s decommissioned parking meters into useful bike racks. After the success of the initial trial of 200 meters, the city has decided to continue to retrofit the rest of the poles.

Have a tip you’d like us to include in our next roundup? Tweet @LauraSeydel and @LindsEBrown using hashtag #EcoRoundup
Photo Credit: Image by Rueben Goldberg
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{Wednesday Roundup} 1/9/2013 This Week’s Top Eco Stories

by Lindsay E. Brown

 

A Quarter of All Diamonds in Stores Are Blood Diamonds
The Kimberley Process Certification — which lets the purchaser know the diamond’s country of origin, the country of import, value, and total carats of each diamond shipment, and serial number — is apparently rife with flaws. According to this article in Foreign Policy, more than 90 percent of the world’s unpolished diamonds are now processed and polished in the Indian city of Surat, where underpaid workers and loose regulations have ensured a “dream environment for the global diamond industry.” (more…)

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{Wednesday Roundup} 1/2/2013 This Week’s Top Eco Stories

by Lindsay E. Brown

Honoring Rainforest Action Network’s Leader Becky Tarbotton 
Environmental heroine Rebecca Tarbotton died tragically last week. Rebecca was the Executive Director of San Francisco-based environmental group Rainforest Action Network. Tarbotton was the first woman ever to lead RAN.

“Becky reshaped Rainforest Action Network, and was a force against deforestation and corporate greed,” said Michael Brune, the former Executive Director of Rainforest Action Network and current President of the Sierra Club. “She was a rising star.” (more…)

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{Wednesday Roundup} 12/19/2012 This Week’s Top Eco Stories

 

by Lindsay E. Brown

Tougher Fracking Regulations Backed by 66 Percent, Poll Shows
Think fracking (a process in which water, chemicals and sand are shot underground to free gas trapped in rock) needs more oversight and regulation? If so, you’re not alone. So do 66 percent of Americans, according to a Bloomberg poll. This article suggests that public awareness will likely increase after “Promised Land,” a film starring Matt Damon, is released this coming January. The film highlights the affects of gas drilling on a small town in Pennsylvania, as farmers get “a boost in income while confronting the risk of contamination to their land and animals.”

Click here to view a trailer for Matt Damon’s anti-fracking film “Promised Land.”

(more…)

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{Wednesday Roundup} 12/12/2012 This Week’s Top Eco Stories

by Lindsay E. Brown

Yoko Ono and Sean Lennon Launch Anti-Fracking Video Contest
You may have caught Yoko Ono’s and Sean Lennon’s full page anti-fracking ad in the New York Times on Monday. The artists called on Governor Cuomo to “Imagine there is no fracking.”  Now, through their initiative Artists Against Fracking, Yoko Ono and Sean Lennon have also just launched the #DontFrackNY video contest urging filmmakers to make the case against fracking. (more…)

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{Wednesday Roundup} 12/5/2012 This Week’s Top Eco Stories

by Lindsay E. Brown

Antibacterial Soap: Safe Suds or Snake Oil
Triclosan is one of the most common chemical agents used in soaps, gels, and other products that are labeled “antibacterial.” In the December issue of Whole Living magazine (on shelves now), I interviewed Rebecca Sutton, senior scientist at the Environmental Working Group for the “Worth Knowing” section. Here’s what she had to say about antibacterial soap. “We suggest avoiding antibacterial products, because some of the commonly used antibacterial pesticides added to them are associated with health or environmental concerns.” (more…)

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