12 Reasons Bicycling Will Continue to Soar in Popularity

For too long biking has been viewed skeptically as a white-people thing, a big city thing, an ultra-fit athlete thing, a twenty-something thing, a warm weather thing or an upper-middle-class thing. And above all else, it’s seen as a guy thing.

But guess what? The times, they are a-changin’. More than 100 million Americans rode a bike in 2014, and bicycles have out-sold cars most years in the U.S. since 2003.

Read more… https://www.ecowatch.com/bicycling-soar-popularity-2515406297.html

 

Renewable Energy Isn’t Perfect, But It’s Far Better Than Fossil Fuels

In their efforts to discredit renewable energy and support continued fossil fuel burning, many anti-environmentalists have circulated a dual image purporting to compare a lithium mine with an oil sands operation. It illustrates the level of dishonesty to which some will stoop to keep us on our current polluting, climate-disrupting path (although in some cases it could be ignorance).

Read more: https://www.ecowatch.com/renewable-energy-suzuki-2514182227.html

 

Lobster With Pepsi Logo ‘Tattoo’ Embodies Fears About Ocean Waste

It’s safe to say that lobsters aren’t a budding new demographic for soda companies.

So why did a lobster recently caught in the waters off Grand Manan, New Brunswick, have part of a Pepsi logo tattooed on its claw?

That’s a question that baffled Karissa Lindstrand, the fisherman who spotted the uncanny image during a lobster haul, according to the Guardian. Lindstrand happens to drink up to a dozen Pepsi sodas a day, but she was struck by the image’s unusual dimensions.

Read more: https://www.ecowatch.com/animals-plastic-waste-2514046242.html

 

 

7 Reasons Drinking Coffee Isn’t as Bad as You Might Think

There’s nothing quite like a cup of coffee in the morning. Whether it’s from your local shop, brewed at home or snagged from a tiny cart somewhere, people all over the world start and their days with the centuries-old psychoactive beverage.

And aside from being a the only thing that can drag some of us out of bed on tough mornings, there are actually some more significant reasons—including health, economic and more—why it’s a good way to start your day.

Read more: https://www.ecowatch.com/drinking-coffee-2514850647.html

 

 

How Marine Algae Could Help Feed the World

Our planet faces a growing food crisis. According to the United Nations, more than 800 million people are regularly undernourished. By 2050, an additional 2 to 3 billion new guests will join the planetary dinner table.

Meeting this challenge involves not only providing sufficient calories for every person, but also assuring a balanced diet that includes the protein and nutrients that are essential to good health. In a newly published study, we explain how marine microalgae could be a sustainable solution for solving global macro-hunger.

Read more… https://www.ecowatch.com/marine-algae-feed-world-2499112868.html

Big Oil Faces Big Trouble in the Amazon

“I wanted to study the wonders of the Great Barrier Reef, the intricate and complex connections between the thousands of different life-forms that represent the most diverse ecosystem on the planet,” Miller told Truthout.

But in the last two years, this has all changed for him.

“I now look at the reef as an ecosystem that is suffering from our actions and I feel guilty beyond belief that this is happening in my backyard, on our generation’s watch,” he explained. “I no longer dream of the kaleidoscope of life, color and movement that represents the world’s coral reefs. Instead, I worry and fight for the actual existence of coral reefs as we know them, as the changes I see are happening all too quickly—much quicker than the reef can adapt.”

Read the complete article:

http://www.ecowatch.com/offshore-oil-brazil-amazon-reef-2410013180.html

Obama Visits Yosemite, Warns of Risks From Climate Change

President Obama warned that the country’s national parks are at risk from climate change while visiting Yosemite Falls with his family over the weekend.

How to Fight Chronic Inflammation

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Inflammation is a natural process that helps your body heal and defend itself from harm. Unfortunately, it can sometimes run wild and become chronic.

Chronic inflammation can last for a long time—weeks, months or years—and may lead to various health problems. On the bright side, there are many things you can do to reduce inflammation and improve your overall health.

There are many things you can do to reduce inflammation and improve your overall health.
There are many things you can do to reduce inflammation and improve your overall health.

 

This article outlines a detailed plan for an anti-inflammatory diet and lifestyle.

What is Inflammation?

Inflammation is your body’s way to protect itself from infection, illness or injury.

As part of the inflammatory response, your body increases production of white blood cells, immune cells and substances called cytokines that help fight infection.

Classic signs of acute (short-term) inflammation include redness, pain, heat and swelling.

On the other hand, chronic (long-term) inflammation is often silent and occurs inside the body without any noticeable symptoms.

This type of inflammation can drive conditions like diabetes, heart disease, fatty liver disease and cancer (1, 2, 3, 4).

Chronic inflammation can also happen when people are obese or under stress (5, 6).

When doctors look for inflammation, they test for a few markers in the blood, including C-reactive protein (CRP), homocysteine, TNF alpha and IL-6.

Bottom Line: Inflammation is a protective mechanism that allows your body to defend itself against infection, illness or injury. It can also occur on a chronic basis, which can lead to various diseases.

An Unhealthy Lifestyle Can Drive Inflammation

Certain lifestyle factors can promote inflammation, especially when they occur on a regular basis.

Consuming high amounts of sugar and high-fructose corn syrup is particularly bad. It can lead to insulin resistance, diabetes and obesity (7, 8, 9, 10, 11).

Consuming refined carbs, such as white bread, can also contribute to inflammation, insulin resistance and obesity (12, 13).

Eating processed and packaged foods that contain trans fats has also been shown to promote inflammation and damage the endothelial cells that line your arteries (14, 15,16, 17, 18, 19, 20).

Vegetable oils used in many kinds of processed foods are another culprit. Consuming them regularly results in an imbalance of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids, which leads to inflammation (21, 22, 23).

Excessive intake of alcohol and processed meat can also have inflammatory effects on the body (24, 25, 26).

An inactive lifestyle that includes a lot of sitting is a major non-dietary factor that can also promote inflammation (27, 28).

Bottom Line: Eating unhealthy foods, drinking alcohol or sugary beverages and getting little physical activity all drive inflammation.

How to Reduce Inflammation With Your Diet

If you want to reduce inflammation, eat less inflammatory foods and more anti-inflammatory foods.

Base your diet on whole, nutrient-dense foods that contain antioxidants and avoid processed products.

Antioxidants work by reducing levels of free radicals. These reactive molecules are created as a natural part of your metabolism, but can lead to inflammation when they’re not held in check.

Your anti-inflammatory diet should provide a healthy balance of protein, carbs and fat at each meal. Make sure you also meet your body’s needs for vitamins, minerals, fiber and water.

One diet considered anti-inflammatory is the Mediterranean diet, which has been shown to reduce inflammatory markers such as CRP and IL-6 (29, 30, 31).

A low-carb diet also reduces inflammation, particularly for people who are obese or have metabolic syndrome (32, 33, 34).

Vegetarian diets have also been shown to help reduce inflammation (35).

Bottom Line: Choose a balanced diet that cuts out processed products and boosts your intake of whole, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant-rich foods.

Foods to Avoid

Some foods are notorious for promoting inflammation.

Consider minimizing or cutting these out completely:

  • Refined carbs: White bread, white pasta, etc.
  • Desserts: Cookies, candy, cake and ice cream
  • Processed snack foods: Crackers, chips and pretzels
  • Certain oils: Processed seed- and vegetable oils like soybean and corn oil
  • Trans fats: Foods with “partially hydrogenated” in the ingredients list
  • Alcohol: Excessive alcohol consumption

Bottom Line: Avoid or minimize sugary foods and beverages, excessive alcohol and foods high in refined carbs and unhealthy fats.

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Big Food Says They Will Label GMOs … But Is There More to the Story?

The world’s largest food corporations have spent hundreds of millions of dollars (some of it illegally) to avoid being required to label the genetically engineered (GMOs) ingredients in their products.

But with the July 1 deadline for complying with Vermont’s GMO labeling law on the horizon, a handful of the largest multinational food corporations have announced they will now label GMOs—not solely because they will be forced to, but because as General Mills claims, they believe “you should know what’s in your food and how we make ours.”

 

Have consumers won the GMO labeling battle? Have these food companies that so fiercely fought to keep labels off their products really split with the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), the multi-billion-dollar lobbying group that is still trying to overturn Vermont’s law in the courts, and preempt it in Congress?

To be sure, consumer pressure has had an impact on brands’ decisions to label. We should celebrate that. But before we break out the champagne, it’s worth noting that not all of the food companies that announced plans to label have taken a strong position on labeling. Equally important, four out of the five companies announced plans to label after a Senate bill to preempt Vermont’s labeling law failed, but before the Senate has a chance to come back with an amended version of the bill after Congress returns on April 4 from Easter recess.

Is there something more to these recent announcements than just the need to comply with Vermont’s law? As in, a strategy to lull consumers into complacency, while at the same time forcing Congress to give food companies what they’ve wanted all along—a free pass on labeling?

It’s also worth noting that all of the companies that have revealed plans to label adamantly defend the “safety” of GMOs—without once mentioning the fact that the vast majority of GMO crops, from which GMO food ingredients are derived, are sprayed with glyphosate, classified last year by the World Health Organization as “a probable human carcinogen.” Clearly, we have a long way to go before food corporations acknowledge the devastating consequences of the GMO monoculture model on the environment, human health and global warming.

Who’s labeling, and why?

Campbell’s Soup Co. CPB (NYSE), General Mills (NYSE:GIS), Mars and Kellogg’s (NYSE: K) and ConAgra Foods(NYSE CAG) have all declared they will label GMOs in time to comply with Vermont’s July 1 deadline, and in accordance with the Vermont law’s standards. The companies say that any costs associated with labeling won’t be passed on to consumers—a claim that deflates one of the industry’s long-standing, albeit routinely debunked, arguments that GMO labeling will lead to higher food prices for consumers.

Campbell’s was first out of the gate, and the first to break with the GMA on the lobbying group’s non-negotiable stance against mandatory labeling. After spending a half a million dollars to help defeat California’s Proposition 37 ballot initiative that would have mandated labels, Campbell’s now says the company supports a mandatory federal labeling solution. Following Campbell’s Jan. 1 announcement, we reached out to clarify what the soup company would do if Vermont’s law were preempted at the federal level. A Campbell’s spokesperson responded by saying that regardless of what happens in Congress, Campbell’s products will be labeled, with the words “partially produced with genetic engineering,” in all 50 states. On the surface, that’s good news. But let’s not forget that a federal labeling bill could forbid companies from printing those, or similar words on a label, in the interest of preventing food producers from “stigmatizing” biotechnology.

Similarly, we reached out to General Mills, Mars and Kellogg’s this week asking for clarification on their positions. Kellogg’s responded, but wouldn’t provide answers to our direct questions, referring us instead to the official statement (which doesn’t answer our questions). We haven’t yet heard back from ConAgra, but we did receive responses from General Mills and Mars.

When asked if General Mills now supports a mandatory federal labeling solution, Mike Siemienas, manager of brand media relations, told us in an email that the cereal giant is “supportive of a model similar to what is used for organic products.”  In other words, voluntary, not mandatory. Asked if General Mills would label its GMO products according to Vermont standards even if Congress were to preempt Vermont, Siemienas wrote: “… we would comply with any law that Congress passes.” We took that as a no.

But General Mills appears (so far) to be alone in continuing to side with the GMA on opposing mandatory labeling laws. Jonathan Mudd, Mars’ global director of media relations, told us by email that Mars, like Campbell’s, supports “the establishment of a mandatory national labeling system.” Mudd also confirmed that Mars will label its products “consistent with Vermont” regardless of whether or not Vermont is preempted “because we believe in consumer transparency.” Mars pitched in $376,000 to defeat California’s Proposition 37. But after anti-labeling food corporations became boycott targets following the defeat of Prop 37, Mars sat out similar battles in Washington State (2013) and Oregon (2014).

Campbell’s and Mars both cited the “need to avoid a 50-state patchwork” of labeling laws as their reason for supporting a mandatory federal solution, as opposed to supporting states’ rights to pass GMO labeling laws. On the surface, the patchwork argument might sound rational—until you consider the fact that there are more than 100 state laws, governing food labeling, including a Vermont maple syrup labeling law, and a Minnesota law governing the labeling of wild rice. None of these laws ever created “chaos” in the marketplace, as U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has warned about Vermont’s GMO labeling law. And none were ever opposed with the same relentless determination, much less lavish spending, as GMO labeling laws. Maybe because none of them affected Monsanto’s bottom line?

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SEC Forces Exxon to Bring Climate-Friendly Accounting to Shareholder Vote

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In a key win, the Oakland-based non-profit advocacy group, As You Sow defeated ExxonMobil’s attempt to suppress an innovative, first of its kind shareholder resolution. The resolution asks Exxon to report its energy resources in an energy-neutral metric—BTUs—in addition to the traditional “barrels of oil equivalent” standard. Establishing a climate-friendly measure of energy reserves is a key step in incentivizing management, and the market, to support the transition to a clean energy economy.

exxonres750
Shareholders seek Exxon’s leadership in beginning the inevitable transition to becoming a diversified energy company able to compete in a decarbonizing economy.

“We are pleased the SEC sided with shareholders concerned with climate risk,” said Danielle Fugere, As You Sow’s president and chief counsel. “Exxon must allow shareholders to vote on this first step on the path toward clean energy. Broad support will give management the latitude to develop a diverse and profitable low carbon business plan, while maintaining 100 percent BTU energy replacements.”

In response to Exxon’s SEC bid to stop the resolution from being voted on by shareholders, As You Sow successfully argued that, “… in a rapidly decarbonizing economy, fossil fuel companies must develop climate change-responsive business models” and one possible path is to transition into energy companies not dependent on carbon intense, climate damaging commodities.

Exxon currently accounts for its energy assets in “barrels of oil equivalent.” As You Sow noted in its SEC reply that this accounting measure discourages a low carbon transition by linking the calculation of a company’s assets, and therefore its value, to carbon based-metrics.

The resolution proposes reporting company energy resources neutrally, by category, so that all resources—including solar, wind, biofuels, geothermal and other renewables—will be accounted for as BTUs and valued. This metric decouples Exxon and its shareholders from oil’s declining profitability, its escalating climate damage and Exxon’s decreasing ability to economically replace its oil reserves.

Shareholders seek Exxon’s leadership in beginning the inevitable transition to becoming a diversified energy company able to compete in a decarbonizing economy.

As You Sow is simultaneously filing a petition with the SEC to change its reporting requirements to an energy neutral metric, which will free the oil industry as a whole from oil-dependent financial valuation.

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