Monday, May 4, 2015

Kroger: The Green Grocer

Even large companies see the advantages of going green. One such company is Kroger, a well-known grocery store in Georgia. They are trying to be good to their environment and are encouraging their customers to do the same.  Kroger was recently recognized by the Environmental Protection Agency for their efforts in reducing food waste. They have an organic recycling program that runs in 1,000 stores and they have recycled 35 million pounds of plastics. They were the first large retailer in America to design a system that converts unuseful food into clean energy.
Kroger also uses sustainable seafood which means that they do not catch fish that are limited in population and they get some of their fish from farms so they do not interfere with coastal habitats.
They also try to make their shipping fleets as efficient as possible. They do this through limiting the number f miles that their fleet travels and loading their trucks to capacity.
One store owned by Kroger, called Fry's, has a PowerParasol. This design shades the parking lot of Fry's as it produces solar energy. It spans 1.7 acres and is expected to generate 1 million killowatt hours of clean energy.
To see more of what Kroger has done and is planning for the environment, visit http://sustainability.kroger.com/environment.html.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Water you doing to our planet!?!?

Throughout the United States, factory farms are causing various types of water pollution, from poisoning groundwater to contaminating our streams and rivers. This causes the degradation of fragile habitats and the loss of millions of organisms each year. 

The most harmful source of water pollution comes from nitrogenous and phosphorous wastes, which result from chemical runoff on farmlands. These chemicals, such as fertilizers and insecticides, get carried from fields to rivers and lakes, killing the organisms living inside and depleting habitats. This kind of water pollution also poses a risk to human health through drinking water, which can become poisoned as well. Additionally, farm runoff is the cause of harmful algae blooms, which can kill various organisms by taking up excess oxygen. This leads to dead zones, or places in water that nothing can live, including one in the Gulf of Mexico the size of New Jersey.


Groundwater is also at risk of being polluted through the absorption of animal waste into the soil. Once large quantities of animal waste have accumulated in a specific area, they can seep into the soil and pollute groundwater. according to foodispower.com, throughout the U.S., animal excrement from factory farms has contaminated groundwater in 17 states and polluted 35,000 miles of rivers in 22 states. This has lead to countless illnesses and medical problems without the nation. 


In the future, the effects of this poisoned water could be extremely detrimental to human health and to the environment. It is necessary that we find a solution to this pressing matter

http://www.foodispower.org/pollution-water-air-chemicals/

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

What are you eating?!

For years, pesticides have been used to prevent food from being contaminated by insects, fungus, and weeds. Farmers spray their plants with strong chemicals to avoid "food scares", but the negative effects of pesticides seem to outweigh the positive effects on the pros and cons list. Our food is now covered in a layer of toxic chemicals before being sold to us. Although most of the pesticides wash off or dry up before ending up in our refrigerators, a significant amount still finds its way into our bodies causing issues such as
  • sterility
  • genetic damage and birth defects
  • cancer
  • damage to the nervous system and other organs
  • death
Now who would want to eat something that could potentially be hazardous to our health? The farmers have to wear gas masks while spraying their plants, which goes to show just how seriously toxic pesticides are.


http://blog.epa.gov/blog/2011/07/safe-use-of-pesticides-and-alternatives-to-pesticides/

It seems we just can't win in the battle between people and pests.  

More facts about pesticides:
http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/about/

Monday, April 27, 2015

Eat and Be Green

Time Magazine posted a list about 33 ways to eat and be environmentally friendly. 
Many of the ways are really simple:

  • RECYCLE- It's pretty easy. And it can be fashionable too! You can bring a cool and colorful reusable bag instead of using those gross plastic bags that aren't good for the environment. Plastic bags aren't biodegradable and being exposed to light can cause them to release harmful polymer particles that usually end up in the ocean. 
  • STRIP- Buy products with little or no packaging. The excess packaging contributes to a great amount of waste in landfills.
  • RAW- Eating uncooked vegetables can save both  time for you and energy for the whole planet. Cooking appliances use energy that could be used for more pertinent functions.
  • REVAMP- Don't just throw those old, drab, leftovers away! Revamp them by turning them into fabulous new meals! This can reduce waste and save energy.
  • REDUCE- Eating less dairy can lessen your impact on the environment. Producing one pound of cheese emits 11 pounds of carbon dioxide.

Ah, Ah, Ah, Ah, Stayin' Alive

      Given the recent listeria outbreak in Sabra Hummus and Blue Bell Ice Cream, there is a growing concern about where are food is coming from and if it is safe for us to eat. This scary bacteria can cause miscarriages and still births in pregnant women, and has already caused many people to be hospitalized. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has investigated the source of these outbreaks.
    In an article discussing the contamination of blue bell ice cream, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Monday that tests indicated Blue Bell products from plants in Texas and Oklahoma were the source of a listeria outbreak that has infected five adults in Kansas, three of whom died. The fact that our environment can lose such a life threatening effect is frightening.
     Listeria is just one example of how our lovely environment can be dangerous to our health. This is why we have the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to investigate where our food comes from and to do their best to make sure our food is healthy and safe for us to eat.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/22/business/blue-bell-recalls-all-products-after-listeria-outbreak.html?_r=2

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Sunday, April 26, 2015

Cow Emissions -- Joke or No Joke?

Source: cbsnews.com

I've mentioned before that a surprisingly major source of air pollution from the food industry is cow farts. Hard to believe... but emphatically true. I've done more research on the issue, and what I've found nearly knocked me off my feet.

According to the San Joaquin Valley Unified Air Pollution Control District (what a mouthful), the average cow emits 19.3 pounds of noxious gas per year. For an animal, that's a staggering amount -- high enough to compete with some cars! Cows, in fact, are the number one source of pollution in some rural areas, beating out cars and trucks.

Find that hard to believe? You're not alone. Many skeptical farmers are pushing for a recalculation based simply on common sense; could a cow really produce that much gas? Others, however, say that with a wider-ranged test that includes factors like manure as well, the level of emissions per cow will actually rise!

Either way, new regulations to deal with cow emissions are already on their way. It may all sound like grade-school bathroom humor, but if this research is true, cow farts might just be a big, big problem.

For more information on cow emissions and the opposing viewpoints regarding them:
http://www.cbsnews.com/news/cow-air-pollution-debate-is-back/

Friday, April 24, 2015

Fourteen Food Companies That You Can Trust

This article shows fourteen companies that aren't only good for your health, but the environment too!

A Few Really Cool Ones:
The Numi Organic Tea Company
The facility where the tea is made is solar powered, and the outer packaging for the tea is made from 85% post-consumer waste and the inks are based from soy.
Nature's Path Foods
This company's headquarters has a rooftop garden, a rainwater collecting system, and a composting facility. It buys inorganic land to change it into organic farms. They donated $500,000 to the cause of labeling genetically engineered foods.
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NOW Foods
This company's water conservation projects save about 1.3 million gallons of water a year, and they have energy-saving lighting that saves 600,000 billion kilowatt-hours a year. Their shipping boxes are made of 100% recycled material.