Feed aggregator

PlanetShoes Announces One of this Holiday’s Top Shoe Trends: Bright...

PR Web - Sat, 11/22/2014 - 10:05

Surrounded by shoes each and every season, PlanetShoes’ buyers know the trends in the shoe industry. This season? Mulberry.

(PRWeb November 22, 2014)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/11/prweb12340020.htm

Categories: Environment

Xarelto Lawsuit News: Woman Seeks $10 Million in Damages For Alleged...

PR Web - Sat, 11/22/2014 - 10:05

The Xarelto Lawsuit Complaint Alleges That Janssen Pharmaceuticals And Bayer HealthCare Did Not Disclose The Bleeding Risks Associated With The Prescription Blood Thinner Medication.

(PRWeb November 22, 2014)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/11/prweb12345880.htm

Categories: Environment

First Bellwether Trials Scheduled In AndroGel Side-Effects Lawsuits...

PR Web - Sat, 11/22/2014 - 10:05

AndroGel Side-Effects Lawsuits That Allege Heart Attack, Strokes And Death Have Been Consolidated With Testosterone Complaints Against Other Manufacturers In The Federal District Court In Illinois.

(PRWeb November 22, 2014)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/11/prweb12345894.htm

Categories: Environment

Pixel Film Studios released FCPX 3D Model plugin Exclusively for Final...

PR Web - Sat, 11/22/2014 - 10:05

Announced today was the release of new plugin entitled FCPX 3D Model from Pixel Film Studios.

(PRWeb November 22, 2014)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/final-cut-pro-x-plugin/2014-11/prweb12348041.htm

Categories: Environment

RHT SpectraSafe announces a Radical New Airport Security Technology...

PR Web - Sat, 11/22/2014 - 10:05

RHT SpectraSafe announces a New scanning technology requires no hazardous x-rays or compromising images

(PRWeb November 22, 2014)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/11/prweb12340320.htm

Categories: Environment

Chandler 4 Corners Announces Annual Warehouse Sale

PR Web - Sat, 11/22/2014 - 10:05

Chandler 4 Corners Announces Annual Warehouse Sale

(PRWeb November 22, 2014)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/11/prweb12344724.htm

Categories: Environment

EPA’S Clean Power Plan Calls for Reduction in Carbon Pollution Open...

PR Web - Sat, 11/22/2014 - 10:05

Using Sunshine Clotheslines Instead of Dryers a Way for Homeowners to Help

(PRWeb November 22, 2014)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/11/prweb12344548.htm

Categories: Environment

Best Wedding Guest dresses Introduced by UWDress.com

PR Web - Sat, 11/22/2014 - 07:05

Recently, UWDress.com is gratified to introduce its new collection of best wedding guest dresses.

(PRWeb November 21, 2014)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/11/prweb12330398.htm

Categories: Environment

Advantages & Disadvantages Of A Foreclosure Property

PR Web - Sat, 11/22/2014 - 07:05

The Federal Savings Bank shares news of the current foreclosure environment and whether a foreclosure is a good investment choice.

(PRWeb November 21, 2014)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/11/prweb12348094.htm

Categories: Environment

SaraSwati Shakti Brings Mandalas, Poetry Together in New Book

PR Web - Sat, 11/22/2014 - 07:05

‘Heart Art mandala’verse’ blends spiritual mandala art with peaceful, comforting poems

(PRWeb November 21, 2014)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/SaraSwatiShakti/HeartArtmandalaverse/prweb12348102.htm

Categories: Environment

Simplicity Remains the Dominant Trend in Kitchen Sink Design

PR Web - Sat, 11/22/2014 - 07:05

New sales analysis of the MR Direct 3218 sink confirms that durability and functionality are prime concerns of consumers.

(PRWeb November 21, 2014)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/11/prweb12332837.htm

Categories: Environment

Announcing a New Intro Plugin for Final Cut Pro X ProBeam from Pixel...

PR Web - Sat, 11/22/2014 - 04:04

A new plugin was announced today from Pixel Film Studios the ProBeam Plugin, which includes 30 presets allowing users to create new environment composites all within Final Cut Pro X

(PRWeb November 21, 2014)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/final-cut-pro-x-plugin/2014-11/prweb12337928.htm

Categories: Environment

More than a Dozen Sick Sea Turtles from New England Flown Nearly 1,000...

PR Web - Sat, 11/22/2014 - 01:04

South Carolina Aquarium Sea Turtle Rescue Program Has Record Intake of New Patients

(PRWeb November 21, 2014)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/11/prweb12346292.htm

Categories: Environment

Available Now Compatible for HP 131A CF210X CF211A CF212 CF213A Toner...

PR Web - Sat, 11/22/2014 - 01:04

This new combo package gives more pages to print, and helps save money. See how high yield really makes a difference

(PRWeb November 21, 2014)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/11/prweb12347171.htm

Categories: Environment

Jim Webb sucks on climate change

Grist.org - Fri, 11/21/2014 - 23:37

One day in 1983, Jim Webb borrowed the local news studio at an ABC affiliate in Eau Claire, Wis., to videotape himself on VHS giving a 14-minute speech about how he might run for president in 2016. He then buried the tape in a cornfield. This week, he retrieved it and uploaded it to the internet.

OK, not really. Webb actually just made the video and released it on Wednesday, although you’d never know it from the grainy, low-definition look. Webb announced that he is forming a presidential exploratory committee.

As Bloomberg’s Dave Weigel observes, “It probably says something about Webb’s dark horse status—or about the priorities of the media—that Webb2016.com was registered on Oct. 20 and nobody really noticed.” He only served one term in the U.S. Senate, as a Democrat from Virginia, before getting frustrated and retiring in 2013. He barely even won the seat in 2006. During the Democratic wave election year, incumbent Republican George Allen, who had a history of racial insensitivity and a fetish for the Confederate flag, hurled a racial slur at an Indian-American Webb volunteer filming an Allen speech. The ensuing controversy helped Webb, formerly a Republican himself, edge out Allen by less than one percentage point. Previously, Webb’s main claim to fame was a short tenure as secretary of the Navy under President Ronald Reagan. He also served in Vietnam, worked as a staffer in the House of Representatives, and wrote books and articles, including a piece arguing women should not be allowed to serve in combat roles in the military.

Webb cannot be easily dismissed, though. The white male elite of the Democratic Party is always on the lookout for a candidate with machismo, a military background, or a Southern home state to help them win back the elusive working-class white voters. Gruff, gun-toting Webb has all three. He was talked up in the Beltway media as a possible 2008 running mate for Obama or Hillary Clinton. He excited the liberal blogosphere with his unusually strong official Democratic response to the State of the Union in 2007. Webb’s chances of beating Clinton for the Democratic nomination are slim, but he could be a top-tier contender if she didn’t run or be on the vice-presidential shortlist.

So it’s a problem that Webb sucks on climate change. The next president has to be a climate hawk. We’re rapidly running out of time to stave off the worst effects of warming. And, with Republicans in control of the House of Representatives until at least 2022 thanks to gerrymandering, federal progress on emissions reductions will only happen through executive action.

When he served in the Senate, Webb was a “climate curmudgeon,” as Kate Sheppard put it in Mother Jones. “A moderate, coal-state Democrat … Webb has emerged as a major pain in the ass for Democratic leaders on climate issues.” In 2008, when public concern for climate change was at a high point, Webb told Politico that he didn’t think reducing emissions was a priority. “We need to be able to address a national energy strategy and then try to work on environmental efficiencies as part of that plan,” Webb said. “We can’t just start with things like emission standards at a time when we’re at a crisis with the entire national energy policy.”

Instead of wind and solar, Webb advocates for nukes and the chimera of “clean coal.” When speaking to the Virginia Chamber of Commerce in 2010, Webb said, “I believe the way to go with coal is to get the technology to address the issues, rather than to put coal out of business. And I’m a strong believer, from the time that I was 18 years old, in the advantages of nuclear power.”

In 2009, he refused to support  cap-and-trade legislation. Instead, he introduced a bill with Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) to expand subsidies for nuclear power, with an aim of doubling the nation’s nuclear capacity.

When President Obama went to Copenhagen in 2009 to negotiate an international climate accord, Webb sought to undermine him by sending a letter arguing that the president does not have the authority to commit to such an agreement. Binding international treaties require Senate ratification by a two-thirds majority, of course, but a president certainly has the authority to negotiate such a treaty before submitting it to the Senate. On climate change, what’s actually more likely than a treaty is a coordinated voluntary statement of intention, like the Copenhagen Accord that emerged from those negotiations, and this month’s announcement of planned emission limits by the U.S. and China. But Webb’s skepticism about the whole negotiation process makes it look highly unlikely that he would be a strong international leader on climate change.

Webb didn’t settle for just helping to kill the climate bill in the Senate and attacking the basis of the Copenhagen Accord. With congressional action off the table, attention turned to the EPA’s legal obligation under the Clean Air Act to regulate greenhouse gases. In 2011, Webb called for delaying EPA regulation of GHGs. “Sweeping actions that the EPA proposes to undertake clearly overflow the appropriate regulatory banks established by Congress, with the potential to affect every aspect of the American economy,” he said. This “represents a significant overreach by the Executive branch,” he argued. “I am not convinced the Clean Air Act was ever intended to regulate or classify as a dangerous pollutant something as basic and ubiquitous in our atmosphere as carbon dioxide.” Presumably, then, if Webb were in charge of the executive branch, he would reverse these “overreaching” regulations.

Webb never made environmental protection a priority. His lifetime voting score from the League of Conservation Voters was a respectable 81 percent — right in line with Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden during their Senate careers. But on energy policy specifically, Webb took a number of anti-environment votes. He voted against cutting oil subsidies, in favor of forcing approval of Keystone XL, against funding for clean energy investment, and for voiding the EPA’s regulations of toxic pollutants like mercury from power plants.

Webb is not so much a progressive as a populist — an angry white man who took a left turn on issues of economic justice. The appeal of that to certain parts of the electorate is easy to recognize. But nothing in his record suggests any particular commitment to protecting the environment and public health. And on climate change, by far the most monumental environmental issue, Webb may be little better than the Republican Party to which he once belonged.

Filed under: Climate & Energy, Politics
Categories: Environment

We won’t stop future Fergusons and floodwaters by planting a tree

Grist.org - Fri, 11/21/2014 - 23:26

On Monday, Attorney General Eric Holder joined civil rights leader Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) and Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) in planting a sycamore tree at the U.S. Capitol in honor of Emmett Till, the African-American teenager tortured and murdered by white men in Cochran’s state in 1955. Till’s killing is cited as the spark for the civil rights movement. His killers were never brought to justice.

“The American sycamore that we dedicate to Emmett Till would have been familiar to him in the parks and tree-lined streets of Chicago,” Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), who co-sponsored the effort with Lewis, said at the ceremony.

The event was timely, given many people are anxiously awaiting a grand jury decision on whether Ferguson, Mo., police officer Darren Wilson should be charged criminally for killing 18-year-old, African-American Michael Brown. In dispute is whether Wilson had just cause for this, or if Brown’s death is yet another case in a long history of white law enforcement terrorizing black people in America.

Holder alluded to the latter in his speech at the tree planting Monday, saying of Till:

Yet even today, the pain from this unspeakable crime, this unspeakable tragedy, still feels raw … perhaps because our history – including our recent history – is dotted with the stories of far too many other Emmett Tills, Matthew Shepards, and James Byrds: talented, thriving people, many of them young, with promising futures stretching out before them – all cut down, brutally and unnecessarily, because of what they looked like or who they were.

Bridget Bowman reported in Roll Call that Holder made a more direct reference to Brown after the event, saying, “The struggle goes on, and it’s not only Ferguson but a lot of communities around our country where we are dealing with relationships that are not what they should be. There is an enduring legacy Emmett Till has left.”

The tree will be considered Till’s “living memorial,” Holder said.

Planting trees is great in almost any context, and I wish the federal government found more reasons to do this. Congress members planted a tree in memory of Anne Frank earlier this year, a white chestnut, to symbolize the tree Frank mentioned seeing outside of her hiding place in her diary. Collins suggested then that Till should also have a tree.

But there’s something empty about using it in the context of the grave injustice that lead to Till’s gruesome murder. A better way to honor Till, and rehab the racism that claimed his life and many other black lives before and after him, would be to not just plant a tree, but maybe, I don’t know, plant policies that could actually end this vicious cycle?

I know, that’s tough to do in Congress. I mean, back in Till’s day, they had a hard enough time just passing a law to prohibit lynchings, which seems pretty slam-dunk to me. But consider that the Till tree ceremony was a bipartisan event. Not only was Cochran on hand, but so was Mississippi’s other senator, Roger Wicker, the new chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

Said Cochran at the event:

Emmett Till’s legacy carries with it memories of the risks so many took in my state, and elsewhere, in efforts to advance the cause of racial justice. … I am proud of the progress my state and our nation have made since those times, and I appreciate the contributions of so many leaders who made it possible.

I don’t believe him.

Here’s what’s happening in Cochran’s state: Six white men plead guilty to federal hate crime charges when they killed James Craig Anderson, an African American, by running him over with their truck. That was in 2011. Four more white people were charged with hate crimes for Anderson’s death this year.

Here’s how you “advance the cause of racial justice”: You support legislation that helps people of color living in a former Jim Crow-Confederate-slaveholding state have safety and equal protection under the law. Cochran’s had opportunities to do that, with the Racial Profiling Act introduced by Sen. Benjamin Cardin from Maryland last year, and by supporting the new Voting Rights Act bill, created to fill voids made by the Supreme Court when it gutted the civil rights legislation. Both bills have languished, though, and Cochran has made no commitment to help along the voting bill despite having survived his last re-election on the strength of black votes.

Racial justice includes environmental justice as well, which Cochran also falls way short on. Three days after the Till ceremony, he sent a letter to President Obama begging him not to issue an executive order on new Federal Flood Risk Management Standards (FFRMS). Obama has created a multi-agency workgroup dedicated to creating new flood risk standards because Congress has failed to produce adequate legislation on this. This frightens the Mississippi senator, and here’s why, straight from Cochran’s press release:

Cochran expressed concern that Obama may soon issue a new executive order related to FFRMS that requires the adoption of “the most recent science on expected sea-level rise and take into account the impacts of climate change” to create higher base flood level elevations for federally funded investments, such as new construction, flood mitigations projects or Hazard Mitigation Grants.

He’s worried that the Obama administration might use science to determine how to best protect a state like Mississippi, where some of the costliest and deadliest hurricanes have hit — Katrina, Rita, Gustav, and Isaac in just the last 10 years alone. And yet Cochran warned in his letter that caution should be taken when we “spend taxpayer dollars to further mitigate against undefined threats.” Thousands of poor African Americans lost their homes in Katrina and still had not recovered many years afterward due to such “undefined threats.”

The fossil fuel industry has contributed over a half-million dollars to Cochran’s campaign committees and leadership PACs throughout his career, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. This helps explain his co-sponsoring of legislation to build the Keystone XL tar-sands pipeline, which would only add to the bombardment of oil and gas operations peppering the Gulf Coast. The $1.5 million he’s taken from the agriculture and crop production industries since 1989 might also explains his recent beef with new Clean Water Act regulations, which Mississippi farmers believe will hurt their activities (though they really wouldn’t, as Boer Deng explains over at Slate). Storm runoff pollution from farms carrying toxic pesticides and chemicals is the primary cause of the Gulf Coast’s “dead zone,” which has damaged fish and shrimp populations, a food and business source for many low-income communities.

He’s also made Mississippi a healthcare deadzone by voting against the Affordable Care Act. His state perennially leads the nation in virtually every ranking on poverty, disease and disability. It’s second only to Nevada in percentage of uninsured African Americans, with 26 percent. The ACA would have expanded federal Medicaid to help fix that. Instead, he’s sponsored legislation to repeal or defund the law numerous times.

I wonder if all of this was on the minds of Rep. John Lewis and Holder as they heard Cochran speak at the tree planting. Cochran said he hoped the tree “will serve as reminders to all of where we’ve been and to be dedicated to justice for all through our examples now and in the future of the United States.” But there won’t much of our future, if he and his lawmaking colleagues throughout the South won’t commit to policies that are actually dedicated to the kind of justice that honors Till.

Filed under: Article, Climate & Energy, Politics
Categories: Environment

Obama’s immigration order won’t help farmworkers. What can?

Grist.org - Fri, 11/21/2014 - 19:59

Last night, Obama announced an executive order overhauling immigration policy and granting protection from deportation to some 5 million immigrants. Republicans are irate, because of course they are, but the wrath of a bunch foamy-moathed old white men is just more exhausting than anything else. A snoozefest, if you will. Let’s just not talk about it.

Let’s talk about farms instead! Hell of a segue, but bear with me. Immigration has everything to do with agriculture in the U.S. – at least as it functions today. And the fact that our agricultural system literally could not function without immigrant labor (it can’t) is a symptom of the super-cheap food system we have today.

The majority of crop workers are foreign-born, and it’s estimated – although, obviously, difficult to verify – that most of those are undocumented. Lack of documentation is equivalent to lack of rights, which means that workers put up with being paid below minimum wage and harsh and unregulated work environments (think threats, sexual harassment, exposure to chemicals). The H-2A guest worker program brings thousands of seasonal farmworkers into the country each year, primarily from Mexico, but provides almost no protection of labor rights. And many more undocumented workers come to the U.S. outside of the program.

So how will Obama’s immigration reform plan help farmworkers? Well, it won’t, really. The plan excludes anyone who has come to the U.S. illegally within the past five years. It also eases the immigration/employment process for those coming to the U.S. on H-1B visas, which largely applies to higher-education industries — in other words, not agriculture.

Sanjay Rawal is the director of Food Chains, a documentary about farmworkers in the United States, which is released in theaters today. I got to chat with him about whether Obama’s failure to address farmworkers in his immigration reform is actually a significant setback.

“Obama is not addressing the needs of agricultural workers in this country,” he agrees. “The reason why the agricultural lobby did not push for farmworkers to be included – and in essence actually fought against it – was because they said that if farmworkers get a pathway to citizenship, they will no longer work in the fields, and [farms] will lose that labor force.”

The thesis of Food Chains, essentially, is that the exploitation of migrant farmworkers is a direct result of supermarket monopsony. In short, huge supermarket chains have maintained prices at artificially low levels as the cost of producing fruits and vegetables — in terms of land and equipment — has increased. To survive, farmers have no choice but to hire very, very cheap labor.

“Over and over, we kept hearing that the problem was farmers, the problems were labor contractors, but it seemed like the issues were much more systemic,” Rawal tells me. “And when we started following the coalition, we understood that the problem was really these gigantic corporations that control the entire supply chains. And these corporations can be ruthless.”

Food Chains traces a campaign orchestrated by the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, a farmworkers’ union in Immokalee, Fla., to get the supermarket chain Publix to raise the price of each pound of tomatoes by one cent. This would double the wages paid to farmworkers, who are compensated by the amount of tomatoes they pick.

“It’s not the hard work [that’s the problem], but it’s the fact that people are treated terribly, and they’re paid very poorly,” explains Rawal. But the Fair Food Program, which originated from the CIW campaign, guarantees that large buyers — supermarket and fast food chains including Walmart, Trader Joe’s, and McDonald’s — refuse to purchase from farms that operate with known human rights violations. (For the record, Publix has refused to join the Fair Food Program.) So far, it’s been effective in raising wages and increasing quality of life for farmworkers.

“[The Fair Food Program] has circumvented this legislative vacuum, and it’s created a system — for the first time in our nation’s history — where we have farmworkers who are legally, through these contracts, required to earn a living wage and [be] treated as human beings,” says Rawal. “And that’s through the power of corporate purchasing, and ultimately through the power that consumers have over the supply chain.”

So Obama didn’t come through for farmworkers last night. Turns out, that’s not a death knell for migrant workers’ rights — as with everything in the good ol’ U S of A, corporations can have more power than government when it comes to the treatment of farmworkers! The system, however, is still very far from perfect — but as long as the agricultural lobby is so focused on preserving a minimum-cost, large-scale farming system, consumer-driven initiatives like the Fair Food Program might be the only option we have.

Watch the trailer for Food Chains below, and check to see if it’s playing in your area here.

Filed under: Food, Politics
Categories: Environment

Are your urban veggies really toxic?

Grist.org - Fri, 11/21/2014 - 19:45

Earlier this week, we reported on a study that looked at whether heavy metals in soil, including lead, were making their way into vegetables grown in urban farms and gardens. The study, out of Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, was significant because, while previous studies had looked at contamination in the soil, this was the first to look in detail at whether that contamination ended up in the produce grown there. Short answer: sometimes. But there’s more to the story.

The study, which we originally found via the New York Post (I know, I know — never again), contained some pretty alarming details. Fruit was generally lead-free, but nearly half of the root vegetables (mostly carrots) exceeded the E.U.’s healthy guidance value. Lead has been linked to some nasty side effects, like lower IQ scores in children and even higher crime rates.

But there’s a lot to love about urban farms. They provide nutrient dense foods to communities where healthy foods are hard to come by, or too expensive. Plus, urban farms can contribute to cleaner air and water, and more green space.

So lest you stop eating urban vegetables altogether, we wanted to collect a little more info on 1) just how concerned urban vegetable eaters need to be, and 2) how you can protect yourself from toxins.

First, a little more detail from the Cornell study. The researchers go out of their way to say that this study alone is not enough to warn the public off of urban vegetables. They do, however, suggest that we should become more informed on where our produce is coming from, and whether it has been tested. Here’s more from the study:

Contaminant levels found in urban garden produce were generally below health-based guidance values and consistent with levels associated with foods that can be sold legally (i.e., in Europe); therefore consumption of urban garden produce should not present a significant health hazards.

The particularly high Pb concentrations in some garden beds present a risk, but also need an opportunity for intervention and management to reduce exposure.

The Post, apparently too preoccupied with smearing urban farms and scaring the bejesus out of us all, kinda skimmed over that part. In fact, when I contacted the study’s lead author, Murray McBride, he declined to speak to me, saying in an email that “Given my recent experience with NY Post reporters, I think it’s best that I not comment further on the results.”

I did speak with David Vigil, the project director of East New York Farms, which supports approximately 50 gardeners and over a dozen community and backyard farms. Some of those gardens and farms had their produce and soil tested in the Cornell Study.

Vigil told me that the farms have soil tested every year for lead levels, and the results have always come out safe. So when the press started railing against the toxic dangers of his veggies, Vigil was put off (OK, he was royally ticked). He wrote an open letter about what’s really going on and how urban farmers are handling soil toxins. Here’s a taste:

In the past two years we have partnered with the Department of Sanitation to distribute over 5,000 bags of NYC Compost to East New York gardens, and applied over 10 cubic yards of new compost to our farm.

… We need not abandon gardens where lead is present in the soil, but we must address the problem with education, remediation, and good practices.

Vigil assured me that consumers shouldn’t be afraid to eat urban farm-grown vegetables. First, because the study didn’t point to solid enough evidence against it. Second, because “in any food stuff that we eat, pretty much, there’s some level of contamination risk that we face, be that from pesticide, herbicide, waxes — not even counting what’s in processed foods.” And third, because most urban farmers that he knows get their soil tested regularly to make sure they sell safe produce to their customers.

For a more impartial take on the issue, I turned to the real authorities on this subject — the Environmental Protection Agency. As luck would have it, the EPA released a booklet in December 2013 of “best practices” for reducing exposure to lead-contaminated soils.

If you have your soil tested and find lead levels are above recommended concentrations, the agency has a whole suite of actions you can take to be sure you’re not getting the stuff into your body, including using soil barriers and clean compost, and growing fruit rather than root vegetables (see Cornell study, above).

The New York State Department of Health, along with those same soil-researchers at Cornell, put together a list of 10 best practices for healthy gardening in and around contaminated urban soils. Here’s what they recommend:

  • Use clean soil and compost
  • Use raised beds
  • Avoid treated wood
  • Maintain soil nutrients and pH
  • Cover or mulch soil
  • Keep an eye on children
  • Leave the soil in the garden
  • Wash your hands
  • Wash and/or peel produce
  • Put a barrier under play areas

Soil in urban environments is, inevitably, going to be tainted by the surrounding environment. That doesn’t mean that you should stop eating food grown in urban gardens. It does mean you need to be a smarter consumer and/or gardener.

So if you buy your carrots from urban gardeners, by all means, keep being the good-hearted local foodie that you are. Just, for the love of your IQ score, make sure the soil has been tested. Then, if it’s clean, you need only follow a simple three-step process to safely eat your urban-grown carrots: slice, saute, enjoy.

Filed under: Article, Cities, Food
Categories: Environment

Walmart burns loads of coal, despite happy solar talk

Grist.org - Fri, 11/21/2014 - 19:34

Walmart has been strutting around decked out in solar panels lately. At an event broadcast from its Arkansas headquarters last month, the company’s top executives crowed about their pledge, made nearly a decade ago, to shift to 100 percent renewable power, while a video screened shots of glossy new solar panels behind them. Many reporters — even many environmentalists — have been marveling at the emperor’s new finery. The Wall Street Journal ran the headline “Walmart Doubles Down on Solar Energy Plans,” while the San Francisco Chronicle and The Motley Fool explained “Why Walmart Loves Solar.”

But look a little closer and this emperor’s outfit isn’t all that it appears to be.

Far off from 100 percent, only 3 percent of Walmart’s U.S. power is supplied by its renewable energy projects and special green power purchases, according to data the company submits to the EPA’s Green Power Partnership. And only one-third of that 3 percent comes from Walmart’s rooftop solar and other onsite installations.

Which begs the question: Where does the other 97 percent of Walmart’s power come from?

Here at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, we decided to take a look. And what we found is a big, filthy mountain of coal.

We don’t usually associate retail stores with dirty energy, but Walmart is in fact a massive consumer of coal-fired electricity. The company uses more electricity to power its network of U.S. retail operations and distribution centers than the residents of Alaska, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Rhode Island, and Vermont combinedIts U.S. energy use — 19,500,000 megawatt hours — equals the power consumption of every industrial facility in New Jersey and West Virginia put together.

We calculated that 40 percent of this electricity comes from burning coal; that’s actually higher than the national average. That’s a pretty damning statistic for a company that “Loves Solar.”

We calculated that Walmart consumed 7.8 billion kilowatt hours of coal-fired electricity in 2013. That works out to 4.2 million tons of coal. Having trouble wrapping your mind around that number? Here’s some help: If you were to ship all of this coal by rail, the resulting train would stretch for 420 miles, the distance from Washington, D.C., to Boston. If you filled a football stadium 35 feet high with coal, from end zone to end zone, that would power Walmart’s U.S. stores for just a week. If Walmart gave away all the coal it consumes for Christmas, every child in America would wake up to find 126 pounds of coal in their stocking.

Walmart’s much-promoted renewable energy initiatives have barely made a dent in its appetite for dirty electricity. This is partly because they are so meager relative to the company’s huge size, and partly because they are in the wrong places. More than 90 percent of Walmart’s clean energy — including both its on-site installations and its purchases of renewable power — is produced and consumed in places where coal comprises a smaller-than-average share of the power Walmart’s stores are pulling from the local grid. More than half of the company’s solar panels are in California alone, a state where grid electricity is relatively free of coal-generated power.

Meanwhile, in states like Missouri and Illinois, where coal-fired electricity is plentiful and cheap, Walmart has no solar panels or green power contracts.

Why some states and not others? Only one factor governs Walmart’s energy choices: “Always Low Prices.” The company buys the cheapest power it can get. In limited circumstances, on the margins of its power needs, that means it will buy solar, or wind, or biogas. In California, for example, where electricity rates for commercial users are significantly higher than in other states, Walmart has found that contracting with fuel-cell and rooftop-solar companies for electricity at select locations is cheaper than relying exclusively on the grid.

This rabid imperative to minimize costs also explains why Walmart’s share of renewable power actually fell from 4 percent to 3 percent over the last two years. As wind prices inched up in Texas, Walmart slashed its green power purchases, causing its use of clean energy to plummet by over 200,000 megawatt hours annually, or more than one-quarter, between 2011 and 2013.

Many competing retailers are way ahead of Walmart in making the shift to clean energy. In Missouri, for example, where Walmart draws most of its electricity from an aging fleet of coal plants that are poisoning the air and water daily, we found examples of small businesses that are getting almost all of their power from rooftop solar. Many national chains are doing more than Walmart, too. Ikea, for example, has installed solar on more than 90 percent of its stores, many in heavy coal-using states.

Publicly, Walmart promotes itself as a new energy pioneer, but when talking to investors, it is more forthcoming about the limits of its interest in renewable power. “The only [solar] projects that we were doing are the ones that economically make sense at the store level,” Marty Gilbert, Walmart’s director of energy, told Bloomberg News in 2012.

Perhaps most offensive of all, Walmart generously supports politicians who fight to keep the dirty energy status quo in place. In the 2012 election cycle, more than half of the candidates that received contributions from Walmart’s PAC voted with fossil fuel industry interests all of the time, according to Oil Change International’s vote-tracking tool. These foot soldiers march under the banner of climate denial by voting for bills that would block the EPA’s ability to regulate pollution from coal-fired power plants and otherwise slow the transition to a clean energy future.

While Walmart’s solar initiatives have done little to cut its carbon footprint – which has only grown over the last decade – they have provided a major boost to the company’s public image. For Walmart, sustainability is not about the environment; it’s a growth strategy. Walmart now occupies more of the U.S. landscape and controls a larger share of the economy than it did 10 years ago. It’s added more than 800 new stores since 2005, many in regions previously hostile to the company’s expansion, like the West and Northeast. It’s time we see this emperor for what it is: a giant, powerful, profit-obsessed fat cat taking advantage of our climate, our livelihoods, and our communities. It’s time it put on some real clothes.

Filed under: Article, Business & Technology, Climate & Energy
Categories: Environment

Natural Bamboo Flooring From BambooIndustry.com Sells Well In The...

PR Web - Fri, 11/21/2014 - 19:04

BambooIndustry.com is a well-known bamboo flooring factory and wholesaler; today the business announces its natural bamboo flooring’s sales turnover has increased a lot in the past few months.

(PRWeb November 21, 2014)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/11/prweb12324685.htm

Categories: Environment