U.S. Population Fatness Threatens Global Environmental Sustainability

We all know that the world’s ever growing population is putting a massive strain on the Earth’s finite resources.  After all, the world’s current human population is 7 billion and is expected to rise to between 8.9 and 10.5 billion by the year 2050.  Compare this to the 350 million people on the planet at the end of the Great Famine and the Black Death of 1350 and it becomes truly striking how many more mouths have to be fed, shelters need to be built, and fresh water must be retrieved (among numerous other resources) today versus less than 700 hundred years ago.  Homo Sapiens have been around for hundreds of thousands of years, but there have simply never been so many people.

Earth

Those figures are nothing new and what I’ve just written certainly isn’t groundbreaking.  However, what might foster a new perspective on population growth is that it’s not just the number of humans that matter when it comes to environmental sustainability, it’s how much we all weigh.  Recent research published in BioMed Central’s open access journal BMC Public Health has estimated total mass of the human population, defined its distribution by region, and the proportion of this biomass due to those who are overweight and obese.

Increased mass equates to higher energy requirements simply because it takes more energy to move a heavy body and more food to sustain that size.  Even while resting, a bigger body needs more calories than a smaller one. 

Employing data from the United Nations and World Health Organization, researchers from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine have concluded that the adult human population weights over 316 million tons, of which 7 million tons are due to the overweight and 4 million tons to the obese. The average body mass globally was 137 pounds, yet the average body mass in the United Statues was 178 pounds. This is quite an increase in weight! Startlingly, the United States has 6% of the world’s population but 34% of the world’s biomass due to obesity.  In contrast, Asia has 61% of the world’s population but only 13% of the world’s biomass due to obesity.   

If all countries had the same average BMI as the United States, the total human biomass would increase by 64 million tons, which is the equivalent of the addition of 935 million people of world average body mass.  This study makes it clear that we need to begin thinking about population growth and population fatness if we are to effectively address this impending pickle of too few resources on a planet that cannot cater to the growing demands we place on it.

Foods that promote fatness tend to be the same foods that are most environmentally unsustainable.  Vegans, on average, are slimmer than omnivores and meat requires much more energy to produce than plant foods.  Professor Vaclav Smil of the University of Manitoba, Canada conducted research showing that beef cattle raised on factory farms convert as little as 2.5% of their gross feed energy into food for human consumption.  So, being fat raises resource requirements per person as does the production of foods that incline individuals towards obesity. Given that most livestock are fed human-edible grains that could be used to feed hungry people (there are currently 1 billion people lacking enough food to eat), this is especially damning.  Livestock production exceeds 21 billion animals each year and when the simple math is done, this means that there are more than three and a half times as many animals killed for human consumption than there are humans on the planet. A report by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has shown that livestock are now consuming six times more food than dinosaurs ever did.1

So, not only is being overweight or obese bad for our health, the growing demand for meat (and tragic for all those animals) is bad for the health of the planet. When we think about environmental sustainability and how we want to leave planet Earth for future generations, we need to begin thinking about what foods we are eating and how much.  I discussed population fatness in this article, but didn’t even touch upon black carbon, nitrous oxide, methane, carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases released from raising livestock and the strong link between factory farming, and the rate of global temperature rise.  The same foods that are healthiest for us are also healthiest for the planet. Some people reading this blog might only be interested in health and not environmental sustainability or animals. But these issues go hand in hand; we cannot expect ourselves and our children to live a long and healthy life without a healthy planet to sustain us.   We are all in the same bed together and the health of our planet requires a change in eating habits of all, especially in America. 



1. UNFAO (2006). Livestock’s Long Shadow. UN Food and Agriculture Organization (UNFAO). Retrieved from: ftp://ftp.fao.org/docrep/fao/010/a0701e/a0701e00.pdf

Red meat: consider your health, and the environment's as well?

A large, long-term study from Harvard School of Public Health published last week confirmed what we already know – red meat is a disease-promoting food whose consumption leads to premature death.1 This is an important study because of its lengthy follow-up time, distinction between unprocessed and processed red meats, and findings of a dose-response relationship between red meat intake and risk of death – in short, the authors concluded each daily serving of unprocessed red meat increased risk by 13% and processed meat by 20%. However, the bottom line “red meat increases risk of mortality” certainly isn’t news. This is not the first study to link meat consumption to premature death, and it certainly will not be the last.1-5

Of interest though, is the accompanying commentary by Dean Ornish, M.D., a respected and widely known figure in lifestyle medicine. In his comment, Dr. Ornish leaves the physician-sanctioned territory of human health and nutrition makes a call to action to reduce red meat consumption to protect the health of our planet, not just ourselves:6

“In addition to their health benefits, the food choices we make each day affect other important areas as well. What is personally sustainable is globally sustainable. What is good for you is good for our planet...
… choosing to eat more plant-based foods and less red meat is better for all of us—ourselves, our loved ones, and our planet. In short, don't have a cow!”>6

We already know that red meat is a contributory factor in the development of cancer7 – plus, we know from epidemiologic findings from rural areas that the etiology of this relationship will not be negated by eating grass-fed beef.8-13 We know that heme iron is an oxidant that accumulates in the body over time, contributing to cardiovascular disease and dementia.14,15 We know that heme iron and proteins in meats form N-nitroso compounds in the digestive tract that can damage cellular DNA, potentially leading to stomach and colorectal cancers.16-18 We know that cooking meats (all meats, not just red meat) at high temperatures forms carcinogens called heterocyclic amines.19 Plus, we are now finding that chronic inflammation results from newly discovered compounds such as Neu5Gc, which accumulate from eating red meat.20 Furthermore, higher levels of meats (animal protein) lead to higher circulating levels of IGF-1 that promote cell division and fuel growth of cancerous cells.21,22 These issues related to heme iron and animal protein will also not be resolved by simply switching to grass-fed beef.

The “red meat is good for you” slogan is dead – its proponents don’t have a scientific leg to stand on. Atkins, Dukan, Sugar Busters, Weston Price, and all the other meat-promoting and protecting people need to keep out of this discussion and finally stop protesting and promoting death. Now, the new question has become: are red meat consumers and promoters destroying our environment also?

There is certainly no need to debate the health issues any further. With global livestock production expected to double by 2050,23 now is the time for the public to become better aware of the environmental impact of consuming meat. Dr. Ornish brings up these important points regarding the impact of animal agriculture on our environment:

  • Greenhouse gas emissions: The livestock sector generates more greenhouse gas emissions than transportation – about 18% of total emissions; emissions include carbon dioxide and to a greater extent, methane and nitrous oxide, which are considered to be more harmful than carbon dioxide.
  • Deforestation: Currently, animal agriculture uses 30% of the Earth’s land surface, and 70% of forests in the Amazon are no longer forests – they have become grazing land for livestock, resulting in depletion of wildlife and natural ecosystems.
  • Use of resources and energy: Almost 40% of the world’s grain (and over 50% in the U.S.) is fed to livestock and 33% of arable land on Earth is devoted to growing feed for livestock. The production of 1 pound of beef requires almost 20,000 liters of water, and is a significant contributor to water pollution.6,23

What do you think?
Especially considering red meat is harmful to human health, and to our environment do you agree with Dr. Ornish? Should all of us, including informed physicians make it our responsibility to promote dietary change for environmental reasons as well, or should we doctors stick to health and medical topics?

 

 

References:

1. Pan A, Sun Q, Bernstein AM, et al: Red Meat Consumption and Mortality: Results From 2 Prospective Cohort Studies. Arch Intern Med 2012.
2. Sinha R, Cross AJ, Graubard BI, et al: Meat intake and mortality: a prospective study of over half a million people. Arch Intern Med 2009;169:562-571.
3. Major JM, Cross AJ, Doubeni CA, et al: Socioeconomic deprivation impact on meat intake and mortality: NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study. Cancer Causes Control 2011;22:1699-1707.
4. Key TJ, Fraser GE, Thorogood M, et al: Mortality in vegetarians and nonvegetarians: detailed findings from a collaborative analysis of 5 prospective studies. Am J Clin Nutr 1999;70:516S-524S.
5. Fraser GE: Associations between diet and cancer, ischemic heart disease, and all-cause mortality in non-Hispanic white California Seventh-day Adventists. Am J Clin Nutr 1999;70:532S-538S.
6. Ornish D: Holy Cow! What's Good For You Is Good For Our Planet: Comment on "Red Meat Consumption and Mortality". Arch Intern Med 2012.
7. Continuous Update Project Interim Report Summary. Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity, and the Prevention of Colorectal Cancer. . World Cancer Research Fund / American Institute for Cancer Research.; 2011.
8. Campbell TC, Parpia B, Chen J: Diet, lifestyle, and the etiology of coronary artery disease: the Cornell China study. Am J Cardiol 1998;82:18T-21T.
9. Campbell TC, Junshi C: Diet and chronic degenerative diseases: perspectives from China. Am J Clin Nutr 1994;59:1153S-1161S.
10. Esselstyn CB, Jr.: Is the present therapy for coronary artery disease the radical mastectomy of the twenty-first century? Am J Cardiol 2010;106:902-904.
11. Strom A, Jensen RA: Mortality from circulatory diseases in Norway 1940-1945. Lancet 1951;1:126-129.
12. Gjonca A, Bobak M: Albanian paradox, another example of protective effect of Mediterranean lifestyle? Lancet 1997;350:1815-1817.
13. Helsing E: Traditional diets and disease patterns of the Mediterranean, circa 1960. Am J Clin Nutr 1995;61:1329S-1337S.
14. Brewer GJ: Iron and copper toxicity in diseases of aging, particularly atherosclerosis and Alzheimer's disease. Exp Biol Med 2007;232:323-335.
15. Brewer GJ: Risks of copper and iron toxicity during aging in humans. Chem Res Toxicol 2010;23:319-326.
16. WCRF/AICR Expert Report, Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity and the Prevention of Cancer: a Global Perspective. pp. 93: World Cancer Research Fund:93.
17. Lunn JC, Kuhnle G, Mai V, et al: The effect of haem in red and processed meat on the endogenous formation of N-nitroso compounds in the upper gastrointestinal tract. Carcinogenesis 2007;28:685-690.
18. Kuhnle GG, Story GW, Reda T, et al: Diet-induced endogenous formation of nitroso compounds in the GI tract. Free Radic Biol Med 2007;43:1040-1047.
19. Zheng W, Lee S-A: Well-Done Meat Intake, Heterocyclic Amine Exposure, and Cancer Risk. Nutr Cancer 2009;61:437-446.
20. Padler-Karavani V, Yu H, Cao H, et al: Diversity in specificity, abundance, and composition of anti-Neu5Gc antibodies in normal humans: potential implications for disease. Glycobiology 2008;18:818-830.
21. Thissen JP, Ketelslegers JM, Underwood LE: Nutritional regulation of the insulin-like growth factors. Endocr Rev 1994;15:80-101.
22. Kaaks R: Nutrition, insulin, IGF-1 metabolism and cancer risk: a summary of epidemiological evidence. Novartis Found Symp 2004;262:247-260; discussion 260-268.
23. Livestock's Long Shadow: Environmental Issues and Options. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations; 2006.

 

Eat that hamburger and you are supporting global warming

 

There are a lot of reasons to stop eating meat.  Improving our health is a large one given the association between meat consumption and chronic, life-threatening diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and various cancers.  Every time we choose to fill our plates with plant foods instead of animal products, we are doing our bodies a huge service both in the short and long term.  However, most people don’t realize how forgoing a steak, hamburger or piece of chicken is enormously protective against the warming of the planet and the destruction of the rain forests.  The evidence has become overwhelming that global warming is happening and it is happening fast, and we humans are largely responsible.  Limiting meat consumption around the world is the number one solution recommended by scientists to slow and potentially tackle this issue that will undoubtedly impose devastating consequences if we do not take realistic actions to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

 

Cows. Flickr: Joost J Bakker IJmuiden

 

The World Preservation Foundation is an organization based in the United Kingdom devoted to researching the most effective means to reduce global warming urgently.  The primary conclusion of the prestigious scientists studying this issue is that over fifty percent of all human caused greenhouse gas emissions are from livestock raising (and the dietary patterns that drive it). This figure was derived from a 2009 report from the Worldwatch Institute in addition to the United Nations’ famous report, Livestock’s Long Shadow, which argues that livestock farming is one of the most significant contributors to this serious environmental problem.1 This means that a 50 percent reduction in livestock products worldwide could result in a minimum 25 percent reduction in GHG emissions.2 Those are huge figures! Imagine what we could accomplish if we all ate less meat.  Unfortunately meat consumption is still rising throughout the world.

Why is the production of animal meat from factory farms so detrimental to our planet? Livestock farming contributes methane, ozone, black carbon and nitrous oxide to the environment, as well as carbon dioxide.  These gases warm the planet rapidly, which will result in ever more challenging environmental problems if we do not take action to limit emissions.  For instance, methane interacts with aerosols in the atmosphere and becomes 28 times stronger than carbon dioxide over the course of a century to increase the global warming process.  Additionally, the potency of methane to carbon dioxide increases over time, trapping 100 times more heat over 5 years.  Also note, scientists have shown that black carbon (aka soot) is responsible for 45 percent of the warming of the Artic.  Black carbon is 680 times as heat-trapping as carbon dioxide and it causes ice sheets and glaciers around the world to melt even faster.3  Brazilian researchers have found black carbon in the most rapidly warming areas of Antarctica, where 50 percent is related to the burning of trees in the Amazon, and 40 percent to the livestock industry.4

How does livestock create black carbon? It actually comes from animal waste produced on factory farms, waste processing, and the burning of vegetation to accommodate crops used to feed livestock.  NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies reports that cutting black carbon produced from biofuels like wood or dung could help reduce the estimated 1.5 million premature deaths per year attributed to biofuel soot.5

In addition to the above statistics, there really are so many environmental consequences to eating meat that we don’t think about as we peruse the aisles of the grocery store.  For example, the raising of animals for food production sacrifices much more land than would the amount of land used to grow fruits, vegetables, and other plant crops.  We are now clearing acres upon acres of the rainforest to feed the growing demand for animal products in developing nations.  Not only does this cleared land sacrifice the original forest and its capacity to sequester carbon in trees or in the soil, but these lost trees sacrifice a tragic amount of plant and animal species.  It is truly sad to imagine the loss of life in the rainforest due to human inflicted degradation. Statistically we are talking big numbers: two thirds of the plant and animal species on earth reside in tropical forests, of which 5 million acres are destroyed every year releasing 2 billion tons of CO2 into the atmosphere, contributing 20-to 25% of global warming.These dense forests are the “lungs of the earth” and our healthy survival is potentially dependent on their existence. 

Not eating meat or reducing our consumption is highly protective to our health, but we all should take note that we are doing a huge service to the planet and posterity by avoiding meat and sharing meat-free meals with our families and friends.  Check out www.worldpreservationfoundation.org for more information.

 

References:

1. Livestock’s Long Shadow, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 2006.

2. Livestock and Climate Change, Robert Goodland and Jeff Anhang, Worldwatch Institute, November/December 2009

3. A number of studies have addressed this issue, particularly those by Professor Heitor Evangelista and colleagues of Janeiro State University in Brazil, Professor Mark Jackson of the University of California at Berkeley, Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth. See news reports by Lauren Morello, “Cutting Soot Emissions May Slow Climate Change in the Arctic,” Scientific American, August 2, 2010,http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=cutting-soot-emissions-may-slow-climatechange-in-the-arctic as well as by Randy Boswell, “Soot Is Second Leading Cause of Climate Change: Study,” Ottawa Citizen, August 1, 2010,http://www.ottawacitizen.com/technology/Soot+second+leading+cause+

 

climate+change+study/3349011/story.html?cid=megadrop_story#ixzz0vekfEf8s

 

4. Aerosols May Drive a Significant Portion of Arctic Warming,

Adam Voiland, NASA’s Earth Science News Team, August 2009

The Cattle Realm report, Roberto Smeraldi, Amzônia Brasileira (Friends of the Earth– Brazilian Amazon) 2008

5. Jacobson, M. Z. (2010), Short-term effects of controlling fossil-fuel soot, biofuel soot and gases, and methane on climate, Arctic ice, and air pollution health, J. Geophys. Res.115, D14209, doi:10.1029/2009JD013795.

6. Statistic from: www.worldpreservationfoundation.org

 

 

How Much Rainforest Do You Eat?

Although vegetarians and vegans all have the avoidance of meat eating in common, their reasons for eschewing animal products are diverse. After all, in addition to the health benefits from abstaining from meat, many are motivated by animal suffering and certainly there are compelling environmental reasons. Meat-free followers of Dr. Fuhrman obviously do it for health reasons or a combination of health reasons and other motivations. I respect my father for providing information on nutrition and nutrition alone, without animal welfare or environmental motivations, as that is not his field of expertise.

However, I think it would be wonderful, perhaps even a necessity, if everyone understood the powerful connection our own health has with the health of the planet and the animals we share it with. My last post discussed the relationship between meat production, global warming, and world hunger. I learned much of this information at a global warming conference conducted by the World Preservation Foundation based in London. Let’s all open our eyes to the possibility here that this information may be critical for all of us.Rainforest.  Flickr: Webbaliah

It is no secret that the rainforests of the Earth are a truly magical, natural wonder. It also happens to be a place that we are massively, rapidly, and irreversibly destroying. The rainforest is home to intricate ecosystems and more unique plants and animal species than anywhere else in the world.

Amazingly, two-thirds of all known plant and animal species are found in the rainforest while rainforests themselves cover just 2 percent of the Earth’s surface. Not only are rainforests home to countless plants and animals, but they are literally the “lungs of the Earth”. Rainforests are the single greatest terrestrial source of the oxygen in the air that we breathe. Keep this information in mind while reading the following statistics about how quickly we are destroying it to meet global demands for meat:

  1. We are currently facing one of the greatest mass extinctions ever to occur on Earth. Over 30 percent of the biodiversity on this planet has been lost since 1970. In the tropics, we’ve already lost over 60 percent of its biodiversity. A study conducted by the United Nations found that the rate of current plant and animal extinctions is over 1000 times the natural rate of extinction. This is by no means a natural phenomenon. The majority of these extinctions are due to abolition of the rainforest in order to grow soy and corn to feed livestock.
  2. Brazil is the largest beef industry in the world; the country produces roughly 7 million metric tons of beef every year from a total population of 165 million cattle.
  3. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), 91 percent of the Amazon rainforest that has been destroyed since 1970 can be attributed to cattle raising, including the growing of feed crops
  4. Rampant deforestation for cattle-raising is becoming popular in Central America. Since 1960, more than 25 percent of the area’s rainforests have been cleared for pastures alone.
  5. The United States is the largest beef importer in the world, importing beef from Uruguay, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Brazil and most recently, Costa Rica. Many US livestock companies are reported to have purchased tracks of rainforest in Costa Rica for cattle-raising, which is sold back as beef to the United States.
  6. The Cerrado, or Brazilian Savannah, is home to 5% of global biodiversity, but is being rapidly converted into farmland used to produce soy to feed agricultural animals. 400 square kilometers of the Cerrado is cut down each year to meet beef demands in the UK alone.
  7. Overstocking and overgrazing leaves the land depleted of most nutrients, which accelerates desertification. Chopping down the irreplaceable and wonderfully gargantuan rainforest trees results in the abolition of our huge carbon dioxide conversion tank and the world’s primary oxygen supply.
  8. If global warming rates continue as they currently are, within a few decades the earth’s temperature will rise 3.5 degrees C. This will be enough to complete destroy the Amazon Rainforest and further accelerate the rate of global warming, the melting of the ice caps and the rise of sea level, obliterating costal human habitats.

For those of you who have commented, “I don’t believe in global warming.”
I wish you could have been there to see live satellite photos of thousands of square miles of the forest up in smoke, with huge clouds of black soot rising into the clouds. The amount of oxygen-producing forests that already have been decimated is clearly measurable and not a belief option. Why would one deny this exists, that humans contribute to it or that the ice masses are melting? It is not a myth that humans are destroying the natural habitats, and the species of plant life that are important for the health of our planet and that this, among other human activities, contributes to global warming.

I realize there are people who have an opposing view, but the increasing demands for meat-eating by formerly underdeveloped, highly populated nations, could dramatically increase the rate of destruction of the forest, over-utilize limited fresh water supplies, and dramatically add to pollution, in addition to increasing carbon dioxide and the gradual warming of the planet.

As I write this, I think of the movie Wall-E, in which the Earth became one big wasteland and the obese, lazy humans of the future have to move to a spaceship because planet Earth is no longer hospitable. I do not speak for my father, but as a young adult interested in the future of this world, clearly, saying no to meat-eating is a simple change that we can all make to protect the world’s precious natural resources. Maybe we’ll save a few human lives too in the process.

The environmental consequences of our dietary choices

Earlier this month I was given the opportunity to accompany my father (Dr. Fuhrman) to an international global warming conference held by The World Preservation Foundation in London. I knew that attending the conference would enlighten me about how the food choices we make influence not just our own health, but in a much broader sense, contribute to the earth’s “well-being”. At the conference, members of British Parliament convened with scientists, physicians and experts from around the world to share their expertise and enlighten attendees, and people tuning in on the internet and their television sets about measures we can take to preserve the earth’s resources and avert global warming. It was clear from the outset why my father was invited to speak, for those organizing the conference were well aware of how minimizing or eliminating the consumption of animal foods is essential to save the planet from the daunting environmental catastrophes we currently face. If these sobering statistics touch you the way they touched me, they will make you even more impassioned about making the choice to eat predominantly vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds and avoid animal products. The foods you put in your mouth today really do influence the world of tomorrow. Here are some of the facts about meat production I learned at the conference: 

1)     Raising livestock and their by-products account for at least 32.6 billion tons of carbon dioxide equivalents per year, or 51 percent of annual worldwide green house gas (GHG) emissions. 

2)     Thirty percent of the entire land surface of Earth is devoted to livestock production, including plants used to feed the livestock.

3)     Replacing meat with plant-derived sources of calories and protein could reduce the land area required to feed the human population by more than 80 percent and recover about 25 percent of the landfor restoration, solar energy capture, or other eco-friendly purposes.

4)     Between 23-30 percent of our global ecological footprint comes from agriculture, primarily livestock production.

5)     Beef takes 70 times more land to produce than vegetables.

6)     80 percent of the world’s soy production is consumed by livestock.

7)     About 50 percent of the world’s grain supply is used to feed livestock. This is while almost 11 million children who live in the countries where these feed grains are grown, die ironically of hunger each year.

8)     In 2009, for the first time, the number of people suffering from hunger exceeded 1 billion. This doesn’t include people facing hunger shortages from natural disasters.

9)     If all 6.78 billion people on Earth began consuming as many animal products as residents of the United States, we would need over 3 planet Earths to meet the demand. If all people on Earth became vegetarians, less than one Earth would be needed to meet food demands.

 

The land and resources required in the production of animal products is startling.   It is sad to think about how many people are starving in the world, while most of the soy, wheat, and corn grown around the globe are fed to livestock.

Earth

I learned so much more at the conference, such as how global warming is melting the ice caps and raising ocean levels and the destruction this will have on our world in the future. I learned more about the essential nature of the Amazon Rainforest as the “lungs of the earth” and how livestock production is fueling continual and rapid deforestation via burning of the rain forests to prep the land for animal feed crops, and how this contributes to the emission of black carbon (soot) in the air that is deposited via wind currents in Antarctica, accelerating the melting. I also became aware of the world’s current water shortages, how much water is used in the production of meat and how our oceans are rapidly being depleted of fish. I began writing about many of these things to include in this post, but this resulted in pages and pages of jaw dropping facts.   I hope to include more about what I learned at the conference in future posts. 

Even though I learned that much land, water, and energy is used to produce meat and the destructive affects this has on our environment, I remain hopeful that the accelerating destruction of our world’s ecology can be turned around. If people understood the big picture: how animal products contribute to chronic disease, is torturous to animals, and hurtful to our planet I think most would willingly make the change to a plant-based diet. The key to solving this problem, just like solving most health problems, is knowledge. 

Green-News: Wednesday 7.22.09

  • We might be underestimating the problems with our environment. Here are a list of environmental problems that may be much worse than we thought; chemical contamination, air pollution, habitat loss, water crisis, desertification, ocean acidification and excessive trash and garbage; via Earth First.

 

  • Wal-Mart will soon slap labels on all products carried in its stores displaying the items eco-rating which measures its environmental friendliness. To determine the rating, Wal-Mart will ask suppliers to answer questions about their product, such as how it is package and manufactured; from Green Tech.

 

 

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Kurt's Big Giant Tomato!

Before I planted this year’s garbage tomato in the spring, I grew a bunch of sprouts from the seeds I saved from last year’s tomato. By the time I was ready to plant, I had ten sprouts! But I had to give some away. I’m barely smart enough to grow one tomato.

My mom and grandmother each got tomato—each on is thriving—and I also gave some out to my fellow employees. A few of them died, just like the very first plant I stuck in the ground, but my buddy Kurt is raising a monster tomato, even without the garbage!

Green-News: Wednesday 7.15.09

 

  • Dr. Fuhrman’s friend and veggie advocate, Heather Mills, has opened an organic vegan cafe in Hove Lagoon in West Sussex in the United Kingdom, called The Vbites Café. Heather is a big proponent of a meat-free life and may soon launch her own line of frozen vegan faux-meat foods; TreeHugger explains.

 

  • Electric cars are already very popular in Europe, but experts speculate the sales of electric cars in the U.S. could jump 86%, by 2030. Now, the cost of battery charging systems may exceed $320 billion over the next few decades, but the healthy-savings due to less pollution could save us $210 billion; Reuters reports.
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Green-News: Wednesday 7.8.09

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Green-News: Wednesday 7.1.09

  • Would you pay $175 a year to fight global warming? I think I would. That’s what experts say new climate change legislation will cost the average household each year. The $175 comes from the increased cost of doing business and higher sticker price for consumer products—like cars and refrigerators—but many households can expect rebates; via The Daily Green.
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