American Wasteland by Jonathan Bloom

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If you’re like most people, you were probably shocked by a report released earlier this year that found that up to half of the world’s food is wasted. When hundreds of millions of people go hungry every day, how is this possible?

This is just one of many questions that journalist Jonathan Bloom explores in his book American Wasteland. Every day, Americans waste enough food to fill the Rose Bowl stadium in Pasadena, Calif. Bloom opens American Wasteland with this sobering statistic, and it just gets more depressing from there.

Depending on whom you ask, we squander between one quarter and one half of all the food produced in this country (40 percent is the figure that’s often used). Fruits and vegetables are allowed to rot on farms when the price for a particular crop would be less than the cost of harvesting it. Grocery stores throw out perfectly edible food that has reached its “sell-by” date (which is not the same as an “eat-by” date). Consumers let food go bad in the fridge—on average, we each waste 25 percent of the food that we bring into our homes—or leave half-eaten entrées behind at restaurants. Much of this wasted food ends up decaying in landfills, spewing out methane gas….

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FOOD FIGHT! – Hip Hop Video Teaches Dangers of Processed Foods

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In FOOD FIGHT!, a video released early this morning by filmmaker Ben Zolno (New Message Media), a boy runs for his life after witnessing a murder in a convenience store. This murder, however, isn’t done with conventional weapons but with junk food.

What ensues is a life-and-death struggle as citizens of the boy’s community come together to fight against the snack foods that fill store shelves by brandishing real food. It’s a comedic musical, but the message is far from funny: We are dying from the foods we eat while the corporations that manufacture, market, and sell them to us get rich at our expense.

Odd as the story setup is, the battle between healthy and disease-inducing foods is a reality; with every bite and sip we take, we determine how long we will live and how healthy we will be.

I can almost hear readers saying, “Well, that’s obvious.” If it’s so obvious, why is the U.S. (and much of the world) in a health crisis of obesity? Is it just that we have no self-control? Or does much of the problem lie in the “foods” themselves? …

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The Cruelty-Free Cosmetics Mystery: What’s With All the Labels?

December 8, 2012 by  
Filed under Beauty Products, Blog, Front Page, Slideshow, Take Action, Vegan

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Like a lot of people, the thought of applying cosmetics that were once slathered into rabbits’ eyes or forced down rats’ throats makes me want to make a mad dash for the makeup remover. But navigating the sea of cosmetics and decoding their labels to figure out which were and which were not tested on animals can seem tougher than getting “Call Me Maybe” out of your head. So I looked into some of the most common labels found on cosmetics, and here’s what I found…

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Baby Gourmet Organic Baby Food – Recommended by Carter

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We really enjoyed the Baby Gourmet Organic Baby Food. Kyle and I tried a little of each kind of the food, and we were happily surprised with the great taste. Each variety had lots of flavor and a nice consistency, with a little more chunkiness than other brands we’ve tried.

Baby Gourmet also has so much more taste than the generic, non-organic foods we usually feed Carter. I also really liked that we could see and taste actual chunks of food. The chunks were very small, so they were baby-safe.

Carter LOVED the baby apple crisp food the best (although he ate all the other flavors just as well). He would smile with each bite of the apple crisp. We could smell and taste the apples and cinnamon in that flavor—it was like real apple crisp! …

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Mississippi River Distilling Company’s “Grain to Glass” Philosophy Fills Niche in Iowa

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When the Burchett brothers first started talking about the idea of starting their own micro-distillery, they didn’t have much experience. Now, more than a year after its opening, the Mississippi River Distilling Company boasts locally made and award-winning spirits.

Located in LeClaire, Iowa, just above the banks of the Mississippi River, the micro-distillery has been in operation since December of 2010. Ryan and Garrett Burchett honed their skills for distilling by visiting and researching the craft in Germany, eventually bringing back what they learned to their home state of Iowa….

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VeeV Greens the Liquor Industry with Sustainable Spirits Made from Acai

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When brothers Courtney and Carter Reum decided to launch a spirits company, they were open to different possibilities—but one element of the concept was a certainty. “We knew it would include a sustainability component,” Courtney Reum says. “Nobody was doing anything sustainable in alcohol. There was a lack of innovation. So we realized we had a chance to do something really unique.”

The brothers resigned their positions as investment bankers with Goldman Sachs and set out to “green” the liquor industry.

That was four years and more than 500,000 bottles ago. Since the first 7,500-bottle batch of VeeV Acai Spirit™ came off the line at Rigby, Idaho-based Distilled Resources Inc., this duo has racked up some pretty compelling eco-cred….

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Organic Winemakers: Napa Valley’s Stewards of the Land

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The story of ZD Wines is a family saga—a family as principled about the environment as it is dedicated to wine making.

It’s evident as soon as you pull into the parking lot, where, you’ll note, everyone on staff drives a hybrid. “Except our CEO,” Dustin Moilanen, the vineyard’s hospitality director, explains. Winemaster Robert deLeuze’s car is all-electric. “He plugs it in at his solar-powered home, so his commute to work is completely ‘green.’ ”

For the ride home, he can charge up at the winery, where 712 solar panels generate more electricity than the entire facility can use. “The excess is returned to the grid,” Molainen assures his visitors….

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Eating for Health – Wahls Diet Fights Multiple Sclerosis

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In 2000, her doctor diagnosed Terry Wahls with secondary progressive multiple sclerosis (MS), a disease that was steadily robbing her of the independence she treasured. A former Tae Kwondo instructor and marathon runner, the loss of mobility was devastating. For four years, she required a tilt-recline wheelchair to conduct the affairs of her daily life. […]

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Green Cooking – Kitchen Efficiency Tips and Tricks

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Many of us spend a lot of time in our kitchens, but at what costs? Consider this:

* The kitchen uses the most energy of any room in the home.
* It can cost a lot of energy, time, and money just to make one meal, depending on how you make it.
* Outdated kitchen appliances can waste a lot of water and power; they can also produce large amounts of CO2 emissions….

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Try This Delicious Anti-Aging Tea from Supple Skin

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For most of the past decade, I’ve been a coffee lover. As a former road warrior, I frequented a lot of city coffee shops and drank my share of airport coffee. But I’ve found something new to quench my thirst and soothe my spirit: La La’s Tea from Supple Skin. It’s filled with “Anti-Aging Antioxidants” that are not only healthy, but also delicious. Fancy that: a beverage that tastes good and does good for your body at the same time….

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Love Those Fruits and Veggies – When They’re Safe to Eat

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Hungry? How about a juicy peach? Imported grapes are sooo delicious. Apples are yummy. And cherries are a snack straight from Paradise.

Or not.

Fact is, every one of those conventionally raised, scrumptious food choices is laden with pesticides — dozens of different pesticide chemicals. According to an article on About.com, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) compiled information about pesticides “from approximately 96,000 studies by the USDA and FDA of the 49 fruits and vegetables listed between 2000 and 2008.” EWG then created a handy Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides, which lists the “Dirty Dozen” and the “Clean Fifteen.”

When I first read EWG’s list last year, I was more than a little chagrined to see many of my favorite foods listed in the Dirty Dozen. I truly love 11 of the 12 foods: “peaches, strawberries, apples, blueberries, nectarines, bell peppers, spinach, kale, cherries, potatoes, grapes.” (I’m not so crazy about celery.) These are many of the foods I most enjoy. And being almost-entirely a vegetarian, they’re foods I depend on for their nutrient value — especially kale….

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Top Ten Must-See Environmental Films

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There are some fantastic films on the environment, but it can often be difficult to find the truly great ones. To make your life a little bit easier, here is a list of ten fantastic, eye-opening movies for any individual passionate about saving our planet. 10. Tapped, 2009 Director Stephanie Soechtig’s examination of the bottled […]

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My 5: Analiese Paik, Fairfield Green Food Guide, Founder

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Analiese Paik is the founder of Fairfield Green Food Guide, which serves Fairfield County, Connecticut. Through her appearances on Good Morning, Connecticut, she is increasingly becoming the go-to resource for local food events and sources throughout the state of Connecticut.

We asked Paik to answer our two favorite questions. Her responses appear below. — Julia Wasson, Publisher

BPGL: What are the five most important things we can do to save the planet?

PAIK: Immediately adjust your attitude to one where your daily choices, not those of governments or big businesses, become the focus of your efforts to green your life….

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9 Months – 11 Buckets of Dirt

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There are many things in life that require patience: the growth of an embryo into a full-term baby, the long slog through a school year, the development of seedlings into luscious tomatoes … and the turning of garbage into rich, healthy soil.

In July of 2009, Joe built a compost bin in our backyard. It was a relatively simple structure that cost less than $100 (it could have been nearly free, if I hadn’t Freecycled the “extra” cinder blocks we thought we wouldn’t need again). We started dumping our food and garden waste — along with contributions from close neighbors — and didn’t give it too much thought.

When the pile grew to the top of the bin, we kept throwing in food. Mysteriously, all summer and into the fall, the pile never grew higher than the lid. We never stopped adding food and leaves and such — even paper towels and toilet paper rolls. We were careful, though, not to add newsprint or any paper with ink on it. Ours is an organic garden.

It wasn’t until winter set in solidly that we had to add more cinder blocks. That’s when the mass froze, and the pile stopped sinking down. (Thank you, Freecycle, for providing more blocks for the extra height.)

Spring finally rolled around, and, as our thoughts turned to gardening, Joe decided to dig out the pile.

Wow! …

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Fairfield Green Food Guide – A Resource for Local Foods

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Fairfield Green Food Guide started out as a service to Fairfield County residents. But people all over the state are now watching the blog’s founder, Analiese Paik, on New Channel 8′s Good Morning Connecticut. Paik, who is dedicated to offering her services for free just to spread the word about local foods, is becoming a household name and a helpful resource for locavores across the state.

Blue Planet Green Living (BPGL) spoke with Paik about the passion that drives her and what she hopes to accomplish with her website. Paik’s 18-hour days take her all over the county, partnering with nonprofit organizations and sharing the news about healthy, organic, and local foods.

But, what if you’re not from Connecticut, let alone Fairfield County? If you’re a fan of sustainable agriculture, Paik offers resources and ideas that you will surely find intriguing….

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Truth on Earth – Making Music to Change the World

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In a society where many teens and young adults spend their free time in front of the television, playing video games, grabbing fast food, or hanging out with friends at the mall, the three Halpern sisters lead exceptional lives. They’re talented musicians, who together comprise the band Truth On Earth (T.O.E.).

So what else is unique about Serena (20), Kiley (19), and Tess (16)? They’re lifelong vegans, have always been home schooled, and have spent the last two years traveling the country in an RV with their parents….

And this is another way the three are different from most of their peers: Their songs aren’t about the issues many young women are thinking about — boys, flirtations, or the angst of being a teen. “We picked a musical style that had a message and meant something,” Kiley says….

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Natural Living Expo to Host EcoParty March 27 in Des Moines

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Are you thinking about attending the Natural Living Expo at the Polk County Convention Center on March 27 and 28? If you’re going to be in the Des Moines (Iowa) area that weekend, here’s another reason to include the Expo in your plans: the EcoParty!

After the Expo closes for the day on Saturday (March 27) at 6 p.m., it’s time for the adults to kick back and have some fun. Iowa’s own natural living celebrity, Michele Beschen, will be your host for a food and fashion celebration from 6 to 9 p.m. Beschen, who is the host of Iowa Public Television’s b.organic show, will emcee the EcoParty fashion show….

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Why You Should Read THE WORLD PEACE DIET (and Buy It March 12)

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The first, and most important reason to buy The World Peace Diet March 12 (or any time) is that it will very likely reshape your thinking about the foods you choose to consume. Unless you’re already bypassing meat and dairy products, your diet isn’t as healthy as it should be….

The second reason is that for purchases made on March 12 only, many sponsors have donated excellent bonus gifts and prizes to anyone who buys The World Peace Diet….

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Chorlton Big Green Festival Celebrates “All Things Eco & Ethical”

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Community members and visitors in South Manchester, England are gearing up for the second-annual Chorlton Big Green Festival, to be held March 27. In 2009, an estimated 4,000 visitors gathered at the first festival where they learned about livign lighter on the planet and celebrated the green lifestyle.

The 2010 event, which begins at 11:00 AM on Saturday, the 27th, will include a mix of entertainments and exhibits, a bicycle race, and a wide variety of organic foods. “The idea behind Chorlton’s Big Green Festival,” say the organizers, “is to offer local people the chance to sample sustainability in fun and friendly surroundings.”

Several types of events are promised for the day, but don’t miss the lead-off Thursday evening at the What Next? Forum…

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Natural Living Expo, March 27 & 28 in Des Moines

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By the end of March, spring will be poking her head out from behind winter’s white dress. Leaves will begin to sprout, wearing a fleeting light-green that will deepen in hue by the time the summer arrives in all her glory. Ah, spring. What better time of year to be thinking about gardening, fresh produce, and delicious natural foods?

And what better event than the Natural Living Expo to entice sun-starved Midwesterners out of hibernation?

The Fifth Annual Natural Living Expo, to be held March 27 and 28 at the Polk County (Iowa) Convention Center, promises to be bigger and even more exciting than in previous years. The Expo features natural, organic, and sustainable companies and products, live entertainment for kids and adults, and a speaker series on topics related to sustainabilty and health/wellness….

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