If everyone went vegetarian just for one day, the U.S. would save:

● 100 billion gallons of water, enough to supply all the homes in New England for almost 4 months;
● 1.5 billion pounds of crops otherwise fed to livestock, enough to feed the state of New Mexico for more than a year;
● 70 million gallons of gas — enough to fuel all the cars of Canada and Mexico combined with plenty to spare;
● 3 million acres of land, an area more than twice the size of Delaware;
● 33 tons of antibiotics.

If everyone went vegetarian just for one day, the U.S. would prevent:

● Greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to 1.2 million tons of CO2, as much as produced by all of France;
● 3 million tons of soil erosion and $70 million in resulting economic damages;
● 4.5 million tons of animal excrement;
● Almost 7 tons of ammonia emissions, a major air pollutant

According to Environmental Defense, if every American skipped one meal of chicken per week and substituted vegetarian foods instead, the carbon dioxide savings would be the same as taking more than half a million cars off of U.S. roads.

Globally, we feed 756 million tons of grain to farmed animals. As Princeton bioethicist Peter Singer notes in his new book, if we fed that grain to the 1.4 billion people who are living in abject poverty, each of them would be provided more than half a ton of grain, or about 3 pounds of grain/day — that’s twice the grain they would need to survive. And that doesn’t even include the 225 million tons of soy that are produced every year, almost all of which is fed to farmed animals. He writes, “The world is not running out of food. The problem is that we — the relatively affluent — have found a way to consume four or five times as much food as would be possible, if we were to eat the crops we grow directly.”

A recent United Nations report titled Livestock’s Long Shadow concluded that the meat industry causes almost 40% more greenhouse gas emissions than all the world’s transportation systems — that’s all the cars, trucks, SUVs, planes and ships in the world combined. The report also concluded that factory farming is one of the biggest contributors to the most serious environmental problems at every level — local and global.

Researchers at the University of Chicago concluded that switching from standard American diet to a vegan diet is more effective in the fight against global warming than switching from a standard American car to a hybrid.

In its report, the U.N. found that the meat industry causes local and global environmental problems even beyond global warming. It said that the meat industry should be a main focus in every discussion of land degradation, climate change and air pollution, water shortages and pollution, and loss of biodiversity. Read the rest of this entry »

go-organic-logojpgFinding out how to go organic for Earth Day is right at your fingertips, thanks to Go Organic!(TM) for Earth Day, the major national collaboration of the Organic Trade Association, Earth Day Network , and MusicMatters.

“Go Organic!  for Earth Day’s new iPhone application offers everything consumers need to go organic for Earth Day this April 22nd,” said Christine Bushway, Executive Director of the OTA.

Consumers can download the application for FREE and just enter their zip code to get a list of nearby stores where they can pick up free coupon books full of savings on favorite items from CLIF Bar, Van’s, R.W. Knudsen Family and other leading organic brands,” explained Michael Martin, Prez, MusicMatters. “Each coupon book is more than a $12 value!”

“The iPhone Application also provides a complete, up-to-date list of events consumers can participate in during Earth Day on April 22,” said Sean Miller, Director of Education at Earth Day Network. “It’s easier than ever for consumers to make a difference this Earth Day.”

Leading national retailers in ten major markets are participating in “Go Organic! for Earth Day,” which is now in its fifth year. In the west, retailers include: Ralph’s in Los Angeles; King Soopers and City Market in Denver; Kroger, Brookshire’s and Market Street in Dallas-Ft. Worth; and Fry’s in Phoenix. In the southern states, participating retailers include: Kroger in Atlanta, Publix in Miami and Tampa, and Nutrition S’Mart in Tampa. In the Midwest and east, participating stores include Kroger in Cincinnati and Detroit, and ShopRite in the New York-New Jersey metro area.

 For information about nearby stores giving out Go Organic! for Earth Day coupon books and Earth Day events, enter your zip code on the new iPhone application, or visit the Go Organic! for Earth Day website at www.OrganicEarthDay.org.

Germany has thrown its weight behind a growing European mutiny over genetically modified crops by banning the planting of a widely grown pest-resistant corn variety.

Agriculture minister Ilse Aigner said there was enough evidence to support arguments that MON 810, which is the only GM crop widely grown in Europe, posed a danger.

“I have come to the conclusion that genetically-modified corn from the MON 810 strain constitutes a danger to the environment,” Aigner told reporters in Berlin. Read the rest of this entry »

Pesticides may increase the risk of birth defects, say researchers who found the highest rates of birth defects in American babies among those conceived in the spring and summer, the same time that there are increased levels of pesticides in surface water.

Researchers from Indiana University published their findings in the April issue of the medical journal Acta Paediatrica.

Studying all 30.1 million births that occurred in the United States between 1996 and 2002, the research team found a strong association between the increased number of birth defects in children of women whose last menstrual period occurred in April, May, June or July, and elevated levels of nitrates, atrazine and other pesticides in surface water during the same months.

Many of the chemicals, including the herbicide atrazine which is banned in Europe but permitted in the United States, are suspected of being harmful to the developing embryo.

This was the first study to link an increased seasonal concentration of pesticides in surface water with a peak in birth defects in infants conceived during the same months. Read the rest of this entry »

If your electricity goes out, try not to open either your refrigerator or freezer unless absolutely necessary. A closed refrigerator will keep food cold for about four hours. A full freezer will hold the temperature for approximately 48 hours as long as the door remains tightly closed.

Before a severe weather emergency, keep the temperature of your refrigerator and freezer as low as possible. Pack foods in the freezer close together so the items form an icy block that will maintain cold.

Food safety rule No. 1, said LSU AgCenter food safety expert Beth Reames, is: “Discard all food that comes in contact with floodwaters, including canned goods. It is impossible to know if waterlogged food containers are damaged or the seals compromised.”

Store at least three gallons of water per person for drinking, cooking and hygiene for at least three days. Read the rest of this entry »

  • According to Beverage Marketing, a provider of beverage industry data, bottled water sales in the United States reached 8.82 billion gallons in 2007, worth $11.7 billion, making the U.S. market for bottled water the largest in the world.
  • The energy required to make water bottles in the United States is equivalent to 17 million barrels of oil annually.
  • Americans dispose of 3 million plastic drink bottles every hour. Read the rest of this entry »

A University of Washington study of top-selling laundry products and air fresheners found the products emitted dozens of different chemicals. All six products tested gave off at least one chemical regulated as toxic or hazardous under federal laws, but none of those chemicals was listed on the product labels.

UW engineering professor Anne Steinemann’s analysis of some of these popular items found 100 different volatile organic compounds measuring 300 parts per billion or more—some of which can be cancerous or cause harm to respiratory, reproductive, neurological and other organ systems.”I first got interested in this topic because people were telling me that the air fresheners in public restrooms and the scent from laundry products vented outdoors were making them sick,” said Anne Steinemann, a UW professor of civil and environmental engineering and public affairs. “And I wanted to know, ‘What’s in these products that is causing these effects?'” Read the rest of this entry »