Preliminary results of our oceans shows alarming amount of plastic debris

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There’s a race taking place and it doesn’t result in ribbons or plaques. It’s the “Race for Water Odyssey”. Sponsored by the Race for Water Foundation, this 300 day voyage, which will travel over 40,000 nautical miles, will create the first global assessment of plastic pollution in the ocean by visiting island beaches situated in the 5 “gyres” (trash vortexes)..

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States with the most Producer Responsibility laws

Extended Producer Responsibliity graphic

If you’re not familiar with the phrase Extended Producer Responsibility, it’s time to learn.

EPR is the larger picture of what’s necessary and what’s possible going well beyond recycling. It requires manufacturers to be accountable for the products they produce – its complete life cycle from beginning to its final and responsible disposal. It’s a way to dramatically reduce what goes into our landfills and increase the amount of waste that gets recycled and/or reused.

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First Arab Youth Orchestra Founder to Speak

Editors Note:   The following article is geared towards a local event. But the message is an important one for all of us who long for peace in this world.

Zuhal Sultan, founder of Natl. Youth Orchestra of Iraq, photo courtesy of Euphrates instituteMost Americans’ perception of Iraq is of a war-­torn country, a place filled with terrorism and unrest. Iraq is rarely described as a peaceful nation filled with music. Yet one young woman – Zuhal Sultan – has dedicated herself to creating just that in a very tangible way.

Next month, Sultan will speak in Redding, California, and tell the story of how music brought some measure of peace to her homeland.

Sultan is the founder and Artistic Director of National Youth Orchestra of Iraq. The orchestra – made up of 43 Arabs, Muslims and Christians (male and female) ages 14 to 29 – is the first successful youth orchestra in the Arab world.

To learn more about this amazing young woman and the barrier-crossing, peace-building orchestra she created, click here.

New York’s biggest ecological blunder

Adam Purple above his now demolished Garden of Eden on NYC's Lower East Side, photo by Harry Wang

Adam Purple above his now demolished Garden of Eden on NYC’s Lower East Side, photo by Harry Wang

Community gardens have been a growing movement for decades. Even in the urban jungle of New York City, urban gardens have sprung up in the midst of the concrete jungle and have been providing fresh produce in areas where it had been almost impossible to find it.

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Would General Mills support national GMO labeling? They say yes.

GMO rice graphic

Journalists must walk a fine line between reporting and becoming (or even perceived as) an activist. While I do my best to walk that line professionally (though at times I admittedly do “fall down” on one side or the other of an issue), in my personal life I sign a large number of online petitions for causes I feel strongly about.

It’s rare, though, to receive a response – even a “canned” one – from one of these petitions. But that’s what happened.

In response to a petition I signed recently asking General Mills to support mandatory FDA labeling of foods with genetically modified ingredients (GMO’s) in them, here’s the response I got via email. Very interesting. Let me know what you think. Continue reading

The Growing Trend of Zero Food Waste and U.S. companies

Food waste

We’ve become a throwaway society. Leftovers from a dinner out get tossed into the trash. Bruised or past due supermarket produce winds up in dumpsters and ultimately in our landfills.

There’s a growing movement to give “organics” a second life. The Zero Waste movement has taken on food waste and businesses and organizations are embracing this sustainability trend.

Here are some sobering facts about food waste:

  • Approximately 40 percent of our food supply is wasted. That’s more than 20 pounds of food per person per month – the equivalent of $115 billion per year!
  • Organic waste is the second highest component of landfills, the largest source of methane emissions.

Food waste is a large and growing problem. To learn more about the zero waste movement and some of the innovative companies that have embraced it, click here.

New crowdfunding platform for “green’ projects

Earthcrowdfunder logo

Most people have heard of or even participated in some sort of crowdfunding campaign. Names like Indegogo and Kickstarter seem to be the most familiar platforms for a vast array of funding opportunities.

Now there’s a new star on the horizon, one that’s geared towards green projects. Earthcrowdfunder is the first crowdfunding platform designed specifically for environmental and sustainable projects.

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