This Week in Eco News - September 27, 2013

This Week in Eco News, business leaders and working people's ingenuity turned food waste into resources to help others. Meanwhile, the EPA announced new draft rules for new power plants and a Texas coalition is seriously pushing energy efficiency in the US oil capital. We also have climate news and fun multimedia for your viewing pleasure! See a story we should share? Drop us a line at blog@gracelinks.org.

Best of the Web Video - Food

Food Mythbusters: The Marketing & Advertising Myth
Big Food inundates our kids with a glut of deceptive and exploitative marketing. It spends nearly $2 billion a year telling kids what's cool to eat and working to build brand loyalty for life. Then it turns around and blames parents for the epidemic of diet-related disease it is driving. This movie exposes the junk-food industry's predatory marketing and debunks the "myth of choice."


Take Action
: Tell McDonald's: Shut Down Happymeal.com!

Food

Trader Joe's Ex-President To Turn Expired Food Into Cheap Meals
Former Trader Joe's president Doug Rauch is set to open a new store that will turn grocers' and growers' unwanted food items into prepared foods to be sold at affordable prices. Launching next year in Dorchester, MA, Rauch's Daily Table concept aims to provide underserved communities with low-cost yet highly nutritious alternatives to fast food. [NPR]

Schumer Calls for Strict Oversight of Chinese Chicken Imports
Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) is pushing for better regulations of USDA-approved Chinese chicken imports. Schumer said that China's long history of food safety failures prompt the need for heavy oversight; he is calling for USDA inspection of Chinese plants and frequent product testing. [Epoch Times]

Georgia Family Donates Cancelled Wedding’s Reception to Homeless
When Willie and Carol Fowler's daughter cancelled her wedding 40 days before the big day, her parents had a venue, food and entertainment that had all been paid for. Rather than cancel everything and lose their deposits, the Fowlers changed the guest list - to 200 homeless people. The event, which they now plan to hold annually, included a special area for kids with face-painting and games. [ABC News]

'Monsanto Protection Act' To Expire, Won't Be Part Of Continuing Resolution
The “Monsanto Protection Act” is set to expire on Tuesday and will not be included in a bill designed to avert a government shutdown, according to office of Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore). Merkley worked with legislative leaders to ensure the Farmer Assurance Provision rider would expire before it could be extended. [Huffington Post]

26 Films Every Food Activist Must Watch
Food Tank selected 26 long and short films to share with food activists this week. GRACE’s short “The Meatrix” was included, complete with a shout-out to our Eat Well Guide to help people make better, sustainable food choices. Others on the list highlight land rights for smallholder farmers in sub-Saharan Africa, global hunger and migrant workers (including children) in the US. [Food Tank]

Meatless Monday

Johns Hopkins Celebrates Meatless Monday’s 10th Anniversary with October 17th Scientific Symposium
On October 17th, Meatless Mondays will celebrate its 10th anniversary with an exploration of the latest research on the impacts of a high meat diet. The symposium will also include a discussion about the role of health behavior change communication and advocacy. [Newswise]

Water

In Light of Colorado Floods, New EPA Report Reveals Importance of Wetlands and Streams
The US EPA recently released the report "Connectivity of Streams and Wetlands to Downstream Waters: A Review and Synthesis of the Scientific Evidence" that details the pollution impacts of small bodies of water such as streams and wetlands on larger waterways further downstream. [EcoWatch]

Will Court Decision on Gulf Dead Zone Reduce Dangerous Algae Growth in American Waters?
After a suit led by NRDC, the US District Court in Eastern Louisiana ordered the US EPA to determine within six months whether to set new limits on phosphorous and nitrogen pollution from sewage plants, urban stormwater systems and agricultural operations fueling dangerous algae growth in the waters across the country. New limits could only be a good thing, because safe, clean water is a great thing! [EcoWatch]

NC Returns EPA Grant for Fracking Study
Oh North Carolina! The NC Department of Environmental and Natural Resources asked the EPA for a grant to study water quality in streams and wetlands that could be affected by fracking. Then, under its new, less "science embracing" leadership, NC returned the grant, stating that they would do the study on their own once fracking started. [Charlotte Observer]

The Arsenic in Our Drinking Water
While municipal water suppliers are required to meet regulations for arsenic in drinking water, there are no such regulations in private groundwater wells. This is problematic, because arsenic is present in low levels throughout much of the US. Even low level doses are linked to respiratory illnesses in children, among other health effects. [New York Times]

Energy

Wind Power Now Competitive With Conventional Sources
The ink just dried on new contracts signed by Massachusetts utilities to buy wind-generated electricity at prices below the costs of nearly all conventional sources, such as coal and nuclear plants (only natural gas remains cheaper). About 565 megawatts of electricity from six wind farms in Maine and New Hampshire will eventually save electricity customers between 75 cents and $1 a month. [Boston Globe]

How Does Your City Rank in Efforts to Save Energy?
The 2013 City Energy Efficiency Scorecard was just released, ranking 34 of the largest US cities on policies to advance energy efficiency. Boston claimed first place based on an evaluation of actions it's taking to reduce energy use in five key areas: buildings; transportation; energy and water utility efforts; local government operations; and community-wide initiatives. [EcoWatch]

Texas, Where Oil Rules, Turns Its Eye to Energy Efficiency
A broad coalition, which, encouragingly, includes bankers and manufacturers, is pushing for Texas to adopt Property Assessed Clean Energy, or PACE. The program would allow commercial and industrial property owners to finance energy efficiency upgrades like solar panels and water recycling systems through their property taxes. [New York Times]

WSJ Debunks WSJ's Renewable Energy Myths
Well this is awkward. A Wall Street Journal reporter wrote a piece that debunks "six myths about renewable energy" that he said stemmed from "outdated facts and assumptions." Three of these myths - renewables are an insignificant source of power, cost too much and aren't dependable - have in fact been pushed by...the Wall Street Journal. [Media Matters]

Climate

EPA Releases Draft Rules to Cut Emissions From Power Plants
Says EPA Secretary Gina McCarthy on the just-released carbon rule for new power plants: "Setting fair Clean Air Act standards to protect public health does not cause the sky to fall." It sure doesn't, but it does make for a crucial first step in reducing the United States' outsized carbon emissions. [The Hill blog]

California's Water House of Cards
Groundwater supplies at least a third of California's water and despite efforts to recharge that supply, it's being depleted at a rapid pace. Primarily, this is due to agricultural uses but also for energy production. The state needs monitoring and better management or we risk losing this resource. [Los Angeles Times]

Multimedia

Thirst For Justice
A comic from The Onion illustrates a couple of dilemmas water drinkers face when confronted with bottled water, including the predominately untrue stereotyping of tap water as unsafe. [the Onion]

Living Roofs Reduce Stormwater Runoff
Rainfall on roofs, concrete and roads poses a problem for the environment, because the runoff can carry pollutants directly into lakes, streams and rivers. One solution to reduce this runoff is a green roof - a roof covered in living, growing plants. This video explains how green roofs can help reduce stormwater runoff from impermeable surfaces. [InsideScienceTV]

Why Waste Water?
This infographic demonstrates why requiring all water to be drinkable, regardless of its planned use, wastes water, energy and money. Through cascading use of water, we can reuse water in multiple ways. [World Bank]

14 of the Best Vegetables
This infographic illustrates why 14 different vegetables are so great (aside from the fact that they are all delicious) including the nutritional strengths of each. [Nutribullet]

Invest in Green Infrastructure
This video about green infrastructure aims to inspire local decision-makers and communities to make the most of their land, while helping wildlife to flourish, reducing flood risk, providing green open space for all and delivering a wide range of economic, health and community benefits. [Landscape Institute - UK]

Food Eco News contributed by Audrey Jenkins.

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