This Week in Eco News - March 28, 2014

See how Congressional immigration reform will likely impact our food system, Levi's is greening their manufacturing by saving water and it looks like BP's back doing deepwater drilling in the Gulf. As usual, if you see a story we should share, drop us a line at [email protected].

Best of the Web Video - Food

Meatless Monday: Peggy Neu at TEDxManhattan
Meatless Monday: a simple idea sparks a global healthy food movement. Watch Monday Campaigns' President Peggy Neu's TEDXManhattan talk to get inspired and join in!

Take Action: Pledge to go meatless this Monday!


Can The Meat Industry Help Protect Wildlife? Some Say Yes
Ranchers are doing more to protect wildlife around their property than some suspected, and conservation efforts have been improving. With interest in sustainable meat on the rise, producers are increasingly seeking low impact and even ecologically beneficial farming methods, often in collaboration with conservation groups. Supporting such ranchers is one good way to conserve natural habitats. [NPR]

After Fears Of Antibiotic Resistance, 25 Drug Companies To Phase Out Use In Livestock
The FDA announced this week that 25 pharmaceutical companies have volunteered to stop labeling certain antibiotics as growth promoters and will now either require veterinarian prescriptions or halt sales altogether. Last year the FDA called on 26 companies to phase out antibiotics important for human treatments, with these 25 companies representing 99.6 percent of the supply the agency is targeting. [Huffington Post]

What Immigration Reform Means For the Food System
Our food is intimately tied to the people who raise and harvest what we eat, many of whom are immigrants. It's no shock, therefore, that Congress's decision on immigration reform stands to affect food security. Experts note that deportation rates are making US jobs less appealing to illegal immigrants, and this could be detrimental to our local food systems.  [Civil Eats]

Kentucky 'Ag Gag' Bill Targets Undercover Animal Investigation Videos On Farms
Kentucky has become the next state working to chase whistleblowers off the trail of suspicious farm activity with a new bill that would criminalize filming or photographing animal operations without farmer permission. Just one month ago, Humane Society whistleblowers uncovered abuses at a pig farm in the state, and say the state's meat industry wants to silence informants. [Huffington Post]

Meatless Monday

Why Monday Is The Best Day To Make Healthy-Eating Changes
"Monday has one secret upside: It's the day of the week people feel more motivated to try to reach a health-related goal, especially when it comes to eating better." Meatless Mondays and the other Monday Campaigns use that basis for their work collaborating between public health officials and people in the community. Now that's what we call a much happier "case of the Mondays!" [Women's Health Mag]


Cracked Dam Causes Water Emergency In Washington State
One month after a large crack was found in Washington State's Wanapum Dam, reservoirs on the Columbia River have shrunk drastically after administrators were forced lower water levels. That worries area orchard owners who don't have access to irrigation water needed for pest control spraying, a critical time in their growing season. [NPR]

UN Report: Water and Energy Face Off on an Uneven Playing Field
Three UN agencies released the fifth edition of the World Water Development Report with the water-energy nexus as its theme. Increasing demands on both require joint planning, but "[b]ecause water is not managed around its economic value, whereas energy is seen as an economic value, the tendency is to make decisions with respect to energy and ignore the water limitations." [Circle of Blue]

Inside Levi's Water Recycling Strategy
Levi's Jeans (dungarees to some) has long aimed to reduce its impact on water resources, initially with the creation of water-use guidelines some 20 years ago through today, as they sell their Water

Toxic Chemical Dioxane Detected In More Water Supplies
Since the EPA has required water quality testing and removal of the suspected carcinogen 1,4-Dioxane in the largest 280 US water providers, many drinking water treatment operators are surprised to find the prevalence of the chemical in their supplies. Combine this with West Virginia chemical leak and there is some trepidation that tap water is not tested for enough chemicals. [NPR]

Web Tool Successfully Measures Farms' Water Footprint
Further confirmation that the discipline of water footprinting is both durable and applicable in a wide range of water use scenarios comes from the successful development of an online water footprint calculator intended for farmers to measure their field crops' water use. This initiative sprung from the University of Florida's AgroClimate program. [Ag Professional]


BP Wins Drilling Rights in the Gulf of Mexico
The company that put the "spill" in "Deepwater Horizon oil spill" is back in its old Gulf of Mexico stomping grounds. Yes, BP has won the rights to drill for oil in 24 deepwater tracts in the gulf, under the close supervision of an EPA auditor, of course. [E2 Wire]

Beneath Cities, a Decaying Tangle of Gas Pipes
There are thousands of natural gas leaks, like the one believed to have led to the deadly explosion in Harlem this month, every year in the US. It's another example of America's crumbling infrastructure as communities across the country struggle to replace thousands of miles of old, metal pipes. [New York Times]

Why Oil Drilling is Both Safer and Riskier Since Exxon Valdez
Despite the tighter regulations and improved spill response that followed the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska, companies are working in more challenging environments than they were 25 years ago: fracking shale underground, drilling in the Arctic and below the ocean floor bring with them a greater risk of accidents. [NPR]

5 Solutions to the World's Energy, Food and Water Troubles
How to address the world's food, water and energy troubles together? Coordinate how the three are managed, show individuals that their choices matter, support water-independent solar and wind power, better value and protect ecosystems and price water and energy more fairly. [GreenBiz]

'Watts' the Mystery? The Energy Units that Power Our Lives
Watts, joules, BTU and kWh all sound like Greek to you? Here's a handy guide to walk you through the often befuddling world of energy units and'll never confuse power and energy again! [Smart Planet]


Shifts in Rainfall, Not Warming Pause, Slow Sea Level Rise
A slower rate of sea-level rise from 2003 to 2011 is not because of a "warming pause" - as climate skeptics argue - but because of a shift of heavy rainfall onto land in places like the Amazon and Australia rather than the ocean, an article in the journal Nature finds. The "missing heat" from accumulated greenhouse gases are suspected of being stored deep in oceans as part of natural climate variations. [Reuters]

Climate Change Could Delay The Fight Against World Hunger For Decades: Report
Just as the impacts of California's drought seep across the country affecting our food supply, a new report warns that climate change threatens food security around the world to a greater degree than previously predicted. Oxfam International analyzed metrics of climate change preparedness in particularly at-risk countries and estimates that global food prices could double by 2030. [Huffington Post]


6 New Designs For Water Fountains, To Get You Off Bottled Water For Good
Public fountains are rare on city streets and often gross where they do exist. A recent design challenge in London aimed at reversing that asked six architecture firms to design new fountains for neighborhoods. These designs envision appealing alternatives that would make neighborhoods a lot more sustainable and a lot less thirsty. [Fast Company]

For Birds on the Slaughter Line, Two Ways to Die
Separate laws govern the slaughtering of different kinds of animals. The Humane Slaughter Act, which covers most mammals, imposes a stricter set of protections than the law governing the killing of poultry. This infographic illustrates how experts say inhumane practices can occur in chicken plants. [Washington Post]

DamNation Film Trailer
Where obsolete dams come down, rivers bound back to life, giving salmon and other wild fish the right of return to primeval spawning grounds, after decades without access. DamNation's majestic cinematography and unexpected discoveries move through rivers and landscapes altered by dams, but also through a metamorphosis in values, from conquest of the natural world to knowing ourselves as part of nature. Check out the trailer here. [DamNation Film]

Miles O'Brien Takes PBS Fishing for Radiation at Fukushima
In this video, reporter Miles O'Brien shares his second report on the impacts of the Fukushima radiation leak on local fisheries. Offshore from the stricken reactor complex, he rides with fishermen who have been plying these now "hot" waters for centuries. The findings are not good. [EcoWatch]

Wally's Wastewater Treatment Plant
This youngster built himself a wastewater treatment plant out of Legos then took his mother on a tour of the plant while she filmed him. If Wally represents our future, then we might be okay. He's adorable, so definitely check it out! [greenolivester]

Food Eco News contributed by Audrey Jenkins; Water Eco News by Kai Olson-Sawyer; Energy Eco News by Peter Hanlon and Multimedia content by Robin Madel.