This Week in Eco News - December 16, 2016

Video of the Week

The True Cost of Industrial Meat Production
The True Cost of Industrial Meat Production campaign aims to raise awareness of environmental injustices being perpetrated against North Carolina's most vulnerable populations and features powerful, first-hand accounts of community members, esteemed scientific experts and local people on the ground. [Waterkeeper]

Take Action: Learn about the impacts of industrial livestock production.

News From Around the Web

PepsiCo Wants to Sell Healthy Food, Consumers Want Chips
The food and beverage giant says it wants to make more 'good for you' snacks, but much of its revenue growth comes from high-fat, high-salt standbys such as Doritos and Cheetos. [The Wall Street Journal]

Record High Stock Levels Mean Low Food Prices in 2017 : Rabobank
According to a new report from Rabobank, a multinational banking and financial services company, the precarious political and economic situation in the US and Europe means that financial markets and currency values will be volatile next year, and may possibly lead to record high stock market levels. While this may be good news for consumers, as food prices may drop as a result, it suggests that farmers and other food producers may struggle. [Beverage Daily]

Inside the Battle to Convince America to Eat Meatless Burgers
As Americans increasingly dabble in environmentally-friendly alternatives to meat and dairy, pressure is mounting for new food companies to find ways to convince consumers to give their high-tech products like meatless burgers a shot. So how does a company convince a shopper  to buy their first carton of lab-made milk, or first pound of "clean meat" burger? Two companies, Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods, are competing to find an answer to that very challenge. [Quartz]

Food Is a Terrible Thing to Waste, and Your Mind Might Be at Fault
Lots of organizations, including GRACE, provide consumers with tips to reduce food waste. It's easy, we're told. Just plan meals in advance, shop with a list, use up what's in your fridge before hitting the store and so on. But many of our own instincts -- and our unconscious choices -- often get in the way. Recognizing these innate behaviors (we'll call them psychological barriers to reducing food waste) is a crucial step in moving toward a genuinely waste-free kitchen. [Civil Eats]

A New Generation of Farmers Rents to Cope with Soaring American Cropland PricesThe overall number of farmers in the US has been shrinking steadily, but the number of tenant farmers aged 25 to 44 climbed almost nine percent from 2007 to 2012, according to the latest US Department of Agriculture (USDA) census. Unlike the preceding generation of farmers, these tenant farmers are being hurt by rising land values. As a result, these  farmers are often wary of investing in and improving land they don't own. They're also limited in their ability to borrow because they can't pledge the acreage they cultivate as collateral.  [Bloomberg]

Methane Levels in the Atmosphere Are Now Rising at Their Fastest pace in Decades
Over the last 10 years soaring levels of methane, the potent greenhouse gas, have been emitted into the atmosphere, and agriculture is most likely the reason. Scientists found that the methane emissions from rice paddies, cattle flatulence, livestock manure and land-clearing change for farms are largely responsible, which means that ag, not just oil and gas, needs to lower its emissions to reduce climate change concerns. [Vox]

EPA's National Lakes Assessment Finds Nutrient Pollution Is Widespread in Lakes
The EPA reports that 40 percent of US lakes contain too much nitrogen and phosphorus pollution, nutrients mainly from agriculture that can cause algal blooms, lower oxygen levels, poor aquatic ecosystems and lower water quality for recreation. Microcystin, the algal toxin, was discovered in 39 percent of lakes, although mostly below levels of concern, as was low concentrations of the herbicide atrazine at 30 percent. [Water Online]

Can Drones Help Almond Growers Save Water? We Are About to Find Out
California almond growers are now embarking on a combination of drones in the air with water sensors in the ground in order to save large volumes of water. This could have a significant impact on water conservation because the almond production is overwhelmingly concentrated in the drought-stricken Golden State and the tree nut has an enormous water footprint because it requires constant irrigation. [San Gabriel Valley Tribune]

Fishery Groups Seek Wind Farm Delay
Commercial fishing companies, trade groups and seaport communities in four states have asked a court to stop the federal government from auctioning off the rights to develop a huge offshore windfarm in the Atlantic Ocean between New York and New Jersey. [Albany Times Union] 

Monday Campaigns

Celeb Chefs to Judge "Oodles of Noodles" Recipe Contest for High School Chefs in Underserved Communities
High school students from underserved communities aspiring to become future celebrity chefs will face a challenge from the nationwide 2017 Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP) Meatless Monday Recipe Contest. The challenge: create an innovative meatless noodle dish and impress the distinguished panel of judges. [Vox]


5 States That Grow the Most Organic Food per Acre
A new report points out that organic farming reached 4.1 million acres in the US in 2016. As of June, the number of certified organic farms reached 14,979. The Mercaris Organic Acreage Report found that the top five states in organic cropland are California, Montana, Wisconsin, New York and North Dakota. California leads the U.S. with 688,000 acres. [Ecowatch]

Daniel Beltra: Changing Perspectives
For 20 years, Photographer Daniel Beltrá has been taking aerial photos of human impact on the planet and people are finally paying attention to his work. In this video, Beltrá talks about his process and experiences making images around the world. He reflects on the ways that his work has been able to change a viewer's perspective - on both the landscape and larger global issues at hand. [PhotoWings] 

Eco News contributed by Gabrielle Blavatsky; Kai Olson-Sawyer;James Rose and Robin Madel.

Image "almond grove, Esparto" by vhines200 on Flickr used under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic license.