Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy announced the inaugural class of 15 U.S. Food Loss and Waste 2030 Champions, U.S. businesses and organizations pledging concrete steps to reduce food loss and waste in their operations 50 percent by 2030.
“The founding 2030 Champions have shown exceptional leadership in the fight to reduce, recover and recycle food loss and waste,” said Vilsack. “The staggering amount of wasted food in the United States has far-reaching impacts on food security, resource conservation and climate change. To help galvanize U.S. efforts to reduce food loss and waste, USDA and EPA announced the first U.S. food loss and waste reduction goal in September 2015. Today, the first 15 Champions are stepping up to do their part to help the nation reach this critical goal.”
“Reducing food waste is good for business, it’s good for the environment, and it’s good for our communities,” said McCarthy. “We need leaders in every field and every sector to help us reach our food loss goal. That’s why we’re excited to work with the 2030 Champions and others across the food retail industry as we work together to ensure that we feed families instead of landfills.”
Each 2030 Champion establishes a baseline marking where they are today and will measure and report on their progress toward the goal in a way that makes sense for their organization.
There are many ways to look at food loss and waste and definitions vary. 2030 Champions are encouraged to consult the Food Loss and Waste Protocol for information on defining and transparently measuring food loss and waste.
Click Here for more on the other Champions.
For more information on this and other food waste-related initiatives, visit EPA’s Sustainable Management of Food webpage.
[ Congress votes to recognize the $646 billion outdoor recreation economy as part of the nation’s GDP ]
Yesterday, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed H.R. 4665, Outdoor Recreation’s Economic Contributions (REC) Act, which President Obama is expected to sign into law.
Neil Young is calling on President Barack Obama “to step in and end” what he calls the “violence” against protesters demonstrating against an oil pipeline being built in North Dakota on part of an Indian reservation.
In an open letter on Facebook posted Monday, the 71-year-old rock star calls the protest at the Standing Rock Indian Reservation “an awakening.” He says demonstrators are “standing strong in the face of outrageous, unnecessary and violent aggression.” He says law enforcement agencies and the National Guard are “seemingly acting to protect the interests of the Dakota Access Pipeline profiteers” with taxpayer money.
Young also chided President-elect Donald Trump, labeling him the “surprise president.”
The letter is signed by Young and his girlfriend, actress Daryl Hannah.
Young included a video of him singing against the backdrop of the protest camp.
So you live a green lifestyle all year long. You recycle, you minimize your impact by bringing your own bags and using a reusable cup for your morning coffee, you drive a low-emission car, and program your thermostat….you are set, right? Did you consider ways to green the holidays???? It doesn’t have to be difficult to make a difference!
* An obvious way would be to buy recycled wrapping paper, but you could take it a step further and use your old newspaper, or wrap it in another gift, such as a tablecloth, a scarf or a reusable shopping bag.
* As for the tree, real or fake? Cutting down trees and branches for decorations kills or injures trees, but a lot of the fake pine stuff is made from PVC which is toxic and energy intensive to make the plastic which releases gasses. There are fake pine decorations made from polyethylene which doesn’t carry the same health risks. Or use a potted real tree that can be planted in the spring.
*If you do use a real tree, be sure to give it new life at the end of the season! Mulch it or chip it. For more ideas check out the National Christmas Tree Association (www.realchristmastrees.org) and learn how to recycle it.
*LED lights are easy to find and will use a fraction of the energy that lights used to use. Use a timer for outdoor lights so they don’t stay on all night!
*Try upcycling! Get a little creative and turn something discarded into something usable. Recycle your old candles, jeans, tissue boxes, revamp glass bottles and jars, or turn old cookie tins into new fabulous gift tins. Pinterest.com is full of great ideas, just search UPCYCLE. There are thousands of ideas, surely one will appeal to you and your skill level.
Glass Bottles and Jars
Give cookie tins a new life
*Give green. Instead of giving someone another dust collector, donate to a charity that you or your recipient believe in. It’s a win-win! Some ideas to get you started:
Gifts that Give More
70 Years of Family Farming
*If you do shop, shop local. Support the businesses in your local community and spend less gas driving all over. Art and craft shows are prevalent this time of year and you can support a local artist and give a gift of something thoughtful and artful. Pottery bowls can be esthetically pleasing and functional, or a hand knitted hat is stylish and warm.
*Eco-friendly gifts come in all shapes and sizes. Try gift cards for a group of friends to take a cooking class together. Make some jelly or jam, or bread that can be frozen for later. Be really green and give a worm composter so less food waste goes into the landfill. Try cloth dish towels and napkins as a gift to replace the paper ones. Give a fancy reusable water bottle or coffee/tea travel mug. Be super practical, and give LED bulbs or a blanket for the hot water heater. Reusable shopping bags are handy too! Programmable thermostat. Bus/train passes. Glass storage containers. A basket of nontoxic cleaners. Beeswax candles. Coupons to exchange for your time (ie babysitting or sharing a meal). Donate time to a local environmental group.
* December 30th is National Bicarbonate of Soda Day! Otherwise known as ordinary baking soda, bicarb has so many uses it belongs in every green house. Surely you have used it for your baked goods….but have you tried it as a facial scrub? Toothpaste? Or even deodorant? A paste of baking soda can relieve the itch from bug bites, and putting it in a bath can help relieve itchy skin and help you relax. Use it as a scrub to remove burnt on stuff from your pots and pans, mix it with vinegar to clean your sinks and tub, or even sprinkle it on your carpet before vacuuming to remove odors. And if you overindulge this season, use half a teaspoon in a glass of water to help with heartburn and indigestion.
Having a green household, one that’s both sustainable and healthy, is so much more than just energy-efficient light bulbs and reusable grocery bags. Take a look around your house. From plastic containers filled with chemicals you can’t even pronounce to your constantly filled trash bin, there are plenty of improvements to be made.
The Environmental Media Association has a few eco-friendly alternatives to everyday household items that will start you on your way to a greener home:
When it comes to candles, the options are seemingly endless. Just try walking into a candle store at the mall and not faint from scent overload. Jokes aside, many standard scented candles emit harmful chemicals and aren’t as sustianable as you’d think. According to the Huffington Post, the scents found in some candles, “may emit numerous types of potentially hazardous chemicals, such as benzene and toluene. They can cause damage to the brain, lung and central nervous system, as well as cause developmental difficulties.”
Switch your commercial scented candles – ones made from paraffin wax – for locally-made beeswax candles. Beeswax releases fewer chemicals and is known to purify the air! Further, purchasing wax candles support beekeepers who are fighting against colony collapse. Bees are a keystone species, and we must all do more to keep them from extinction.
SWAP OUT BODY SOAP THAT COMES IN PLASTIC BOTTLES FOR BAR SOAP
According to postconsumers.com, it takes at least 450 years for a plastic bottle to degrade completely. Put it this way, should a bottle exist for hundreds of years just so you can conveniently shower for a month? Buying a new plastic bottle of body wash every few months has adverse effects on the environment. Even if you do recycle the bottle after use, much of the damage is already done since plastics are made from oil.
Bar soap is another item you can most likely find at your farmer’s market. If bought locally, bar soap is usually available for you to take home in a small, recyclable paper baggy or just on its own without any packaging. Try to avoid any bar soap that comes wrapped in a lot of plastic.
Check out the rest of the eco-friendly alternatives here.
Some of the most important climate and energy achievements of the last eight years—including many that were Wilderness Society priorities—are on the chopping block with President Trump in the Oval Office. It will be more important than ever to stand up and let our lawmakers know what is important to us.