9 Reasons You Should Drink Tea Every Day




drinking tea

(Article via The Huffington Post)


1. First things first, tea is way easier to make than coffee.

Most of the time, you need a whole machine to make coffee, and you may even have to grind some beans. To make tea, all you need is boiling water, tea and a cup. It’s that simple.


2. Green tea could have the power to help keep your bones healthy.

For elderly folks, studies have shown that drinking green tea may help lessen the risk of osteoporotic bone fractures.


3. Drinking unsweetened black tea could help fix bad breath.

If you have a case of halitosis, you may want to start drinking black tea. Researchers at the University of Chicago College of Dentistry found that black tea contains chemical components called polyphenols that slow down the formation of plaque-causing bacteria. The polyphenols also reduce “acid production levels,” helping to prevent periodontal disease.


4. It’s considered a “necessity of life” in China, so maybe it should be for you, too.

Along with firewood, rice, oil, “chiang” (fermented soy paste), salt and vinegar, tea is considered one of the things “people cannot do without every day,” according to the proverbial “seven necessities of life” created by the Sung Chinese people.


5. Tea has the power to calm you down.

Some research has suggested that valerian root tea could act as a safe and effective mild natural sleep aid. In a German study, 202 adults either took valerian extract or a prescription anti-anxiety drug. The people who took valerian extract reported “equal improvement in sleep quality, feeling rested and how long they slept as those taking the prescription drug.”


6. It’s kind of a presidential order.

If the President of the United States is obsessed with tea, then you should be too. A 2009 New York Times article that details the changes Obama made to the White House stated that the fridges were stocked with his favorite brand of organic tea: Honest Tea. Apparently, his favorite flavors are “Black Forest Berry” and “Green Dragon.”


7. It could relieve your seasonal allergies before you even get them.

If you’re suffering from seasonal allergies you may want to start your day with a cup of nettle leaf tea. While more research still needs to be done, a preliminary study followed 69 people and found that freeze-dried nettle leaf could “slightly improve allergy symptoms.”


8. Some experts believe that drinking tea can sometimes be better than drinking water.

Researchers at the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that tea rehydrates you just as much as water does by replacing fluids in your body. And because tea has antioxidants, there’s an added bonus. “Water is essentially replacing fluid. Tea replaces fluids and contains antioxidants so it’s got two things going for it,” public health nutritionist Dr. Carrie Ruxton said in an interview with BBC.


9. Afternoon tea. Need we say more?

There are parties dedicated to drinking tea, which include sandwiches that are delicious. Here’s a little history: In 1840, Anna Maria Stanhope, the seventh Duchess of Bedford, thought of the genius idea of having afternoon tea “to bridge the lengthy gap between luncheon and dinner.” In order to retain a good (but restrained) appetite for the sweet scones and iced cakes that accompany such an event, the preceding sandwiches that were eaten at this event needed to be filling but too filling. Thus came dainty mini crustless sandwiches that have lighter fillings like cucumber and eggs for a tasty, quick snack.


Obama Administration Announces Climate Change Funding



According to the Huffington Post, the Department of Energy has announced plans to allocate $4 billion towards the fight against climate change. In a statement, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said:

“As the President emphasized in his Climate Action Plan, it is critical that we take an all-of-the above approach to energy in order to cut carbon pollution, help address the effects of climate change and protect our children’s future. Investments in clean, low-carbon energy also provide an economic opportunity. Through previous loan guarantees and other investments, the Department is already helping launch or jumpstart entire industries in the U.S., from utility-scale wind and solar to nuclear and lower-carbon fossil energy. Today’s announcement will help build on and accelerate that success.”

The Department highlighted several key technologies it anticipates will receive loans, including hydroelectric dams and drop-in biofuels. Earlier this week, Climate Central reported that June was the third month in a row where carbon dioxide levels in our atmosphere topped an average of 400 parts per million. This is the longest amount of time in recorded history that CO2 levels have been this high.


Mountain Dew AND its Chemical Ingedient that’s Banned in Europe and Japan



By Brett Israel and Environmental Health News
(Click here for the original article)

MARIETTA, Ga. — It’s Monday night at the Battle & Brew, a gamer hangout in this Atlanta suburb. The crowd is slumping in chairs, ears entombed in headphones, eyes locked on flat-screen monitors and minds lost in tonight’s game of choice: “The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.”

To help stay alert all night, each man has an open can of “gamer fuel” inches from his keyboard. “I’ve seen some of these dudes plow through six sodas in six hours,” said Brian Smawley, a regular at the gamer bar.

Gamers say they chug their fuel for the sugar and caffeine, but drinkers of Mountain Dew and some other citrus-flavored drinks are also getting a dose of a synthetic chemical called brominated vegetable oil, or BVO.

Patented by chemical companies as a flame retardant, and banned in food throughout Europe and Japan, BVO has been added to sodas for decades in North America. Now some scientists have a renewed interest in this little-known ingredient, found in 10 percent of sodas in the United States.

After a few extreme soda binges — not too far from what many gamers regularly consume — a few patients have needed medical attention for skin lesions, memory loss and nerve disorders, all symptoms of overexposure to bromine. Other studies suggest that BVO could be building up in human tissues, just like other brominated compounds such as flame retardants. In mouse studies, big doses caused reproductive and behavioral problems.

Reports from an industry group helped the U.S. Food and Drug Administration establish in 1977 what it considers a safe limit for BVO in sodas. But some scientists say that limit is based on data that is thin and several decades old, and they insist that the chemical deserves a fresh look.

“Aside from these reports, the scientific data is scarce,” said Walter Vetter, a food chemist at Germany’s University of Hohenheim and author of a recent, but unpublished, study on BVO in European soda imports.

The next time you grab a Mountain Dew, Squirt, Fanta Orange, Sunkist Pineapple, Gatorade Thirst Quencher Orange, Powerade Strawberry Lemonade or Fresca Original Citrus, take a look at the drink’s ingredients. In Mountain Dew, brominated vegetable oil is listed next-to-last, between disodium EDTA and Yellow 5. These are just a sampling of drinks with BVO listed in their ingredients, which is required by the FDA. The most popular sodas — Coca-Cola and Pepsi — do not contain BVO.

You don’t have to be a gamer to drink these fruit-flavored sodas. In the United States, 85 percent of kids drink a beverage containing sugar or artificial sweetener at least once per week, according to a study published last month. Sodas are the largest source of calories for teenagers between the ages of 14 to 18, according to a National Cancer Institute study. For adults, soda, energy and sports drinks are the fourth largest source of calories, a federal study found.

Hold a bottle of Mountain Dew to a light. It’s cloudy. Brominated vegetable oil creates the cloudy look by keeping the fruity flavor mixed into the drink. Without an emulsifier such as BVO, the flavoring would float to the surface. The FDA limits the use of BVO to 15 parts per million in fruit-flavored beverages.

Brominated vegetable oil, which is derived from soybean or corn, contains bromine atoms, which weigh down the citrus flavoring so it mixes with sugar water, or in the case of flame retardants, slows down chemical reactions that cause a fire.

Brominated flame retardants lately are under intense scrutiny because research has shown that they are building up in people’s bodies, including breast milk, around the world. Designed to slow the spread of flames, they are added to polystyrene foam cushions used in upholstered furniture and children’s products, as well as plastics used in electronics. Research in animals as well as some human studies have found links to impaired neurological development, reduced fertility, early onset of puberty and altered thyroid hormones.

BVO may not be in use today as a flame retardant in furniture foam, but patents in Europe — granted earlier this year to Dow Global Technologies — and in the United States — granted in 1967 to Koppers Inc. — keep that possibility alive.

“There are some concerns [about BVO] because people are worried that maybe it has the behavior, [and] potential health effects similar to brominated flame retardants,” said Heather Stapleton, an environmental chemist at Duke University who specializes in studying brominated compounds.

Soda makers and industry groups say they are not concerned about the safety of brominated vegetable oil, saying their products meet all government standards.

“This is a safe ingredient approved by the FDA, which is used in some citrus-based beverages,” said Christopher Gindlesperger of the American Beverage Association, which represents PepsiCo, maker of Mountain Dew. “Importantly, consumers can rest assured that our products are safe and our industry adheres to all government regulations.”

Chris Barnes of the Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, makers of Squirt and other drinks that contain BVO, echoed that response.

“All ingredients in Dr. Pepper Snapple Group products meet FDA and other regulator requirements,” Barnes said.

Dated data

Some experts are unconvinced, saying that the FDA standards are based on decades-old data.

“Compounds like these that are in widespread use probably should be reexamined periodically with newer technologies to ensure that there aren’t effects that would have been missed by prior methods,” said Charles Vorhees, a toxicologist at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, who studied BVO’s neurological effects in the early 1980s. “I think BVO is the kind of compound that probably warrants some reexamination.”

Toxicity testing has changed dramatically in the past few decades. Multiple generations of animals now can be tested for neurodevelopmental, hormonal and reproductive changes that weren’t imagined in the 1970s and early 1980s.

“I am no toxicologist, but I think that the toxic evaluation of chemicals has been improved since then,” Vetter added.

In 1970, scientists in England found that rats on a six-week diet containing 0.8 percent brominated maize oil had stockpiles of bromine in their fat tissue. The bromine stayed there even after the rats returned to a control diet for two weeks.

Around the same time, a study confirmed that bromine was building up in humans. Researchers measured the serum levels of people in the United Kingdom — where BVO was in use — and in their counterparts in the Netherlands and Germany, where BVO was not used.

“During this time UK citizens had higher bromine serum levels compared to the inhabitants of Germany and the Netherlands,” Vetter said. The largest amounts of lipid-bound bromine were found in tissues from children in the UK, according to the study.

The study authors wrote that “it seems highly probable that the intake of brominated vegetable oil is the cause of the tissue bromine residues in children.”

Data in rats show that BVO could be toxic. A 1971 study by Canadian researchers found that rats fed a diet containing 0.5 percent brominated oils grew heavy hearts and developed lesions in their heart muscle. In a later study, in 1983, rats fed the same oils had behavioral problems, and those fed 1 percent BVO had trouble conceiving. At 2 percent, they were unable to reproduce.

The diets in that study had “whopping doses” of BVO, about 100-times higher than today’s allowable limit, said Vorhees, lead author of the 1983 study.

But two case studies in the past 15 years show that whopping doses also can occur in people — with unhealthy consequences.


Target Follows McDonald’s Lead, Drops Egg Supplier


Via Huffington Post

MINNEAPOLIS — McDonald’s and Target dropped one of the nation’s largest egg suppliers after an animal rights group released an undercover video of the egg producer’s farms in three states.

McDonald’s Corp. said Friday it had dropped Sparboe Farms as a supplier after a video by the group Mercy for Animals showed cases of animal cruelty at five facilities in Iowa, Minnesota and Colorado. Target Corp. soon followed, saying it would pull eggs from the Litchfield, Minn.-based company off its shelves.

“Having been made aware of the unacceptable conditions in the company’s egg laying facilities, effective immediately, Target will discontinue its business relationship with Sparboe Farms,” Minneapolis-based Target said in a statement late Friday.

Sparboe produces 300 million eggs a year, in regular, liquid, frozen and dried form, and ships them to restaurants and stores across the country. The company’s Vincent, Iowa, plant had billed itself as the sole fresh egg supplier to every McDonald’s west of the Mississippi River.

McDonald’s officials say Sparboe was a “significant” supplier and that it was unclear when, or if, the company would work with the Golden Arches again. Sparboe’s Iowa facility produced 2 million eggs a day, seven days a week.

That changed Friday when images shot by Mercy for Animals showed a worker swinging a bird around by its feet, hens packed into cramped cages, male chicks being tossed into plastic bags to suffocate and workers cutting off the tips of chicks’ beaks.

“The behavior on tape is disturbing and completely unacceptable. McDonald’s wants to assure our customers that we demand humane treatment of animals by our suppliers,” Bob Langert, McDonald’s vice president for sustainability, said in a statement.

The nation’s largest retailer – Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart Stores Inc. – also bought Sparboe eggs and has been demanding that suppliers treat their chickens humanely for years. Wal-Mart said it stopped working with Sparboe six weeks ago and that its decision had “nothing to do with animal welfare concerns,” said Dianna Gee, a Wal-Mart spokeswoman. She declined to discuss why Sparboe was dropped.

McDonald’s and other fast-food chains and grocery stores have been studying how chickens are caged and cared for in its egg farms. The Humane Society has persuaded several national food outlets, including Burger King, Costco Wholesale, Denny’s and Wendy’s/Arby’s Group, to buy at least some of their eggs from producers that allow hens to roam.

McDonald’s and Target’s moves also followed a warning letter to Sparboe Farms dated Wednesday from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that said inspectors found “serious violations” at five Sparboe facilities of federal regulations meant to prevent salmonella. The warning said eggs from those facilities “have been prepared, packed, or held under insanitary conditions whereby they may have become contaminated with filth, or whereby they may have been rendered injurious to health.”

McDonald’s eggs were safe because they were cooked thoroughly, and none of its operations will be affected by Sparboe, company spokeswoman Lisa McComb said Saturday. About 27 million Americans eat at McDonald’s each day.

Sparboe Companies LLC said Saturday it would create a task force to review the company’s food safety and animal care.

Beth Sparboe Schnell, Sparboe Farms’ president and owner, said the company was “shocked and deeply disturbed” by the video and that an internal investigation identified four employees “who were complicit in this disturbing activity.” They were fired this month.

She also reassured customers that there is “absolutely no food safety concern or any recall of any Sparboe Farms products. Sparboe Farms egg and egg products are safe to eat.”

Sparboe also said it has made management changes, taken corrective actions sought by the FDA, and begun retraining all barn workers in proper animal care procedures.

McDonald’s said the suspension of its business dealings with Sparboe was not temporary but refused to say that it would never work with Sparboe again.

“We’re not going to turn around in a month and work with them again,” McComb said. “But we would never say never.”

In the case of one U.S. fishery that did not use “sustainable methods” in its farming, McDonald’s ended its business relationship for eight years before the company “completely turned around its practices,” McComb said.

Sparboe describes itself as the fifth-largest shell egg producer and marketer in the United States, operating seven processing plants supported by 33 egg-laying and pullet production sites in Iowa, Minnesota and Colorado. The company says it serves retail, wholesale and foodservice customers in 26 states.

Sparboe spokesman Lyle Orwig said Friday the company has a “zero tolerance policy” for any animal abuse or cruelty. He said all employees are trained by a veterinarian and work with a crew leader who also has been trained.

“If he (the crew leader) sees anything, he would automatically correct it if he sees someone doing something wrong,” Orwig said.

Oak Brook, Ill.-based McDonald’s said the “most alarming actions on video” didn’t happen at Sparboe’s facility in Vincent, Iowa, which supplied its restaurants, but they violated the standards the company sets for its suppliers. McDonald’s also insisted the food it serves is safe.

McDonald’s said it got Sparboe eggs via Cargill Inc., which said it was suspending Sparboe as a supplier.

“We will not tolerate mistreatment of animals anywhere in our supply chain,” Chris Roberts, president of Cargill Kitchen Solutions, said in a statement. He also said the issues the FDA raised “warrant additional review by Cargill.”

Tim Loesch, a spokesman for Wayzata-based Cargill, declined to say how many eggs Sparboe supplied it or how much the company was paid. Orwig said it was too soon to tell what effect the loss of McDonald’s business would be.

“Right now our focus is making sure that we are compliant with everything and get to the bottom of how it could have happened,” Orwig said.

Mercy for Animals isn’t satisfied with McDonald’s decision to stop accepting eggs from Sparboe, said Matt Rice, the group’s director of operations.

“These are company-wide, policy-level abuses,” Rice said. “There’s a culture of cruelty and neglect at McDonald and its suppliers.”

McDonald’s said it is participating in a three-year study that compares traditional versus cage-free hen housing systems, but Rice said the company continues to get most of its eggs from hens in battery cages that hold a lot of birds in cramped conditions.

“McDonald’s is simply sidestepping the issue now. It’s time McDonald’s requires all of its suppliers to un-cage hens and finally give these animals the basic freedom to spread their wings, to walk and engage in other natural behaviors,” he said, noting that McDonald’s has already switched to cage-free eggs in Europe.

Mercy for Animals conducted its investigation from May 23 to Aug. 1, Rice said. The group got its people hired at the farms and sent them in wired with hidden cameras, he said. They “documented daily abuses that would shock and horrify most Americans yet are largely considered standard and acceptable to the egg industry,” he added.

Orwig, the Sparboe spokesman, said the undercover taping was troubling because company employees sign a code of conduct that they will report any abuses immediately to a supervisor. In this case, he said, there were no reports.

The video was first aired Friday on ABC’s Good Morning America.




Kravitz contributed to this report from Washington, D.C.


Target To Sell 100% Sustainable Fish By 2015


Target has announced that it will sell only sustainable seafood by 2015, reports the Los Angeles Times. The fish will also be traceable, though executing that process will be more challenging. There is no nationally-accepted way to track seafood and the seafood supply chains are incredibly complex, explained the director of the nonprofit FishWise. FishWise is partnering with Target to implement the project.

According to a press release, “Target defines sustainable and traceable seafood as the sourcing of seafood products that are caught or raised in an environmentally sensitive manner and maintain Target’s business needs without jeopardizing the affected ecosystems.”

Although Target may be known more for its discount clothes and home goods than for its seafood products, every one of the 1,767 stores sell a form of seafood, a Target spokesperson told The Huffington Post. The 252 SuperTarget stores, which have a full grocery section, sell both fresh and frozen seafood. All general merchandise Target stores stock frozen seafood and 875 of them have a PFresh market, which has an expanded fresh food section. Target plans to expand the PFresh market to additional stores.

Last year, the retailer stopped selling farmed salmon and switched to wild-caught salmon. This move is one of several sustainable seafood pushes by large companies. Starting this month, McDonald’s Europe will serve all sustainable fish certified by the Marine Stewardship Council.


Lake Erie Ravaged By Toxic Algae


Toxic algae is sucking the oxygen out of Lake Erie.

The lake is currently undergoing one of the worst algae blooms in decades, turning the water a scummy bright green. According to NASA, blooms like this did occur in the 1950’s and 60’s, but now phosphorus from farms, sewage, and industry have fertilized the waters.

After the 60’s, increased regulations and improvements in agriculture and sewage treatment limited the phosphorus and helped to control the blooms. However, the shallower Western basin near Detroit has been more susceptible to the algae than other deeper areas.

The exact reason behind the bloom is a bit unclear, but scientists believe it could be linked to increased rainfall and, believe it or not, mussels. It seems the types of mussel, zebra and quagga that have invaded the lake feed on phytoplankton instead of algae, making it even easier for the blooms to occur, according to NASA.

While the algae doesn’t directly kill fish, it’s still not good. As the algae dies, it’s broken down by bacteria which uses oxygen from the water. This oxygen removal creates areas where fish can’t survive. In addition, if consumed, it can also create flu-like symptoms in people or even kill pets.

Former Vice President Al Gore spoke Thursday in Detroit on the matter, associating climate change with the algae problem. “We’re still acting as if it’s perfectly OK to use this thin-shelled atmosphere as an open sewer. It’s not OK,” he said. “We need to listen to the scientists. We need to use the tried and true method of using the best evidence, debating and discussing it, but not pretending that facts are not facts.”

While in the past, some have criticized Gore, claiming that he’s made exaggerated statements about the environment, yesterday’s speech drew upon some pretty hard scientific evidence, leading many leaders at the International Joint Commission to listen a bit more intently.


California Clean Drinking Water Bills Signed Into Law



This article comes to us courtesy of California Watch.

By Bernice Yeung

From arsenic to E. coli bacteria, contaminants flow from the water taps of hundreds of communities across the state. But seven bills signed into law Friday by Gov. Jerry Brown seek to improve access to clean drinking water in California, particularly for residents in rural and disadvantaged communities.

“Clean drinking water is a basic human right,” Brown said in a statement. “The bills I have signed today will help ensure that every Californian has access to clean and safe sources of water.”

According to clean-water advocates, the legislation addresses a longstanding need. A study [PDF] by the Pacific Institute found that between 2005 and 2008, 1.3 million residents in the San Joaquin Valley had nitrate-polluted water coming from their faucets. Nitrates can cause death in vulnerable populations such as babies, and they also have been associated with cancer. Surveys by California Rural Legal Assistance and the Community Water Center in Visalia also found that low-income Californians who have access only to polluted water spend between 4 and 10 percent of their household income on bottled water for cooking and drinking.

“The legislation is extremely important because it’s a step forward in realizing that really disadvantaged communities don’t have access to clean water,” said Esmeralda Soria of the California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation, which lobbied for four of the bills. “They have been bathing, cooking and drinking contaminated water or buying expensive bottled water. These are small steps toward these communities having more access to funding that will in the long term give them access to cleaner water. These communities see that there’s hope in the near future of having clean water.”

The bills range from translating water contamination notices to removing logistical barriers to funding water infrastructure improvements.

The bills signed into law are:

  • AB 54: Allows water agencies to begin construction on ailing systems as soon as an application for state funding is accepted, rather than waiting several months or more for the money to be received. The legislation also would create new assistance and increase transparency of small, community-run mutual water agencies by providing training to board members. It also would require them to provide basic information to regional agencies about their operations.
  • AB 938: Requires drinking water alerts to be translated when 10 percent or more of water district customers speak a second language.
  • AB 983: Makes it possible for “severely disadvantaged communities” to obtain 100 percent grant funding for water infrastructure improvement projects. Currently, these communities can qualify only for up to 80 percent in grants and must take out the remaining 20 percent in loans that residents may have difficulty repaying.
  • AB 1221: Allows state-recognized tribes and nonprofit organizations (such as mutual water agencies) access to the state’s Cleanup and Abatement Account to pay for pollution mediation. Although these organizations pay into the account in the form of pollution fines, they do not currently qualify for cleanup money.
  • SB 244: Requires cities and counties to consider the infrastructure needs – including clean drinking water access – of disadvantaged and unincorporated communities in urban planning efforts, including general plan updates.
  • AB 1194: Makes adjustments to and clarifies drinking water laws to ensure that state public health laws conform with the federal Safe Drinking Water Act. For example, the California Department of Public Health now will interpret laws involving human consumption of water to include cooking and food preparation. Failure to comply with national drinking water statutes could have resulted in a loss of about130 million in federal funds.
  • AB 1292: Authorizes the issuance of revenue bonds, which will be deposited into the Safe Drinking Water State Revolving Fund so the state can satisfy federal matching requirements under the Safe Drinking Water Act.

In combination, the package of legislation will be a boon to public health, advocates and legislators say.

Assemblyman Jose Solorio, D-Anaheim, introduced legislation that would improve water quality served by small community-run water districts after learning that a 90-family community in his district was relying on a deteriorating system with unhealthy levels of nitrates.

“Santa Ana is a modern, urban city in Orange County, one of the wealthiest in the country, and we always thought everyone received water from the city, but unbeknownst to me, there was a problem with a mutual water district,” he said. “I was hearing from educators that the water was so bad that some kids weren’t brushing their teeth and some were not attending school because they didn’t want to take baths, the fear was so great.”

Susana De Anda of the Visalia-based Community Water Center said the legislation signed into law – such as AB 938, which requires translation of water pollution warnings – will have a significant impact on the residents with whom she works. In Tulare County, for example, a Spanish-speaking resident named Guadalupe Nunez received a number of notices telling her not to drink the water, De Anda said. But because she couldn’t read them, she saved them in a folder and continued consuming what came from the tap. She learned of the health risks only when she brought the notices to a community meeting where someone translated them for her.

“This is a great day for water rights advocates,” De Anda said. “Every Californian is closer to the human right to safe drinking water. The bills are tangible examples of how we’re moving in the right direction.”

The legislation primarily will involve changes to the way the California Department of Public Health and the State Water Resources Control Board do business. Both agencies acknowledge that the new laws will improve water quality and wastewater treatment throughout the state, “especially in the case of those from economically disadvantaged areas,” Kathie Smith, spokeswoman for the state water board, wrote in an e-mail.

Matt Conens, spokesman for the state public health department, wrote in an e-mail that the legislation signed by Brown “will help ensure that every Californian has access to clean and safe sources of water. Protecting the water we drink is an absolutely crucial duty of state government.”

Bernice Yeung is an investigative reporter for California Watch, a project of the non-profit Center for Investigative Reporting. Find more California Watch stories here.


Bill Clinton Slams GOP Climate Deniers!


“We look like a joke, right?” Former President Bill Clinton wasted no time at his annual philanthropic conference with an attack on GOP climate deniers.

At the Clinton Global Initiative’s annual NYC meeting, Politico reports that the former president said, “If you’re an American, the best thing you can do is to make it politically unacceptable for people to engage in denial … I mean, it makes us – we look like a joke, right? You can’t win the nomination of one of the major parties in the country if you admit that the scientists are right?”

Clinton went on to say that the U.S. needs to debate more over strategies to cut down on greenhouse gas emissions.

“If you listen to Rush Limbaugh,” Clinton said, and “he tells you that climate change is a hoax … If you don’t know better, if you haven’t seen better,” then you’ll likely continue to deny the science. “You have to change the experience of people.”

Many GOP presidential candidates have questioned evolution and climate change, including Rick Perry, who told New Hampshire voters, “I think we’re seeing almost weekly, or even daily, scientists that are coming forward and questioning the original idea that manmade global warming is what is causing the climate to change.”

Not all GOP candidates disagree with scientists. During a Republican presidential debate in Simi Valley, Jon Huntsman said, “When you make comments that fly in the face of what 98 out of 100 climate scientists have said, when you call to question evolution, all I’m saying is that in order for the Republican Party to win, we can’t run from science.”

According to the Associated Press, Clinton also discussed at the conference which countries were most likely to suffer next from climate change, saying, “I think it’s quite possible that the Maldives won’t be here in 30 or 40 years.”

Clinton’s remarks come on the heels of Former Vice President Al Gore’s climate change campaign, “24 Hours of Reality.” In an interview with HuffPost’s Tom Zeller, Gore said, “The greatest opportunity for change lies in the hearts of those who have rejected the science but who are right now asking themselves a question … Have they been fooled by the oil companies and the coal companies? Have they been taken for a ride by the large polluters who have been putting out misinformation?”


Entire Ice Shelf Nearly Gone In Canada’s Arctic



Via The Huffington Post: Two ice shelves that existed before Canada was settled by Europeans diminished significantly this summer, one nearly disappearing altogether, Canadian scientists say in new research.

The loss is important as a marker of global warming, returning the Canadian Arctic to conditions that date back thousands of years, scientists say. Floating icebergs that have broken free as a result pose a risk to offshore oil facilities and potentially to shipping lanes. The breaking apart of the ice shelves also reduces the environment that supports microbial life and changes the look of Canada’s coastline.

Luke Copland is an associate professor in the geography department at the University of Ottawa who co-authored the research. He said the Serson Ice Shelf shrank from 79.15 square miles (205 square kilometers) to two remnant sections three years ago, and was further diminished this past summer.

Copland said the shelf went from a 16-square-mile (42-square-kilometer) floating glacier tongue to 9.65 square miles (25 square kilometers), and the second section from 13.51 square miles (35 square kilometers) to 2 square miles (7 square kilometers), off Ellesmere Island’s northern coastline.

This past summer, Ward Hunt Ice Shelf’s central area disintegrated into drifting ice masses, leaving two separate ice shelves measuring 87.65 and 28.75 square miles (227 and 74 square kilometers) respectively, reduced from 131.7 square miles (340 square kilometers) the previous year.
“It has dramatically broken apart in two separate areas and there’s nothing in between now but water,” said Copland.

Copland said those two losses are significant, especially since the Ward Hunt Ice Shelf has always been the biggest, the farthest north and the one scientists thought might have been the most stable.

“Recent (ice shelf) loss has been very rapid, and goes hand-in-hand with the rapid sea ice decline we have seen in this decade and the increasing warmth and extensive melt in the Arctic regions,” said Ted Scambos, lead scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center at the University of Colorado, remarking on the research.

Copland, who uses satellite imagery and who has conducted field work in the Arctic every May for the past five years, said since the end of July, pieces equaling one and a half times the size of Manhattan Island have broken off. Co-researcher Derek Mueller, an assistant professor at Carleton University’s geography and environmental studies department, said the loss this past summer equals up to three billion tons. Copland said their findings have not yet been peer reviewed since the research is new, but a number of scientists contacted by The Associated Press reviewed the findings, agreeing the loss in volume of ice shelves is significant.

Scambos said the loss of the Arctic shelves is significant because they are old and their rapid loss underscores the severity of the warming trend scientists see now relative to past fluctuations such as the Medieval Warm Period or the warmer times in the pre-Current Era (B.C.).
Ice shelves, which began forming at least 4,500 years ago, are much thicker than sea ice, which is typically less than a few feet (meters) thick and survives up to several years.

Canada has the most extensive ice shelves in the Arctic along the northern coast of Ellesmere Island. These floating ice masses are typically 131 feet (40 meters) thick (equivalent to a 10-story building), but can be as much as 328 feet (100 meters) thick. They thickened over time via snow and sea ice accumulation, along with glacier inflow in certain places.

The northern coast of Ellesmere Island contains the last remaining ice shelves in Canada, with an estimated area of 217 square miles (563 square kilometers), Mueller said.

Between 1906 and 1982, there has been a 90 percent reduction in the areal extent of ice shelves along the entire coastline, according to data published by W.F. Vincent at Quebec’s Laval University. The former extensive “Ellesmere Island Ice Sheet” was reduced to six smaller, separate ice shelves: Serson, Petersen, Milne, Ayles, Ward Hunt and Markham. In 2005, the Ayles Ice Shelf whittled almost completely away, as did the Markham Ice Shelf in 2008 and the Serson this year.

“The impact is significant and yet only a piece of the ongoing and accelerating response to warming of the Arctic,” said Dr. Robert Bindschadler, emeritus scientist at the Hydrospheric and Biospheric Sciences Laboratory at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland.

Bindschadler said the loss is an indication of another threshold being passed, as well as the likely acceleration of buttressed glaciers able to flow faster into the ocean, which accelerates their contribution to global sea level.


Top 5 Ways to Waste Less Food


1. Spend a second and think about how much money you spend at the grocery store each month? The average family of four spends about $500. Did you know that out off that $500 worth of food, about $150 goes to waste. There are painless ways to waste less so get started today!
2. Knowing exactly what food you have on hand is your first line of defense. Store leftovers in clear containers to help you keep track of your leftovers. Also, move foods with approaching expiration dates up to the front of your fridge so you use them up first. Knowing exactly what you have will help you create meals with the foods you have on hand and use up foods before they go bad.
3. The freezer can make almost any food last months longer. If you just don’t feel like heating up leftovers on the second day – freeze them. It’ll be a brand new meal in a couple weeks! Also, freezing seasonal produce such as strawberries, blueberries, and corn allows you to enjoy healthy foods even when they aren’t in season.
4. Did you not wrap up the half a sandwich you got to busy to eat at lunch? What about that extra helping of lasagna at dinner you didn’t touch? Don’t put it in the trash – save it. Even if it’s not a full serving, it can be a side item tomorrow. Or, it can become a kid sized portion for dinner. It’s also good to know that the slot for an ice cube in an ice cube tray equals one ounce. If you have extra stock, wine, or the like freeze it to use in a sauce or stew later. You’ll know exactly how much you have.
5. My best piece of advice is to make a list and stick to it when you head out to the grocery store. It’s easy to be swayed by sale items or foods you may not really need during the week. Planning out your meals in advance will help you create a list of the ingredients for each one and help you curb impulse buys that can easily go to waste.


PETA Tells Shark Attack Victim ‘Payback Is Hell’. Has PETA Crossed The Line?


PETA is at it again. Just days after a man on a spearfishing trip survived a shark attack near the Gulf of Mexico, PETA launched a controversial campaign portraying a shark chomping a man to death with the tagline “Payback Is Hell, Go Vegan.”

“With the recent shark attack in the news, we thought that it was a good time to bring this discussion up that will hopefully save lives, both human and animals,” PETA Campaign Manager Ashley Byrne told The Huffington Post.

The intent of the campaign? To make the point that the deadliest killers in the water aren’t sharks — they’re humans.

“Sharks are not the most dangerous predators on Earth, we are. Americans alone kill billions of animals for food every year, including fish. And while sharks are natural carnivores, people can choose what they eat,” said Byrne.

An average of five people per year are killed by sharks, but fishing fleets kill up to 70 million sharks per year, says an annual report by the University of Florida’s International Shark Attack File. “The sea is actually very forgiving, certainly from the standpoint of the animal life,” said George Burgess, the University of Florida’s Shark Attack File Director.

According to the International Shark Attack File, 623 unprovoked shark attacks have occurred in Florida since 1882, with only 11 fatalities.

The outdoor advertising campaign will be featured on billboards and benches near Anna Maria Island, according to a PETA press statement.

“Unlike these carnivorous animals, we have the choice to be kind every time we sit down to a meal and can choose a healthy vegan diet,” said Byrne.

Ella Wickersham, the mother of the 21-year-old shark attack victim C.J. Wickersham told Fox News the campaign is “over the top,” but she’s turning her attention to the recovery of her son, who had 800 stitches in his left thigh.

“I’m not even going to dignify them with a response,” she told FoxNews.com. “It’s not even worth my response. They are over the top. If they don’t want to eat meat and fish, good for them; you can do whatever you want, and I’ll do what I want.”

“We’re very glad that Mr. Wichersham is going to be okay, we just hope that after this painful and frightening experience he’ll consider what fish feel when they are impaled and suffocated to death,” Byrne told HuffPost. She said PETA hopes he and other fisherman will take up another pastime.

The Associated Press reported last year on the Pew Environmental Group’s unusual fish and shark conservation team consisting of shark attack survivors, fighting to end the practice of shark finning.

Because sharks are slow growing, late to mature and produce few young, they are unable to replenish their populations as quickly as they are caught. At present, some 30% of all shark species are threatened or nearly threatened with extinction.



International Space Station Spacewalk Picture Shows Sun And Earth


Simply beautiful…



Farmed Salmon Threaten Wild Stocks With Deadly Sea Lice


Via The Huffington Post

Farmed salmon present a serious threat to the survival of wild salmon stocks in the form of tiny sea lice, according a new study by Martin Krkosek of the University of Otago in New Zealand. He and his team of researchers have been studying sea lice and salmon for years, and have made headlines in the past for demonstrating the link between sea lice in farmed salmon and spillover infection of wild salmon — and the latest study is their most unequivocal yet.

That link is much-disputed, but the stakes are high. Some have said that, if sea louse infections continue to spread, they could lead to mass extinctions among wild salmon. A fully grown salmon can survive a sea louse infection with relatively superficial injuries to gills, fins and skin. But just two or three of the critters can cause enough damage to kill a juvenile salmon. Infestations have been known to result in 80% mortality in stocks of wild juvenile salmon.

Wild salmon do naturally get sea lice. But it is rare, in the wild, for their prevalence to be high enough to cause a mass outbreak. It’s only in the close quarters of aquaculture that sea lice often grow exponentially. As one paper on the topic puts it, “crowded conditions facilitate parasite and disease transmission within the farm, and enable exponential population growth of pathogens and release to the surrounding environment.”

The fish farming industry has been slow to accept the idea that its activities could be harming wild salmon. But even if the industry, biologists and regulators all agree that the threat is real, it’s a unclear what the solution would be.

There is a drug, Slice, that is an effective antidote to sea lice, but some believe it could be environmentally deleterious and encourage drug resistance among sea lice. (According to Krkosek, many sea lice have already developed resistance to Slice in Norway and New Brunswick.) One helpful change would be the universal adoption of closed containment systems for salmon farming, and the tapering-off of net farming. But that could drive up the price for the farmed meat and present technical challenges.

More globally, as Krkosek told the Huffington Post in an e-mail, it may be necessary to shift aquaculture away from carnivorous fish like salmon and towards vegetarian fish like tilapia. “Carnivores like salmon yield a net loss of fish supply because they require large inputs of wild fish in the feed,” he said.

News stories like this, on the challenges and risks presented by, it seems, every kind of fish, can make it seem choosing sensible seafood daunting. But the Monterey Bay Aquarium Sustainability Guide, though it has its detractors, remains generally reliable. It acknowledges the difference between salmon farmed in nets, which it recommends avoiding, and those farmed in tanks, which it endorses.


Blue Plastic Chips Found In Ground Beef



Many people are understandably suspicious of ground beef. It’s a common vector of E. coli, salmonella and saturated fat. But one batch of ground beef, distributed in Virginia and the Carolinas over the past few weeks, has been found to harbor a more unusual contaminant: blue plastic chips. Food Safety News reports that the chips have not been associated with any health concerns. This has led the FDA to issue a class III recall on the affected 1642 pounds of beef; class III recalls are reserved for those products that do not present any serious risks to human health. Find out the full details of the recalled beef at FSN.


Major Grocery Stores Recall 60,000 Pounds Of Tainted Beef



DODGE CITY, Kan. — At least three major grocery store chains are recalling certain packages of ground beef due to possible E. coli contamination.

The recalls at Winn-Dixie Stores Inc., Publix Super Markets Inc. and Kroger Co. mainly in the southeastern U.S. stem from meat from National Beef Packaging Co. of Dodge City, Kan.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Friday that National Beef was recalling more than 60,000 pounds of beef after the Ohio Department of Agriculture found the bacteria.

The recalls affect products sold mainly in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, South Carolina and Tennessee, but the meat could have been distributed nationwide.

The agriculture department says there have been no reports of illnesses. The company says it’s investigating.

E. coli can be deadly and can cause bloody diarrhea and other problems.


10 Dirty/5 Clean Fruits And Veggies


Dirty: Celery
This stalky vegetable tops the dirty list. Research showed that a single celery stalk had 13 pesticides, while, on the whole, celery contained as many as 67 pesticides. 

Chemicals fester on this vegetable as it has no protective skin and its stems cup inward, making it difficult to wash the entire surface of the stalk. It’s not easy to find locally grown celery, so if you like this crunchy veggie, go organic.

Dirty: Peaches
Peaches are laced with 67 different chemicals, placing it second on the 2010 Dirty Dozen list of most contaminated fruits and vegetables. They have soft fuzzy skin, a delicate structure, and high susceptibility to most pests, causing them to sprayed more frequently.

Dirty: Strawberries
This red, juicy fruit has a soft, seedy skin, allowing easier absorption of pesticides. Research showed that strawberries contained 53 pesticides. Try to buy strawberries at a local farmer’s market for a sweet dessert.
Dirty: Apples
Apples are high-maintenance fruit, needing many pesticides to stave off mold, pests, and diseases. The EWG found 47 different kinds of pesticides on apples, and while produce washes can help remove some of the residue, they’re not 100% effective.

Dirty: Blueberries (domestic)
These antioxidant-rich berries have a thin layer of skin that allows chemicals to more easily contaminate the fruit. Domestic blueberries were loaded with 13 pesticides on a single sample, according to the EWG. Imported blueberries also made the list at No. 14 for the dirtiest produce.

Dirty: Sweet bell pepper
This crunchy, yet thin-skinned, vegetable is highly susceptible to pesticides. According to the EWG, sweet bell peppers showed traces of 63 types of pesticides. While some pesticides can be washed away, many still remain.

Dirty: Spinach, kale, collard greens
These leafy green vegetables are on the Dirty Dozen list, with spinach loaded with 45 different kinds of pesticides and kale 57. 

In 2006, Dole recalled bagged baby spinach after multiple E. coli illnesses associated with the vegetable made their way across the country.

Dirty: Grapes (imported)
These tiny fruit have extremely thin skins, allowing for easy absorption of pesticides. And think twice before buying imported wine. The grapes that go into the wine could be coming from vineyards that use too many pesticides.

Dirty: Potatoes
Have you ever indulged in a potato skin at your favorite restaurant? You might want to think twice before eating the skin. This spud was highly laced with pesticides–36, according to the EWG–that are needed to prevent pests and diseases.

Dirty: Cherries
Cherries, like blueberries, strawberries, and peaches, have a thin coating of skin–often not enough to protect the fruit from harmful pesticides. 

Research showed cherries grown in the U.S. had three times the amount of pesticides as imported cherries. Because cherries contain ellagic acid, an antioxidant that neutralizes carcinogens, it’s worthwhile to buy organic or seek imported ones.

Clean: Onions
Onions may be painful to cut (don’t forget the tissues!), but they are at the top of the cleanest fruits and vegetables list. They don’t require large amounts of pesticides because threats from pests are low. And, according to EWG, no samples were found to have more than one pesticide.

Clean: Asparagus
Asparagus also has fewer threats from insects and disease, so not many pesticides are needed. According to the EWG, 90% or more of the samples tested had no detectable pesticide residues, so enjoy this spring vegetable in these delicious recipes.

Clean: Eggplant
Its thick skin provides a natural defense against chemicals, pests, and diseases. Not a lot of spraying is required to grow eggplant, so it’s virtually a clean and safe choice.

Clean: Avocado
Avocado’s thick skin acts as a barrier to chemicals. Washing the outside skin before cutting also can prevent any dirt or residue from getting to the fleshy insides.

Clean: Pineapple
Almost nothing can get past this prickly fruit. A pineapple has fewer than 10% of detectable pesticides, according to the EWG, so don’t hold back while indulging in this exotic fruit. Still, just like an avocado (and most produce), the pineapple should be rinsed before slicing and dicing


View Of Southern Lights From Space Station





Via: The Huffington Post


House Votes To Limit EPA In Protecting Water From Pollution



WASHINGTON — The Republican-controlled House passed a bill Wednesday that would sharply curtail the federal government’s role in protecting waters from pollution by barring the Environmental Protection Agency from overruling state decisions on water quality.

The bill passed on a 239-184 vote. Sixteen Democrats joined the majority of Republicans in supporting it. The White House threatened to veto the bill, saying it “would roll back the key provisions … that have been the underpinning of 40 years of progress in making the nation’s waters fishable, swimmable and drinkable.”

Under the Clean Water Act, states have primary responsibility for protecting waterways after the EPA signs off on their plans. But the agency can step in if it thinks water resources aren’t being adequately protected.

The measure strips the EPA of that oversight authority. Drafters of the bill said Wednesday that the goal was to restore cooperation between the federal government and the states, and to rein in an agency that they argue is running roughshod over states’ rights for a political agenda that kills jobs and harms the economy. The bill included a provision requiring the EPA to determine the toll its actions to protect water quality would have on jobs.

Similar arguments have been used to advance a series of measures in the Republican-controlled House aimed at reining in EPA’s powers over pollution. There has not been much success in the Democratic Senate.

“By not taking action, the Congress is tacitly giving the EPA authority to do what it thinks is politically necessary,” said Rep. Nick Rahall of West Virginia, the top Democrat on the House transportation committee, and a co-sponsor of the measure. “This bill is not about whether we support EPA’s ends. It’s about whether we should use any means to reach those ends.”

Under the Obama administration, the EPA has placed the first-ever limits on nutrient-rich runoff in Florida, where phosphorus and nitrogen have led to harmful algal blooms. More recently, in January, the EPA revoked a crucial water permit for West Virginia’s largest mountaintop removal mine.

Critics of the bill said it would have much broader implications. The EPA’s role has been crucial, they argue, in the effort to clean up the Chesapeake Bay and to address the dead zone that blooms each year as runoff from Midwest farms flows down the Mississippi River into the Gulf of Mexico. Those pollution problems go beyond a single state.

A Democratic-led effort to exempt multi-state watersheds from the bill failed Wednesday.


Via The Huffington Post