Category Archives: Environment

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The solution in the US/abroad? Increasingly worse chemicals being dumped on our soil and ending up in our rain/waterways/drinking sources. If you only care about your wallet, it’ll mean that water treatment plants will have to upgrade their facilities to treat these chemicals (Blanchester OH just had to spend $6mil) and that cost will come out of your wallet as a rate payer. In the meantime, it’s slowly affecting your health because you’re drinking these chemicals on a daily basis….

 

Brazil farmers say GMO corn no longer resistant to pests

SAO PAULO Mon Jul 28, 2014 6:59pm EDT

(Reuters) – Genetically modified corn seeds are no longer protecting Brazilian farmers from voracious tropical bugs, increasing costs as producers turn to pesticides, a farm group said on Monday.

Producers want four major manufacturers of so-called BT corn seeds to reimburse them for the cost of spraying up to three coats of pesticides this year, said Ricardo Tomczyk, president of Aprosoja farm lobby in Mato Grosso state.

“The caterpillars should die if they eat the corn, but since they didn’t die this year producers had to spend on average 120 reais ($54) per hectare … at a time that corn prices are terrible,” he said.

Large-scale farming in the bug-ridden tropics has always been a challenge, and now Brazil’s government is concerned that planting the same crops repeatedly with the same seed technologies has left the agricultural superpower vulnerable to pest outbreaks and dependent on toxic chemicals.

Experts in the United States have also warned about corn production prospects because of a growing bug resistance to genetically modified corn. Researchers in Iowa found significant damage from rootworms in corn fields last year.

In Brazil, the main corn culprit is Spodoptera frugiperda, also known as the corn leafworm or southern grassworm.

Seed companies say they warned Brazilian farmers to plant part of their corn fields with conventional seeds to prevent bugs from mutating and developing resistance to GMO seeds.

Dow Agrosciences, a division of Dow Chemical Co, has programs in Brazil to help corn farmers develop “an integrated pest management system that includes, among other things, the cultivation of refuge areas,” it said in an email.

Another company, DuPont, said it had not received any formal notification from Aprosoja. The company’s Pioneer brand has been working with producers to extend the durability of its seed technology and improve efficiency since Spodoptera worms were found to have developed resistance to the Cry1F protein, it said in a statement.

Monsanto Co also said in a statement that it has not been formally notified by the group. The other company, Syngenta AG, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Tomczyk, who also spoke for Brazilian farmers during a dispute over seed royalty payments to Monsanto that ended last year, said Aprosoja encouraged the planting of refuge areas. But he said the seed companies have not given clear instructions.

“There are barely any non-GMO seeds available … it is very uncomfortable that the companies are blaming the farmers,” he said. Aprosoja hopes to reach a negotiated agreement with the seed companies, but if all else fails farmers may sue to get reparations for pesticide costs, he added.

Brazil is harvesting its second of two annual corn crops and expects to produce 78 million tonnes this crop year, slightly less than last season’s record. Domestic prices recently fell to their lowest in four years because of abundant supplies.

($1 = 2.223 reais)

(Reporting by Caroline Stauffer; Editing by Lisa Shumaker and Steve Orlofsky)

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Cement Innovation Stops Acid Rain

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Cement Innovation Stops Acid Rain

A Coating on Buildings Reacts with Sunlight to Neutralize Pollution

By Dan Shapley

Start with acid rain and a dash of cement. Add sunlight. And Viola! Acid rain problem neutralized.

That’s the claim Italcementi, one of Europe’s biggest cement makers, according to the Toronto Star. The secret is a titanium dioxide coating that reacts with sunlight and the sulfur and nitrogen oxides that makes up acid rain to form “harmless” salts. (Why the quotes? The Law of Unintended Consequences has been proved true so many times in the realm of environmental pollution that it’s foolish to accept any claim like this at face value.)

While the technology has some potential to reduce pollution in urban settings, where it can reach its most unhealthy levels, it will only mask the effect of air pollution. And, lest anyone forget, cement manufacturing is one of the most highly polluting industries on Earth.

6 Movies That Could Change the Way You Think about Food

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6 Movies That Could Change the Way You Think about Food

And even though you try to look behind your plate, your habits, your condition or your entire lifestyle, how can you be entirely sure that what you’re doing is right? It’s hard to know what’s right with today’s specialists, headlines and tips often coming in great contradiction.

Food documentaries could be a good place to start understanding better what’s hiding in the food from your plate. Either you’re looking to broaden your knowledge about food, become more food aware, or on the contrary, you’re interested to start your food education, and you couldn’t care less about food, I bet there is a tiny piece of information in every documentary that will be of help at some moment in your life.

Here are 6 documentaries about food that could change the way you envision food and your habits regarding it:

1. Got the Facts on Milk  – The Milk Documentary

The Milk Documentary intends to turn upside down the common myth that milk is good for your health. Ever since you were a kid, you knew that milk is essential for your bones, for calcium, and for proteins. At an early age, milk is a common breakfast, especially for children, who also receive it at school.

Fact is that research has shown that everything you know about milk is wrong and that milk is responsible for diseases like diabetes, arthritis, asthma and even weight gain and acne. According to the movie, the misconceptions about milk are due to the milk industry, who promote dairy because of its “huge health benefits”.

As a person with dairy allergy, creator of the movie Shira Lane discovered the link between several diseases and milk. Research on the effects of dairy on health evolved and on her journey of finding the answers to her questions she traveled a 4600 mile road. During this road she exposes the opinions and arguments of both nutritionists, dietitians, doctors, and also average Americans who believed, like most of you, that milk is good.

Another interesting fact is the controversy that the movie has caused while being promoted at festivals and to audiences. And honestly, it’s perfectly natural to stir up people, because it’s difficult to accept that something you knew all your life is wrong. The film is available on DVD, but watching the trailer is enough to get you convinced.

2. The Truth about Food

The Truth about Food is a six episode documentary covering all the aspects that food has on your body, effects tested and monitored on 500 volunteers.

Divided in six episodes: How to be healthy, How to be sexy, How to feed your kids, How to be slim, How to stay young and beautiful, How to be the best, the movie is highly educational and revealing for viewers of all ages.

If you’re not sure on certain aspects regarding food, its influence on health and beauty, then this documentary could be the thing for you. Surprisingly, you’ll find some busted myths and learn some healthy eating tips, because the movie also gives solutions on what you can do  to improve or completely change your lifestyle.

And it’s not just headlines and talks from specialists. It’s facts, facts proven on normal people just like you.

3. Food, Inc

How much do you know about the food you’re buying? How it’s made, where does it come from, but more important, are you aware about the effects it has on your health?

Food, Inc is a revealing documentary that analyzes the American food industry, showing not only the process of making the food, but also its effects on your body, on the environment and the economy.

The way in which it exposes the industry is not at all beneficial, so it might shock you, if you weren’t interested in food at all, or you might just find some new information, if you were more or less into becoming aware of your food choices. Personally, I believe the truth is somewhere in the middle. Don’t expect for the documentary to bring forward some ground breaking theories, but do expect to be more conscious about what you’re buying after watching the movie.

Its extensive view, the different aspects in which food is analyzed and its educational nature makes the movie worthwhile of beginning your food education with, either you’re a person working on improving your lifestyle or an adult living a unhealthy life but ready to make a change.

4. Food Matters

The fact that you are what you eat is no secret. Exploring the effects and the benefits of the food on the human body, this movie abounds in educational ideas that everyone should at least be aware of.

While uncovering some myths on nutrition and healing, the doctors and specialists from Food Matters reveal alternatives of healing diseases, alternatives that are basically found in your plate.

The popular belief that there is a pill for everything is highly contradicted, the solution proposed instead being a lifestyle change that can reduce diseases.

And even though not all of you believe in taking supplements and eating plants, the movie is worth watching at least for checking the other side of the story and find out some bad eating habits that you’re unconsciously doing on a daily basis.

5. Food Stamped

Sooner or later, some people decide they want to eat and live healthy. Unfortunately not all of those people can afford to buy anything that is thought to be healthy, because as you know, the organic or bio label means more cash. Can you eat well on a tight budget?

That’s the question that Shira, nutrition educator, and her husband Yoav Potash try to answer in the inspirational documentary Food Stamped. The couple reveals their journey on trying to eat healthy on a food stamped budget, journey involving meeting people facing the same problem and sharing the same views.

Struggling with the problem of quitting different ingredients from food because of money but discovering different recipes, they face the situation with humor and realism.

None of you will believe a scientist telling you what or what not to eat, but the sight of normal people trying to dwell and make the best choices concerning food is enough to just make you want to have a look. At least you can find out what dishes you can cook for 1$, right?

6. Processed People

Leading health and nutrition experts analyze what’s wrong with what we eat and and just like in Food Matters, they try to give solutions to the unhealthy lifestyle of the modern American.

Divided into 8 chapters, Processed People goes beneath the propaganda and the lies in the food system, with hard-hitting discussions on why are we so fat, what happens if we don’t de-process ourselves and what is health.

If you’re into interviews with health experts, than the movie could be the thing for you.