When Chiquita Brands started selling bananas with "Rainforest Alliance Certified" stickers in European stores last year, some people suspected that Chiquita, with a documented history of worker abuse and environmental damage, was participating in a little "greenwashing."E recently toured two Chiquita plantations in Costa Rica and found that the company has taken major steps to improve the environment. However, some Costa Rican workers still feel they are treated unfairly by the banana giant.
When Wal-Mart announced plans to double its offering of organic products (see "High-Volume Organic: Should We Applaud When Wal-Mart Goes Crunchy?" Currents, September/ October 2006) the organic community responded with mixed feelings. Now skeptics have new ammunition, because the Cornucopia Institute has filed a legal complaint with the U.S. Department of Agriculture accusing Wal-Mart of selling non-organic food products as organic.
The Democratic Congressional victories are likely to provide new momentum for the U.S. to finally act on climate change. Three newly empowered Senators—Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) and Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) sent a letter to President Bush November 15 urging him to work with them to "signal to the world that global warming legislation is on the way."
It is widely agreed that aquatic life and fisheries are in global decline. However, a new report says the damage could be worse than previously suspected. Appearing in Science, the report summarized a four-year study by a team of ecologists and economists, and concluded that at current rates of over-fishing almost all marine life harvested by humans will be wiped out before 2050.
The nonprofit Rainforest Action Network urged 54 financial institutions last week not to participate in lending Texas-based TXU Corp. the $11 billion it needs for the construction of 11 new coal-burning power plants across Texas. The new plants would produce some 78 million tons of new carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions each year they are operating, which is more greenhouse gas pollution than is produced by 21 states or by small countries like Sweden, Denmark and Portugal.
Dear EarthTalk: What are the most environmentally friendly and highest mileage cars on the market today? Also, are the batteries in hybrid cars recyclable?
Dear EarthTalk: What is the status of horse slaughter in the U.S., which is done primarily to export the meat to Europe?
Querido DiálogoEcológico: Una serie de productos, incluyendo el papel y la ropa—y hasta cerveza y ciertos alimentos—se hacen a base del cáñamo. ¿Qué es lo que hace al cáñamo tan versátil, y por qué es ilegal cultivarlo en los Estados Unidos? ¿Es ilegal también en Canadá?
Querido DiálogoEcológico: ¿Es cierto que las selvas húmedas contienen quizás miles de plantas y hierbas con propiedades medicinales?
As the weather gets colder and many of us batten down for winter, it’s a great time to start drawing up plans for those improvements you’ve been contemplating. Go green and you can make an important individual contribution to the environment, help take a bite out of global warming, and save money over the long haul, too.
Rice farming may look pretty from a distance, with its bucolic images of farmers in conical hats ankle deep in water as they cultivate green sprouts, but it has earned a bad environmental reputation because of its wasteful irrigation systems and incursions into wetlands. But not all rice farming is environmentally destructive.