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Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Food: Reduce Your Carbon Footprint Through What You Eat

Food Greenhouse Gas Emissions

A comprehensive study released on July 18, 2011 by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) outlines guidelines to help you, the consumer, make wiser food choices. We have long known that certain foods create an abundance of CO2 emissions. What this study adds is understanding the roll of the entire life cycle of various foods, whereas previous research mostly focuses on food production. The EWG research tracks food production, processing, consumption and waste disposal to teach us how to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions and pollutions that result from our dietary habits.

“By eating and wasting less meat, consumers can help limit the environmental damage caused by the huge amounts of fertilizer, fuel, water, and pesticides, not to mention the toxic manure and wastewater, that goes along with producing meat,” said Kari Hamerschlag, EWG senior analyst and author of the report. “Choosing healthier, pasture-raised meats can also help improve people’s health and reduce the environmental damage associated with meat consumption.”

Five Worst Foods For the Environment:

1. Lamb, especially loin

2. Beef – choose grass-fed and lean meats to reduce your impact on the environment

3. Cheese (this one shocked me! Total bummer!) - Less dense cheese (such as cottage) results in fewer greenhouse gases since it takes less milk to produce it... read more

Independent Study Finds San Francisco the Greenest City in the US

San Francisco Greenest City

An independent study conducted in June found San Francisco to be the “greenest” city in the United States and Canada. This doesn't come as much of a surprise – the city has made headlines for leading the way with policies such as mandatory composting and a grocery store plastic bag ban.... read more

Tristin, Tyler and Dynamic Ducks!

Since World Oceans Day is coming up on June 8th, Tristin and Tyler take a trip to visit some friends who live in the water in this episode of Tristin and Tyler's Tales from the City! Caring for the ocean and all of the creatures that call the ocean home is super important.  With the Pacific Garbage Patch growing and growing, it's so important to teach kids about our friends who call the ocean home.

Tristin and Tyler Enjoying The Ducks!Tristin and Tyler Enjoying The Ducks!... read more

DIY Solar Thermal Water Heaters

Installing solar panels seems like a great idea, but finding that spare $30k can be rough. Solar Thermal Water Heaters are a great alternative to installing a full photovoltaic solar panel system.

These water heaters will help greatly reduce your energy use. They are much smaller than a PV system, making them much cheaper. Also, converting the sun's energy into heat is much simpler than turning it into electricity. To have a solar thermal water heater installed, you will likely spend about $.... read more

Don't pour it down the drain!

Lots of times you may just pour items down your sink drain without even thinking about it.   Unfortunately, this can cause health hazards and it's bad for the environment.  

Says Melissa Breyer from Care2:  "An increasingly common cause of overflows is sewer pipes blocked by grease -- this results in raw sewage overflowing in your home or your neighbor’s home; an expensive and unpleasant cleanup that often must be paid for by you, the homeowner; raw sewage overflowing into parks, yards, and streets; potential contact with disease-causing organisms; and an increase in operation and maintenance costs for local sewer departments, which causes higher sewer bills for customers."

So, what shouldn't you pour down your drain?  Here's a list of common items that you should dispose of in other ways:... read more

Happy World Water Day!

Today is World Water Day -- a day each year when the world's water activist community holds events and discussions about the state of the world's water.  This year's theme was Water for Cities.  I had the opportunity to attend a symposium held at George Washington University on this topic.  While the presenters ranged from everything from new innovations in water supply to the urban poor to managing stormwater in DC, the underlying theme was conservation.  How can we supply people in the world without water while managing and conserving our own use of water?

What I found to be the most interesting part of this symposium was the presentation by George Hawkins, General Manager for DC Water (the DC water utility company).  He began his talk by pointing out that 1) water is something that everyone needs, 2) we don't know what to do when the water is turned off, and 3) that most people have no concept of where their water comes from and where it goes once they use it. 

... read more

TGIF Keen & Green Celeb: Matt Damon

It's no secret that Matt Damon is an outspoken, politically active humanitarian.  He's passionate about Darfur (along with fellow keen and green celeb George Clooney) and has been working really hard at making clean drinking water accessible to all, through his organization Water.org.  

The star of the Bourne franchise has worked with PBS on the environmental program The State of the Planet's Wildlife where he warned that "something is terribly wrong with our environment."  ... read more

What's your water footprint?

You hear plenty about lowering your carboon footprint these days.  But, what about water?  How much water do you use?  

National Geographic offers a Water Footprint Calculator.  

Some of the stuff that goes into your Water Footprint is obvious:  showers, toilet flushing, laundry, etc.  However, many of the things that go into your Water Footpring are less obvious, such as purchasing electronics and clothes.... read more

Guest Blogger: Stormwater 101 By Joyce Amaro of LA Stormwater

We are lucky to have a guest blog post by Joyce Amaro, the public education manager for the City of Los Angeles’ Stormwater Program.  Learn more about the LA Stormwater organization, problems with stormwater pollution, and more.  Thanks, Joyce, for a great post!  

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What is LA Stormwater and how does the program reach out to the community?

LA Stormwater is the public education wing of the City of Los Angeles Watershed Protection Division. We blog, utilize YouTube and Facebook and have a popular eNewsletter that goes out quarterly to thousands of people to spread the pollution prevention message. We also have a website and community calendar that serves as a resource for those that want to take their actions a step further for clean water and attend meetings and volunteer events.

Why does stormwater in Los Angeles matter? What are the consequences?

Stormwater pollution can be a very significant problem in L.A. When the first rains of the year hit our area, a lot of backed-up litter ends up making its way to the beach. We call this the “first-flush” and the negative effects can be significant. To give you some idea of the magnitude we are dealing with: Even on a dry day the amount of water that runs through our storm drain system from runoff (this would include water from hoses etc.) could fill the entire Rose Bowl stadium. ... read more

They call it mellow yellow........

"When it's yellow, let it mellow.  When it's brown, flush it down."

You've heard that adage before.  But, how much water does it really save?

According to Waste Not Want Less, by not flushing when you pee:

...the "average" person could save about 10 gallons of water per day. Multiply that by 300 million people in the United States, and that's over 3 billion gallons of water saved each day. Over a year, that's over 1 trillion gallons of water.

So, it does save water.   Older toilets (ones built before 1982) use 5-7 gallons per flush.  (!!!)  Newer ones use 1.6 gallons per flush.  ... read more

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