News Ticker

Latest Posts

Why You Should Think Twice About Buying a Butterball Turkey

- Wednesday, November 26, 2014

A video released in July 2014 proved that the Butterball turkeys aren’t as happy-go-lucky as the multimillion-dollar company claims the birds to be.
The idea of eating a whole ball of butter doesn’t seem unappealing to many Americans, and perhaps that’s how the entire Butterball turkey concept became so popular. Meat covered in more fat? Sign us up, America said.If you’re getting ready to gobble up turkey this Thanksgiving, you may want to think about what it stands for.


The wild turkeys of the 17th century, which the pilgrims and Native Americans feasted upon, would not even recognize Butterball LLC’s birds. Americans circa mid-20th-century became infatuated with our nation’s biggest equalizer: pre-packaged foods.

Butterball began in 1940 in Wyoming, Ohio, trademarked by a woman named Ada Walker, though the origin of the name remains unclear. A decade later, in 1951, Leo Peters bought the name and founded Butterball Farms in Grand Rapids, Michigan. American food processing company Swift & Co. leased the name in 1954, and used it to start selling frozen turkeys. In the 1990s, Swift was sold to Nebraska-based food conglomerate ConAgra, which then sold the brand to Carolina Turkeys in 2006. In 2010, Seaboard Corporation acquired 49 percent of Butterball LLC for $250 million.

Butterball is not in fact a preparation of chicken or a specific heritage breed, but rather a business investment, as so much of American cuisine is. In fact, there is no actual butter in or on a Butterball turkey. The fresh turkeys are injected with a basting solution made of salt water and “common household spices,” one brand representative told me. Butterball will not share the ingredients of its secret basting formula.

According to the farm animal welfare group Mercy for Animals, Butterball slaughters 20 percent of the 252 million turkeys killed each year in the U.S. Do we really want a corporation controlling so much of our poultry?

According to Butterball’s website, it claims it is “dedicated to the humane treatment of our turkeys.” The birds are called all-natural, a rather meaningless and non-FDA accredited statement, gluten-free (as all animal protein naturally should be), and raised without hormones on American farms.

But a video released in July 2014 proved that the Butterball turkeys aren’t as happy-go-lucky as the multimillion-dollar company claims the birds to be. The animal protection group Butterball Abuse shared a disturbing video of baby birds being ground alive in macerating machines, turkeys having their toes and beaks removed without painkillers and workers kicking, stomping on, throwing and dragging turkeys.


Since 1981, Butterball has operated a Turkey Talk-line every November and December, allowing customers to call Butterball specialists directly to ask for preparation tips, troubleshoot their turkey cooking or just ask questions about the product.

On the Thursday before Thanksgiving, I spoke with a woman called Sandra, who patiently assisted with all of my Butterball-related questions. When I asked her about the charges of animal cruelty, there was a long awkward pause. She assured me that, “As far as the animals being mistreated, we have a quality care that keeps close eyes on our turkeys so that will never happen again.” She went on to explain that this quality care team is not certified in any way to watch for animal abuse, but they “make sure the turkeys don’t get hurt” and “there’s no more abuse for sure.” But since Sandra had never visited a Butterball plant, she could not provide me with resources to ensure that the turkeys were treated better today than when the video was shot.

While there’s a lot of sketchy information stuffed inside Butterballs turkeys, we do know this: buying a locally raised and humanely slaughtered turkey allows for a greater level of transparency and understanding of the animal you’re eating. Buying local has a lower carbon footprint than purchasing from an industrial brand, and a turkey raised on organic feed will most likely be healthier than whatever Butterball is plumping up its turkeys with.

While a farmers market turkey may cost a few extra bucks, if you’re going to eat turkey this holiday, put down the extra feathers to celebrate something America should actually be thankful for: local, sustainable, delicious food raised without cruelty to the animals whose lives are being sacrificed for your meal. You can always call the Butterball Hotline for roasting tips: no one will tell.
Source: ecowatch.com

4 Tips on Juicing Cannabis for Better Health

-

Did you know you can juice cannabis without getting ‘stoned’ and enjoy all the benefits that are inherent in this incredible plant?

“If cannabis were discovered in an Amazon rain forest today, I think people would be clamoring to make as much use as they could of all the potential benefits of the plant, I think unfortunately it carries with it, a long history of being a persecuted plant.” ~ Donald I. Abrams, Chief Hematology Oncology.

Cannabis is actually a vegetable, prior to human interference, and has ’34 million’ years of evolution that can be seen as a dietary essential that helps our cells function the best way they can. Cannabis can prevent depression, seizures, and cancer, and it is a medicinal plant that can be added to your green-juices and smoothies to boost their nutritional power for overall health.

One woman even used raw cannabis juice to replace 40 toxic pharmaceutical medications and boost her body back to health.

Dr. William Courtney of California recommends juicing raw cannabis leaves. Here is one simple recipe you can follow – of course adding any additional juicing greens you like, such as kale, spinach, bok choy, etc.
Tips on Juicing Marijuana


  • 1. Obtain cannabis leaves from a legal dispensary in one of 23 states in the US or a foreign source, such as Amsterdam, when you travel.
  • 2. Next, remove the stems. You will then rinse, soak and rinse the leaves again. This is to be sure the leaves are cleared of residual pesticides if used in growing the plant.
  • 3. Add a heaping handful of cannabis leaves to a blender with one cup of juice or water. Water is preferred, since many juices are GMO and also full of refined sugar. Blend until all ingredients liquefy.
  • 4. Strain the contents into a sieve, unless you can tolerate the extra fiber of the leaves – it is actually good for you, too.
  • Drink up.

You can store remaining cannabis juice in glass jars in your fridge. Just be sure to top them off so that the juice doesn’t oxidize as quickly. Pouring the liquid into ice trays to freeze them is also an option, then defrost when you are ready to drink them again. To maintain the highest freshness, and healing properties, use only juice that has been stored in the freezer for a maximum of two weeks before making a new batch.
Source: naturalsociety.com

6 GMO Loaded Brands You Should Avoid Buying

- Monday, November 24, 2014

Ever wonder which companies you should totally avoid, whether it’s because they create low-quality food or because they infringe on our food rights? Below you will see 6 huge players in the food industry to avoid and boycott. You can boycott their products for the best effect or you can petition them and ask them to stop throwing money at the anti-labeling campaigns.

Here are 6 huge conglomerates aiming to ruin your right to know what is in your food.

1. Pepsi-Co (Including Frito-Lay and Doritos)

This behemoth has hardly been touched by consumer frustration with GMOs, even it is just as guilty as many other companies when it comes to food secrets. This is also the company who had to settle a $9 million class-action lawsuit over Naked Juice false advertising – claiming the products were ‘all natural’ and ‘100% juice’ when they are actually full of GMOs. Pepsi-Co was also revealed as one of the big spenders behind the anti-labeling campaigns illegally filtered through the Grocery
Manufacturer’s Association. The company topped the list with a $1,620,899 donation to keep you in the dark about GMOs.




2. Kellogg’s

This company is downright shady. Kellogg’s company recently paid $5 million to settle a class-action lawsuit for falsely labeling Kashi products as “All Natural” or “Nothing Artificial.” They have also contributed a total of $1.6 million to defeat GMO labeling initiatives. In a consumer lab test, it was also found that Kellogg’s uses 100% GMO corn in several of their breakfast cereals and other products. Kashi products even made it onto the Non-GMO project’s list of safe foods, but they aren’t safe at all.


3. General Mills


GM says:
“We don’t use genetically modified ingredients in original Cheerios. Our principal ingredient has always been whole grain oats – and there are no GMO oats. We use a small amount of corn starch in cooking, and just one gram of sugar per serving for taste. But our corn starch comes from non-GMO corn, and we use only non-GMO pure cane sugar.”

This is only in one type of cereal they sell, though. Only two percent of the company’s shareholders favor a complete GMO ban. GM’s CEO says, he “sees no reason within the United States to bar ingredients grown from biotech crops.”


4. Nestle/Gerber Co


This company puts GMOs in baby food. Need I say more? The company removed GMOs from baby formulas in South Africa after public pressure forced them to, but it continues to put them in American-sold versions. Formulas like Good Start and others contain GM soybean oil, GM soy lecithin, and GM maltodextrin, as well as corn syrup derived from GM crops. Along with Pepsi-Co and Coca-Cola, the company spent over $1 million to defeat GMO labeling in Washington, and more to defeat labeling in Oregon.


5. Hershey’s


Just how much will you like that chocolate bar after finding out that Hershey’s donated $800,000 to defeat California’s Prop 37 and Washington’s I-522, and another $500,000 to defeat this year’s initiatives in Oregon and Colorado? The company has only one organic brand—Dagoba. Time for a boycott? After all, there are hundreds of non-GMO fair-trade chocolate makers out there. Try some of these non-GMO sweets instead.



6. Coca-Cola

This soda empire has contributed more than $1.5 million to keep your teeth rotting from consuming their GMO-filled sodas. They also utilize high fructose corn syrup that is almost entirely GMO-corn derived. Here are other sodas that contain GMOs, too.

A Few Smaller Corporate Bullies

Unilever, owner of Ben & Jerry’s, donated $467,000 to help defeat Prop 37 in California, but sat out the battle over I-522 in Washington. Unilever is still a member of the GMA, though. The company also recently picked a legal fight with a small vegan company because they were competing too vigorously with Unilever’s Hellmann’s mayonnaise. Imagine that – consumers purchasing foods that don’t cause health issues!

Kraft is also a big GMA supporter. Its website says:


“The use of genetically modified (GM) ingredients is not only safe for people and our planet, but also has a number of important benefits.”


For a full listing of the corporate bullies you need to voice your outrage too, take a look below:

Top Contributors to Colorado’s No on 105 Campaign

  • Monsanto, $4.7 million
  • DuPont/Pioneer, $3.04 million
  • Pepsico, $1.65 million
  • Coca-Cola, $1.1 million
  • Kraft Foods, $1.03 million
  • General Mills, $820,000
  • The Hershey Co., $380,000
  • J.M. Smucker Co., $345,000
  • Dow Agrosciences, a Dow Chemical Company, $300,000
  • Kellogg Co., $250,000
  • Conagra Foods, $250,000
  • Flowers Food Inc., $250,000
  • Smithfield Foods, $200,000
  • (*Source: No on 105 Campaign)
Top Contributors to Oregon’s NO on 92 Campaign
  • Monsanto – $4.8 million
  • Pepsi -$1.4 million
  • Coke – $702,000
  • Kraft – 870,000
  • Land O’Lakes – $760,000
  • General Mills – 695,000
  • Dow – $368,300
  • Hershey – $320,000
  • Smuckers’ – 295000
  • Kelloggs – 250 000
  • ConAgra-250,000
Source: naturalsociety.com

This UK bus is powered by food waste and poop

-

This UK bus is powered by food waste and poop


The future of sustainable public transport could come through fueling buses with gas made from two of the things that we seem to have a lot of, human waste and food waste.
In what is a first for the country, the "Bio-Bus", a 40-seat bus that uses biomethane as its fuel, is now operating in the UK, and could be a harbinger of a greener, more sustainable, public transport system.

The biomethane that fuels the Bio-Bus is generated from sewage and food waste (waste which is unfit for human consumption), and because the bus' engine produces lower emissions while burning biomethane than conventional diesel does, it could not only help improve air quality, but also help to prove the case for more waste-to-fuel projects.

"The bus also clearly shows that human poo and our waste food are valuable resources. Food which is unsuitable for human consumption should be separately collected and recycled through anaerobic digestion into green gas and biofertilisers, not wasted in landfill sites or incinerators." - Charlotte Morton, chief executive of Anaerobic Digestion & Bioresources Association

The biomethane is being generated by GENeco through anaerobic digestion at the Bristol sewage treatment works, and in addition to fueling this bus, is also being added to the UK's national gas grid at a volume capable of powering around 8500 homes. The treatment plant handles about 75 million cubic meters of sewage and 35,000 metric tons of food waste each year, effectively turning local waste into local fuel.

On a full tank of this bio-gas (equivalent to the annual waste of 5 people), the Bio-Bus has a range of up to 300km,
and is currently being operated by the Bath Bus Company on the A4.
Source: treehugger.com

Report Exposes Walmart’s Dirty Energy Secret

- Friday, November 21, 2014

Walmart’s pose as a climate action leader is belied by its massive coal consumption. Photo credit: Institute for Local Self-Reliance

Report Exposes Walmart’s Dirty Energy Secret

America’s largest retailer Walmart has been attempting to gild its image as a climate-friendly company. But environmental leaders charged today that its claims are nothing but greenwashing and that the company is a major contributor to climate change. A new studyfrom the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR), Walmart’s Dirty Energy Secret: How The Company’s Slick Greenwashing Hides Its Massive Coal Consumption, says that the company’s dependence on coal make it one of the largest users of coal-fired electricity in the U.S.
Walmart’s pose as a climate action leader is belied by its massive coal consumption. Photo credit: Institute for Local Self-Reliance

The report calculates that Walmart’s coal use is responsible for spewing nearly 8 million tons of climate change-driving carbon pollution into the air annually. ILSR calculated the total electricity use, coal-fired power consumption and resulting greenhouse gas emissions of every Walmart store and distribution center in the country, figuring that Walmart’s U.S. operations use nearly six times the amount of electricity as the entire U.S. auto industry. Coal accounts for nearly 75 percent of the company’s total emissions from U.S. electricity use.

“Walmart has made remarkably little progress in moving to renewable energy, while other national retailers and many small businesses are now generating a sizable share of their power from clean sources,” said Stacy Mitchell, a senior researcher at ILSR and co-author of the new report. “Despite making a public commitment to sustainability nine years ago, Walmart still favors dirty coal-generated electricity over solar and wind, because the company insists on using the cheapest power it can find.”

Last year, ILSR found that since Walmart launched its environmental campaign in 2005, the company’s greenhouse gas emissions have grown by 14 percent.

“Rather than fulfill the climate commitments it’s been making for years, Walmart is continuing to hurt the health and prosperity of our communities and families while endangering our planet.” said Michael Brune, executive director of Sierra Club. “Walmart can start living up to its purported values by ending the company’s heavy reliance on dirty coal and respecting their workers.”

The report points out that other retailers, such as Kohl’s and Ikea, have made giant strides in moving toward clean, renewable energy. Ikea, for instance, has installed rooftop solar panels on 90 percent of its U.S. stores. Walmart’s clean energy projects provide just 3 percent of its total U.S. electricity use.

“It’s unconscionable that the country’s largest employer and the world’s largest company is choosing to hurt our planet and hurt working families with its dirty operations and poverty pay,” said Bill McKibben, co-founder and president of 350.org. “Walmart and the Waltons can help our communities truly live better by switching to clean energy and paying workers a fair wage.”

“Walmart could single-handedly strengthen the middle class and help create a vibrant clean energy economy that promotes good jobs,” said Jeremy Hays, executive director of Green For All, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to building an inclusive green economy to lift people out of poverty. “After years of empty promises, Walmart should use be using its power and wealth to build stronger and more sustainable communities, not disrespecting workers and endangering the future of our planet.”


In the 10 states where Walmart uses the most coal-fired electricity, it consumes more than 2 million short tons of coal each year, equivalent to nearly 4 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions. In Missouri and Illinois, with their many coal-fired plants, Walmart produces more than 900,000 metric tons of carbon pollution.

“In Missouri, residents are calling for cleaner energy sources, rather than continued reliance on our aging and dirty coal plants that poison the air and water,” said Jeff Ordower, executive director of Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment. “Rather than stand with Missouri in its efforts to go green, Walmart’s St. Louis supercenter uses more coal than any of its other U.S. stores. The one Walmart store pumps out more than 4,100 metric tons of climate pollution every year.”

The St, Louis area includes the Walmart facility that burns the most coal of any in the U.S. Image credit: Institute for Local Self-Reliance

Not surprisingly, the company donates millions of dollars to candidates who support fossil fuel industries and oppose climate action. In the 2011-2012 election cycle, more than half of the Congressional candidates supported by Walmart and the Walton family, the company’s majority owners, received a 100 percent Dirty Energy Money score from Oil Change International. An ILSR study last month found that the Walton family is funding nearly two dozen organizations working to roll back clean energy policies and impede the growth of rooftop solar.

In April, consumer protection group The Green Life and Environmental Action named Walmart “the worst greenwasher of the year.”

“Walmart has made some big promises to environmentalists and the public, but sadly, many of the promises continue to go unfulfilled,” said The Green Life’s acting executive director Drew Hudson. “The truth is that Walmart’s current business model is unsustainable. From the way Walmart ships material to the fact that it has a 96 percent failure at their own goals for renewable energy. Americans need to know—there is a high climate-cost of low prices.”
Source: ecowatch.com

Mobile healthy food market is rolling around Toronto

-


The city of Toronto has its share of food deserts, mostly in the inner suburbs designed in the 50s around the idea that people could drive to the big supermarket. Now those areas have the highest levels of poverty and the poorest access to fresh food. That's where this mobile food market comes in; it now brings fresh produce at good prices to the people most in need. Everybody pitched in; the Toronto Transit Commission donated a wheel-trans bus designed to carry people in wheelchairs, so it is accessible to everyone.

LGA architectural partners,
 formerly known as Levitt Goodman architects (and well known to TreeHugger- see related links below) donated their services for the conversion, telling Dave LeBlanc of the Globe and Mail:


“This is what we love and motivates us about architecture,” offers Mr. Goodman, who also worked on the converted shipping containers that now make up Market 707 at Scadding Court Community Centre. “It’s not what the particular design is, but more about the critical issue: Can we use our skill to make our city and community a better place to live in.” .... “Good food is beautiful when displayed well, so when we decided we wanted this to be a feature we worked out the mechanism so one person could fold out the shelves, restock as necessary and display the food so it was attractive.”
© Laura Berman

© Laura Berman

The kind of planning that puts towers in a park and a supermarket a couple of miles away makes it difficult for anyone to get by without a car. It's a shame that these food deserts exist and this this bus is needed, that we have to bus food around like this. But it's nicely done. Dave Leblanc notes:

When parked and fully merchandized, you hardly see the bus. Instead, it’s a visual feast of cascading bins of leafy lettuce, onions and berries, and more exotic fare such as okra or yuca (cassava) to reflect the wide range of ethnicities the bus serves.

Source:
treehugger.com
More in the Globe and Mail, found on Architecture Lab.

Neil Young Boycotts Starbucks Over Its Opposition to GMO Labeling

- Thursday, November 20, 2014

Neil Young Boycotts Starbucks Over Its Opposition to GMO Labeling


Neil Young has long been known for his involvement in environmental and social justice issues. Now Young has extended his longtime activism to another area: taking on Starbucks and its association with the anti-GMO labeling Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA). The GMA has spent heavily in states where GMO labeling has been on the ballot, working to defeat it, usually coming in just behind Monsanto in the size of its donations.Neil Young performs in September at the Harvest the Hope concert in Nebraska. Photo credit: Bold Nebraska

“Goodbye Starbucks!” Young announces on his website.
“I used to line up and get my latte every day but yesterday was the last one,” he says. “Starbucks has teamed up with Monsanto to sue Vermont and stop accurate food labeling. Hiding behind the shadowy ‘Grocery Manufacturers Association,’ Starbucks is supporting a lawsuit that’s aiming to block a landmark law that requires genetically modified ingredients be labeled. Amazingly, it claims that the law is an assault on corporations’ right to free speech.”

Vermont’s labeling law never appeared on the ballot, which would have given the big-spending groups the chance to swamp labeling supporters with money. Instead, it was passed by Vermont’s legislature in April and signed by its governor in May. A lawsuit challenging the law was filed in June by GMA, the Snack Food Association, the International Dairy Foods Association and the National Association of Manufacturers, claiming that it would impose “burdensome new speech requirements and restrictions” on the product manufacturers they represent. Vermont is the first state in the U.S. to pass GMO labeling; the big spenders have been able to defeat all the state ballot measures.

“Vermont is a small, entirely rural state with just 600,000 people,” says Young. “It’s a classic David and Goliath fight between Vermont and Monsanto. Whatever you think of GMOs, corporations should not be using massive lawsuits to overturn legitimate, democratic decisions with strong public backing. Considering that Starbucks has been progressive on LGBT and labor issues in the past, it’s disappointing that it is working with the biggest villain of them all, Monsanto. Monsanto might not care what we think—but as a public-facing company, Starbucks does. If we can generate enough attention, we can push Starbucks to withdraw its support for the lawsuit, and then pressure other companies to do the same.”

Young urges people to join with SumOfUs.org, an organization that advocates for workers and consumers against corporation, to pressure Starbucks to oppose the lawsuit.

Starbucks meanwhile denies any responsibility for the lawsuit. “Starbucks is not a part of any lawsuit pertaining to GMO labeling nor have we provided funding for any campaign. And Starbucks is not aligned with Monsanto to stop food labeling or block Vermont state law. The petition claiming that Starbucks is part of this litigation is completely false and we have asked the petitioners to correct their description of our position. Starbucks has not taken a position on the issue of GMO labeling. As a company with stores and a product presence in every state, we prefer a national solution.”

Young may be 69, with a music career spanning 50 years, but his level of activism on behalf of environmental causes only seems to be growing. In September, he joined Willie Nelson toheadline the day-long Harvest the Hope: A Concert to Protect the Heartland in rural Nebraska on behalf of Keystone XL pipeline opponents, where he introduced his new tune and latest environmental salvo “Who’s Gonna Stand Up? (And Save the Earth), which he recentlyperformed with Stephen Colbert on The Colbert Report.
Source: ecowatch

Mom Could Face Jail Time for Healing Son with Cannabis Oil

-

Mom Could Face Jail Time for Healing Son with Cannabis Oil
Natural medicine not allowed

The social stigma attached to marijuana use is steadily dissipating in the United States More states are legalizing some form of marijuana every year, which means the once vilified plant is gaining more support from the public. But that nation-wide legalization of at least medical marijuana couldn’t come fast enough for some who desperately want to use the plant for its healing powers. That’s the case with one mom who used cannabis oil to heal her son; now she could face jail time.

A boy named Trey Brown suffered from a terrible baseball accident in 2011, causing a golf ball-sized area of his brain to bleed and leading to an unbearable buildup of pressure in his head. When brought to the hospital, Trey and his mother Angela Brown were told by doctors that his survival was questionable. After that, the doctors induced a medical coma. When Trey woke up, he wasn’t the same.

After waking, he began dealing with chronic pain, depression, and outbursts. In an attempt to treat the boy or at least alleviate his symptoms, they had gone through a whopping 18 medications. They all failed to help.

“I cry like every day before I go to bed, like my brain is about to blow up, cause there is so much pressure. It just hurts in my brain everywhere. I really can’t explain the pain.” Trey said.

After having little success with conventional medicine, Angela Brown decided to try a not-so-conventional, or legal, treatment for her son – cannabis oil. After giving Trey the oil, which she obtained from Colorado, Trey reported feeling significantly better within just a week. The cannabis oil helped to treat and bring quality of life back in a situation where all else was tried and didn’t work.

“I felt better, the pain went away,” Trey Brown said.

“I was afraid to go to the bathroom, he’d be harming himself,” Angela Brown said. “No mother should have to hold their child so they don’t hurt themselves. He didn’t want to live… Within an hour of him taking it, we could tell a difference.”


But it didn’t take long for the authorities to come stomping in to seize and arrest. It only took a week for the sheriff’s department to confiscate the oil. Later, county officials charged Angela with child endangerment which required child protection to get involved. If she is convicted of her charges she could face up to two years in jail and $6000 in fines.

“It was a week later when my mom called and said, ‘The cops are looking for you,'” Angela Brown said. “The prosecutor’s version of this is that a good mom allows her child to be in pain, to self-harm, and attempt to take his life. I guess that’s a good mom in his eyes…It’s asinine, I didn’t hurt my son; I was trying to prevent him from being hurt.”

To make the outcome of this story even more ridiculous, Minnesota became the 22nd state to approve specific forms of medicinal marijuana.The law, however, won’t go into effect until 2015. Even though cannabis will be utilized to heal in less than a year, apparently helping someone with the oil is still an unfathomable crime.

Marijuana has been used and studied for its abilities in cancer and Alzheimer treatments, helping to reduce seizures, and replacing potentially harmful medications, yet it is still vilified. Although cannabis is finally becoming legal in more states and even nations every year, there is still resistance we need to overcome so that people can freely utilize this healing plant.
Source: naturalsociety.com