For people who have become more conscious of what goes into what they eat, the good news is that an increasing number of food manufacturers are offering organic options, making organic food one of the fastest-growing segments of food production in the United States. The bad news is that all of those options can be confusing, especially when factoring in food made without genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Some people might be trying to eat an all-organic diet, and others may simply be trying to avoid GMOs. Although foods may be labeled as USDA-certified organic or Non-GMO, consumers may not understand the difference. In many cases, there is some overlap between the USDA Organic and Non-GMO labels, but there are some key differences consumers should be aware of when trying to make the distinction between organic foods and foods made without GMOs.
In general, foods bearing the USDA Organic label have been produced without the use of GMOs as well as other criteria that certify that the food has been produced with at least 95 percent organic ingredients. Foods that have been labeled as Non-GMO, on the other hand, only need to meet the criteria that they contain less than 1 percent of GMO content. Foods certified as Non-GMO may have been exposed to chemical pesticides or fertilizers, animals may have been subjected to antibiotics or hormones, and livestock may not have been fed using 100 percent organic feed. In short, all USDA Organic certified foods are Non-GMO, but not all Non-GMO certified foods are organic.
The increased variety and selection available at the grocery store today may be more confusing, but anyone who is concerned about what goes into their favorite organic chocolate brands will need to know the difference between the labeling and what the labels mean. The following chart helps delineate the differences between USDA Organic and Non-GMO labels, so review it the next time you check the labels on your favorite snacks.
Author bio: Chris Bekermeier is Vice President of Marketing at PacMoore. PacMoore is a food contract manufacturer that offers food processing and packaging services. Bekermeier received his B.S. in business management from Eastern Illinois University and his M.B.A. from the University of Chicago.
Even though we inhabit a planet that is almost 70% water, one out of every 10 people in Earth does not have access to a clean water supply. More than 1.75 million children die each year from drinking polluted water, which is unjustifiable when global spend on bottled water could provide everyone in the world with a clean supply three times over.
These are among the extraordinary facts about water which appear in the video below, which was produced by Nature’s Water (www.natureswater.ie/uv-sterilizer.html). It is not meant to be a finger-pointing, guilt-tripping exercise in blame, but rather a thought-provoking perspective on how the world’s water is used. We can all do our little bit to use water more efficiently for the benefit of those who aren’t fortunate enough to have easy access to the resource.
Take a look at the video and think about what you could do to encourage water conservation and help those who crave the clean water that many of us take for granted.
Earth Day is an important event that takes place on April 22nd every year. As our world continues to grow, we are constantly using more of the resources that the Earth gives us. Do to this growth, we are now facing troubles of global warming and the need to push for clean energy resources.
Celebrating and acknowledging the Earth on Earth day is one small step we can take to greatly impacting our name. New Holland CDJR has put together a list of ways that we can strive to appreciate the Earth all 365 days a year. These little steps are extremely beneficial to the environment and are also a great way of saying thanks to the earth. Check them out below!
How often do you look in the refrigerator and throw something away because the best-before date has passed? Many people rely completely on food expiration dates to make a decision as to whether food is safe to eat or not. However, as this infographic from Lakeshore Convention Centre outlines, we take these expiration dates at face value too often.
Rather than simply blindly following expiry dates we should check is the food fresh by either smelling it or sampling it. Remember that expiry dates are there to indicate a product’s freshness and is in no way an indication of a products safety.
Try to educate yourself and others about what food labels really mean as it’s such a shame that so much food is wasted unnecessarily. Find out more information about the real meaning of food expiration dates in the infographic now.
Christmas – a time packed full of delicious foods and indulgence, but unfortunately also a time of huge food waste.
Food waste is a major problem around the world. Current estimates put global food waste between one-third and one-half of all food that is produced – and Christmas is no exception.
We often end up cooking for 20, even if there’s just 8 of us! And this means we end up with leftovers that we tend to throw away. In fact, UK households throw away the equivalent to 4.2 million dinners on Christmas Day.
The festive season is naturally a time when we indulge with our family and friends but throwing away 4.2 million of perfectly good Christmas dinners is a staggering waste. It would take the average family nearly 4 days to eat all of their food bought just for Christmas day.
Food waste is not just a moral issue, it’s an environmental issue too. Research from Love Food Hate Waste provides food for thought. It suggests that if we all stop wasting food that could have been eaten, the benefit to the planet would be the equivalent to taking 1 in 4 cars off the road.
Let's make sure this Christmas isn’t a wasteful one!
According to the CIA Factbook, the amount of oil left is based on the current technological and economic viability of extraction. This obviously implies that technologies and economies change, which means that the reduction of these oil reserves will put further weight on the following issues:
The increase in fracking, and its associated risks (including water damage & increased seismic activity) Increasing dependence on imported oil, which could cause consumer prices to rise The development of more clean energy sources New innovations like Tesla’s solar-panelled roofs The adoption of electric vehicles The distribution of electric vehicle charging stations (making owning one and driving one more feasible across the country)
There is much more coal than oil available, but scientists agree that if we use it all, it will push us into the critical zone for global warming.
Interactive graphic by RS Components.
Every crisp packet, chocolate wrapper or drinks bottle we drop on the ground contributes to the overall global epidemic of litter, a problem that costs billions in cleanup attempts and leads to huge reputational damage for businesses and communities. If we saw a fast food restaurant’s grease-stained packaging draped over a tree branch or a pile of litter providing a less than picturesque welcome to a housing estate, we’d get the impression that the people who own the restaurant or the residents of that estate do not care about littering.
This infographic from Cleaning Services Group advises us as to the grim consequences of littering, as well as what we can do to actively tackle the problem. It doesn’t require hours of effort or resources. Even if all we did was educate friends or family about the harmful effects of littering, or took it upon ourselves to pick up and properly dispose of any litter we come across, that’s still a step in the right direction. A further step would be to lobby our local and national governments to commit resources to the problem and act against litter.
Litter is an environmental crisis that humans created. It’s now up to humans to undo the damage.
Can art change lives? Can art drive revolutions? Plenty of people think so. The rainforests of the world provide endless artistic inspiration, extraordinarily beautiful places seething with life, verdant and exotic. Here are three ways to enjoy the artistic fruits of rainforest inspiration.
Photographer Philippe Echaroux projects images onto the rainforest itself
As reported on Petapixel, the respected French photographer Philippe Echaroux recently projected a series of amazing images of indigenous Brazilian tribes-people onto the country's rainforest landscapes, in a project called The Blood Forest.
The artworks focus on a Suruí tribe led by chief Almir Surui Narayamoga, the man tasked by his country's government with replanting and protecting the tribe's rainforest lands. The chief apparently invited Echaroux to draw attention to the ongoing damage being caused to his land by deforestation and gold mining via photography, revealing the ancient, intimate connection between his people and their environment.
As the photographer said, “Victims of massive deforestation and gold washers who did not hesitate to violate the Surui’s territory to seize deposits of precious stones, the Surui people want to raise awareness of this horrible and greedy slaughter that endangers a territory and its people.”
If you're fortunate enough to be visiting Paris you can enjoy remarkable images of the projected photos at the Taglialatella gallery Paris from November 10th to December 15th.
Rainforest Artists moved by deforestation crisis
As we know, rainforests are disappearing fast from every corner of the globe. A group of artists moved by the crisis have made a series of paintings celebrating the forests in all their glory. The artists want to raise awareness through their work, and many of them donate a percentage of the proceeds from sold work to rainforest conservation initiatives and charities.
You can see the paintings on the Rainforest Artists website, which provides links through to the artists' websites or galleries, where you can buy their work.
Henri Julien Felix Rousseau – Who never actually saw the rainforest
Henri Julien Felix Rousseau is probably the most famous artist of all to be fascinated by the rainforest. He was awarded distinctions in music and drawing at school but didn't take up art full time until he was forty nine years old and retired from his day job at the Paris customs office. Self-taught Rousseau became the archetypal naïve artist, respected and admired by Picasso and Kandinsky for revealing “the new possibilities of simplicity.”
Rousseau's best known paintings are of lush jungle scenes, inspired by his frequent visits to the Paris gardens and zoo. Rumour has it he travelled to Mexico to fight in the subtropics while in the army, but the story isn't true. Rousseau did talk to soldiers who'd served in the Mexican rainforest, and their stories shine through his work: Tiger in a Tropical Storm (Surprised!), Scout Attacked by a Tiger, A Lion Devouring its Prey, The Hungry Lion Throws Itself on the Antelope and many more works all bear witness to his fascination. To experience Henri Rousseau's rainforest paintings in all their glory, visit Wikiart.
As reported in The Guardian last week, US imports of crude oil from the Amazon are at the root of the destruction of some of the area's purest forest ecosystems, releasing vast amounts of greenhouse gases.
Amazon Watch highlights a serious threat
The study was carried out by the environmental group Amazon Watch, and highlights the planned expansion of oil drilling in the region as ‘one of the most serious threats' to the western Amazon. Most of the oil comes from Ecuador, Peru and Colombia, and thanks to the USA and other nations now joining in, proposed oil and gas fields now cover an immense 283,172 square miles of the Amazon rainforest.
Cutting down the region's carbon-rich trees itself produces greenhouse gases. Transporting and burning the oil makes things even worse. Indigenous people and the Amazon’s famous biodiversity are all at serious risk, but the demand for oil keeps rising, and a blend of greed and short term thinking drive the destruction onwards.
What the experts say
As Leila Salazar-López, the executive director of Amazon Watch, said, “Our demand for Amazon crude is literally driving the expansion of the Amazon oil frontier and is putting millions of acres of indigenous territory and pristine rainforest on the chopping block. Breaking free from oil dependence and keeping remaining fossil fuels in the ground is an urgent, collective endeavour, and the life-giving Amazon rainforest must be one of the first places we start.”
California isn't anywhere near as Green as it might think
Much of the crude oil from the Amazon region is refined in supposedly-Green California – ironic to say the least – before being distributed across the USA. This means more or less every company, city and university throughout the nation unwittingly contributes to the Amazon rainforest's destruction.
On the surface of things, California has a good environmental reputation thanks to stiff targets to cut greenhouse gases, improve energy efficiency and cut the use of fossil fuel in vehicles. But under the surface the picture isn't so Green. California depends heavily on oil imports from South America, partly because the state's Green policies discourage the heavier-grade oils produced elsewhere. And since the ExxonMobil refinery explosion in Torrance, California, in early 2015, the state has increased its gasoline imports more than ten times.
A spokesman for Jerry Brown, the state's governor, said he has taken “nation-leading action to fight climate change, decarbonize our economy and end our dangerous addiction to foreign oil”. That just isn't true. Sadly for the Amazon, it appears talk is cheap.
Many of the world’s vegans maintain the lifestyle because they consider themselves to be making a sacrifice for the sake of animals and the environment. At face value, it would seem that veganism has good intentions and would be more environmentally friendly and ethical given our current technological advances. Yet, the argument that eating a vegan diet is morally justified or even environmentally friendly may be flawed.
While it would be different if modern day vegans were gathering their food in the wild or growing it themselves, if we assume that vegans and omnivores are plugged into the modern food production complex, we get a very different image.
How Much Land Do We Need?
One of the largest arguments of vegans is how environmentally friendly their decisions are, but this is only partially true when compared to meat eating omnivores. A 2016 study entitled Carrying capacity of U.S. agricultural land: Ten diet scenarios showed the environmental toll each style of eating requires.
The worst diet, as far as how much agricultural land is required to sustain it, is a 100% omnivorous diet. Only 467 million people could be sustained on the arable land within the United States if we ate 100% animal protein.
However, with a diet that is only 40 or 20% omnivorous, more people can be sustained on our land (752 and 769 million respectively) than with a vegan diet (only 735 million). In short, veganism requires more land than those who are eating under 40% of their diet as protein.
This may not even consider how much land and emissions are needed for vegans to supplement the nutrition they lose through their diet. Many vegans consume vitamin B12, creatine, pea / rice protein and amino acids like carnitine in order to get proper nutrition. All of these supplements tax the land even further.
If this all seems too theoretical, here is a sobering fact: calorie for calorie, producing lettuce creates more greenhouse gas emissions than bacon. No vegan is going to replace all their bacon calories with lettuce, but it is an indicator of the flawed logic of vegan promoters.
All Sentient Life Matters
Another major problem of veganism is how detrimental it is for small animals and insects. This is due, in part, to the fact that grazing animals don’t require much alteration to the many square miles of land where they eat. In contrast, growing crops requires clearing the native vegetation, which kills thousands of animals and insects per square mile.
In Australia, each 100 kg of usable beef cost 2.2 animals to produce (this includes both the cow and animals on the land killed in the process). However, 55 animals die to produce 100 kg of usable plant protein. This is 25 times more deaths than the same amount of beef.
Two methods contribute to this disproportionate ratio. Firstly, clearing land to produce crops kills insects, snakes, and mice. The ploughing often leaves a field of dead animals for the birds to feast upon. Second, the fumigation within grain storage can kill thousands more mice within granaries.
If vegans and other animal-rights activists believe a diet low in meat is saving lives, these statistics provide a sobering look.
Where Do We Go Next?
The intention of the vegan diet may be well-meaning, but the results do not support the overall goal. Looking forward, humans must learn how to sustain themselves on a diet that is partially omnivorous, but under 40% of their daily calories. The animals we do consume must be processed in healthier, more sustainable, and in more humane ways. If we do this, and keep in mind that all sentient life is valuable, we will make less of an impact on the earth and remain in integrity with our roles as stewards of earth.