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Americans Have Officially Reduced Their Beef Consumption by 19 Percent

Turns out, Americans may be making smart, eco-friendly decisions in the grocery store after all.

The National Resources Defense Council recently released a report on American food consumption, which found that Americans reduced their intake of beef famously the most carbon-intense food on the planet by 19 percent between 2005 and 2014. For anyone who cares about the environmental footprint of their food choices, this is decidedly good news.

Americas Changes in Consumption

Americans chose to eat a lot less meat in 2014 than they did in 2005. In fact, they ate about ⅕ less meat in the former year than they did in the latter. According to the NRDC, this will result in a huge reduction in carbon emissions from the US.

Americans consumed 19 percent less beef, avoiding an estimated 185 MMT of climate-warming pollution or roughly the equivalent of the annual tailpipe pollution of 39 million cars, the report states.

And it wasnt just beef that saw decreased consumption. Milk, pork, high-fructose corn syrup and shellfish consumption also went down.

Image via NRDC

The reason behind the shift is still up for debate. According to the New York Times, some industry experts attribute the changes to steeper prices of red meat. Droughts that plagued the region increased the cost of beef, as did increasing rates of export to other countries. Additionally, about one quarter of consumers attested that it was concerns about cholesterol and saturated fat that had them reaching for alternative protein sources.

Beef vs. Alternatives

Beef is notoriously horrible for the environment. In addition to the methane gasses released by cattle, numerous other factors make beef an unsustainable option (at least, beef as it is raised today). In order to feed cows, farmers must harvest millions of acres of corn and soy, resource-intensive crops that are often heavily treated with fossil fuel-based pesticides and insecticides. Then, of course, there is the loss of arable land associated with massive Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, often known as CAFOs.

In fact, even just switching from beef to chicken can have a massive positive impact on the environment. In simplified terms, beef production emits 26.45 kilogram equivalents of CO₂ for every 1 kg of beef, which chicken only emits 5.05.

What Foods to Eat (And What Foods Not to Eat) To Save the Planet

When it comes to a diet that can improve the state of the planet by reducing carbon emissions, the waters are murky. One thing, however, is certain: Eating mainstream beef is bad for the planet. Swap out beef for plant-based proteins whenever possible, but dont swap it out for dairy. (In fact, most types of dairy have a C02 emissions rating higher than chicken or pork!). You should also avoid some resource-intensive vegetables, like asparagus (big shocker: asparagus is worse for the planet than chicken!), as much as possible. Here are some swaps you might consider making, according to the EWG:

Swap out salmon (11.9 kgs carbon emissions) for beans (2 kgs)
Swap out cheese (13.5 kgs) for eggs (4.8 kgs)
Swap out pork (12.1 kgs) for tofu (2.0 kgs)
Swap out turkey (10.9 kgs) for peanut butter (2.5 kgs)
Swap out canned tuna (6.1 kgs) for lentils (our clear winner at 0.9 kgs)

Finally, eating local should be your first priority if youre trying to go gentle on planet Earth. Even if you just cant give up eating a burger once in awhile, youll be doing the earth a huge favor by simply choosing a local, grass-fed producer.

Most beef cattle in the United States today are finished on grain in confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs), states the NRDC report. Growing this cattle feed (primarily corn and soy) requires large amounts of pesticides and fertilizers, which, in turn, require significant inputs of fossil fuels. Alternative models of beef production, such as intensive rotational cattle grazing, can help sequester carbon in the soil and provide numerous other health and environmental benefits compared to CAFOs.

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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Americans Have Officially Reduced Their Beef Consumption by 19 Percent

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How to Use the Moon’s Power to Help Your Garden

Planting crops based on the phases of the moon is an ancient practice thats said to increase plant vitality and increase vegetable yields. It can also help guide you on the best times to harvest crops, maintain your garden and care for indoor plants. These are some of the basics to get started.

How does the Moon affect your garden?

We know the Moons gravitational pull is strong enough to influence the Earths oceans and cause tides. Lunar gardening suggests that the Moons gravity also affects the water within soils.

Its said ground water rises as the moon waxes (becomes fuller), and then drops as the moon wanes (gets smaller). This means that plants and seeds planted during a waxing moon phase will have more water available for upward vegetative growth. Whereas, the waning moon phase is better for below-ground root growth as ground water recedes.

Very little research has been done around this concept, but you can do your own test on how the moon affects moisture levels in your soil. Many gardeners who consistently use lunar gardening techniques swear by its results.

How does lunar gardening work?

Lunar gardening recommends what you should do in the garden during each phase of the moon. The Moon goes through a complete cycle every 29 days, which is then broken into quarters as shown in the diagram below.

The primary phases of the moon are known as waxing and waning. The waning moon starts when the moon is full and ends when the moon is the smallest, known as the new moon. The waxing moon starts with the new moon and ends when the moon is full.

Most calendars have symbols that show the full moon, new moon and often the quarters in between. This is all you need to start planning your lunar gardening activities. If you want to explore this method in more depth, various lunar calendars and gardening almanacs are available. The Farmers Almanac is one of the best-known resources on planting around moon phases.

Gardening Tasks in Each Moon Phase

1. First Quarter (Waxing)

This quarter starts with a new moon and goes until the moon is half-full. Water is rising in the soil and more available for seeds and young plants.

Plant vegetables grown for their leaves and above-ground parts, such as cabbage, lettuce, grains and celery. These vegetables also produce seeds on external flowers instead of fruit.
Plant annual flowers and ornamental flowering shrubs.
Water your garden well, including your compost.
Graft or take cuttings of fruit and ornamental trees.
Transplant and repot houseplants.
Later in the season, pick fruits and vegetables intended for immediate use, such as salad greens. Water content should be higher during this moon phase, so your fresh veggies will be crunchier and juicier.

2. Second Quarter (Waxing)

This quarter starts with a half-full moon and ends when the moon is full. Moonlight is becoming stronger during this phase, which can promote vigorous leaf growth in seedlings and other plants.

Plant above-ground vegetables that produce their seeds inside fruit, such as beans, squash, tomatoes and peas.
Plant berries, such as raspberries, blackberries and gooseberries.
If needed, give your crops a light fertilizing with compost or other organic feed.

3. Third Quarter (Waning)

This quarter starts with the full moon and ends when it is half full. Strong root development is a key part of this moon phase as ground water starts to move downwards.

Plant vegetable root crops, such as potatoes, beets, melons, parsnips, carrots, peanuts and onions.
Plant ornamental bulbs as well as biennial and perennial flowers, including strawberries.
Plant trees to encourage strong root growth.
Divide perennial plants.
Spread mulch where needed.

4. Fourth Quarter (Waning)

This quarter starts with a half-full moon and ends with the new moon. The ground water table is lowest during this moon phase and plant growth is slowest, making it an excellent time for maintenance tasks. It is also a good time for harvesting because the low moisture levels reduce the likelihood of rotting.

Remove weeds and unwanted plants.
Mow your lawn because mowing will retard its growth during this moon phase.
Start your compost, or turn your existing compost pile. This moon phase promotes decomposition.
Prune and trim perennials, shrubs and trees.
Spray fruit trees if needed.
Till or cultivate your gardens soil.
Harvest flowers and seeds for next year.
Dry herbs, flowers or fruit for later use.
Harvest long-term storage crops, such as potatoes, cabbage, or apples.

Related
Grow Your Own Salad: 5 of the Easiest Vegetables to Plant
Weeds That are Good for Your Garden
How Light Pollution Affects Wildlife and Ecosystems

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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How to Use the Moon’s Power to Help Your Garden

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Only 14% of Trump Voters Want to Invade Mexico

Mother Jones

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According to a new PPP poll released today, here are some of the views of people who voted for Donald Trump:

Now, before you all get too bent out of shape, I’d like to point out that there’s some good news here: only 14 percent of Trump’s supporters want to invade Mexico. Not so bad, eh?

I’d also like to point out that a week ago I predicted that lots of Trump supporters would hear about the Bowling Green massacre but only a few would hear that it didn’t actually happen. Well, I was right. Belief in the BGM outscored disbelief 51-23 percent. And isn’t that what’s really important? That I was right?

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Only 14% of Trump Voters Want to Invade Mexico

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Did Kellyanne Conway Lie on Hardball?

Mother Jones

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In a post today about Kellyanne Conway’s “Bowling Green massacre” lie, Bob Somerby asks an excellent question:

What have they done with the real Kevin Drum?

That’s easy: he died on November 8th. Continuing directly:

In his own furious, snark-heavy post, Drum asserts that Conway didn’t make an honest mistake in her error-strewn recitation. “Do not for a second think that this wasn’t deliberate,” Drum says.

….It’s plain that Conway made several misstatements on Hardball. Is it possible that her misstatements were made in some type of good faith? That she actually bungled the giant pile of index cards which are constantly fluttering around inside her grievance-fueled head? In our view, she may have known that she was misstating; it’s possible that she didn’t.

Somerby thinks we should be careful about using the word lie. I agree. Generally speaking, it’s always difficult to know if a falsehood is deliberate. That said, let’s review the evidence:

Contra Somerby, Conway is not some fluttery airhead. She is very smart and she knows exactly what she’s doing.
She had obviously prepped for her appearance on Hardball. The Bowling Green incident is not something she would have known about otherwise.
Here is Conway’s quote: “Two Iraqis came here to this country, were radicalized, and they were the masterminds behind the Bowling Green ______.” Watch the video. She didn’t stumble or search for words. She said “they were the masterminds behind….” The only type of word that fits at the end is massacre or incident or plot or something similar. Instead, she later claimed that she meant to say terrorists. That’s plainly nonsensical.
The idea that you’d accidentally use the word massacre in this context is laughable. That’s a million miles away from any normal description of what happened. However, it is very handy for scaring the hell out of people about the danger of Muslim refugees.
The Trump administration, and Conway in particular, have been spewing falsehoods at firehose volume ever since Election Day. (And before that, of course.) Surely there’s a point at which they forfeit the assumption of good faith? Lying is clearly a deliberate strategy on their part.

This is not 1999. Or 2000. Or 2008. Or even 2016. As the Washington Post’s Jenna Johnson said in a piece about Trump’s claim that 3-5 million illegal votes were cast last year—a piece that Somerby praised—”The voter fraud canard was just one in a rush of falsehoods that poured from Trump and his advisers during his first 10 days in office.” The Toronto Star counts 33 Trump falsehoods in his first 14 days. Even if you’re a little more forgiving than the Star, that’s a whole lot of falsehoods. And that’s just Trump. It doesn’t include Sean Spicer or Kellyanne Conway or anyone else in the White House. If you do include them, here is Politifact’s scorecard:

Kellyanne Conway doesn’t have the deep track record that her boss has amassed with Politifact, but what she lacks in quantity she’s making up for in quality. Of the statements of hers that Politifact has checked, not a single one was true. Not. A. Single. One.

So: did Conway lie about Bowling Green? I’d say the evidence is overwhelming that she did. Now, under normal circumstances maybe even overwhelming wouldn’t be quite enough. You’d need a smoking gun. But that standard doesn’t work for the Trump administration. They don’t just lie constantly, they repeat lies even after they know beyond a shadow of a doubt that they’re lies. They lie to your face in the most insulting possible way, as Spicer did in his infamous performance on January 21 about the crowds at Trump’s inauguration. At some point, the falsehoods come so thick and fast that you have to conclude they’re deliberate.

We’ve easily reached that point. You simply can’t cover the Trump administration accurately unless you assume that most of their falsehoods are intentional. How much evidence do you need, after all? It’s a new era, folks.

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Did Kellyanne Conway Lie on Hardball?

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Mark your calendars! The March for Science is happening in D.C. on April 22.

The People’s Climate March will descend on D.C. with an intersectional coalition of green and environmental-justice groups, indigenous and civil-rights organizations, students and labor unions. The march will take place on Saturday, April 29, exactly 100 days into Trump’s presidency.

In January, the Women’s March gathered half a million demonstrators in D.C. alone. There have also been talks of an upcoming Science March, which has no set date but almost 300,000 followers on Twitter.

April’s climate march is being organized by a coalition that emerged from the People’s Climate March of 2014, a rally that brought 400,000 people to New York City before the United Nations convened there for a summit on climate change. It was the largest climate march in history — a record that may soon be broken.

“Communities across the country have been working for environmental and social justice for centuries. Now it’s time for our struggles to unite and work together across borders to fight racism, sexism, xenophobia, and environmental destruction,” Chloe Jackson, an activist with Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment, said in a statement. “We have a lot of work to do, and we are stronger together.”

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Mark your calendars! The March for Science is happening in D.C. on April 22.

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