Tag Archives: neighborhood

Syria is joining the Paris Agreement, leaving the U.S. alone in rejecting it.

At a hearing on the federal response to the 2017 hurricane season, New York Congressman Jerrold Nadler questioned the EPA’s decision to declare water drawn from the Dorado Superfund site OK to drink.

In 2016, the agency found that water at Dorado contained solvents that pose serious health risks, including liver damage and cancer. Yet after CNN reported that Hurricane Maria survivors were pulling water from the site’s two wells, the EPA conducted an analysis and found the water fit for consumption.

When Nadler asked Pete Lopez, administrator for Region 2 of the EPA, why his agency changed its position, Lopez responded that the chemicals are present in the water, but are within drinking water tolerance levels.

The EPA’s standards for drinking water are typically higher than international norms, John Mutter, a Columbia University professor and international disaster relief expert, told Grist. Nonetheless, he believes it is unusual for the EPA to declare water safe to drink just one year after naming it a Superfund site.

At the hearing, Nadler said the situation was “eerily similar” to the EPA’s response after 9/11 in New York. One week after the attacks, the agency said the air in the neighborhood was safe to breathe. But since then, 602 people who initially survived the attack have died from cancer or aerodigestive issues like asthma, and thousands more have become sick.

“The [EPA’s] history of making mistakes makes you feel like perhaps they should be challenged,” says Mutter, citing the water contamination crisis in Flint, Michigan.

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Syria is joining the Paris Agreement, leaving the U.S. alone in rejecting it.

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White House officials are gearing up for a showdown over the Paris agreement.

Raj Karmani was a graduate student in computer science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign when his frequent trips to the neighborhood bagel store opened his eyes to food waste. Most of the unsold bagels usually went into the trash. Karmani’s obsession with efficiency got him thinking: What if there were an app that would sync up businesses with fresh, excess food and organizations in need of it? In 2013, he started Zero Percent, an online platform for food donation.

Here’s how it works: First, a food producer at a commercial kitchen, say a restaurant or bagel shop, opens an Uber-style app and drops in detailed data about the excess food: the amount, where to pick it up, when to pick it up, etc. Then, a delivery person, hired by Zero Percent, scoops up the food and drops it off at any number of youth groups, community centers, or nonprofits that have also signed up for the app and signaled a need.

Right now, Zero Percent operates in the Chicago area and in Urbana-Champaign (but plans to expand), and its biggest clients include the University of Illinois and the local Salvation Army. Karmani says Zero Percent has delivered more than 1,000 meals. As a well-educated and relatively well-off immigrant, the experience has been eye-opening for him. “Some of these kids have never seen strawberries.”


Meet all the fixers on this year’s Grist 50.

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White House officials are gearing up for a showdown over the Paris agreement.

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3 Ways Going Green Can Make a Significant Difference

The main reason most Americans dont live more sustainably? Many see it as either too hard or too expensive. Sure, it is easy to say buy solar panels and eat only at restaurants who have direct relationships with localfarms, but we dont all have that kind of cash. On the other side of the coin, going full-on zero wasteisnt a realisticoption for everyone either. So, how can the majority of us go greenwithout surrenderingto either extreme?

1. Take baby steps.

Baby steps are key to changing any habit, including our most ingrained, less-than-sustainable ones. For instance, instead of giving up all animal products cold turkey, choose to eat all-vegetarian meals for 3 or so days a week. Odds are, you can stick with this lifestyle change long-term, unlike an extreme experiment with avoiding all animal products, which 75 percent of people give up after a stint. If you do that calculation, a subtle, long-term change is more environmentally effective than an extreme, short-term one.

In your house, instead of worrying about not being able to afford solar panels, try making your house asenergy efficient as you can by replacing bulbs, reprogramingyour thermostat, and addressing excessive water usage and waste. Rather than deciding to only bike commute to work, start off by riding in on sunny, warm days and work your way up. Instead of going to the mall for new pants, make an effort to shop secondhand at places like ThredUp. You want your sustainability to become a integrated lifestyle choice, not a burden.

2. Support causes over products.

Great, you buyless-toxic, eco dish soap. That’s a good thing, but youll be disappointed to hear that those types of purchases dont really shrink your carbon footprint or offset climate change in any meaningful way. By all means, keep buying greener productsif you canthey are certainly healthier for your body and your immediate environment. But, many of us become content and complacent after buying green products, thinking we have done our small part in the challenge to salvage the environment. That couldnt be further from the truth.

Rather than solely using your purchasing power to try to evoke change, you are better off going straight to the source. Donate to causes and organizationswho are pushing the regulatorsthe FDA, the USDA, the EPAto make big changes that will improve health and environmentalregulationsnationwide. Continue to buy cleaner, organic products when you can afford to (they are usually a little more expensive), but make it a priority to educate, donate and push for change in our food system, environment and manufacturing procedures as much as you can.

3. Get involved locally.

Yeah, we love our glorious national parks, but dont you also want to keep your local environment clean and beautiful? Pay attention to what is going on in your community. It may be time to –gasp– go to a town hall meeting and pay attention to the initiatives and politics in your neighborhood. It may be a little less romantic than fighting for the great wild places of the West, but you can be most effective in creating change at a local level. Of course, if the national or state parks need your attention, by all means, they deserve everyone’s support.We need regulations and protections for all our environments.

You aren’t going to become a green machine overnight, but if you make it a conscious part of your lifestyle, it’s really not that hard. And maybe down the line you can buy solar panels and you’ll shop only in the bulk aisle and you’ll have a commuter bike and drive a Tesla. But, just because you don’t have these things shouldn’t stop you from embracing more a sustainable way of living. Every single one of us has a real responsibility now that climate change looms overhead, but moderatesustainabilityisn’t as overwhelming and difficult as you may think.

Related:
Being a Little More Selfish Is a Good Thing
Up Your Green Intake with Anti-Inflammatory Seaweed
How to Prep Your Body for Spring

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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3 Ways Going Green Can Make a Significant Difference

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Reuters: 3,000 Neighborhoods Have Higher Lead Levels Than Flint

Mother Jones

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Reuters reports on lead poisoning:

ST. JOSEPH, Missouri — On a sunny November afternoon in this historic city, birthplace of the Pony Express and death spot of Jesse James, Lauranda Mignery watched her son Kadin, 2, dig in their front yard. As he played, she scolded him for putting his fingers in his mouth.

In explanation, she pointed to the peeling paint on her old house. Kadin, she said, has been diagnosed with lead poisoning. He has lots of company: Within 15 blocks of his house, at least 120 small children have been poisoned since 2010, making the neighborhood among the most toxic in Missouri.

Of course, it’s not just St. Joseph. Reuters got hold of neighborhood-level lead testing records and found thousands of high-lead communities across the country:

Reuters found nearly 3,000 areas with recently recorded lead poisoning rates at least double those in Flint during the peak of that city’s contamination crisis. And more than 1,100 of these communities had a rate of elevated blood tests at least four times higher.

The poisoned places on this map stretch from Warren, Pennsylvania, a town on the Allegheny River where 36 percent of children tested had high lead levels, to a zip code on Goat Island, Texas, where a quarter of tests showed poisoning. In some pockets of Baltimore, Cleveland and Philadelphia, where lead poisoning has spanned generations, the rate of elevated tests over the last decade was 40 to 50 percent.

Here’s a map of the worst hotspots in the country:

The whole piece is worth reading. My only disappointment is that the authors spent most of the article talking about the dangers of lead paint. That’s worth talking about, but lead-saturated soil is even more worth talking about. That’s why Lauranda Mignery doesn’t want her son digging in their front yard: there may not be any paint there, but there’s probably lots of old lead that settled in the soil decades ago when we were all burning leaded gasoline.

Sadly, there’s barely any money in the federal budget these days for testing, let alone remediation. It would cost tens of billions of dollars to clean up all the old lead, which is mostly a problem in poor communities populated by people of color. And though it’s not polite to say this, nobody cares enough about them to spend tens of billions of dollars.

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Reuters: 3,000 Neighborhoods Have Higher Lead Levels Than Flint

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Why Buying Local Flowers is Just as Important as Buying Local Food

You may not realize it, but flowers are a part of the buy-local movementand with good reason.

Seventy percent of the cut flowers sold in the U.S. are imported from Latin America. Though the hot climate is just what the flowers need, those constant high temperatures are also conducive to bugs and disease. Consequently, growers in Columbia, Ecuador and many other countries rely on pesticides that have long been banned in the U.S. to produce flowers worth selling in international markets.

As with other crops, applying pesticides to flowers takes its toll on people, especially on mothers who work in the flower fields when they’re pregnant and unavoidably expose their fetuses to the toxic chemicals. Not only that, but researchers found that children whose mothers were exposed to pesticides during pregnancy tended to have higher blood pressure than unexposed children, increasing the chance of risk of cardiovascular disease later in life.

Consumers may be exposed to those chemicals as well. Roses can contain as much as 50 times the amount of pesticides legally allowed on the food we eat, reports the Environmental News Network.When flowers are imported into the U.S., they’re checked for bugs, but not for pesticide contamination. You could bring a lot of unwanted toxic chemicals into your home when you buy a bouquet produced outside the U.S., particularly when you stick your nose right into them.

Importing flowers from Latin America, Europe, Africa and even Australia and New Zealand has another significant environmental impact: climate change.

Blooms coming from south of our borders may be hauled in temperature-controlled trucks or perhaps flown from one continent to another, stored overnight in refrigerators, then driven on to various marketplaces. In a study done for Valentine’s Day, Flowerpetal.com, an online flower vendor, calculated that shipping100 million roses around the U.S. generated some 9,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2). On the other hand, flowers grown in warmer clients do save the energy that might be consumed if the plants were raised in a northern greenhouse.

Still, if it’s possible to purchase flowers grown locally, overall, you’ll probably use less energy, suffer less pesticide exposure and funnel more money back into your local economy. The question is, where to find them?

Farmers Markets – In spring, summer and fall, most farmers markets teem with flowers grown nearby. Some farmers interplant their crops with flowers to attract beneficial insects that will prey on produce-devouring bugs. But other “flower farmers” grow both annuals and perennials as their crop. You can find the nearest source of local flower growers at LocalHarvest.org.

Your Own Yard – As long as you have adequate sunshine and water, you can grow many of the flowers you enjoy, including both perennials and annuals. Real Simple put together this useful guide on how to create a low-maintenance cutting garden that can help you get started.

ACommunity Garden – Don’t have your own yard? Don’t let that stop you. You can rent a plot of land in a community garden and plant to your heart’s content. The American Community Gardening Association makes it easy to find the nearest locale to you.

Garden Club Swaps – Join the local garden club, where you’ll end up swapping seeds and plants with other gardeners in your community. You’ll save money, get rid of your own excess plants, get access to new plants and keep the neighborhood green and in bloom.

Related:

Why Buy Organic Flowers?
8 Beloved Flowers for Every Soil Type
12 Mother’s Day Gifts That Aren’t Flowers or Perfume

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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Why Buying Local Flowers is Just as Important as Buying Local Food

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Daily Action to Celebate Earth Week: Restore Nature

The week leading up to Earth Day is a great time to focus attention on the individual steps we can each take to help protect the planet and ourselves. That’s why, throughout Earth Week (April 17 – April 23) we’ll be highlighting a daily action that can make a difference.

First up: Restore Nature

Nature depends on wilderness, wetlands, forests, prairies and even deserts to sustain the animals, plants and resources ecosystems need to thrive. But the natural world is quickly disappearing. Since the 1700s, the U.S. has lost over 50 percent of its wetlands.

Twenty-two states have lost at least 50 percent of their original wetlands, reports Environmental Concern, Inc., while in seven states over 80 percent of original wetlands have disappeared. The story is similarly grim when it comes to the loss of forests.

The United Nations Environment Programme reports that 13 million hectares of forests, an area equivalent to the size of Greece, are cut down around the world every year. And though over a quarter of the world was once covered by grasslands, much of that has now been turned into farms, energy development and even suburbs, says National Geographic.

Though you may not be able to plant a tract of prairie or singlehandedly restore a marsh, you can do the following to make a difference:

* Plant a tree in your own yard. Can this make a difference? I think of the neighborhood I grew up in as proof that it can. My neighborhood started off as a blank subdivision that had been clearcut so that every house could be easilybuilt on a small, treeless tract. One of the first things my parents and others did when they moved in was plant treesin their front yard as well as in the back. Today, that neighborhood is flush with mature trees that provide shade in the summer and wonderful habitat for all kinds of migrating birds.

* Fill your landscapewith native plants. Whether or not you plant a tree, you will probably have other flowers and bushes in your yard. As much as possible, skip the exotic species in favor of native plants that help restore nature’s balance to your community. Your local county extension agent will be able to tell you what’s native to your region, as well as what will thrive in your own yard given your access to sunlight and water.

* Get together with your neighbors to restore natural spaces. Convene a meeting with your city planning officials and other concerned citizens to identify parts of your neighborhood that you can replant. Connect with the Boy Scouts to stencil storm drains with messages that warn people that the drains connect to their watershed, so they shouldn’t dump oil, paint or other contaminants. Organize a stream clean-up.

* Stopinvasive species.Non-native plants and animals threaten native wildlife and ecosystems and wreak ecological havoc, says the National Wildlife Federation (NWF), which pushes many plants and animals to the brink of extinction. Next to habitat loss and degradation, invasive species are the biggest threat to biodiversity. They can also cost the U.S. economy billions of dollars because they can clog water pipes, decimate fisheries and propagate disease. NWF recommends setting up monitoring systems to detect infestations of these unwanted creatures, and, at home, eradicating invasives in favor of planting and maintaining a natural garden.

* Be water wise. Think about water in two ways: how you use it and how you keep it clean. We waste an enormous amount of water by letting faucets run; by watering grass; by ignoring leaks; and by running appliances like dishwashers and clothes washers when they’re somewhat empty. Save water in your yard by planting more drought-tolerant plants, tightening faucets, replacing toilets and shower heads with more water-wise models and running appliances when they’re full. Protect water quality by minimizing use of fertilizers, insecticides and other pollutants that can run off into streams, rivers and lakes. Buy organically grown food to help reduce agricultural water pollution. And stop using personal care products that contain plastic microbeads, tiny pieces of toxic plastic that wash down the drain and into our waterways.

What other ideas do you have for restoring Nature on Earth Day? We’d love to hear what you plan to do.

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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Daily Action to Celebate Earth Week: Restore Nature

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Even Saudi Arabia doesn’t want to be dependent on oil any more

Even Saudi Arabia doesn’t want to be dependent on oil any more

By on 1 Apr 2016commentsShare

If you thought the world’s biggest company was Apple or Alphabet, you were off by a factor of two to twenty. Saudi Aramco, Saudi Arabia’s state-owned oil and gas company, is worth somewhere in the neighborhood of $1 trillion to $10 trillion — a megalith next to Apple’s $650 billion valuation. And Saudi Arabia, recognizing the end of an era for oil, is looking to sell it off.

In an interview with Bloomberg, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman confirmed a January rumor that Saudi Arabia would begin to open up foreign investment in Aramco as early as next year and establish a gigantic sovereign wealth fund with the new cash. The fund, called the Public Investment Fund (PIF), could eventually control something on the order of $2 trillion in total assets. The primary goal of the PIF is to move Saudi Arabia beyond its dependence on oil as its only economic driver.

“What is left now is to diversify investments,” bin Salman told Bloomberg. “So within 20 years, we will be an economy or state that doesn’t depend mainly on oil.” Aside from reeling in some much-needed cash to the Kingdom, bringing Aramco to public markets is also a sign that Saudi Arabia may be open to reform, both politically and economically. Floating shares of Aramco on international markets will also require clearer reporting standards and greater transparency for the notoriously secretive company.

The Kingdom has been hit hard by the global fall in oil prices and has already spent billions of savings to keep its economy running. With oil prices hovering around $40 a barrel and only sluggish growth in prices in sight, the Saudi story looks a lot like a microcosm (albeit a comically large microcosm) of the argument that an investment strategy focused on fossil fuels simply does not make sense anymore — at least not in the long run. Banks and pension funds in the U.S. and the U.K. have been needled for the losses they’ve incurred due to continued investment in the fossil sector.

So who’s expected to invest in a massive oil conglomerate in 2017? Aramco is not by any means an unprofitable company, and it does a whole hell of a lot more than drill for oil: It has its fingers dipped in just about every segment of the energy sector, in addition to swathes of the chemical and healthcare sectors. Still, oil is its core business, and it’s looking like that business might not be a good long-term play, especially in an undiversified portfolio. If the international community gets more aggressive about climate policy and moves toward a “keep it in the ground” approach to fossil fuels, an investment in an oil giant could wind up unprofitable and unsellable: stranded.

So while Aramco’s IPO will surely find interested parties, they’ll likely be investors looking for short-term gains and ones with portfolios that are already fairly diverse — otherwise the risk calculation really wouldn’t make any sense. The smart long-term move will not be betting on dirty energy.

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Even Saudi Arabia doesn’t want to be dependent on oil any more

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Porter Ranch CEO got a $3 million bonus after a massive natural gas leak

Porter Ranch CEO got a $3 million bonus after a massive natural gas leak

By on 31 Mar 2016commentsShare

Most of us aren’t rewarded for causing major health, environmental, and public relations disasters on the job. But most of us aren’t the CEOs of fossil fuel companies.

The Los Angles Times reports that Debra L. Reed, chairman and CEO of Sempra Energy, the parent company of the natural gas producer responsible for the enormous natural gas leak at Porter Ranch received a $3.17 million bonus in 2015, bringing her total compensation for the year to $16.1 million. But before you start moaning about the 1 percent and executive compensation, take heart: Before Reed received her bonus, her salary was cut by a whooping $130,000, or less than 1 percent of her total pay, because of the disaster. Poor thing.

At its peak, the Porter Ranch leak released 60 tons of natural gas per hour, and residents of the Los Angeles neighborhood reported headaches, nausea, and severe nosebleeds, as well as eye, ear and throat infections. More than 10,000 Porter Ranch residents (and two schools) were forced to temporarily relocate, which cost the company about $2 million a day. The leak lasted from October 2015 until February 2016.

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The environmental impact was massive as well. The leak was particularly damaging because of the amount of methane — a greenhouse gas more potent that carbon dioxide — released. Porter Ranch’s greenhouse-gas impact was even larger than the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, and every day of the leak was equivalent to building six coal-fired power plants or putting an extra 4.5 million cars on the road.

And for this, Debra Reed received an extra $3 million.

So how is it possible that Reed would receive anything other than a boot out the door? LA Times columnist Michael Hiltzik put it well: “It’s the result of a daisy-chain culture among corporate executives who sit on each others’ boards and judge each others’ performance in a near-vacuum.”

In other words, it’s friends voting on friend’s compensation.

Porter Ranch residents, naturally, were not pleased at the revelation of Reed’s bonus. “This sends out a signal that as long as the dollars are there, the impact on people, homes and the environment doesn’t matter,” Paula Cracium, president of the Porter Ranch Neighborhood Council, told Hiltzik. “That’s not the signal we need to send to executives who have so much power.” But for every under-performing CEO who gets handsomely rewarded for his or her mistakes, that’s exactly the message we’re sending.

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Porter Ranch CEO got a $3 million bonus after a massive natural gas leak

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Here’s why Whole Foods’ pre-peeled oranges might not be as absurd as they sound

Here’s why Whole Foods’ pre-peeled oranges might not be as absurd as they sound

By on 7 Mar 2016commentsShare

Whole Foods Market felt the wrath of a thousand tweeters last week after Londoner Nathalie Gordon posted an image of a new store product.

It’s an orange, but an upgraded, 2.0 version that is both more wasteful and, at $6 a pound, a hell of a lot more expensive than the regular kind.

Four days after Gordon tweeted this image, it has gotten nearly 100,000 retweets, almost as many likes, and its own hashtag — #orangegate — inspired by the maelstrom. The media has widely covered the controversial new product, with headlines like “Whole Foods’ Pre-Peeled Oranges Are the Ultimate in Bourgeois Laziness” (Eater), “Whole Foods Sells Peeled Oranges In Plastic Containers, World Revolts” (Huffington Post), and my personal favorite, “Nach Shitstorm geschälte Orange in Plastikpackung vom Markt genommen,” or, “After Shitstorm, Peeled Orange in Plastic Pack Removed From the Market,” from German site Netzfrauen.

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The overwhelming response to #orangegate has been, “WTF, Whole Foods?” In reaction, the company wasted no time pulling the product from its shelves, blaming a few experimental stores, and then making a rather astute joke about the whole thing.

It makes you wonder: Would the outcry have been so loud had the pre-peeled oranges been sold in cute little Mason jars?

Whether plastic or glass, #orangegate brings to mind another recent Whole Foods scandal, #asparaguswatergate, in which a store in California was busted selling three stalks of asparagus in a bottle of tap water. For $6. But unlike #asparaguswatergate, #orangegate has seen a vocal contingent of consumers defending Whole Foods. No, these aren’t lobbyists for the plastic industry or hoarders of to-go containers. They’re folks with arthritis and other disabilities.

Take disability studies scholar Kim Sauder, who wrote on her blog:

As a person with limited hand dexterity, I look at this and see an easier way to eat healthy food. I actively avoid eating oranges, not because I dislike them (they are definitely tasty) but because I have so much difficulty peeling them. Any attempt to peel an orange is likely to result in an unappetizing mess because I’ve squeezed the orange to hard while trying to maneuver it for peel removal.

I don’t have access to peeled oranges from my grocery store though I’d probably take advantage of them if I did. I do buy precut vegetables all the time because it is more convenient and safer for me to do so. …

Anything that helps make my regular acts of daily life safer and more convenient is always a plus. So I was one of a number of disabled people who pushed back against the wholesale shaming of preprepared foods.

Now, Sauder isn’t naive: She doesn’t think that Whole Foods came up with pre-peeled oranges in order to ease the lives of folks with disabilities. Whole Foods is a business, after all, and while the company may have slightly better core values than, say, Walmart, it’s still a capitalist enterprise — one that often prizes the bottom line over human suffering. But still, she has a point, and one that environmentalists must consider: Just as for too long the green movement ignored the effects of environmental degradation on minority and poor populations, they — we — have also ignored the disabled.

Whole Foods sells a lot of shit in plastic boxes, from pre-packaged salads to cut watermelon to that guacamole that costs a week’s pay but is kind of worth it. But, for the most part, we don’t bitch and moan about those. And it’s not just Whole Foods: Tons of stores use excess packaging. Take Trader Joe’s. Do those green peppers really need to be shrouded in plastic? And how are you supposed to get a feel for your heirloom tomatoes if they’re stuck in a vegetable coffin? It’s maddening. I’ve actually seen bananas wrapped in plastic — in the peel — at my neighborhood Harris Teeter before, something that enraged me so much that I stopped eating bananas. So while Whole Foods might be guilty, it’s hardly guilty alone.

We have a packaging problem in this country. That’s clear. But we also have a problem with dismissing the needs of minority populations because, too often, we don’t even see them. Whole Foods needs to do better, but the rest of us need to do better too.

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Here’s why Whole Foods’ pre-peeled oranges might not be as absurd as they sound

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Oklahoma Cop Convicted of Raping Four Black Women and Assaulting Four Others

Mother Jones

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An Oklahoma police officer was found guilty of 18 counts of sexual assault against 8 women in a case that largely escaped national media attention. He could be sentenced to up to 263 years in prison. Here’s what you need to know about the case.

The allegations: Daniel Holtzclaw, a 29-year-old former college football player, was accused of raping and sexually assaulting 13 women—at least 12 of them black—over a 7-month period from December 2013 to June 2014. All the attacks occurred in a predominantly black, low income neighborhood in Oklahoma City that Holtzclaw regularly patrolled, police say. His victims ranged in age from 17 to 57—the youngest a high school student and the oldest a grandmother.

The women testified that Holtzclaw stopped them while they were walking or driving alone. He often forced his victims into his squad car and drove them to isolated areas such as empty lots, fields, or an abandoned school, according to court testimony. Some said that Holtzclaw assaulted them in their homes while wearing his police uniform and with his department-issued gun holstered at his side. One woman, who testified she was 17 at the time of the attack, told the jury that Holtzclaw used a drug search as a pretense to grope her. He later raped the teen on her mother’s front porch while she was home alone. Another—the grandmother—said Holtzclaw forced her to perform oral sex on him during a traffic stop. Holtzclaw was placed on administrative leave during the investigation and was eventually fired. He was arrested in August 2014 after investigators used GPS tracking devices to corroborate his accusers’ stories.

The charges: Holtzclaw was charged with 36 counts, including rape, forcible oral sodomy, burglary, stalking, and sexual battery. He pleaded not guilty to all of the allegations. He faces the possibility of spending multiple life sentences in prison.

The prosecution strategy: Prosecutors argued Holtzclaw deliberately selected his victims. They were almost all poor and black. (Holtzclaw’s father is white. His mother is Japanese.) Some were suspected or convicted of drug possession or prostitution, and others had active warrants. Holtzclaw thought they would be too afraid to report him or no one would believe them if they did, prosecutors argued in court. The officer often threatened victims with arrest and violence if they did not cooperate.

Some of his victims were hesitant to come forward. The youngest accuser asked while on the witness stand, “What’s the point of telling on the police?” Another testified that she never told anyone because she had “never been on the right side of the law.” Police began investigating the case only after the 57-year-old victim came forward. Prosecutors said that she had no criminal record and thus no reason to fear going to the police. A middle-class woman, she was passing through the neighborhood where Holtzclaw stopped her but did not live there.

The defense: The defense argued that all of the sexual acts were consensual. They argued that Holtzclaw is an upstanding, three-year veteran of the police force and an “all-American good guy.” According to media reports from the courtroom, the defense attempted to discredit Holtzclaw’s accusers by grilling them about their past drug use and criminal histories. Holtzclaw did not take the stand.

The jury: The jury included eight men and four women. All of the jurors were white.

The verdict: The jury found Holtzclaw guilty on 18 counts involving 8 of his accusers. The convictions included five counts of rape and several counts of sexual assault, such as sexual battery and forcible oral sodomy. The jury recommended a sentence of 263 years in prison. Holtzclaw will go before the judge for sentencing Jan. 21. He faces multiple life sentences.

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Oklahoma Cop Convicted of Raping Four Black Women and Assaulting Four Others

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