Tag Archives: planet

President Trump Is Mad As Hell and He’s Not Going To Take It Anymore

Mother Jones

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I missed President Trump’s press conference this afternoon, but Josh Marshall sums it up for me:

The only real consistency in Trump’s remarks are that he did nothing wrong and his anger at whomever he’s angry at at that moment. Everything else is mutable and up for grabs. He’s mad, mad at everyone, mad at Comey, also mad at Rosenstein and he made that anger clear in something like a million ways during this brief performance.

That’s our president. Mad at everybody, all the time—except himself. I wonder if he really lacks self-awareness so utterly that he has no idea he’s the one causing all the chaos? Or that he almost certainly broke the law pretty seriously when he asked Comey to kill the Russia investigation? Is he that clueless?

Probably. Trump always thought the business world was a lot tougher than politics, so being president would be a breeze. That was a level of cluelessness that’s truly mind-boggling. Leaving aside the fact that Trump never actually ran his business in any real sense of the word—and was never as successful as he thought he was—that world was patty-cake compared to big-league politics. In only a few months Washington DC has eaten him alive.

And the rest of the planet is even worse. Trump has already shown signs of being taken to the cleaners by foreign leaders, and this is almost certain to continue. That’s because despite his big talk, he’s never shown any real talent for negotiation. Dan Drezner makes the case here, and it’s not pretty.

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President Trump Is Mad As Hell and He’s Not Going To Take It Anymore

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Here’s a Crazy Story About Donald Trump Falling for an Internet Hoax

Mother Jones

President Donald Trump has been a climate change denier for years, alleging that global warming is a Chinese invention and declaring that cold winter days prove that it’s a hoax. Perhaps not surprisingly, his staff seems to share these views.

According to Politico, Deputy National Security Advisor K.T. McFarland recently tried to get Trump riled up about climate change with a bit of fake news. McFarland reportedly slipped Trump two Time magazine cover stories. One was supposedly from the 1970s and warned about a coming ice age. The other, from 2007, discussed how to survive global warming. But there was one glaring problem: The 1970s cover was a hoax.

In 2007, Time published a cover story titled, “The Global Warming Survival Guide.” Sometime after that, internet hoaxers doctored the cover to instead say “How to Survive the Coming Ice Age” and alleged that it was a 1977 cover. The hoax spread quickly, and climate deniers used it to argue that in the 1970s, scientists were actually worried about global cooling—and since it didn’t happen then, the public shouldn’t believe warnings about global warming now.

The hoax seems to have had its intended effect on Trump, who, according to Politico, “quickly got lathered up about the media’s hypocrisy.” A White House official defended McFarland in an interview with Politico, calling the Time hoax “fake but accurate.” The White House didn’t respond to a request for comment from Mother Jones.

While the Time global cooling cover story never existed, it’s certainly true that some media outlets, including Time, ran stories in the 70s warning about global cooling. One, published by Newsweek, is a favorite of climate deniers. Scientific American explained Newsweek‘s global cooling story in 2014:

The story observed—accurately—that there had been a gradual decrease in global average temperatures from about 1940, now believed to be a consequence of soot and aerosols that offered a partial shield to the earth as well as the gradual retreat of an abnormally warm interlude.

But global cooling was never a popular theory among scientists. Even as some news outlets were writing about it, notes Scientific American, a counter theory about a warming planet was already on the rise. In fact, a survey of peer-reviewed scientific papers from 1969 to 1975 shows that the majority of scientists predicted that carbon dioxide levels would rise, causing temperatures to rise as well.

Scientists have since reached an overwhelming consensus: The planet is getting warmer, and humans are to blame. But this hasn’t stopped climate deniers from citing the old stories as evidence that contemporary news reports about climate change shouldn’t be believed. This climate denier, for example:

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Here’s a Crazy Story About Donald Trump Falling for an Internet Hoax

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California is gearing up to pass a cap-and-trade law. Again.

In a meeting reportedly scheduled for Tuesday, President Donald Trump’s team will debate whether to abandon the historic climate pact.

It might seem surprising that this is even up for debate. During the presidential campaign, Trump repeatedly pledged to “cancel” the agreement, which many consider necessary to keep the planet from overheating. But before making a move, it appears he’ll let his advisers fight it out.

Two members of Trump’s inner circle, Jared Kushner and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, want the administration to stick with the agreement. Reports say the meeting will pit those two against Steve Bannon, the climate-denying former chief of Breitbart News, and Scott Pruitt, the EPA administrator, who want out. Reports say Kushner and Tillerson argue that remaining in the Paris accord gives the administration diplomatic leverage in other matters.

If the opening skit on Saturday Night Live is any sign, the outlook for Kushner’s faction is good.

Of course, President Trump’s moves to trash the environment since taking office suggest that, whatever happens, the administration has no plans to meet the the carbon-cutting pledge the U.S. made under the Paris Agreement.

UPDATE, 18 Apr 2017: The meeting has been postponed. No word yet on rescheduling, but the White House is expected to announce its decision on whether to stay in the agreement in late May.

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California is gearing up to pass a cap-and-trade law. Again.

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6 Ways to Make Your Fridge Plastic Free

In 2010,Scientific Americanconcluded The amount of plastic manufactured in the first 10 years of this century will approach the total produced in the entire last century. The data came from areportthat pointed out the many dangers this material poses to the planet and humans alike.

By cutting down and eventually eliminating the use of throw-away plastics from our food routines, we can help reduce these dangers. It will also help reduce our dependence on pre-packaged, processed foods, and make us more in tune with what we have in our refrigerators. That way, we can cut down on wasted food, which is a huge problem in a country where its estimated that as much as40 percent of the food supply is thrown away.

America has fallen in love with our refrigerators. Weve become so dependent on them that we put everything in there, and this leads to over-crowding, resulting in a less efficient refrigerator and food waste. (If you cant see it, youll forget to eat it.) Modern refrigerators are well-engineered and packed with features that not only keep your food fresh, but prolong its life without the need for excess packaging. These include temperature-controlled doors, airtight crispers and herb storage systems. To get the most out of these fridges, its important to use the features correctly.

Food waste and over-dependence on plastic go hand-in-hand, and to help cut down on both you need to shop thoughtfully, store correctly and understand the needs of the food you eat. Here are six simple steps to take to help achieve a zero-waste and plastic free fridge.

Read more about the dangers of plastic

1. Dont keep produce in plastic bags

Those humidity-controlled drawers in your fridge, known as crispers, work very well when youuse them properly. As a bonus, they mean you dont need to store your produce in plastic bags to keep it fresh. Plastic can actually be the enemy of freshness in these finely-tuned climate-controlled areas of our fridges, as encasing certain produce in plastic encourages the production of ethylene gas that will cause food to spoil more quickly. Consider taking reusable produce bags with you to put your produce in when you shop. You can evenmake your own.

2. Use cloth instead of plastic wrap

Wrap leafy greens and other produce that needs to be contained while in the crisper in a clean kitchen towel or muslin cloth, lightly dampened for produce that needs to be kept moist. You can also buy drawstring muslinproduce bagsfor convenience.

3. Know what should and shouldnt be in the crisper

Some veggies dont like the crisper, unless you have an airtight one. Use a glass container with a lid for carrots, zucchini and cucumbers, which can suffer from limpness in a regular crisper. Celery and other leafy greens do best standing upright in a glass of water. Use your fridges adjustable shelving to create a space for storing your produce in this way when you can. Not only does it preserve it longer, but having it front and center in the fridge means youre more likely to reach for it when you need a snack.Heresa handy guide that goes through the best ways to store all fruits and vegetables, courtesy of the Ecology Center in Berkley, CA.

4. Dont store everything in the fridge

A crowded fridge results in food getting overlooked and eventually spoiling. Below are some other foods you dont need to store in the fridge.

Bread, butter and most root vegetables:Store these in cool, dark places, such as the bottom of a pantry. Bread does best wrapped in a cloth bag and stored on the counter in a bread bin. If you arent going to use it right away, store it in the freezer, not the fridge. Butter keeps well on the counter too when stored in a ceramic butter keeper.
Firm fruit:Fruit stores best in a bowl on the counter. Plus, because its visible and accessible, youre more likely to eat it.
Leafy veg:Vegetables like chard and beet leaves do well in a glass jar with a bit of water out on the counter. Plus, they look nice! The same applies to herbs such as parsley and basil.

5. Use glass containers

Store leftover and pre-prepared or chopped food in glass containers, such as those made by Pyrex. Stainless steel is an option, but glass means you can see whats in it, meaning youre more likely to eat it and its less likely to be wasted. Plus, you can put a glass container right into the oven ormicrowave. You can also just put another plate over the top of a half-eaten meal and put it straight in the fridge, pretty much eliminating the need for plastic wrap in your home. Alternatively, you can use reusable silicon lids that mold themselves to a multitude of containers.

6. Dont forget the freezer

Not just for TV dinners packed in too much plastic, the freezer is your best friend when it comes to prolonging the life of fresh foods, including produce, bread or cooked grains such as pasta and rice. Dont even think about stocking up on gallon freezer bags! Glass containers are excellent in the freezer. Just be sure to choose thick glass, such as Pyrex or Mason jars, and allow a little extra room in the container for food to expand, which it will do when frozen. (You dont want to end up with broken glass in your freezer!)

Read about 5 places plastic is hiding in your home

Start collecting glass jars, the type pasta sauce and jelly come in, and use them for leftovers or chopped-up produce. Just fill them up and pop them in the freezer until youre ready to use them, when they can go straight in themicrowaveto defrost. If youre not convinced about glass, reusable heavy-duty plastic containers, such as those made by Rubbermaid and Tupperware, will last a long time and generally avoid staining and cracking that occur in more flimsy plastic containers.

Next time youre shopping at the grocery store, keep these concepts in mind. Steer clear of food in plastic containers. Instead, look for food in glass jars and cloth bags that you can reuse. Take reusable bags to the store, not only for the checkout counter, but also for the produce department, where you should avoid pre-packed produce. Also, dont walk past the bulk item section. Buying goods in bulk not only saves money, but significantly reduces packaging waste, especially if you bring along reusable cloth bags.

Written by Jennifer Tuohy. Reposted with permission fromNaturally Savvy.

Photo Credit: Sarnil Prasad/Flickr

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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6 Ways to Make Your Fridge Plastic Free

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CNN: Trump Team Gave Russians "Thumbs Up" to Release Hillary Smears

Mother Jones

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CNN has some breaking news:

The FBI has information that indicates associates of President Donald Trump communicated with suspected Russian operatives to possibly coordinate the release of information damaging to Hillary Clinton’s campaign, US officials told CNN….The FBI is now reviewing that information, which includes human intelligence, travel, business and phone records and accounts of in-person meetings.

….One law enforcement official said the information in hand suggests “people connected to the campaign were in contact and it appeared they were giving the thumbs up to release information when it was ready.” But other U.S. officials who spoke to CNN say it’s premature to draw that inference from the information gathered so far since it’s largely circumstantial.

Apparently this is all “raising suspicions” among counterintelligence officers about ties between Russia and the Trump campaign.

If everything we’ve heard today is true, members of the Trump team were (a) in frequent contact with the Russians to coordinate the release of smears against Hillary Clinton, and (b) in frequent contact with some other group of people who were under surveillance for…something. What busy beavers!

Meanwhile, Devin Nunes is pretending to be shocked that the NSA does stuff that everyone on the planet knows the NSA does. I can only assume he was hoping to distract everyone from what’s really going on, the way Trump does with his tweets. But Trump is a master, and Nunes is apparently an idiot. His attempt at misdirection was so barefaced and hamhanded that he probably just made things worse.

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CNN: Trump Team Gave Russians "Thumbs Up" to Release Hillary Smears

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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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5 Reasons to Go Green this St. Patrick’s Day

More common than a Kiss Me, Im Irish shirt on St. Patricks Day, the color green is all around us. Whether its the leaves in the trees, in your beer, or the scarf of someone sitting across from you on public transit, its hard to go a day without seeing green.

Here are five reasons to embrace green, not only for St. Patricks Day, but all year.

Physiological benefits

It has been proven that time in nature can help relieve stress, minimize depression and increase ones overall health. By putting down your smartphone and heading out to connect with nature, you can expose yourself to some much-needed vitamin N (for nature).

Even just seeing the color green can have calming effects. Its also been shown that people with a green workspace or bedroom have fewer stomachaches than those without.

Carolinian forest (Photo by Simon Wilson)

It helps landscapes and species

In addition to its mental benefits, connecting with nature is a great way to increase your appreciation for the world around us. Surround yourself with green by planting a garden, caring for plants indoors, learning about the plants around you, going for a hike or simply strolling through a nearby forest or park.

By thinking green and doing your part for nature, youre helping to conserve species populations and the land they call home. Volunteering or donating to help conservation efforts across the country helps conserve landscapes for future generations.

Its good for you, and its tasty too

Eating green is a great way to do your part for the environment and Im not just talking about kale. Eating sustainable produce, meat and grains, especially locally harvested, can reduce your carbon footprint.

It can help you learn

Research has shown that green can help with learning comprehension. Next time youre reading new material, try laying a transparent sheet of green paper over the text. Green is said to help you absorb material more efficiently as well as increase reading speed.

It helps power plants and our planet

There once was a time where all plants on earth were comprised of grasses, ferns and horsetails green plants that used chlorophyll to capture sunlight and turn it into food and energy. All these ancient green plants had cellulose or wood in their cells. Eventually, stems gave rise to wood, to trunks. This gave rise to the first trees and to forests.

These oases of green became the lungs of our planet. They became our rain-makers, air-conditioners, water reservoirs, chemical recyclers and keepers of biodiversity. They also became major sinks of carbon dioxide. By literally growing green, these plants formed the infrastructure for life as we know it today.

So this St. Patrick’s Day, forget the green-colored drinks and try going green in a new way.

This post was written by Raechel Bonomo, editorial coordinator at the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC),and originally appeared on NCCs blog,Land Lines.

Post photo credit: Clovers (Photo by wiseGEEK)

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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5 Reasons to Go Green this St. Patrick’s Day

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Amazon Has the Deepest Penetration of Any Retailer In History

Mother Jones

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From the Wall Street Journal:

Not Everyone Wants to Shop on Amazon

Chris Outwater is among the 17% of U.S. primary household shoppers who say they never shop on Amazon, according to data from Kantar Retail ShopperScape. While the percentage has steadily declined over the past five years, roughly 22 million American households didn’t use the retailer this year.

Those Amazon holdouts tend to be older than U.S. shoppers overall, with an average age of 57 versus 49, respectively, according to Kantar, and they tend to earn less—$45,700 in annual income, compared with $62,800 among all shoppers. They are less likely to have or live with children.

Talk about burying the lede. Maybe I just haven’t been paying attention, but the news to me is that 83 percent of “primary household shoppers” shopped at Amazon at least once last year. Compare that to this from a June story in the Journal:

While total online spending comprised 7.8% of all retail purchases in the first quarter, according to the Commerce Department, more than half the population, or about 190 million U.S. consumers, will shop online this year, according to Forrester.

This is roughly 80 percent of all US adults, which jibes pretty well with the Kantar number. Basically, about 80 percent of all US adults shop online at least a little, and every single one of them has shopped at Amazon once or more. In other words, among online shoppers, close to 100 percent have shopped at Amazon. Is there any other retailer on the planet who can claim anything close to that number?

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Amazon Has the Deepest Penetration of Any Retailer In History

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Donald Trump’s Pick To Head The EPA Is "An Existential Threat To The Planet"

Mother Jones

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Donald Trump’s transition team has announced that the next head of the EPA will be Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt. This is very bad news!

As my colleague Jeremy Shulman noted earlier this year, Pruitt has some very dumb views about climate change.:

Views on climate change: “The EPA does not possess the authority under the Clean Air Act to accomplish what it proposes in the unlawful Clean Power Plan. The EPA is ignoring the authority granted by Congress to states to regulate power plant emissions at their source. The Clean Power Plan is an unlawful attempt to expand federal bureaucrats’ authority over states’ energy economies in order to shutter coal-fired power plants and eventually other sources of fossil-fuel generated electricity.” Pruitt press release, 7/1/15

Writing in National Review year, Pruitt blathered:

Scientists continue to disagree about the degree and extent of global warming and its connection to the actions of mankind. That debate should be encouraged — in classrooms, public forums, and the halls of Congress.

Think Progress has many more reasons why Pruitt at the EPA is a disaster.

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Donald Trump’s Pick To Head The EPA Is "An Existential Threat To The Planet"

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4 Different Methods for Preparing Your Morning Coffee

Turns out, theres more to making a cup of coffee than simply pressing brew on your coffee machine. In fact, outside of the U.S., many people are left shaking their heads at the concept of brewed coffee and its lack of thick, rich texture and flavor. And the differences of opinion over coffee prep arent solely rooted in snobbery did you know there are actual health differences between different preparation methods?

Whether youre concerned about your cholesterol levels, in searchof a more flavorful cup of joe, or just hoping to increase your coffee-making finesse, heres what you need to know about the pros and cons of the top four coffee preparation methods.

Brewed Coffee

Lets start off with brewed coffee, the most popular preparation method in the United States. This method involves putting a few scoops of ground coffee beans into an electric coffee maker, usually over a filter. Water is then heated and pumped through the machine, dripping down over the ground beans. As the water drips through the beans and the filter, it picks up the flavorsof the coffee beans and results in a nice, flavorful cup of coffee.

Now, lets consider the benefits and drawbacks. One of the biggest benefits of brewed coffee is its convenience factor. You simply turn the machine on (or use a timer to set it to brew at a particular time) and, as long as youve put your water, filter and coffee grounds into the machine, youll get a cup of coffee about five minutes later.

The main drawback, of course, is that its pretty easy to make your coffee too weak or too strong. Many coffee snobs complain that brewed coffee is, well, watery which makes sense, when you think about it.

French Press

By contrast, French press coffee is made by mixing coffee grounds directly with water. Youll need a French press machine to do this, of course. After steeping for about four minutes (youll adjust this based on how strong youd like your coffee to be), you press the machines filter through the coffee to strain out the grounds.

The biggest downside of a French press is that has a minor difference for your health. Some students suggest that the absence of a filter causes coffee oils to remain in the coffee, which can impact your cholesterol levels.

Coffee oils are most potent in coffees where the grounds have the longest contact with the water during brewing, states Healthline. A French press, which brews coffee by continually passing water through the grounds, has been shown to have greater concentrations of cafestol. Brewing in an American-style coffee pot with a filter, on the other hand, has relatively low levels, as the beverage is only passed through the grounds once. Most of the cafestol is left behind in the filter no matter what the roast.

Pour-Over/Chemex

Pour-over coffee, which is often associated with the popular Chemex machine, is kind of the best of both worlds. It utilizes a filter (which can help keep out cholesterol-raising coffee oils) but it offers the flavor and character of a hand-brewed coffee.

You can make your own pour-over system simply by tying some cheesecloth around a medium-sized bowl, placing ground coffee beans on top, and then slowly pouring hot water over the grounds into the bowl below. Of course, you can also invest in a machine such as the Chemex or a similar type of product.

The main drawback to pour-over coffee is that its arguably the most labor-intensive. You have to pour hot water slowly over the coffee beans, which means its a very hands-on process.

Keurig

Finally, the newest option for coffee preparation: the Keurig machine. There are plenty of other brands that manufacture machines similar to the Keurig (Nescafe is one of them), but Keurig was the first, and remains the most popular, machine of its kind.

The Keurig is incredibly easy to use. All you have to do is place a pre-made K-cup (a plastic cup filled with coffee grounds) in your machine, add water, and press brew. Youll soon have a single cup of coffee ready to enjoy. Because the amount of groundsin each cup is standard, theres little room for error, so youre unlikely to end up with watery coffee.

Of course, those of us who care about protecting the planet will already know that single-serve coffee pods come with a MAJOR drawback: Theyre horrible for the environment. If you enjoy making single-serve coffee, the best way to make your coffee more environmentally friendly is to spring for a reusable K-cup filter that can easily be put in your machine. You just add regular coffee grounds to the reusable cup, push brew, and clean the filter when youre done.

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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4 Different Methods for Preparing Your Morning Coffee

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