Tag Archives: technology

The first GOP member of Congress to say “impeachment” after Trump’s latest scandal is a climate hawk.

Animal agriculture is a complex tangle of issues, all pulling in different directions: culinary tradition, animal welfare, methane emissions, deliciousness, deforestation. As a senior scientist at the Good Food Institute, a nonprofit dedicated to finding foods that will displace animal meat, Liz Specht looks for technological fixes to the beefy meat problem.

Specht spends her days researching ways to engineer plant-based foods that taste better, cost less, and consume fewer resources than animals. She then points startups toward the food technology that’s likely to work for them, and helps venture capitalists differentiate between companies proposing flashy BS and those who know their stuff. She’s an entrepreneurial matchmaker.

Specht lives in an RV, working remotely and roaming from state to state. Everywhere she goes, she steps into a store to see what plant-based products are available, where they are placed in the store, and how they are advertised. Making meat replacements might be a technical problem, but Specht is acutely aware that technology must move with culture. “I think of technology’s role as that of a dance partner to society, following its leads and anticipating its future moves,” she says. Time for the food industry to listen to the music.


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

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The first GOP member of Congress to say “impeachment” after Trump’s latest scandal is a climate hawk.

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A week after 50 farmworkers were sickened by pesticides, the EPA punts on protecting them.

Animal agriculture is a complex tangle of issues, all pulling in different directions: culinary tradition, animal welfare, methane emissions, deliciousness, deforestation. As a senior scientist at the Good Food Institute, a nonprofit dedicated to finding foods that will displace animal meat, Liz Specht looks for technological fixes to the beefy meat problem.

Specht spends her days researching ways to engineer plant-based foods that taste better, cost less, and consume fewer resources than animals. She then points startups toward the food technology that’s likely to work for them, and helps venture capitalists differentiate between companies proposing flashy BS and those who know their stuff. She’s an entrepreneurial matchmaker.

Specht lives in an RV, working remotely and roaming from state to state. Everywhere she goes, she steps into a store to see what plant-based products are available, where they are placed in the store, and how they are advertised. Making meat replacements might be a technical problem, but Specht is acutely aware that technology must move with culture. “I think of technology’s role as that of a dance partner to society, following its leads and anticipating its future moves,” she says. Time for the food industry to listen to the music.


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

Excerpt from:

A week after 50 farmworkers were sickened by pesticides, the EPA punts on protecting them.

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Obama says we’ll have to speed up innovation to avoid eating our way to climate catastrophe.

“There is such a thing as being too late,” he told an audience at a food summit in Milan, Italy. “When it comes to climate change, the hour is almost upon us.”

The global problems of climate change, poverty, and obesity create an imperative for agricultural innovation, Obama said. This was no small-is-beautiful, back-to-the-land, beauty-of-a-single-carrot speech. Instead, Obama argued for sweeping technological progress.

“The path to the sustainable food future will require unleashing the creative power of our best scientists, and engineers, and entrepreneurs,” he said.

In an onstage conversation with his former food czar, Sam Kass, Obama said people in richer countries should also waste less food and eat less meat. But we can’t rely on getting people to change their habits, Obama said. “No matter what, we are going to see an increase in meat consumption, just by virtue of more Indians, Chinese, Vietnamese, and others moving into middle-income territory,” he said.

The goal, then, is to produce food, including meat, more efficiently.

To put it less Obama-like: Unleash the scientists! Free the entrepreneurs!

Excerpt from:

Obama says we’ll have to speed up innovation to avoid eating our way to climate catastrophe.

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Trump Just Appointed a Chemical Industry Honcho to Protect Us From Chemicals

Mother Jones

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The American Chemistry Council represents the interests of the chemical industry—companies that “make the products that make modern life possible,” as the group’s web site somewhat haughtily puts it. Member companies include Big Oil subsidiaries Chevron Phillips Chemical and ExxonMobil Chemical, the Saudi chemical giant SABIC, pesticide behemoth Bayer and its pending merger partner, Monsanto, as well as DuPont and its pending merger partner, Dow Chemical.

In a bold move, the Trump administration has named the ACC’s senior director of regulatory science policy, Nancy Beck, as the deputy assistant administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency office that regulates the chemical industry. It’s known as the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, and it exists to “protect you, your family, and the environment from potential risks from pesticides and toxic chemicals.”

Beck’s new post marks her return to government work. Before moving into her post at the American Chemistry Council, where she started in 2012, she served as toxicologist/risk assessor/policy analyst for the US Office of Management and Budget, a job she started under President George W. Bush in 2002. A 2009 investigation by the House Science and Technology Committee criticized Beck by name for her role in what it called a “recurring problem in the Bush Administration’s term in office”: “White House staff re-writing the ‘science'” around important policy issues.

The report specifically noted Beck’s role in assessing the EPA’s characterization of a highly toxic class of chemicals called polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), which were widely used as flame retardants in furniture but have since been phased out. The report found that Beck attempted to edit an EPA statement on PBDEs in ways that “appear to enhance uncertainty or reduce profile of the harmful effect being discussed.” The report called one of her edits “very disturbing because it represents a substantial editorial change regarding how to characterize the science.”

And now, after her stint working directly for the chemical industry, Beck will have a direct role in shaping chemical policy at the EPA.

Excerpt from:

Trump Just Appointed a Chemical Industry Honcho to Protect Us From Chemicals

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5 Green Gadgets That Will Make Spring Cleaning a Breeze

It’s that time of year again. Time to roll up your sleeves and tackle all the dirt and clutter that happened while you were getting through the winter months. That’s right — it’s time to throw open the windows and get down to spring cleaning. To help you in your efforts, here are five green gadgets that will make spring cleaning a breeze.

Spring Cleaning Gadgets

1. Lay the Groundwork

First up is an app that will help you get started. While you’re perusing the cleaning aisle, list in hand, the GoodGuide app will help you find the best products. According to GoodGuide, the app gives ratings on more than 200,000 products based on their ingredients to determine if they are healthy, green and OK to use in your home. This app even gives information on the product’s manufacturer. Just type in the product or scan the bar code to view the details on the best products for spring cleaning.

Even if you don’t have a smartphone, you can use the GoodGuide database here.

2. Light It Up

If you’re like me, you don’t notice when a light has gone out in those multi-light fixtures until the last one goes. During spring cleaning, I make it a point to check all the light fixtures. I write down all the types of bulbs that are needed, and then when I’ve gone through them all, I go to my local hardware store to pick up replacement LED (light-emitting diode) bulbs.

Benefits of LED lights:

LED lights are extremely energy efficient. The U.S. Department of Energy says that increased adoption of LEDs over the next 15 years would “reduce electricity demands from lighting by 62 percent, prevent 258 million metric tons of carbon emissions, and eliminate the need for 133 new power plants.”
LEDs do not contain mercury (the other green bulb, CFL, or compact fluorescent lamp, does contain mercury).
LEDs do not heat up when they’re on, so they are safe to handle and less likely to start a fire.
LEDs last a long time. According to Bulbs.com: “Many LEDs have a rated life of up to 50,000 hours. This is approximately 50 times longer than a typical incandescent, 20-25 times longer than a typical halogen, and 8-10 times longer than a typical CFL. Used 12 hours a day, a 50,000 bulb will last more than 11 years.”

3. Dust and Dirt (and Other Yucky Things), Be Gone

My oldest daughter is like a canary in a coal mine. Whenever there’s a speck of dust in the house, she starts to sneeze. This makes dusting serious business in our house and dusting without toxic chemicals a necessity. The hardest places to dust are the softest places in our home: curtains, cloth upholstery and mattresses.

Dr. Michael Lee, the founder and president of Raycop, developed a green gadget that cleans and sterilizes these fabric surfaces. It’s an allergen vacuum that uses UV rays to sanitize these materials. Dr. Lee developed this product after hearing concerns from his patients about allergies and asthma symptoms caused by the microscopic irritants in dust, dirt and pollen.

Through Raycop’s scientific research and development, they have created this vacuum that traps and eliminates dust mites, pollen and dirt.

“Similar to the technology used in air purifiers and manufacturing cleanrooms, Raycop incorporates HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) into its devices. The HEPA filter captures particles as small as 0.3um and traps 99.9% of allergens without releasing them back into the air.”

This is a perfect green gadget for keeping your home clean and healthy all year-round.

Give It a Good Washing

This next on our list of spring cleaning gadgets is a must if you’re in the market for a new clothes washer. A front-load washing machine is the most energy efficient on the market and will help you wash all your linens and things as you march through your spring-cleaning to-do list.

Front-load washers require less water; they use between 18 to 25 gallons of water compared with around 40 gallons per wash for traditional top-load models.

Make sure you look for the Energy Star label, which is good advice when you’re looking for any new appliance. The Energy Star–certified clothes washers use about 25 percent less energy and 45 percent less water than regular washers, according to Energy Star.

Visit Consumer Reports to help find your new front-load washing machine.

Freshen All the Air

The indoor air quality in our homes has become worse over the years. This is partly because we are building them more airtight and because of the army of cleaning products we unleash into our homes. To freshen your indoor air, open your windows to let in that fresh spring air.

Then employ our final green gadget, the Kuro Cube, to purify, refresh and reduce odors in your home. This little dynamo is made without artificial preservatives, parabens, harsh chemicals, dyes, fragrance, silicone, dimethicone, phthalates, sulphates, petroleum, talc, bismuth oxychloride or nanoparticles, according to CarbonBeauty.com. It works best in smaller spaces like drawers, closets, the car or your refrigerator. It remains active for one year.

Now that your indoor air is clean, instead of using toxic chemicals to tackle the rest of the house, check out “6 Simple DIY Cleaning Solution Recipes.”

Feature photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Read More:
10 Unconventional Tips to Help Minimize Home Allergies
Infographic: Spring Cleaning in the Bathroom
Earth911’s Green Spring Cleaning Guide

About
Latest Posts

Wendy Gabriel

Wendy Gabriel is a freelance eco-writer based in California. Wendy’s work has been featured in numerous publications and websites, including the Chicago Sun-Times, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Fox Business News and Mashable.com. For nearly six years, she was a weekly contributor on a popular radio talk show in the Upper Midwest with a segment titled “Simple Tips for Green Living.”

Latest posts by Wendy Gabriel (see all)

5 Green Gadgets That Will Make Spring Cleaning a Breeze – March 31, 2017
50 Days In: How Trump Is Handling Eco Issues – March 13, 2017
Meet the 7-Year-Old Who Started a Recycling Company – February 13, 2017

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5 Green Gadgets That Will Make Spring Cleaning a Breeze

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