August 22, 2012

Wasted food makes up a surprisingly large portion of landfill waste.     Photo: M. Glasgow/Wikimedia

Americans Toss 40 Percent of Their Food

$165 billion lost yearly

Americans throw away nearly 40 percent of their food for a total of $165 billion in waste every year, according to an analysis released Tuesday by the Natural Resources Defense Council. “We’re essentially tossing every other piece of food that crosses our path,” Dana Gunders, the study’s author, said in a statement. “That’s money and precious resources down the drain.” While the majority of waste occurs in homes and at supermarkets, there are weak spots across the production chain. Farmers don’t always harvest their food, some items are grown with cosmetic defects, and distributors often reject shipments. Consumers often mistakenly throw away food at the “use by” date, even though the label reflects peak quality rather than safety. Since the 1970s, the amount of unused food has increased 50 percent in the U.S. Globally, the European Parliament adopted a resolution aimed at cutting food waste in half by 2020, but no similar bill has been adopted in the U.S.

Via The Washington Post

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    Photo: Drew Avery/Flickr

Arctic Ice to Hit Record Low

New satellite data surprises scientists

Arctic ice is set to hit a record low next week, according to U.S. climate scientists. Researchers from the National Snow and Ice Data Center used satellite data to determine that sea ice around the North Pole is on track to beat the previous record set in 2007. "A new daily record ... would be likely by the end of August," the NSIDC's lead scientist, Ted Scambos, told Reuters. Arctic ice acts as a kind of planetary air conditioner, reflecting about 80 percent of sunlight back into the atmosphere and helping to keep the earth cool. New data is prompting some scientists to predict an ice-free Arctic summer by the end of the decade.

Via BBC

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Noah Pippin     Photo: Courtesy of the Pippin Family

Wilderness Search Begins for Missing Marine

Noah Pippin disappeared in Montana

A search party headed into the Bob Marshall Wilderness on Wednesday to look for Noah Pippin, a 30-year-old Marine who disappeared in September 2010 while hiking in Montana. Pippin was a veteran of three tours of duty in Iraq and was slated to redeploy with the National Guard when he went missing. He was last seen along the remote Chinese Wall. The newly-organized search effort will include the Lewis and Clark Country sheriff, three deputies, a behavioral specialist, and an outdoorsman, and is due to last for a week.

Via Associated Press

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    Photo: gvgoebel/Flickr

Court Overturns EPA Coal Regulation

Meant to reduce emissions in 28 states

On Tuesday, a federal appeals court struck down the Environmental Protection Agency's 2011 regulation requiring coal-fired power plants to reduce certain harmful emissions. The "good neighbor rule" was designed to protect Eastern residents from polluters in neighboring states. In a 2-1 decision, the District of Columbia’s U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that the agency’s Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR) exceeded the EPA’s mandate and violated state's rights. The regulation required states to "significantly improve air quality by reducing power plant emissions that contribute to ozone and/or fine particle pollution in other states." In total, 28 states would have been required to reduce sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions. The court ordered that the regulation be revised and, in the meantime, told the EPA to administer the 2005 Clean Air Interstate Rule, which CSAPR was meant to replace. The EPA estimated that the regulation would have prevented more than 30,000 premature deaths and hundreds of thousands of illnesses annually. The cost to power plants was estimated at about $800 million per year.

Via The Guardian

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Jaguar     Photo: kelticosol/Flickr

U.S. Authorizes First Jaguar Habitat

The cats used to inhabit Colorado and North Carolina

On Monday, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service published the first plan to provide a protected habitat for jaguars. The 838,232-acre area, which stretches through four mountain ranges in southeastern Arizona and New Mexico's San Luis Mountains, would be protected from any activity that would "adversely modify" the land. In a 2007 resolution from the American Society of Mammalogists, jaguar advocates called the creation of a protected habitat "vital to the long-term resilience and survival of the species, especially in response to ongoing climate change." The cats have been listed as endangered since 1997, but this is the first attempt to create a recovery plan for the species.

Via Scientific American

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