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Europe's Plastic Bag Agreement Contested by Industry
November 26, 2014 09:14 AM - Ecaterina Casinge, EurActiv
As lawmakers reached agreement this week to limit the use of plastic bags across Europe, industry voices warned that such rules will have a negative impact on trade in Europe's internal market. The ban could also lead to different standards in legislation in member states and ultimately, to a ban on other types of packaging, according to PlasticsEurope, the association of plastics manufacturers. The European Parliament and the Council agreed on Friday (21 November) on EU-wide legislation obliging member states to reduce the use of plastic bags. The law will apply only to bags with a thickness below 0.05mm, because they are less reusable, and turn into waste more quickly.
Establishing marine protected areas to fight illegal fishing
November 25, 2014 09:10 AM - Kerry Klein, MONGABAY.COM
Do you know how that tuna sashimi got to your dinner plate? Probably not—and chances are, the restaurant that served it to you doesn’t know, either. A new policy paper argues that illicit fishing practices are flying under the radar all around the world, and global society must combat them in order to keep seafood on the menu. According to the paper, published in Science, fishing practices that are illegal, unreported and unregulated (collectively referred to as IUU) are ubiquitous. They range from bottom trawlers scouring the seafloor—sometimes catching more illegal species than legal ones—to small boats simply not reporting their catch.
If ladybugs move into your house this fall, make them welcome
November 21, 2014 09:49 AM - Rob Forman, Rutgers University
During the warm months of the year, ladybugs are like adorable, bright-colored lapel pins. They land on us, accessorize our clothing in brilliant red or orange with stylish black spots, and are delightful to have around. Several cultures even think of ladybugs as good luck charms for anything from marriage to childbirth to the weather to a good harvest. Then fall arrives and the ladybugs need to find warmth, which is most available inside people’s homes – where they often descend in large numbers. Suddenly they’re not as cute to many people as they seemed outdoors. But Jessica Ware, an insect expert and assistant professor of biology at Rutgers University-Newark, says having ladybugs indoors serves a very useful purpose, and humans should welcome their temporary houseguests.
Children's rights and child labor in hazardous jobs around the world
November 20, 2014 05:15 AM - Carla Denly, UCLA World Policy Analysis Center
Nearly half of the countries that ratified the U.N. agreement still allow children to work in jobs that endanger their health and safety.
Twenty-five years ago this month, the countries that compose the United Nations reached a landmark agreement that laid the foundation for much-needed strengthening of children’s rights and protections in nearly every country around the world.
Today, the Convention on the Rights of the Child remains the only formal global effort to improve children’s rights and the most widely ratified human rights treaty in history. Only three U.N. member nations have not ratified the treaty: Somalia, South Sudan and the United States.
EU Court Rules Against UK For Failure to Tackle Air Pollution
November 19, 2014 11:57 AM - Keith Taylor, MEP, The Ecologist
A landmark judgment by the European Court of Justice compels the UK Government to act as soon as possible to reduce air pollution in British cities, writes Keith Taylor - and a good thing too for our health, safety and wellbeing. But it's not just the UK that benefits: every EU country must also comply with the ruling.
Researchers use social media to track air pollution
November 18, 2014 11:13 AM - Jennifer Smith, University of Wisconsin-Madison
University of Wisconsin-Madison computer science researchers have developed a method for using social media posts to estimate air pollution levels with significant accuracy.
New School lunch programs not making the grade
November 18, 2014 06:16 AM - Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, via EurekAlert.
New federal regulations requiring school meals to contain more whole grains, less saturated fat and more fruits and vegetables, while perhaps improving some aspects of the food being served at schools across the United States, may also be perpetuating eating habits linked to obesity, diabetes and other diet-related diseases, an analysis by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health researchers has found.
The reasons: Based on analysis of school meals and the new requirements, the whole grains served are mostly processed, which means they are converted into sugar when digested, and many of the required foods, like fruit and milk, contain added sugar because many schools opt to serve canned fruit, fruit juice, and flavored milk. The new requirements do not limit the amount of added sugar in school meals. The researchers are recommending that the requirements be expanded to limit added sugars and processed foods and to ensure carbohydrate quality.
Home cooked meals contribute to a healthy diet
November 17, 2014 05:21 AM - Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, via EurekAlert
People who frequently cook meals at home eat healthier and consume fewer calories than those who cook less, according to new Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health research.
"When people cook most of their meals at home, they consume fewer carbohydrates, less sugar and less fat than those who cook less or not at all - even if they are not trying to lose weight," says Julia A. Wolfson, MPP, a CLF-Lerner Fellow at the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future and lead author of the study.
The findings also suggest that those who frequently cooked at home - six-to-seven nights a week - also consumed fewer calories on the occasions when they ate out.
Electric vehicles WILL go mass market. Here's why.
November 16, 2014 08:09 AM - BOB SHETH, Electric Forum
Over the last 100 years there have been a number of attempts from electric vehicle enthusiasts to push them into the mass market. Unfortunately the vast majority of these attempts have failed for a variety of reasons, often out of the control of the market itself, but today we stand in a very different place and electric vehicles will eventually go mass-market. We hereby list five reasons why electric vehicles are here to stay in the longer term: –
There have been enormous leaps in electric vehicle technology over the last 10 years which not only offer greater efficiency but also give the driving public greater confidence. This technology continues to advance at breathtaking speed not only in the area of electric vehicles themselves but also battery technology. In many ways the development of new technologies is putting gasoline vehicles in the shadows and grabbing the headlines.
How Sustainable is the Modern Diet?
November 14, 2014 07:57 AM - ClickGreen Staff, ClickGreen
The world is gaining weight and becoming less healthy, and global dietary choices are harming the environment, according to a new research report. Those are among the findings of a paper co-authored by David Tilman, a professor in the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management, and Michael Clark, a graduate student at the University of Minnesota, where Tilman is a professor. In “Global Diets Link Environmental Sustainability and Human Health,” published today in the journal Nature, the researchers find that rising incomes and urbanization around the world are driving a global dietary transition that is, in turn, diminishing the health of both people and the planet.