WBEZ | Environment http://www.wbez.org/sections/environment Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Farming with Less Fossil Fuels http://www.wbez.org/news/farming-less-fossil-fuels-114731 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/0204_greener-farming-624x416.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>By some estimates,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.ers.usda.gov/media/136418/err94_1_.pdf" target="_blank">about a fifth</a>&nbsp;of the nation&rsquo;s energy supply is spent on producing food. Some farmers are trying to cut back on the coal and gas used in farming.&nbsp;Grant Gerlock from&nbsp;<em>Here &amp;&nbsp;Now</em>&nbsp;contributor Harvest Public Media looks at a couple of ways farms are getting greener.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><ul></ul><div>&nbsp;</div></p> Fri, 05 Feb 2016 14:35:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/farming-less-fossil-fuels-114731 Calif. Official Says Leaking Gas Well Might be Sealed as Soon as Next Week http://www.wbez.org/news/calif-official-says-leaking-gas-well-might-be-sealed-soon-next-week-114723 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/gasleak.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The leaking gas storage well near the Los Angeles neighborhood of Porter Ranch might be capped earlier than originally anticipated, a state official told residents on Thursday.</p><p>Wade Crowfoot, an adviser to California Gov. Jerry Brown, said the utility that owns the well is expected to begin the final phase of the fix on Monday, The Associated Press reports. The Southern California Gas Co. is currently drilling a relief well to intercept the leaking well &mdash; and once it reaches its destination, workers should be able to seal up the leak in about five days.</p><p>That would mean the leaking well would officially be killed by the end of next week, two weeks ahead of the SoCalGas target of the end of February.</p><p>But there are some caveats. First, an &quot;early&quot; fix to the leaking well is hardly a fast one; the well has been leaking since late October, so a fix by the end of next week would mean it was releasing uncontrolled quantities of methane gas for 16 weeks.</p><div id="res465716222"><div>&nbsp;</div></div><p>And declaring success next week is hardly certain. As&nbsp;<a href="http://www.latimes.com/science/la-me-0205-porter-ranch-leak-20160205-story.html">the Los Angeles Times puts it</a>, the timeline is &quot;fraught with variables.&quot;</p><p><a href="http://www.npr.org/tags/459824651/southern-california-gas-company">As we&#39;ve reported</a>, the leaking well, located at the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility, has been spewing large quantities of the potent greenhouse gas methane into the atmosphere since late October. The gas company has been&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/01/27/464570341/air-regulators-sue-calif-utility-over-massive-gas-leak-alleging-negligence">accused of negligence over the leak</a>, and faces&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/02/03/465398937/california-utility-faces-criminal-charges-over-ongoing-gas-leak">criminal charges and civil lawsuits</a>.</p><p>The leak also contains trace elements of other substances,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/01/15/463178568/gas-company-understated-benzene-exposure-from-california-leak">such as the carcinogen benzene</a>, as well as odorants that are added to help people detect gas leaks through smell. The odorants are known to cause headaches, nausea, nosebleeds and other ailments, but SoCalGas and state officials have said the leak shouldn&#39;t cause any long-term health issues.</p><p>That hasn&#39;t comforted many residents of the nearby neighborhood of Porter Ranch. Thousands of people have been relocated because of the leak &mdash; and many say they are deeply concerned about possible health impacts of their exposure to the leak.</p><p>On&nbsp;<em>All Things Considered</em>&nbsp;, NPR&#39;s Kelly McEvers talks to one Porter Ranch family who has left the neighborhood. They&#39;re so worried, they don&#39;t want to move back once the leak is capped.</p><p>&quot;Even though you can&#39;t see the gas, it&#39;s there. And that&#39;s the saddest part ... people don&#39;t understand it,&quot; says Christine Katz, who is concerned about her family&#39;s health after she says her 2-year-old daughter got sick and doctors couldn&#39;t figure out what was wrong. &quot;Because it&#39;s not a mudslide, it&#39;s not an earthquake &mdash; you just don&#39;t see the devastation, but it&#39;s there.&quot;</p><p>Another Porter Ranch resident, Dhruv Sareen, hasn&#39;t relocated his family at all. Sareen, a research scientist who studies stem cells at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, says he looked at the data and wasn&#39;t alarmed.</p><p><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/mobileapps">Tune </a></em><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/mobileapps">in to</a></em><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/mobileapps">&nbsp;</a></em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/mobileapps">All Things Considered </a><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/mobileapps">Friday afternoon</a> to hear the full story, as Kelly travels to Porter Ranch and talks to residents, a public health </em><em>expert</em><em> and a SoCalGas spokesman. And follow&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/">NPR&#39;s Shots blog</a>&nbsp;to see more </em><em>on</em><em> the public health questions around Porter Ranch.</em></p><p><a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/02/05/465705603/calif-official-says-leaking-gas-well-might-be-sealed-as-soon-as-next-week?ft=nprml&amp;f=465705603"><em>&mdash; via NPR</em></a></p></p> Fri, 05 Feb 2016 12:13:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/calif-official-says-leaking-gas-well-might-be-sealed-soon-next-week-114723 Morocco Unveils Massive Solar Power Plant in the Sahara http://www.wbez.org/news/morocco-unveils-massive-solar-power-plant-sahara-114709 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/solar_getty_FadelSenna.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="storytext"><p>Morocco has officially turned on a massive solar power plant in the Sahara Desert, kicking off the first phase of a planned project to provide renewable energy to more than a million Moroccans.</p><p>The Noor I power plant is located near the town of Ouarzazate, on the edge of the Sahara. It&#39;s capable of generating up to 160 megawatts of power and covers thousands of acres of desert, making the first stage alone one of the world&#39;s biggest solar thermal power plants.</p><p>When the next two phases, Noor II and Noor III, are finished, the plant will be the single largest solar power production facility in the world,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/feb/04/morocco-to-switch-on-first-phase-of-worlds-largest-solar-plant"><em>The Guardian </em>says</a>.</p><p>Morocco currently relies on imported sources for 97 percent of its energy consumption, according to the World Bank, which helped fund the Noor power plant project. Investing in renewable energy will make Morocco less reliant on those imports as well as reduce the nation&#39;s long-term carbon emissions by millions of tons.</p><div id="res465585745" previewtitle="A worker walks past solar mirrors at the Noor I plant in October, while engineers were preparing for the plant's official launch."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="A worker walks past solar mirrors at the Noor I plant in October, while engineers were preparing for the plant's official launch." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2016/02/04/gettyimages-501106884_custom-58255ae7c8ef7fe287fd6d2ad444f84765e9a227-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 404px; width: 620px;" title="A worker walks past solar mirrors at the Noor I plant in October, while engineers were preparing for the plant's official launch. (Fadel Senna/AFP/Getty Images)" /></div><div><div><p>The plant is similar to large-scale plants located in the Mohave Desert in the U.S. Solar thermal power plants capture the sun&#39;s energy as heat, then convert water into steam and turn turbines. As NASA explained last month:</p></div></div></div><p>&quot;The system at Ouarzazate uses 12-meter-tall [39-foot-tall] parabolic mirrors to focus energy onto a fluid-filled pipeline,&quot; NASA&#39;s Kathryn Hansen&nbsp;<a href="http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=87293&amp;eocn=home&amp;eoci=iotd_previous">wrote</a>. &quot;The pipeline&#39;s hot fluid &mdash; 393 degrees Celsius (739 degrees Fahrenheit) &mdash; is the heat source used to warm the water and make steam. The plant doesn&#39;t stop delivering energy at nighttime or when clouds obscure the sun; heat from the fluid can be stored in a tank of molten salts.&quot;</p><p>(Why was NASA chiming in? Well, because the power plant is large enough that &mdash; even with only one stage completed &mdash; it&#39;s&nbsp;<a href="http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=87293&amp;eocn=home&amp;eoci=iotd_previous">visible from space</a>.)</p><div id="res465591424" previewtitle="The Noor I power plant as seen from space. In the lower left, you can see the Moroccan town of Ouarzazate; in the lower right is the reservoir that is supplying the plant with water."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="The Noor I power plant as seen from space. In the lower left, you can see the Moroccan town of Ouarzazate; in the lower right is the reservoir that is supplying the plant with water." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2016/02/04/nasa-solar_custom-557112b99737cfbad22e24c55d0f08cb1af88bf4-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 385px; width: 620px;" title="The Noor I power plant as seen from space. In the lower left, you can see the Moroccan town of Ouarzazate; in the lower right is the reservoir that is supplying the plant with water. (NASA)" /></div><div><div><p>The ability to store the heat to make energy when the sun is not immediately shining is a major advantage of solar thermal power (also called concentrated solar power or<a href="http://www.ucsusa.org/clean-energy/renewable-energy/concentrating-solar-power-plants#bf-toc-1">concentrating solar power</a>). Unlike&nbsp;<a href="http://www.ucsusa.org/clean-energy/renewable-energy/how-solar-panels-work#.VrOrAbIrKUl">photovoltaic systems</a>, thermal systems don&#39;t suddenly drop in output when a cloud passes over the sun, and you don&#39;t need<a href="http://www.ucsusa.org/publications/ask/2014/energy-storage#.VrOr2LIrKUk">batteries</a>&nbsp;to store some energy for nighttime use.</p></div></div></div><p>In Morocco, as&nbsp;<a href="http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-34883224">the BBC notes</a>, the first stage of the power plant will generate electricity for three hours after nightfall, and the full complex is meant to produce power 20 hours a day.</p><p><em>The&nbsp;Guardian</em>,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/oct/26/morocco-poised-to-become-a-solar-superpower-with-launch-of-desert-mega-project?utm_source=The+Overspill&amp;utm_campaign=41853dcb34-daily-email&amp;utm_medium=email&amp;utm_term=0_7256cb1804-41853dcb34-156236589">writing about the project in October</a>, noted that the technology is more expensive and less widely used than photovoltaic panels like you might see on residential roofs, but is well-suited for harnessing the desert&#39;s solar energy:</p><blockquote><div><p>&quot;The potential for solar power from the desert has been known for decades. In the days after the Chernobyl nuclear accident in 1986 the German particle physicist Gerhard Knies, calculated that the world&#39;s deserts receive enough energy in a few hours to<a data-component="in-body-link" data-link-="" href="http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2011/dec/11/sahara-solar-panels-green-electricity" name="in body link">provide for humanity&#39;s power needs for a whole year</a>. The challenge though, has been capturing that energy and transporting it to the population centres where it is required.</p><p>&quot;As engineers put the finishing touches to Noor 1, its 500,000 crescent-shaped solar mirrors glitter across the desert skyline. The 800 rows&nbsp;follow the sun as it tracks across the heavens, whirring quietly every few minutes as their shadows slip further east.&quot;</p></div></blockquote><p>They&#39;ll soon be joined by hundreds of thousands more mirrors: As Morocco&#39;s King Mohammed VI commissioned Noor I, he also&nbsp;<a href="http://www.mapnews.ma/en/activites-royales/hm-king-chairs-official-commissioning-ceremony-noor-ouarzazate-solar-complexs-firs">officially launched</a>&nbsp;the construction of Noor II and Noor III.</p></div><div id="supplementarycontent"><div id="res465585182" previewtitle="The Ouarzazate power plant in Morocco works by using curved mirrors to concentrate the sun's energy and heat a liquid inside of pipes. That heat is then used to convert water into steam and turn turbines."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="The Ouarzazate power plant in Morocco works by using curved mirrors to concentrate the sun's energy and heat a liquid inside of pipes. That heat is then used to convert water into steam and turn turbines." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2016/02/04/gettyimages-508336420_custom-581fe363d124528919732ebfb3d3e544d0959b03-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 390px; width: 620px;" title="The Ouarzazate power plant in Morocco works by using curved mirrors to concentrate the sun's energy and heat a liquid inside of pipes. That heat is then used to convert water into steam and turn turbines. (Fadel Senna/AFP/Getty Images)" /></div><div data-crop-type=""><h4>MORE FROM NPR:</h4><div id="res465568073"><h4><a data-metrics="{&quot;category&quot;:&quot;Story to Story&quot;,&quot;action&quot;:&quot;Click Internal Link&quot;,&quot;label&quot;:&quot;http:\/\/www.npr.org\/sections\/thetwo-way\/2014\/02\/14\/276857591\/shine-on-world-s-largest-solar-plant-opens-in-nevada&quot;}" href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2014/02/14/276857591/shine-on-world-s-largest-solar-plant-opens-in-nevada">World&#39;s Largest Solar Plant Opens In California</a></h4></div><div id="res465568117"><h4><a data-metrics="{&quot;category&quot;:&quot;Story to Story&quot;,&quot;action&quot;:&quot;Click Internal Link&quot;,&quot;label&quot;:&quot;http:\/\/www.npr.org\/sections\/pictureshow\/2013\/01\/09\/168945619\/under-construction-the-worlds-largest-thermal-solar-plant&quot;}" href="http://www.npr.org/sections/pictureshow/2013/01/09/168945619/under-construction-the-worlds-largest-thermal-solar-plant">Under Construction: The World&#39;s Largest Thermal Solar Plant</a></h4></div></div></div></div><p>&mdash; <a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/02/04/465568055/morocco-unveils-a-massive-solar-power-plant-in-the-sahara?ft=nprml&amp;f=465568055"><em>via NPR</em></a></p></p> Thu, 04 Feb 2016 15:20:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/morocco-unveils-massive-solar-power-plant-sahara-114709 Chicago's Plastic Bag Ban http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2016-02-02/chicagos-plastic-bag-ban-114683 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/platic bag ban-Flickr-Ars Electronica.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Chicago&rsquo;s plastic bag &ldquo;ban&rdquo; has been in effect for six months. So, how&rsquo;s it going so far?</p><p>We talk to Jordan Parker, executive director of Bring Your Bag Chicago about some of the benefits and drawbacks of the legislation on the books, what she&rsquo;d like to see going forward, and how you can avoid using plastic bags altogether.</p></p> Tue, 02 Feb 2016 15:59:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2016-02-02/chicagos-plastic-bag-ban-114683 An Industrial Chemical Finds its Way into Great Lakes Trout http://www.wbez.org/news/industrial-chemical-finds-its-way-great-lakes-trout-114670 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/great_lakes_trout.png" alt="" /><p><p>An industrial chemical is showing up in trout from all five of the Great Lakes. It&rsquo;s called perfluoro-1-butane sulfonamide, or FBSA.</p><p>Researchers traced this chemical back to several products on the market. Those include detergents and surfactants first used in 2003. Surfactants are materials made to stainproof and waterproof products.</p><p><a href="http://michiganradio.org/post/industrial-chemical-finds-its-way-great-lakes-trout#stream/0"><em><strong>LISTEN TO THE STORY</strong></em></a></p><p>This research was&nbsp;<a href="http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/acs.est.5b05058">published in the Environmental Science and Technology</a>&nbsp;journal.</p><p>Robert Letcher is one of the study&#39;s authors. He&rsquo;s a senior research scientist for&nbsp;<a href="http://www.ec.gc.ca/cc/">Environment and Climate Change Canada</a>, a department of the Canadian government.</p><p>Letcher says his team tested trout samples from seven different sites throughout the Great Lakes. They also tested fish from four other lakes in Canada.</p><p>Almost all of the fish his team tested had detectable levels of the&nbsp;FBSA chemical in their bodies. Thirty-two of the 33 samples tested came back showing the chemical. To be clear, we&rsquo;re talking low levels here &mdash; parts per billion low.</p><p>Letcher says it was a surprise to find the chemical in fish.</p><p>&ldquo;We were the first ever to find this compound in the environment &mdash; like to demonstrate its presence,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s never been reported before.&rdquo;</p><div><img data-interchange-default="http://michiganradio.org/sites/michigan/files/styles/default/public/201602/figure_1.png" data-interchange-large="http://michiganradio.org/sites/michigan/files/styles/large/public/201602/figure_1.png" data-interchange-medium="http://michiganradio.org/sites/michigan/files/styles/medium/public/201602/figure_1.png" data-interchange-small="http://michiganradio.org/sites/michigan/files/styles/small/public/201602/figure_1.png" src="http://michiganradio.org/sites/michigan/files/styles/large/public/201602/figure_1.png" style="height: 247px; width: 310px; float: right; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px;" title="The fish sampling sites. (From &quot;A New Flourinated Surfactant Contaminant in Biota&quot;)" /><div><div>The researchers don&rsquo;t know exactly what&rsquo;s happening here. It could be that other chemicals are breaking down into FBSA in the environment. But the chemical might also be coming straight from industrial products.</div></div></div><p>Letcher says some companies started using FBSA to replace a different chemical, called FOSA, or perfluorooctane sulfonamide. Studies showed that chemical was breaking down, and part of it was building up in the food web.</p><p>In 2006, the Environmental Protection Agency put together an industry-wide agreement to phase that chemical out. So industries replaced it with chemicals like FBSA. And that&rsquo;s the chemical Letcher and his team are now finding in fish.</p><p>He says scientists often have to play catch up to figure out if there are problems with new chemicals brought onto the market.</p><p>&ldquo;When a body of evidence &mdash; scientific evidence &mdash; builds up great enough to basically render a negative decision against a compound, and it gets regulated or what have you, companies phase these compounds out and they look for alternatives which to use that are safer, but also to serve their purpose,&rdquo; Letcher says.</p><p><strong>Unknown Effects</strong></p><p>He says research into FBSA is so new, they just don&rsquo;t know much about what this might mean for fish or for people who eat the fish.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s completely impossible to tell, because nobody&rsquo;s done anything regarding toxicology,&rdquo; Letcher says. &ldquo;That&rsquo;s usually the way things go. Somebody like us, we find a new chemical, and in this case in fish. And obviously a lot of aquatic fish toxicologists out there are going, &lsquo;Well, we should really try to understand what this chemical could be doing to the fish.&rsquo;&rdquo;</p><p>Letcher says one of the next steps is to look at other species in the food web. That way his team can figure out if this chemical is building up in other creatures.</p><p>The American Chemistry Council said the FBSA chemical is not made by any of its<a href="https://www.americanchemistry.com/Membership/MemberCompanies">member companies</a>, and was therefore unwilling to comment.</p><p>&mdash;<a href="http://michiganradio.org/post/industrial-chemical-finds-its-way-great-lakes-trout#stream/0"><em> via Michigan Radio</em></a></p></p> Tue, 02 Feb 2016 09:14:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/industrial-chemical-finds-its-way-great-lakes-trout-114670 Presidential elections in Haiti http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2016-01-27/presidential-elections-haiti-114627 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Haiti1.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="A demonstrator chants: Down with Martelly! during a protest against President Michel Martelly's government in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Sunday, Jan. 24, 2016. Haiti was to hold a presidential and legislative runoff election today but it was put on hold indefinitely. Sunday was also supposed to kick off pre-Carnival celebrations, but continuing protests dominated the streets instead. (AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery)" /></div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/244061124&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p><span style="font-size:24px;"><strong>Haiti: Presidential Elections Delayed for Third Time</strong></span><br />For the third time, presidential elections were put on hold in Haiti. The delay has led to street protests. Government officials said the Sunday vote was halted for &ldquo;security reasons&rdquo;, but the political opposition says it&rsquo;s a ploy by the current government to keep its power. Robert Maguire is professor of International Affairs and director of the Latin American and Hemispheric Studies Program at George Washington University. He&rsquo;ll tell us what he thinks has been behind the delays.</p><p><strong>Guest: </strong>Robert Maguire is a professor of international affairs and director of the Latin American and Hemispheric Studies Program at George Washington University.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Australia.jpg" title="Brightly decorated ferries, accompanied by a police boat, compete during Australia Day celebrations on Sydney Harbour, Sunday, Jan. 26, 2003. January 26 has traditionally marked the landing of Captain Arthur Phillip at Port Jackson in present-day Sydney in 1788, settling Australia for the British Empire. (AP Photo/Dan Peled)" /></div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/244061137&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p><span style="font-size:24px;"><strong>World History Minute:</strong><strong> Australia Day</strong></span><br />On January 26, 1788, the first fleet of colonizers arrived in Australia. The boatload of about 1500 included 775 convicts. &nbsp;Today, this day is still celebrated as Australia&rsquo;s national holiday, known as &ldquo;Australia Day.&rdquo; Historian John Schmidt recalls why a ship full of criminals was sent to help create what we now know as the country of Australia.</p><p><strong>Guest:</strong> John Schmidt is a &nbsp;historian and the author of &ldquo;On This Day in Chicago History.&rdquo;</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Botanical.jpg" style="height: 465px; width: 620px;" title="Botanic Gardens Conservation International visited the Festival of Neighbourhood in London, England last year. They gave a seminar on how to transform wheelbarrows into mobile, make-shift gardens (Courtesy of Botanic Gardens Conservation International)." /></div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/244061145&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p><span style="font-size:24px;"><strong>EcoMyths: How Botanic Gardens Help Fight Climate Change</strong></span><br />Kate Sackman of EcoMyths Alliance believes that with an increased focus, worldwide, on slowing Climate Change and creating sustainable livelihoods, more people are seeking to understand these problems and how to solve them. For our regular <em>EcoMyths</em> segment, Sackman joins us with Dr. Paul Smith, secretary general of Botanic Gardens Conservation International and former head of the Kew Millennium Seed Bank. They&rsquo;ll tell us why they think that botanic gardens, accessible to most city dwellers in the U.S., are the key to finding these global solutions.</p><p><strong>Guests:</strong> Kate Sackman is the founder and president of EcoMyths Alliance.</p><p>Dr. Paul Smith is the secretary general of Botanic Gardens Conservation International</p></p> Tue, 26 Jan 2016 09:28:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2016-01-27/presidential-elections-haiti-114627 EcoMyths: How Botanic Gardens Fight Climate Change http://www.wbez.org/series/ecomyths/ecomyths-how-botanic-gardens-fight-climate-change-114735 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/EcoMyths-Botanic Gardens.jpg" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr">Kate Sackman of <a href="http://www.ecomyths.org">EcoMyths Alliance</a>, believes that with increased global focus on slowing Climate Change and creating sustainable livelihoods, more people seeki to understand these problems and how to solve them. For our&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/ecomyths"><em>EcoMyths</em></a> segment, Sackman joins us with Dr. Paul Smith, secretary general of Botanic Gardens Conservation International <a href="http://www.bgci.org/">(BGCI)</a> and former head of the Kew Millennium Seed Bank. They&rsquo;ll tell us why they think that botanic gardens, like our own <a href="http://www.chicagobotanic.org/">Chicago Botanic Garden</a>, are the key to finding these global solutions.<iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/244061145&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p dir="ltr" style="line-height:1.656;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;"><span id="docs-internal-guid-b0d9c5e0-b33a-fdb7-55cb-f26bb77dfd92"><span style="font-size: 14.6667px; font-family: Arial; font-weight: 700; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Botanic Garden Basics</span></span></p><p dir="ltr" style="line-height:1.656;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;"><span id="docs-internal-guid-b0d9c5e0-b33a-fdb7-55cb-f26bb77dfd92"><span style="font-size: 14.6667px; font-family: Arial; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Modern botanic gardens started in the 16</span><span style="font-size: 8.8px; font-family: Arial; vertical-align: super; white-space: pre-wrap;">th</span><span style="font-size: 14.6667px; font-family: Arial; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;"> and 17</span><span style="font-size: 8.8px; font-family: Arial; vertical-align: super; white-space: pre-wrap;">th</span><span style="font-size: 14.6667px; font-family: Arial; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;"> centuries in Europe for the purpose of growing plants with economic value, including forestry and agriculture, the &ldquo;economic botany&rdquo; era. This was followed historically by a period of data collection, and the naming and classification of plants &ndash; Paul calls this the &ldquo;taxonomic era&rdquo;. He asserts that we are now in the era of applying global solutions using all this data.</span></span></p><p dir="ltr" style="line-height:1.656;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;">&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="line-height:1.656;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;"><span id="docs-internal-guid-b0d9c5e0-b33a-fdb7-55cb-f26bb77dfd92"><span style="font-size: 14.6667px; font-family: Arial; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">What is a Botanic Garden: &nbsp;The internationally accepted definition of a botanic garden is &nbsp;one that scientifically documents their plant collections and is open to the public. &nbsp;Key to this is the garden&rsquo;s scientific basis for how plants are cultivated, monitored, documented, and the information that the garden shares with its public visitors and the botanic garden community at large If a garden simply displays beautiful flowers it is not considered a botanic garden, although it may be a &ldquo;public garden&rdquo;. The full definition is provided on the attached document.</span></span></p><p dir="ltr" style="line-height:1.656;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;">&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="line-height:1.656;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;"><span id="docs-internal-guid-b0d9c5e0-b33a-fdb7-55cb-f26bb77dfd92"><span style="font-size: 14.6667px; font-family: Arial; font-weight: 700; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Why Botanic Gardens Matter: International Impact</span></span></p><p dir="ltr" style="line-height:1.656;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;"><span id="docs-internal-guid-b0d9c5e0-b33a-fdb7-55cb-f26bb77dfd92"><span style="font-size: 14.6667px; font-family: Arial; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Botanic gardens deal with all plant diversity, both in the wild and cultivated. Botanic gardens within North America and globally are generally very supportive of one another. &nbsp;Collectively we have a lot to accomplish to help save the world&rsquo;s plants, as at least one-third of known plants are believed to be at risk of extinction over the next twenty to thirty years. &nbsp;It is critical to prevent plant extinctions on this scale not only to prevent the extinction of animals that rely on threatened habitats, but in order to preserve the natural world that humans love and upon which we all rely for our everyday needs.</span></span></p><p dir="ltr" style="line-height:1.656;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;">&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="line-height:1.656;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;"><span id="docs-internal-guid-b0d9c5e0-b33a-fdb7-55cb-f26bb77dfd92"><span style="font-size: 14.6667px; font-family: Arial; font-weight: 700; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">The Adventurous Side</span></span></p><p dir="ltr" style="line-height:1.656;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;"><span id="docs-internal-guid-b0d9c5e0-b33a-fdb7-55cb-f26bb77dfd92"><span style="font-size: 14.6667px; font-family: Arial; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Climate change, food security, and sustainable livelihoods are just a few of the critical global issues that botanic garden work impacts directly. Plant scientists work all around the world, collecting and preserving new species, studying threatened species in the wild, and restoring degraded natural areas. &nbsp;They are explorers and adventurers, often working in dangerous and remote places. Botanists and others who work with plants in the lab and in the wild are deeply devoted to their work and passionate about making an impact.</span></span></p><p dir="ltr" style="line-height:1.656;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;">&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="line-height:1.656;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;"><span id="docs-internal-guid-b0d9c5e0-b33a-fdb7-55cb-f26bb77dfd92"><span style="font-size: 14.6667px; font-family: Arial; font-weight: 700; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Crop Wild Relatives</span></span></p><p dir="ltr" style="line-height:1.656;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;"><span id="docs-internal-guid-b0d9c5e0-b33a-fdb7-55cb-f26bb77dfd92"><span style="font-size: 14.6667px; font-family: Arial; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">All plants that are grown for food are derived from a wild source. &nbsp;These wild plants, called &ldquo;crop wild relatives&rdquo;, need to be protected in their original habitat in order to serve as a backstop in case their cultivated cousins are threatened or wiped out by disease, pests, or other calamity. Royal Botanic Gardens Kew has estimated the present value of these crop relatives in the wild to be $42 billion. &nbsp;Clearly, we need to ensure the resilience of these plants in their native habitats if we want to maintain food security into our ever more populated future.</span></span></p><p dir="ltr" style="line-height:1.656;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;">&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="line-height:1.656;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;"><span id="docs-internal-guid-b0d9c5e0-b33a-fdb7-55cb-f26bb77dfd92"><span style="font-size: 14.6667px; font-family: Arial; font-weight: 700; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">One (2) Green Thing(s)</span></span></p><p dir="ltr" style="line-height:1.656;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;"><span id="docs-internal-guid-b0d9c5e0-b33a-fdb7-55cb-f26bb77dfd92"><span style="font-size: 14.6667px; font-family: Arial; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Grow something new and unusual in your home garden or on your terrace, such as heritage vegetable varieties.</span></span></p><p dir="ltr" style="line-height:1.656;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;"><span id="docs-internal-guid-b0d9c5e0-b33a-fdb7-55cb-f26bb77dfd92"><span style="font-size: 14.6667px; font-family: Arial; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">And visit your local botanic garden with new eyes &ndash; exploring how their scientific knowledge is helping to solve global challenges!</span></span></p></p> Tue, 26 Jan 2016 09:21:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/series/ecomyths/ecomyths-how-botanic-gardens-fight-climate-change-114735 After Decades of Job Losses, Failing Schools and Crime, Water Crisis is Just the Latest Catastrophe to Hit Flint http://www.wbez.org/programs/takeaway/2016-01-22/after-decades-job-losses-failing-schools-and-crime-water-crisis-just <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/flint.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>This week, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder apologized to the citizens of his state and to the residents of the city of Flint &mdash; people who have been dealing with the aftermath of lead-tainted water for more than a year, something that&#39;s led to brain damage in some children.</p><p>&quot;I&#39;m sorry most of all that I let you down. You deserve better. You deserve accountability. You deserve to know that the buck stops here with me,&quot; Snyder said during his State of the State address.</p><p dir="ltr">Snyder is asking the state legislature for $28 million to spend on diagnostic tests, health treatment for children and adolescents, replacement of old fixtures in Flint schools and daycare centers, and a study of the city&#39;s water pipes.</p><p dir="ltr">Ron Fournier, the senior political columnist at the National Journal, interviewed Snyder in December and&nbsp;<a href="http://www.nationaljournal.com/s/126092/refreshing-approach-politics-michigan" target="_blank">praised</a>&nbsp;him for his governing style.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;It&rsquo;s re&shy;fresh&shy;ing to see a politi&shy;cian as pas&shy;sion&shy;ate about gov&shy;ern&shy;ing as he is about win&shy;ning,&rdquo; Fournier wrote.</p><p dir="ltr">But new revelations have surfaced that showed Snyder had ignored the Flint crisis&nbsp;for months.</p><p dir="ltr">Earlier this week, Fournier re-interviewed Snyder, who called Flint his &quot;<a href="http://www.nationaljournal.com/s/352793/snyder-calls-flint-his-katrina-catastrophic-failure-leadership" target="_blank">Katrina</a>&rdquo; and said that losing the public&#39;s trust has been among the worst experiences of his life.&nbsp;Fournier has also&nbsp;<a href="http://www.nationaljournal.com/s/352795/how-government-this-columnist-failed-michigan-city?oref=t.co" target="_blank">done some soul searching</a>&nbsp;of his own and argues that America should be asking itself more than a few questions about this disaster.</p><div id="content-titles" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: 14px; line-height: 22px; font-family: Georgia, serif; vertical-align: baseline;"><h1 style="margin: 0px 0px 4px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: 16px; line-height: 21px; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;"><a href="http://www.wbez.org/programs/here-and-now/2016-01-22/indifference-no-smoking-gun-michigan-governor%E2%80%99s-emails-flint-crisis" target="_blank">Indifference, But No Smoking Gun in Michigan Governor&rsquo;s Emails on Flint Crisis</a></h1></div><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;Why does a community like Flint get neglected? Why is a community like Flint allowed to be poisoned by its city, its state and its federal government, and nobody seems to care when they get caught?&rdquo; he asks. &ldquo;Why is it that it took the national press so long to get engaged in the story? Why has the president of the United States still not talked about the culpability of his administration? Why did it take Snyder so long to say I&rsquo;m sorry?&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">As relief slowly flows into Flint, Fournier, a Detroit native, says America should have been paying attention &mdash; and getting angry &mdash; long ago as Flint and other Rust Belt cities suffered under the weight of decades of job losses, failing schools&nbsp;and terrible crime.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;Why is the city of Flint allowed to waste away? It&rsquo;s poor,&rdquo; Fournier says. &ldquo;There&rsquo;s not a lot of power in Flint and there&rsquo;s not a lot of money in Flint, and we live in a society now where celebrity and money equal power. If you have power, you get attention and you get what you need. If you don&rsquo;t have power, you get left behind.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">In late December, Dan Wyant, the director of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, resigned from his position. Fournier says the agency knew there was too much lead in the water for months and actively minimized the situation &mdash; at times officials even took a &ldquo;dismissive&rdquo; and &ldquo;arrogant&rdquo; tone when meeting with Flint residents who were concerned.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;They were involved in protecting their butts,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;They weren&rsquo;t involved in solving the problem.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Additionally, Fournier argues that the Obama Administration has some culpability in this public health emergency. He says that the Environmental Protection Agency&rsquo;s Mid&shy;w&shy;est Chief Susan Hedman &mdash; an Obama appointee &mdash; &rdquo;buried&rdquo; the results of a test that showed potential problems with Flint&rsquo;s water system as early as February of 2015.&nbsp;Hedman resigned Thursday night.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;Whether [these lawmakers and officials] resign or not, frankly I don&rsquo;t care,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;I just want the lead pipes that have been decaying in that city for at least 30 years to be replaced. I want every kid who&rsquo;s going to have a lifetime of brian damage to have the services they need so they can live as decent of a life as they can with the lead that our governments put in their system.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Fournier hopes Flint will get a revival, but he also believes that, fundamentally, the crisis in Flint is an indictment of all us, and something that begs the question: Do Flint lives matter?</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;They do now &mdash; they didn&rsquo;t a few months ago,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;With the history of that state and this country, as soon as we move away from people that are poor and don&rsquo;t have a voice, their lives matter less. And they&rsquo;ve got to matter.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">As people from around the nation watch this slow moving disaster unfold from the comfort of their living rooms, Fournier says that Americans must not forget this tragedy.</p></p> Fri, 22 Jan 2016 10:40:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/takeaway/2016-01-22/after-decades-job-losses-failing-schools-and-crime-water-crisis-just Flint Mayor: 'Politics and Profit' Perpetuated Lead-Tainted-Water Crisis http://www.wbez.org/news/flint-mayor-politics-and-profit-perpetuated-lead-tainted-water-crisis-114566 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/2016-01-21-karen-weaver-flint-mayor-0024edit_custom-4b7da411e1d02607f841bea626642a92d3a8d880-s800-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="res463868853" previewtitle="Karen Weaver was elected mayor of Flint, Mich., after promising to address the city's water-contamination issues."><div data-crop-type="">High lead levels in Flint, Mich.&#39;s water has led President Obama to declare a state of emergency, as criticism mounts that the problem has not been handled promptly.</div></div><p>&quot;The people weren&#39;t put first, the health of the people was not put before profit and money,&quot; Flint Mayor Karen Weaver says&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/2016/01/21/463865286/flint-mayor-with-water-crisis-lawmakers-put-profit-over-the-people">in an interview with Ari Shapiro on&nbsp;</a><a href="http://www.npr.org/2016/01/21/463865286/flint-mayor-with-water-crisis-lawmakers-put-profit-over-the-people">All Things Considered</a>.</p><p>The problem started when Flint switched its water source to the Flint River in April 2014. The new supply was harder water, which corroded the city&#39;s pipes and leached lead into the tap water.</p><p>Residents quickly started complaining about the water. General Motors stopped using it in October 2014 because&nbsp;<a href="http://www.mlive.com/news/flint/index.ssf/2015/10/gm.html">it was corroding machinery</a>.</p><p>Even though the city switched back to its original supply in October 2015, the damaged pipes continue to contaminate the water. Weaver says Flint residents don&#39;t know when the city&#39;s water will be safe to drink again &mdash; even though they&#39;re still paying for it.</p><p>The lead levels and complaints about how the problem is being handled have led to the resignation Thursday of Susan Hedman, the regional director of the Environmental Protection Agency.</p><p>Also Thursday, the head of the EPA issued an emergency order directing state and city officials to take actions to protect public health.</p><p>President Obama&#39;s declaration of a state of emergency last week freed up $5 million in federal aid for the city.</p><p>Weaver was not in office when this started. She was elected in November after vowing to address the city&#39;s water problems, and as Michigan Radio&#39;s Lindsey Smith&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/2016/01/17/463405757/whos-to-blame-for-flints-water-problem">reports</a>, &quot;one of the first things she did was to declare an emergency in the city.&quot;</p><p>Flint residents have consistently voiced frustration over the time it has taken for officials to acknowledge this crisis and respond to it. Flint is a majority-black city, and 40 percent of people live below the poverty line. Weaver tells Ari that she thinks race and poverty &quot;had a lot to do with the response.&quot;</p><p><strong>On meeting President Obama</strong></p><p>Weaver met the president and some of his senior advisers earlier this week to discuss Flint&#39;s crisis.</p><p>&quot;[H]e has pledged to do everything that he can at the federal level and has, in fact, sent people to Flint to get started on this, past the FEMA [assistance] that has already been in place. One of the things he stressed is that he was going to be meeting with the governor the very next day, because the state has such a big role to play in this and we know the state has money. They have a rainy-day fund, a surplus between $500 and $600 million, and Flint needs to be the priority for receiving those funds.&quot;</p><p><strong>On 274 pages of emails about Flint released by Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder</strong></p><p>Snyder made the emails public on Wednesday following widespread criticism. He said he was releasing them &quot;so that you have answers to your questions about what we&#39;ve done and what we&#39;re doing to make this right for the families of Flint.&quot;</p><p><strong>Here&#39;s what Weaver had to say:</strong></p><p>&quot;I haven&#39;t seen what&#39;s in those emails but I will tell you this &mdash; it&#39;s something that he needed to do because one of the issues we&#39;ve been dealing with is broken trust. And we&#39;ve been kept in the dark regarding some information regarding our water. We&#39;ve been given misinformation about the water, and the only way the governor can &mdash; if he can &mdash; rebuild trust, is to start doing that. So it&#39;s a start for him, I suppose.&quot;</p><p><strong>On calls for Snyder to resign</strong></p><p>&quot;You know what, I&#39;m glad those high-profile figures are out there, and they&#39;re putting the pressure on the governor and holding him accountable for some things. What I&#39;ve said is, we have an investigation going on and I can&#39;t wait to hear the results of that investigation because everybody that should be held accountable needs to be held accountable. We want to know who knew what and when they knew it. And that&#39;s from the governor, all the way down to if it includes local officials. We want everyone to be held accountable and if it means they have to be removed, so be it.&quot;</p><p><strong>On long-term solutions</strong></p><p>Weaver says the city is receiving badly needed bottled water and filters &mdash; but these are only temporary answers for the larger problem.</p><p>&quot;The other thing we need to do is start looking at infrastructure. Because even though we&#39;ve switched back to Lake Huron water through Detroit, those lead service lines are the issue. And how long are we supposed to wait for biofilm to build back up? Nobody can tell us how long that can take. And we need to be able to drink our water.&quot;</p><p><strong>On her hopes for Flint&#39;s future</strong></p><p>&quot;You know, it&#39;s a terrible thing, no community should ever have to go through what Flint has gone through, but I&#39;m also looking at the possibility of what can come out of this. And I&#39;ve always believed in Flint, I&#39;m excited about the potential, and you know, we&#39;ve got to get this fixed. But there is a lot to look forward to in the city of Flint. And you&#39;re going to have me back, because I&#39;m going to be telling the second part of this story.&quot;</p><p><a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/01/21/463861880/flint-mayor-politics-and-profit-perpetuated-lead-tainted-water-crisis?ft=nprml&amp;f=463861880" target="_blank"><em>&mdash; via NPR</em></a></p></p> Fri, 22 Jan 2016 10:02:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/flint-mayor-politics-and-profit-perpetuated-lead-tainted-water-crisis-114566 Thou Shalt Not Toss Food: Enlisting Religious Groups To Fight Waste http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/thou-shalt-not-toss-food-enlisting-religious-groups-fight-waste-114546 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/plymouthchurchcompost-ea9f544a4e74bc4e151b8963d6f1d2ca443ea0d6-s800-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="res463210872" previewtitle="Brother William Valle of the Institute of the Incarnate Word in Chillum, Md., loads potatoes onto his cart at the Capitol Area Food Bank, in Washington, D.C. A new government initiative seeks to engage faith-based groups on food waste — for instance, by using their existing relationships with food banks to redirect excess food to the hungry."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="Brother William Valle of the Institute of the Incarnate Word in Chillum, Md., loads potatoes onto his cart at the Capitol Area Food Bank, in Washington, D.C. A new government initiative seeks to engage faith-based groups on food waste — for instance, by using their existing relationships with food banks to redirect excess food to the hungry." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2016/01/15/foodbankpriest_custom-8709421c018f88560d9beede1aa5530b41bf921c-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 414px; width: 620px;" title="Brother William Valle of the Institute of the Incarnate Word in Chillum, Md., loads potatoes onto his cart at the Capitol Area Food Bank, in Washington, D.C. A new government initiative seeks to engage faith-based groups on food waste — for instance, by using their existing relationships with food banks to redirect excess food to the hungry. (Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post via Getty Images)" /></div><div><div><p>Separation of church and state? When it comes to fighting food waste, the U.S. government is looking to partner up with the faithful.</p></div></div></div><p>The Environmental Protection Agency on Monday launched the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.epa.gov/communityhealth/foodsteward">Food Steward&#39;s Pledge</a>, an initiative to engage religious groups of all faiths to help redirect the food that ends up in landfills to hungry mouths. It&#39;s one piece of the agency&#39;s&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2015/09/16/440825159/its-time-to-get-serious-about-reducing-food-waste-feds-say">larger plan</a>&nbsp;to reduce food waste by 50 percent by 2030.</p><p>&quot;We can make leaps and bounds in this process if we tackle this problem more systemically and bring a broader number of stakeholders to the table,&quot; EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy tells us. By engaging religious communities, she says, &quot;we are tapping into incredibly motivated and dedicated people.&quot;</p><p>Food waste connects to the core values of many faith communities, particularly helping the poor and feeding the hungry, McCarthy notes.</p><p>As we&#39;ve&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2015/09/16/440825159/its-time-to-get-serious-about-reducing-food-waste-feds-say">reported</a>, more than 1,200 calories per American per day are wasted, according to U.S. government figures. Loss occurs on the farm, at the retail level and in homes. We consumers often toss out foods because they&#39;ve&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2012/12/26/167819082/dont-fear-that-expired-food">passed their sell-by date</a>&nbsp;&mdash; but are still just fine to eat &mdash; or because we buy more than we can eat before it goes bad.</p><div id="res463248692" previewtitle="Members of Parroquia's San José Latino ministry glean from the fields of Angelic Organic's farm in Caledonia, Ill."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="Members of Parroquia's San José Latino ministry glean from the fields of Angelic Organic's farm in Caledonia, Ill." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2016/01/15/angelicorganic_wide-369fe8ec03bf954e7ff68fd5435dcc4fed83fec1-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 349px; width: 620px;" title="Members of Parroquia's San José Latino ministry glean from the fields of Angelic Organic's farm in Caledonia, Ill. (Courtesy of Parroquia San José)" /></div><div><div><p>As McCarthy notes, a lot of that is discarded but still edible and wholesome and could be used to feed some of the 48 million American who struggle to get enough to eat.</p></div></div></div><p>At the consumer level, changing behavior is key, says EPA Assistant Administrator Mathy Stanislaus, and faith-based groups can help make that happen in a variety of ways. For instance, when these organizations hold potlucks, the leftovers can go to the local food bank.</p><p>EPA says groups can also work with local grocers, schools and restaurants to direct food to food banks and shelters that would otherwise be wasted. They can hold seminars for the faithful and the broader local community to teach them how to menu plan and shop their own refrigerators first to avoid buying excess food, and how to compost the leftover scraps. EPA has developed a toolkit with lots more suggestions for groups that sign its &quot;Food Steward&#39;s Pledge.&quot;</p><p>&quot;Getting out the message &mdash; particular what individual families can do ... local community leaders are critical in doing that,&quot; Stanislaus tells us. And because faith-based leaders are often trusted advisers in their communities, &quot;we thought they were a natural ally.&quot;</p><p>Food waste is closely tied to another growing concern for many faith-based organizations: climate change, a problem that disproportionately affects the world&#39;s poor. Food waste is the single biggest material in U.S. landfills, according to the U.S. Agricultural Department. As this waste decomposes, it releases methane, a powerful greenhouse gas.</p><div id="res463212011" previewtitle="The compost/recycle system at Plymouth Congregational Church in Minneapolis, Minn. According to Creation Justice Ministries, it's just one example of the various projects churches have implemented to reduce waste."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="The compost/recycle system at Plymouth Congregational Church in Minneapolis, Minn. According to Creation Justice Ministries, it's just one example of the various projects churches have implemented to reduce waste." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2016/01/15/plymouthchurchcompost-ea9f544a4e74bc4e151b8963d6f1d2ca443ea0d6-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 465px; width: 620px;" title="The compost/recycle system at Plymouth Congregational Church in Minneapolis, Minn. According to Creation Justice Ministries, it's just one example of the various projects churches have implemented to reduce waste. (Courtesy of Plymouth Congregational Church)" /></div><div><div><p>Last summer, Pope Francis made headlines around the globe when he issued a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/06/18/415429852/pope-francis-climate-change-a-principal-challenge-for-humanity">papal encyclical</a>&nbsp;urging action on climate change. That call helped energize new conversations throughout the Catholic church on environmental issues &mdash; including food waste, says Cecilia Calvo, who coordinates the environmental justice program for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. She says more Catholics are asking, &quot;Rather than contributing to a culture of waste, how can we be conscious of our choices?&quot;</p></div></div></div><p>Many other faith-based groups already have programs targeting food waste.</p><p>For example, in the past year, the&nbsp;<a href="http://creationcare.org/">Evangelical Environmental Network,</a>&nbsp;a policy and advocacy group, launched its own &quot;Joseph&#39;s Pledge&quot; program: It teaches churches how to minimize food waste through actions like donating to food banks, planting community gardens and composting. (The program&#39;s name refers to the biblical Joseph, who helped guide ancient Egypt through seven years of famine.) About 200 churches have signed up so far, EEN President Mitch Hescox tells us. The goal is to reach 1,000.</p><p>&quot;Evangelicals are primarily conservative politically,&quot; Hescox notes. &quot;They want to take action by themselves. And this is one step they can do themselves to help people to address the problem. And it&#39;s a win-win. &quot;</p><div id="res463216657" previewtitle="A compost station for organic waste created by fifth graders at the Jewish Community Day School of Rhode Island in Providence."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="A compost station for organic waste created by fifth graders at the Jewish Community Day School of Rhode Island in Providence." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2016/01/15/hazoncompost_edited_custom-14c86fbaedefb9fea44ae18b328be261f889024b-s400-c85.jpg" style="height: 229px; width: 310px; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px; float: right;" title="A compost station for organic waste created by fifth graders at the Jewish Community Day School of Rhode Island in Providence. (Courtesy of Hazon)" /></div><div><div><p>Shantha Ready Alonso, executive director of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.creationjustice.org/">Creation Justice Ministries</a>, an environmental justice group spun out of the National Council of Churches, says the 100,000 congregations in her organization&#39;s network, representing 45 million people, have a variety of programs to address food waste.</p></div></div></div><p>She points to the&nbsp;<a href="http://ferncliff.org/">Ferncliff Camp and Conference Center</a>&nbsp;in Little Rock, Ark. Run by the Presbyterian Church, she says it&#39;s a model program where 100 percent of food scraps get composted. She says some churches grow food in on-site gardens and direct it to the needy. And she notes that churches and individuals with gardens are also encouraged to donate to&nbsp;<a href="http://ampleharvest.org/">Ample Harvest</a>, a nonprofit that connects gardeners to local food pantries.</p><p>&quot;Good stewardship is part of our DNA,&quot; she tells us. &quot;And the idea that 1 in [7] people in America are going hungry and yet we are wasting [so much] food is awful.&quot;</p><p><a href="http://hazon.org/">Hazon</a>, a Jewish environmental organization, already has several programs focused on food and sustainability, says Becca Linden, the group&#39;s associate program director. But &quot;this will be the year we make food waste a priority,&quot; she says.</p><p>Among other actions, she says Hazon will screen the food waste documentary&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2015/11/18/456489490/in-just-eat-it-filmmakers-feast-for-6-months-on-discarded-food">Just Eat It</a>, publish a compost guide and raise awareness that expiration dates don&#39;t necessarily mean food is no longer fit to eat.</p><p>Meanwhile, Muslims around the world have been calling attention to the food&nbsp;<a href="http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-news-from-elsewhere-28168162">waste that occurs during Ramadan</a>, a period when fasting is followed by feasting that can result in over-purchasing of food. The Quran says Muslims should &quot;eat and drink: but waste not by excess, for Allah loveth not the wasters.&quot; In the U.S., the group&nbsp;<a href="http://www.greenmuslims.org/">Green Muslims</a>&nbsp;is trying to spread awareness of Islam&#39;s environmental teachings. For instance, the group offers a&nbsp;<a href="http://greenmuslims.org/DCGM%20Green%20Iftar%20Guide.pdf">guide</a>&nbsp;to hosting a zero-waste&nbsp;iftar.</p><p>Of course, action on food waste transcends Abrahamic religions. One example:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.whiteponyexpress.org/">White Pony Express</a>, a program in Contra Costa County, Calif., that rescues food from farms and farmers markets, grocers, restaurants and caterers. It was founded by the leader of Sufism Reoriented, an American spiritual order.</p><p>Cecilia Calvo of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops says there&#39;s a growing recognition that protecting the environment is everyone&#39;s moral duty. As Calvo notes, the question for many has become: &quot;What does it mean to care for our common home?&quot;</p><p>&mdash; <a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2016/01/18/463109192/thou-shalt-not-toss-food-enlisting-religious-groups-to-fight-waste?ft=nprml&amp;f=463109192" target="_blank"><em>via NPR</em></a></p></p> Thu, 21 Jan 2016 09:56:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/thou-shalt-not-toss-food-enlisting-religious-groups-fight-waste-114546