Ace Hardware boosts efforts to phase out neonicotinoid pesticides

September 16, 2019 by  
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The world’s largest retailer-owned hardware cooperative, Ace Hardware, is becoming more “bee-friendly” by phasing out inventory products associated with neonicotinoid pesticides . Neonicotinoids — sometimes called ‘neonics’ for short — are notoriously toxic to bees. Ace Hardware’s move to distance itself from neonics is a step closer to promoting better pollinator population health. Neonicotinoids work as an insecticide by disrupting neural transmission. This is owing to neonics’ design to mimic the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Disruption of the normal activity of an insect’s central nervous system takes place when neonicotinoids bind onto its acetylcholine receptors. In doing so, insect neurons are adversely affected through over-excitation, to the point of paralysis. Repeat exposure increases neural vulnerability and toxicity so that the insect neuron is destroyed. Related: EPA lifts ban on pesticide proven to be toxic to honeybees Unfortunately, bees have higher numbers of acetylcholine receptors than other insects, thereby occasioning their increased susceptibility to neonicotinoids. What’s more, bees have fewer genes for detoxification, thus they are not as capable of detoxifying harmful chemicals compared to other insects. Bee exposure to neonicotinoids is rather pernicious. Studies reveal that neonics accumulate in individual bees, resulting in adverse defects in memory, flight, dance coordination, communication abilities and pollen collection effectiveness. Correspondingly, bees exposed to contaminated pollen and nectar bring them back to the nest. This exposes the colony to further risks, such as increased insect mortality, widespread susceptibility to neural disruption within the hive, erratic behavior in the colony, increased queenlessness and subsequent population decline. In light of this, Ace Hardware’s move to eliminate neonicotinoid pesticides from its store shelves sounds promising. The hardware store giant announced, “Currently, over 95 percent of the insecticide product offerings distributed by Ace Hardware Corporation are neonicotinoid-free.” More natural and organic products are being added to the Ace Hardware inventory to help bee, butterfly and other pollinator populations bounce back from the brink. Ace Hardware’s greener, more bee-friendly approach echoes that of other garden retailers like Costco, Home Depot, Lowes, Walmart and Whole Foods, all of which have expressed similar commitment to better stewardship of the environment. + Ace Hardware Via Medium Image via Pixabay

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Ace Hardware boosts efforts to phase out neonicotinoid pesticides

Climate fears affecting meat, bottled beverage and plastic production industries

September 16, 2019 by  
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The growing apprehension surrounding climate change is altering consumer behavior. Kantar, a data analytics firm, recently published a report documenting that environmental conscientiousness is shifting consumption choices, particularly on sales of meat and single-use plastic items. Of the 65,000 people surveyed in 24 countries across Asia, Europe and Latin America, one-third expressed worry about the environment. Roughly half of those people, or 16 percent of total respondents, actively take steps to decrease their environmental impact . “We’re already seeing small reductions in spending on meat , bottled drinks and categories such as beauty wipes,” Kantar revealed. “As markets get wealthier, the focus on issues of environmentalism and plastics increases.” Related: Germany proposes a meat tax increase to improve animal welfare and curb climate change The poll further disclosed that Western European respondents were more engaged in reducing environmental impact compared to their Asian and Latin American counterparts. Austrian and German shoppers ranked as the most ‘eco active,’ followed closely by British consumers. But 37 percent of the Chilean respondents proved to be eco-conscious, thus making Chile the environmental nonpareil of Latin American countries. Kantar asserted, “Our study shows there is high demand for eco-friendly products that are competitively priced and readily available.” Just last month, the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change conveyed the urgency that global meat consumption must decrease to help reverse global warming . Furthermore, the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions can be accelerated by the rise of plant-based food consumption and production. Consequently, there has been market expansion in plant-based protein and other alternative offerings to meat. Companies like Impossible Foods, Beyond Meat and even London-based Moving Mountains Foods have become more mainstream with many of their flexitarian , vegetarian and vegan products appearing on restaurant menus as well as wholesale and retail grocery store shelves. Because meatless protein is still a fledgling industry, competitors are likely to emerge in the near future as a response to the call for cutbacks to meat and dairy. Meanwhile, recent legislative bans against single-use items such as bottles, straws, carrier bags and other plastic packaging have helped. Surging global awareness of the environmental damage wreaked by plastic has hiked restrictions, in turn, denting demand for their production. With recycling efforts and sustainability initiatives gaining momentum in today’s world, both the meat and plastics industries are being called upon to adapt to the changing consumer landscape. + Kantar Via Reuters and TreeHugger Image via Beth Rosengard

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Climate fears affecting meat, bottled beverage and plastic production industries

Trumps EPA chief lifts ban on pesticide that poisons children

March 31, 2017 by  
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As part of the Trump administration’s current war to overthrow Obama-era environmental regulations, this week, newly appointed EPA Chief Scott Pruitt signed an order reversing a recommendation to ban a pesticide linked to nervous system damage in children. Chlorpyrifos is sprayed on tree nuts, soybeans, corn, wheat, apples, citrus, and a number of other common crops. In recent years, researchers have found that chlorpyrifos exposure on foods, in drinking water, and in the air can impair cognitive development in children. (Given that the active chemical is related to nerve agent weapons, perhaps this should not be surprising.) Multiple studies have found that children exposed to the pesticide at high levels have lower IQ scores than their peers. In light of the evidence, much of it gathered by the EPA’s own researchers, the agency adopted a “zero tolerance” policy for any residues of the chemical left on food items in 2015. Since it’s impossible to completely remove the chemical, this would have effectively ended its use in the US. This followed a decade of restrictions that have gradually reduced the number of approved crops and circumstances for its use. Despite the risk, it’s still used widely in other countries. Related: EPA chief says carbon dioxide is not a ‘primary contributor’ to global warming Now, Scott Pruitt is ignoring his own agency’s research in order to allow farmers to continue using this toxic pesticide. Of course, that’s not the way he’s spinning it – if you ask him, it’s a win for the scientific process. In a statement about the order, he said, “By reversing the previous administration’s steps to ban one of the most widely used pesticides in the world, we are returning to using sound science in decision-making — rather than predetermined results.” The Natural Resources Defense Council has already pledged to fight the new action in court. Via LA Times Images via Pixabay ( 1 , 2 )

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Portland bans an insecticide in an effort to help save threatened bee population

April 2, 2015 by  
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The city of Portland, Oregon  is doing their part to save the bees by banning the use of neonicotinoid insecticides on city-owned property. The Portland city council unanimously approved the emergency measure on Wednesday, making the ban effective immediately. While the chemical pesticides are efficient at their job, they have also been effectively killing birds, bees and butterflies for years, as the chemicals persist in the environment. Studies have shown that massive bee colony die-offs are likely caused by the insecticides and in 2013, Oregon officials blamed the death of tens of thousands of bees on “improper use” of pesticides. “We’re doing another good thing for the people of Portland, Oregon, the United States, maybe the entire world,” said Commissioner Amanda Fritz, who introduced the policy. While the ban does not apply to private property , it is an important first step, Fritz said. “These toxicants kill bees outright , so this ordinance is critical to protecting Portland’s burgeoning local foods movement,” Lisa Arkin, executive director of Beyond Toxics , said in a press release. Similar ordinances in Seattle, Spokane and Eugene inspired the action. Image via Ziva and Amir  via Flickr Creative Commons.  Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: #savethebees , backyard beekeeping , bee colony collapse , dying bees , honey bees , insecticide ban , pesticide ban , portland insecticide ban , portland oregon

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Portland bans an insecticide in an effort to help save threatened bee population

California issues first-ever mandatory water restrictions to combat disastrous drought

April 2, 2015 by  
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As record low snow packs threaten to increase the severity of California’s already-devastating drought , Governor Jerry Brown has issued the first mandatory water restrictions in the state’s history. Under the executive order, 400 local water supply agencies—who provide water to around 90 percent of all of California residents—will be required to cut water usage by 25 percent. Additionally, campuses, golf courses, cemeteries and other large landscapes will be required to make cuts, municipalities will no longer water ornamental grasses on medians, and 50 million square feet of lawns will be replaced with drought-tolerant landscaping . Read the rest of California issues first-ever mandatory water restrictions to combat disastrous drought Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: agriculture water reporting , california drought , executive order , governor jerry brown , Lake Tahoe , low reservoir , low snow pack , Sierra Nevadas , water restrictions , water shortages , water usage , wildfire threat

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California issues first-ever mandatory water restrictions to combat disastrous drought

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