8 of the best fruits and vegetables you can eat in their entirety

January 31, 2019 by  
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In the United States, approximately 40 percent of food is never eaten. Not only does this food waste damage your pocketbook, but it also has a major environmental impact. Changing your food habits is a great way to do your part in the battle against food waste. Shopping smarter, eating leftovers, improving food storage and donating to food banks are great ideas for reducing food waste. There is one obvious move you can make that many people don’t realize — you can stop throwing out parts of your fruits and veggies . Strawberries This fruit is a beloved summer treat that you can eat by itself, or as an addition to salads and desserts. Even though chefs remove the stems and leaves by coring strawberries when they add them to various dishes, those parts are actually edible. A strawberry’s leaves and stem are filled with health benefits . They are a natural digestive aid, and the leaves also have vitamins that can help with arthritis. According to Live Strong, “Strawberry leaves contain tannins, bio-molecules that bind to proteins, amino acids, alkaloids and other compounds with a low pH that may place excess stress on your digestive system. Strawberry leaves may help alleviate an upset stomach, and reduce symptoms of nausea, bloating, stomach cramps and diarrhea.” If you want to use strawberry leaves, try brewing them in a tea or blending them in a smoothie. Carrots Have you ever thought about eating the leafy green tops of carrots? If you have heard that carrot tops are poisonous, that’s not true. Yes, a carrot’s leafy green top can be bitter, but it is also full of delicious nutrients. You can actually eat carrot tops raw in a salad mix. But because they are bitter, you should probably blanch them first. Another option is to saute the tops with other greens in olive oil and garlic or cook them into a soup. You can do the same thing with other root vegetables like beets, turnips and radishes. Potatoes The skin of a potato is where you will find a lot of the vegetable’s natural nutrition. Both the skin and flesh are filled with micronutrients. When it comes to vitamins and minerals, the skin has just as much Vitamin B, Vitamin C and niacin as the flesh. Additionally, the skins are a major source of iron, potassium and magnesium. Related: Follow this diet for both personal and planetary health Kale You might think that kale stems aren’t nearly as good as the leaves, and you are right. However, with a little work , you can make kale stems — which are full of fiber — quite tasty. Since the stems are tough and chewy, you don’t want to eat them raw. So, first you want to blanch them. Blanching is a process where you scald the kale stems in boiling hot water before plunging it into ice water. Next, saute or stir-fry the stems to make them easier to chew. You could also opt to fry, char or pickle your stems, and then add them to rice, salads or casseroles. Cauliflower This superfood is extremely versatile and loaded with vitamins. The florets aren’t the only edible part of this vegetable . You can also eat the stems and leaves . To be honest, the stem’s skin is quite tough, so peeling and discarding that does make sense. Try adding the stems and leaves to stock and soups, or grate them for salads and slaw. Pumpkin Every part of a pumpkin is edible . That means you can eat the flowers , leaves, stems, seeds and flesh, and each type of pumpkin has its own unique flavor. Related: How to cook a whole pumpkin (seeds, guts and all) Pumpkin flowers have a sweet, earthy flavor and you can eat them straight off the plant if you have them growing in your garden. You can also add pumpkin flowers to salads or chop them up and make them a garnish. You can use pumpkin leaves in recipes that call for spinach or another heavy winter green, and pumpkin seeds are a tasty, nutritious snack when you fry them in oil and add a little salt. Not to mention, the pumpkin flesh can easily be pureed and added to a variety of dishes and drinks. Watermelon Watermelon is 98 percent water and filled with vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, magnesium and other nutrients. The pink fruit is delicious, but you can also eat the rind . Some studies show that eating watermelon rind can help lower blood pressure, improve athletic performance and help men avoid prostate cancer and boost their libido. You can pickle your watermelon rind, turn it into a jelly or grate it for coleslaw. Related: The Wally Shop is bringing zero-waste grocery delivery to Brooklyn Swiss Chard Kale gets all the love when it comes to healthy eating , but don’t forget about Swiss Chard.  You might know it as leaf beet, silverbeet, spinach beet, Roman kale or strawberry spinach. No matter what you call it, this superfood is nutrient dense, low in calories and high in essential vitamins and minerals. Not to mention, the best thing is that nothing goes to waste as you can eat the small leaves, stems and all. However, you will probably want to trim the larger ones because they are more fibrous. The texture of Swiss Chard is similar to celery, so you can use it in cooking the same way. Also, when eating it raw, you can use it as a substitute for spinach or kale. Images via Free-Photos , Pezibear , StockSnap , eKokki , ulleo , JACLOU-DL , Vivacia , urbanfoodie33

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8 of the best fruits and vegetables you can eat in their entirety

Nestle ditching plastic straws, water bottles to reduce plastic waste

January 18, 2019 by  
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Nestle, the world’s largest packaged food company, is on a mission to reduce plastic waste. This week, the Swiss group announced they will be dropping plastic straws from their products and will also focus on creating biodegradable water bottles. With environmental groups all over the world advocating for alternatives to single-use plastic, Nestle says these changes are part of a campaign to make all of their packaging reusable or recyclable by 2025.  Beginning next month, the company will begin using different materials such as paper, and will also be replacing their plastic straws and using innovative designs to reduce litter. The company is also working with Danimer Scientific to create a new biodegradable water bottle , and with  PureCycle Technologies to develop food-grade recycled polypropylene, which is a polymer used for food packaging, specifically for food packaged in trays, tubs, cups and bottles. Nestle Waters, the bottled water unit of the Nestle brand, is also aiming to increase the content of polyethylene terephthalate, or recycled PET, in its bottles. By 2025, they have a goal of increasing the recycled PET content to 35 percent globally, and 50 percent in the United States. Related: Zero-waste packaging is coming to a freezer aisle near you Magdi Batato, Nestle’s global head of operations, says that the company is still trying to figure out the impact of the new packaging,  Reuters reports. It could possibly reduce their products’ shelf life and increase manufacturing costs, but they don’t know for sure. “Some of those alternative solutions are even cheaper, some of them are cost neutral, and indeed some of them are more expensive,” Batato said. In their press release, Nestle said that the plastic waste challenge would require a change in everyone’s behavior, and they are committed to leading the way. All 4,200 of their facilities around the globe are “committed to eliminating single-use plastic items that cannot be recycled,” and will replace those items with new materials that can easily be reused or recycled. Via Nestle and Reuters Image via Shutterstock

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Nestle ditching plastic straws, water bottles to reduce plastic waste

Seeds on the moon started to sprout for the first time but quickly died

January 18, 2019 by  
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China has taken a major step toward long-term space exploration. Earlier this month, the Chinese moon probe Chang’e 4 carried a container with cotton, mustard and potato seeds , yeast and fruit fly eggs to the moon’s far side (facing away from Earth), and early this week, the China National Space Administration said that those seeds started to sprout. Unfortunately, temperatures dropped and killed the plants. According to the BBC , the project was designed by 28 Chinese universities, and the experiment was contained within a canister 7 inches tall and weighing about 6.5 pounds. It was designed to test photosynthesis and respiration, which are processes that produce energy . For the first time ever seeds 🌱 are growing on the moon 🌑! China’s moon mission success means that astronauts 👩‍🚀👨‍🚀could potentially harvest their own food in space! Learn more 👉 https://t.co/S6dOB3p2Ym via @BBCNews #ZeroHunger #FutureofFood pic.twitter.com/TNssZBLG0R — FAO (@FAO) January 15, 2019 The plants  were in a sealed container on the lunar lander, and the hope was that the crops would form a mini-biosphere. Inside the container, the organisms had a supply of air, water and nutrients to help them grow. The scientists said that keeping it at the right temperature was a challenge, because of the wild temperature swings on the moon , which ultimately killed the first sprout. If the experiment worked, astronauts could potentially begin to harvest their own food in space. That would be incredibly useful for long-term space missions, because they wouldn’t have to return to Earth to resupply. Although the sprout died, the experiment is a move toward this goal. Related: China plans to launch the world’s first ‘artificial moon’ But could these experiments contaminate the moon ? Generally, scientists don’t believe this is something we need to worry about, especially because there have been containers of human waste on the moon for 50 years thanks to the Apollo astronauts. The consensus among experts is that the sprout was “good news.” Fred Watson, astronomer-at-large at the Australian Astronomical Observatory, said that it could be a positive development for future space exploration. “It suggests that there might not be insurmountable problems for astronauts in future trying to grow their own crops on the moon in a controlled environment,” Watson said. “I think there’s certainly a great deal of interest in using the moon as a staging post, particularly for flights to Mars , because it’s relatively near the Earth.” Via BBC and The Guardian Image via Jeremy Bishop

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Seeds on the moon started to sprout for the first time but quickly died

Fiat Chrysler pays millions to settle emissions charges

January 14, 2019 by  
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Fiat Chrysler has reached a settlement with the Justice Department, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the owners of about 100,000 of their diesel-powered Jeep SUV’s and Ram pickups. After facing charges that the company had sold diesel vehicles in the United States that had improper software — allowing it to violate emissions rules —  Fiat Chrysler has agreed to pay $800 million to settle the matter. The automaker will pay different state and federal agencies approximately $400 million in fines, plus $280 million to the car owners — which is up to $2,800 per vehicle. The additional $120 million will go to various efforts to curb emissions and future warranty costs. Fiat Chrysler will need to get at least 85 percent of affected vehicles repaired or risk facing additional fines. The vehicles involved in the settlement are Jeep Grand Cherokees from the 2014, 2015 and 2016 model years and Dodge Ram 1500 trucks that have a 3-liter diesel engine. To receive a settlement payment, car owners will first need to have their vehicle repaired. “Today’s settlement sends a clear and strong signal to manufacturers and consumers that the Trump administration will vigorously enforce the nation’s laws designed to protect the environment and public health,” said Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. He added that Fiat Chrysler , aside from breaking the law, also made the efforts to hide their conduct. However, the deal did not include any admission of guilt or wrongdoing by the company. The settlement is only a fraction of what Volkswagen was forced to pay in 2016 when the company was fined for installing emission deceiving software into a half-million diesel cars. As a result, Volkswagen paid $14.7 billion and the company admitted that they improperly installed the software to vehicles. Fiat Chrysler has continued to maintain that they did nothing wrong, and their software for their diesel engines was a legitimate way to meet emission standards. Via CNN Image via Shutterstock

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Fiat Chrysler pays millions to settle emissions charges

Californias Monarch butterfly population hits ‘potentially catastrophic’ low in 2018

January 11, 2019 by  
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California’s Monarch butterfly population hit a record low in 2018 after dropping a whopping 86 percent from the previous year. According to the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, the total population has declined 97 percent since the 1980s, but this latest one year drop is “potentially catastrophic.” In the western part of the United States, monarchs migrate to California for the winter, traveling from Idaho and Utah. In 2017, the traditional California coastal sites like Pismo Beach, Big Sur and Pacific Grove hosted about 148,000 monarchs, but in 2018, volunteers counted approximately 20,500. Compare that population to the 1980s, says one of the study’s researchers Cheryl Schultz, an associate professor at Washington State University Vancouver. At that time, an estimated 10 million monarchs spent their winter in California. According to experts, butterflies are incredibly significant to the state because they quickly respond to ecological changes and warn us about the health of an ecosystem . Plus, they pollinate flowers. According to biologist Emma Pelton, if nothing is done to preserve the western monarchs and their habitat, monarch butterflies could be facing extinction. They require milkweed for breeding and migration, but in recent years pesticide use and urban development have caused the acreage of milkweed to decline. Unusually harsh weather has also threatened the monarch’s existence. Between 2011 and 2017, California has experienced one of the worst droughts on record, and this has caused ecological devastation among forested towns and fishing communities because hundreds of millions of trees have died. Not to mention, the recent deadly wildfires  that have devastated the golden state. However, the declining monarch population can be reversed if citizens and governments act now. Pelton says that gardeners can plant milkweed and towns can help by planting new trees to help monarch butterfiles 20 years from now have a new place to winter. “We don’t think it is too late to act,” Pelton said. “But everyone needs to step up their effort.” Via New York Times Image via OLID56

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Californias Monarch butterfly population hits ‘potentially catastrophic’ low in 2018

Precycle, a zero-waste grocery store, opens in Brooklyn

January 10, 2019 by  
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For many of us, a trip to the grocery store results in a ton of waste, thanks to the mountain of plastic bags and food packaging. But some stores are trying to change that by going zero-waste and selling in bulk. Precycle is a zero-waste grocery store in Brooklyn that has opened for business, and it is avoiding all plastic by having its customers buy food from bulk containers. Katerina Bogatireva, the owner of Precycle , is from Latvia, and she said that in her home country,  food waste is not acceptable. Instead, she remembers bringing reusable containers into stores. “Things like that still exist in many countries,” Bogatireva said. Related: The free grocery store fighting food waste and hunger But when she moved to the United States, she quickly assimilated and used the plastic packaging she saw everywhere. Bogatireva said that you forget your values after a while, but as she got older, she started to reflect on her childhood. “I remember looking at my mother-in-law’s trashcan and thinking, ‘this is right,’” explained the store owner. This was when she decided to open her own zero-waste grocery store, but it took years for her dream to become a reality. At Precycle, they offer food from local farmers and distributors, so customers know where their food comes from. The store’s goal is to empower customers with information, so they can reduce their environmental impact. Bogatireva said that she will take it easy on new customers at first by offering paper bags. However, she hopes to encourage people to bring their own bags and would like to see that become the new normal. Bogatireva said that everyone has to make their own choices. Just one person making a change might seem like a “drop in the sea,” but this change has to start somewhere. Actually, it just has to make a comeback. Bogatireva continued by saying that this is an old idea, not something new. + Precycle Via Tree Hugger Image via Shutterstock

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Precycle, a zero-waste grocery store, opens in Brooklyn

Samson Ogbole is a Nigerian farmer who wants to bring aeroponics to the world

December 24, 2018 by  
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Samson Ogbole is a Nigerian farmer who is trying to solve the problem of land shortages in his native country. Nigeria’s population has now reached 190 million, but there isn’t enough land in the country to grow the food needed for the ever-growing population. So, Ogbole has found a solution — aeroponics. This unconventional method is the process of growing plants in the air without using soil. Ogbole first got involved with soilless farming in 2014, and just two years later founded PS Nutraceuticals, a company that puts cutting-edge agricultural technologies into action to improve the efficiency of food production and to ensure food security. “Soilless growing entails removing the soil component, bringing in substitutes, and applying fertilizer to enable the plants to grow,” Ogbole says. “With soilless farming, we have been able to push for what you call urban farming , where we now have farms in cities such that we are able to cut off the middlemen and marketers.” Ogbole says that there are many advantages to aeroponics, the biggest being that you can grow crops at any time of the year. The method has also allowed them to eliminate pathogens that naturally exist in the soil and affect crops. Related: Farmscape helps communities embrace urban farming  Nigeria needs an estimated 78.5 million hectares of land to produce enough food for the population. But, right now there are only 30 million hectares of farmland under cultivation , according to the International Trade Administration of the United States. And, Ogbole says that only 46 percent of Nigerian soil is fertile to grow crops, so the country needs to take steps towards self-sustainability in food production and let technology play a more prominent role. He believes that the “war of the future will be fought through agriculture .” “We’re bringing in technology into agriculture so that the youth can actually see this as a viable option,” explains Ogbole. “We also want to ensure that food production is no longer seasonal, and we’re also bringing in smart sensor technologies into agriculture so that you’re able to get feedback from your plants.” The farmer added that the future of the economy depends on a few people who have bright ideas and can think outside the box. It is ideas, not money, that solves problems. Via CNN Images via Shutterstock

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Samson Ogbole is a Nigerian farmer who wants to bring aeroponics to the world

California approves rule to require solar panels on new houses

December 12, 2018 by  
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The California Building Standards Commission has given its final approval to a new housing rule that is the first of its kind in the United States. Starting in 2020, the commission is requiring that all new homes built in the state include solar panels. “These provisions really are historic and will be a beacon of light for the rest of the country,” said commissioner Kent Sasaki. “[It’s] the beginning of substantial improvement in how we produce energy and reduce the consumption of fossil fuels .” Related: California waters could open soon to offshore wind farms In addition to the solar panel requirement, the new standard also includes an incentive for homeowners to add a high-capacity battery to their electrical system to store the sun’s energy. The rule does have an exemption for homes that are built in locations that are often in the shade. California has a history of setting trends across the country, and this new rule is the next step in the state’s progressive environmental policy. The state has a goal of sharply reducing greenhouse gas emissions and drawing all of its electricity from renewable energy sources. The California Energy Commission first endorsed the solar panel rule back in May as part of California’s Green Building Standards Code. This past week, the Building Standards Commission added the requirement with a unanimous vote. Drew Bohan, executive director of the energy commission, said that the homes built under the new rule should use about 50 percent less energy compared to previous standards. The new solar power requirement is for single-family homes and multi-family buildings up to three stories high. It will add about $10,000 to the upfront cost of a home, but the lower electricity bills should balance that out over time. Bohan said that over the course of a 30-year mortgage, a homeowner should save about $19,000. Homeowners will have the option of buying the panels outright, leasing them or taking part in a power purchase agreement with the home builder. Via NPR Image via Ulleo

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California approves rule to require solar panels on new houses

Winter ticks are responsible for New England’s moose massacres

October 18, 2018 by  
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The changing climate felt in recent years has proven deadly for moose populations in the northeastern United States. Longer fall seasons and warmer winters have caused winter tick populations to thrive at the expense of their majestic hosts. Experts, who have been alarmed by the unfolding ravaging on New England moose, warn “we’re sitting on a powder keg” as calf survival has fallen to an all-time low of 30 percent while blighted adults — barely recognizable from the onslaught — are now referred to as “ghost moose.” The recent pestilence and its chilling physical effects have been studied by scientists at the University of New Hampshire (UNH) who  published a report on the findings in the Canadian Journal of Zoology. Professor Pete Pekins, wildlife ecology specialist at UNH and study co-author, explained the importance of this “powder keg” by saying, “The iconic moose is rapidly becoming the new poster child for climate change in parts of the Northeast.” Related: Video footage of rare all-white moose in Sweden The researchers monitored tick infestations, which have been prominent in areas of northern New Hampshire and western Maine, over the course of three winters. Between 2014 and 2016, 179 radio-marked moose calves were screened for parasites and monitored for changing physical conditions. Among these, a total of 125 had died by the end of the third winter. “Normally anything over a 50 percent death rate would concern us, but at 70 percent, we are looking at a real problem in the moose population,” Pekins said. While adult populations did not face a similar wreckage in numbers, those who survived the winters were severely mangled, coat-less and devitalized. “Most adult moose survived but were still severely compromised. They were thin and anemic from losing so much blood,” the university reported. “The ticks appear to be harming reproductive health , so there is also less breeding.” Since winter tick epidemics commonly last only one to two years, researchers are blaming climate change for the pest spikes, which have subsisted throughout five of the last 10 years. “The changing environmental conditions associated with climate change are increasing and are favorable for winter ticks, specifically later-starting winters that lengthen the autumnal questing period for ticks,” Pekins explained. But just how favorable are these warmer periods for questing? An average of 47,371 ticks were found on each of the exterminated calves. The calves perished from extreme metabolic imbalances and emaciation caused by blood loss. This razing is more fitted to a vampire novel than a natural symbiosis; the images better attributed to a trip into Chernobyl than the New England-Acadian forests. While many might be inclined to call the “ghost moose” a haunting reminder of climate change disasters, they still live. Not fully a casualty, they are the disfigured innocents on the sidelines of an ongoing environmental war. + University of New Hampshire Via TreeHugger Image via Dan Bergeron, N.H. Fish and Game Dept.

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Winter ticks are responsible for New England’s moose massacres

Hurricane Florence could cause dangerous floods of toxic sludge and animal waste

September 12, 2018 by  
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Torrential rains are not the only thing Hurricane Florence will bring once it hits landfall. The massive storm is expected to dump record amounts of rain in the southeastern United States — rain that could overflow toxic chemical waste and animal manure sites along the coast, increasing danger to both public health and the environment. One toxic waste site in North Carolina is particularly vulnerable to the incoming storm. Two years ago, the state tasked Duke Energy Corp. with cleaning up coal-ash ponds in the area following a major spill, because the ponds posed serious hazards to nearby communities. Close to 40,000 tons of toxic waste was dumped near the town of Eden, North Carolina. State officials ordered the company to clean up the ponds by the summer of 2019. Although Duke Energy Corp. has started the cleanup process, it is nowhere near the finish line. The company is currently in the middle of cleaning up the sites and will not be finished by the time Hurricane Florence rolls in. Given the condition of the ponds, excess rain from the hurricane could lead to overflow, dumping the waste into the surrounding environment. Related: Climate change is expected to bring more intense storms like Hurricane Florence North Carolina is also home to lagoons that contain manure from the state’s hog and poultry industries. Hurricane Florence could overwhelm these lagoons with massive amounts of rain, which would dump the animal waste into surrounding waterways. If that happens, the state would be facing a major environmental disaster. That is, of course, if Florence stays on its current path and hits North Carolina. Hurricane Florence is growing in both strength and size as it prepares to make landfall. If the storm continues at its current pace, it could be the strongest hurricane to reach the Carolinas in the last 30 years. With Florence getting closer every day, about 1 million residents have already evacuated. Via Bloomberg Images via NASA and NOAA

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Hurricane Florence could cause dangerous floods of toxic sludge and animal waste

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