Tag Archives: sustainability

Earth Day 2016 Activities

Earth Day 2016 Activities: 15 Ideas And Ways To Celebrate Mother Nature And Become An Environmental Steward

Get ready to reduce, reuse and recycle, because Earth Day is here. Being environmentally conscious isn’t just for activists, and Earth Day is a great time to start thinking about ways that everyone can get involved in helping the planet.

Every April 22 people across the United States and around the world participate in activities that give back to the environment or celebrate Earth. Earth Day started in 1970, and has grown significantly in 46 years.

This explosion of environmental consciousness is not just for fun. Over the past 50 years, humans have used up more natural resources than in all of previous history, according to EcoCycle. A report from the World Economic Forum this year found that the world’s oceans will contain more trash than fish by weight by 2050.

The global climate talks in Paris in December brought more attention to the world’s increasingly dire situation, but many countries, as well as politicians in the U.S., remain reluctant to take steps to slow human contributions to climate change.

Still, scientists are encouraging people to clean up their act. In honor of Earth Day 2016, here are 15 ways to celebrate Mother Nature and give her some love.

Attend an Earth Day festival, event or fair. At these events around the U.S., you can talk to other environmentally inclined individuals, eat locally grown food, buy eco-friendly products and maybe listen to environment-themed music. The Earth Day website has a listing of events so you can look up fairs near you.

Encourage friends to get involved. You can start a pledge board at work or school so that everyone can commit to taking environmental actions this year. You can keep each other accountable and stay on track with your pledges.

Recycle. Learn which items you can and cannot recycle in your city, and figure out where to take recyclables. You can even decorate a recycling bin for Earth Day.

Track your online energy use. Curious about how much energy you’re using while watching Netflix or scrolling through Facebook? Download an extension like Chrome’s Earth Mode plug-in that tracks your usage and calculates how many trees need to be planted to offset it.

Plant a tree. This is a fun Earth Day activity and an easy and effective way to celebrate Mother Nature.

Sign a petition. There are all kinds of petitions calling on governments to take action on climate change, and public support can often help push through big changes. The Earth Day website has apetition you can sign to show support for the Paris Agreement that countries signed pledging to work together to fight climate change.

Start composting. Composting is a form of recycling, but for food. It’s a biological process in which natural microorganisms break down organic materials such as leaves, grass clippings and certain food scraps. You can start with just a bucket in your backyard or someplace outside where you can take leftovers. This helps avoid waste, and you can use the compost to give nutrients to your garden.

Eat less meat. The meat industry is responsible for about 20 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, and with more people eating meat every year, the industry is still growing. But this doesn’t mean you have to become a vegetarian. By forgoing meat just one day a week, you can help limit the amount of it needed around the world and reduce your own carbon footprint.

Give up bottled water. Like the meat industry, bottling water consumes an enormous amount of fossil fuels. Plus, all those bottles end up in landfills and are terrible for the environment. If you switch to reusable water bottles, you’ll save money and help the environment.

Make a garden. This can be a great activity for kids, a neighborhood or a group of friends. Whether you plant flowers, vegetables or fruit, this is a fun way to celebrate Earth Day and enjoy good food down the line.

Join an environmental group. Want to help the environment even after Earth Day? Take this as an opportunity to sign up for an eco-friendly society or an environmental advocacy organization in your area. If you need ideas, here’s a list of groups to get you started.

Cut down on junk mail. More than 100 million trees are cut down each year to produce junk mail, according to the Earth Day organization. There are several organizations that will take your name off widely distributed consumer mailing lists, or you can call businesses and catalogues that send you mail you do not need.

Buy local. Try buying local produce if you can. Produce typically loses one-third of its original nutritional value after three days of being picked, so you’ll be eating healthier and reducing the carbon emissions needed to transport produce from the farm to your plate.

Organize a community cleanup. This is as simple as getting friends together to clean up a park, school playground or sidewalk.

Learn about the Earth. Take the time to learn more about what’s going on with the Earth and how climate change is affecting our planet. Read articles, pick up a book or listen to a science podcast. This can be a great way to add educational value to your Earth Day celebration.

Read full article here –>

Counter Culture’s 2015 Greenhouse Gas Report

Counter Culture’s Honest, Thoughtful Greenhouse Gas Report

Counter Culture Coffee photo, taken at the Durham (N.C.) roastery and headquarters.

Counter Culture Coffee photo, taken at the Durham (N.C.) roastery and headquarters.

We devote a lot of space on this site — some readers might even say too much space — to environmental sustainability issues. Most often the focus of these issues is within the coffee supply chain from seed to import, with particular attention to supply sustainability, certification developments and other environmental and economic issues at origin.

Significantly less spotlight has been shone on environmental sustainability initiatives in the places where coffee is roasted and consumed in its largest quantities — the very places that generate the lion’s share of greenhouse gas emissions within the coffee chain. One of the driving factors in that lack of information is simply that there is less notable work routinely being done on this front.

That’s why the latest in-house sustainability report from wholesale coffee roaster Counter Culture Coffee is so significant — reaching levels of transparency and accountability related to greenhouse gas emissions not commonly seen in the coffee roasting/retailing industry.

When last May we spoke with Meredith Taylor, who had recently joined CCC as sustainability coordinator, she said one of the company’s immediate sustainability goals was to dig deeper into the company’s own sustainability practices stateside, beginning with clearer and more comprehensive tracking and reporting of things like water and energy usage.

One of numerous graphs contained in the report.

One of numerous graphs contained in the report.

It’s no small task, and while CCC has been tracking some of its direct greenhouse emissions since 2010 and buying carbon credits to offset them, the “2014 Greenhouse Gas Report” is its most comprehensive to date. It takes into account not only CCC’s direct emissions through things like propane usage in roasting and fuel usage in fleet vehicles, but also secondary “scopes,” such as emissions from third parties beyond CCC’s control, like those from UPS resulting from the shipping of CCC’s coffees throughout the country.

Coffee Project Tackles Homelessness

The Big Issue just launched a coffee project to tackle homelessness
LONDON — What if your morning coffee could change somebody’s life? Well, that’s the idea behind a partnership between The Big Issue and Old Spike Roastery to launch a new coffee brand: Change Please. Beginning Monday, you can buy hand-roasted, ethically-sourced coffee from coffee carts across London staffed by people who used to live on the streets.

The idea for the coffee carts was born when a member of the Change Please team spotted a member of the public crossing the street to avoid a Big Issue seller before heading into Starbucks. Now, the simple act of buying a cup of coffee will allow a homeless person to earn a living wage and –- crucially -– will get them off the streets. Change Please hires homeless people and trains them as baristas with the long-term goal of equipping them with the skills and experience required to enter the general workforce. Change Please baristas are paid the London minimum wage, £9.15 per hour.

“This, for me, is like a glimmer of hope,” says Liam Mulligan, a 19-year-old homeless man. “I see this as salvation. It’s a great chance for me to get out of the situation that I’m in. Not only that, I’m doing good. I’m serving people with good service and with a smile. I’m doing good for people and I’m gonna help myself in the long-term.”


Change Please barista Liam Mulligan

After getting kicked out of his home on his 18th birthday, Liam has spent the past year on the streets. As he speaks, he beams from ear to ear; he’s excited about his future.

“It feels fantastic to be earning a living wage. It’s good to do something productive with my time. At the moment it’s definitely making a big impact on my life.”

Homelessness is on the rise throughout the UK, with a record 280,000 people approaching their local authority for homelessness assistance. Rough sleeping — the most extreme form of homelessness — has more than doubled in London in the past five years alone. Though this initiative is a step in the right direction, more support services are still required to rigorously tackle homelessness.

Cemal Ezel, founder of Change Please, said: “There are so many homeless people in London that have a wide variety of skills, and we felt that we could enhance these skills, and help train them as baristas. Coffee is a natural medium to do that, as it’s part of people’s daily routine. If we can give people skills they don’t currently have, and provide them with employment, we can reduce homelessness one coffee at a time.”

change please founder
Change Please founder Cemal Ezel

Over the next month, Change Please coffee carts are being rolled out across London . Change Please is also hoping to launch in cities across the UK, with the aim to help as many people as possible through the initiative. The hand roasted, artisan coffee will be available to buy nationally across the UK online at changeplease.org.

Heifer International’s World Food Day Discussion

World Food Day 2015: Social Protection and Agriculture

Pierre Ferrari | October 16, 2015

Aquicklinah Njivah (39) showing the rice her Heifer group receives via the grocery committee, of which she is head at home in Komorai Village. The milk generated by the two cows she received from Heifer helped her family’s nutrition and income immensely.

Aquicklinah Njivah (39) showing the rice her Heifer group receives via the grocery committee, of which she is head at home in Komorai Village. The milk generated by the two cows she received from Heifer helped her family’s nutrition and income immensely.

Seventy years ago today, 42 countries founded the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), in a monumental step toward ending global hunger and malnutrition.

The world has come a long way, but there is still much work to be done.

This year’s World Food Day theme is Social Protection and Agriculture: Breaking the Cycle of Rural Poverty.

A lot of the discussion has focused on the social protection half of the theme. Not surprisingly, I’d like to talk about the other half: agriculture.

Benjamin Davis, Deputy-Director of FAO’s Agricultural Development Economics Division makes some very important points in a recent video. He says, “Social protection itself cannot sustainably bring households out of poverty. Mutually supportive agricultural and social protection programs are necessary in order to transform the lives of the poor.”

Read full article here –>


Innovation is only way to meet future food challenges | PepsiCo

Lay's wavy and classic original chips
PepsiCo has been actively working on the composition of its food products, including reducing the salt in its Lay’s potato chips.

MINNEAPOLIS — If food companies think there are big challenges feeding today’s world and its 7.3 billion people, even bigger problems face them in the future, said Mehmood Khan, M.D., Ph.D., vice-chairman and chief scientific officer of global research and development at PepsiCo, Inc., Purchase, N.Y. He gave the keynote address at AACC International’s centenary meeting in Minneapolis on Oct. 20.

Speaking to an audience of cereal scientists, millers and ingredient suppliers, Dr. Khan offered his reasons for describing innovation as the answer.

“If we continue doing in 2050 what we do today, 3.5 billion people will be hungry,” he said. “The world is depending on the food industry to feed the planet. If not, even with today’s high level of conflict, we haven’t yet seen what can result when that many mouths go hungry.”

A decade ago, when PepsiCo chairman and chief executive officer Indra Nooyi recruited Dr. Khan, he was charged with changing the R.&D. climate at the company. It boosted its budget for such work by 30% but was quickly plunged into the worldwide financial crisis. PepsiCo’s stock plunged, but the company persevered.

“By 2013, net revenues from innovation accounted for 8% in sales,” Dr. Khan said. “In 2014, it was 9%. Any declines we had in traditional brands were more than offset by these innovations.”

In addition, PepsiCo products accounted for 10 of the Top 50 new products that year.

He advised his audience of scientists, “If you want to make a difference, you have to step out of the norm.”

PepsiCo did that when it hired Dr. Khan. He trained in medicine first and entered agronomy later. He received his medical degree, specializing in endocrinology, from University of Liverpool and his doctorate in agriculture…

Read full article here –>

Nestle Raises the Bar on Sustainability

I’m Ms. Choice and I’m here to provide information and assist in promoting and implementing wellness and healthier snacking at work sites and schools. Take a look at an article from KitKat, below:


KitKat makes global pledge to use only sustainably sourced cocoa.

Cocoa Plan
KitKat is the first global chocolate brand to announce that it will use only sustainably sourced cocoa to manufacture all of its products, and will do so from the first quarter of 2016.The brand already uses only sustainably sourced cocoa, accredited by independent third-party bodies, in products sold in certain markets, but this new announcement extends the practice worldwide, including the United States.Sandra Martinez, Head of Confectionery for Nestlé, said: “We’re delighted to be a flag bearer for the industry, as the first global chocolate brand to announce such a move.“Sustainable cocoa sourcing helps safeguard the livelihoods of farming communities and delivers higher quality cocoa beans. This announcement will only strengthen consumer trust in KitKat as a responsible brand.”The initiative, which coincides with KitKat’s 80th birthday, is part of Nestlé’s commitment to source 150,000 tonnes of sustainably produced cocoa by 2017 via the Nestlé Cocoa Plan.The Nestlé Cocoa Plan aims to improve the lives of cocoa farming communities and the quality of the cocoa Nestlé purchases.As KitKat marks eight decades since its launch, learn more about how ‘moment marketing’ helped this iconic brand conquer the digital world.

full article here