Is Your Food Genetically Modified?

Genetically Modified foods (GM) are food sources that have been genetically altered for a number of different reasons. Those reasons include making fruit and veggies larger and seedless as well as making them resistant to certain kinds of pesticides. Are food products containing genetically modified organisms a health risk? Possibly. Do we want to know if our food is genetically modified? Definitely.

While the DEA has yet to make companies slap labels on foods that straight up let us know they are genetically modified (no thanks in part to biotech giant Monsanto), there is a system in place that can help us make better informed decisions at the market.

By reading the numbers on PLU labels (those little stickers), we can identify whether produce is organic, conventional or genetically modified. Continue reading

Consumer Reports Picks Toyota Prius as Best Green Car for 2012

Every year, Consumer Reports releases its Top Picks which are comprised of the best all-around models in their categories, chosen from more than 260 vehicles tested. The three main areas of focus are: Road test, reliability, and safety. Fuel efficiency is also an important consideration when grading vehicles.

Winning its category for Best Green Car is the Toyota Prius. Per Consumer Reports:

The Prius still sets the standard for its blend of fuel efficiency, practicality, and affordability. The 44 overall mpg we measured in the hatchback is still the highest of any five-passenger, non-plug-in vehicle we’ve tested, and the 41 mpg of the new Prius V wagon easily tops its class. Moreover, its roomy interior, comfortable ride, and hatchback versatility make it easy to live with. Crash-test results are excellent. New electric cars have gotten the energy equivalent of higher mpg figures, but they’re less practical and affordable. Continue reading

Who Was Green on the Red Carpet?

Sustainability and eco-consciousness were not lost amidst the glitz and glamor of the 84th Academy Awards. Thanks to her Green Carpet Challenge (of which EMA is the U.S. partner), Livia Firth recruited several Oscar nominees to wear sustainable attire.

Thee-time Oscar winner Meryl Streep wore Lanvin’s first ever custom-made eco gown. According to Firth, “The gown is gold, full-length and made from Eco Certified Fabric sourced with help from the GCC.”

Livia’s husband, Colin contributed to the GCG by wearing his Tom Ford wool tuxedo from the previous year when he won for Best Actor. Recycling at its best! Continue reading

Team USA’s Basketball Jerseys Made from Recycled Bottles

Nike recently announced that for the upcoming Summer Olympics, Team USA’s basketball jerseys will be environmentally friendly, on top of being light and breathable.

According to Nike, the men’s jersey will consist of approximately 96% polyester fabric derived from recycled plastic bottles while the shorts will be 100% recycled polyester fabric. Nike uses an average of 22 recycled plastic bottles per uniform, reflective of their commitment to environmentally-sustainable design. The uniform will be worn by national basketball teams including USA, China, and Brazil in addition to teams attempting to qualify. Continue reading

EMA Board Member Ed Begley Jr. Teams Up with Old Friend, Captain Planet

The dream of the 90s is alive in Santa Monica. This past weekend, Ed Begley Jr. cycled around the beachside city along with Captain Planet to raise awareness for the “Planeteer Movement,” a red-hot grassroots social media effort designed to reinstate the values of Captain Planet and inspire positive action towards the many environmental issues facing the world today.

Captain Planet, the first eco superhero and star of the 1990s TV series Captain Planet and the Planeteers, was popular amongst kids and adults alike for showing them ways to change the earth’s future.

The Planeteer Movement, launched in September 2010 by series co-creator Barbara Pyle and a group of fans, channels the show’s original passion for sustainability mixed in with the strategic use of various social media outlets to inspire a global awareness of environmental issues. Along with its popular Facebook page, the Movement also maintains a website and recently launched a Twitter feed. Continue reading

Interactive Water Meter Tells Your iPhone How Much Water You’re Using

What if you could see your water usage patterns on a smartphone or iPad — would that motivate you to use less water? That’s what designer Marc Schömann hopes.

Schömann’s water meter checks water use and reports the information to your smartphone, tablet or computer. While the idea isn’t revolutionary, Schömann believes that the easier it is to check your water usage, the more likely you are to do so.

So rather than digging around to find past water bills, you’ll soon be able to get that info delivered to your phone while waiting in line at Trader Joe’s. The hope is that the more you pay attention to how much water you’re actually using, the less you’ll actually waste.

Test Tube Meat: The New White Meat?

Is the science fiction era upon us? According to the LA Times, scientists are hard at work trying to develop meat in a lab. While the concept of a hamburger produced in a test tube may seem unappetizing, producing that burger meat may be good thing for the environment.

Patrick Brown, a biochemist at Stanford University who is working on creating meat and dairy substitutes using plants, says that “Animal farming is by far the biggest ongoing environmental catastrophe.”

Factory farms use up enormous energy reserves while crowding together animals who, in closely confined quarters, could spawn outbreaks of E.coli and other food-borne illnesses. Likewise, emissions from livestock (aka, their toots) produce methane, a greenhouse gas more polluting than carbon dioxide. Continue reading