Organic Bytes #133: 4/28/2008
IN THIS ISSUE
- Fake "Organic" Bodycare Care Companies Go to Court
- Alert: (Could Be) Last Chance to Take Action on Farm Bill
- Sustainability Tip &; Quote: Rip out Your Lawn...
- How Your Diet Affects Global Climate Change
- Electric Cars Soon to Hit U.S. Market
- How to Shop at Whole Foods Market
- Celebrate World Fair Trade Day May 10
- Web Video of the Week
- Apologies: Clarification of "Organic" Companies That Did Not Test Positive for Carcinogen
- Special State Alerts: DE, DC, FL, KY, MO, NJ, OH, RI, VA, WV
Health, Justice and Sustainability News Tidbits with an Edge!
Written and edited by Craig Minowa and Ronnie Cummins
Fake "Organic" Bodycare
Companies Go to Court
The family owned Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps filed a lawsuit in California Superior Court today against numerous personal care brands to force them to stop making misleading organic labeling claims.
Dr. Bronner’s and the Organic Consumers Association (OCA) had previously warned offending brands that they faced litigation unless they committed to either drop their organic claims or reformulate away from main ingredients made from conventional agricultural and/or petrochemical material without any certified organic material.
OCA members are expected to be witnesses and provide evidence of fraud and deception in support of Dr. Bronner’s complaint.
Learn more: www.organicconsumers.org/bodycare/
(Could Be) Last Chance to Take Action on Farm Bill
The deadline on the 2007--Now 2008--Farm Bill has been a moving target, but the conference committee is currently set to conclude its work soon. We need as many e-mails as soon as possible to urge Congress to pass a Farm Bill that increases funding for organic, transition to organic, and nutrition programs, rather than simply more subsidies for corporate welfare and biofuels.
Rip out Your Lawn...
"But the act I want to talk about is growing some, even just a little, of your own food. Rip out your lawn, if you have one, and if you don't, look into getting a plot in a community garden. Measured against the problem we face, planting a garden sounds pretty benign, I know, but in fact it's one of the most powerful things an individual can do to reduce your carbon footprint, sure, but more important, to reduce your sense of dependence and dividedness: to change the cheap-energy mind."
-An excerpt from author Michael Pollan's editorial in the New York Times this week on dealing with Climate Change in your everyday life.
How Your Diet Affects Global Climate Change
- Food accounts for 13% of all Greenhouse Gas emissions.
- Red meat and dairy are responsible for nearly half of all greenhouse gas emissions from food for an average U.S. household.
- Replacing red meat and dairy with chicken, fish, or eggs in your diet for one day per week reduces emissions equal to 760 miles per year of driving.
- Switching to vegetables one day per week cuts the equivalent of driving 1160 miles per year.
Affordable Electric Cars Soon to Hit US Market
Although several manufacturers now provide electric cars for the price of a small home ($50k-$100k), Norwegian automaker Think Global announced it will have an affordable electric car available for environmental-minded consumers in North America within 18 months.
The battery-powered vehicle will be priced below $25,000 and will be able to travel up to 110 miles on a single charge, with a top speed of about 65 mph.
How to Shop at Whole Foods Market
The merger of Whole Foods Market with Wild Oats highlights the benefits and drawbacks of this organic retail giant. Although Whole Foods Market certainly provides a "feel good" shopping experience for millions of consumers, it's important to keep in mind that WFM isn't nearly as green as it pretends to be.
But of course, for many consumers, Whole Foods Market offers the only access for green and organic products. If Whole Foods Market is the only option available in your area, here are some important tips for the organic-minded shopper:
- Look for locally grown produce: Whole Foods offers only a limited supply of local produce, although it is well labeled. Reduce the burden of long-distance food transportation on the planet by asking your WFM produce manager to stock more local produce.
- Not everything is as "natural" or "organic" as you might think: Although Whole Foods doesn't carry products with trans fats or artificial coloring, everything else is fair game, including MSG and rBGH, so being a vigilant label reader is still a necessity. Look for the USDA organic label.
- Whole Foods has taken the position that unions aren't valid. It is the second largest union-free food retailer, right behind Wal-Mart. Don't assume the employees are all adequately trained in understanding how to distinguish between products that are and are not truly organic and natural.
- The OCA always recommends supporting your locally owned food co-op, farmer's market, CSA or independently-owned natural food store, first and foremost, (search for resources near you in OCA's "Local Buying Guide" here: www.organicconsumers.org/btc/BuyingGuide.cfm)
Join us in celebrating Fair Trade on May 10, 2008! Fair Trade means a fair price for farmers and artisans, a better future for our planet, and a tastier, higher quality product for you.
On Saturday, May 10, Organic Consumers will join with people from 70 countries worldwide to celebrate World Fair Trade Day and highlight the importance and benefits of Fair Trade.
We’re trying to set the World Record for the World’s Largest Fair Trade Coffee Break: At 3pm Eastern/Noon Pacific, Fair Trade supporters around the world will take a break to enjoy a cup of Fair Trade coffee.
Click here for more information: www.organicconsumers.org/fairtrade.cfm
A Crude Awakening: the Oil Crash
We've built our civilization to depend on it. We consume as much oil in a single day as it would take to fill enough barrels to encircle the entire planet. It's our achilles heel, and geologists and economists agree there's a major problem on the horizon. Have we hit our peak, and what massive implications will that have on our lives in both the short and long term?
Clarification of "Organic" Companies
That Did Not Test Positive for Carcinogen
Although the last issue of Organic Bytes was accurate, the third paragraph of our online alert that Bytes linked to had a typo. The fourth paragraph of the alert correctly states that OCA sent Cease and Desist letters to the following companies and certifiers that did NOT test positive for Dioxane contamination but which DO include petrochemical compound(s) combined with conventional agricultural material, without any organic material, in the main cleansing ingredients in products labeled "Organic" or "Organics":
Juice Organics, Avalon Organics, Kiss My Face Obsessively Organic, Desert Essence Organics, Head Organics, Ikove Organic and Ecocert.
Take action to support Delaware wind power production!
Bringing wind power production to Delaware would create economic benefits of $750 million over 25 years. Learn more and take action: http://rose1dev.devcloud.acquia-sites.com/old_articles/state/DE.cfm
Take action to support the National Arboretum!
The President's budget proposal threatens a $2 million cut to Arboretum gardens and education units. Learn more and take action:
Come out to the Petition Delivery Ceremony
Workers from the Coalition of Immokalee Workers and allies will be at Burger King with a petition demanding an end to modern day slavery and exploitation in the fields. Check out this and other events happening in Florida:
You still have time to sign the petition! Learn more and take action:
Review of Kentucky's 2008 legislative session by Progressive States Network: "The Worst Legislative Session in Modern Memory."
Monsanto is using the state legislature to bully dairies that won't use Posilac.
Learn more and take action: www.organicconsumers.org/state/MO.cfm
Ban bisphenol A now!
Tell your New Jersey legislators to ban baby bottles, plastic toys and other children's products made with toxic chemicals:
Stop the Governor's harassment of rBGH-free dairies!
The fine print of new milk labeling rules help Monsanto more than consumers.
Learn more and take action: www.organicconsumers.org/state/OH.cfm
Save Rhode Island Lobsters!
Rhode Island lobstermen are worried that a pesticide used to control the development of mosquito larvae is killing young lobsters in Narragansett Bay and Rhode Island Sound.
Alert- No More Dirty Power Plants
Dominion plans to build more dirty coal plants. Currently they have plans for a power plant in Wise County, Virginia. Power plants such as these contribute to hastening global warming around the world and also lead to increased mountain top removal mining (mining that literally blows up mountains) in Virginia, and the rest of Appalachia.
West Virginia's 2008 Legislative Session Wraps up
with Progress on Smart Growth and Energy Efficiency
Support Our Supporters
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Eden Foods Offers OCA Customers 15% Discount
Eden Foods is one of the few national organic food producers who goes beyond the USDA Organic Standards. Although Eden Foods is USDA certified, their products do not bear the USDA seal, because they say the USDA standard really represents a "minimum standard" that Eden Foods goes far beyond.