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Susie Cagle's Posts


Madison may require food carts to offer vegetarian options

Meatless meals on wheels? Madison, Wis., is weighing whether to dictate that all food carts in the city offer vegetarian options.


They're also considering adding a "green" section to their rating system for the mobile restaurants, giving points for biodegradable and recyclable to-go containers, eco-friendly truck fuel, and local foods.

Here's The Wisconsin State Journal on the veggie issue:

The suggestion came from a city food cart reviewer who is a vegetarian, street vending coordinator Warren Hansen said.

"I always tell new applicants to include at least one vegetarian item because there's a demand for it," Hansen said. "It's just good business."

Read more: Food, Politics


Sandy wipes out biggest beekeeping operation in New York City

Casualties of Hurricane Sandy included 1 million unfortunate bees at the Brooklyn Grange's Navy Yard urban farming project. Twenty-five hives each containing around 40,000 bees were torn apart Monday night.

Brooklyn Grange

From The Brooklyn Paper:

“All our hives that were out on the pier were destroyed,” said Chase Emmons, a managing partner and the chief beekeeper at Brooklyn Grange.

An additional 10 hives located on Brooklyn Grange’s rooftop farm survived — but the loss is catastrophic for the city’s largest apiary. Emmons knew before the storm that the hives were at risk.

“There was little we could do without a Herculean effort,” he said.

Read more: Food


Expect less seafood in Sandy’s wake

Post-superstorm, it may be a while until Atlantic fish are once again shipped to restaurants and groceries across the country.


From Columbus Business First:

Atlantic fishing operations and shipments by air and highway from the East Coast are on hold, battering the supply of popular catches, including lobster, crab, salmon, cod, haddock and Prince Edward Island mussels ... The shortage has left restaurateurs with a choice when it comes to certain seafood -- frozen or nothing ...

Seafood not from the East Coast, such as farm-raised salmon, isn't in short supply.

With 20-plus years in wholesaling, [Frank] Gonzalez has seen his share of storm-inflicted food shortages, but he expects Hurricane Sandy to be among the most damaging to his business.

Read more: Food


Chinese protesters kill plans for chemical plant expansion

Following days of raucous protests, residents of the city Ningbo in southern China have effectively shut down the government's plans for an $8.9 billion petrochemical plant expansion.

People shout slogans as they march during a protest against plans to expand a petrochemical plant in Ningbo, Zhejiang province October 28, 2012.
Protesters take to the streets of Ningbo.

The Wall Street Journal points to the activist victory as a sign of societal change:

The Ningbo protests are the latest example of increasingly well-educated urban residents aggressively resisting the heavy industrial expansion that many local governments are encouraging to keep China's economy humming. In addition, it highlights how local government bids to lure lucrative investments to their cities are meeting increasing scrutiny from concerned residents.


Superstorm Sandy’s climate change connection

It's been a banner year for extreme weather conditions, from the drought that held the country hostage this summer to superstorm Sandy. But then, last year was a banner year for extreme weather too. And the years before that ...

Scientists are mostly agreed that climate change has had a hand in crafting the Frankenstorm. But how, exactly? From Boing Boing:

When the clouds have passed and everybody is done sleeping in airports, people are going to want answers. Was this an unavoidable act of nature? Or was this something caused directly by changes to Earth's climate that have happened because we burn fossil fuels which increase the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere?

Well, both. There are multiple factors that came together to whip up Sandy, and no one causal judgment, however attractive, is fair. But given the evidence, it's likely that no matter how Sandy came in to this world, climate change has helped this storm grow bigger, go faster, and head farther than it might have in earlier times and cooler seas.


Microgrids could bring big green changes to power systems

Sandy may look bad now, but could it (and the other Frankenstorms before it) actually inspire change? If enough power goes down, if enough damage is done, if enough people demand it -- well, maybe. But that change would be small. Micro, in fact.

An Army microgrid.

Millions of East Coasters have already lost power this week and millions more stand to lose it in the coming days. Our reliance on central power plants and large grids has a lot to do with this. Enter microgrids, which can be detached and remain operational when the big boys fail. From The Connecticut Mirror:

A jargony techno-term, a microgrid is a small electric grid with its own generation source. It normally operates linked to the main electric grid, but when that suffers widespread interruptions, as Connecticut's did during Tropical Storm Irene and the October snowstorm, a microgrid can automatically isolate itself and keep running.

Read more: Cities, Climate & Energy


‘Hope’ and ‘pray': New York subway’s defense against Sandy

Up to 60 million people may be impacted by Hurricane Sandy this week and in the weeks to come. A hefty chunk of that population are subway-reliant New Yorkers, who would do well to read this while sitting down with a paper bag handy.

MTA Photos
MTA constructs a flood barrier last night on the tracks.

The city's been without subway service since last night at 7 p.m., only the second shutdown in the system's history. But how temporary is it? Gizmodo thinks this may be closer to a permanent condition.

This could be the storm that kills the New York subway system.

From The Wall Street Journal:

Read more: Cities


Infocomic: New report shows big gains for cycling and transit, if not city infrastructure

A new report from the National Conference of State Legislatures is full to the brim with findings on American urbanism and transportation alternatives. They even mention environmental preservation 25 times!

Transportation, energy and environmental policies are inextricably linked. Today, 95 percent of the nation’s transportation is fueled by oil; transportation consumes about 28 percent of the nation’s energy and produces 27 percent of the nation’s greenhouse gases, second only to electricity generation.

But the report shows that more of that transportation is being powered by our own damn selves.

Read more: Cities, Living, Politics


Empire State Building goes green in more ways than one

Once the site of the Empire State Building was a farm with a little stream running through it. Today it's getting a tiny infusion of its former identity in the form of huge, multi-million dollar retrofits that aim to help the environment, the tenants, and of course the owner.


From the Natural Resources Defense Council Switchboard blog:

A series of cost-effective, energy-efficient retrofits have dramatically reduced energy waste in the Empire State Building, saving $2.4 million in operating costs in the first year alone. In the next few years, when the project is complete, the building is expected to reduce its energy use by nearly 40 percent--and save about $4.4 million each year.

Read more: Cities, Climate & Energy


The $41 million corporate ad blitz that is taking down California’s GMO labeling

California's Proposition 37 would require that all genetically modified foods be labeled for consumer awareness. It's pitched as a "Right to Know" campaign, and for a while things were looking bright for Nov. 6's Election Day. But now?

A USC Dornsife / Los Angeles Times poll released Thursday showed 44% of surveyed voters backing the initiative and 42% opposing it. A substantial slice of the electorate, 14%, remains undecided or unwilling to take a position.

That's compared to the last USC/LA Times poll done just over a month ago, which showed 61 percent in favor and 25 percent opposed. Basically: It is not looking good. From The Los Angeles Times:

Read more: Food, Politics