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Susie Cagle's Posts


Organic food may be best for kids, pediatricians say

Organic, babies! The American Academy of Pediatrics is weighing in for the first time on the conventional vs. organic debate.


Its verdict? An "extensive analysis of scientific evidence," it says, suggests that kids who eat organic produce, dairy, and meat "have lower pesticide levels, which may be significant for children."

From NPR's The Salt blog:

The pediatricians are worried because babies of female farm workers in California showed small but significant developmental and motor delays when their mothers were exposed to pesticides at levels similar to those deemed acceptable in conventionally grown produce while pregnant.

Read more: Food, Living


Tar-sands pipeline protesters take on British Columbia legislature

Upwards of 4,500 protesters of the coalition group Defend Our Coast convened on the British Columbia legislature yesterday to advocate against further development of oil-sands pipelines.

Greenpeace Canada

From Environmental News Service:

The demonstrators are objecting to the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline that would carry diluted bitumen from the tar sands of northern Alberta to a proposed tanker port at Kitimat on the central British Columbia coast.

Kinder Morgan has proposed a $4.1-billion Trans Mountain project that would expand an existing pipeline from Alberta to Vancouver and bring tankers at the rate of about one a day through the already busy Vancouver Harbour.


Zappos founder digs for community in the seedy streets of Vegas

This weekend's New York Times Magazine profiles a particular kind of urban renewal happening amidst Las Vegas' bright lights and big real estate downturn.


The Downtown Project, headed up by Zappos chief exec Tony Hsieh, aims to build "the most community-focused large city in the world" with its $350 million -- a reflection of Zappos' own corporate focus on keeping customers deliriously happy.

“I first thought I would buy a piece of land and build our own Disneyland,” he told the group. But he worried that the company would be too cut off from the outside world and ultimately decided “it was better to interact with the community.”

And so Hsieh's adventures commenced.

Read more: Cities, Living


Plant new trees, but keep the old

We might be able to identify weak communities from space just as we can poor ones -- by looking to their trees.


Scott Doyon at PlaceMakers lays out his "seven keys to stronger community" in urban spaces, the last of which, he says, is "tree culture." When communities pass ordinances forbidding all tree removal, that can lead to dysfunction, he argues.

Read more: Cities, Food, Living


Jonathan Franzen defends Obama presidency on green grounds

Both presidential candidates may be loathe to utter the words "climate change" on the campaign trail, but best-selling author Jonathan Franzen (of the recent eco-minded books Freedom and Farther Away) still thinks you should go with Obama, despite the indisputable: "There’s no whitewashing the fact that his presidency hasn’t been a green one."

Greg Martin

So says Franzen, at 90 Days, 90 Reasons:

Our opportunity to elect a genuinely green President was in 2000—an opportunity torpedoed (this really bears repeating) by the Green Party candidate. Voters who care strongly about the environment have already let the perfect be the enemy of the good, with calamitous results. If you’re one of those voters, please ask yourself: Can we afford to do it again?


Could public urination be good for the environment?

"Pee planters," fruit fences, and LED hopscotch might sound like a normal weekend in San Francisco, but the Urban Prototyping Festival isn't exactly aiming for normal.

Click to embiggen.
Urban Prototyping

Part art-installation festival, part pop-up urban-planning think tank, this unique green fest convened for one day this weekend in S.F. to take on city problems with a heavy dose of whimsy.

From the San Francisco Chronicle:


Good news for lovers of non-organic peanuts

There's some relief on the horizon for the peanut-panicked -- at least those with a taste for Peter Pan and Jif. (Shudder.)

This time last year, peanut prices had more than doubled following sustained hot weather, resulting in a nearly 40 percent bump in the price of a jar of conventional peanut butter. Now the U.S. is poised to harvest its biggest annual peanut crop to date: 6.1 billion pounds.

From The Wall Street Journal:

Read more: Climate & Energy, Food


Big brands want us to shop our way green

If you're a fan of buying your way to a better environment, you may be a fan of Lucy Shea's piece at The Guardian today championing sustainable consumption and the companies that sell it.


I, on the other hand, find her logic itchier than a thrifted wool sweater.

Read more: Climate & Energy, Living


False killer whales to get real new protections

One small win for the whales -- er, well, the false ones.


The National Marine Fisheries Service has settled a lawsuit filed in June by Hawaii enviros who want to save the rare "false killer whale" dolphins getting caught in fishermen's unsustainable "longlines" which can stretch for miles and catch up all kinds of collateral sea creatures. After dropping the ball on the rules last year (as the feds are wont to do), the settlement will require new, more protective regulations by the end of November.

False killer whales are actually dolphins, the third largest kind. The cetaceans are covered by several international conservation agreements aimed at keeping them not dead. They're also one half of the mating pair (with a bottlenose) which produce the hybrid "wholphin" (i.e. they are awesome and don't deserve to die).

From The Honolulu Star-Advertiser:

Read more: Food, Politics


The bacon shortage, explained graphically

You might've thought you were in the clear after last month's baconpocalypse scare, but you might be wrong. Sure, Britain's National Pig Association might have jumped the gun a bit in warning of a global bacon crisis, but that doesn't mean this summer's extreme drought isn't getting the better of the U.S. pig meat industry.

Read more: Food, Living