California may require labels on bottled water, EPA strengthens lead-in-water regulations

Bottled-water companies would have to disclose the source of their H2O under a bill that has passed through the California legislature and awaits the pen of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. The bill would require companies to …

Time to reinvest in the school-lunch program

At private schools across the country, good cafeteria food is becoming as de rigueur as French classes taught by native speakers, Associated Press reports. Schoolyard vegetable gardens bloom, tended by future Ivy Leaguers under the …

Live green, go yellow

U.S. conservation land may soon end up in your gas tank

Well isn’t this delightful (sub rqd): The Agriculture Department may allow farmers to plow up land in conservation agreements to plant row crops, despite a record corn crop this year, fueled by the ethanol industry’s …

The road to disodium inosinate is paved with good intentions

Mea culpa. That’s the only way I can honestly write anything about getting older kids to eat healthy foods. Because I’ve been a sucker for the look my 11-year-old gets on her face if I …

Smokin' greens

The eco-depredations of the tobacco industry

Brad Plumer points to what is no doubt going to be a fascinating story on the environmental evils of the tobacco industry. Clicking the link reveals that the story itself won’t be available until Oct. …

EPA may soon approve toxic alternative to ozone-depleting pesticide, despite criticism

To replace the toxic, ozone-depleting pesticide methyl bromide — a favorite of stubborn U.S. berry growers — the U.S. EPA is reportedly set to soon approve an alternative that doesn’t deplete ozone but is “one …

Suffer the little children -- from carbon offsets?

A clean tech firm accuses a carbon credit nonprofit of forcing kids to do fieldwork

You might blame a leading carbon-offset provider of forcing poor kids to work, according to The Times of London. Or not. Carbon credit firm Climate Care pays families in India to use human-powered treadle pumps to get water out of the ground for drinking and farming. As a result, half a million foot pumps have replaced diesel ones, which pollute and cost a lot to fuel. Unfortunately, Climate Care doesn't ensure the diesel pumps are retired instead of finding new life with other owners. Nor does it stick around to make sure that kids aren't doing all the pumping. It probably never crossed the minds at the British nonprofit that this would come into question. Children have done backbreaking farm work for eons in regions where sustaining an income in the field is a family necessity. And the foot pumps are supposed to be easier to operate than hand pumps.

Time to find that special turkey

Thanksgiving isn’t just about the food; it is about relationships

The Thanksgiving holiday serves to focus our attention on man's relationship with nature. In a celebration of the fall harvest, we express our appreciation for the bounty we have received. In American tradition, the Pilgrims' survival in the New World was enabled by the Native Americans, with whom they joined in a great feast of thanks. Every year Americans set aside a day to hold their own feast of Thanksgiving which features traditional foods that are native to the Americas, such as, turkey, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, corn, turnips, and pumpkin pie. Our celebration of Thanksgiving is the perfect opportunity to reinforce our connection, not only with the earth which still provides us with such a bounty but also the members of our community who have made raising these foods their life's work. While opening a can of yams, defrosting a frozen industrial turkey and buying a boxed pumpkin pie may have meaning in continuing some parts of the Thanksgiving tradition, I suggest we celebrate our relationship with the present as well as the past by making an extra effort to eat as many of these traditional foods from local, humanely raised sources as possible. Here in the Northeast that is pretty easy for most of the meal, but what about the turkey?

ADM's man at the USDA

USDA secretary resigns; industrial-corn man takes charge

Big doings at the USDA yesterday: Mike Johanns, the reliably pro-agribiz former governor of Nebraska, resigned from his post as USDA chair — right in the middle of Farm Bill negotiations, now in the Senate. …

Got 2.7 seconds?

We've devised the world's shortest survey to find out what kind of actions our readers are taking. You know you want to.