A round-up of this week’s environmental, green and ecofriendly news and updates.
Many people think of France as the home of great food. Well, France now ranks #1 in the world when it comes to food sustainability. Several measures have been put in place – and they’re working!
France was the first country in the world to require supermarkets to donate unsold food to charity (in 2016). The country also mandated that restaurants must provide doggy bags when requested. Offenders faced heavy fines and even jail time.
The Economist Intelligence Unit graded 34 nations based on food waste, environment-friendly agriculture, and quality nutrition as part of a newly launched Food Sustainability Index.
High-income countries tended to do better in this index – Japan came 2nd after France, followed by Germany, Spain, and Sweden. Although a high-income country, the US did not fare well (it was ranked 21 out of 34), thanks to its over-consumption of meat, sugar, and saturated fats, as well as poor soil and fertilizer management in agriculture.
Who came last? The very wealthy United Arab Emirates has massive food waste. The UAE has rising obesity rates and an agriculture sector that is straining water supplies.
Food waste is a huge problem worldwide – especially with so many people going hungry each day. It also contributes to greenhouse gases when it rots in landfills.
It’s good to know that when food waste is tackled, it can be dramatically reduced. France used to lose about 1/3 of its food production. Now less than 2 percent is lost – and there are plans to improve it further.
My Recommendation of the Week is all about books. Books, books and more books! I love giving (and receiving) books. They are re-used over and over again – and they can be great for even the most difficult person on your gift list!
My favourite books this year cover some absolutely gorgeous houses that will inspire you, gardens, food (of course!) and cosmetics.
And if you or someone you know is having a baby, you’ll want to save a fortune and make sure baby is safe with this eco baby read.
To round it off, find out about a wonderful Christmas tradition that I think is just perfect. Read all about it here.
Global Green News:
December 21 is the Winter Solstice, the shortest day. It’s also officially the first day of Winter (although meteorologists say Dec 1 is the start of Winter). Your noontime shadow on the solstice is the longest it will be all year (ever wanted longer legs? You’ll have them on the 21st!) 🙂 For those of us in the Southern Hemisphere, we’ll have our longest day during our Summer Solstice on the same date.
“It is Britain’s duty to help nations hit by climate change” said British Prime Minister Theresa May. She has put tackling climate change back on the Tory agenda, adding: “There is a clear moral imperative for developed economies such as the UK to help those around the world who stand to lose most from the consequences of man-made climate change”.
Sweden, like many developed countries, does a lot to help poorer nations. The country is keen to promote how useful goats are in many developing countries, particularly for women. They can supply milk, and they can also be sold. That money can be used to provide an education – absolutely vital to help women escape poverty. So this year, an all-woman choir is performing Christmas carols while vocalizing like goats. (You can listen on YouTube here).
US Green News:
Want to be a citizen scientist? Now’s your chance. The Audobon Society’s Christmas Bird Count begins December 14 – it’s the world’s longest-running citizen science survey. The results help pinpoint areas of need for conservation efforts, and the research is vital. It runs through Jan. 5. For more information and to find a count near you, visit christmasbirdcount.org.
The wildfires raging in California are having a devastating effect. Animals are also suffering. Local shelters have taken in not just dogs and cats but also horses and alpacas. Sadly, many other animals (of all sizes and species) have not been so lucky. This is where social media comes in to its own. You can help by checking out the Facebook pages (or other social media feeds) of the many societies that are helping. They post about what they need and how you can help. Even if you live far away you can donate money, and some places have an Amazon Wishlist. Search for Humane Society or Animal Care or Animal Shelter + California and you’re bound to find worthy causes.
Trump’s Border Wall is not likely to stop humans, according to many off-the-record border patrol agents. But it’s a death sentence for wildcats, butterflies, tortoises and more. They will be cut off from a river (water) and / or their food supply. Construction is starting in a wildlife reserve, the Santa Ana national wildlife refuge. The area surrounding the wall will be stripped of all vegetation, removing not just food but also cover / protection from predators, and there will be bright lights too, destroying the natural rhythms.
What do you think? Let me know in the comments below.
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