GREEN YOUR SCHOOL: The Oberlin College Ecolympics

Oberlin students take "shots" of a locally grown salad at a 2014 Ecolympics event.

As students get ready to go back to school, some of them are also getting ready to embark upon a new year of greening their campuses. Green America editorial fellow Sari Amiel discovered five inspiring examples of how students are making their campuses more socially just and environmentally sustainable. Every Monday and Wednesday from now through August 27th, we’ll post one of […]

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Gardeners May Be Unknowingly Harming Bees

Shared via GMO Inside. As we transition into summer, gardeners are relishing in the explosion of flowers, fruits, vegetables, and other beautiful plants on the land. Gardeners and farmers recognize that pollinators, such as bees, are essential for growing fruits and vegetables and add plants that are supposed to attract bees. However, what many of us do not know is that many of the “bee-friendly” plants sold at many garden stores contain pesticides that actually harm and kill bees. GMO Inside ally, Friends of the Earth, released a report today about their study showing that over half of the garden plant samples purchased at top garden retailers (Home Depot, Lowe’s, and Walmart) in 18 cities in the United States and Canada contained pesticides called neonicotinoids. More and more evidence is indicting these pesticides as one of the causes for bee colony collapse disorder. All of the samples where neonicotinoids were detected could cause sub-lethal effects (on immunity, memory, reproduction) and death in bees. Forty percent of the positive samples contained two or more neonicotinoids, and some samples contained very high levels in excess of the lethal dose for honey bees. Also concerning is none of the plants had labels stating they contained pesticides. Therefore, people who are trying to decorate their yards, enjoy nature, help the bees, and increase pollinators might actually be unknowingly harming bees. While “bees” often annoy us at cookouts buzzing around our food and offering a sting, we must realize […]

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Shared via GMO Inside. Growing Cities: A film about urban farming in America Growing Cities, a new documentary film about urban farming in America has the opportunity to be broadcast on PBS nationwide this fall — if the filmmakers can raise the funds to make the broadcast possible. InGrowing Cities, filmmakers Dan Susman and Andrew Monbouquette travel the country, visiting everything from rooftop farms to backyard chicken coops. They discover urban farming is about more than simply good food. It’s about growing stronger and more vibrant communities, too. Growing Cities has been an official selection at more than 25 film festivals and screened in more than 200 communities worldwide. A national PBS broadcast would give the film exposure in millions of homes across the nation. The hurdle the filmmakers now face is to raise $30,000 to sponsor the film’s airing nationally on public television this fall. “We are so thrilled for this opportunity,” Susman said. “We’d love to continue encouraging people to plant a seed and grow wherever they are. But we need help. We’re young independent filmmakers, so we really depend on others to get this message out there.” They’re enlisting help across the globe by running a Kickstarter project. Their project, which launched June 9, will run for 30 days. It’s the second Kickstarter the team has run; the first, in 2012, was the most successful Kickstarter project ever run in Omaha, NE. Since Kickstarter is all or nothing, the […]

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GMOs: The Uninvited Guest at Your Picnic

Shared via GMO Inside. The season of charcoal smells and checkered tablecloths has begun. It’s a great time to get together with family and friends to share laughs and delicious food. However, there may be an uninvited guest at your picnic or BBQ – GMOs. Unfortunately, almost everything on our typical plate is likely to have some GM ingredients, from the ketchup to the bun. Sometimes these GMOs are disguised and, unfortunately, often overlooked. Adding to the discreet infiltration of GMOs is the fact that meat, dairy, and eggs– even though not genetically modified themselves–are produced using GMOs. Corn and soy make up the majority of animal feed in the US. With 88% of corn and 93% of soy in the US grown genetically modified, our farm animals are raised on GMOs. Animals, like humans, are deeply impacted by the quality of their diets. A 2013 study showed that pigs fed an entirely GMO diet suffered from severe stomach inflammation when compared to pigs given non-GMO feed. Their GMO-fed bodies are then turned into food for us. Before you head off to your Fourth of July picnics and BBQs, review the items below for likely GM ingredients and tasty non-GMO alternatives. Then, share the knowledge. While the topic of GMOs has hit the mainstream, not everyone knows all the facts or understands the destruction GMOs are causing to our planet and our bodies. Use this picnic season as an opportunity to talk to your loved […]

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Light Weight = Heavy Impact


Guest blog post and graphic by Allison Stewart of our Better Paper Project.  I was at a Sustainability in Packaging conference earlier this spring, and it hit home for me that we need better product and packaging development. If we develop products that have no further opportunity for re-use, then we are intentionally making unsustainable products and packages. If we […]

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Victory: “Original” Cheerios to Go GMO-Free


Great news for our work together for a sustainable food system! Just a few days into the new year, we have our first victory of 2014 to celebrate. After a year of pressure from you and other Green Americans, General Mills announced on its corporate Web site that its “original” Cheerios are now produced without genetically modified ingredients.  General Mills announced that the […]

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Sweatshop Conditions in the US: The Problem of Wage Theft

Photo credit: torbakhopper on Flickr

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) provides “standards for the basic minimum wage and overtime pay, affects most private and public employment. It requires employers to pay covered employees who are not otherwise exempt at least the federal minimum wage and overtime pay of one-and-one-half-times the regular rate of pay,” according to the United States Department of Labor. Laws such […]

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Your Rights as an American Worker

Despite the promise of certain legal rights to safe, healthy, and fair work conditions, sweatshops and slavery still exist here in the United States. As exposed in last month’s issue of The Green American, “Fair Labor at Home,” in fleeing from terrible working conditions in their native countries, many immigrants are flung from the frying pan into the fire. Seeing their precarious financial or legal situation, certain unscrupulous employers will sometimes lure desperate immigrants into their employment with promises of a better life, only to subject them to the very conditions many were trying to escape in the first place. While in very sad cases employers use economic coercion, threats of deportation, or physical force to exploit their workers, part of the battle is knowing your rights as a worker. After all, how can you know when your rights are being violated and thus be incited to action, if you weren’t aware you had rights in the first place? So whether you’re just touching down on American soil for the first time or have never left it, it’s important to get acquainted with your legal rights. That’s why we here at Green America have compiled a short list of some of your most fundamental rights as a worker.   A quick caveat: The information provided in this post does not constitute legal advice. It is merely a list of certain legal rights and certain resources that can describe your rights […]

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