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London Fashion Week highlighted a few ethical brands that are paving the way through a broken apparel and textile system. The fact is that a majority of fashion companies don’t monitor their individual supply chains to ensure that there is minimum impact on the environment, toxic chemicals are not being used, and human rights are not being abused. Many times, the fashion company may sign a contract with one factory that then subcontracts the work to an unauthorized factory to fulfill the order unbeknownst to the fashion company. Thankfully, there are a few retailers out there that are no longer willing to participate in this unethical treatment of people or the planet. Join me in being a responsible consumer and show the support of our dollars (or votes) to the groundbreaking companies that are changing the face of fashion one consumer at a time.

Building Momentum for Sustainability in Fashion – Green Living – The Ecologist.

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The new H&M Conscious Collection makes Sustainability cool. The eco-friendly Spring Line that was represented by A-Lister Helen Hunt at the Oscars is available in stores around the world on April 4th. The Line is exclusively made from organic cotton, recycled polyester, recycled polyamide (plastics) and Tencel. What’s more, they are providing an outlet for consumers to drop off used clothing that will be re-purposed for second-hand wear, reused in other products or recycled into new textile. Hopefully, this is the wave of the future for major retail chains.

Sustainability Becomes Stylish in H&M’s New “Conscious Collection” | Corporate Social Responsibility.

Should companies be allowed to patent living organisms like seeds and use those patents to monopolize food production globally?

A small farmer from Indiana named Vernon High Bowman is taking on the biotech giant Monsanto in a seed patent infringement case. Monsanto sells to farmers under a contract that requires the farmers to purchase new genetically engineered seeds each year. This means that they are prohibited from saving and replanting the next-generation seeds.

Monsanto’s Patents on Life.

Great news! The FDA has started paying attention to the food labels and has warned 17 major companies to make the necessary changes within 16 days. Go to the link below for the full story and to see specific products that were mislabeled with claims that the product will treat disease, is healthy or free from unhealthy fats.

http://www.myhealthtoday.com/fda-cracks-down-misleading-labels/

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This is scary! The European Food Safety Authority identified the Cauliflower Mosaic Viral Gene in the most common genetic sequence in commercial GMO crops. This is cause from both agronomic and human health concern because many viral genes function to disable their host with intention to facilitate pathogen invasion. Given this discovery, let’s get regulation passed to label GMO products!

Regulators Discover a Hidden Viral Gene in Commercial GMO Crops.

Award winning science author and environmentalist, Mark Lynas, has publicly apologized for spearheading the anti-GMO movement stating that he “discovered science”. Do you find this to be a convincing argument?

Greens on the Run in Debate Over Genetically Modified Food – Bloomberg.

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“On the surface, the bill does include some discretionary funding for things like organic farming research and support for beginning farmers. But that’s just it. It’s discretionary, not mandatory (like the direct payments), making it highly likely that it will disappear in the annual appropriations process.”

Grist

Is something always better than nothing? In the case of the farm bill extension that was buried in Tuesday’s last minute fiscal cliff deal, maybe not.

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) calls the deal — which will provide $5 billion in subsidies to industrial-scale corn, soy, and wheat farmers while short-changing local food, organics, and beginning farmers, and decimating on-farm conservation efforts — “deeply flawed.” The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC), meanwhile, has referred to it as “blatantly anti-reform,” while the Union of Concerned Scientists calls it “a giant step backward” and “a blow to farmers who want to grow healthy foods and the consumers who want to buy them.” The National Young Farmers Coalition was also “incredibly disappointed with the results.”

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It’s a common misconception that herbivores don’t get enough protein or calcium. This article outlines that “Through extensive long-term studies on human and animal populations, like the 20-year long China-Cornell-Oxford project, the researchers and doctors highlighted in the film have proven that eating a whole foods, plant-based diet can not only cure heart-related diseases, cancers and diabetes, but it also reverses the effects that those illnesses have had on the body.” Right on!

Utopian Dreaming

We are told time and time again, from a number of different sources in our society: eat your protein, you need calcium for strong bones.  Unfortunately, protein has become synonymous with meat in Western thought and diets, and calcium has become synonymous with dairy.  This makes animal products essential in the minds of most North Americans, and makes a healthy, responsible plant-based diet seem unnatural and extreme.

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Forks Over Knives, a recent documentary directed by Lee Fuklerson, explains that in fact, it is the consumption of animal and dairy products (over­-consumption for most North Americans) that causes all heart and respiratory diseases, cancers, and diabetes in humans.  Through extensive long-term studies on human and animal populations, like the 20-year long China-Cornell-Oxford project, the researchers and doctors highlighted in the film have proven that eating a whole foods, plant-based diet can not only cure…

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Over the weekend, we went to one of the large hardware stores to explore the idea of buying our very first real Christmas Tree. I was met with an overwhelming feeling of sadness and moved to the verge of tears by the sight of the number of trees that were cut off at the stump and piled up along the walls. What was even more upsetting to me was the line of families wrapped around the lot with their tree choice in tow who were seemingly unaffected by the surroundings. Thankfully, my husband agreed to leave with me immediately. For me, the fake tree we’ve used for years stirs the very same amount of Christmas spirit as having a real one (perhaps even more since the fake one satisfies my desire to live sustainably). But since marriage is built on compromise, I have agreed to explore the idea of sustainable real tree options. This is what I’ve found:

Of course, deforestation is no longer an issue because most trees are grown on farms but they must still be shipped, are often treated with pesticides and ultimately take up landfill space. Trees that are treated with pesticides will expose your home to chemicals that can linger and create potential hazards to the health of your family. Not to worry there are alternatives to finding a “Green” Christmas Tree, you can choose a tree that is locally and organically grown without pesticides through the Tree Locating Tool at the National Christmas Tree Association, http://www.realchristmastrees.org/dnn/AllAboutTrees/TreeLocator.aspx. Or better yet, buy a living tree that can be replanted in your yard or donated to a local charity!

Tree disposal is a biggie so have a plan in place for recycling your tree after the Holidays are done. There are many creative alternatives to sending your tree to the landfill such as converting it to mulch, disposing in your yard waste container if available, donating it to a goat farm where they will feast on the needles, sinking it in a private lake or pond for fish food, checking with your city for curb-side pick-up, or making a small donation to the Boy Scouts who will offer their pick-up services.

Make the environmentally responsible choice this Holiday Season to reduce your global footprint by choosing organic or living trees and finding a recycling option that works best for your local community.

I found this to be a very useful analysis about buying eggs. The article even documents a taste study and provides a summary of the findings. Check it out:

5 Things You Didn’t Know About Buying Eggs | In Your Pantry – Yahoo! Shine.