October 18, 2018

Every day, thousands of huge cargo ships criss-cross oceans delivering products to markets all over the globe. But that’s not the only thing these vessels bring to port: they also emit sulfuric gases and fine particles that settle over cities as smog. In order to combat all this toxicity, a couple of years ago the United Nations passed a resolution to reduce the amount of sulfur content in maritime fuels. According to the guidelines, by 2020 shippers must switch to Continue reading

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September 4, 2018

A couple of months ago, we took a look at Starbucks’ plan to eliminate its use of plastic straws by 2020. While the coffee chain remains the most high-profile business to ban straws, several cities throughout the country have joined the effort by passing legislation regulating their use. For instance, last month San Francisco passed an ordinance that prohibits restaurants from distributing any single-use plastic utensils or accessories. The cities of Seattle, Malibu, and Vancouver have recently put similar laws Continue reading

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August 30, 2018

With the summer winding down, people across the country are returning from vacation and settling back into their normal routines. And while many Americans would certainly rather be back on the beach than at work or school, many of the world’s most popular tourist destinations seem happy to see their visitors go. According to the United Nations’ World Tourism Organization, international trips increased by 6 percent in the first half of 2018. Although this amount of growth would usually be Continue reading

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August 17, 2018

If you’ve ever wondered whether it’s safe to eat eggs that have gone past their “sell-by date,” you are certainly not alone. This video looks at the confusing dates that companies place on food packaging and how they encourage consumers to throw out items that are still edible.

Questions:

  1. Why do companies place sell-by dates on food packaging?
  2. What can companies do to make food date labels more straightforward for consumers?
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July 31, 2018

Although people sometimes use “vanilla” as a byword for “boring,” the complicated global industry that surrounds this flavor is far from dull. 80 percent of the world’s vanilla crop is grown in Madagascar, which has the perfect climate for vanilla orchids. These plants only bloom one day a year and must be pollinated by hand, followed by another 9 months of waiting for the fruit to mature into pods. Then comes another weeks-long process of curing the plants using steam, Continue reading

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July 27, 2018

From smartphones to electric vehicles, many of today’s most innovative products depend on lithium-ion batteries to function. That’s why every year the tech industry upgrades these portable power sources to hold more and more charge. While this allows them to create better products (at least in theory), it also leads companies to discard a lot of technically obsolete batteries that can still collect energy. For instance, the lithium-ion units that power cars and buses can be used for Continue reading

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July 12, 2018

Americans use an estimated 500 million plastic straws every day. And while these small pieces of polypropylene can be recycled, they are rarely accepted by recycling centers. “Plastic straws are pretty small and lightweight, so when they’re going through the mechanical sorter, they’re often lost or diverted,” said plastics pollution researcher Sam Athey. Instead, straws usually end up in landfills which can then lead to oceans and beaches. Although no one knows just how many straws currently pollute our waterways, Continue reading

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June 28, 2018

If you’re lucky enough to visit the beach this summer, you already know to bring plenty of sunscreen to protect yourself from any harmful rays. What you might not realize, however, is that some types of sunscreen can also damage the environment. As much as 70 percent of brands on the market contain the chemicals octinoxate or oxybenzone, described by the National Ocean Service as “highly toxic to juvenile corals and other marine life.”

That’s bad news for places like Continue reading

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About five years ago, the residents of a small village in Peru discovered that a nearby mountain had suddenly burst into color. The snow that once capped the mountain had melted away, revealing a marvelous spectrum of multicolored soils on its peaks. Word about the “Rainbow Mountain” soon spread throughout Peru and then the world, instantly transforming this remote region into a bustling tourist destination.  

Local guides lead about 1,000 hikers to the site every day, charging $3 per Continue reading

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April 26, 2018

Americans spend roughly $30 billion each year on food for their dogs. As millennials have grown to be the top dog-owning demographic, they’re changing the way our furry friends eat. The growing trend, at first created for humans and now for pets, is to increase foods’ nutritional value while also keeping food sources environmentally sustainable.

American dogs are the fifth highest consumers of meat in the world. In addition, pets are responsible for 64 million tons of greenhouse gasses each Continue reading

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