Environment


I have been a proponent for eco-labels for food.  But I wanted to share my most recent Whole Foods experience.  I went to Whole Foods in Portland, Maine and noticed that they had animal welfare labeling.  Great…I took some photos.  Then, I asked where I could find  Number 5 meat because I was curious as to the type and source of the highest rated products.  They told me that no number 5 or 4 meat exists in the store.  The highest rated chicken is 2, and the highest beef is 3 (and beef would be lower if environmental factors would considered).  Shouldn’t bigger and more animal friendly numbers be available now, or will this eventually and effectively increase consumer demand?

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — June 2, 2011

SOUTH ROYALTON, VT –– Vermont Law School today launched a commentary blog where its faculty experts will provide ongoing analysis of the environmental, constitutional, political and other implications of the federal lawsuit over the troubled Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant.

Entergy Nuclear Vermont Yankee, LLC et. al. v. Shumlin et. al. is being closely watched across the country because of its potential to affect nuclear power in the United States. Entergy Corp., which owns Vermont Yankee, is suing Vermont over whether the federal or state government has final approval in the reactor continuing to operate.

Vermont Law School faculty will provide commentary as the case progresses at: http://wordpress.vermontlaw.edu/vy/

Professor Parenteau discusses whether fracking raises questions of NEPA compliance.

  • On the ‘not surprised front,’ the China is hacking Google.
  • As I reported before, the pollution is getting very bad in Hong Kong.  Now this report.  I absolutely love Hong Kong; it’s probably my favorite major city in the world (my favorite small city is Portland, Maine), but the industrialization of Guangdong Province is taking its toll, and Hong Kong’s air seems worse each time I’m there.  Singapore has the most to gain.  I’m going back to HK soon, and I’ll report.
  • A blog post that both applauds (in the short term) or questions (in the long term) the environmental strategy of China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection.

 

 

I received this interesting note from WWF-Hong Kong:

Ecological Footprint (English)

WWF- Hong Kong has recently released the Hong Kong Ecological Footprint Report 2010, which demonstrates that Hong Kong people are living beyond the Earth’s limits. According to the report, if everyone in the world lived a similar lifestyle to that of Hong Kong people, we would need the equivalent resources of 2.2 Earths. Hong Kong has the 45th largest Ecological Footprint per person compared to 150 countries with populations larger than 1 million people in 2007.

 The Ecological Footprint measures the extent of human demand for the regenerative capacity of the biosphere. Both quantities are expressed in units of global hectares (gha). Hong Kong has an average per person Ecological Footprint of 4.0 gha, which is more than double the 1.8 gha of biocapacity – the area actually available to produce resources and absorb CO2 – available per person globally. This report uses 2007 data.

http://assets.wwfhk.panda.org/downloads/hong_kong_ecological_footprint_report_2010.pdf

Here are some interesting news items and blog posts from this morning:

At this point, I remain skeptical that sustainable seafood actually can exist at present time given the overwhelming pressures placed on the world’s oceans.  Though perhaps very saavy aquaculture coupled with limited fishing and marine reserves can lead to a future with sustainable seafood from farming and wild sources.  Monterey Bay Aquarium’s (MBA) Seafood Watch program has long been the standard for choosing sustainable seafood, and its pocket guides have been common for some time.  The Gulf of Maine Research Institute (GMRI) is now getting into the mix with its own Sustainable Seafood Initiative that employs a “Responsibly Harversted” logo and its own seafood guide, which both promote seafood in the Gulf of Maine.  What perplexes me is that the GMRI guide lists seafood “local” to the Gulf of Maine and encourages its purchase, but also uses the term sustainable….What is odd is that many local choices on the list are not sustainable, as least as defined by MBA’s Northeast Guide or me (e.g., sharks, tuna, cod) and others (read the book “Four Fish”).  So the question is, can fish be considered to be harvested sustainably by individuals if in the aggregate said fish is harvested unsustainably?

UPDATE: Based on a facebook response, I would add the following:  I’m taking issue with the GMRI Guide, not the Responsibly Harvested Label. But, if only 4 seafood items (Haddock, Northern Shrimp, American Lobster, and Cod) make the label, why create a guide that gives the impression that all “local” seafood is sustainable?  There are two things going on here: (1) the guide arguably conflates sustainability and local, and, thus, (2) as other labels do, raises a question as to the appropriate definition of sustainability (local? sustainable by what standards?). You could argue, for example, that all lawful fishing is sustainable because it conforms with scientific management practices of the federal government.  This definitional problem is further illustrated by Atlantic Cod, which can receive the Responsibly Harvested Label by GMRI but is on MBA’s Avoid List.  So, if I want to eat “sustainably,” can I eat cod?

UPDATE 2: I should also reiterate my most basic rhetorical question: “Is there such a thing as sustainable wild seafood?”

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