Yes, children are getting fatter in the U.S. And reactions are ranging from none at all to borderline extreme. On the latter end of this spectrum comes the announcement that bake sales are being banned in all New York City schools. The New York Times reports:
In an effort to limit how much sugar and fat students put in their bellies at school, the Education Department has effectively banned most bake sales, the lucrative if not quite healthy fund-raising tool for generations of teams and clubs.
The change is part of a new wellness policy that also limits what can be sold in vending machines and student-run stores, which use profits to help finance activities like pep rallies and proms. The elaborate rules were outlined in a three-page memo issued at the end of June, but in the new school year, principals and parents are just beginning to, well, digest them.
Granted, all hope is not lost for sweets-craving sugar addicts:
Parent groups and Parent-Teacher Associations are conspicuously given an exception: once a month they are allowed to sell as many dark fudge brownies and lemon bars as they please, so long as lunch has ended.
Sticks of butter will also be available at a discount.
Discoblog: Researchers Discover How Ice Cream Controls Your Brain
Discoblog: Let Them View Cake: Looking at Food Pics Equals Less Eating
Reality Base: Will Obesity Regulation Turn the U.S. Into a Police State?
Let it not be said that no one is using eye-catching stunts to raise awareness about global warming. The activist group the Yes Men is distributing 85,000 free copies of a “special climate edition” of the New York Post throughout New York City today, with the goal of, well, terrifying people into action against climate change.
It’s official. It’s getting hot down here. And if we don’t stop burning oil and coal, the Big Apple will be cooked.
According to a high tech study commissioned by a concerned Mayor Bloomberg and generously funded by the Rockefeller Foundation, climate change caused by human-created greenhouse gases is threatening the health, livelihood and security of New Yorkers—especially those who take the subway to work…
According to the panel’s report, if all nations don’t drastically cut their carbon emissions, then Gotham will suffer in the following ways:
• Deadly heat waves will become more frequent, more intense and longer. Because cities are a lot hotter than their surrounding areas, we’ll see more of the sorts of heat events that killed 600 people in 5 days in Chicago in 1995…
• With coastal flooding, our water supply will be in trouble…
• Along with coastal flooding, droughts will also increase…
• The strain on our power grid will be drastically increased during the summer months.
Granted, there is some light at the end of the pitch black tunnel:
So what can we do about it? Plenty. And it’s not even that hard.
On the City level, NASA scientists have the answers, and they’re simple: plant lots more trees (to cool the air through “evapotranspiration” and shade), and paint the roofs white to reflect the sun’s heating rays (See “New York’s all white with me”).
But MOST IMPORTANTLY, we need to put pressure on government—local, state and federal—to convert our entire energy systems to sustainable sources like solar and wind.
Well, lets hope all those stimulus checks can kick that process into gear.
Reality Base: Will the Bailout Save Solar Tax Credits?
Reality Base: Congress Steals from the Clean and Gives to the Dirty
Discoblog: Are Wind Turbines Killing Innocent Goats?
Image: Courtesy of The Yes Men
Fashion has been beefing up its environmental conscience (if not its models) over the past few years—and with good reason. The production, transport, and disposal of clothing is a serious source of pollution, with the textile industry holding steady as the third largest consumer of water, and the source of up to 20 percent of industrial pollution.
This year, it’s fabric dye that’s getting the Green treatment. Coloring a pound of fabric can take up to 75 gallons of water, and a single dress or pair of pants can use up to 25 gallons.
So what if we could dye all our clothes without water? That was the idea tackled by Colorep, a California-based technology development company that created a new way to color fabric using air rather than H2O. Called AirDye, the process applies non-plastisol-based inks within garment fibers, rather than as a layer on top (which is how it’s done with water).
This Fashion Week (yup, it’s going on now—you can tell by all the hungry-looking Eastern European waifs roaming the streets) the AirDye system made its debut at the Costello Tagliapietra show, in which the clothes (see photo) were dyed almost entirely without water.
Granted, until this new dyeing method hits jeans and T-shirts, your DISCOVER staff likely won’t be testing it out ourselves.
Discoblog: New Jewelry Could Help Diabetics, Eliminate Syringes
Discoblog: How to Make Solar Chocolate Chip Cookies on Your Car Dashboard
Discoblog: Are “Climate Friendly” Food Labels a Terrible Idea?
Image: Courtesy of LLR Consulting
• If you thought things were bad on Wall Street, zoo animals laid off at the Bronx Zoo may have it much worse.
• A family looking for relaxation at a Florida beach found adventure instead, when they discovered a one-eyed, three-legged alligator. (It was captured and returned safely to the wild.)
• The Telegraph reports that scientists have found, literally, a smiley-faced spider from Hawaii.
• Not so smiley, however, are horse fans around the world, after a group of 21 polo horses died from a supplement prepared at a Florida pharmacy with the wrong proportion of ingredients.
• Non-animal-related: but if you happen to find yourself at the top of Mount Everest, you may soon get decent cell reception.
Even porcupines are visiting the unemployment office these days. After New York governor David Paterson proposed taking away all funding to the state’s zoos, botanical gardens, and aquariums for the 2010 fiscal year, the Wildlife Conservation Society decided to post a viral video, hoping to create enough opposition to the suggested budget cut.
In it, a porcupine called Wednesday is fired from the Bronx Zoo and goes on a job hunt. At first, he appears to be pretty employable. But Wednesday lacks computer skills — he never learned to use power point in his time at the zoo. So when he’s not looking for a job, he’s making ends meet by standing in front of the zoo entrance and holding a “please help” sign.The gesture is cute, but seems to be putting an overly-kind spin on the truth: If the budget cuts are made, zoos must cut back on the variety of animals. What will they do with the animals they have to “cut”?