Sustainable America Blog

Why Ozone Levels Pose a Challenge to Food Security

Horizon with moon

Ozone is thought of as a “good” gas when present in the stratosphere, where it forms the ozone layer that protects life from detrimental ultraviolet radiation. But when it’s present in the lowest atmospheric layer, there’s substantial evidence that ozone is one of the most toxic air pollutants to plants, causing significant damage to agricultural crops worldwide.

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Can Reducing Light Pollution Help Pollinators?

Street lights shines at night in a rural area

Planting pollinator gardens, avoiding pesticide use, and buying local honey are important actions you can take to support pollinators, but here’s another idea to add to the list: reducing light pollution.

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How School Buses Could Help Run Your Air Conditioning

What if instead of sitting idle for much of the summer, school buses had a seasonal job helping to balance the electric grid? The state of Illinois is about to test that potential.

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What Are Partial Zero Emissions Vehicles?

A Subaru Outback PZEV

The designation “Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle” (PZEV) has many people perplexed. Certainly, childhood math would tell us there is no such thing as “partial-zero.” But while most of us are scratching our heads, PZEVs are quickly becoming the norm in gasoline vehicles. In fact, by 2025 all cars sold in America will be PZEVs. But what does this strange designation mean?

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Why You Should Plant a Front Yard Veggie Garden

Front yard vegetable garden beds

If you’ve wanted to start growing food but don’t have much space, the answer may be right in front of you — your front yard, that is. Front yard vegetable gardens are a growing trend. Nevertheless, some people don’t even consider growing food in the front yard because they think it might look messy or lead to neighbor complaints. Those folks should think again, says Natalie Carver, horticultural director for Love and Carrots, a company that designs, installs, and maintains urban vegetable gardens for homeowners throughout the Washington D.C. metro area.

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The Future of Burgers

Blended Burger with mushrooms

If you follow food trends, it seems that we’re having a reckoning with the all-American hamburger right now. Here’s a look at the changing burger landscape, just in time for Memorial Day.

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10 Cars That Don’t Care About Rising Gas Prices

2018 Hyundai Ioniq Electric

Gas prices are starting to rise as we head into summer, and political uncertainty isn’t helping matters. There’s only one way to escape fluctuating prices at the pump for good, and that’s to switch to an alternative fuel vehicle. Here are 10 of the most fuel-efficient vehicles to consider in 2018.

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Believe it or not, it may be illegal to grow your own food

Hermine Ricketts and Tom Carroll in their garden

The city and town names may change, but the stories are strikingly similar. Every year, new tales of urban gardeners who are cited for “illegally” growing food in their yards or on vacant lots bubble up. Find out how some home gardeners are fighting these charges, and what you can do if your front yard garden get cited.

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Will Self-Driving Cars Reduce Emissions?

Audi Alco Concept car

Despite recent fatal accidents, there is little question that self-driving cars are here to stay. What is not yet clear is whether driverless cars represent an environmental boon or an unforeseen emissions nightmare. The answer is up to us.

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5 Ways to Green Your School

I’m a junior at New Canaan High School, and I am grateful for the ways my schools have worked environmental lessons into my education. When environmental consciousness starts young, students can form green habits that will stick with them for the rest of their lives. While tight budgets may make it a challenge for schools to make big changes, here are some inexpensive ways to get started greening your school.

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The Way Cheap Food Feeds Big Hunger and Inequality

Grocery store aisle

Is the growing trend of using food waste as a hunger solution ignoring the more complicated questions of why we produce and waste so much food in the first place? Andy Fisher, author of Big Hunger, argues yes.

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Seed Sharing in the Age of Climate Change

Woman saving seeds at a community seed swap

Sharing seeds is the age-old practice of saving seeds from your own plants and sharing them with others. At first glance, it can seem like a quaint hobby, but seed saving and sharing can actually be an act of building resilience.

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Police to Motorists: Stop Idling Your Cars

Key in a car ignition

Letting your car idle unattended is not only bad for the environment and air quality, it could end up costing more—a fine or even your car itself.

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6 Ways to Green Your Super Bowl

Super Bowl Party Foods

Wondering what you can do to make this your greenest Super Bowl party ever? These tips will help you score an eco-win on game day.

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Super Bowl LII Aims to Score Zero for Waste

US Bank Stadium is where 2018 Super Bowl will be played

No matter who wins the Feb. 4 matchup between the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles in Minneapolis, this year’s Super Bowl LII will be a victory for the green sports movement. If all goes according to plan, it will be a “zero-waste” Super Bowl. Here’s how they’re doing it.

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By the Numbers

Currently 50 million households suffer from food insecurity, meaning that family members cannot always meet their basic food needs.

10 million people a year could be fed through the recovery of just one-fifth of food waste.

Only 2% of food waste is composted or otherwise recycled—62% of paper is recycled.

Consumers throw out about 40% of the fresh and frozen fish they buy.

The U.S. produced 208 pounds of meat per person in 2009—60% more than Europe.

Low income commuters spend a much higher proportion of their wages on gas—8.6% versus 2.1% at $4 per gallon.

Food prices rose 35-40 percentage points between 2002–2008.

Americans consume 25% of the world’s produced oil, but our nation holds less than 3% of the world’s proven oil reserves.

The International Energy Agency says greenhouse gas emissions rose 3.2% last year, with a 9.3% increase in China offsetting declines in the US and EU.


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