Sustainable America Blog

Monthly Archives: June 2017

“Safe” Air Isn’t Safe Enough

Cars and trucks at a near standstill on a 9-land highway.

Photo: URBAN TEXTURES, © 1998 PhotoSpin, Via Flickr

A new study released this week shows that levels of air pollution that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency deems safe may not be safe enough. The study, conducted by researchers at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, found that long-term exposure to airborne fine particulate matter (PM 2.5) and ozone — even below current standards established by established by the EPA — increases the risk of premature death.

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Are You Watching ‘Scraps’?


Cooking with food waste has officially tipped the trendy scales. The concept now has its own TV series, called Scraps, which launched in late May on the FYI network. Sponsored by Sur La Table, the half-hour show features the cookware retailer’s chef Joel Gamoran and other chefs who create menus made with often-tossed items, like herb stems, broccoli stalks and chickpea water.

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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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