Sustainable America Blog

Author Archives: Amy Leibrock

Can Reducing Light Pollution Help Pollinators?

Street lights shines at night in a rural area

Photo: Chauncer via Flickr

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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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

These front-yard garden beds, separated with rows of stepping stones, look neat and tidy. All photos are of front yard gardens designed by Love & Carrots.

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

Blending mushrooms with ground meat can make burgers better. Photo: The Mushroom Council

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

A Florida couple was faced a $50-per-day fine for a front yard vegetable 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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Seed Sharing in the Age of Climate Change

Woman saving seeds at a community seed swap

Photos: Howard County Library System via Flickr

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

Bill Selak via Flickr

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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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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6 Ways to Shop Smart and Waste Less

We think of food waste as something that happens at home. But really, it starts with what we put in our grocery carts. With supermarkets designed to tempt us in every aisle, it’s easy to end up overbuying. Here are some tips to help you buy just what you need.

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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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