GOOD

Greenwashers, Beware: Checks and Balances Might Be on Their Way

Let's say you see a product on the shelf that says "natural," or "organic," or "biodegradable" on the label. Would you then believe that the...


Let's say you see a product on the shelf that says "natural," or "organic," or "biodegradable" on the label. Would you then believe that the product is, in fact, 100 percent naturally derived, or certified organic, or actually able to dissolve over time into the ground? It's not a trick question. There is obviously a lot of confusion about what actually is or isn't "green" and "eco-friendly" when (as one example) every freaking health food store you go into sells the same fake-natural dish soap. The venue implies a certain greenness. So does the packaging. And so do the label claims. But guess what? The stuff is almost as toxic as the soap you get at the dollar store.When it comes to labeling laws, the short version is that they're pretty lax and hard to enforce. To be fair, the FTC has some good ones on the books, and recently pledged to crack down on claims of biodegradability, but there's a lot of crap out there and only one FTC; it's a tall order to clean up the business once its product hits the shelves. The more interesting idea, in my opinion, would be to crack down on the manufacturing itself. Instead of fining companies that falsely claim to be environmentally friendly, how about you just stop companies from making toxic stuff instead?Crazy talk? Kind of. A gentler idea-and a much better one-is currently being proposed by proponents of green chemistry and engineering who, frustrated at the lack of transparency and false claims, think it's best to nip the problem in the bud. As it stands, most green claims are issued by the company making the product. Many companies even have their own little in-house "certification" labels to make the greenness look more official. It's a load of BS, but the ACS Green Chemistry Institute knows just to do about it:"We want to build a comprehensive, multiattribute, consensus-based standard with third-party verification that a company can certify against to say its product is green or that its manufacturing process or facility is green," said Robert Peoples, director of the Green Chemistry Institute.From the ACS article: "The standard will include guidelines on process efficiency, including raw materials, water, solvent, and energy use; air emissions and solid-waste generation; and recyclability, Peoples noted. One outcome could be a green product label, akin to a food nutrition label or appliance energy guide, that would make it simple for consumers-either businesses or individuals-to judge for themselves the greenness of chemical products and the processes used to make them."These standards could have an enormous impact on the field and, as a result, on the stuff we buy, on our health, and on the planet.Image via
Articles
Pixabay

Two years after its opening in 1914, the Baltimore Museum of Art acquired a painting by Sarah Miriam Peale — its first work by a female artist. More than a century later, one might assume that the museum would have a fairly equal mix of male and female artists, right? But as of today, only 4% of the 95,000 pieces in the museum's permanent collection were created by women.

The museum is determined to narrow that gap, and they're taking a drastic step to do so.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture
via Chela Horsdal / Twitter

Amazon's "The Man in the High Castle" debuted the first episode of its final season last week.

The show is loosely based on an alternative history novel by Philip K. Dick that postulates what would happen if Nazi Germany and the Empire of Japan controlled the United States after being victorious in World War II.

Keep Reading Show less
Politics
via Alan Levine / Flickr

The World Health Organization is hoping to drive down the cost of insulin by encouraging more generic drug makers to enter the market.

The organization hopes that by increasing competition for insulin, drug manufacturers will be forced to lower their prices.

Currently, only three companies dominate the world insulin market, Eli Lilly, Novo Nordisk and Sanofi. Over the past three decades they've worked to drastically increase the price of the drug, leading to an insulin availability crisis in some places.

In the United States, the price of insulin has increased from $35 a vial to $275 over the past two decades.

Keep Reading Show less
Health

Oh, irony. You are having quite a day.

The Italian region of Veneto, which includes the city of Venice, is currently experiencing historic flooding. Venice Mayor Luigi Brugnaro has stated that the flooding is a direct result of climate change, with the tide measuring the highest level in 50 years. The city (which is actually a collection of 100 islands in a lagoon—hence its famous canal streets), is no stranger to regular flooding, but is currently on the brink of declaring a state of emergency as waters refuse to recede.

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet

Since the International Whaling Commission banned commercial whaling in 1986, whale populations have been steadily recovering. However, whales in the wild still face other dangers. In the summer of 2018, four Russian companies that supply aquariums with marine animals captured almost 100 beluga whales and killer whales (aka orcas). After a public outcry, those whales are swimming free as the last of the captive whales have been released, the first time this many captured whales have been released back into the wild.

In late 2018 and early 2019, a drone captured footage of 11 orcas and 87 beluga whales crammed into holding pens in the Srednyaya Bay. The so-called "whale jail" made headlines, and authorities began to investigate their potentially illegal capture.

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet