You Are What You Read

Some product labels are loosely regulated at best, and others are downright misleading. Here's the skinny on the standards, who sets them, and how.

What it says: ORGANICYou think it means: Heaven-sent manna, completely devoid of any synthetic or artificial substanceIt actually means: Not as artificial as it could beThe standard: Organic food is grown without pesticides, hormones, synthetic fertilizers, artificial flavor enhancers, or genetically engineered organisms. The U.S. organic standard as set by the Department of Agriculture is 554 pages long and lists dozens of prohibited ingredients, from arsenic to strychnine. Certain enzymes, acids, and waxes, however, pass the feds' organic test.Certified by: Federally authorized "certifying agents"-paid outside auditorsProducers say:Beware of: Food that says it's "made with" organic ingredients. This is not the same as "organic." Look for the USDA seal.What it says: FAIR TRADEYou think it means: Short-circuiting a system that forces some men to pick beans so others can recline in coffee shopsIt actually means: Tipping farmers on other continentsThe standard: Suppliers have to meet an international standard for wages, labor rights, and working conditions. Small worker-run farming cooperatives are preferred suppliers, and are guaranteed a set minimum price for their crops.Certified by: TransFair USA, a private nonprofitProducers say:Beware of: Nestlé, the world's largest food company, which just this year began marketing a Fair Trade Certified coffee product, perhaps to smooth over well-documented allegations of using child slaves to harvest cocoa in Africa.What it says: ALL NATURALYou think it means: From the earth's very bosom, unadulterated by the foul hand of manIt actually means: Less "natural" than organic, making it about as natural as polyesterThe standard: The FDA allows "all natural" to appear on products that don't contain added colors or "artificial flavors." Some plant and animal derivatives like high-fructose corn syrup qualify as "natural" but must appear in the product's ingredients list.Certified by: No one, though companies face big federal penalties if they lie on their labels. Caveat emptor.Producers say:Beware of: What it says: DOLPHIN SAFEYou think it means: No dolphins were harmed or killed during the making of this tunaIt actually means: Dolphin-friendlyThe standard:Certified by: Observers from the Inter-American Tropical Tuna CommissionProducers say:Beware of: Not much. The dolphin-safe label is a big success. The number of dolphins killed by fisherman in the tropical Pacific fell from 132,000 in 1986 to less than 1,500 in 2004, according to the IATTC.What it says: NOT ANIMAL TESTEDYou think it means: The makers of this toothpaste or mascara product would never hurt a fly, let alone a rabbitIt actually means:The standard: Companies agree to conduct no animal testing, but may still market products and ingredients that were tested on animals in the past. All suppliers must also make a written commitment to stop testing. Overall, the standard is fairly rigorous, developed by an international coalition that includes the Humane Society.Certified by: A private independent auditor, every three yearsProducers say:Beware of: The words "cruelty-free" and "not tested on animals"-they are meaningless without the leaping bunny logo. Also, keep an eye on animal-friendly Tom's of Maine, which was recently acquired by Colgate-Palmolive.What it says: LOW FATYou think it means:It actually means: Less fat (though perhaps more sugar and flavor engineering)The standard: In the U.S., "Low Fat" means no more than three grams of fat per serving. "Fat Free" means less than half a gram per serving. Entreés and main courses are granted a bit of a loophole-no more than 30 percent of their calories can come from fat.Certified by: The FDA sets the standard, but there are no regular outside auditsProducers say:Beware of: Two-percent milk. Thanks to the dairy lobby, it is labeled "reduced fat," even though it contains 62 percent of the fat found in "whole" milk. Also, remember that not all fats are created equal. Saturated, tropical, and trans fats are bad.
Julian Meehan

Young leaders from around the world are gathering at the United Nations Headquarters in New York Saturday to address arguably the most urgent issue of our time. The Youth Climate Summit comes on the heels of an international strike spearheaded by Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old climate activist from Sweden, who arrived in New York via emissions-free sailboat earlier this month.

Translated from Swedish, "berg" means "mountain," so it may feel fated that a young woman with Viking blood in her veins and summit in her name would be at the helm. But let's go out on a limb and presume Thunberg, in keeping with most activists, would chafe at the notion of pre-ordained "destiny," and rightly so. Destiny is passive — it happens to you. It's also egomaniacal. Change, on the other hand, is active; you have to fight. And it is humble. "We need to get angry and understand what is at stake," Thunberg declared. "And then we need to transform that anger into action."

This new generation of activists' most pernicious enemy is denial. The people in charge — complacent politicians and corporation heads who grossly benefit from maintaining the status quo — are buffered from real-life consequences of climate change. But millions of people don't share that privilege. For them, climate change isn't an abstract concept, but a daily state of emergency, whether it comes in the form of "prolonged drought in sub-Saharan Africa…devastating tropical storms sweeping across Southeast Asia, the Caribbean and the Pacific…[or] heatwaves and wildfires," as Amnesty International reportsare all too real problems people are facing on a regular basis.

RELATED: Greta Thunberg urges people to turn to nature to combat climate change

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The Planet

Millions of people in over 150 countries across the globe marched for lawmakers and corporations to take action to help stop climate change on Friday, September 20.

The Climate Strikes were organized by children around the world as an extension of the of the "Fridays for Future" campaign. Students have been walking out of classrooms on Fridays to speak out about political inaction surrounding the climate crisis.

"We need to act right now to stop burning fossil fuels and ensure a rapid energy revolution with equity, reparations and climate justice at its heart," organizers say.

There's no doubt the visual images from the marches send a powerful message to those on the ground but especially those watching from around the world. GOOD's own Gabriel Reilich was on the scene for the largest of the Climate Strikes. Here are 18 of the best signs from the Climate Strike march in New York City.

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September 20th marks the beginning of a pivotal push for the future of our planet. The Global Climate Strike will set the stage for the United Nations Climate Action Summit, where more than 60 nations are expected to build upon their commitment to 2015's Paris Agreement for combating climate change.

Millions of people are expected to take part in an estimated 4,000 events across 130 countries.

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The Planet
via Apple

When the iPhone 11 debuted on September 10, it was met with less enthusiasm than the usual iPhone release. A lot of techies are holding off purchasing the latest gadget until Apple releases a phone with 5G technology.

Major US phone carriers have yet to build out the infrastructure necessary to provide a consistent 5G experience, so Apple didn't feel it necessary to integrate the technology into its latest iPhone.

A dramatic new feature on the iPhone 11 Pro is its three camera lenses. The three lenses give users the the original wide, plus ultrawide and telephoto options.

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via I love butter / Flickr

We often dismiss our dreams as nonsensical dispatches from the mind while we're deep asleep. But recent research proves that our dreams can definitely affect our waking lives.

People often dream about their significant others and studies show it actually affects how we behave towads them the next day.

"A lot of people don't pay attention to their dreams and are unaware of the impact they have on their state of mind," said Dylan Selterman, psychology lecturer at the University of Maryland, says according to The Huffington Post. "Now we have evidence that there is this association."

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