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Friday Finds: Worried About Herbicides? Eat More Broccoli!

Monsanto’s new broccoli designed to fight company’s own environmental pollution
Perhaps dismayed by the public’s outcry to genetically engineered (GE) crops and their environmental effects, last October America’s favorite biotech company, Monsanto, released a non-GE product that combines two different types of broccoli to create a sort of super broccoli that’s chock-full of nutrients, reports Grist. The problem, of course, is that broccoli is already considered a super food. According to the USDA, one medium stalk provides 200 percent of the daily recommended intake of vitamin C, 16 percent of recommended dietary fiber, and 10 percent of recommended vitamin A in the form of betacarotene. Broccoli also contains folate, potassium and several other minerals, providing 6 percent of daily calcium and 4 percent of daily iron needs. Heck, it can even prevent cancer. Talk about fixing something that ain't broken.

In addition to silly redundancy, Monsanto’s desire to provide a vegetable that helps “maintain your body’s defenses against the damage of environmental pollutants and free radicals,” is just plain ironic, as Grist cleverly points out, considering that the company’s cash cow—herbicides—have been shown to cause some of the very illnesses that eating broccoli can prevent. If selling a product that causes illness and then turning around and selling another product to prevent that illness seems, well, wrong, then it won’t be much of a surprise to find out the rest of Monsanto’s seedy past.

Climate change threatens Yellowstone National Park
Within the next century, Yellowstone National Park may be as hot as the LA suburbs thanks to climate change, reports Reuters. A recent study by Rocky Mountain Climate Organization and Greater Yellowstone Coalition found that warming in Yellowstone, one of the world’s last largely intact ecosystems, is likely to increase wildfires, kill large swaths of trees and damage areas vital to grizzly bears and other threatened species. And, as a vacation hotspot for tourists, failing to reverse the warming trend could put a dent in the region $700 million annual tourism economy. Despite the dismal predictions, the good news is that there’s still time to make choices that will influence how climate change effects Yellowstone, like preserving wildlife corridors and increasing resilience to damaged habitats. Earthjustice is working hard on both of these fronts in the Crown of the Continent, a 10-million-acre expanse of land that encompasses some of the largest blocks of wilderness in the contiguous United States, including Yellowstone. See for yourself what we’re protecting
 
House’s clean air haters pass pollution bill
This week, the House of Representatives passed an anti-environment bill blocking two major safeguards against air pollution, reports ThinkProgress. Known as the TRAIN (Transparency in Regulatory Analysis of Impacts on the Nation) Act, the bill would put on hold two critical Clean Air Act updates designed to decrease power plant pollution like mercury, soot and cancer-causing dioxins. Marty Hayden, Earthjustice's Vice President for Policy and Legislation, says that the TRAIN Act forces Americans to accept “a toxic future of dirty air, lung and heart disease, developmental disorders, brain damage and premature death.” To date, President Obama has vowed to veto the Act, a promise he'll hopefully prove better at keeping then his promises to cut smog pollution, an idea that he recently nixed.
 
Killer cantaloupe deadliest food illness outbreak in more than a decade
Colorado cantaloupes tainted with listeria may be the culprits in the deadliest food outbreak in more than a decade, reports AP. So far, more than 16 people have died from the tainted fruit and many more have fallen ill. Listeria, which is more deadly than salmonella and E.coli, can cause illness more than four weeks after a person eats food contaminated with the bacteria.The disease primarily affects older adults, pregnant women, newborns and adults with weakened immune systems, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The listeria outbreak is just the latest in a string of foodborne illness headlines over the past year, including the recall of salmonella-tainted turkey in August. While Americans warily eyeball their food, House Republicans like Michele Bachmann continue to block upgrades to the nation’s wildly outdated food safety laws, citing costs and job stifling concerns. Apparently they haven’t realized that one of the biggest drains to employers is employee sickness and death.   

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