Friday Finds: Fracked Beer’s Killer Buzz
Breweries worry that extreme gas drilling will frack their beer
It turns out that hydraulic gas drilling or fracking doesn’t just contaminate the air and water; it could also mess up your favorite brew, reports Mother Jones. Brewmasters like Brooklyn Brewery and upstate New York’s Ommegang Brewery are raising the alarm about toxic fracking chemicals like benzene making their way to America’s beers through weak fracking regulations that don’t protect an area’s water supply. After all, beer brewing takes a whole lot of water and places like the Brooklyn Brewery often get their water from local watersheds. The Brewery’s founder, Steve Hindy, says that fracking threatens the purity of his beer. New York has promised to ban high-volume fracking in areas where the city sources its water, but environmental groups like Earthjustice say that the state’s rules are weak and leave aquifers vulnerable to contamination by fracking chemicals. Find out how we’re helping breweries like Ommegang to keep their beer from being fracked.
Domino’s may have recently had an artisanal makeover, but the pizza giant still isn’t budging on its policy to continue serving pork from pigs raised in gestation crates, reports Grist. For the uninitiated, gestation crates are cages about the same width and length of a pig’s body, a space so small that the pigs are unable to even turn around in the crates. Given that pigs are extremely smart animals capable of feeling fear, pain and stress, many food vendors have been successfully pressured into working with its pork suppliers to eliminate the cruel practice, but not Domino’s, which is one of the last holdouts in the industry. It looks like Domino’s new “artisan toppings,” meant for food-conscious customers, is just lipstick on both the proverbial and the literal pig.
Plagues of superweeds are spreading across U.S. farmland and leaving farmers and scientists hard-pressed with finding ways to stop them, reports Reuters. Weed-resistant crops, brought on by the practice of dousing pesticides on crops year after year, has so far spread to more than 12 million acres of U.S. farm land. Though some scientists are advocating the use of cover crops coupled with partial tillage to reduce the spread of weeds, others, especially the biotech industry, are arguing that we should use multiple herbicides to combat the problem. Unfortunately, some of the weed killers are modeled on previous herbicides like 2,4-D, an extremely toxic herbicide that was a major ingredient for Agent Orange. To find out why using toxic herbicides on genetically modified crops is bad for both the environment and for your health, check out Earthjustice’s GMO feature.
LA recently approved a ban on plastic bags in supermarkets, making it the largest city to do so, reports the LA Times. The Hollywood move comes after many other California cities like San Jose and San Francisco approved their own plastic bag bans. Clean water advocates estimate that Californians alone use 12 billion plastic bags per year, but that only a paltry 5 percent get recycled. The rest end up in landfills, oceans or as litter bags scattered along lonely highways. LA’s ban will be phased in over the next 16 months, beginning with large retailers and moving on to smaller markets. Shoppers who forget their reusable cloth bags will still be able to buy paper bags for a dime each.