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Peter Lehner's blog

Coffee ripening in the Aquiares Estate varietal garden

In the shade of the poró trees on the coffee farm I help run in Costa Rica, it’s not uncommon to see brightly colored birds, such as oropendolas and toucans, as well as stout, pheasant-like gallinas de monte—alongside an occasional thermometer. Mother Nature provides the wildlife; the thermometers belong to a group of scientists working with the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Freshly caught seafood

As a kid, I was so in awe of the ocean that when the tide went out, I thought I might get swept away to Portugal. Even today, when I go for a swim or look out at the rolling waves, it seems hard to believe that humans could affect something so vast and powerful. Yet scientists have been warning us for decades that human activity is changing the ocean—and that oceans are not the boundless resources we once assumed.

Yulia Grigoryeva/Shutterstock

If the worst should happen—if the U.S. withdraws from the Paris climate agreement and rescinds President Obama’s Clean Power Plan—do we have any hope of protecting climate stability? Yes. Even in the face of such serious setbacks, all would not be lost. Clean energy and energy efficiency are already a part of our power system.

The FDA received an outpouring of comments from the public voicing concern about phthalates, harmful chemicals used in food packaging and processing equipment.

No matter how healthy your diet, it’s nearly impossible to steer clear of toxic chemicals called phthalates. These hormone-disrupting chemicals are used in the plastic packaging covering meats and cheeses whose fats can promote leaching of the chemicals into the food. Phthalates are also in plastic tubing and equipment in food processing plants and in the plastic gloves worn by food workers.

The Food and Drug Administration has failed to crack down on the abuse of life-saving medicines on factory farms.

If you’ve ever had kids in preschool or daycare, you know they’re going to get sick. In those early years, kids are still learning about personal hygiene and germs spread fast. So we do our best to keep schools clean while we teach our kids how to cover their sneezes, wash their hands, wipe their noses and learn the good sanitation habits that will keep them healthy. If they get sick, we treat them.

What we don’t do is put antibiotics in their morning cereal to ward off disease. 

skhoward/iStock

When I was a kid, processed cheese was a family camping staple. It tasted great, melted beautifully and, most importantly, didn’t spoil easily. We didn’t think of it as “processed cheese food,” or wonder what exactly it was made out of. And we certainly didn’t suspect that the plastic it was wrapped in might be leaching hormone-disrupting chemicals into our campfire dinners.

wind farm

It was just a few decades ago that people started to see the breadth and depth of the flaws in our fossil fuel-based energy system. On its surface, fossil fuel energy seemed cheap and convenient; underneath, it was dirty, damaging to the climate and adept at making people sick. But because the system was backed by an entrenched, wealthy and politically powerful industry, change seemed impossible.

GoodLifeStudio/iStock

Here at Earthjustice, we’re taking a closer look at maggots. It turns out these little bugs, the larvae of the black soldier fly, can be part of a major leap forward in the production of sustainable food—for fish. Farmed fish today are mostly fed unsustainably on a diet of small wild fish, which are vanishing. But fish on farms also like to eat insect larvae, and these larvae like to eat waste. Using larvae to manage waste and provide feed for fish farms would be a major coup, and several companies around the world are already working on it. U.S.

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About the Earthjustice Blog

unEARTHED is a forum for the voices and stories of the people behind Earthjustice's work. The views and opinions expressed in this blog do not necessarily represent the opinion or position of Earthjustice or its board, clients, or funders. Learn more about Earthjustice.