The Breakdown: July 9th

A selection of notable publications on sustainability, climate change, organics recycling, and soil nutrition brought to you by Full Circle Environmental. As innovators in organics recycling, we want to help our friends and partners stay informed about the topics that motivate us every day. 

One climate crisis disaster happening every week, UN warns

Climate crisis disasters are happening at the rate of one a week, though most draw little international attention and work is urgently needed to prepare developing countries for the profound impacts, the UN has warned. Catastrophes such as cyclones Idai and Kenneth in Mozambique and the drought afflicting India make headlines around the world. But large numbers of lower impact events that are causing death, displacement and suffering are occurring much faster than predicted, said Mami Mizutori, the UN Secretary General's special representative on disaster risk reduction.

“This is not about the future, this is about today.”

This means that adapting to the climate crisis could no longer be seen as a long-term problem, but one that needed investment now, she said. “People need to talk more about adaptation and resilience.”

Continue reading on The Guardian.

Oregon governor signs laws banning plastic bags, straws

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown recently signed a bill (HB 2509) banning "single-use checkout bags" effective Jan. 2020. This does not include bags for produce, meat, fish, dry cleaning and other categories.

Retail establishments will be required to charge at least five cents for paper bags (with 40% post-consumer recycled content or more), reusable plastic bags (4 mils thick) and reusable fabric bags. Restaurants may still provide paper bags at no cost.

Continue reading at Waste Dive.

Restoring Forests Could Help Put a Brake on Global Warming, Study Finds

What if we stopped cutting down forests to produce palm oil and cattle? What if we grew new forests on vacant city lots, old industrial buildings — even golf courses?

For the first time, scientists have sought to quantify this thought experiment. How many trees could be planted on every available parcel of land on Earth, where they could go, and what impact could that have on our survival?

They concluded that the planet could support nearly 2.5 billion additional acres of forest without shrinking our cities and farms, and that those additional trees, when they mature, could store a whole lot of the extra carbon — 200 gigatons of carbon, to be precise — generated by industrial activity over the last 150 years.

Keep reading this article from the New York Times, or read the full study published in Science.

Teaching global warming in a charged political climate

PIEDMONT, Okla. — “Weather is chaotic,” said Melissa Lau, a sixth-grade teacher in this bedroom community outside of Oklahoma City. “What does that mean to you?”

“It’s another word for ‘crazy,’ ” said one boy.

“My sister got hit by a golf-ball-sized piece of hail,” volunteered a kid with glasses and a tuft of dyed-blond hair.

The students didn’t know it yet, but they were about to engage in some myth-busting about perhaps the biggest menace to their futures: climate change.

Read more from the Washington Post.

Climate change could mean more pesticides in your wine

Climate change isn't just creating lower yields in vineyards, it's making them more susceptible to pests and mildew.

Wine grapes native to Europe, including Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Riesling, are the least resistant to pests—and require the most pesticides.

New York vintners are experimenting with native grapes that are more hardy—but those aren't as popular with drinkers.

Read more from CBS News.

Report: Supply chains cause 40% of food waste in North America

The BCFN Foundation and The Economist Intelligence Unit use FAO's methodology for measuring food waste developed to get country-level estimates in its Food Sustainability Index. The U.S. is estimated to have the largest amount of food waste per person at about 210 pounds each year.

While it may be easy to point fingers at picky U.S. consumers, there are issues throughout the supply chain. An estimated 40% of the waste in North America is caused by something other than the consumer, according to FAO.

At the production level, these losses can result from not having enough labor to harvest an entire crop. It can also come from retailers placing a premium on quality and deciding to turn away "ugly" produce. While there may be a secondary market for this produce — tomato sauce for tomatoes, or applesauce for apples — this doesn't exist for every product.

During transportation, items need to be properly refrigerated and packaged, and items that get held up in customs can go bad if held too long, Lipinski said.

Retailers will also order in abundant quantities to ensure their produce sections don't look picked over. "That's just something that they have to order for. And so they're mostly very good at ordering what they need, but it doesn't always play out perfectly," Lipinski noted.

Continue reading on Waste Dive.
About Full Circle Environmental, LLC:
At Full Circle, we're developing the future of composting. Our microbial inoculant powers an anaerobic fermentation process that's faster than traditional composting with simpler input management and greater nutrient retention in the resulting fertilizer. We see food waste as both a global challenge and massive opportunity and believe now is the time for action. 
Learn more at fullcircle.green
Enjoying The Breakdown?
Use the icons below to share with friends or
Sign Up Here to receive this newsletter every other week.