By Natural Resources Defense CouncilEnergy  04:49PM EST
Wake Up Ohio Lawmakers and Unfreeze Your Renewable Energy Standards

By Samantha Williams

Ohio's renewable energy and energy efficiency industry is at a critical inflection point.

As we round the corner on the last few months of the year (and the final weeks that Ohio's General Assembly will be in session), large multi-national companies are making clear that they want strong efficiency and renewable energy standards to be at the forefront of Ohio's energy policy.

Ohio's renewable energy and energy efficiency industry is at a critical inflection point.Wikimedia Commons

Back in 2014, lawmakers made the now-infamous decision to freeze the state's wildly successful clean energy standards, which had been in place since 2009. Now, two years later, the results of the freeze are what you might expect, having become a cautionary tale for other states—and for Ohio's next move on energy policy.

Just prior to the freeze, Ohio was number one in the nation in renewable energy jobs, home to more companies that manufacture components for wind energy than any other state and number two in the U.S. for companies that make solar components. Investments in Ohio's clean energy sector created thousands of new jobs and stimulated more than $160 million in annual GDP growth. Because of energy efficiency requirements, Ohio's utilities were reporting more than $1 billion in cumulative energy efficiency savings for consumers. And these clean energy investments were cost-effective; every $1 spent on energy efficiency saved all Ohio electricity customers more than $2 in power costs.

Ohio was on the right track.

But in the wake of the freeze (which was marketed by its sponsors as just a "gut check"), it became clear that clean energy standards are the difference between continuing Ohio's track record of success or squandering it. Utility companies reduced services to customers, in some cases, suspending energy efficiency programs. One major electric company in Ohio cut its investment in energy efficiency in half, foregoing $70 million annually in potential benefits. Clean energy jobs moved out of state. Jobs in the state's wind energy industry plummeted 56 percent. Customers were left frustrated.

Some of those customers were also big employers, who know that strong, reasonable efficiency and renewable energy standards are essential to attracting investment dollars at a time of fierce competition within the growing clean energy industry. Today these companies—nine to be exact—are banding together to send a clear message to lawmakers as we head into the critical final weeks of the legislative session: Do something about this policy mistake. Reinstate and strengthen Ohio's standards on energy efficiency and renewables.

The coalition of businesses is just too big to ignore. They collectively employ more than 25,000 people in the state and include:

  • Campbell Soup Company
  • Clif Bar & Company
  • Gap, Inc.
  • JLL
  • Nestlé
  • Owens Corning
  • Schneider Electric
  • United Technologies; and
  • Whirlpool Corporation

As Campbell Soup Company (which in addition to retail stores and offices has a manufacturing plant in Willard and a food processing plant in Napoleon), said:

"We urge Ohio's leaders to lift the state's freeze on the renewable energy and energy efficiency standards. Continuing to undo smart clean energy policies won't help us build a stronger Ohio for tomorrow. Campbell remains supportive of removing barriers and promoting incentives for low carbon energy options. We believe renewable energy and energy efficiency are good for the environment and good for business. The solar project on Campbell's Napoleon, OH site is expected to save $4 million and eliminate 250,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas over the purchase agreement's 20-year period."

—Dave Stangis, vice president, corporate social responsibility

Whirlpool Corporation (with several plants manufacturing energy efficient appliances across the state, including in Clyde, Marion, Findlay and Ottawa), said:

"Whirlpool Corporation urges Ohio's leaders to restore the state's Energy Efficiency Resource Standard and be proactive in supporting energy policies that promote affordability, reliability and protection of the environment. These priorities are a foundation for Ohio's continued economic growth. As the number one major appliance manufacturer in the world, Whirlpool Corporation will continue to do its part by developing innovative resource-efficient appliances and by improving the environmental performance of our facilities."

—Jeff Noel, corporate vice president, communications and public affairs

Nestlé (with several facilities across the state, including in Solon, Cleveland, Marysville, Zanesville and Dublin), noted:

"As a major manufacturing company in Ohio, we rely on clean energy to reduce costs and lower our carbon emissions. We've set ourselves clear targets to further reduce greenhouse gas emissions in all of our manufacturing operations. We're making good progress and our support of policies that encourage the transition toward a low carbon economy helps us, and other companies, to continually improve our environmental performance. We know this is also important to many of our consumers and we strongly believe that lifting the freeze on Ohio's renewable energy and energy efficiency standards is good for the environment and good for business, as well as the state's economy and the people who call it home."

—Paul Bakus, president, corporate affairs

These strong requests confirm where we're headed. The corporate sector has embarked on an unstoppable shift toward seeking out safer, cleaner energy sources, not just to protect the environment and public health, but also to cut operating costs and maintain their edge in an increasingly competitive field. It is further proof that what's good for the economy and good for the environment are not mutually exclusive. They can exist together and reinforce each other. Clean energy should be something we all agree on.

But we are now back to this critical inflection point.

State lawmakers have the choice this year: embrace and continue to attract sustainability-minded businesses like this "Coalition of Nine" or get left behind. The General Assembly is expected to consider clean energy policy proposals in the days following the Nov. 8 election, but as of yet they have only been dragging their feet, kicking around proposals that are dead on arrival.

Thankfully, Gov. Kasich is paying attention. He has threatened a veto, stating more than once that watering down the standards and extending the freeze is "unacceptable," as it would be "kicking the can down the road." The governor will no doubt be keeping this list of business supporters in mind as Ohio decides what to do.

Ohio businesses have now made clean energy a central part of Ohio's energy debate. With more than 100,000 Ohio jobs in clean energy on the line, we just hope lawmakers are listening.

By Nexus MediaFood  03:43PM EST
How Seaweed Can Feed the World

By Josh Chamot

Seaweed is an acquired taste, but rich in nutrients and cheap to produce, and it could replace carbon-intensive foods on menus everywhere. With that in mind, Lisette Kreischer and Marcel Schuttelaar wrote Ocean Greens, a guide to cooking with seaweed. Kreischer shared her insights on seaweed with Nexus Media, along with two of her best recipes.

Lisette Kreischer

What are the advantages to harvesting vegetables like seaweed from the oceans?

This little green plant can save our planet. It's a high quality source of protein, its cultivation doesn't take up agricultural land and it hardly uses any fresh water. However, as the seaweed market grows, we don't want to make the overconsumption mistakes of the past, mistakes that have caused so much destruction to our planet and harmed creatures great and small. Eating a plant-based diet can make meals so much more pleasurable, not only for people, but also, of course, for animals. Change is always in our power and now is the time to change our choices about the way we eat and produce our food.

With Ocean Greens, we emphasize sustainable production of seaweed. Companies like Zeewaar and The North Sea Farm Foundation in The Netherlands are showing us beautiful examples of a holistic way of producing food while respecting nature. This is what my collaborators and I also propose with The Dutch Weed Burger, a vegan burger alternative. The plant based diet has been proven very efficient when it comes to the use of precious water and agricultural land—and it produces lower CO2 emissions and has the potential to feed everybody. As the climate continues to change, as oceans warm and acidity changes, this will have a huge impact on all life that depends on the sea. We're not going to find another planet to eat off of.

Lisette Kreischer

Seaweed and sea vegetables are a big part of some cultures' diets—but not in the U.S. What's the key to getting Americans excited to eat these particular greens?

It's just such an adventurous new kid on the food block and it can make your taste buds rock!

As the environment changes and we're faced with new challenges like the growing population and rising temperatures, we have a responsibility to look at food differently from how we have the last 60 or so years. Food production has just cost too much on so many levels and because of the conditions animals endure, this is a painful subject we all have to eventually face. With such challenges, we have to start making different choices now for food production and choice. We have to start looking at nature, to work with her instead of against her.

Fortunately, there are delicious options available. Seaweed can play a big role in that transition. As a new commodity crop, it's produced in an environmentally friendly and sustainable way. That is why we wrote Ocean Greens.

Lisette Kreischer

What inspired you to cook with ocean greens?

I became fascinated and intrigued with food when I was 10 years old. At about that time, I developed a conscious mind and noticed how food impacts everything—starting with the animal that used to be on my plate every night.

But it didn't stop there. Not long after, I took a closer look at everything I ate. I had to know what was hidden behind my daily food intake: what was in it, how it was made, where it came from. The more I learned about the background story of my food, the more I felt the need to change. The fact that a living animal lived—and died—solely to feed me did not feel right. As a result, I quit eating animal-based products. Soon afterwards, I discovered the diversity and variety within the plant kingdom. I got excited about plants, nuts, grains and legumes. Not only did I enjoy the taste, I also liked the way it made me feel: healthy.

Lisette Kreischer

I refocused towards those positive feelings and developed a sense of passion, excitement and joy for food, which I had not felt before. I started to bake pies without eggs, French stew without meat—but with lots of wine—and tuna salad without tuna. Cozy and Burgundian, I relished it!

After that transition, people were constantly asking me, "So … What do you actually eat?" The simple answer is I fell in love with this wonderful, colorful, diverse, plant-based kitchen. It helped me learn about my body and strengthened my immune system and it enriched my taste buds. The extensive variety of herbs, greens, nuts, grains, fruits and superfoods gave my creativity an amazing boost. But there was something missing. I noticed that however great my story about the vegan kitchen was, people appeared to be so afraid of it. Afraid to not get enough protein, afraid to change what they have been doing for so long. Afraid to lose something.

The answer was seaweed and my connection with Roos Rutjes. He and I found each other through our mutual love for sustainability and the plant-based kitchen. In 2006, we were both studying at the Styling-Academy in Amsterdam and our partnership blossomed into an eco-fabulous lifestyle agency, Veggie in Pumps, with the motto: "Enjoying in style with respect for people, animals and nature." To this day, this is still our guide.

Lisette Kreischer

Inspired by a beautiful and impressive lecture from ocean protector Dos Winkel, we began a mission to make the plant-based kitchen—and seaweed—more appealing to the masses. Winkel's message was that the ocean is dying. The beautiful closed-loop system that supports our lives is falling apart and he called on us to stop eating fish and discover plant foods from the ocean. It was a real lightbulb moment. The plant-based kitchen, enhanced with seaweed, could be an answer to big global challenges and create a way of more equally dividing food resources. And, such a kitchen is very effective in using natural sources, cuts out a lot of animal suffering—hopefully all of it—and provides tremendous support to the human body, especially the protein, iron and calcium from seaweed.

Then in 2012, my good friend Mark Kulsdom and I developed the Dutch Weed Burger, a 100 percent plant-based burger enriched with seaweed. The burger came out of a documentary we produced in New York City and the combination of plant power and seaweed turned out to be a huge success. Roos and I saw a huge possibility from this: Because of our love for all those beautiful nuts, grains, legumes, seeds, vegetables, fruit, herbs and algae that are around, we started to long for making a beautiful book about algae and seaweeds.

Nice thick pancakes filled with pumpkin and layered with seaweed pesto and fresh purslane. Lisette Kreischer

We were both using seaweed more and eating a lot of Dutch Weed Burgers of course, so we felt it was time to take it up another level. After a lot of experimentation in the kitchen and taste tests with seaweed, we knew that we had to make a cookbook filled with delicious recipes that would subtly introduce readers to unique kinds of algae and seaweeds. In a powerful meeting with Marcel Schuttelaar and Koen van Swam of the North Sea Farm, we developed a way to combine our vision with scientific knowledge from their side and I got to pull together my first book of food photography: Ocean Greens was born.

Reposted with permission from our media associate Nexus Media.

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By Kristin FalzonClimate  03:17PM EST
Chinese Officials Arrested for Stuffing Cotton Gauze Into Air Monitoring Equipment to Falsify Results

Environmental officials in China's northern city of Xi'an have been detained for altering air quality monitoring results in order to avoid penalties for high pollution in their area.

Lu Guang / Greenpeace

According to media reports, five officials—including He Limin, the chief of the Environmental Protection Bureau for the city—were arrested for their involvement in the deception.

The investigation revealed the deceptive acts began when the monitoring station in question was being relocated to the Xi'an University of Posts and Telecommunications back in February, according Global Times newspaper.

A China Business View report said the head of the station, Li Sen, made a copy of the key so employees could have access to the station during that time to stuff the sensors with cotton gauze. The alteration to the system's data as a result triggered an alert to the National Environmental Monitoring Center who sent out inspectors to examine the station. During their investigation, they discovered the surveillance videos for March had been deleted, according to the report.

China has been cracking down on pollution by enacting an environmental protection law last year giving officials the authority to punish businesses whose pollution levels are too high and anyone who participates in deceptive practices. Researchers estimate about 1.6 million people die each year in China due to pollution. In June 2015, China's Ministry of Environmental Protection reported seven cases of falsification of air quality data, according to Greenpeace East Asia.

"Reliable data is the very starting point of China's 'war on pollution,'" Dong Liansai, a climate and energy campaigner with Greenpeace East Asia, said Tuesday. "[This] news should serve as a warning to officials around the country that the central government is serious about punishing environmental abuses."

By Denier RoundupEnergy  03:07PM EST
Coal Will Not Cure Global Poverty

The UN Economic Commission for Europe and World Coal Association are holding an event today and Thursday to tout the idea that coal is a cure for poverty. Sound off to you? There's a good reason for that.

A group of more than a dozen international organizations lead by the Overseas Development Institute have put out an in-depth report on the bogus claim that coal can cure poverty. It's true that more than a billion people around the world lack access to energy, but the report shows how more coal will make things worse.

The basic facts are very simple: Coal is a primary source of air pollution, which kills millions, and is a major driver of climate change. Climate change is very bad for all of us, but even worse for the world's most vulnerable.

At least 2,400 coal-fired power plants are in the planning or construction phases around the world right now. Building just a third of those would push the world over 2 C of global warming, worsen climate impacts and negatively impact the millions of people that are already struggling with air pollution.

Multiple coal companies, anti-climate action politicians, fossil fuel PR pros and denier groups have perpetuated the myth that getting rid of fossil fuels will deny millions of people access to energy and its economic benefits. Surely it is merely coincidence that as coal use declines in the U.S., they're hoping developing countries pick up the dirty energy addiction.

But they neglect to mention that only about 15 percent of the world's "energy poor" live in urban areas with existing power grids, the rest residing in rural areas where the grid doesn't reach. Building more coal plants to feed into the grid that people cannot connect to is not going to help. It will only eat away at the quickly-dwindling global carbon budget. If they actually wanted these rural populations to get connected, then distributed wind and solar would be the obvious answer, as they don't require a centralized grid.

So coal, as a poverty cure? That's rich.

By Rainforest Action NetworkClimate  01:47PM EST
Exclusive Clip: DiCaprio's Climate Doc Exposes Destruction of Rainforest for Palm Oil as Huge Driver of Global Carbon Emissions

A new documentary produced and starring actor and activist Leonardo DiCaprio premieres in Los Angeles today and will be broadcast globally in 45 languages in 171 countries on the National Geographic Channel starting Oct. 30, timed to air in advance of the November elections.

The film highlights the critical role forest destruction plays in driving carbon pollution into Earth's atmosphere and focuses specifically on how the rapid spread of industrial palm oil plantations in Southeast Asia are at the heart of this crisis. The film It is directed by Fisher Stevens who, like DiCaprio, is an Academy Award winner.

Watch the exclusive clip here:

The film captures DiCaprio's visit to the Leuser Ecosystem in Aceh, Indonesia, where extremely high rates of forest clearance have exacerbated the climate change dilemma. Indonesia is now one of the world's top carbon emitting countries, primarily due to the massive deforestation in the region. Before the Flood notes that as it was being filmed in late 2015, man-made fires in Indonesia were spewing more carbon pollution on a daily basis than the entire U.S. economy combined. These illegal fires are an annual occurrence as a method of clearing land for palm-oil plantations. And just more than a week ago, the Indonesian government again declared a national state of emergency due to the severe impacts caused by the out of control fires.

"This important film brings much needed attention to the destruction of rainforests for palm oil, which is a huge driver of global climate change. We must aggressively address the deforestation crisis in places like Indonesia's Leuser Ecosystem," said Lindsey Allen, executive director of Rainforest Action Network. "With palm oil in roughly half of all packaged goods at the grocery store, it's up to all of us to demand major global brands like PepsiCo finally do the right thing and break the link between their products and tropical forest destruction."

DiCaprio met with Allen during the 2015 Paris Climate Conference (COP21) to discuss the urgent situation facing the Leuser Ecosystem and the critical connection between deforestation and global carbon emissions.

Following his conversation with Allen, DiCaprio's trip to the Leuser Ecosystem caused an international uproar when the Indonesian government briefly threatened him with deportation following his social media posts that drew attention to the deforestation and destruction caused by palm oil expansion. The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation later committed three years of major funding for local and international efforts to save the Leuser Ecosystem.

Watch the trailer for Before the Flood here:

By Authority NutritionHealth  02:02PM EST
13 Health Benefits of Fish Oil

By Dr. Ruairi Robertson

Fish oil is one of the most commonly consumed dietary supplements.

It's rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are very important for your health.

If you don't eat a lot of oily fish, taking a fish oil supplement could help you get enough omega-3 fatty acids.Shutterstock

If you don't eat a lot of oily fish, taking a fish oil supplement could help you get enough omega-3 fatty acids.

Here is an evidence-based guide to fish oil supplements and their health benefits.

What Is Fish Oil and Why Should You Care?

Fish oil is the fat or oil that's extracted from fish tissue.

It usually comes from oily fish such as herring, tuna, anchovies and mackerel. Yet sometimes it's produced from the livers of other fish, as is the case with cod liver oil.

The World Health Organization recommends eating 1–2 portions of fish per week. This is because the omega-3 fatty acids in fish provide many health benefits, including helping protect against a number of diseases.

But if you don't eat 1–2 portions of fish per week, fish oil supplements can help you get enough omega-3s.

Around 30 percent of fish oil is made up of omega-3s, while the remaining 70 percent is made up of other fats. Also, unprocessed fish oil contains some vitamin A and D.

It's important to note that the types of omega-3s found in fish oil have greater health benefits than the omega-3s found in some plant sources.

The main omega-3s in fish oil are eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), while the omega-3 in plant sources is mainly alpha-linolenic acid (ALA).

Although ALA is an important essential fatty acid, EPA and DHA have many more health benefits (1, 2).

Another reason it's important to get enough omega-3s is because the Western diet has replaced a lot of omega-3s with other fats like omega-6s. This distorted ratio of fatty acids may contribute to a number of Western lifestyle diseases (3, 4, 5, 6).

Below are 13 of the many health benefits of fish oil.

1. Fish Oil Can Be Good for Heart Health

Heart disease is the leading cause of death worldwide (7).

Studies have shown that people who eat a lot of fish have much lower rates of heart disease (8, 9, 10).

There are a number of risk factors for heart disease and many of these appear to be reduced by fish or fish oil consumption.

The benefits of fish oil for heart health include:

  • Cholesterol levels: It can increase levels of HDL (the "good") cholesterol. However, it does not appear to reduce levels of LDL (the "bad") cholesterol (11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16).
  • Triglycerides: It can lower triglycerides by about 15-30 percent (16, 17, 18).
  • Blood pressure: Even in small doses, it helps reduce blood pressure in those with high blood pressure (19, 20, 21).
  • Plaques: It may prevent the plaques that form in arteries and cause them to harden, as well as make arterial plaques more stable and safer in those who already have them (22, 23, 24).
  • Fatal arrhythmias: In people who are at risk, it may reduce fatal arrhythmia events. Arrhythmias are abnormal heart rhythms that can cause heart attacks in certain cases (25).

Although fish oil supplementation can improve many of the risk factors for heart disease, there is no clear evidence that it can prevent heart attacks or strokes (26).

Bottom Line: Fish oil supplementation can help reduce some of the risks associated with heart disease. However, there is no clear evidence that it can prevent heart attacks or strokes.

2. Fish Oil May Help Treat Certain Mental Disorders

Your brain is made up of nearly 60 percent fat and much of this fat is omega-3 fatty acids. Therefore, omega-3s are essential for normal brain function (27, 28).

In fact, some studies have shown that people with certain mental disorders have lower omega-3 blood levels (29, 30, 31).

Interestingly, studies have shown that fish oil supplementation can prevent the onset or improve the symptoms of some mental disorders. For example, it can reduce the risk of psychotic disorders in those who are at risk (32, 33).

In addition, supplementing with fish oil in high doses can reduce some symptoms of both schizophrenia and bipolar disorder (33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38).

Bottom Line: Fish oil supplementation can improve the symptoms of certain psychiatric disorders. This effect may be a result of increasing omega-3 fatty acid intake.

3. Fish Oil Supplementation May Help Reduce Weight and Waist Circumference

Obesity is defined as having a body mass index greater than 30. Globally, about 39 percent of adults are overweight, while 13 percent are obese. The numbers are even higher in high-income countries like the U.S. (39).

Obesity can significantly increase the risk of other diseases, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer (40, 41, 42).

Fish oil supplementation may improve body composition and risk factors for heart disease in obese people (43, 44, 45).

Furthermore, some studies have shown that fish oil supplementation, in combination with diet or exercise, can help you lose weight (43, 46).

However, not all studies have found the same effect (47, 48).

One analysis of 21 studies found that fish oil supplementation didn't significantly reduce weight in obese individuals, but it did reduce waist circumference and waist-to-hip ratio (49).

Bottom Line: Fish oil supplementation can help reduce waist circumference. It may also help reduce weight gain when combined with other weight loss methods.

4. Fish Oil May Support Eye Health and Help Protect Vision in Old Age

Similarly to the brain, omega-3 fats make up an important part of the structure of the eye. Evidence has shown that people who don't get enough omega-3s have a greater risk of eye diseases (50, 51).

Furthermore, eye health begins to decline in old age, which can lead to age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Eating fish seems to help prevent AMD, but the results on fish oil supplementation are less convincing (52, 53).

One study found that consuming a high dose of fish oil for four and a half months improved vision in all AMD patients. However, this was a very small study (54).

Two larger studies examined the combined effect of omega-3s and other nutrients on AMD. One study showed a positive effect, while the other showed no effect. Therefore, the results are unclear (55, 56).

Bottom Line: Eating fish may help prevent eye diseases. However, it's unclear whether fish oil supplementation has this same effect.

5. Fish Oil May Reduce Inflammation and Symptoms of Inflammatory Disease

Inflammation is the immune system's way of fighting infection and treating injury to the body.

However, inflammation can sometimes occur at low levels over long periods.

This is called chronic inflammation. It can worsen certain chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, depression and heart disease (57, 58, 59).

In these instances, reducing inflammation can help treat symptoms of the disease.

Fish oil has anti-inflammatory properties and can help treat diseases that involve chronic inflammation (60).

For example, in stressed and obese individuals, fish oil can reduce the production and gene expression of inflammatory molecules called cytokines (61, 62).

Moreover, fish oil supplementation can significantly reduce joint pain, stiffness and medication needs in people with rheumatoid arthritis, a disease in which inflammation leads to painful joints (63, 64).

Inflammatory bowel disease is another disorder worsened by inflammation. However, currently there is no clear evidence on whether fish oil improves symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease (65, 66).

Bottom Line: Fish oil has strong anti-inflammatory effects and can help reduce symptoms of inflammatory diseases, especially rheumatoid arthritis.

6. Fish Oil May Have Skin Benefits

The skin is the largest organ in the human body and it contains a lot of omega-3 fatty acids (67).

Skin health can decline throughout your life, especially during old age or after too much sun exposure.

Fortunately, there are a number of skin disorders that may benefit from fish oil supplementation, including psoriasis and dermatitis (68, 69, 70).

Bottom Line: Your skin can become damaged by too much sun exposure or during old age. Fish oil supplementation may help maintain healthy skin.

7. Omega-3 Fatty Acids From Fish Oil Are Very Important During Pregnancy and Early Life

Omega-3s are essential for early growth and development (71).

Therefore, it's important for mothers to get enough omega-3s during pregnancy and while breastfeeding.

Fish oil supplementation in pregnant and breastfeeding mothers may improve hand and eye coordination in infants. However, it's unclear whether learning or IQ are improved (72, 73, 74, 75, 76).

Maternal and early fish oil supplementation may also improve infant visual development and help reduce the risk of allergies (77, 78).

Bottom Line: Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for early growth and development. Fish oil supplementation in mothers or infants may improve eye development, although its effect on learning and IQ is unclear.

8. Fish Oil May Reduce Liver Fat

Your liver processes most of the fat in your body and can play a big role in weight gain.

The prevalence of liver disease is rapidly rising, particularly non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, which involves the accumulation of fat in the liver (79).

Fish oil supplementation can improve liver function and inflammation in humans, which may help reduce symptoms of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and the amount of fat in the liver (80, 81, 82, 83).

Bottom Line: Liver disease is common in obese individuals. Fish oil supplementation may help reduce fat in the liver and symptoms of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

9. Fish Oil Supplementation Can Help Improve Symptoms of Depression and Anxiety

Depression is predicted to become the second leading cause of disease burden globally by 2030 (84).

Interestingly, people with major depression appear to have lower blood levels of omega-3s (29, 85, 86).

Studies have shown that fish oil and omega-3 supplementation can improve symptoms of depression (87, 88, 89).

Moreover, some studies have shown that oils rich in EPA help reduce depressive symptoms more than DHA (90, 91).

Bottom Line: Fish oil supplementation may help improve symptoms of depression, especially EPA-rich supplements.

10. Fish Oil May Improve Attention and Hyperactivity in Children

A number of behavioral disorders in children, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, involve hyperactivity and inattention.

Given that omega-3s make up a significant proportion of the brain, getting enough of them may be important for preventing behavioral disorders in early life (92).

Fish oil supplementation may improve perceived hyperactivity, inattention, impulsiveness and aggression in children. This may benefit early life learning (93, 94, 95, 96).

Bottom Line: Behavioral disorders in children can interfere with learning and development. Fish oil supplementation has been shown to help reduce hyperactivity, inattention and other behaviors.

11. Fish Oil May Help Prevent Symptoms of Mental Decline

As you age, your brain function slows down and the risk of Alzheimer's disease increases.

People who eat more fish tend to experience a slower decline in brain function in old age (97, 98, 99).

However, studies on fish oil supplementation in older individuals haven't provided clear evidence that they can slow the decline of brain function (100, 101).

Nevertheless, some very small studies have shown that fish oil may improve memory in healthy, older people (102, 103).

Bottom Line: People who eat more fish have slower age-related mental decline. However, it's unclear if fish oil supplementation can prevent or improve mental decline in the elderly.

12. Fish Oil May Improve Asthma Symptoms and the Risk of Allergies

Asthma, a lung disorder that can cause swelling in the lungs and shortness of breath, is becoming much more common in infants.

A number of studies have shown that fish oil may reduce asthma symptoms, especially in early life (104, 105, 106, 107).

One study combined the results of eleven other studies involving nearly 100,000 people and found that a mother's fish or omega-3 intake could reduce the risk of asthma in children by 24–29 percent (108).

Furthermore, fish oil supplementation in pregnant mothers may reduce the risk of allergies in infants (109).

Bottom Line: A higher intake of fish and fish oil during pregnancy may reduce the risk of childhood asthma and allergies.

13. Fish Oil May Improve Bone Health

During old age, bones can begin to lose their essential minerals, making them more likely to break. This can lead to diseases such as osteoporosis and osteoarthritis.

Calcium and vitamin D are known to be very important for bone health, but some studies have suggested that omega-3 fatty acids can also be beneficial.

People with higher omega-3 intakes and blood levels may have better bone mineral density (BMD) (110, 111, 112).

However, it's unclear whether fish oil supplements improve BMD (113, 114).

A number of small studies have shown that fish oil supplementation reduced markers of bone breakdown, which may prevent bone disease (115).

Bottom Line: A higher omega-3 intake is associated with higher bone density, which could help prevent bone disease. However, it's unclear if fish oil supplementation is beneficial.

How to Supplement With Fish Oil

If you do not eat 1–2 portions of oily fish per week, you may want to consider taking a fish oil supplement.

Below is a list of things to consider when taking a fish oil supplement:


EPA and DHA dosage recommendations vary depending on your age and health.

The World Health Organization recommends a daily intake of 0.2–0.5 grams of combined EPA and DHA. But it may be necessary to increase the dosage if you are pregnant, nursing or at risk of heart disease (116).

Choose a fish oil supplement that provides at least 0.3 grams (300 mg) of EPA and DHA per serving.


Fish oil supplements come in a number of forms, including ethyl esters, triglycerides, reformed triglycerides, free fatty acids and phospholipids.

Ethyl esters are not absorbed by the body as well as the others, so try to choose a fish oil supplement that comes in one of the other listed forms (117).


Many supplements contain up to 1,000 mg of fish oil per serving but only 300 mg of EPA and DHA.

Read the label and choose a supplement that contains at least 500 mg of EPA and DHA per 1,000 mg of fish oil.


A number of fish oil supplements don't contain what they say they do (118).

To avoid these products, choose a supplement that is "third-party tested" or has the GOED standard of purity.


Omega-3 fatty acids are prone to oxidation, which makes them go rancid.

To avoid this, you can choose a supplement that contains an antioxidant, such as vitamin E. Also, keep your supplements away from light, ideally in the refrigerator.

Don't use a fish oil supplement that has a rancid smell or is out of date.


Choose a fish oil supplement that has a sustainability certification, such as from the Marine Stewardship Council or the Environmental Defense Fund.

The production of fish oil from anchovies and similar small fish is more sustainable than the production of fish oil from large fish.


Other dietary fats help the absorption of omega-3 fatty acids (119).

Therefore, it's best to take your fish oil supplement with a meal that contains fat.

Bottom Line: Check the instruction label of a fish oil supplement before consumption. Also, choose a supplement with a high concentration of EPA and DHA and that has purity and sustainability certifications.

Take Home Message

Omega-3s contribute to normal brain and eye development. They fight inflammation and may help prevent heart disease and a decline in brain function.

Given that fish oil contains a lot of omega-3s, those at risk of these disorders can benefit from taking it.

When you buy a fish oil supplement, be sure to read the label to check for purity, concentration, form and sustainability.

However, eating whole foods is almost always better than taking supplements and eating two portions of oily fish per week can provide you with enough omega-3s.

In fact, many of the studies mentioned above show that fish is as effective, if not better, than fish oil at preventing many diseases.

That being said, if you don't eat enough oily fish, you may benefit from taking a fish oil supplement in order to get enough omega-3s.

Reposted with permission from our media associate Authority Nutrition.

By Dan ZukowskiEnergy  12:33PM EST
Breaking: 15 Arrested Protesting Spectra Pipeline Scheduled to Go Online Nov. 1

Fifteen people were arrested today at a rally this morning outside the Manhattan office of New York Sen. Charles Schumer, where they have maintained a presence for the past 60 days. With the Algonquin Incremental Market (AIM) expansion of the Spectra Energy pipeline in Westchester County, New York set to go online by Nov. 1, opponents are asking Schumer to intervene and use his influence to put a halt to the project. Schumer's office did not respond to a request for comment by EcoWatch.

Members of Resist Spectra and their supporters showed up on Third Avenue, chanting "We will not let you build this pipeline." Many sat along 780 Third Avenue, the building housing Schumer's New York City office.

The AIM project is set to carry Marcellus Shale fracked gas to New England, passing through New York State and crossing the Hudson River at scenic Stony Point.

Map of AIM expansion project carrying fracked gas from the Marcellus Shale to New England.Spectra Energy

The pipeline runs close to the aging Indian Point nuclear power plant in Buchanan. The oldest of the three reactors on site began operations in 1962, but has since been shut down. The other two operating reactors date to 1974 and 1976.

One of the opponents' main concerns is the proximity of the pipeline to the nuclear facility. The 42-inch pipeline passes within 105 feet of an electrical substation and 1,320 feet from the reactors. While it's not California, Westchester County does have a history of earthquakes and the Ramapo Fault runs near the Indian Point nuclear plant. In 1783, a magnitude 5.0 quake struck the area, and in the early morning hours of Oct. 19, 1985, a 3.6-magnitude earthquake on the Ramapo Fault system caused the plant to declare "an unusual event" but no damage was reported. The probability of a 5.0 or greater earthquake in the county in the next 50 years is estimated at 3.36 percent.

That's enough to rattle residents from Westchester to Brooklyn. Pipeline opponents point out that 20 million people live within a 50-mile radius of Indian Point. An elementary school sits just 400 feet from the pipeline.

The AIM pipeline runs within 105 feet of the aging Indian Point nuclear power plant.Resist Spectra

The specter of another San Bruno, California-type event may be weighing on those who live in the zone. In 2011, a 30-inch natural gas pipeline exploded in this Bay Area town just south of San Francisco, sending flames 1,000 feet into the sky. It destroyed 38 homes and killed eight people. On April 29, a Spectra Energy 30-inch pipeline blew up in Westmoreland, Pennsylvania, severely burning one man and damaging two homes. Roads melted from the heat.

Data from the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) shows that 12 significant incidents have occurred on gas transmission pipelines in New York State since 2000, resulting in at $4.4 million in total costs. Spectra Energy pipelines were involved in 38 incidents in the U.S. from 1986 to 2012, according to ProPublica. The PHMSA cited Spectra for at least four violations from 2013 to 2015.

Disaster experts, public officials and health care professionals got a first-hand look at the pipeline site on Oct. 18, hosted by Physicians for Social Responsibility. A statement released by the organization following the inspection tour read:

"Requests by safety experts and public officials for emergency protocols and safety preparedness indicate no evidence of planning for a pipeline rupture or explosion adjacent to the nuclear plant. The lack of emergency training and preparedness reflects the lack of recognition of the safety experts' concerns regarding the perilous impact of a pipeline accident at that location and the imminent and permanent danger the AIM pipeline poses to the nuclear plant and the entire New York metropolitan area."

Opponents of the Spectra AIM pipeline urge Sen. Schumer to act at a rally in Manhattan this morning.Resist Spectra

In May, New York Senators Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand urged the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to suspend action on the AIM project until independent health and safety reviews of the project are completed.

"I have serious concerns with the Algonquin gas pipeline project because it poses a threat to the quality of life, environmental, health and safety of residents across the Hudson Valley and New York State without any long-term benefit to the communities it would impact," Schumer said in a statement in May. The two senators again wrote to FERC on Aug. 3 requesting that the agency suspend construction.

FERC hired NRG, a third-party contractor, to perform the environmental review on the pipeline. NRG owns some 150 power generation facilities, and has been paid by Spectra as an environmental consultant on other projects. The company has worked for PennEast LLC, a pipeline consortium of which Spectra is a member, since 2014.

A Bloomberg BNA analysis released in February said that the industry dominates lobbying of the PHMSA. Major companies lobbying the agency include TransCanada Pipelines Ltd., Norfolk Southern Corp., Dow Chemical Co., American Airlines and Shell Oil Co. The American Petroleum Institute, Association of American Railroads, Renewable Fuels Association and the American Farm Bureau Federation are among the Industry trade associations engaged in lobbying the PHMSA.

Aerial view of Indian Point nuclear facility with pipeline infrastructure in the foreground.Resist Spectra

"Despite repeated warnings from nuclear power and pipeline safety experts that a pipeline rupture at that sensitive location could result in a nuclear catastrophe worse than the Fukushima nuclear disaster, their insistence on a full, independent risk assessment was to no avail," Ellen Weininger of Grassroots Environmental Education told EcoWatch.

Spectra may soon help create the largest energy infrastructure company in North America if a planned merger with Enbridge goes through. Enbridge is a minority owner of the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline.

"As a physician and a public health professional, I say, unequivocally, that risks of this pipeline, as will be explicitly described by my colleagues, far outweigh the possible benefits and pose an unacceptable level of vulnerability to the men, women and children of this entire region—and beyond," wrote Dr. Irwin Redlener in a statement sent to EcoWatch. Dr. Redlener is director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness and a professor at Columbia University.

A lawsuit challenging FERC's approval of the project is currently pending in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

By Lorraine ChowHealth  10:58AM EST
World's First Giant Outside Vacuum Cleaner to Filter Dirty Air

A Dutch tech startup called Envinity Group has unveiled a giant outdoor vacuum cleaner designed to filter the tiniest toxic specks from the atmosphere.

The invention was presented at the Offshore Energy trade fair in Amsterdam on Tuesday.

"It's a large industrial filter about 8 meters (26 feet) long, made of steel ... placed basically on top of buildings and it works like a big vacuum cleaner," company spokesman Henk Boersen told AFP.

The firm describes their invention as the "world's first giant outside air vacuum cleaner," according to AFP.

"A large column of air will pass through the filter and come out clear," Boersen told AFP.

Envinity claims that their prototype can suck in air from a 300-meter radius and about seven kilometers (4 miles) upwards. Citing tests from the Energy Research Centre of the Netherlands, the impressive machine can clean about 800,000 cubic meters (28,000 cubic feet) of air per hour using patented ozone-free ion technology. As a result, the vacuum can filter out 100 percent of fine particles and 95 percent of ultra-fine particles.

As Envinity states, fine particles and ultra-fine particles are indeed extremely harmful to public health, and can be a hindrance to national, regional and local investments and economic progress.

"Without really being aware of it, we breathe in small quantities of toxic particles from the surrounding air 24 hours a day. These are responsible for a great many health problems," Envinity notes on its website.

As EcoWatch observed previously, exposure to poor air quality is the world's fourth-leading threat to human health. An International Energy Agency study found that 6.5 million deaths globally are attributed to poor air quality.

According to Envinity, fine particles, or particles smaller than 10 micrometers, are linked to an increased risk of respiratory and cardiovascular health problems. Ultra-fine particles, which are smaller than 0.1 micrometers, have an even greater impact on public health as they can damage the nervous system, including brain cells and also cause infections in the human body.

These toxic particles are the result of man-made pollution. Unregulated and poorly regulated energy production and use, as well as inefficient fuel combustion, are the "most important man-made sources of key air pollutant emissions," the International Energy Agency stated. Eighty-five percent of particulate matter—which can contain acids, metals, soil and dust particles—and almost all sulfur oxides and nitrogen oxides can be linked back to those sources.

Boersen said that governments, businesses and airports have already expressed interest in the project.

"It might be a cliché, but we hope that we will be able to leave the world a better place than when we found it," Envinity Group co-founder Simon van der Burg told Dutch News.

By Climate NexusClimate  09:06AM EST
Antarctica’s Ice Shelves Melting Rapidly as Ocean Waters Warm

Three glaciers in West Antarctica have undergone "intense unbalanced melting," risking their stability and further acceleration of sea level rise.

New research published in Nature Communications found that the Smith, Pope and Kohler glaciers in the Amundsen Sea embayment collectively lost about 1,000 feet of ice from 2002 to 2009.

Map of flow speeds at the Smith, Pope and Kohler Glaciers.NASA

This rapid melt shows how glaciers are being eaten away from the bottom due to a large increase in ocean heat.

For a deeper dive:

Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, NPR, Climate Central, Mashable, Washington Post, TakePart, Xinhua, Gizmodo, Motherboard

For more climate change and clean energy news, you can follow Climate Nexus on Twitter and Facebook, and sign up for daily Hot News.

By Climate NexusEnergy  08:29AM EST
U.S. Judge Approves Historic Settlement in Volkswagen Emissions Scandal

A U.S. federal judge approved a $14.7 billion settlement in the Volkswagen "Dieselgate" scandal.

Yuankuei / Flickr

This is one of the largest consumer lawsuits affecting more than 475,000 diesel cars in the U.S. The settlement gives Volkswagen owners the option to sell their vehicle back or get a free fix.

"The settlement is fair, reasonable and adequate," U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer wrote in his order.

The German carmaker will also pay $4.7 billion for environmental programs and promotion of zero-emissions vehicles.

"Judge Breyer is making them pay the price. Volkswagen chose to poison our families with dangerous pollution just to pad its pocketbook," Kathryn Phillips, California director for the Sierra Club environmental group, said.

For a deeper dive:

Wall Street Journal, LA Times, Chicago Tribune, Reuters, Detroit News, USA Today, New York Times, NPR, Bloomberg

For more climate change and clean energy news, you can follow Climate Nexus on Twitter and Facebook, and sign up for daily Hot News.