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New York City Public Schools to Join ‘Meatless Mondays’ Movement
By Sam Nickerson
For students in the United States' largest school district, "Meatloaf Monday" in the cafeteria will soon be a thing of the past.
Instead, New York City public schools will be adopting "Meatless Mondays" for the 2019-2020 school year in an effort to improve public health and reduce the city's environmental footprint, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced this week.
Each Monday, all breakfast and lunch food served to students will be entirely vegetarian, though students are still welcome to bring pack lunches with meat in them. According to the Department of Education, Food and Nutrition Services officials will meet with students to receive their input before the menu is finalized.
The program was successfully piloted at 15 Brooklyn schools in Spring 2018 and the decision to expand it to the more than 1,800 schools citywide was based on positive feedback and metrics. The program will be cost-neutral, officials said, and school lunch is already free for all 1.1 million public school students in the city.
"When you're talking to a 10-year-old and they know this is good for their body and good for the earth, that proves we're going in the right direction," de Blasio said in a video posted to his Twitter account. "There's a lot of enthusiasm."
New York City joins a national movement of more than 100 other districts across the U.S. that participate in Meatless Mondays, according to Grist. Other organizations are getting on board too: New York City hospitals launched a Meatless Mondays initiative this year, while the City of Berkeley, Calif. now requires all food served at official meetings and events on Mondays to be vegan, The Hill reported.
Four school districts in northeastern Brazil recently went a step further: the cities voted to become the first in the world to serve only plant-based meals in order to reduce their environmental footprint and boost healthy eating habits.
A large body of research suggests that a plant-based diet can lower an individual's risk of diseases like diabetes, heart disease and cancer, registered dietician and author of "Plant-Powered for Life" Sharon Palmer told CNN. Meat can be a good source of protein, but most Americans eat more than 1.5 times the recommended amount. Excess red and processed meat consumption is linked with increased risk of the same diseases plant-based diets can help prevent, research found.
Eating less meat also appears to be beneficial for the earth.
A 2018 study published in the journal Science found that animal husbandry related to meat and dairy produces 60 percent of agricultural greenhouse gases and is responsible for 83 percent of all farmland use while only providing 18 percent of all global calorie intake. In other words, reduced meat consumption can lead to lower greenhouse gas emissions and more efficient use of farmlands.
"Reducing our appetite for meat is one of the single biggest ways individuals can reduce their environmental impact on our planet," Mark Chambers, director of the NYC Mayor's Office of Sustainability, said in a press release. "Meatless Mondays will introduce hundreds of thousands of young New Yorkers to the idea that small changes in their diet can create larger changes for their health and the health of our planet."
This trend toward "reducetarianism" has met some resistance, however. The U.S. Department of Agriculture pulled its support for Meatless Mondays in 2012 after complaints from livestock industry lobbyists and GOP legislators, The Hill reported.
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Global Banks, Led by JPMorgan Chase, Invested $1.9 Trillion in Fossil Fuels Since Paris Climate Pact
By Sharon Kelly
A report published Wednesday names the banks that have played the biggest recent role in funding fossil fuel projects, finding that since 2016, immediately following the Paris agreement's adoption, 33 global banks have poured $1.9 trillion into financing climate-changing projects worldwide.
By Patti Lynn
2018 was a groundbreaking year in the public conversation about climate change. Last February, The New York Times reported that a record percentage of Americans now believe that climate change is caused by humans, and there was a 20 percentage point rise in "the number of Americans who say they worry 'a great deal' about climate change."
England faces an "existential threat" if it does not change how it manages its water, the head of the country's Environment Agency warned Tuesday.
By Jessica Corbett
A new analysis revealed Tuesday that over the past two decades heat records across the U.S. have been broken twice as often as cold ones—underscoring experts' warnings about the increasingly dangerous consequences of failing to dramatically curb planet-warming emissions.
By Madison Dapcevich
Ask any resident of San Francisco about the waterfront parrots, and they will surely tell you a story of red-faced conures squawking or dive-bombing between building peaks. Ask a team of researchers from the University of Georgia, however, and they will tell you of a mysterious string of neurological poisonings impacting the naturalized flock for decades.
The initial cause of the fire was not yet known, but it has been driven by the strong wind and jumped the North Santiam River, The Salem Statesman Journal reported. As of Tuesday night, it threatened around 35 homes and 30 buildings, and was 20 percent contained.
The unanimous verdict was announced Tuesday in San Francisco in the first federal case to be brought against Monsanto, now owned by Bayer, alleging that repeated use of the company's glyphosate-containing weedkiller caused the plaintiff's cancer. Seventy-year-old Edwin Hardeman of Santa Rosa, California said he used Roundup for almost 30 years on his properties before developing non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
"Today's verdict reinforces what another jury found last year, and what scientists with the state of California and the World Health Organization have concluded: Glyphosate causes cancer in people," Environmental Working Group President Ken Cook said in a statement. "As similar lawsuits mount, the evidence will grow that Roundup is not safe, and that the company has tried to cover it up."
Judge Vince Chhabria has split Hardeman's trial into two phases. The first, decided Tuesday, focused exclusively on whether or not Roundup use caused the plaintiff's cancer. The second, to begin Wednesday, will assess if Bayer is liable for damages.
"We are disappointed with the jury's initial decision, but we continue to believe firmly that the science confirms glyphosate-based herbicides do not cause cancer," Bayer spokesman Dan Childs said in a statement reported by The Guardian. "We are confident the evidence in phase two will show that Monsanto's conduct has been appropriate and the company should not be liable for Mr. Hardeman's cancer."
Some legal experts said that Chhabria's decision to split the trial was beneficial to Bayer, Reuters reported. The company had complained that the jury in Johnson's case had been distracted by the lawyers' claims that Monsanto had sought to mislead scientists and the public about Roundup's safety.
However, a remark made by Chhabria during the trial and reported by The Guardian was blatantly critical of the company.
"Although the evidence that Roundup causes cancer is quite equivocal, there is strong evidence from which a jury could conclude that Monsanto does not particularly care whether its product is in fact giving people cancer, focusing instead on manipulating public opinion and undermining anyone who raises genuine and legitimate concerns about the issue," he said.
Many regulatory bodies, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, have ruled that glyphosate is safe for humans, but the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer found it was "probably carcinogenic to humans" in 2015. A university study earlier this year found that glyphosate use increased cancer risk by as much as 41 percent.
Hardeman's lawyers Jennifer Moore and Aimee Wagstaff said they would now reveal Monsanto's efforts to mislead the public about the safety of its product.
"Now we can focus on the evidence that Monsanto has not taken a responsible, objective approach to the safety of Roundup," they wrote in a statement reported by The Guardian.
Hardeman's case is considered a "bellwether" trial for the more than 760 glyphosate cases Chhabria is hearing. In total, there are around 11,200 such lawsuits pending in the U.S., according to Reuters.
University of Richmond law professor Carl Tobias told Reuters that Tuesday's decision showed that the verdict in Johnson's case was not "an aberration," and could possibly predict how future juries in the thousands of pending cases would respond.