something fishy about this ice-cream?

Submitted by turbosprout on Tue, 2007-01-09 07:19

Unilever is using genetically engineered "antifreeze" fish proteins from the blood of the Ocean Pout (a polar ocean, eel-like species) in ice cream products sold in the US, Australia and New Zealand.

Ice-structuring, or antifreeze protein protects the ocean pout in freezing waters by preventing large ice crystals forming; in ice cream and other frozen food it would have the same effect. Unilever touts the benefits of the fish antifreeze protein as "crystallization" when ice cream products warm (above proper temperatures) and then are refrozen.

The GM protein is produced through transgenic baker's yeast, in large vat batches.

Unilever's submission to the Food Standards Agency in the UK is being opposed by the Independent Science Panel as they submit it is potentially able to cause inflammation and should not be approved without comprehensive tests.
Via: Organic Consumers Association

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revenge of the cloth nappy

Submitted by sproutingforth on Mon, 2007-01-08 10:25

pic: list of clever comebacks on wearing cloth nappies I can count on one hand the number of people who literally wrinkle up their noses when they hear that I’m a cloth nappy devotee. Not my fellow nappy changers so much, no, they’re full of admiration – although they wouldn’t consider going that route themselves. The reasons are many: too smelly, too much work, too much bother, too old-fashioned, too leaky, too messy, too (fill in whatever strikes your fancy).

Have you ever walked past a bin full of disposable nappies – seriously, have you stopped to take a good whiff of all that poo and chemicals? Do you really think that a bucket full of slightly stained, soaking cloth nappies could possibly give off quite the same stench?

I’m not going to get radical and start mentioning the why’s and the wherefores of cloth nappies here – we all know about the hundreds of years it takes for a disposable to decompose and the questionable chemicals used in the production of disposables. [mothernatureproducts]

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greening it up – fri 5 jan 07

Submitted by turbosprout on Fri, 2007-01-05 10:56

pic: spcapic: spcaThe Durban SPCA has condemned the thoughtless use of fireworks at New year celebrations as the "worst" in several years. [IOL]

Indian Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, has slammed the West for its "environmentally wasteful lifestyle" and called for industrialised nations to look at alterative energy sources to save the environment. [IOL]

Norway's Prime Minister has announced that greenhouse gases produced by government officials flying overseas will be offset by buying emission credits. The scheme would cost around 2.5 million kroner (R2.82 million) and would be invested in forestry and in technologies which reduce the output of greenhouse gases. [BBC]

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greening it up – thu 4 jan 07

Submitted by sproutingforth on Thu, 2007-01-04 10:37

green reflections on a new year:

pic: US balloonpic: US balloonIt’s that time again, provided you can find the time, for reflection – on the year that’s just whooshed by and the year to come, okay, the year that’s already here!

2007, in numerological terms, is a 9 – a more humanitarian year which, hopefully, will see more understanding, communicating and influencing than this last year, governed by the principle of domination, control and achievement.

If Hank Green, one of the writers for Treehugger, is to be believed then this is the year for small groups of people to change the world. Small groups of ‘07 are well informed and well funded – the most important of which is busy researching and publicizing green technology. [treehugger]

The most important story of the year. – media coverage of global warming and green issues [hippyshopper]

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cloned food coming soon to a plate near you

Submitted by turbosprout on Wed, 2007-01-03 15:55

So not only do we have genetically modified food to contend with, but in the near future we may end up with cloned meat on our plates and no way of knowing it.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recently pronounced in a draft ruling that meat and milk from cloned animals is safe for human consumption.

The five year study examined meat and milk products from cattle, pigs and goats, but not sheep and ruled the food "as safe as the food we eat every day".

The agency suggested that it was unlikely to recommend placing special labels on food from cloned animals, but that a final decision on the labelling would not be taken until the end of the public consultation period due to begin soon.

Consumer groups were less than keen on the ruling, which would see the US become the first country to allow cloned food products into the food supply.

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greening it up - wed 3 jan 07

Submitted by turbosprout on Wed, 2007-01-03 11:18

green news bites from around the world today include:

An ethanol powered 4x4 is being tested in Malawi as part of a five-year, US$1 million government backed project to test the feasibility of flex-fuel vehicles (cars that can use either 100% ethanol or a combination of ethanol and petrol).

Ethanol is not only a renewable energy source but can also increase employment as it can be derived from sugarcane grown in the country instead of importing petrol. SciDev

UK's largest supermarket, Tesco, committed in December to using biofuel to power its fleet of 2000 delivery trucks and reckons this is equivalent to removing 20,000 medium-size vehicles from the road over the fleet's life-time. New Scientist Blogs

The European Commission is proposing that airlines operating in the EU should pay for any increase in carbon emissions above current levels to make a "fair contribution" to the fight against climate change. Environmentalists, however, said the measures were too weak to make much difference.

The commissioners' idea is to bring internal EU flights inside the bloc's emissions trading scheme from 2011, with other flights following in 2012.

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rietvlei eco-disaster cleanup

Submitted by turbosprout on Tue, 2007-01-02 16:59

pic: Rogan Ward, Cape Arguspic: Rogan Ward, Cape ArgusAn estimated 60 tons of fish have been removed from the Rietvlei Wetland Reserve near Milnerton / Table View, Cape Town since Christmas, after dying as a result of a lack of oxygen in the water.

Acting reserve manager, Dalton Gibbs, says the quality of the water will be tested tomorrow and on Thursday and the reserve may be open by this weekend.

Gibbs said the samples would determine if there were any specific pollutants in the water that has caused the massive die-off, which started early on Christmas Day.

However, Gibbs suspected that it was a case of the vlei having reached a point where it could absorb no more of the high load of organic pollutants that flowed in from the storm water drains.

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'tis the season to be jolly... in an environmentally friendly kinda way

Submitted by turbosprout on Sun, 2006-12-24 16:40

Wishing you a wonderfully green festive season, with the news that the City of Cape Town is using energy efficient festive season lights this year!

The City’s Public Lighting Department has transformed the outdated strings of colourful bulbs into an illumination extravaganza made up of about 5 000 LED's (light emitting diodes) and 15 000 metres of rope lighting.

According to Charles Kadalie, the City's manager for public lighting, the energy-efficient lighting system will save about 80% of the electricity that would normally be consumed, and at the same time save on costs.

Sources: SA Cities Network Green Clippings

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greening it up – sat 23 dec 06

Submitted by sproutingforth on Sat, 2006-12-23 12:10

pic: news from around sa and the world today:

green people are happy! - an online study of 700 people links planetary and personal well-being [hugg]

this year’s colour is green - the term ‘green’ has finally shed its ‘liberal’, ‘tree-hugging’, ‘girly-man’ image and become understood by a critical mass of citizens as the most capitalistic, geopolitical, healthy and competitive thing they could do! [treehugger]

last minute green christmas gift ideas - include a low-flow shower head, a copy of an inconvenient truth, a packet of seeds and a bicycle! [aboutmyplanet]

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cape town asked to save water

Submitted by sproutingforth on Fri, 2006-12-22 11:40

pic:jhb.orgpic:jhb.orgThose living in cape town have been asked by the city to save water as temperatures soar. The city has passed two new bylaws to act on long-term effects of global warming, and in terms of these:

• those living in cape town may not water their gardens between 10am and 4pm,
• hosepipes must be fitted with automatic self-closing devices
• potable water can’t be used to damp building sand (to keep it from blowing away)
• the flow rate from taps in hand basins shouldn’t exceed 6 litres per minute

The city also looks set to clamp down on the big water users – any one using more than 3650 kilolitres a year has to undergo an annual water audit and commercial carwash businesses have to recycle a minimum of 50% of their water. We should all be recycling 50% of our water consumption, or at least be making a huge effort to save water.

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