Roddy Scheer

Recent Articles

Sugar versus other sweeteners

What effect do they have on the environment? 
 
By Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss

Contributing Writers

 

The production of sugar has indeed taken a huge environmental toll. “Sugar has arguably had as great an impact on the environment as any other agricultural commodity,” reports the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), citing biodiversity loss as a result of the “wholesale conversion of habitat on tropical islands and on coastal areas” to grow sugar. WWF adds that the cultivation of sugar has also resulted in considerable soil erosion and degradation and the use of large amounts of chemicals across the tropics and beyond. Some natural food markets now carry sustainably harvested sugar that does not fit this profile, though sugar’s ugly history has led many eco-conscious consumers to look elsewhere to satiate their sweet teeth. Fortunately there are several natural and artificial options that are safe to eat and relatively benign for the environment. Continue Reading →

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Why environmentalists are upset about the Monsanto Protection Act

 

 

 

By Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss

Contributing Writers 

 

The so-called Monsanto Protection Act is actually a provision (officially known as Section 735) within a recently passed congressional spending bill, H.R. 933, which exempts biotech companies from litigation in regard to the making, selling and distribution of genetically engineered (GE) seeds and plants. President Obama signed the bill and its controversial rider into law in March 2013 much to the dismay of environmentalists. It means that Monsanto and other companies that supply the majority of the nation’s crop seeds can continue to produce GE products regardless of any potential court orders stating otherwise. Opponents of GE foods believe that giving such companies a free reign over the production of such potentially dangerous organisms regardless of judicial challenge is a bad idea, especially given how little we still know about the biological and ecological implications of widespread use of GE crops. Today more than 90 percent of the corn, soybeans, cotton, sugar beets and canola planted in the U.S. is derived from seeds genetically engineered by Monsanto and other companies to resist pests and thus increase yields. Continue Reading →

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Parents can lead by example in getting kids outside — Encourage children to appreciate nature, have fun outside

 

 

 

By Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss

Contributing Writers 

Getting kids away from computer and TV screens and outside into the fresh air is an increasing challenge for parents everywhere. Researchers have found that U.S. children today spend about half as much time outdoors as their counterparts did 20 years ago. The Kaiser Family Foundation reports that kids agedseight-18 spend on average more than seven-and-a-half hours a day — or some 53+ hours per week — engaging with so-called entertainment media. Meanwhile, the Children & Nature Network (C&NN), a nonprofit founded by writers and educators concerned about “nature deficit disorder,” finds that in a typical week only six percent of American kids ages nine to 13 plays outside on their own. According to Richard Louv, a founding board member of C&NN and author of the book, Last Child in the Woods, kids who stay inside too much can suffer from “nature deficit disorder,” which can contribute to a range of behavioral problems including attention disorders, depression and declining creativity as well as physical problems like obesity. Continue Reading →

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