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Thanksgiving: Feasting, Fasting and Climate Change

Source: Common Dreams

On the first day of the UN climate summit in Warsaw, Yeb Saño wept in his chair. Four days after Supertyphoon Haiyan had smashed into the Philippines—killing an estimated 4,000 people—the lead climate negotiator for the Philippines at the U.N. tearfully announced he would fast until meaningful agreements to deal with the climate crisis were reached. Specifically at issue are emission reductions and an international mechanism for losses and damages as a result of climate change. “We can fix this,” Saño pleaded, “We can stop this madness. Right now, right here.” The young Philippine delegate is circulating a petition (now with nearly three quarters of a million signatures) calling for meaningful agreements in Warsaw. He is still fasting. As we approach Thanksgiving, traditionally a time of feasting in the U.S., many have joined Yeb Saño in his fast. read more

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Walmart’s Food Deserts: Greening the Bottom Line

Source: Huffington Post

Recently, First Lady Michelle Obama announced that SUPERVALU, Walgreens and Walmart committed to open or expand 1,500 supermarkets across America’s food deserts — low-income areas without easy access to a supermarket. But while improving food access is a noble goal, the announcement merits a closer look.

Critics of the program note that health disparities are more strongly related to poverty than location of grocery stores. In fact, a recently published study in a top medical journal found that “greater supermarket availability was generally unrelated to diet quality…” Responding to the announcement, Joe Hansen, of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW), pointed out that “Walmart is more responsible than any other private employer in our country for creating poverty-level jobs that leave workers unable to purchase healthy food.”  read more