Eco News

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    Thousands anticipated to kickoff Earth Day Weekend
    at world’s largest consumer Eco/Sustainable Lifestyle show

    CHICAGO – Green Festivals, a joint project of Global Exchange and Co-op America, and widely known "party with a purpose," will touch down for two days in Chicago, April 21-22 at McCormick Place, bringing together more than 150 speakers, 300 local and national green businesses and an anticipated audience of more than 20,000.

    For the first time, Chicago area residents will be invited to take part in the largest and most authentic sustainability event in the world and explore what’s next on the horizon for renewable energy, socially responsible investing, eco-fashions, green business leaders, groundbreaking films, eco-tourism, green building, green parenting and more. This marks Green Festivals’ inaugural Chicago event and celebrates its upcoming sixth year in San Francisco and fourth year in Washington, D.C. Green Festivals continues to stay at the forefront, bringing leading-edge green products, innovations, services and information into people’s lives and communities. In 2006 alone, Green Festivals brought together more than 60,000 attendees.

    "Our goal has always been to provide the most extensive, engaging and truly green event to enlighten and educate the public on greener ways of living," says Co-op America Executive Director Alisa Gravitz. "The tremendous growth in attendance at Green Festivals reflects consumers’ hunger to learn about the movement toward a greener sustainable lifestyle."

    With a stringent screening process for entry, Green Festival ensures all exhibitors and sponsors meet the best practices and highest integrity for businesses on a green mission. As a joint project of two influential non-profit organizations, Global Exchange and Co-op America, Green Festival brings individuals, businesses and investors together to work cooperatively in creating sustainable economic solutions for communities and the environment This year’s Green Festival will continue to celebrate the positive impact of sustainable living, eco/organic products for personal health and wellness and the importance of critical initiatives such as carbon reduction, global citizenship and renewable energy.

    "Since starting Green Festivals in 2002 we have seen an incredible shift in green living as well as a seminal shift in the green economy," says Kevin Danaher, co-founder, Global Exchange. "There are now two relevant greens – the bottom line green and the environmental green – and companies are learning they can make better profits by protecting nature and saving our resources than by destroying the environment. We’re witnessing a much different kind of economy that consumers can aggressively support."

    At Green Festival Chicago, attendees will experience great "How-To" workshops, attend green career sessions, eat delicious local organic cuisine, drink organic beer and wine, view thought-provoking environmental films, participate in yoga and movement classes, discuss the latest trends in socially responsible investing and mingle with thousands of area residents looking to shop and talk green living.

    With a guest speaker list of over 150, Green Festival will play host to such visionary leaders as Amy Goodman, Congressman Dennis Kucinich, Jim Hightower, Greg Palast, Bill McKibben, Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins and Chicago Environment Commissioner Sadhu Johnston (invited). Green Festival is the perfect place to build cultural bridges, save the planet, grow the green economy and begin healthier, greener ways of living.

    For more information about Green Festivals, please visit www.greenfestivals.org.
    – Environmental News Service [www.ens-newswire.com]

    U.S. grain to fuel cars raises world food prices
    If you think you are spending more each week at the supermarket, you may be right. The escalating share of the U.S. grain harvest going to ethanol distilleries is driving up food prices worldwide.

    Corn prices have doubled over the last year, wheat futures are trading at their highest level in 10 years, and rice prices are rising too. In addition, soybean futures have risen by half. A Bloomberg analysis notes that the soaring use of corn as the feedstock for fuel ethanol "is creating unintended consequences throughout the global food chain."

    The countries initially hit by rising food prices are those where corn is the staple food. In Mexico, one of more than 20 countries with a corn-based diet, the price of tortillas is up by 60 percent. Angry Mexicans in crowds of up to 75,000 have taken to the streets in protest, forcing the government to institute price controls on tortillas. Food prices are also rising in China, India, and the United States, countries that contain 40 percent of the world’s people. While relatively little corn is eaten directly in these countries, vast quantities are consumed indirectly in meat, milk, and eggs in both China and the United States.

    As more and more fuel ethanol distilleries are built, world grain prices are starting to move up toward their oil-equivalent value in what appears to be the beginning of a long-term rise.
    – Earth Policy Institute [www.earthpolicy.org]

    Organic Association to Expose Vitamin Labeling Fraud
    The Minnesota-based Organic Consumers Association (OCA) is launching a new public health and truth-in-labeling campaign called "Nutri-Con: The Truth About Vitamins & Supplements." Through public education, marketplace pressure, and litigation, OCA’s campaign will expose the hazards and limited effectiveness of synthetic vitamins and supplements, and strive to create mass consumer awareness and marketplace demand for truly organic, "naturally occurring" vitamins, botanicals, and supplements.
    "Nutri-Con will alert the public to the fact that 90 percent or more of the vitamins and supplements now on the market labeled as ‘natural,’ ‘food based’ or ‘organic’ actually contain relatively ineffective and sometimes even harmful synthetic chemicals, genetically modified organisms (GMOs), and nanoparticles," said nutrition expert Dr. Scott Treadway, a co-founder of the campaign.
    OCA National Director Ronnie Cummins added: "Nutri-Con is the opening salvo in a campaign that will revolutionize the $20 billion vitamin and supplements industry."
    – Organic Consumers Association [www.organicconsumers.org]

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