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For indigenous protesters, defending the environment can be fatal

Adán Vez Lira, a prominent defender of an ecological reserve in Mexico, was shot while riding his motorcycle in April. Four years earlier, the renowned activist Berta Cáceres was shot dead in her home in Honduras by assailants taking direction from executives responsible for a dam she had opposed. Four years before that, Cambodian forest and land activist Chut Wutty was killed during a brawl with the country’s military police while investigating illegal logging.

These are some of the most prominent examples of violence faced by environmental activists in recent years — but, according to a new report, they are not unusual. As police crack down on protests demanding justice and equity in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd in the U.S., it’s clear that activism in general comes at a heavy price. Environmental activists specifically — particularly indigenous activists and activists of color — have for years faced high rates of criminalization, physical violence, and even murder for their efforts to protect the planet, according to a comprehensive analysis by researchers from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, which was released last Tuesday.

The researchers analyzed nearly 2,800 social conflicts related to the environment using the Environmental Justice Atlas (EJAtlas) database, which they created in 2011 to monitor environmental conflicts around the world. The study, published in the journal Global Environmental Change, found that 20 percent of environmental defenders faced criminal charges or were imprisoned, 18 percent were victims of physical violence, and 13 percent were killed between 2011 and 2019. The likelihood of these consequences increased significantly for indigenous environmental defenders: 27 percent faced criminalization, 25 percent were victims of physical violence, and 19 percent were murdered.

“We can think of this as compounded injustice, highlighting the extreme risks vulnerable communities opposing social and environmental violence against them face when they stand up for their rights,” one of the study’s researchers, Leah Temper, told Grist.

Environmental defenders, as the researchers defined them, are individuals or collectives that mobilize and protest against unsustainable or harmful uses of the environment. Examples of the sort of conflict covered by the study are the construction of pipelines on tribal lands, illegal mining in the Amazon rainforest, oil extraction in the Arctic, and the construction of fossil fuel refineries.

The analysis draws on last year’s report from the human rights and environmental watchdog organization Global Witness, which found that at least 164 environmental activists were killed in 2018 alone. The Philippines was named the deadliest country in the world for environmental defenders, who have been called terrorists by President Rodrigo Duterte.

In fact, not long after these findings, 37-year-old Brandon Lee, an American environmental activist who was in the Philippines on a volunteer mission, was shot four times in Ifugao province by unknown assailants after his group, the Ifugao Peasant Movement — a farmers group opposing a hydropower project — had been labeled an “enemy of the state” across social media by propagandists. As of April, Lee was recovering in his hometown of San Francisco, but he remains paralyzed from the chest down.

The lead author of last week’s study, Arnim Scheidel, said he hopes that the analysis gives lawmakers and the public a better understanding of the causes of the violence that protesters still face around the world.

“Globally, indigenous peoples suffer significantly higher rates of violence in environmental conflicts,” Scheidel said. “Being aware of these connections may help to connect struggles against various forms of racism worldwide. Protest is key for the success of such struggles, particularly when using diverse channels and building on broad alliances.”

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For indigenous protesters, defending the environment can be fatal

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The Coming Plague – Laurie Garrett


The Coming Plague

Newly Emerging Diseases in a World Out of Balance

Laurie Garrett

Genre: Biology

Price: $7.99

Publish Date: October 31, 1994

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Seller: Macmillan

"Here is a volume that should be required reading for policy makers and health professionals." – Kirkus Reviews After four decades of assuming that the conquest of all infectous diseases was imminent, people on all continents now find themselves besieged by AIDS, drug-resistant tuberculosis, cholera that defies chlorine water treatment, and exotic viruses that can kill in a matter of hours. Based on extensive interviews with leading experts in virology, molecular biology, disease ecology and medicine, as well as field research in sub-Saharan Africa, Western Europe, Central America and the United States, The Coming Plague takes readers from the savannas of eastern Bolivia to the rain forests of northern Zaire on a harrowing, fifty year journey through our battles with the microbes, and tells us what must be done to prevent the coming plague.

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The Coming Plague – Laurie Garrett

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Airbnb wants to send you to the Bahamas for free ⁠— but there’s a catch

Airbnb — the online marketplace for travel lodging and touristy experiences — is searching for five people to drop everything and take a free two-month trip to the Bahamas.

The catch? You have to want to help save the environment. Selected applicants will assist researchers and local experts in preserving the Carribean’s natural and cultural resources by restoring coral reefs and learning about ethical fishing and agricultural practices. The sabbatical will help Bahamians create new eco-friendly experiences for future tourists to book through Airbnb when visiting the islands.

The Bahamas are at the frontlines of the climate crisis. Last September, Hurricane Dorian battered the northern islands with up to 220 mph winds for 40 hours straight, killing at least 70 people and causing more than $3.4 billion in damage. Like other recent powerful hurricanes, Dorian was fueled by high ocean temperatures caused by climate change, and Bahamanians can expect more severe storms in the future as the world warms.

This isn’t the first time Airbnb has offered a “sabbatical” opportunity to help the environment. Last month, the company sent five people to Chile and Antarctica to help study the effects of microplastics on the region. This latest sabbatical initiative — which was developed in partnership with the Bahamas National Trust, a nonprofit that manages the country’s parks and works to protect its natural habitat — will send people to the islands of Andros, Exumas, and Eleuthera, which were not badly affected by Hurricane Dorian.

In the first three weeks of the sabbatical, the chosen applicants will focus on coral reef restoration in the Andros Barrier Reef, the third-largest barrier reef on the planet. Over the years, coastal development and illegal and unsustainable fishing have threatened the Bahamian coral reefs — but climate change has been the biggest threat of them all. The selected applicants will build and care for coral nurseries to foster new growth on the reef.

The Bahamas is made up of more than 700 islands stretched over 750 miles, and its economy relies heavily on tourism. After Dorian hit, the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism urged tourists not to cancel their trips to the unravaged parts of the country.

Eric Carey, the executive director of the Bahamas National Trust, echoed that sentiment in a statement about the Airbnb initiative. “The Bahamas is open for business and while we work to restore parts of the archipelago devastated by Hurricane Dorian, the vast majority is ready for visitors,” he said.

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Airbnb wants to send you to the Bahamas for free ⁠— but there’s a catch

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Coal isn’t dying. It moved to Asia.

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Coal isn’t dying. It moved to Asia.

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Why Extinction Rebellion is occupying an NYC park

Hundreds of climate protesters around the world were arrested Monday, kicking off Extinction Rebellion’s “International Rebellion,” two weeks of direct action and civil disobedience protests in 60 countries. In London, protesters blocked all major roads around the Houses of Parliament, including Westminster Bridge, while hundreds more occupied Trafalgar Square. In Argentina, activists in hazmat suits and blood-red cloaks with white face paint called the “red brigade” occupied a Bayer-Monsanto office in Buenos Aires. And in the Netherlands, more than 100 people were arrested for trying to set up a tent city in a major tourism area.

In New York City, protesters staged a “die-in” in the middle of Wall Street in downtown Manhattan on Monday morning as part of what they called a “funeral procession for the earth.” Two famous statues, Charging Bull and Fearless Girl, dripped with fake blood that the activists had splattered all over their fellow protesters and the cobblestone streets. (The group cleaned up all the blood after the action ended.) Around 60 people were arrested.

Extinction Rebellion, a decentralized, non-hierarchical environmental action group born in the U.K., is different from Greta Thunberg’s Fridays for Future movement in a few notable ways. For one thing, the group is made up of people of all ages, not just youth. For another, the group’s main strategies are civil disobedience and other non-violent disruption techniques. The youth climate strikes, by contrast, are generally cleared with local governments and permitted ahead of time. This means Extinction Rebellion protesters are more likely to get arrested for things like trespassing and marching without a permit.

After the die-in on Monday, the NYC Extinction Rebellion group set up more than half a dozen tables and booths in Greenwich Village’s Washington Square Park, where they’re planning a weeklong occupation dubbed “RebelFest.” Pro-environment musicians and guerilla theater troupes performed and activists delivered speeches. The group’s camp included a food pantry, an art table, and a wellness area, though they didn’t have the city’s permission to table in the park.

Christina See, an Extinction Rebellion NYC organizer, is a film producer who has been dedicating all of her free time to Extinction Rebellion over the last 10 months. Grist / Molly Enking

Christina See, an NYC-based organizer for Extinction Rebellion, said RebelFest is as much about education as it is disruption. There is a “massive difference in consciousness around the climate and ecological emergency” between the U.S. and Europe, See said. “You can see in Europe, there is mass mobilization happening, with people on the streets demanding their governments take action to protect their citizens.” In America, she said, it’s harder to get people mobilized in the same way because the country is so spread out.

RebelFest, See told Grist, “is about having a place for people to come, meet, and see that these are everyday people, not ‘radical activists,’ who are doing this.” See pointed out that she’d only been active with Extinction Rebellion for 10 months. “But we all see what’s happening, and we have a moral obligation to not just us, but future generations and all of the species on this planet,” she said.

Pratt Institute students (from left) Megan Shoheili, Alex Ellerkamp, and Sydney Jones came by to learn about Extinction Rebellion after reading about the morning’s “die-in” on Wall Street. Grist / Molly Enking

Sydney Jones, Alex Ellerkamp, and Megan Shoheili, students at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, came by the park after hearing about the morning’s protests on Wall Street. The students were a fan of RebelFest because, they said, it provides a platform for education, conversation, and building community. They said they approved of Extinction Rebellion’s tactics because more disruptive action can make a bigger difference. “Visually offensive stuff like the fake blood can make more of an impact,” Shoheili said.

All three also agreed that both the permitted marches of the youth climate movement and the civil disobedience of Extinction Rebellion are needed, because not everyone feels comfortable potentially getting arrested, “it sends a stronger message to march without a permit,” Jones said. “Why should we follow the rules, when lawmakers are ignoring the climate crisis?”

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Why Extinction Rebellion is occupying an NYC park

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Google searches for ‘climate change’ finally beat out Game of Thrones

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Google searches for ‘climate change’ finally beat out Game of Thrones

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Trump issues Earth Day message without mentioning climate change

This story was originally published by The Guardian and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

Donald Trump issued on Monday an Earth Day proclamation that omitted any mention of climate change or the cavalcade of environmental threats posed by deforestation, species loss, and plastic pollution. The president chose instead to praise the benefits of a “strong market economy.”

In response, one leading climate scientist said Trump’s environmental policy was “in many cases the antithesis of protection.” The executive director of the Sierra Club said Trump was “the worst president for the environment our nation has ever had.”

Trump praised the “abundant beauty and life-sustaining bounty” of the American environment but did not echo growing warnings from scientists over rising temperatures or the precipitous decline of many species.

“Environmental protection and economic prosperity go hand in hand,” Trump said in his message for Earth Day, a global event held to support environmental protection annually since 1970.

“A strong market economy is essential to protecting our critical natural resources and fostering a legacy of conservation. My administration is committed to being effective stewards of our environment while encouraging opportunities for American workers and their families.”

Trump added: “At the same time that our nation is experiencing historic economic and job growth, our air and water quality ranks among the highest in the world.” He stated that his administration has “expanded support for conservation of land, water and wildlife.”

Last year, U.S. government scientists issued a 1,000-page climate change assessment that warned the country faces hundreds of billions of dollars in economic losses due to rising temperatures, flooding, and wildfires. Thousands of Americans are expected to die in worsening heatwaves, with diseases such as West Nile, dengue fever, chikungunya, and Lyme set to expand in range as temperatures rise and rainfall patterns change.

“The fact that they’re not mentioning what many consider to be the gravest existential threat facing humanity is a good indication of the priorities of this administration,” said Andrew Dessler, a climate scientist at Texas A&M University.

“The clear priority of the administration is extracting unsustainable short-term profits from the environment, which is in many cases the antithesis of environmental protection. This is not surprising.”

Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club, called Trump “the worst president for the environment our nation has ever had,” adding: “He has regularly and consistently prioritized the profits of corporate polluters over clean air, clean water and the health of our communities.

“The fact that he continues to ignore the climate crisis endangers the nation and will be viewed by history with scorn.”

Trump has routinely disparaged climate science and has attempted to dismantle every major policy aimed at lowering planet-warming emissions, favoring a watered down alternative his administration admits would cause an extra 1,400 deaths a year from air pollution. In June 2017, he announced the withdrawal of the U.S. from the Paris climate deal.

The administration has thrown open vast tracts of public land and almost all U.S. waters to oil, gas, and coal mining, removed protections from some prized landscapes, and scrapped rules that stopped mining waste being dumped into rivers.

Trump, who recently erroneously claimed that wind turbines cause cancer, has repeatedly stated that the U.S. has some of the cleanest air and water in the world.

In fact, while the U.S.’s air is generally far healthier than growing economic powers such as China and India, the American Lung Association has pointed out that 4 in 10 Americans still live in counties with harmful levels of smog.

Millions of Americans are also exposed to drinking water containing industrial chemicals, while lead in water remains a widespread issue five years after the notorious contamination in Flint, Michigan.

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Trump issues Earth Day message without mentioning climate change

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Sportsmen flex their political muscles

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This story was originally published by High Country News and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

On December 2, 2017, onstage in a cavernous auditorium at Boise State University, two of the three Republican hopefuls for Idaho governor, Lieutenant Governor Brad Little and businessman Tommy Ahlquist, discussed their views on public lands in front of a crowd of hunters and anglers. The forum, sponsored by the Idaho Wildlife Federation, Trout Unlimited, and 16 other sportsmen’s groups, was a pivotal one in a state where public lands are a defining issue. The third candidate was conspicuously absent: Representative Raúl Labrador, whose voting record in the House already proved him a staunch public-lands critic.

In a political climate marked by public-land threats, Labrador’s absence spoke volumes, and he lost the primary to Little by five points. “In not coming to a sportsmen’s forum, you allow everyone to fill in the blanks,” said Michael Gibson, Idaho field coordinator for Trout Unlimited. “Governor-Elect Little was willing to come in front of hunters and anglers and say he supports public lands.” In a state where only 12 percent of voters are registered Democrats, that primary victory all but handed Little the governorship.

Republicans were once instrumental in passing laws like the 1964 Wilderness Act and the 1968 Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. In recent decades, however, the party has developed a reputation as the enemy of public lands, a stance further solidified by the Trump administration’s rapid rollback of protections. But in Idaho and Wyoming, two of the West’s most conservative states, hunters and anglers threw down the gauntlet, demanding state policies that protect access and voting down gubernatorial candidates who threaten public lands. As state legislatures shift in 2019, sportsmen’s groups are positioning themselves to fight the administration’s erosion of public-land protections.

In the early 20th century, conservation became a political issue in America, fueled largely by Theodore Roosevelt’s desire to protect rich hunting and fishing grounds. Republicans carried on that legacy until the early 1990s, when the GOP began opposing environmental initiatives. Once President Donald Trump took office in 2016, his administration slashed national monuments and put increasing amounts of public land up for resource extraction. In Congress, Republicans refused to renew the Land and Water Conservation Fund, a popular program that safeguards natural areas.

In the West, the Utah, Montana, and Nevada state legislatures have introduced resolutions urging the transfer of federal lands to state ownership. Sportsmen’s groups generally oppose such transfers, as they would likely limit public access. In Wyoming, for example, state parks ban camping, preventing multi-day backcountry hunting and fishing trips. In addition, state land is managed to fund schools, which means potentially cutting off public access in favor of gravel pits, increased logging, and land sales.

More than half of Idaho is federal public land, including the Frank Church-River of No Return, the biggest contiguous wilderness in the Lower 48, and 891 miles of wild and scenic rivers, including the Salmon, Owyhee, and Snake. But the state has no national parks. That’s partly because Idaho is a sportsmen’s state, and hunting is not allowed in national parks. In 1972, for example, state leaders from both parties ended a decades-long fight over making the Sawtooths a national park by designating the region a national recreation area, thereby protecting its status as popular hunting grounds.

In 2016, tensions boiled over when Texas billionaire brothers Dan and Farris Wilks purchased vast chunks of old timber company land that recreationists had long used to access adjacent public lands. Gates appeared on roads, cutting off hunters, anglers, and off-road vehicles. As the Wilkses bought increasing tracts, people’s frustrations grew, marked by enraged comments on news articles and letters to the editor.

A confrontation at a property line between an armed security guard and a recreationist helped push Idaho lawmakers to update trespassing law, which sowed further unrest. “Critics sought the entire session to pin the bill on Dan and Farris Wilks, the Texas billionaires who have angered hunters, ATV riders, campers and local officials in central Idaho after they closed off 172,000 acres of forest they bought in 2016,” the Idaho Statesman reported.

Voters like Jerry and Terry Myers, who manage a ranch and run guided fishing trips on the Salmon River, made public lands protections a central issue in the Republican gubernatorial primary. “We live here because we love this lifestyle, and we’re always continually working to keep that lifestyle as part of Idaho,” said Terry Myers, who is also president of the local chapter of Trout Unlimited. “Even if leadership isn’t coming from the top down, it’s coming from the bottom up, with the idea that those things built locally will build into the political arena.”

Labrador’s lackluster reputation on public lands galvanized the Myerses and other sportsmen. Opinion pieces in local media like Idaho County Free Press, Idaho State Journal, and Idaho Press denounced the representative as a public-lands-transfer activist, while groups like Idaho Wildlife Federation and League of Conservation Voters highlighted his voting record on public lands. His subsequent refusal to attend the candidate forum at Boise State confirmed voters’ suspicions. Little — the establishment candidate, who was seen as likely to continue outgoing Governor Butch Otter’s opposition to the land-transfer movement — prevailed.

In Wyoming, public lands proved one of the defining issues in the race for governor. As in Idaho, sportsmen are a powerful force: 30 percent of the state’s 600,000 residents applied for a hunting permit in the last five years, and 18 percent bought fishing licenses. “If you look at the voting public, which is 50 percent, I’m going to bet every one of those guys who hunt, vote,” said Dwayne Meadows, executive director of the Wyoming Wildlife Federation. “And if you look at the fact that roughly two-thirds of the state are registered Republicans, that’s a lot of voting Republicans who are hunters.”

In August 2018, at a candidate forum hosted by the Wildlife Federation in the crowded Republican primary, three candidates, Harriet Hageman, Taylor Haynes, and Rex Rammell, expressed support for public-lands transfer, with Hageman going so far as to suggest a 1-million-acre pilot program of land transfer to the state.

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Hunting groups picked up on the issue immediately. Right to Roam, the most listened-to hunting podcast in the state, made it the focus of an episode on the candidates. The Wyoming Hunters and Anglers Alliance endorsed Mark Gordon — a multiple-use public lands advocate who frequently hunts on Wyoming’s public lands — because of the forum, citing his stance on issues related to hunting, and his opponents’ stances on land transfer (Full disclosure: Both Gordon and Little formerly served on the board of High Country News.) Gordon won the primary with 33 percent of the vote, while Foster Friess, who received Trump’s endorsement but “provided a mix of positive, negative, and neutral stances on sportsmen’s issues,” according to the alliance, got 26 percent. Hageman, who had been polling well before the forum, came in with only 21 percent.

“I think all the public-lands transfer conversation has done is galvanize the sportsmen,” Meadows said. “You can see it in the growth of organizations like mine over the last few years, and it’s powerful.”

Public-land issues also had an impact in other Western states. In the New Mexico race for governor, Republican Representative Steve Pearce went on the record as supporting the Land and Water Conservation Fund despite previously voting against it in Congress. Pearce lost the race to Democratic Representative Michelle Lujan Grisham, who supported public-land protections and is also an avid fly-fisher. “Our community is a staunch supporter of public lands,” said Kerrie Romero, executive director of the New Mexico Guides and Outfitters Association.

“Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona are all moving more toward the Democrats, and that’s in part because of the GOP being tone-deaf as to why people of all political stripes value public lands,” said David Jenkins, executive director of Conservatives for Responsible Stewardship. “I’ve always said that if you’re trying to change the political right on environment, you have to show how that aligns with their values — and in the West, people’s affinity for public lands is part of who they are.”

In 2019, sportsmen’s groups plan to continue the advocacy that helped Little and Gordon win their governorships. In rural states like Idaho and Wyoming, it can be hard to track what the legislature is voting on day to day. Even if citizens have a subscription to a Cheyenne or Casper newspaper, those papers won’t always list individual legislators’ decisions.

That is one reason the Wyoming Wildlife Federation is launching bill tracking with real-time alerts to follow specific legislators, so that citizens can let their elected representatives know how to vote. The group is also stepping up recruitment of local ambassadors in rural communities, to help explain how public-lands transfer and the administration’s removal of protections could limit public access.

Groups like Trout Unlimited and Artemis, a new sportswomen’s advocacy organization, plan to ramp up trainings that teach people how to testify in hearings, call their elected officials and generally engage in local politics, all tactics intended to remind state politicians of the groundswell of local support that helped put public-land proponents in office.

Sportsmen’s groups are already taking action in the federal arena as well: On the first day of the 116th Congress, House lawmakers reversed a 2017 measure that made it easier to sell off or transfer public lands — a measure that had been widely criticized by hunters and anglers.

“The overarching thing that every sportsman can agree on is public-lands defense,” said Gibson. “Over beers or at meetings, we might argue about regulations or season length. But whether the season is a week or a month, or you keep two fish or four fish, you have to have access to them.”

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Sportsmen flex their political muscles

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15 Foods That Make Excellent Cleaning Products

Your kitchen is full of exciting meal-making possibilities. And your fridge and pantry probably hold several methods to clean your home that you might not even realize. Here are 15 foods that make excellent cleaning products.

1. Rice

Rice is a wonderfully versatile ingredient in recipes, and it even has a place in your cleaning arsenal. Good Housekeeping recommends using uncooked rice to gently, but effectively clean hard-to-reach spots in vases and other glassware. Simply fill the vessel with water, dish soap and rice, and swish the mixture so the rice scrubs the inside. Then, drain and rinse the glassware.

Additionally, you can use rice to remove built-up oils from a coffee or spice grinder, according to The Kitchn. Pulverize roughly a quarter cup of rice in your grinder, and then wipe it out with a damp towel. The oils will cling to the rice, leaving the grinder fresh for its next use.

2. Ketchup

Besides acting as fries? sidekick, ketchup can be a powerful cleaning product. According to Good Housekeeping, you can use ketchup to remove tarnish from copper-bottomed cookware just by massaging the surface with the acidic condiment. Some people even use this method to shine away tarnished spots on their cars. And if the ketchup isn?t enough to dissolve stubborn tarnish, you can try adding a pinch of salt for a bit of scrubbing action. (Or add potatoes, and have yourself a nice snack.)

3. Coffee grounds

Don?t dump those grounds after you enjoy your morning coffee. They have many uses around the house. Healthline suggests using coffee grounds to fertilize your garden ? or to create more nutrient-rich compost. Plus, you can use them to repel pests, including mosquitoes, fruit flies and beetles. Furthermore, a bowl of coffee grounds in your fridge can help to neutralize odors. And you can use them as a natural cleaning scrub on nonporous surfaces ? as well as to exfoliate your own skin.

4. Tea

Credit: Uniquestock/Getty Images

Not a coffee drinker? No worries. Tea has many cleaning uses, as well. ?The astringency of tea actually cuts through grease and dust,? according to The Spruce. ?Plus it also adds a shine to hardwood floors and furniture.? As a hardwood floor cleaner, simply brew a pot of tea with five or six tea bags. Then, pour the tea into your mop bucket, and add cool water if needed. Just be sure to test it on an inconspicuous area before mopping your whole floor.

5. Potato

Potatoes: They?re great mashed, baked, fried ? and as a rust cleaner. If your favorite cast iron skillet or other cooking utensils have gotten a little rusty, just grab a raw potato, according to The Kitchn. Slice it in half, ?dip the cut end in dish soap or baking soda and firmly rub it over the rusted area.? Repeat until you?ve removed all the rust, slicing off a new cut end if necessary.

6. Bread

Sliced bread was a pretty great invention, especially when you consider its more offbeat uses. That spongy piece of dough is excellent at cleaning up messes, according to Good Housekeeping. Use a slice to clean marks off walls or gently dust artwork. It even is effective at picking up glass shards. Simply press a slice over the broken glass, and even tiny shards should safely stick into the bread.

7. Banana peel

After getting your potassium fix, hang on to that banana?s handy peel for a little bit of cleaning. SFGate recommends using banana peels to dust houseplants, especially the ones you can?t spray with water. Simply wipe the leaves with the inner wall of the peel to remove dust and dirt and leave behind a healthy, banana-scented glow. And that?s not the only household item banana peels can make shine. According to Apartment Therapy, you also can use them to naturally polish silver. Blend up the peels to make a paste, and then work that paste onto your silver item with a cloth. Finally, dip the item in water to remove any remaining paste.

8. Baking soda

With its plethora of uses around the house, baking soda is as much a cleaning product as it is a cooking ingredient. Mix it with a little water to make a surface scrub, use it with dish soap to help cut grease and grime on cookware or even add it to mop water to clean marks off floors. A water-baking soda combo is excellent at cleaning the inside of your oven or microwave, it can polish silver and remove coffee and tea stains from pots and mugs. Plus, baking soda can deodorize most areas of your home, including the refrigerator, trash cans and even drains. Those little boxes certainly pack a major punch.

9. Lemon

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Baking soda might get a lot of cleaning glory, but lemon is right there with it. One of the easiest ways to clean your microwave is to chop up a lemon, add it to a bowl of water and heat it until your microwave window is steamy, according to Good Housekeeping. Wait at least 15 minutes for it to cool, and then wipe down the inside.

You also can clean wooden cutting boards by sprinkling them with a little salt, rubbing a cut lemon over it and then rinsing. Plus, lemon juice mixed with salt makes an effective brass cleaner. And don?t forget to add a little lemon rind to your natural all-purpose cleaner for a scent boost and some added cleaning power.

10. Olive oil

Olive oil isn?t just to make salads taste delicious. Add a bit of oil to a cloth, and buff stainless steel appliances to remove grime and make them shine, The Kitchn recommends. You also can use olive oil mixed with lemon juice to clean and condition wood (but test a small area first). Plus, an olive oil-coarse salt scrub can remove stuck-on food from cast iron skillets.

11. Vinegar

White vinegar might rival baking soda for its cleaning versatility. You can use it to ?freshen laundry, lift stains from carpet, brighten windows, and so much more,? according to Good Housekeeping. Plus, it makes a powerful all-purpose cleaner when mixed with water and baking soda (and essential oils if you wish). Soaking glassware in vinegar is an easy way to remove hard water stains. And a bowl of vinegar is an effective room deodorizer.

12. Salt

We might find salt in a lot of our favorite snacks, but it?s also an important ingredient in many effective cleaners. Salt adds a gentle abrasive factor to cleaning concoctions, making it useful to scrub away stains, food particles and even rust and tarnish, according to The Kitchn. Plus, it?s absorbent, which is why it?s a key factor in keeping wooden cutting boards sanitary. It soaks up all the liquid in the grooves, giving bacteria a less friendly environment to reproduce. And you even can sprinkle salt over liquid spills to help prevent stains.

13. Walnuts

Credit: ffolas/Getty Images

If you have wood furniture or floors, it?s almost inevitable that they?ll get some dings and scratches. And that?s where walnuts come in. The natural oils in walnuts ? Brazil nuts work well, too ? darken the wood and hide scratches, according to Good Housekeeping. Simply rub the damaged area with the nut until it blends better with the surrounding wood. It might not be a forever fix, but it does last for a while depending on the mark. And it?s cheap, easy and natural.

14. Club soda

Cleaning red wine stains with club soda has been a longstanding method. Some people swear by it while others claim there?s no scientific reason for it to work (though the secret might be in the bubbles). Still, this carbonated beverage has other cleaning applications. Use it to gently clean surfaces, including porcelain, stainless steel and even your car windshield. Its fizz plus slightly acidic nature helps to wash away marks and particles.

15. Vodka

If you have laundry that smells a little off, try spritzing it with a little vodka. No, really. According to Good Housekeeping, the vodka will kill odor-causing bacteria and dry completely scent-free. Just be sure to do a spot test first. Plus, a cloth moistened with a little vodka can work to shine chrome, glass and porcelain fixtures. And as an added bonus, it should clean away any mold on the surface, too. Cheers to that!

Main image credit: Easyturn/Getty Images

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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15 Foods That Make Excellent Cleaning Products

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5 Animal-Free Food Breakthroughs (Including Foie Gras!)

Earlier this month, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a landmark report underscoring a stark warning to the world: To avoid disastrous levels of global warming, we must take “rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society.”

One of the urgent changes recommended by the global authority on climate change? People need to consume 30 percent less animal products. ASAP. After all, raising animals for food has a serious and consequential environmental footprint. For instance, the livestock sector alone is estimated to account for 14.5 percent of greenhouse gas emissions globally, more than from the entire transport industry. And with a rapidly growing global human population, if we don’t shift our eating habits now, we’ll only be making the situation exponentially worse.

The good news is that a small, but rising, group of food trailblazers is on the case to shift the tide in big ways. Here are some future food inventions they’ve come up with, which eliminate the animal from the equation (i.e. pollution). And, they could soon be coming to a supermarket or restaurant near you:

1. Lab-Grown Gelatin

Gelatin is a translucent, flavorless food ingredient. It’s derived from collagen, which is extracted from the body parts of animals, including their bones and hides. Gelatin isn’t the main reason cows and pigs are farmed, but it monetizes animal parts that would otherwise have been discarded as useless.

Enter: lab-grown gelatin. This is gelatin that is grown in a laboratory, without animals, by the companies like California biotech startup Geltor. Geltor scientists take carbon, nitrogen and oxygen and convert them into collagen via a microbial fermentation process. The final product has exactly the same properties and characteristics as animal gelatin. Pretty incredible, huh?

Animal gelatin is currently used in a wide variety of foods including candy, desserts and condiments. If cultured gelatin can eliminate the need for animal versions of these products, the results will be game changing.

2.?Clean?Pet Food

A Berkeley-based biotech startup called Wild Earth recently unveiled its debut market-ready product: an animal-ingredient free, healthy, eco-friendly dog snack made from koji. (Koji is a type of fungus Japanese foodsmiths use, to ferment some of their country’s most popular cultural delicacies, like miso and sake.) But “clean protein” dog snacks are just the start of Wild Earth’s ambitious plans. Next up on the roster is a dry dog food, also made with koji?then a cultured meat for cats, using the cells of mice. Whoa. Now that’s forward thinking.

In the US alone, the pet food market will reportedly be worth a whopping $30 billion by 2022. But on the flip side, the environmental impact of this growth is also consequential. A recent study found, for instance, that companion cats and dogs in America are already responsible for 25 to 30 percent of the environmental impact of meat consumption in the country.

We’ll never stop loving and nourishing our beloved pets, so for the sake of the planet, we’ll have to root for companies like Wild Earth. Moving forward, we really do need a more sustainable pet food industry.

3. Cruelty-Free Foie Gras

Without a doubt, foie gras is one of the most cruelly produced food products out there. The French “delicacy” is made by force-feeding ducks and geese until their livers balloon up to 10 times their natural volume. This, of course, causes the animals great, prolonged pain and suffering. A number of countries have already banned the production, import or sale of foie gras due to animal welfare concerns. We applaud them.

For those of us opposed to this torturous and unethical practice, there’s still more hope around the corner. Some remarkable companies, like Integriculture and JUST, Inc. (formerly known as Hampton Creek), are working diligently on bringing a lab-grown foie gras to market. This type of gourmet product will allow fans of foie gras to continue consuming their favorite treat, with all of the same rich taste and texture?but none of the cruelty.

Another big player in the cultured meat space is Memphis Meats, which has received funding from the likes of Bill Gates and even the American meat industry giant Tyson Foods. Memphis Meats is focusing on culturing many different kinds of meat, including duck.

4. Hen-less Eggs

Humans consume a staggering trillion eggs for food worldwide?each year. The negative environmental and welfare effects of having to produce eggs from billions of live hens, at scale, are serious, far-reaching and well documented.

Clara Foods is a San Francisco-based cellular agriculture company working on a solution to this global issue. Starting with only two of the simplest ingredients out there?sugar and yeast?the company is making hen-less egg whites, from cell culture. Their low-fat, high-protein product is slated to hit the market by the end of 2019. For egg aficionados, cultured eggs will be the real thing, and not a substitute, that can be used for pasta, omelettes, meringues ? and a whole lot more. In the meantime, food tech company JUST has already debuted its mung bean-based egg replacer JUST Egg, which can be scrambled and eaten as is. Recently, the company reported that it outsold conventional chicken eggs in select grocery stores, which is certainly promising news.

5. Cultured Fish

Earlier this year, a “flesh-like,” plant-based alternative to raw tuna, made from tomato, went national. Fishless Ahimi tuna is available at 40 Whole Foods Market locations in 10 states across America. The company behind Ahimi, Ocean Hugger Foods, says its plant-based seafood is one step toward alleviating the increasing pressure on our precious oceans, caused by the global overconsumption of fish.

The next step towards this effort is as cutting edge as it gets. Seafood startups, including Finless Foods, Blue Nalu, Wild Type and Seafuture are striving to get their up-and-coming cultured seafood products to break into the $120 billion seafood market.

A more sustainable seafood industry can’t come soon enough. According to a recent government report, Americans are consuming 15.5 pounds of fish and shellfish per person, up nearly a pound from the previous year, making it the biggest leap in seafood consumption in 20 years.

Let’s face it. It’s highly unlikely billions of people around the world are going eat less meat ?or stop altogether?any time soon. Luckily for us, a whole new wave of animal-free products are about to hit the food marketplace. And they could actually be the miracle we need in time to save the planet.

If this cutting-edge field of food interests you, check out the upcoming Cultured Meat Symposium conference, taking place in San Francisco November 1. Some of the innovative brands weve mentioned here will be there?including Memphis Meats and JUST?as well as many of the top pioneers and leaders in the space.

Contributed by Ulara Nakagawa and?Sharanya Krishna Prasad

Credit: Larry Hoffman via Flickr

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.


5 Animal-Free Food Breakthroughs (Including Foie Gras!)

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