Greenpeace Hosts “Toxic” Fashion Show to Spread Awareness about Toxic Chemicals in Clothing

A “toxic” fashion show was held in Beijing to spread public awareness about the apparel industry, which is being targeted for its use of hazardous chemicals.

The fashion show was organized by Greenpeace
; the organization recently released a study that shows that as many as two-thirds of apparel that are manufactured contains traces of dye that can be harmful to the environment.

The campaign group is now pushing for action to have all fashion apparel companies to agree to produce eco-friendly apparel by the year 2020. This will require suppliers to look for alternatives that do not release toxic chemicals into the atmosphere.

According to Greenpeace, it tested 141 pieces of apparel from 20 top apparel manufacturers with a global presence. Each garment was tested for chemicals that may pose a threat to human health or the environment. The clothing are manufactured from 18 countries, most of which are from developing nations.

The findings showed that 89 of the garments showed traces of nonylphenol ethoxylates, which can break down and produce chemicals that can disrupt hormones in the body. In addition, two of the garments also contained detectible levels of toxic phthalates, which is commonly found in dyes and can cause cancer.

For the toxic fashion show, one model toted an IV bag with orange slime oozing out; another model wore a neck brace along with an oxygen mask. A third model wore black powder on her eyes to simulate the appearance of bruising and had her arm in a sling. The purpose was to make a grim statement and visualization of the adverse environmental and health impact that the apparel industry is causing.

As the fashion season approaches, more clothes will be purchased and discarded, which means they will likely end up in the landfill where the chemicals from the garments will be released into the air.

Apple Rated Poorly For Its Massive Energy Use

Large corporations often own many factories and warehouses from which their products are produced. This means consumption of energy, and lots of it. Greenpeace has been keeping tabs on mega corporations and grading them based on the amount of energy their factories consume.

Among these corporations include Apple. While this tech company may be the leading brand in mobile devices, it does not fare so well when graded according to the energy it uses to fuel its production line. While Apple’s score did improve in recent months, it is still not receiving a passing grade. When it came to infrastructure siting, Apple was given a “D,” an improvement from the “F” that it received a few months prior. It also improved from a “D” to a “C” when it came to greenhouse gas mitigation, energy efficiency and renewable energy investment.

To give the company a little credit, it is showing efforts that it is dedicated to making its facilities more eco-friendly. It just recently announced that it has plans to make one of its data centers run entirely off of renewable energy by year’s end. This includes the addition of bio gas fuel cell and solar array installation. A spokesperson for the company announced that its two main data centers in California and North Carolina are expected to be completely independent of coal by February of 2013.

Greenpeace has praised Apple for its commitment of making its facilities run off of renewable energy sources but continues to chide the corporation for its overall dismal record. It also blasted Apple for its apparent lack of transparency, as the company has consistently been beating around the bush when it came to releasing energy consumption records of its facilities.

In terms of grading, Apple falls against other mega giants. Corporations like Yahoo, Amazon and Google all received better grades from Greenpeace.

Whole Foods Puts a Halt to Sales of Unsustainable Fish

Picture by David Ooms

Studies have long confirmed the health benefits of fish. Fish is high in protein, low in saturated fat and rich in omega-3. Of course, there are occasional health scares associated with the consumption of fish, such as concerns over the mercury content found in some varieties. Even then, the rich nutritional content far outweighs any slim likelihood of there being any health risks.

If you are a fish lover, then you may be disturbed by some recent findings. A study by Greenpeace concluded that as high as 70 percent of the world’s fisheries are being over exploited. Commercial fishing vessels are catching fish faster than the population can replenish its numbers. This is causing a rapid decline in common fish varieties that most people enjoy, which includes swordfish, marlin, flounder and even the one fish that everyone enjoys right out of the can: tuna.

Whole Foods, one of the country’s premiere food manufacturing companies, recognized the problem and formed an alliance with the Monterey Bay Aquarium and the Blue Ocean Institute to release a new color coded system to determine the sustainability of different fish varieties. Fish listed under a green category, for instance, are in abundance and are caught in an environmentally sound way. By contrast, those listed in red are in danger from overfishing. Whole Foods have made the decision to put a halt to the sale of some of the seafood under the red category.

These are the categories:
Green (best choice): The species are abundant and caught in environmentally friendly ways.
Yellow (good alternative): Some concerns exist with the species’ status or catch methods.
Red (avoid): A species is suffering from overfishing or current fishing methods harm other marine life or habitats.

As a consumer, it is your free choice to consume whatever fish you like. However, you are encouraged to avoid fish listed in the red category. This will send a message to restaurants to remove them from their menu. By being more selective with the type of fish you order, you can contribute to the repopulation of fish that are on the brink of making it to the endangered species list.

New Oil Sands Ad

A campaign designed to re-brand Canada’s oil sands as an ethical alternative to fuel from states with questionable human rights records was scheduled to take to the airwaves on Sunday along with a number of television spots appearing on the Oprah Winfrey Network.

The 30-second advertisement suggests that North Americans, via the purchase of more than 400 million barrels of Saudi Arabian oil from last year, helped bankroll a state that doesn’t allow women to drive and does not allow women to leave their home without a male guardian, and believes a woman’s testimony in court is only worth half as much as a man’s testimony.’s Alykhan Velshi; said in a statement that the “public information ad” will run exclusively on the Oprah Winfrey Network in Canada for exactly one week.

Velshi said:

“The Oprah network’s programming – which includes lifestyle issues affecting women, women’s health, and entertainment – in my view fits nicely with a campaign promoting Canada’s oil sands as an ethical alternative to misogynist conflict oil from regimes like Saudi Arabia…”

Greenpeace’s Mike Hudema said Velshi is issuing a “very appealing argument” and “dangerous” defense of the environmentally unsound oil sands by framing energy buys as a choice between supporting a liberal democracy like Canada or conflict oil from oppressive regimes.

“It really presents us with a false question … when the reality is, we have a lot of different choices about how we produce energy… We are 100 per cent independent of government and industry,” he said in an email.‘s campaign will likely expand in Canada and into the United States if public donations on its website keep on flowing, according to Velshi.

“This campaign is designed to keep us locked in an outdated fossil-based economy that potentially could decimate the entire
planet if we do not get our greenhouse gas emissions in check, and I think that is the most dangerous part of this campaign…(It’s) going to give people more excuses and give our politicians more reasons to delay action…To me, it is very immoral,” Hudema added.

Greenpeace says, “Facebook, Quit Coal!”

Vice President of marketing and sales at Verne Global, an Icelandic data center company, Lisa Rhodes recently said that:

“According to the Environmental Protection Agency, data centers now account for 1.5 percent of all electricity consumption in the U.S. and by 2020, carbon emissions will have quadrupled to 680 million tons per year, which will account for more than the aviation industry.”

Greenpeace says that when companies do not choose environmentally friendly energy sources to fuel their servers, a huge environmental threat is posed. So who did Greenpeace contact, in order to get the ball rolling onto greener ground? Facebook’s Mr. Zuckerberg!

Greenpeace International communications manager, Daniel Kessler did compliment the social networking juggernaut for its energy-efficient data center, however, he called the choice of power supplier “terrible.”

Kessler, in a telephone interview with the New York Times said:

“Facebook is emblematic of a sector that is increasingly thirsty for energy but is satisfying that thirst with dirty fuels…Facebook and other I.T. firms can help to make the Internet green, but first they need to move away from coal.”

Facebook recently built a data center in Prineville, Oregon – powered by PacifiCorp, a company which gets 58 percent of its energy from burning coal.

According to Greenpeace advocate, Kate Ross:

“Storing and transmitting messages, pictures and other information through Facebook uses a vast and rapidly increasing amount of energy, as the network continues to expand. Its membership passed the 500 million mark in July this year.”

Well, Greenpeace told Zuckerberg, he will lose 500,000 of his “friends” (the number of Facebookers who support the Greenpeace campaign), if he continues to power the social networking site using coal. The campaign is encouraging Zuckerberg to switch to wind energy.

The Heroes of Copenhagen

Evo Morales
Evo Morales President of Bolivia, presented what is possibly the most ambitious rhetoric, to come out of Copenhagen thus far, when he made the demand that world leaders not only agree to limit the global temperature increase over the next century to 1 degrees Celsius, but further that rich countries should pay for climate change ‘reparations’, and proposed a climate court of justice, where countries might be prosecuted for climate ‘crimes’.

copp. activistsHe said,

“Our objective is to save humanity and not just half of humanity. We are here to save mother earth. Our objective is to reduce climate change to [under] 1C. [above this] many islands will disappear and Africa will suffer a holocaust.”

Mohamed Nasheed

This character rose to global environmental hero status when he held an official Maldives cabinet meeting underwater in October, bringing attention to the devastating impact that climate change will have on low-lying coastal and small island nations such as his.

John Kerry

“If (former Vice President) Dick Cheney can argue that even a 1 percent chance of a terrorist attack is 100 percent justification for preemptive action, then surely, when scientists tell us that climate change is nearly a 100 percent certainty, we ought to be able to stand together…and join in an all out effort to combat a mortal threat to the life of this planet.”

Thom Yorke

The Radiohead frontman asked world leaders to “get their shit together.”

Kumi Naidoo

The executive director of Greenpeace has congratulated activists for the role which they have played in bringing climate change to the public eye, and has called for a “Fair, Ambitious and Binding ‘treaty.’ Not a ‘deal’ or ‘agreement’ but a ‘treaty’.

Nnimmo Bassey

Chair of Friends of the Earth International and Nigerian environmentalist Nnimmo Bassey brought the perspective of less-developed countries into focus by saying stuff like, “the impression that we came to COP 15 to beg for money is wrong, no we came to ask for climate justice, since Africa in particular has been put in a critical crisis situation we did not cause.” Bassey was refused entry into the Bella Center, which sparked outrage about the restricted access in general.

You Say Tomato I Say Potato

The Scoop
It turns out that eating organic food is a win/win situation. Firstly fruits and vegetables simply taste a whole lot better when they are picked ripe and eaten quickly. Actually buying in season is economical and buying organic products ensures environmentally sound farming practices.

Organic ProduceAs you read, try to imagine: a tomato which is picked before it is ripe somewhere in California and then thrown into a huge truck with about 40,000 pounds of other under ripe tomatoes; is then taken to a processing plant, put through a chlorine bath, waxed, gassed with ethylene (which speeds up the ripening process) and then sent in another truck across the country to some restaurant, is probably not going to taste so good. So you can see why buying organic and in-season fruits and vegetables makes the most sense.

What You Can Do
The best place to shop for produce is either at a local farmers market or you can join a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program, where you can buy your food directly from local organic farmers.

What Else Can You Tell Me, Food Man?
The FDA does not require food labels to disclose the genetically engineered ingredients which are used. According to Greenpeace of the acreage in North America, which is devoted to GE crops, 99% are planted with, cotton, canola, soy or corn. This means that over 60% of processed foods available in the US contain genetically modified ingredients.

Got Fish?

Over fishery is a huge problem for everyone on Earth. Supporting these irresponsible practices can backfire on us in a few years.

This is why getting familiarized with the Greenpeace International Seafood Red List is always a good idea. The list introduces you to the species which have a very high risk of being sourced from unsustainable fisheries.

Check it out!