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News at Brighter Green

Brighter Green Associate Wanqing Zhou interviewed by Our Hen House 7/23/14

Brighter Green Associate Wanqing Zhou was interviewed by Our Hen House on Brighter Green's What's For Dinner? and China screening tour in June and July 2014.

Brighter Green and Partner Global Forest Coalition Published in "Square Brackets" 7/1/14

Brighter Green and partner Global Forest Coalition published their article "Implementing Aichi Target 3 in the livestock sector" in "Square Brackets: CBD Newsletter for Civil Society".

Brighter Green Releases June 2014 Newsletter 6/27/14

Brighter Green releases its June 2014 newsletter highlighting achievements and events in the first part of 2014. You can view the newsletter here.

Brighter Green Launches "What's For Dinner?" China Screening Tour 6/15/14

Brighter Green launches the China tour of the short documentary film "What's For Dinner?". The film is screened in multiple cities through July 2014 and provinces including Beijing, Shanghai, and Zhejiang province. To learn more please click here.

Brighter Green Presents at the Global Research Forum on Sustainable Production and Consumption 6/11/14

Brighter Green Associate Wanqing Zhou presented her paper, "The Triangle: Factory Farming in the U.S., China and Brazil" in Shanghai, China at the Global Research Forum on Production and Consumption.

BG Partner Global Forest Coalition Releases Paraguayan Case Study 5/22/14

Brighter Green partner Global Forest Coalition publishes Paraguayan case study on the environmental and social impacts of unsustainable livestock and soybean production.

Brighter Green and Global Forest Coalition New Report and Briefing Paper 5/22/14

Brighter Green and the Global Forest Coalition announce the release of a new report and briefing paper on redirecting government support for unsustainable livestock production as the key to biodiversity conservation.

Brighter Green Appears in the Scientific American Magazine 5/20/14

The Scientific American article "China's Appetite for Meat Swells, Along with Climate Changing Pollution" references Brighter Green research as well as quotes Executive Director Mia MacDonald and Associate Wanqing Zhou.

What's For Dinner? Page on Icarus Website 5/9/14

Brighter Green's short documentary film What's For Dinner? is now featured on Icarus Films' website, WFD's North American distributor. Visit the website for more information on screening or purchasing the film.

Brighter Green Releases Policy Brief of "Beyond the Pail: the Emergence of Industrialized Dairy Systems in Asia" 4/28/14

Brighter Green released the policy brief for the most recent policy paper, Beyond the Pail: the Emergence of Industrialized Dairy Systems in Asia. The brief, available here, provides a succinct summary of the paper and recommendations.

Brighter Green's film What's For Dinner? to be featured in the Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital 3/21/14

Brighter Green's short film What's For Dinner? was recently selected to appear in the Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital. It appeared on March 19th at 12PM in the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, along with a discussion partnering with the China Environment Forum.

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Where Food Injustice Wanders Next: South Africa

August 30, 2013 2:00pm
Filed under:
Coca Cola in South Africa

The transnational giants Coke and KFC have increased their presence in urban South Africa in recent years.

One of the defining landmarks in Johannesburg, South Africa is the Coca-Cola dome: A 19,000-person arena sponsored by the beverage giant. Coke has become increasing popular in South Africa, where an average of 254 Coke products were consumed in 2010. That's more than the international annual average of 89 per person and quickly approaching the 403 Coke products consumed by the average American.

The Little Emperor’s Burger

August 16, 2013 9:39am
KFC in China

KFC in China

Note: This blog was written by Judy Bankman and Elektra Alivisatos and was originally published on Civil Eats.

When I asked my friend living in China about fast food restaurants there, he responded, “they’re constantly packed with young people.” Though most Chinese know that American fast food is unhealthy and leads to weight gain, the growing trendiness of “Western” fast food among young people in China has contributed to its increased consumption. American franchises such as KFC are thriving. In the U.S., the chain amassed 4,618 locations in 61 years. In China, though, KFC boasted 4,260 locations in only 26 years. China now consumes twice as much meat as the U.S., a whopping 71 million tons per year.

East African Girls' Leadership Initiative Update: Summer Internships and Higher Education

August 11, 2013 3:24pm
Elizabeth at a workshop with rescued Maasai girls at her internship

Elizabeth at a workshop with rescued Maasai girls at her internship

The summer months have proved to be busy and exciting for the Kenyan students in the East African Girls' Leadership Initiative. Joyce Kakenya Barta has been interning at Lake Elementaita Seasons Hotels and Lodges as a part of the Corporate Social Responsibility section. On her experience she says that:

"I have been involved in community based projects like supporting children homes, environmental cleaning, planting trees, and collecting rubbish. I have recently visited an orphan rescue center that helps HIV positive kids. I am very happy to be working with this community and am learning and getting a lot of experience."

Mexico: Public Health, Rising Obesity and the NAFTA Effect

July 31, 2013 1:44pm
Filed under:

Note: this post was originally published on Civil Eats and Food Tank.

On a visit to southern Mexico in 2008, I was shocked to see Coca-Cola billboards dotting rural highways, and roadside tiendas selling bottles of Coke along with local produce. Mexico consumes more gallons of sugary beverages per year than any other country. It’s certainly not coincidental that 9 million people in Mexico are suffering from diabetes.

Mexicans also just surpassed the U.S. as the most obese nation in the world, with an astonishing prevalence rate of 32.8 percent. Mortality rates due to heart attack, diabetes, and high blood pressure have increased significantly along with the spike in obesity rates. The main driver of these troubling health concerns is the energy-dense, nutrient-poor “Western” diet, which has already changed the food landscape in Mexico, pervading areas both urban and rural.

Thinking of Food on World Population Day

July 11, 2013 4:52pm

UN Population Fund

Today is World Population Day, an appropriate day to reflect upon the sustainability of our growing world population. While this year’s theme, “Adolescent Pregnancy,” addresses an important issue, Brighter Green is also interested in the consumption habits of the growing world population – a topic that has not been the focus of a World Population Day since it was established back in 1989. The impact of global food consumption alone has massive repercussions for the climate, food security, fresh water supplies, and the preservation of natural lands.

Maui: Sustainable Living in Paradise

June 26, 2013 10:10am
A beautiful Maui beach

A beautiful Maui beach

Maui, one of the Hawaiian Islands, is known for its beautiful beaches and amazing weather. It's no wonder it is a huge tourist destination. But Maui is more than just a beautiful tourist destination, it is, in many ways, a model of sustainable living. The local government and population cherish this beautiful island and have made conscious efforts to encourage greener living, particularly when a tourist culture has contributed to the island's pollution.

Kenya's Move Towards Solar Energy (Part II)

June 22, 2013 3:15pm
Solar panels

Solar panels

Why Kenya is Prime for Solar Energy

Kenya lies conveniently on the equator, and as a result receives direct solar energy throughout the year. The use of solar energy is a relatively new concept in Kenya and many believe that the use of solar energy is a better alternative to traditional power sources and will help eliminate the problem of a lack of electricity in rural areas. A shift to solar energy would involve educating people on this new technology, as many do not know the benefits of solar energy, but some communities have already started embracing solar energy as an alternative energy source.

Kenya's Move Towards Solar Energy (Part I)

June 20, 2013 3:07pm
Power lines in rural Kenya

Power lines in rural Kenya

The Benefits of Electricity in Rural Kenya

It is estimated that one in five people on the planet do not have access to electricity (World Bank data bank). In sub-Saharan Africa, about 70 percent of the population has no electricity and surprisingly in Kenya, only 15 percent of the population has proper access to power. This is a depiction of how electricity is available to few people despite Kenya's population of 34 million.

The Human Victims of Industrial Animal Agriculture

June 17, 2013 9:57am
Filed under:
Poultry ready to be slaughtered

Poultry ready to be slaughtered

On the week of June 3rd, China provided another sad example of the impacts of industrial agriculture-showing that animals aren't the only victims. A poultry slaughterhouse in Northeast Jilin province caught fire leading to the death of at least 119 workers. The factory was overcrowded, exits narrow and unmarked, and no emergency plan was in place. And, many of the doors, in efforts to keep workers from departing during work hours, were locked from the outside, making exiting an impossible task.

Work place safety standards are commonly poor in China, with unenforced regulations often linked to corruption and prioritizing profit over human rights. But China is not alone, across the globe industrial animal agriculture fails in worker safety standards.

Preventing a Livestock Revolution in Liberia: the Need for a New International Vision

June 12, 2013 3:25pm
Liberia's lush rainforest

Liberia's lush rainforest

In Liberia, the FAO has been involved in a number of poultry projects for both broilers and laying hens. It has constructed three factory farm style operations in the interior of the country to train locals in "modern and intensive poultry production and management practices." It has also teamed up with the Ministries of Gender and Agriculture under the Joint Program on Food Security and Nutrition to construct ten other poultry houses throughout the country. None of these operations house much more than 1,000 birds, though they are set up like intensive factory farms and provide a model for future operations, which will surely increase in size and numbers as the country develops. So in short, the FAO — which outlined the heavy environmental impacts of the global livestock sector in the widely cited report Livestock's Long Shadow — is now encouraging the future development of factory farming in Liberia.

Livestock Intensification as a Misguided Response to Liberia's Food Woes

June 7, 2013 10:15am
Liberian poultry operation

Liberian poultry operation

Like much of Sub-Saharan Africa, Liberia struggles with malnutrition and food insecurity. While finding solutions to these problems is a major developmental goal for the country, unfortunately, the government and its international partners' response has included a strong emphasis on livestock production. This is problematic given the negative impacts animal agriculture has in terms of sustainability, food security, climate change, and animal welfare.

It's World Environment Day

June 5, 2013 10:47am

World Environment Day 2013 logo

Note: this post was originally published on the Huffington Post's Green section.

It's World Environment Day and this year's focus is on reducing food waste and getting people to shrink their "foodprints," particularly, of course, if they're large. Many are. In the U.S., between 30 and 40 percent of the food supply is simply wasted, according to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, announcing a national Food Waste Challenge.

Some of the bad habits around food we've developed in the U.S. have gone global. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) says that 1.3 billion metric tons of food is wasted throughout the world every year, the amount of food that's produced in all of sub-Saharan Africa's 48 countries. A study by Chinese researchers concluded that the food wasted in a year by 2,700 families in differently sized Chinese cities could have fed 200 million people, about one-sixth of China's population.

World Environment Day's "Think.Eat.Save." theme probably wasn't on the minds of those shepherding last week's $4.7 billion deal to sell Smithfield, the world's biggest pork producer, to Shuanghui, a Chinese conglomerate with global investors that include Goldman Sachs (Morgan Stanley is providing some of the financing). And yet there is an important link.

Meat and Development in Liberia

June 4, 2013 10:52am
Map of Liberia

Ross Miranti is a guest blogger for Brighter Green.

Meat consumption correlates with income; poorer individuals and countries tend to consume less than their wealthier counterparts. This applies to Liberia, one of the poorest nations in the world, which has an annual per capita income of about 374 dollars and an annual per capita meat consumption of about 10.4 kilograms/kg (22.9 pounds/lbs).

Three decades ago Liberia was one of the more prosperous nations in Sub-Saharan Africa, but the violent, fourteen year civil war (1989 to 2003) devastated the country in countless ways; it claimed 250,000 lives, displaced over 600,000 people, demolished infrastructure, and ravaged the economy.

Solution to China's Pollution is on Its Plate

May 31, 2013 8:19am
Packaged eggs in China

Packaged eggs in China

Given the planned purchase of U.S.-based Smithfield, the world's largest producer of pork, by China-based agribusiness Shuanghui, an exploration of the ecological impacts of China's fast-expanding meat production and consumption is in order.

More Than Just Cars and Factories

It has long been known that China suffers from serious environmental challenges. The relationship between livestock agriculture and environmental pollution is nothing new, either. But a report released on April 10th, 2013, by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences' Rural Development Institute, the China Rural Economic Situation Analysis and Forecast (2013) stated that in 2012, the pressure of agricultural environmental pollution continued to increase and large-scale livestock and poultry pollution had become the biggest agricultural source of pollution in China.

China Elaborates Law to Enhance Food Safety

May 28, 2013 2:52pm
Farmers in China

Farmers in China

On May 2nd, the Supreme People's Court (SPC) and the Supreme People's Procuratorate (SPP) of China issued Interpretations on food safety criminal cases. The next day, a spokesman of the SPC further elaborated on the Interpretations during a press conference. The judicial progress is certainly encouraging, but more efforts beyond the legal system are required to effectively combat food safety lapses.