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‹ The Weekly Green

Earth Day: Food Recovery

April 6, 2016
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(Mayor’s speech)

THUS spoke Mayor Jonathan Rothschild, declaring all of April Earth Month. Highlights will be World Earth Day on April 22nd, and Tucson’s very own Earth Day on April 10th. On the occasion of the latter, Cyclovia Tucson organizes a festival at Himmel Park, which will kick off with an enviromentally-themed parade starting at 11 am. Details at tucsonearthday.org.

Mayor Rothschild spoke at the dedication of Fry’s city-wide Food Recovery program last Friday,  the latest participant in the City of Tucson’s Foodcycle program. This brings the total number of participating stores to an even 50! And there is room for even more: the City’s Environmental Services department estimates that about 30% of food disposed in landfills is still fit for consumption and that 50% is compostable. In addition to the City of Tucson, Fry’s partners with the University of Arizona’s Compost Cats. You can find out more about the City’s FoodCycle program at www.tucsonaz.gov/es/foodcycle.

As it happens, the theme of World Earth Day 2016 on April 22nd is indeed ‘Food Recovery”. But the issue of climate change will have the spotlight too, as on this day the legislatures of the more than 195 countries participating in the Paris Climate Change Agreement will begin the ratification of the treaty, aimed at holding global warming well below 2º C. A recent analysis by the International Energy Agency shows, by the way,  that CO2 emissions have actually already leveled off in the past two years and even decreased in the countries with the largest emissions, the US and China. Global emissions have levelled off before, but always during an economic downturn. This time around, the world economy grew by 3% at the same time, so it looks like the link between economic growth and rising emissions is finally broken.

WATER PURIFICATION BY CACTUS

University of South Florida researcher Norma Alacantar took a cue from her grandmother, who, while growing up in rural Mexico, removed sediment from water by means of cacti. Alcantar now leads a team of chemical engineers to test this approach far more widely, including on oily seawater and farmed fish. The team has found that the sugars in the MUcilage, the soft insides of cacti which keeps them hydrated, are equally effective as chemical dispersants and much more benign to the environment. The cacti in question are Nopal, or prickly pear, of which we here in Arizona have an abundance. All we need is the water…

(Broadcast 3:30)

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