Category Archives: sidenote

For school lunch, you might have a dollar to spend. How much food does that really buy? In a recent photography project, “The Value of a Dollar” depicts just that, and yes, a dollar is the budget per student in the United States. Continue reading.

Since 2006, U.S. honey bee populations have been in precipitous decline, with some estimates suggesting losses as high as 30% per year.1 While that’s terrible, the problem is far greater than just the destruction of a species. Without bees, a big piece of our food supply is in serious danger. Pollination by honey bees is key in cultivating the crops that produce a full one-third of our food.
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Scientists have been scrambling to understand the crisis — termed Colony Collapse Disorder — but have yet to find a single, definitive cause. There are likely multiple interacting causes, and mounting evidence suggests that one widely used class of pesticides may be a critical factor. Click here to find out more.



We’re still following that gyre, and yes, that is a bird full of plastic: “What happened to that disposable Solo cup—the one you used once at a work party—after you tossed it into the garbage? For that matter, what happens to any of the countless plastic products (shopping bags, coffee stirrers, water bottles, etc.) we use and then discard on a daily basis? Of course, conventional plastic doesn’t readily biodegrade; so where is it now? If you live in North America or Asia, there’s a chance that cup is trapped in a broad ocean current, known as a gyre, in the middle of the northern Pacific Ocean along with an untold number of other pieces of litter in what has been named the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.” Read the interview with Gyre photographer Chris Jordan.  Or just check out his work.

Greening that Cycle

According to the new book Flow: The Cultural History of Menstruation, the average woman throws away 250 to 300 pounds of “pads, plugs, and applicators” in her lifetime. That sounds like a lot. But how much is 300 pounds in the grand scheme of things? Consider that the average American woman menstruates for 38 years—a period during which she can be expected to produce a grand total of 62,415 pounds of garbage (PDF). Thus, during your fertile years, period-related detritus should make up about 0.5 percent of your personal landfill load.  Check out ways to green it up.