Apples and Diphenylamine (DPA)

Photo by Brian Y.; Flickr.

Photo by Brian Y.; Flickr.

The Environmental Working Group recently blogged about apples and DPA, the pesticide applied to apples once they’re harvested to protect them during storage.

DPA is an antioxidant that slows the development of black patches on the skins of picked apples in storage.

This chemical has caused a debate in both the US and EU on whether or not DPA should continue to be used on our produce.

The EU recently restricted DPA to 0.1 part per million, because people would not be at risk with concentrations that low, but some apples, although not sprayed with DPA, can have trace amounts of the pesticide if stored in a warehouse that once used it.

Although the EPA must review pesticides every 15 years to make sure there is no harm to humans, they haven’t reviewed DPA in 16 years.

Purchasing organic apples, organic apple juice, or organic apple sauce, is an easy change to make to reduce the risk of ingesting potentially harmful chemicals.

To read the full story on apples and DPA, click here.

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Event: Iowa Climate Festival – April 26, 2014


 Continue reading for the event schedule!  Continue reading

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Happy Earth Day!

Photo by Cornelia Kopp; Flickr.

Photo by Cornelia Kopp; Flickr.

How are you celebrating Earth Day 2014?

Apple is flaunting a new video, “Better,” that emphasizes the company’s commitment to going green. The video introduces a new electronic recycling program, where customers can take any old Apple product to any Apple store (or send it in the mail) and the company will either give money back  to you or properly recycle the product to keep it out of landfills.

In the Des Moines Register’s Iowa View, Tom Brooks suggests making the switch to biofuels. Biofuels are renewable, sustainable, and are produced locally as well for a great way to promote Iowa jobs as well as our environment.

Or, take your plastic bags to the Iowa City Ped Mall between noon and 4 p.m. for the Reusable Bag Campaign, by the UI Environmental Coalition. Reusable bags will be handed out in exchange!

For more information on Earth Day and how you can participate, click here.

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On the Radio: Rootworm Resistance


Photo by Sarah Zukoff; Flickr

This week’s On the Radio segment covers a western corn rootworm’s growing resistance to genetically modified corn. Listen to the audio below, or continue reading for the transcript.

Continue reading

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Endangered butterflies in Iowa

Photo by Roger Smith; Flickr


According to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, one-fourth of Iowa’s native butterflies are endangered, threatened, or are of special concern.

Head over to the Des Moines Register to read an excellent piece on our butterflies, and to find out what you can do to help.

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Taxes for the environment

Photo by Teresa Meadows; Flickr.

Photo by Teresa Meadows; Flickr.

The Iowa Public Radio released a segment yesterday about an upcoming bill that’s “a dream come true” for environmentalists and natural resource advocates.

The bill raises the state sales tax for a natural resource trust fund that was approved two years ago.

The amendment says that any time Iowa raises its sales tax, a portion of the penny of it should go toward natural resources.

If it passes, the sales taxes devoted to the trust fund would be raised to over a third of a cent over the next three years, and will be utilized for conservation, recreation, and water quality in the state.

Listen to the full story here.


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Can we achieve a sustainable economy?

Assistant Professor Aaron Strong; Photo courtesy of the Iowa City Press-Citizen

Assistant Professor Aaron Strong; Photo courtesy of the Iowa City Press-Citizen

Aaron Strong, an assistant professor of Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Iowa, hosted a discussion yesterday about the changing the structure of our economy to emphasize sustainability.

Professor Strong acknowledged that while the idea of sustainability is being discussed more frequently, it has no single definition.

He wrote in the Press-Citizen opinion page that definitions of sustainability can be any of the following:

  • Meeting the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs
  • Long-term cultural, economic and environmental health and vitality
  • Maintenance of the value of the capital stock where capital includes physical, human, cultural and environmental

While common themes exist among all of the definitions of sustainability, differences also occur in how to implement them.

The discussion focused on economic approaches as well as pollution and environmental quality, and patterns seen over time. Ultimately, researched explored whether or not the present system can adequately achieve joint goals of sustainability.

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