Panera Tackles Climate Change With New Cool Food Meals

You Could Be Eating Up To 11K Plastic Bits Per Year


By Cooking Panda

Honestly, it probably doesn’t come as a very big shock to the mindful consumer that choosing to incorporate meat and dairy into your diet probably means that you are going to be ingesting some things that you might not necessarily have expected.

All kinds of bizarre additives, preservatives, fillers and binders go into a plethora of the food we eat, and we may not even know it.

While some people choose to deny that climate change is happening and that potentially harmful ingredients sometimes make their way into our food to cut production costs, a study by the University of Ghent in Belgium actually shows that extremely small plastic particles are often found in our seafood. In fact, those who do eat seafood could be ingesting up to 11,000 of these micro plastics every single year.

Yikes, ya’ll.

If it provides you any solace, researchers did find that 99 percent of these microscopic plastic particles do usually pass through the body without causing any alarm. However, as Sky News points out, that leaves a pesky little 1 percent that sticks around, and we don’t know what that 1 percent is capable of — yet. What we do know is that the particles will build up in the body over time, and that could have harmful consequences.

“Now we’ve established that they do enter our body and can stay there for quite a while, we do need to know the fate of the plastics,” Dr. Colin Janssen, who led the research, told Sky News.

“Where do they go? Are they encapsulated by tissue and forgotten about by the body, or are they causing inflammation or doing other things?

“Are chemicals leaching out of these plastics and then causing toxicity? We don’t know and actually we do need to know,” says Janssen.

So, ultimately, the responsibility to fix this mess falls down to — you guessed it — us. We need to do better, help clean up the world’s oceans, and stop harming our earth and the creatures inside of it.

You can go check out Sky Ocean Rescue’s campaign to help clean up our oceans here.

Sources: Sky News, Sky Ocean Rescue / Photo Credit: Lisa Z/Instagram

Tags: climate change, microplastic, ocean rescue, plastic, shellfish
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Could Meat And Dairy Taxes Save Our Planet?


By Cooking Panda

We could probably all stand to eat a little healthier, move a little more, and begin practicing more active and mindful lifestyles. One way to do this, of course, would be by cutting back on dairy and meat in our diets.

According to research published in the journal Nature Climate Change, a surcharge of 40% on beef and 20% on milk would actually lead to massive cuts in carbon emissions, and save thousands of lives — which of course would help account for the damage that just producing the food causes our earth.

Marco Springmann, who helped to lead the study, told the Guardian: “It is clear that if we don’t do something about the emissions from our food system, we have no chance of limiting climate change below 2C.

“But if you’d have to pay 40% more for your steak, you might choose to have it once a week instead of twice.”

Because of deforestation and methane emissions, beef actually has an extremely heavy footprint, which means that a 40% tax on average across the board would basically compensate for the climate damage it takes to feed cattle and then turn them into groceries.

Additionally, food production alone is the cause for up to a quarter of all of the greenhouse gas emissions that are currently leading the global warming charge. And the more rich people get, the more they choose to indulge in meat.

Scientists from the study determined that optimally, if we could find a way to combine the taxes with subsidies for whole and natural plant-based foods (think lots of leafy greens and delicious fruits), then people would actually be compensated very well for making better dietary choices. Rich people could eat better, and poor people could too.

“If people see any food price rise, they get angry, so you have to explain why you are doing it,” Springmann said to the Guardian, suggesting that in addition to the benefits a plant-based diet would have on the earth, it also would ensure that fewer people would die from heart disease, strokes and cancers.

“Either we have climate change and more heart disease, diabetes and obesity, or we do something about the food system,” Springmann concluded.

Sources: The Guardian, Nature/ Photo Credit: Visit Switzerland/Instagram

Tags: climate change, dairy tax, meat tax, plant based diet, vegan
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Chinese Scientists Are Now Growing Wine In Space


By Cooking Panda

In a bid to save our planet’s wine from the problematic effects of climate change, the China National Space Administration actually blasted a selection of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Pinor Noir vines up into space in the new space lab Tiangong-2.

The wine plants will be hanging out in space until October, when Beijing will then send a follow-up team of two researchers to observe any genetic changes for another 30 days.

According to a report by wine magazine Decanter, the goal of the project is to see whether outer space “will trigger mutations in the vines that may make them more suitable for the harsh climate in some of … China’s emerging vineyard regions.”

Decanter added that researchers are hoping that exposure to “space radiation” will trigger genetic changes in the vines that will ultimately enable them to “evolve new resistance to coldness, drought and viruses.”

Unfavorable soil and freezing temperatures have been some of the most serious challenges faces wine producers today, particularly in places such as Ningxia, a region that is home to some of the top vineyards in China. However, it can hit below -13 degrees Fahrenheit there in the winter, per the Guardian.

“The best Chinese wine I’ve ever tasted in my life is produced just outside of Beijing,” Fongyee Walker, a China-based wine specialist said in a recent interview with The Guardian. “Beautiful wine… Blind tasting you wouldn’t even know they were Chinese.”

Hopefully these vines do prove themselves resilient, and capable of withstanding extreme temperatures.

Sources: The Guardian, Decanter China / Photo credit: Priceonomics

Tags: china, climate change, outer space, wine
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Warning! Your Favorite Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Flavors Could Go Extinct, And Soon


By Cooking Panda

We here at Cooking Panda don’t mess around, and that’s why we’re hitting you with the hard facts.

Even though we desperately wish it weren’t true, Ben & Jerry’s has announced that in all likelihood, several of its delicious ice cream flavors are now classified as “Endangered Pints” and may soon be retired to its infamous Flavor Graveyard.

No, folks: This isn’t just a clever marketing ploy designed to make you shell out more cash into a dying business. In fact, many of the endangered pints are actually fan favorites (Cherry Garcia, anyone? How about Peanut Butter Cup? And let’s not forget about Half Baked, Phish Food, or Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough).

No, the reality is much more dire than the world’s waning interest in ice cream — that’s never going to happen. The fact of the matter is, these pints are endangered due to a little something called climate change.

“Climate change is really taking its toll on Mother Earth,” reads the company’s update on its website. Average global temperatures have risen sharply in the past few decades. Warming oceans are melting away the polar ice caps at unprecedented rates. And natural disasters are becoming more frequent and intense.”

“For many, those impacts may seem a world away from daily life, but the truth is that climate change is creeping closer and closer to home. And it’s headed straight for your freezer.”

The ice cream kings then proceed to provide an eerily long list of favorite ice cream flavors that could disappear if unpredictable weather patterns render farmland incapable of producing common ingredients like cocoa or peanuts.

The pints in danger are as follows:

Pints including cocoa

Boom Chocolatta!

Cherry Garcia

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

Chocolate Fudge Brownie

Chocolate Peppermint Crunch

Chocolate Therapy

Everything But The…

Half Baked

Karamel Sutra Core

Milk & Cookies

New York Super Fudge Chunk

Phish Food


The Tonight Dough

Vanilla Caramel Fudge

Pints including nuts

Peanut Butter Fudge Core

Peanut Buttah Cookie Core

Banana Split

Chubby Hubby

Chunky Monkey

Peanut Butter Cup

Pistachio Pistachio

Banana Peanut Butter Greek Frozen Yogurt

Pints including coffee

Coffee Caramel Fudge Non-Dairy

Coffee Toffee Bar Crunch

Coffee, Coffee BuzzBuzzBuzz!

If a world without these Ben & Jerry’s flavors seems bleak and unappealing (which, let’s face it, it should) then Ben & Jerry’s encourages you to sign the petition on its website to become a part of the climate action movement.

Source: Ben & Jerry's / Photo credit: Ben & Jerry's

Tags: Ben & Jerry's, cherry garcia, climate change, endangered pints, ice cream
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Say It Ain’t So! Coffee Could Go Extinct By 2080 Due To Climate Change


By Cooking Panda

You might want to sit down for this one.

If a new report from The Climate Institute is to be believed, there is an actual, real-life possibility that coffee could be going extinct, folks.

Cue panic mode.

The Climate Institute has issued a dire prediction that rising temperatures are set to wreck the farmland that is used to produce coffee, rendering it incapable of growing coffee beans.

This isn’t slow-going, either — per Metro, the report suggests that half of the world’s coffee farming land will be unsuitable for producing coffee by 2050, and growing levels of fungi and pests are only contributing factors to this inevitable fate.

By 2080, many coffee varieties — Arabica, anyone? — could be entirely extinct.

Think of your children. Think of your children’s children!

“Over 2.25 billion cups of coffee are consumed around the world every day, with nearly half of Australians drinking coffee regularly,” said Climate Institute CEO John Connor in a press release. “Yet coffee is just one of a multitude of things increasingly subject to negative climate impacts, and its negative flow-on effects.”

“Without strong climate action, the areas suitable for growing coffee could halve in a few decades,” Connor added, “pushing production upslope, away from the equator and into conflict with other land uses, such as nature conservation and forestry. By 2080 wild coffee, an important genetic resource for farmers, could be extinct.”

Luckily, not all hope is lost — or, at the very least, Connor suggests that anybody who values coffee (and dreads that caffeine-headache) ought to do their part to get to carbon neutral.

“There are things we coffee drinkers can do to assist,” said Connor. “The first step is to learn about these issues and the steps being taken by Fairtrade and others; the second is to take real action by choosing to buy only the brands that are carbon or climate neutral, provide a fair return to farmers and their communities while helping to build their capacity to adapt to climate change; third is to demand climate action from the coffee companies and our governments to ensure all products, business models and economies are carbon or climate neutral.”

Sources: Climate InstituteMetro / Photo credit: Genesis Transformation/Wordpress via Thrillist

Tags: caffeine, climate change, coffee, extinction
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Watch Out, Shellfish Lovers: Vibrio Is Poisoning Your Oysters


By Cooking Panda

Earth’s fish are going extinct, y’all; unfortunately, this isn’t actually news.

New research from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, however, suggests that the shellfish that do survive may all end up being poisonous to humans anyway, because as the water they live in gets warmer, it becomes more hospitable for a bacteria called Vibrio.

Vibrio is no joke, either: It actually causes several potentially lethal illnesses, according to Grub Street, such as cholera.

“We were able to show a doubling, tripling — in some cases quadrupling — of the Vibrio over that 50-year period,” Rita Colwell told National Geographic. “This would represent a direct impact on human health that I think is kind of surprising.”

Colwell; who is one of the study’s lead authors, a microbiologist with positions at the University of Maryland and Johns Hopkins University, and former director of the National Science Foundation; added: “The beauty of this study is that it provides us with ground truth that this correlation exists.”

Grub Street also reports the CDC as saying that in 2014, 27-percent of people infected with vibrio eventually had to be hospitalized, with four-percent of those people dying — and that’s a figure that the agency has reason to believe is actually an underestimate.

Biological oceanographer and chief scientific officer at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute, Andrew Pershing, adds that Colwell and her collaborators’ study demonstrates just how man-made climate change is actually altering the seas.

“It is really rare in the ocean, even more than on land, to have these long-term records,” he said to National Geographic. “The pattern they described [looks] like the same story we are seeing in species after species. In the North Atlantic, we are seeing a northern march of whole ecosystems toward the poles as the planet warms: predators, prey, and in the case of Vibrio, the parasites as well, moving with their hosts up the globe.”

So, bad news all around, shellfish-lovers. The catch-22 appears to be that not only are fast-rising temperatures forcing cod, lobster, and other fish to relocate north, but the fish that remain probably pose a risk to your health.

Sources: Grub Street, National Geographic / Photo credit: The Luxury Spot

Tags: bacteria, climate change, shellfish, vibrio
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