Although global emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) declined slightly in 2009, the beginnings of economic recovery led to an unprecedented emissions increase of 5.8 percent in 2010. More than 70 percent of CO2 emissions result from the burning of fossil fuels for energy use, such as electricity generation, transportation, manufacturing, and construction. In 2009, electricity generation and heating alone accounted for 41 percent of all energy related CO2 emissions.

“Unfortunately for the future of climate, the global economy remains tightly coupled to fossil fuel combustion and carbon dioxide emissions,” said Worldwatch President Robert Engelman. “We gained a short respite from increases in CO2 emissions—but only at the cost of an economic downturn. Now we are rebounding economically—at the cost of once again accelerating the approach of a high-risk warming that the world’s nations have so far been unable to address.”
For more information, see the Worldwatch Institute website at

 The epidemic of autism in children in the United States may be linked to the typical American diet according to a new study published online in Clinical Epigenetics by Renee Dufault, et. al. The study explores how mineral deficiencies—affected by dietary factors like high fructose corn syrup (HFCS)—could impact how the human body rids itself of common toxic chemicals like mercury and pesticides.

The release comes on the heels of a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that estimates the average rate of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) among eight year olds is now 1 in 88, representing a 78 percent increase between 2002 and 2008.

“To better address the explosion of autism, it’s critical we consider how unhealthy diets interfere with the body’s ability to eliminate toxic chemicals, and ultimately our risk for developing long-term health problems like autism.” said Dr. David Wallinga, a study co-author and physician at the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP).

The picture of how and why a child develops autism is a complicated one influenced by many different factors. The authors of this study have given insight into the complex interplay between several of the factors that may lead to the development of this debilitating neurodevelopmental disorder. In order to curb the epidemic of autism in the U. S., continued analysis of the impact of the industrialized food system and exposure to environmental toxins on ASD must be key areas of research moving forward. “Rather than being independent sources of risk, factors like nutrition and exposure to toxic chemicals are cumulative and synergistic in their potential to disrupt normal development,” said Dr. Richard Deth, a professor of Pharmacology at Northeastern University and a co-author of the study.

For more information from the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, see

Producing U.S. Foods organically creates thousands more jobs than if that food were produced using conventional agricultural methods, according to a new economic study released today here at the Organic Trade Association’s (OTA’s) Policy Conference. The report, “2010 Impacts of the U.S. Organic Foods Industry on the U.S. Economy,” which shows the organic food industry generated more than five hundred thousand American jobs in 2010, builds on data released by OTA earlier in the week revealing the overall U.S. Organic market in 2011 surpassed $31 billion for the first time.

“This report sends a strong message that doing what’s good for the environment and what’s good for industry economics are not mutually exclusive,” said Congressman Sam Farr (CA-17). “The organic food processing industry is creating jobs, stimulating our economy and delivering the products that consumers increasingly demand. This report is only the latest testament on why supporting organic is a no-brainer.”

The report examined the direct, indirect and induced job-creation impacts throughout the U.S. Economy of the production and sale of organically produced foods. To analyze those impacts, the researchers used a customized version of an economic input-output modeling system based on federal government data, called IMPLAN. The study applied the IMPLAN model to 2010 U.S. Organic industry food sales for eight categories of food as reported in OTA’s 2011 Organic Industry Survey: dairy products; breads and grains; beverages; fruits and vegetables; snack foods; packaged and prepared foods; condiments and sauces; and meat, poultry and fish. Job creation and other economic impacts are reported for each of these organic food categories, then compared with outcomes that would have occurred had the same amount of food sales been generated by conventional food production and marketing systems.
To read the full story from the Organic Trade Association, see

It’s Time for Sustainable Festivals
Most all of us look forward to summer and the wonderful eastside music festivals. These are terrific events—but are you aware of how much trash they generate? Can’t we do better?

Yes we can! The City of Madison is in its second year of two neighborhood compost efforts, and other festivals already have near-zero waste events. The Sierra Club Four Lakes Group’s current Recycling Away from Home (RAH— or program is looking for your assistance to enable real waste reduction at our festivals.

There are two main opportunities. One is to help with our current program to reduce waste through recycling at this summer’s festivals: Waterfront Festival, June 9th–10th; Orton Park Festival, August 23rd–26th; and the Willy Street Fair, September 15th–16th. Volunteers are needed to assist with recycling at these events and also get signatures on petitions and surveys to build and show community support for further waste reduction. In addition to our and the festival organizer’s undying thanks, you’ll also receive some free refreshments to quench your thirst for helping out!

The other opportunity is to join our forward-looking waste reduction team. We’re looking at advanced options, including better recycling, refilling containers, and composting. As of this writing, we’re looking to (hopefully) implement at least some of this at Atwood Summerfest, this July 28th–29th. We also want to work with the Marquette Neighborhood Association and others to move the other four eastside festivals (including La Fete de Marquette that now does their own recycling) to more progressive waste reduction efforts.

We know it can be done. Others have elsewhere, and we can show our community pride and consciousness by being leaders and doing it here. Please contact Don Ferber at 608-222-9376 or, or through our online sites. Thanks for helping create a sustainable community.