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What Was the Top #ScienceFail for 2014?

Science isn’t easy. Scientific research is often difficult, tedious, and can take years to come to fruition. And it’s because it takes such dogged effort to reach solid scientific conclusions that we trust the work scientists do. Unfortunately, too many politicians and institutions reject or distort scientific conclusions they don’t like.

We all lose when political spin runs roughshod over evidence scientists have uncovered regarding risks to our health and well-being. Sadly, such incidents are now commonplace enough to have their own hashtag: #ScienceFail. Here are our nominations for the worst cases of #ScienceFail for 2014. Read More

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Weighing In on Obesity—What BMI Can Tell You

In public health, one of the first steps to addressing a problem is defining it. The second, measuring it. Most Americans are aware that our country has an obesity problem—in adults as well as children—in part because of our unhealthy food system. But how do researchers gauge the extent of the problem, and what do we know about whether it is increasing? Read More

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We’re Number One! – In What Our Land Can Do for the World’s Climate

You hear the phrase “we’re number one!” from Americans fairly often, usually in relation to sports or politics. Now new research from the Union of Concerned Scientists shows  that there’s another domain where it applies. It’s not as an assertion of superiority, and probably never will lead to a chant at the Olympics, the World Cup or even the UN climate negotiations. Rather, it’s in terms of our potential to use our land sector – that is, agriculture and forests – to reduce our global warming pollution and avoid the worst consequences of climate change.

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Groundbreaking Study Shows How Sustainable Farming Practices Can Improve Yields

As the human population rises, so too does the anxiety about whether there will be enough food for all. Many have suggested that sustainable agriculture methods, such as organic production, are not suited to large scale adoption as a means of providing a reliable food source. Yet considering that our industrial agricultural system generates a plethora of environmental and public health problems, we have a real conundrum. How can we possibly secure sufficient food quantities without sacrificing the quality of our health or our planet’s? Read More

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Agriculture + Ecology: No Matter What You Call It, the Science of “Agroecology” Adds Up

As a child of America’s Dairyland and conservationist Aldo Leopold’s home (yes, that would be Wisconsin), I always loved how agriculture and ecology dominated the scenery. Driving through the state, though, I usually only spotted those two vistas out opposite windows. Read More

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Why Does Good Produce Cost So Much?

During the summer of 2012, I was hard at work finishing data collection for my doctoral dissertation. While pursuing my degree in Health Policy and Management, I had just spent the last year traveling around North Carolina asking lower-income women what their thoughts were on access to healthy food. Not surprisingly, produce prices were always the first topic to come up. Read More

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Amazon Deforestation in Brazil: New Numbers, Better Understanding

The new annual data on Amazon deforestation in Brazil has just come out, and it’s good news. For the latest year—August 2013 through July 2014—the annual total was 4,848 square kilometers. That’s 18 percent less than in the previous year, and the second-lowest figure ever. Read More

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Added Sugar? You’re Killing Me

Earlier this year the Center for Science and Democracy released two reports on added sugar in processed foods and beverages (not naturally occurring in the primary contents) and its impact on public health. In our first report, we showed how advertising practices, particularly to children, have manipulated the food “choices” people make and have contributed to an epidemic of obesity and diet related disease in the United States and around the world. In our second report, we documented the role the food industry has played in obscuring the facts about sugar in our diet by manipulating or hiding scientific evidence and information for public. Read More

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Why We Need a Policy for Food, Health and Wellbeing

This week I’ve joined a number of food system leaders at the New York Times Food For Tomorrow conference, where the role of public policy in the food system has been a recurrent topic. Public policy is about directing public resources to support the public interest. It is for this reason that this weekend I joined Mark Bittman, Michael Pollan and Olivier De Schutter in calling for a better way for this nation to manage its food and agriculture system. Read More

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The Day After: What the Mid-Terms Mean and How To Move Forward

While this morning’s headlines naturally focus on the change in leadership in the U.S. Senate, nothing in the results should change anyone’s mind on these clear truths: we know Americans trust science, support cutting global warming emissions, and want help for communities struggling with the very real consequences of climate change.   Read More

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