Will Fracking Affect Your Pizza?

Fracking. This controversial topic has made it to the headlines of many news centers across the country. Whether you are for or against it, the debate surrounding this hot topic issue is sure to be important now, and for generations to come. For those of you who are new to the issue, fracking is the process of pumping water and sand underground in hopes of freeing natural gas from underneath the rocks where it is trapped.   Small fractures occur naturally underground, allowing some of this natural gas to be extracted; however, fracking accelerates this process. Opponents of fracking argue that it will contaminate groundwater as well public drinking water systems.

Most recently, the fracking debate has heated up in New York.  Surprisingly, executive chefs, bakers, and restaurant owners are jumping into the frontlines of the debate. Many are making it their mission to raise awareness about the negative effects fracking can have on New York’s cuisine (Farley, thirteen.org). The organization, called Chefs for the Marcellus, has drawn the attention of some big name chefs, including the Food Network’s, Mario Battali. Battali’s four star restaurant, Del Posto gets much of its produce and meats from the farms in upstate New York, where the Marcellus Shale lies, and where Governor Cuomo would like to introduce hydrofracking.

Hoping to appeal to peoples stomachs, Battali and his chef comrades are insisting that fracking will impact the quality of their food. Executive Chef Brooks Headly of Del Posto is also extremely concerned about the effect fracking can have on New York’s eateries,insisting, “NYC is the greatest city of pizza, and a lot of people say that’s because of the water. If we destroy the water supply, we destroy New York pizza” (Farley,thirteen.org).

So, what do you think of the fracking debate? Do you oppose it because you believe it will contaminant groundwater and isn’t environmentally friendly? Are you for it because you believe it will decrease the price of gas and create jobs? Or, like Mario Battali, do you oppose it because you believe it will negatively affect the world-class cuisine found in New York City? Here at Filters Fast, we want to know what you think, so post your thoughts to our comment section or Facebook Page!

Water Continues to Leak from Japanese Nuclear Power Plant

Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plantThe Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant, located in the towns of Okuma and Futaba in Japan, gained international attention on March 11 of this year when the country was ravaged by earthquake and subsequent tsunami. After months of effort to prevent a nuclear meltdown at the site, the power plant has, according to NPR, “leaked about 45 tons of highly radioactive water from a purification device over the weekend, its operator said, and some may have drained into the ocean.”

Tokyo Electric Power Co. (also known as TEPCO) has pledged to shut down the crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi power plant by the end of the year amidst much criticism about its construction and handling of the meltdown.

NPR reports that TEPCO released a statement on its website indicating that “a pool of radioactive water was discovered midday Sunday around a decontamination device” and that “after the equipment was turned off, the leak appeared to stop. Later, workers found a crack in a concrete barrier leaking the contaminated water into a gutter that leads to the ocean.”

The power company has estimated that approximately 300 litres leaked out from the power plant before a crew was able to plug a hole and stop the leak. The concern is that radioactive water containing the harmful Celsium-137 may be released into the ocean and impact the seafood in the water that many fisherman and citizens rely on.

TEPCO is utilizing purification devices “to decontaminate water that has been cooling the reactors. Three of the plant’s reactor cores mostly melted down when the March 11 tsunami knocked out the plant’s cooling system.”

Levi Strauss to Produce Jeans while Conserving Water

LevisHow many gallons of water do you think it takes to produce one pair of jeans? Levi Strauss & Company knows: typically 919 gallons. The New York Times reports that those 919 gallons “include the water that goes into irrigating the cotton crop, stitching the jeans together and washing them scores of times at home.” For Levi Strauss, that number is too high. That’s why the noted clothing company has pledged to reduce water use for the sake of environmental responsibility and as a response to water shortages possibly caused by climate change.

The company has a few ideas in mind:

“Levi Strauss has helped underwrite and champion a nonprofit program that teaches farmers in India, Pakistan, Brazil and West and Central Africa the latest irrigation and rainwater-capture techniques.  It has introduced a brand featuring stone-washed denim smoothed with rocks but no water. It is sewing tags into all of its jeans urging customers to wash less and use only cold water.”

Levi Strauss also recommends that their consumers take part in their initiative by not washing jeans regularly. Cutting back on a few loads of laundry could save gallons of water. For a possible alternative, the company recommends placing your jeans in your freezer, which can kill germs that cause bad smells.

Water shortages have been a concern for the company recently. In 2009 Levi Strauss joined several other major companies to form the Better Cotton Initiative, which “promotes water conservation and reduces pesticide use and child-labor practices in the industry.” And last year “floods in Pakistan and parched fields in China destroyed cotton crops and sent prices soaring. Roughly two pounds of cotton go into every pair of jeans that the company manufactures.”

Levi Strauss has implemented their nonprofit program and achieved surprisingly positive results: “A three-year independent study of Indian farms found those adopting the new techniques reduced water and pesticide use by an average of 32 percent, the initiative says. The profit was 20 percent higher than that of a control group using traditional methods.”

The company is aware that results will not be immediate, but is putting forth the best effort to ensure that water conservation becomes a major staple of the company’s future.