5/3/2013 1:01:32 PM

Good News Friday, May 3 {Austin Restaurants Must Compost, Million Tomato Compost Campaign, New Yale Poll}

It's Friday and we want to share some good news. There's a lot of doom and gloom out there regarding climate change--and there should be. It's a serious problem that we all need to be taking action on.

But on Fridays, we like to highlight some of the good news, and focus on what people and communities are doing right now to reduce their carbon footprint and help polar bears.

We'll start with composting efforts in honor of International Compost Awareness Week, which begins on Monday. Composting helps polar bears because it reduces waste transportation, methane emissions from landfills, and chemical fertilizers.

- Our first tip of the hat is the city of Austin, Texas, which has passed a law requiring restaurants and food businesses to compost their food scraps beginning in 2016. These scraps make up 40 to 50 percent of the trash generated by restaurants. Keeping that waste out of landfills—along with requiring food service businesses to recycle materials such as paper, plastics, and aluminum—will help the city reach its zero waste goal. We hope Austin's move will inspire other cities to follow.

- In other composting news, the U.S. Composting Council has launched the Million Tomato Compost Campaign. According to their website, "The campaign is a nationwide effort to spread the word that compost is a key component to building the healthy soil needed to grow sustainable, local food that helps build healthy communities." It unites chefs, community gardens, food pantries, and compost manufacturers to introduce Americans to the value of compost. Sounds like a worthwhile endeavor to us!

- Many Canadian communities plan to celebrate Compost Week by combining it with Hunger Awareness Week, which falls at the same time. They'll do so by promoting the use of compost in their Plant a Row, Grow a Row campaign, which channels food grown by home and community gardeners into food banks.

- And, finally, we take a look at how public opinion on global warming has shifted in the U.S., with six in 10 Americans now convinced that climate change is real and is happening now. A new poll by the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication asked a series of questions related to this topic, and the results are encouraging given the high carbon footprint of the U.S. Extreme weather events in 2012—from droughts, to heat waves, and Hurricane Sandy—helped bring about the shift. Will it lead to action?

Have a great weekend!

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