New SNAP rule change just made it harder to combat future recessions

SNAP is designed to expand during economic downturns, and in doing so, it offers nutrition assistance to low-income families and also provides economic stimulus to communities and the economy as a whole. Accordingly, the USDA’s final rule has greatly weakened a crucial part of the safety net for vulnerable populations and one of the most effective recession-fighting tools in the fiscal policy toolkit.

Work requirements are imposed on those who are otherwise eligible for SNAP but who are between the ages of 18 and 49, not disabled, and do not have dependents (“able-bodied without dependents” [ABAWD]). ABAWD work requirements inhibit SNAP from expanding rapidly during economic downturns as it becomes more difficult to find a job and satisfy the work requirement. This constraint makes SNAP a less-effective automatic stabilizer.

Source: New SNAP rule change just made it harder to combat future recessions

Challenges and prospects in the EU: Quality of life and public services | Eurofound

This flagship report brings together in-depth contributions in the area of quality of society and public services, based mainly on research carried out since 2016.

Recognizing the fact that the quality of people’s lives is profoundly influenced by their access to quality provision in areas such as education, health, housing and social services, the report pays particular attention to regional and social inequalities and, where possible, changes over time.

The starting point is the European Quality of Life Survey (EQLS) which has, since its inception in 2003, included questions on various aspects of quality of society, notably societal tensions, social capital, institutional trust, and the quality of services that are key for the well-being of the public.

Source: Challenges and prospects in the EU: Quality of life and public services | Eurofound

Agricultural emissions: Not enough cash for solutions |

European policies on tackling agricultural emissions are insufficient, according to auditors. Although solutions do exist, the cost and time factors often mean farmers are not capable of implementing them.

Agriculture is responsible for 95% of ammonia emissions, which contribute to the formation of harmful secondary particulate matter. Three-quarters of it comes from manure and 20% from inorganic fertilizer.

Ways to cut ammonia emissions include improved livestock feeding strategies, more effective ways of using fertilizers and closed manure storage.

However, farmers claim they have neither money nor time for these solutions.

Source: Agricultural emissions: Not enough cash for solutions –

The Trouble With Biofuels | EcoWatch

Perhaps the most interesting thing about the expansion of the biofuels industry — as a share of the fuel market and a lobbying power — is that the general public hasn’t really noticed. Compared with fracking or coal, biofuels aren’t the subject of many policy reports or New York Times op-eds. Media coverage of the biofuels package has been limited.

But as President Donald Trump continues to make promises about the future of biofuels, two important questions loom: Should the rest of the country care about what’s going on in Iowa and other corn-belt states?

And is biofuel expansion something we should welcome or oppose?

Source: The Trouble With Biofuels – EcoWatch

How the Bento Box Can Change How We Think About the World | Time

We don’t think of the bento box as an important innovation, but we should. Created sometime in 12th or 13th century Japan, the bento box arguably invented food packaging as we know it today.

The secret to the bento box’s success is in its name: bento derives from a Japanese word meaning convenience. The bento’s four internal compartments and lid enable someone to easily carry a balanced meal of a variety of dishes without it getting spoiled. Ten centuries after its invention, the bento box remains one of the most balanced, healthy, and convenient meals around.

Could the bento box do the same for how we see our self-interest?

Source: How the Bento Box Can Change How We Think About the World | Time

Pizza Loves Emily: How a Background in Education Helped Emily Hyland Build a Pizza Empire | Fortune

What started with neighborhood pizza shop Emily in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn has grown into a burgeoning pizza empire.

In less than five years, Emily Hyland and her business partners Matt Hyland and Howard Greenstone are working on opening their ninth restaurant under the restaurant group Pizza Loves Emily.

Source: Pizza Loves Emily: How a Background in Education Helped Emily Hyland Build a Pizza Empire | Fortune

‘Rewilding:’ One California man’s mission to save honey bees | Reuters

The staggering decline of honey bee colonies has alarmed experts across the United States, but an unconventional apiculturist in California thinks he has found a way to save them.

Michael Thiele has championed an approach he calls the “rewilding” of honeybees, allowing them to live as they did for millions of years — in natural log hives high above the ground.

“We can do this very, very simple thing — return bees into their natural nest environment, into their natural biosphere,” said German-born Thiele at his home in Sebastopol, California. “If we lose them due to human-induced mass extinction, will there be a tomorrow?”

Source: ‘Rewilding:’ One California man’s mission to save honey bees – Reuters

Opportunity Begins Where Hunger Ends | EcoWatch

As a child growing up on a farm in Ghana, I have personally known hunger. The most challenging time was between planting and harvesting – “the hunger season.” There were many occasions when we did not know where the next meal would come from.

Today, on World Food Day, I think of the 820 million people around the world who are undernourished.

While this statistic is shocking, the global community has actually cut the proportion of malnourished children in half over the last 40 years, and pioneered new ways to detect and treat malnutrition. However, hunger rates remain unnecessarily high.

If the world stays on its current path, tens of millions more children will die of hunger by 2030, the target for the UN Sustainable Development Goal of ending malnutrition worldwide.

Source: Opportunity Begins Where Hunger Ends – EcoWatch

Money to burn |

Harmful EU private sector financing driving deforestation shows the need for Commissioner designate Frans Timmermans to commit to new rules on corporate responsibility for deforestation and environmental harm, writes Giulia Bondi.

Our new investigation Money to Burn shows the urgent need for the EU to introduce new regulation requiring companies and investors to conduct due diligence throughout their entire supply chain and investments in order to identify, prevent, and mitigate environmental, social and human rights risks and impacts.

The burning of the Brazilian Amazon this summer illustrated in the most graphic way possible humanity’s war on the planet. But such scenes play out every year in rainforests all around the world to make way for big agribusiness, away from the horrified stare of global television audiences.

Source: Money to burn –

Something fishy this way comes |

We can have more fish in the sea and secure a profitable future for our fishermen and women if we respect the sustainable limits of catches and let the stocks recover, writes Chris Davies.

Just when there were signs of improvement in the seas around Europe, with fish stocks managed more sustainably, comes news of drastic cuts required in Baltic catches to prevent the complete collapse of stocks.

Will EU ministers meeting on Monday (14 October) in land-locked Luxembourg respect the scientific advice or slip back to the bad old ways of making short term decisions with disastrous long term consequences?

Source: Something fishy this way comes –