New study finds plastic in our poop

A new study out of Austria recently found plastic in human feces. Researchers recruited eight people from nations across the globe and instructed them to keep a food journal for a week before a stool sample was taken. All of the subjects ate some food wrapped or packaged in plastic and six of them ate seafood. The Environment Agency Austria then tested the samples using newly developed analytical procedures to test for 10 different types of plastic. They found that the participant’s poop contained nine of the 10 types of plastic. Critics of the study point out that the study’s sample size is very small and the research has not gone through the peer-review process yet. There’s also the possibility that, considering how many flecks of plastic are around us, the plastic could have been contaminated from the lab or another source. Microplastics have been found in our salt, beer and seafood, and a study earlier this year found that 114 plastic fibers fall onto the average dinner plate during a 20-minute meal.

State board to reconsider key permit for Mountain Valley Pipeline

Last Thursday the Mountain Valley Pipeline was dealt a serious setback when Virginia’s State Water Control Board decided in a vote of 4-3 to hold a hearing to consider revoking Mountain Valley Pipeline’s water quality certification. The board issued the certification one year ago, which allowed construction of the pipeline to move forward. The certification was based on the board’s finding that there was “reasonable assurance” that streams and rivers would not be contaminated. Since then, Mountain Valley has been cited more than 300 times for violating regulations limiting runoff and washing harmful sediment into nearby streams. Mountain Valley announced last week that construction of the 303-mile pipeline is 70 percent complete through Virginia and West Virginia. No date has been scheduled for the hearing.

WNC man to bike 5 states in support of hunger relief

In 2019, Gabriel Whitlock of Fairview, NC will bike 1,480 miles round-trip from Asheville, NC to Little Rock, AR in support of hunger awareness and sustainable agriculture. A former intern at The Lord’s Acre, a non-profit giving farm in Fairview, NC that donated nearly 170,000 servings of fresh organic produce to people in need in 2018, Whitlock is hoping to raise awareness about hunger, solutions to hunger through fresh food production, and issues of racial equity in the food system. Along the way, Whitlock will pass through the Carolinas, Georgia, Mississippi, and Arkansas, stopping for farm stays and giving small group presentations. His destination is an agriculture conference in Arkansas. “I thought a bike tour would be a way to build community and awareness about giving gardens,” said Whitlock. “These farms can quite literally transform the food system.” Every mile Whitlock clocks is a fundraiser for The Lord’s Acre. To launch his ride and the fundraising campaign, Whitlock will appear at the Fairview library on January 7, 2019.