Austin passes law banning restaurants from throwing out food waste


Restaurants in Austin, Texas have revamped operations this week by adopting sustainable measures for their food waste. According to a new law, which went into effect on Oct. 1, local eateries must now dispose of waste in a responsible manner as part of Austin’s Universal Recycling Ordinance (URO). The businesses are encouraged to chose from a variety of options including donating their unconsumed goods, sending leftovers to farms or composting organic waste in order to divert trash from landfills…. View full post on Inhabitat – Green Design, Innovation, Architecture, Green Building

California legislature passes historic bill to achieve 100% clean energy

California is going all in on clean energy. Legislators just passed a bill that puts the state on a path to become 100% reliable on clean energy by 2045, making it the largest economy in the world to enact such an environmentally friendly policy. Governor Jerry Brown has until the end of next month to sign the bill and make it official.

This is not the first eco-friendly move in the California state legislator. The state previously had a goal to become 50% reliant on clean energy by 2030, a goal… View full post on Inhabitat – Green Design, Innovation, Architecture, Green Building

Beloved physicist Stephen Hawking passes away at 76

Stephen Hawking, the brilliant and iconic British scientist who inspired countless millions with his intellect and his humanity, has died at 76. After being diagnosed with a degenerative motor neuron disease that left him nearly completely paralyzed at age 21, Hawking found strength in humor and the boundless exploration of science. “My goal is simple,” he famously said. “It is complete understanding of the universe, why it is as it is and why it exists at all.” Throughout his life, Hawking… View full post on Inhabitat – Green Design, Innovation, Architecture, Green Building

Sweden passes law to become carbon neutral by 2045

Sweden just took a huge step to become a cleaner, greener country. Their parliament just passed a law – 254 to 41 votes – to slash carbon emissions all the way down to zero by 2045. The move makes them the first country upgrade its goal since the 2015 Paris Agreement.

Related: View full post on Inhabitat – Green Design, Innovation, Architecture, Green BuildingEco funeral – Inhabitat – Green Design, Innovation, Architecture, Green Building

Senate passes weak GMO-labeling bill, nullifying Vermont’s pro-consumer requirements

The United States Senate passed a controversial bill Wednesday that would require food makers to disclose genetically modified food ingredients—at least, sort of. The version of the bill passed this week outlines a compromise that would allow companies to avoid printing “contains GMOs” on food packaging, in lieu of a digital QR code that links to a disclaimer or, for smaller companies, simply a phone number or website. This weaker version of a nationwide mandatory GMO labeling is being considered… View full post on Inhabitat – Green Design, Innovation, Architecture, Green BuildingEco funeral – Inhabitat – Green Design, Innovation, Architecture, Green Building

California Senate Judiciary Committee Passes SB 128 – End of Life Option Act

The California Senate Judiciary Committee on April 7 approved Senate Bill 128 – California End of Life Option Act by a 5 to 2 vote.

With the vote, California took another step towards providing Death with Dignity as an end of life option to its 39 million citizens.

We applaud Senators Lois Wolk, Bill Monning, and others for sponsoring legislation whose time has come. We were pleased to play an integral role in the drafting and deliberations of the bill, and honored to speak before the Committee on the Oregon experience and our exemplary implementation of the law.

The End of Life Option Act will next be considered in the Senate Appropriations Committee, with a hearing to take place in May. In the meantime, we will continue to work with the bill sponsors to promote the bill’s passage.

Help make this bill become law!

  • Thank the Senators voting Aye. The bill moved out of this committee by a vote of 5 to 2, along party lines. Please contact Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (Chair, D-Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties), Senator Robert M. Hertzberg (D-LA/San Fernando), Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco/San Mateo), or Senator Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont/Alameda and Santa Clara Counties) (Senator Bill Monning, SB 128 co-sponsor, also voted in favor) to exppress your appreciation for their vote, especially if you live in their district.
  • Thank the bill sponsors. Call, email, or send a letter to SB 128 sponsors, Senators Bill Monning (D-Carmel) and Lois Wolk (D-Davis) in appreciation of their leadership on the issue. Or use our online Thank You card below.
  • Share your story. Heartfelt personal stories were a crucial part of the Committee testimony in favor of the End of Life Option Act. Please fill out this simple form to let us know how you got involved in the Death with Dignity movement or why you support California’s proposed legislation.
  • Make a contribution. We remain optimistic the law will pass, but for that to happen we need your support. It is thanks to you that we are able to do our work in promoting Death with Dignity laws in California and elsewhere. Your gift will stay in California and help promote SB 128 as it moves through the legislative process. Thank you.

About SB 128 – California End of Life Option Act

The California End of Life Option Act closely follows the model of the Oregon Death with Dignity Act with some modifications, most of which are required to comply with the California statute. Similar to the Oregon law, the California End of Life Option Act provides that only qualified, terminally ill adults who are residents of California may request and obtain prescriptions from their physician for medication that the patient has the capability to self-administer. A person may not qualify solely because of age or disability.

In order to receive the prescription the terminally ill patient is required to have two physicians confirm the patient’s prognosis of six months or less to live and that the patient has the mental competency to make health care decisions for him or herself. Two oral requests to be made to a physician, a minimum of 15 days apart, in addition to one written request with two witnesses attesting to the request before the prescription can be written.

In addition, the proposed bill includes voluntary participation by doctors, pharmacists and healthcare facilities, safeguards against any coercion of patients by establishing felony penalties for coercing or forging a request, and a patient’s right to rescind the request.

View full post on Death with Dignity National Center

For Immediate Release: Vermont Senate Passes Amended Death with Dignity Bill

Contact: Peg Sandeen, MSW, Executive Director
              Death with Dignity National Center

The Vermont legislature is in a position to enact historic legislation in the next few days. Should the Vermont House vote to concur with a Senate amendment passed on Wednesday, May 8, Vermont will become the first state in the nation to pass a Death with Dignity law through the legislative process.

The bill has had a difficult journey to passage and faces two more hurdles: the above-mentioned House concurrence and signature by the Governor. In past statements, Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin has promised to sign carefully-safeguarded Death with Dignity legislation, and he issued the following statement today:

I understand the deep convictions held by Vermonters on all sides of this extraordinarily personal issue. But I also know how important it is for those who face terminal illness and tremendous pain to have this choice, in conjunction with their physicians and loved ones, in the final days of their lives. I am grateful for the Legislature’s continued hard work on this difficult issue.

Legislative committees have heard days of emotional testimony from opponents and supporters, including Ann Jackson, former Executive Director of the Oregon Hospice Association and George Eighmey, who helped terminally ill Oregonians navigate the Oregon’s Death with Dignity law for 12 years. Lawmakers themselves participated in days of debate and several rounds of voting. The House concurrence vote, likely to occur in the next few days, will be the bill’s second trip to the House this year.

In fact, legislators have been exploring this issue since 2003 in the Green Mountain State, when a bill entitled the Vermont Death with Dignity Act was introduced by 38 sponsors in the House and 8 members in the Senate. According to Peg Sandeen, Executive Director of the Death with Dignity National Center, “We are so pleased that legislators in Vermont have taken another bold step toward expanding end-of-life options for terminally ill Vermonters. We have been committed to policy reform efforts in Vermont for over 10 years, and we are proud to partner with the dedicated individuals involved in Patient Choices Vermont.”

As with any legislation, there are no guarantees the House will support the Senate’s version of the proposed law. Sandeen added, “While there are no promises nor guarantees when it comes to the legislative process, our research shows Vermont has led the nation on improving indoor air quality, marriage equality, prescription drug access and Medicaid reform, we believe Vermont will take the lead on end-of-life care reform, also.” Should the Vermont House concur with the Senate version of the bill, Vermont will become the third state in the US, following Oregon and Washington, with a carefully-safeguarded law allowing terminally ill and mentally competent adults to hasten their deaths.

View full post on Death with Dignity National Center

Vermont House Passes Death with Dignity

VT Statehouse, photo by Mark Danielson on flickr
VT Statehouse, photo by Mark Danielson on flickr

Vermont took another step toward allowing terminally ill people to decide the manner and timing of their deaths through a safeguarded process. Today, the Vermont House approved a bill emulating the time-tested Oregon and Washington Death with Dignity Acts by a vote of 81-64. The path has been a long one, and it still has a ways to go before a final version would be presented to Governor Shumlin.

Since its introduction to the full Senate for debate earlier this year, the proposed bill has taken a meandering path. In the Senate, the bill was drastically amended before being approved and sent to the state House. In the House, the Senate bill was introduced and referred to the House Human Services Committee for consideration.

After listening to hours of expert testimony, the committee voted to restore the original bill’s safeguards, bringing it more in line with the existing Death with Dignity laws. Because of the changes to the structure of the bill, the House Judiciary Committee had to go through it with a fine tooth comb to make sure the proposed bill would work with existing Vermont laws.

At the end of last week, the Judiciary Committee had completed its inspection, and approved the bill for consideration by the full House. After a lively floor debate over the course of two days, the House advanced a bill today which differs from the Senate bill. Before a bill can be sent to the Governor, the Senate either needs to agree to the House’s amended bill or request a Committee of Conference made up of House and Senate members to find common ground between the two versions. If a Committee of Conference is assembled, the version they come up with would need to approved by both the Senate and the House before moving to the Governor’s desk.

No doubt about it, the Death with Dignity movement is standing on the precipice of monumental change, and we’ll be there every step of the way until all terminally ill Americans have the right to a dignified death. Thank you for your support.

View full post on Death with Dignity National Center