Eco News: A Fast Food Giant Shows It Gives a Cluck

In a move Burger King hopes will resonate with environmentally conscious consumers, the fast-food behemoth says it will only be using cage-free eggs and pork in its 12,400 locations by 2017.

“So many tens of thousands of animals will now be in better living conditions,” said Wayne Pacelle, President of the Humane Society of the United States, a group that’s been urging BK and other similar companies to consider animal welfare in their purchasing practices. “Numerically this is significant because Burger King is such a big purchaser of these products.”

Perhaps the most interesting element of this announcement is its timing. In March, food industry research firm Technomic Inc. reported that Burger King had sales of $8.4 billion in 2011. By contrast, Wendy’s had $8.5 billion in sales, making it the first time since 1969 that BK wasn’t #2 on the burger ladder to McDonald’s ($34.2 billion).

As if that development wasn’t embarrassing enough for the fast food giant, Burger King also unveiled a celebrity-heavy ad campaign for its new salads, smoothies and other healthy snacks in April. The awkward ad with R&B superstar Mary J. Blige had the blogosphere all atwitter with posts about its racial insensitivity. To smolder the PR fire, the company axed Mary’s commercial.

The company’s new cage-free initiative certainly changes the conversation surrounding BK. The chain uses hundreds of millions of eggs and tens of millions of pounds of pork every year. “For every cage-free egg or piece of bacon from a gestation-free pork system that Burger King sells,” says HSUS food policy director Matthew Prescott, “animals have been spared lifelong confinement in a cage so small they can barely even move.”

Green Global Travel is all aboard with these new steps, but we’ll save our standing ovation for when the “Home of the Whopper” introduces similar eco-friendly practices for cows being housed in tight confinement and fed genetically modified grains.

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Album Review: Roscoe Dash’s Cleaning Out My Closet

We’re all vexed about Roscoe Dash. Is he a new artist or an old one? XXL had him on its “Freshman Class” cover in March, even though the young man had a project released in 2010. Is he a party rapper or a poet? His hit single, “All the Way Turnt Up,” was a straight jingle, but on this collabo with longtime homie Hoven X, Roscoe dares to flex the occasional lyrical muscle. Maybe it’s all a part of Team Dash’s wacky marketing. Maybe the young man simply isn’t sure of his course.

This mix wants to be some loud declaration that the 21-year-old Atlantan has officially arrived. Gonna take a lot more than 29 songs about broads and bank accounts to prove that. Signs of some skills are evident on a smooth “Run This Town” cover. The other decent spots work more because of borrowed Drake beats (“Karaoke”) or bangin’ Hoven bars (“Whistle”). Sadly, recycled tracks and rudimentary topics elsewhere do nothing to peg Roscoe Dash as nothing more than another rapper looking for his way. (C-)

Movie Review: Marley

Image“We came from a wailing environment,” explains Bob Marley’s longtime friend and bandmate, Bunny, on the origins of the Wailers’ famous name. Marley fans know Bunny’s speaking of Trench Town, a Kingston, Jamaica slum. Poverty and crime were everywhere. But so too was the music. And Robert Nesta Marley followed the music. Well, technically, he followed Desmond Dekker, a young ska performer on Beverley’s Records. Even back then, everyone knew Bob had a way with words. His early solo stuff just didn’t sell. Realizing the popular artists of the time, like the Temptations or Impressions, were all groups, Marley connected with Bunny, Peter Tosh and some other talented locals.

Of course, the Marley faithful knows all of that. The thing that keeps this intimate documentary from feeling repetitive is that director Kevin Macdonald (The Last King of Scotland) meshes first-hand takes of commonly know facts (failed assassination attempt, successful political unifications) with the unfamiliar (The Wailers’ courage-building practices in graveyards). The icon’s entire life is chronicled here, from his absentee white father, to his time working with Chrysler in Delaware, to the day he united with Lee “Scratch” Perry.

Marley is co-produced by Bob’s eldest son, Ziggy, so the film could have easily glazed over Bob’s less-flattering womanizing side. Yet it doesn’t. Bob’s ex-wife, Rita, and other former flames speak openly and honestly about the man. And that’s the key word—man. Robert Nesta Marley is revered to this day as a global icon, but the one thing this documentary states very clearly is that this musical god was also a flawed man. (A-)

Movie Review: Marvel’s The Avengers

When news broke that an Avengers movie was in the works, every fanboy and girls’ mind immediately started racing with questions. Who all would be in it? Which villains would they use? How would the Hulk look? That’s all important stuff, sure. But what many failed to ask was exactly how these supersized personalities were going to mesh on one screen. Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Captain America (Chris Evans) have all proven they can handle the solo spotlight, but putting them in front of the same camera? Let’s not even mention the IMAX-sized screen needed for Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner).

Truthfully, things are shaky early on. Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D. scientists are seen doing some tests with Tessaract, the unlimited energy cube you’ll recall from Captain America. Something goes awry in the lab and a portal from another world opens, letting in Loki (Tom Hiddleston), Thor’s painfully insecure brother, who has sinister thoughts of world quest. With the Tessaract at his disposal, chances seem good. Before you can doze off from Loki’s hokey, Fury calls in the superhero cavalry to save the day…and get the movie going. When Tony Stark, Capt. and Thor get in the same room, there’s equal parts tension and inadvertent comedy. Captain America wants to follow Fury’s game plan. Tony wants to one-liner you to death. Bruce Banner just wants to get home before his alter ego makes a mess.

Speaking of the angry green guy, you’ll love how director Joss Whedon (Thor) teases up to his fulfilling first transformation. The last time Hulk rears his head is for an unforgettable finale in downtown Manhattan. It’ll rival any action scene you’ve ever seen in a comic book-based movie. A camera slides from Hulk smashing to Hawkeye shooting his arrows to Captain America slinging his shield in one mesmerizing take. It’s big. It’s beautiful. It’s almost everything fanboys could have ever dreamed. (B)

Writing on the Wild Side

Green Global Travel is one of the finest conservation and preservation sites on the web. Any day you trek over to GGT you’re bound to find an amazing photo gallery from Panama, an interview with a world renowned wildlife expert or an informative eco news bit. I’ve been fortunate to be a part of GGT since its late 2010 conception. The site recently started an “Endangered Species Spotlight” series and I contributed its first entry on the cute, quirky canine from Southeast Asia called the Dhole.

Diamond Distress

There are three definites in life: death, taxes and injuries in baseball. While you may have only heard about the first two before now, Bob Murphy, head athletic trainer at Georgia State University, can assure you that the third is also a rock-solid truth.

But Murphy and his NCAA colleagues aren’t taking that last statement sitting down. In fact, over the past decade or so, there have been philosophical changes to training and working out that many feel are helping baseball players excel on the field and stay off hospital beds.

“There seems to be more of a year-round approach to sports now,” says Murphy, who’s worked with GSU’s baseball team and its other sports since 2007. “Back when I started, there used to be pretty much an offseason where you didn’t do much. But now, athletes at the college level and up pretty much are participating in their sport year-round, which is good because it kind of keeps you in shape. We just have to watch and make sure they don’t overdo it too much with certain things.”

Another change Murphy’s noticed amongst his peers is with their mental switch from merely rehabilitating to now preventing injuries altogether. It’s with that mold of thinking that FUEL approached Murphy about three common baseball ailments to get the best advice on averting them in the first place. Continue reading

Florida’s Hottest Eco Chic Hotels

We all want to do our part to help Mother Earth look and feel her best. It’s just that some of us choose to show our love in more subtle fashions. Frankly, tree planting and solar panel installing aren’t for everybody. Some folks would rather do their parts by simply working LED light bulbs, eating sustainable seafood and using in-room recycling bins. The decidedly green hotels (West Palm Beach’s breathtaking Breakers Resort is seen above) featured in this travel piece know all of this.

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