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Friday’s Focus? Seven videos from the past. How past? A year maybe. Maybe more. Maybe less. In any event, it’s the day before Christmas and you probably have lots of time to devote to old videos. So go. Enjoy.
This trailer for Jonathan Safran Foer’s new book, features his dog and his grandmother.
A nod to the meat-eaters amongst us:
If you live in the city and can’t seem to make it down to the farmer’s market on the weekends, fear not. Fresh, organic veggies can be as close as your windowsill. A low maintenance “no dig garden” can be planted on a rooftop, a large windowsill, or even a windowbox. The garden literally composts the materials while feeding the plants. Find all the details you need to get started right here.
Green Truck serves healthy, gourmet organic food to Los Angeleans. Their mobile catering trucks run off of vegetable oil and all of their food packaging containers are made from biodegradable products rather than plastics and Styrofoam. Vrooom and yum.
We know organic farming can help reduce the impact on our environment, but we never imagined it could fight crime as well. Alemany Farm is a four-acre organic paradise amidst the urban sprawl of one of San Francisco’s worst crime areas. Executive Director Alice Carruthers says her vision with the non-profit “was to slow the crime down.” Since the farm began in 1991, families have been able to put fresh organic food on their tables and find a safe haven from the hostile environment where their children play and learn about the environment. Check out the story at Huffington Post.
According to just about everyone who covers these things, Chelsea Clinton has been meatless for more than a decade. Insiders say that her wedding will be catered vegan-style and feature vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free dishes. The same insiders say that beef will also be served but that it will be grass-fed and organic.
Read more: slashfood.com
Advice from the hitchiker board – Don’t Panic, it’s organic!, originally uploaded by ribot
The organic foods movement took a huge blow last year when a team of American researchers reached the conclusion that organic foods were no more nutritious than industrially grown products (of course there was no mention of the damage industrial farming can do to the environment, but that’s beside the point). Unfortunately, many people read those headlines and decided not to spend the extra money for organics. Few are aware that a 4-year, EU study on the benefits of organic foods suggests that some of them, such as fruit, vegetables and milk, are more nutritious than non-organically produced food and may contain higher concentrations of cancer fighting and heart beneficial antioxidants. Get the whole story here.
Meatless Monday Alert:
According to a new UN report (Assessing the Environmental Impacts of Production and Consumption: Priority Products and Materials ), “as the global population surges towards a predicted 9.1 billion people by 2050, western tastes for diets heavy in meat and dairy products are unsustainable.” Agriculture, in particular meat and dairy products, account for 70% of global freshwater consumption, 38% of total land use and 19% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.
HAT TIP: .greenmuze.com
Last year, researchers at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine published a study demonstrating that, because of food production and transportation factors, a population of heavier people contributes more harmful gases to the planet than a population of thin people. “The main message is staying thin. It’s good for you, and it’s good for the planet,” says Phil Edwards, senior lecturer at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. “In terms of environmental impact, the lean population has a much smaller carbon footprint.”
Hat Tip: cnn.com
We’re avid proponents of locally grown foods, and it doesn’t get more local than your own backyard. But what if you don’t actually have a backyard? Get a MICROgarden. The Microgarden Aeroponic System is simplifiend hydroponic gardening for even the most urban of urbanites. Internal microjets spray your crop’s roots with a high pressure mist, allowing for aggressive growth rates due to the high levels of oxygen to the root zone. This “hydrogardening” is the smart choice for gardening year round, wherever you live.
Available at: amazon.com
Airport sleeping compartments (or micro-hotels) are nothing new, but the designers of Dream and Fly have taken the environmentally friendly concept to a whole new level of cool. According to their website: “Inspired by the nature of a womb, this space aims to transmit a feeling of protection in contrast to the movement and agitation of the outside world.” Dreamy.
For every 100 spam e-mails you forward to firstname.lastname@example.org, Chipotle will give $10 to The Lunch Box. The goal is to give $10,000 to the cause which will help schools implement healthy lunch programs for kids. Chipotle will accept up to 500,000 emails, topping off their donation at $50,000.
Hat Tip: www.tonic.com
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If you’re passionate about serving an organic wedding cake and you live in Chicago, check out Bleeding Heart Bakery. Their mission is to “use local, sustainable, organic ingredients and to make you the best damn cakes and pastries you have ever had!
This covers our ingredients: flour, butter, eggs, nuts, chocolate, milk, fruits, vegetables, oils and more.” We’re confident their cakes taste every bit as good as they look.
Biomass energy is another extremely promising alt-fuel. Biomass is essentially organic material obtained mainly from plants and animals, including wood, leaves of plants, agricultural wastes, organic wastes, waste paper, and wastes from food processing industries. Ultimately it is believed that biomass has the potential to supply 15 times more energy than that produced from the wind and the sun. The best thing about it – it’s everywhere and completely renewable. There are several successful biomass energy projects already up and running, like this one at Middlebury College.
This Friday’s Focus is SLOW FOOD. But before you proceed, take a long moment to think about what “slow” really means. As a point of reference, consider this prototype of the 10,000 Year Clock, which was completed in 1999 on New Year’s Eve. One bong per century! The Long Now Foundation is planning to build a large-scale version on a high desert mountaintop in eastern Nevada.
Chew on this, then follow your nose through six mouth-watering posts related to the burgeoning Slow Food Movement. Yum.
Slow Food is a non-profit, eco-gastronomic, member-supported organization founded in 1989 to counteract fast food and “fast living.” The group promotes the resurgence of local food traditions and challenges people to reconsider the quality of the food they eat, where it comes from, and how America’s food choices affect the rest of the world. According to their site, “Slow Food brings together pleasure and responsibility, and makes them inseparable.”
Zen Buddhist master Thich Nhat Hanh joins forces with nutritionist Lilian Cheung to paid “the latest nutritional information with the age-old Buddhist practice of mindfulness — that is, of being fully aware of all that is going on within ourselves and all that is happening around us—to draw attention to what and how we eat. Complete with a discussion of why healthy eating is also good for the environment, this is a uniquely insightful and positive program for wellness: a book of tested wisdom; practical action; and intellectual, emotional, and spiritual nutriments.” ~ Donna Seaman, Booklist
Available at Amazon and bookstores pretty much everywhere.
Organic foods are good for you and good for the planet (fewer pesticides, healthier ecosystems, etc)… and the best organic food is what’s grown closest to you. The website, localharvest.org, helps you find farmers’ markets, CSA’s,* family farms, and other sources of sustainably grown food in your area so you can stock up on organic produce, grass-fed meats, and many other goodies.
* “Over the last 20 years, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) has become a popular way for consumers to buy local, seasonal food directly from a farmer. Here are the basics: a farmer offers a certain number of “shares” to the public. Typically the share consists of a box of vegetables, but other farm products may be included. Interested consumers purchase a share (aka a “membership” or a “subscription”) and in return receive a box (bag, basket) of seasonal produce each week throughout the farming season. This arrangement creates several rewards for both the farmer and the consumer.”
Advantages for farmers:
• Get to spend time marketing the food early in the year, before their 16 hour days in the field begin
• Receive payment early in the season, which helps with the farm’s cash flow
• Have an opportunity to get to know the people who eat the food they grow
Advantages for consumers:
• Eat ultra-fresh food, with all the flavor and vitamin benefits
• Get exposed to new vegetables and new ways of cooking
• Usually get to visit the farm at least once a season
• Find that kids typically favor food from “their” farm – even veggies they’ve never been known to eat
• Develop a relationship with the farmer who grows their food and learn more about how food is grown
Composer and MacDowell Fellow Brian Amador’s newest multi-media, pan-Latin musical suite is about a favorite topic – food! Performed by Latin roots ensemble Sol y Canto, composer Brian Amador’s multi-media, pan-Latin musical suite, Sabor y Memoria, “stretches the boundaries of the concert experience in exciting ways: Fan-generated content – stories, recipes, and giant projected photos – will be part of each performance, and the work supports a wide variety of opportunities for community engagement through partnering with local restaurants, community organizations, and farmers markets.
The slow/local food movement is putting down roots in the most unexpected places. The Urban Veggie Garden Blog (click here) documents the trials and tribulations of a twenty something growing a vegetable garden in an urban setting with very limited space.
Hugo’s (Studio City and West Hollywood, California) is one of our favorite restaurants because (1) the food’s amazing and (2) the owners are “committed to sustainability: a comprehensive program of sustaining the environment, natural resources, profitability, our workforce and community. The following are notes from their menu:
• We start from scratch with whole, vital ingredients, making an effort to preserve freshness and quality throughout the cooking process.
• We have eliminated gluten from our cooking, except for obvious wheat-based products (bread, tortillas, and some pancakes & pastries), by substituting rice or potato flour, Tamari Soy Sauce, and Bragg Liquid Aminos.
• We continue to add to the variety of organic products we use.
We exclusively use:
• Organic coffee, tea, herbal infusions, grains, beans, ketchup, mustard, sugar, soy milk, rice milk and tofu.
• Vegan pasta made here with organic semolina and flax seed.
• Organic free-range eggs grown locally.
• Hormone and antibiotic-free steaks and hamburgers, from pasture-grazed cattle.
• California fresh chicken.
• Zero trans-fats for deep frying.
• Seafood from sustainable sources, harvested in a manner that does not harm the environment. We proudly follow the guidelines of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program.
• Filtered water for drinking, all beverages, ice and cooking. We have bottled water available; however we encourage you to take advantage of our free filtered and sparkling water. Recent reports on bottled water have indicated that transporting bottles and bottle waste negatively affect the environment.
The following “Hugo’s Pasta Mama” clip is from one of our favorite television shows — Food Channel’s, “The Best Thing I Ever Ate.”
Spanish ornithologist Miguel Ferrer estimages that 20 billion birds have changed their migrating habits in the last few decades. The shift involves 70% of the world’s migrating birds and is due, in large part, to climate change. “Long-distance migrators are travelling shorter distances, shorter-distance migrators are becoming sedentary,” says Mr Ferrer. This has “an effect on almost everything they do, from breeding habits to feeding habits to their genetic diversity, which in turn affects other organisms in their food chain. It’s a huge behavioral change, forced on them by rising temperatures.”
HAT TIP: independent.co.uk
Friday’s Focus is The Green Workplace but due to some very understandable circumstances (9 to 9 jobs, freeway jams, techno-glitches, and mega multi-tasking) we’re going to miss our traditional 9am posting. Hmmm, maybe there’s something to be learned in all this. IE: Can we afford to take a breath now and then, even if it means missing a deadline? Is part of being green taking the time to do things right, to think things through? : Should we take a hint from the slow food folks and create a slow business movement? Maybe yes, maybe no.
If you have any thoughts on the subject, please comment. Meanwhile, have patience. We’ll be adding posts during the day and hopefully they’ll be entertaining, informative, useful, timely, and relevant. And late, but who cares.
The PB&J Campaign is working to combat environmental destruction by reducing the amount of animal products people eat. The PB&J Campaign approaches positive change one meal at a time by illuminating the differences one single dining decision can make. For example, the water it takes to produce the beef on one burger could produce peanuts for about 17 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and the land that it takes to produce that beef could produce peanuts for 19 PB&Js. It’s also why the livestock sector is responsible for 18 percent of global climate change, and why you can fight global warming by having a PB&J for lunch. Peanut butter & jelly addicts unite: visit http://www.pbjcampaign.org for more info.
ECOBIOBALL is the first ever eco-friendly biodegradable golf ball to contain fish food in its core, making it perfect for playing golf close to marine environments.
HAT TIP: huffingtonpost.com
The post continues: …if you hold the idea that the solution to the plastic pollution problem is to go to any of the 5 gyres and get it, you’re wasting your time and money. The plastic out here will likely photodegrade and break apart into smaller and smaller fragments. After cycling through untold numbers of marine organisms through filter-feeding or food mimicry, the particles will likely sink to the seafloor, either as fish poop or become encrusted by colonizing critters. They will take their polymer chains and absorbed pollutants to the sequestering grave of deep sea mud. Solutions to plastic pollution begin on land. And at 5gyres.org.
A study published by three French scientists and published in the International Journal of Biological Sciences has found that genetically-modified corn sold by Monsanto causes organ damage in rats. The researchers discovered that “[I]n the three GM maize varieties that formed the basis of this investigation, new side effects linked to the consumption of these cereals were revealed, which were sex- and often dose-dependent. Effects were mostly concentrated in kidney and liver function, the two major diet detoxification organs, but in detail differed with each GM type. In addition, some effects on heart, adrenal, spleen and blood cells were also frequently noted.”
Monsanto has a different opinion of the study, stating that “these claims are based on faulty analytical methods and reasoning and do not call into question the safety findings for these products.”
Hat Tip: blogs.barrons.com
From the Baltic Sea to the Bay of Bengal, cruise ships ply some of the world’s most dramatic marine environments. Some of these places are the world’s last wild coasts — where fish and wildlife teem — and where the local economy depends on the local ecology.
But consider that a single cruise ship may have 5,000 people on it. The food and waste management alone is mind-boggling. Then think about the fuel needed to push that mass of a ship — and the pollution and hydrocarbons those huge engines must emit.
So eco-responsible travelers must ask: Are cruise ship operators, who profit from these pristine environments, doing their part to keep these special places special?
The answer is “sometimes.” What most people don’t realize is that it’s less about the particular cruise line, and more about where the cruise ship cruises. Many countries and states have begun to seriously monitor the regulation of air and water pollution created by these floating cities. One state in particular, Alaska, has an especially strong and thorough program of cruise ship regulation.
Karma Repair Kit, Items 1-4
Get enough food to eat,
and eat it.
Find a place to sleep where it is quiet,
and sleep there.
Reduce intellectual and emotional noise
until you arrive at the silence of yourself,
and listen to it.
- Richard Brautigan
The following Easter egg advice is from supereco.com:
Dyeing eggs naturally is all about foods and juices from your kitchen, plants and flowers from your garden, and a healthy dose of experimentation. The basic principle is simple: boil whatever dye material you’re trying along with a little bit of vinegar, then start dipping those eggs. Natural dyes will become deeper and richer the longer you let them sit, so plan ahead for a nice, long stretch of time to play around with. Try some of our color palette inspirations.
- Purple/blue Grape juice, red wine, violet blossoms, red onion skin, blueberries, red cabbage leaves
- Green Spinach leaves, yellow Delicious apples
- Yellow/orange Lemon peel, orange peel, carrot tops, celery seed, ground cumin, ground turmeric, paprika, yellow onion skins
- Brown Coffee, black walnut shells
- Red/pink Beets, cranberries, cranberry juice, raspberries, pickled beet juice, red onion skin
Ecologic Brands, a Northern California-based company has developed a sustainable and transformative bottle for liquid products. The first-of-its-kind bottle is biodegradable, compostable and recyclable and will be on shelves starting today at select Whole Foods stores in Northern California.
According to worldcentric.org, 73 billion styrofoam and plastic cups and plates were put in the trash in 2003 in the USA alone. World Centric provides high quality compostable food service disposables and food packaging products for use in schools, corporate cafeterias, restaurants, hospitals, and homes. They use renewable resources like corn and discarded sugar cane and wheat straw fiber to make sustainable alternatives to plastics and styrofoam.
You can order a “generic sample pack for $7.50 plus shipping and handling at
FOOD INC: As the saying goes, you are what you eat… and this film is an alarming journey of self-discovery. Food, Inc. reveals surprising and often shocking truths about what we eat and the mega-corporations that produce it.
From a slideshow about plastic bags: www.poconorecord.com.
originally uploaded by Shitao
By the year 2050, give or take, there’ll be about nine billion people sharing the planet and they’ll need to eat. But right now, a billion people go hungry every day. So what do we feed an additional 2 billion? The Potsdam Institute in Germany suggests that it would be possible to feed 9 billion if everyone – particularly those of us in the so-called developed world – reduced meat consumption to, say, three times a week. And certainly we could begin doing something about the 30 to 40 percent of the world’s food that’s thrown out each year. You can read more about how to plan dinner for 9 billion here.
BELOW: Made to last forever but designed to be thrown away, milk jug rings are just part of the problem.
originally uploaded by Michael_Lehet
Thus begins this Friday’s Focus: LIGHT GREEN – because it’s good to start the day with a laugh. Make that eight laughs. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.
John Hantz, of the financial services firm Hantz Group, hopes to rejuvenate the city of Detroit by creating the world’s largest urban farm. Hantz Farms – owned, operated and staffed by residents of Detroit – could provide the city with “hundreds of “green” jobs and a generous supply of fresh, local, safe produce for local families and the region in general.” You can read about the project in more detail at hantzfarmsdetroit.
If you’ve ever seen a cat scarf down a can a tuna, you have to wonder if the idea of a Vegan feline simply goes against nature. Well, if you consider how suspect the meat industry is in producing food for human consumption, you really have to wonder about the quality of the meat that’s put into pet food. Get the vegan kitty primer from PETA.
Designed by Dutch design wizards, Group N55, The Walking House is a nomad’s dream and features solar panels and micro-windmills to generate energy as it walks the green walk. Oh yeah, and it’s also amphibious. Here are a few words from the designers: “The Walking House requires no permanent use of land and thereby challenges ownership of land and suggests that all land should be accessible for all persons. Society could administrate rights to use land for various forms of production of food for example, but ownership of land should be abolished.” Tell that to the tea-baggers.
All of us at greenlandoceanblue are advocates of buying and eating as locally as possible, and we’re not alone. The good people at Sustainable Table celebrate local sustainable food, educate consumers on food-related issues, and works to build community through food. Check them out at sustainabletable.org.
If you despise one-use plastic bags as much as we do, here’s some news that’s totally, like, nano-tubular. A chemist has created an “upcycling” method of turning the disposable bags into carbon nanotubes. Nanotubes technology is pretty new, but Stanford University researchers recently coated copier paper in ink made of carbon nanotubes and silver nanowires to create bendable, highly conductive storage devices. Nanotubes could also become self-repair tools for electronic circuits in our smart phones and laptops. Here’s the scoop.