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Living Sustainably Is A Challenge June 26, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Health & Wellness, Sustainable Living.
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Earth_Eastern_HemisphereIt is hard to live sustainably on a planet that is very non-sustainably spiraling out of control.

Just today, I found out that a $30K study has demonstrated that reusable shopping totes can present a health risk.

To see Carolyn’s article:  Reusable Bags May Present Health Risk

After reading Carolyn’s amusing article, I responded to a comment by Judy who wondered whether the solution would be to take her 12 grand-kids with her to Walmart so she could avoid the “paper, plastic, or . . . contaminated reusable shopping tote” dilemma by having each child carry a few items:

Yes, Judy!  It will be good exercise for them . . . and it will ultimately be their planet down the road.  Except, stop shopping at Walmart ~ the Waltons are intent on destroying the planet.

Wait, even better, stop shopping at all. Grow your own fruits and veggies, and make your clothes out of old curtains like Scarlett did.

LOL.  It is hard to live sustainably on a planet that is very non-sustainably spiraling out of control.

After posting my tongue-in-cheek remark, I went round to read the article which had prompted Carolyn’s post:  Reusable Bags May Present Health Risk.

After reading it, and many of the comments posted below it, I returned to Carolyn’s article and posted a second, more serious, comment:

I just read the article.  The pertinent part:

“The contamination happens when food, such as raw meat, leaks onto the fabric. If the bag isn’t washed, the bacteria can contaminate other food you put into the bag on the next trip to the store.

Gerba recommends washing reusable bags after you use them to tote raw meat.

Although meat is usually wrapped, it may be tainted on the outside from leaked juice. Also, he said, avoid storing the bags in the car trunk, which is a hot breeding ground for germs in the summer.”

To me, the solution is simple . . . stop buying MEAT. 

Living sustainably on a planet that is very non-sustainably spiraling out of control is difficult . . . but one of the best and brightest things you can do is stop eating meat.

A recent NY Times article, Rethinking The Meat Guzzler, discussed the negative impact of meat production on the planet:

Global demand for meat has multiplied in recent years, encouraged by growing affluence and nourished by the proliferation of huge, confined animal feeding operations. These assembly-line meat factories consume enormous amounts of energy, pollute water supplies, generate significant greenhouse gases and require ever-increasing amounts of corn, soy and other grains, a dependency that has led to the destruction of vast swaths of the world’s tropical rain forests.

The author, Mark Bittman, continued by saying:

Perhaps the best hope for change lies in consumers’ becoming aware of the true costs of industrial meat production. “When you look at environmental problems in the U.S.,” says Professor Eshel, “nearly all of them have their source in food production and in particular meat production. And factory farming is ‘optimal’ only as long as degrading waterways is free. If dumping this stuff becomes costly — even if it simply carries a non-zero price tag — the entire structure of food production will change dramatically.”

Animal welfare may not yet be a major concern, but as the horrors of raising meat in confinement become known, more animal lovers may start to react. And would the world not be a better place were some of the grain we use to grow meat directed instead to feed our fellow human beings?

By the way, in case you’re wondering . . .

Mark Bittman, who writes the Minimalist column in the Dining In and Dining Out sections, is the author of “How to Cook Everything Vegetarian,” which was published last year.  He is not a vegetarian.

I suspect he will be in time.  How ’bout you???

Related posts:  That’s My Kind of MilkshakeThe Truth Behind Meat Labels *  Become A Voice of Compassion * Join a C.S.A. * Got Milk?  Toss It Out!All The Gory Details * Top Ten List ~ Vegetarian * Gradual Change * Do Ya Think They’re Sexy? * Go HSUS!  * Ten Ways to Fiber Up Your Diet * Bon Appetit!

Year Of The Cat June 26, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Mindfulness, Music & Dance, People, Writing & Writers.
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Rik Scott wrote an interesting piece this morning about the desire of writers to attain immortality by being remembered for their words, What Legacy Will You Leave?

I expect Rik’s right ~ writers write in order to leave the best parts of themselves behind.

My motivation for writing leaves me, once again, in the minority:

I expect my legacy will be as negligible as my impact on others thus far. 

My continued existence means little or nothing to this planet and the vast majority of its residents as we blithely revolve around the sun.

In the greater scheme of things, I am irrelevant. 

But, so what?

Leaving a legacy behind me, a lasting imprint in the sands of time, may be a destination outside my grasp, but I’m too busy enjoying the dance of life to notice.

Now, other writers may accuse me of inverse vanity, but (if they do) they are seeing the truth behind their eyes, not mine.

I really don’t care whether I am remembered after I’m gone.

If I cared . . .I would have had kids.

And encouraged my kids to have my grand-kids . . .

And encouraged my grand-kids to have my great-grand-kids . . .

I don’t care if people forget me and my words ten minutes after I’m dead.

I just want to enjoy being here now.

Here.  Now.  That’s where the dance of life really takes place.

On that note . . .

Al Stewart, a Scottish singer-songwriter, paints poetic images with lyrics ~ from Soho to forced marches across Siberia to the predictions of Nostradamus.

In the Year Of The Cat, Stewart encourages us to reach out and accept what is being offered, right here right now, without obsessing about the future and its inherent uncertainty.

As the Year of the Cat unfolds, moment by moment, the future waits patiently  in the wings.   Highlighted with romantic piano runs and soaring saxophone interludes,  here’s Stewart sharing . . . a morning from a Bogart movie in a country where they turned back time:

When we take time to enjoy the journey . . . we end up in the right place at the right time with the right person.  We’re so engrossed, we barely notice  that the bus and the tourists are gone.

Artwork by Barbara Hines ~ available at Island Gallery West.

Quote:  On with the dance!  Let joy be unconfined.  ~ Lord Byron

Related posts:  Life . . . a Journey, Not A Destination * Pursue DistractionsA Writer’s Life For Me Our Field Of Dreams * Our Internal Compass * Free To Be . . . MeWinks, Whispers, and Nudges

Hands (& Asses!) Across The Sand June 26, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Humor, Nature, People, Sustainable Living.
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Hundreds of protesters headed to Manatee County public beach today for Hands Across The Sand.  At noon, a 15 minute demonstration took place  to say “NO” to  offshore drilling and “YES” to Clean Energy and clean beaches.

For a complete story:  Bradenton.com

What struck me . . . hundreds of people drove to the beach today, wrestling with coolers and kids, to find a place in the white sand where they could enjoy the tropical sun and turquoise surf.

Hundreds of people set up barbeques, and chairs, and tents, and beach umbrellas, and weighty coolers, to make the most of their day at the beach.


But once they plopped their big bathing-suit-clad behinds on beach towels and beach chairs to enjoy the pristine sand and water (as yet unmarred by tar feathered friends and gooey tar balls), they sat idle and watched as hundreds of concerned citizens marched down to water’s edge to join hands in unified support of clean energy and clean beaches.

Waved over to join us, the beached whales stared back, blank expressions on dim-witted faces.  They didn’t even stand up.

Hmm . . . if avid beach-goers don’t willingly stand up for clean energy and clean beaches, where are they going to park their fat asses down the road?

Related stories:  Hands Across The Sand (NY Times) * Hands Across The Sand (CNN Coverage) * The Oil Spill At Grand Isle