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Living Sustainably Is A Challenge June 26, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Health & Wellness, Sustainable Living.

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!


1. Tsuchigari - June 26, 2010

Although meat juice is a major culprit any leftover food funk can grow a whole collection of undesirable microbes – wash those bags regularly people! As for doing away with all bags, that might be going a bit too far.

nrhatch - June 27, 2010

I suppose you’re right . . . : )

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