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Localvore Challenge In Review

My month as a localvore can best be summarized by the trip I took last Saturday to Shared Bounty CSA. I wrote about them earlier, when discussing the benefits of knowing where your food comes from, and was excited to receive an invitation to their open farm. Jim and Ramona had already harvested all they needed for themselves and local needs (Jim has delivered innumerable heads of cabbage to a local retirement home), and the first freeze had already come. In other words, what was left in the ground needed to go and go fast. 

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Shared Bounty Purple CauliflowerShared Bounty Purple CauliflowerWhen we got out of the car, we were immediately welcomed by Jim and Ramona's dog. We met another family who experienced the first year of Shared Bounty CSA with us, and then headed to the field. Jim handed out bags and knives and told us we were welcome to anything we wanted. He briefly told us what was located where, and turned us loose. My family and the other who came out, though, didn't just come to pick food. We came to spend time with the folks who fed us so well for the past 20 weeks. Ramona went off with the other family, and we sidled up to Jim. As we walked the rows, he talked with us: about the food (even asking what we'd like to eat next year), about the farm, about growing up on a farm, about the season's rains, about the first frost, about the animals they keep, about anything and everything.

Flexitarianism

In 2003, the American Dialect Society voted flexitarian as the year's most useful word and defined it as "a vegetarian who occasionally eats meat."  I actually think the word is pretty absurd, and the definition even more absurd.  A vegetarian who occasionally eats meat -- isn't that an oxymoron?   This word is often used interchangeably with semi-vegetarian, another word that I think is sort of silly.   (Two more specific types of flexitarians are pollotarians who eat poultry, but not red meat, and pescetarians eat seafood, but not red meat or poultry.)  

That said, I think that the idea behind it is very smart.  K4G blogger Sarah did a post a few months ago about how reducing your meat intake also will reduce your carbon footprint.  One interesting point she wrote about was from the Environmental Defense Fund stating that if every American skipped one meal of chicken per week and substituted vegetarian foods instead, the carbon dioxide savings would be equivalent to taking more than a half-million cars off U.S. roads.  (source)... read more

What can one person do? Take little steps!

I was browsing through my Facebook newsfeed yesterday, and 350.org's posted the pictures for a visual essay by Franke James.  The visual essay is called 'What Can One Person Do When 6.8 Billion People on the Planet are Frying' and the whole thing can be found here.  My personal favorite is the pondering the irony of being destroyed by fossil fuels part.  

While this is a kind of humorous look at what you can do, I think it makes some great points.  Whatever the solution to climate change is, the best plan is to be doing something. I have this discussion with my sister all the time -- she is convinced that the small things won't really make a difference in the long run.  Ok, fine, changing your lightbulbs isn't going to stop countries like Bangladesh or the Maldives from ending up underwater.  But at least it's something! And it's that first step to making your lifestyle a little bit greener.  ... read more

California, Massachusetts, Oregon, & New York Lead in U.S. Energy Efficiency

ACEEE revealed its yearly State Energy Efficiency Report Card.  It ranks all states as well as Washington DC.  

The top 10 are as follows:... read more

  1. California
  2. Massachusetts
  3. Oregon
  4. New York
  5. Vermont
  6. Washington
  7. Rhode Island
  8. Connecticut
  9. Minnesota
  10. Maine

Wasting Food Equals Wasting Energy

A recent study published in the October issue of Environmental Science and Technology discovered that wasted food represents about 2% of our annual energy consumption in the U.S.   In some ways, it's a bit of a conundrum because with the obesity epidemic, we don't want to encourage people to eat when they're not hungry.  But what can we do to minimize the amount of wasted food?  ... read more

Frito-Lay Discontinues Most Compostable Sun Chips Bags

When I initially read this article about Frito-Lay pulling most of their compostable Sun Chips bags due to noise complaints, I thought it was a fake article.  It just seems so absurd.  These bags are biodegradable, and because they're too LOUD people want them gone?!  And Sun Chips sales are hurting??

With all that we know about the environment, I don't understand how this can even be such a big deal.  It really goes to show you what people really care about.   There are all sorts of Facebook groups that are against the new Sun Chips bag, such as the eloquent:  "I don't care if the new Sun Chips bags are compostable THEY'RE ANNOYING!"... read more

Toxic Sludge in the Danube

A state of emergency has been declared in three countries after a toxic sludge leak.  Today, the toxic sludge from a factory in Hungary has reached the legendary Danube River.  Workers tried to contain the spill by pouring plaster in the Marcal River, but it still reached the Danube.   It has already killed several people, and it is likely to put animals into danger, as the Danube is rich in wildlife.  Watch a news video here.  I will post again when I find out information about cleanup efforts.  ... read more

How does an animal get on the endangered species list?

Last week I posted an Endangered Species Glossary, discussing what the differences are between an animal that's endangered, threatened, etc.  The next question is, how does an animal fit the criteria for being put on the endangered species list?

It's not as easy as I initially thought it would be.  It takes careful observation and lots of crunching numbers.

For an animal to be considered critically endangered, the animal must be at least an 80% reduction over the last 10 years (or three generations).  For an animal to be considered endangered, the reduction percentage must be at least 50%.  For vulnerable, it's 10%.... read more

October Challenge: Becoming a Localvore

In September, I pledged to be greener by going paperless. In an effort to kick my paper habit, I downloaded Android apps to manage my shopping lists and balance my checking account (and I used them), I stated a recycling bin for myself and my officemates, I gave a reusable coffee cup to my assistant so she could stop using new paper cups every day, I utilized the Google To-Do list portion of my calendar over sticky notes, and I started a marker board to-do list for my officemates to use. ... read more