Friday, September 24, 2010

Meatless Monday's - Pledge to not eat meat

Meatless Monday's
Pledge to not eat meat on Monday's.

This is absolutely no expectation to make everyone a vegetarian.  A pledge to not eat meat is more making a stand against the global travesties that the current meat industries place on our planet.  Learning to consume less meat, to not see it as a necessity at every meal is a crucial lesson each American (and human) needs to learn. 

According to the USDA, Americans now consume 222 pounds of meat per person (stats from 2007) compared to 144 pounds per person in 1950, this is nearly double in a little over 50 years!.1  The amount includes 66lbs of beef per person per year, and 87 lbs of chicken per person per year, with pork, veal, lamb, and turkey not far behind..  As shown below, this means Americans consume over 41 million cows per year and over 13 billion chickens per year.  These numbers are only expected to rise, unless we start to change the way we live and eat. 


307 million people * 222 lbs meat = 68,154,000,000 lbs of meat consumed by Americans (68 trillion)

492lbs = Yield of meat on steer2
307 million people * 66 lbs beef1 = 20,262,000,000 lbs beef (20 billion)
20 billions lbs meat/492 lbs yielded meat = 41,182,926 cows (41.1 million)

2lbs = Yield of meat on chicken3
307 million people * 87 lbs chicken1 = 26,709,000,000 lbs chicken (26 billion)
26 billion lbs chicken meat/2lbs yielded meat = 13,354,500,000 chickens (13.3 billion)


So what?  So humans eat cows and chicken and other livestock and many say this is “natural” and that it is not a big deal.  Once again, I am not trying to turn everyone into vegetarians.  I am only trying to have each person limit the amount of meat consumed based on the glaring environmental impact that meat production has on our earth, based on the quantities of meat that American’s demand.  As shown below, it takes over 20 trillion gallons of water to produce the amount of beef that American’s consume, as well as 114 trillion pounds of corn.

2,500 gallons water = 1lb beef4
Americans consume 20 billion lbs beef = 20,655,000,000,000 gallons water (20 trillion gallons)
492lbs (1 steer) * 2,500 = 1,230,000 gallons of water per steer

2,800 lbs corn = 1 steer5
Americans consume 41 million cows = 114,800,000,000 lbs corn (114 trillion lbs corn)
2,800 lbs corn / 492lbs (1 steer)  = 5.69 lbs corn per lb of beef

**Conflicting figures were found for the amount of water and grain needed to produce one pound of beef.  According to John Robbins in Food Revolution, 5,214 gallons of water are needed for 1lb of beef and 16lbs of grain.  This is considerably larger than the figures I used for my calculations (see sources).  I chose to go with the smaller figures as it shows that the impact is still huge, so just image if I used John Robbins figures how monumental the results could be.  I will change the figures if and when I find the most credible source.

So if each American chooses to remove meat from their diet just once per week, as the RMOG Pledge proposes, how much impact will this make?  Let’s say that we shed off eating 1oz of meat per week (suggested serving for meat) and multiply that by 52 weeks, leaving each of us with 3.25lbs less of consumed meat per year.  This will reduce the amount of meat consumed by Americans by nearly 1 trillion pounds!!  This may not seem like much, but as shown below, this constitutes a savings of over 2 trillion gallons of water and over 5 billion pounds of corn (assuming, for simplicity, that all of this meat was beef).  So by simply giving up only one ounce of meat per week, look at the impact you, just one person, could have on our planet.  Choose to give up a few more ounces and see how the results will multiply.

1oz meat per week * 52 weeks = 52 oz / 16oz per pound = 3.25lbs meat

307 million people * 222 lbs meat = 68,154,000,000 lbs of meat consumed by Americans (68 trillion)

307 million people * 219 lbs meat = 67,233,000,000 lbs of meat consumed by Americans (67 trillion)

921,000,000 lbs of meat saved per year by eating 3lbs less meat per year

921 millions lbs meat (assuming beef) * 2,500 gallons water per lb = 2,302,500,000,000 gallons water saved (2 trillion)

921 millions lbs meat (assuming beef) * 5.69 lbs corn per 1b meat = 5,240,490,000 lbs corn saved (5 billion)

I won’t get into how that water and grain could be instead used, as it should be fairly obvious to most of you.  However, the most important fact about these savings is the other global crises we are facing, such as water shortages, deforestation (in order to grow grain and raise the livestock), the huge controversy over our seed supplies and GMO’s (aka Monsanto), and the use of antibiotics and the growing resistance of these antibiotics.  Reducing our consumption of meat will also help ease these other crises, or at least help prevent them from getting any larger.

Raising livestock at the rate American’s demand has other monumental environmental impacts, such as deforestation, CO2 byproducts, and CO2 transportation costs.  Once again, the grain required to feed livestock is enormous.  As stated by the Vegetarian Guide, “cattle consume 16 times as much grain as they produce meat, so right there we have 16 times as much energy just to grow these crops, just so we can waste them on livestock.”  The CO2 byproduct from livestock is also a huge concern with the issue of greenhouse gasses in our environment, not to mention the CO2 from transporting the livestock by truck, boat, train, or other means.  Simply put, the energy used to produce meat is colossal. 

Many people do not put the raising of livestock together with deforestation, yet it is a serious issue.  According to GreenPlanetAwards.com, “The United Nations estimates that in the Brazilian Amazon, 70% of the deforestation has been done for cattle grazing”7.  The site’s article also explains that Brazil is the leading exporter in beef (more than those countries ranked 2nd and 3rd combined) as well as soya, which supplies much of the world with livestock feed.  Explained further, “The rainforests act as the air conditioners to the world, providing much of the world’s fresh water, and regulating the overall temperature. But when they are burned down, they release CO2 into the atmosphere and disrupt the ecosystem of the entire planet.” 

Another important consideration when choosing whether or not to eat meat is regarding the use of antibiotics in our meat.  According to Princeton University, 80% of antibiotics in the U.S. are given to farm animals8.  “When bacteria are exposed to antibiotics, the bacteria resistant to these drugs live to reproduce”, as www.keepantibioticsworking.org explains and this is creating stronger and stronger strains of bacteria that are becoming more difficult to control and treat.  When you consume meat, you are subsequently ingesting a large amount of antibiotics as well.  Not only is this facilitating the antibiotic-resistant bacteria, but also consuming large amounts of meat it is making you less resistant to antibiotics for when you might actually need them.

There is much upheaval about the inhumane treatment of the animals and although this deserves attention, I will not be touching on the practice of raising livestock, as this blog is about “going green” and not animal rights.  I will leave you with a thought to ponder on however, as many experts have referenced the raising of animals to be similar to “Concentration Camps”.

Reducing your consumption of meat can help the world in so many ways.  It will help will preserve our most precious resource – water, will ease the demand for land for raising livestock and their grain, curbing deforestation, help keep our antibiotics working (and keep you from getting sick so often), and helping to bring back harmony to our ecosystem.

I hope you will join The Real Meaning of GREEN in making a pledge to not consume meat on Monday’s.

9: http://www.keepantibioticsworking.com/new/resources_library.cfm?refID=69872

Going GREEN - Where To Start

-Reuse (Freecycle)
-Eat real food
-Eat local foods
-Eat organic foods
-Eat less (or no) meat
-Grow your own food
-Stop junk mail
-Use only reusable bags
-Don't buy bottled beverages - use a reusable container
-Use energy saving techniques in your home (turn lights/water off when not in use, reduce the escape of heat or AC, run only full loads of dishes/laundry)
-Use energy saving techniques when commuting
-Live by example
-Get a green job
-Help your workplace adopt green techniques
-Vote wisely & research your vote
-Research & know the facts!
**Demand and they WILL SUPPLY!!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Real Meaning of GREEN Climate Action

Real Meaning of GREEN (RMOG) Climate Change Work Party,
in participation with 350.org
Sunday, 10/10/10

**Sign up through Either or Both Mediums 

On 10/10/10, I will help participate in the education of climate change and slowing of global warming.

As the members of RMOG live all around the country and some of us, around the world, the 350.org participation for 10/10/10 Climate Change Work Party (CCWP) will be a promise to participate in our own way and share our experiences online.  As I wish all of our wonderful RMOG “members” could all get together, as is what the "Work Party" is all about, however, it is simply better that we all are ACTIVE for climate CHANGE on this day.  It can be a huge project, such as setting up solar panels on your home, to a simple one like recycling any plastic bags you find.

Activities to Choose From
v     Show Your Community!!
o       Plant a tree in your community
o       Gather as many plastic bags as you can and return them to a grocery store recycling program near you
o       Gather as many plastic beverage bottles as you can and take them to a community recycling area (such as Whole Foods, Fresh and Easy, etc)
o       Clean up an area in your community
o       Get your friends and family to commute in a GREEN manner on 10/10/10
v     Individual Impact CAN Make a Difference!!
o       Start a small (or large) personal garden
o       Put up solar panels on your house or business
o       Buy your friends/family a reusable drinking bottle
o       Make your own soap or cleaning product
o       Eat only local foods.  Meaning no fast food.
o       Do not eat meat for the day (or longer).
o       Cancel your junkmail
o       Vow to not create a single item waste for the day (or longer).  Use only reusable goods.  Meaning no paper towels (and toilet paper for that matter), disposable containers, food packaging waste, etc.
o       Invite and encourage all of your Facebook friends to join the RMOG by writing them a personal message explaining the importance of learning about Climate Change and how “Going Green” needs to be the norm

**RMOG wants to see and hear about your activities for the day!! Send RMOG your 10/10/10 CCWP Pictures for a chance to win a GREEN prize!!

Our latest movement dispatch is a global round-up by Latin America organizer, Kelly Blynn...
Dear friends,
A friend recently asked me: "What's the single best way to solve the climate crisis?"
The question made me stop and think. I've been getting so many amazing updates about the climate solutions people are working on for the 10/10/10 Global Work Party, it's nearly impossible to pick just one.
The truth is, there is no silver bullet to stopping the climate crisis, no single technological solution that can fix everything at once.  We don't just need solar power, or wind power, or efficiency. We need all of these things and more.  What we need, in a word, is diversity.

I feel the same way about building the climate movement. We can't rely on just one campaign, one event, one organization, one country, or one strategy-to build a powerful climate movement we need a bit of everything.
This is why we have such a diverse campaign plan-and such a broad alliance--at 350.org. For those of you wondering what we've been up to and how all the pieces fit together, here's a quick round-up of the latest news from our various campaigns:
10/10/10-and Grants to Support Local Climate Action!
You probably already know all about our plans for 10/10/10, "The Global Work Party."  (If not, check out the invitation here)  It's less than 3 months away, and people's plans are really starting to take shape:  teams insulating schools in London,  a bike-caravan of lighting retrofitters in Mombasa, and hundreds and hundreds more.  With events in 116 countries and counting, it will be massive. 
One new development here: we now have a small pool of MONEY to support your local climate solutions projects for 10/10/10.  Submit your 10/10/10 plan by August 7th, get enough people to vote on it, and you could receive a grant of $1,000 USD to make it happen.  Check out www.350.org/funds to learn more

The Great Power Race: NEW VIDEO
Next up is the The Great Power Race, a clean energy competition between students in India, China, and the United States.  Starting this September, students will get to work making their campuses models of sustainability and spur our nations to create whole new industries-and win great prizes while doing so. The race doesn't officially start for more than a month, but the registration drive is underway. India already has over 200 campuses signed up.  Can China and the USA keep up?  As the young founders of the Great Power Race are saying:
"Our parents raced for the Moon. Our generation will race for the Earth."
We also have brand new video to get people fired up about the Great Power Race--check it out: www.greatpowerrace.org/video
Put Solar On It!
Just two weeks ago we launched the "Put Solar On It" campaign, and it's making big waves from Washington DC to Delhi.  We're calling for world leaders to go solar on 10/10/10-and to couple this symbolic effort with a real commitment to pass policies that can unleash the clean energy economy we need.  We've partnered with Sungevity, a solar provider who has agreed to donate the panels to any world leader who will go solar on 10/10/10. President Nasheed from the Maldives has already committed to going solar on that day-will other leaders follow suit?  Only if we build our numbers, so get all your friends to sign on today: www.PutSolarOn.It
US Campaigning
It's nearly impossible to make global progress on climate change without getting the US to act, which is why we've been working hard to kickstart climate action in Washington DC and beyond.  We've turned up the heat on Senators to make sure they didn't settle for a weak and watered-down climate and energy bill and we helped organize hundreds of rallies against offshore drilling
Senate democrats have decided that definitely there will not be a climate portion of a bill in the coming weeks. This is bad news--and further evidence that we have to keep working on the ground to shift the political climate as fast as humanly possible.

There's lots more brewing at 350.org, but that gives you a good overview. If you've read this far, thank you.
Looking over the list of campaigns above, it becomes clear: there actually is one silver bullet to solving the climate crisis, and it's not solar power.  It's people power. 
We can't do this without you. Let's keep building this movement.
Kelly and the 350.org team

Monday, September 13, 2010

Pet Foods - "Healthy" & "Natural"?

So one of the main reasons I started this blog is for my family; many of them do not have a facebook, nor will they get one.  This blog will expose them to the important issues that the Real Meaning of GREEN on facebook touches on.

For my first blog, in honor of my cat-loving (or maybe I should say cat-obsessive?) family, I decided that I wanted to write about the nutrition of pet food.  As I went shopping the other day for cat supplies, I was delighted to see an offering of “natural” cat food, “natural” cat treats and “natural” litter.  As I always preach on facebook, “Demand and they will Supply”, the prophecy was coming true in the grocery store!  Suppliers are hearing our demands for natural products with limited or no use of chemicals and other dangerous additives.

Yet, is this all just a marketing ploy to make us BELIEVE it is “natural”?  Well, I am going to analyze the products I purchased the other day that boasted “natural” against those that I usually buy.  Remember, one of Michael Pollan’s “Food Rules” is to “avoid food products containing ingredients that a third-grader cannot pronounce.”  Our pets deserve the same standards.  

I have always fed my cats Iams, as it is boasted by many to be one of the "healthiest on the market", so let's see how it measures up.

Iams: Regular

  • Chicken
  • Chicken By-Product Meal
  • Corn Meal
  • Corn Grits
  • Dried Beet Pulp
  • Poultry By-Product Meal
  • Natural Flavor (um, which is what?)
  • Dried Egg Product
  • Brewers Dried Yeast
  • Sodium Bisulfate (acid salt, urine acidifier to reduce urinary stones in cats)
  • Potassium Chloride (used for making fertilizer, food processing: salt substitute)
  • Fructooligosaccharides (alternative sweetener, inulin-type prebiotics generally thought to stimulate the growth of Bifidobacteria “friendly bacteria” species)
  • Animal Fat
  • Fish Oil
  • DL-Methionine (amino acid, DL-methionine is the active ingredient in dog supplements to prevent yellow nitrogen burns to grass from their urine. The action is by reducing the pH of the dog's urine)
  • Choline Chloride (ammonium salt, accelerates growth in chickens
  • Calcium Carbonate (gastric antacid and calcium source)
  • Vitamins
  • Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (B6 source)
  • Vitamin B12 Supplement
  • Riboflavin Supplement (B2 source)
  • Inositol
  • Vitamin D3 Supplement
  • Minerals
  • Folic Acid

According to the website http://www.truthaboutpetfood.com/articles/how-to-understand-pet-food-label-ingredients-%E2%80%93-the-basics.html, “Chicken and Chicken Meal are meat ingredients providing a cat with essential meat protein. Chicken is obviously chicken meat; Chicken Meal is chicken meat with the moisture removed. Any meat contains a high amount of moisture, up to 70% moisture. Chicken Meal is chicken with the moisture removed and thus provides the dog or cat with more protein nutrition by weight. These are both quality ingredients.”

It continues, explaining that meat “by-products” are NOT meat.  According to the ingredient definition, they are left-over pieces of an animal not used for human consumption. Meat ingredients are optimal for your pet, left-over animal parts are not; this is another suggested ingredient to avoid. Meat and bone meal is another ingredient on the FDA list that can contain a euthanized diseased animal and the lethal drug used to kill the animal; a definite ingredient to avoid.

Brewers Rice, Corn Gluten Meal, Ground Corn, are grains that provide little to no nutrition to a cat (or dog if this was a dog food). None are ‘bad’ pet food ingredients, that is, unless the corn gluten meal came from China. Seeing this ingredient means you need to call the manufacturer to learn the Country of Origin of the pet food ingredients. You should also be aware that any grain ingredient in pet food is at risk to contain a deadly mold, aflatoxin. Pet owners that feed their dog or cat a food that includes grains must trust that the manufacturer did proper testing for aflatoxin contamination of grains. Pet food regulations do not require this testing, it is only recommended.

The website explain that that the pet food ingredient “Animal Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols)” was determined by the FDA to be one of several ingredients that are commonly known to contain a diseased euthanized animal, AND the drug used to kill the animal. When you see Animal Fat listed in the ingredients of a dog food or cat food, unless you want to take the chance of feeding your pet a sick, euthanized animal, AND lethal drugs, look for another pet food.

Iams: All Natural  

Yellow = Same
Pink = NEW
Green = Taken Out

Chicken By-Product Meal
Corn Meal
Brewers Rice
Ground Whole Grain Barley
Chicken Meal
Corn Grits
Dried Beet Pulp
Poultry By-Product Meal
Dried Egg Product
Natural Flavor (um, which is what?)
Sodium Bisulfate
Potassium Chloride
Animal Fat
Fish Oil
Dried Apple Pomace
Dried Carrots
Brewers Dried Yeast
Dried Peas
Calcium Carbonate
Choline Chloride
Dried Spinach
Dried Tomatoes
Vitamine E Supplement
Pyridoxide Hydrochloride (B6)
Vitamin B12 Supplement
Riboflavin Supplement (B2 source)
Vitamin D3 Supplement
Folic Acid

Well, for Iams “Healthy Naturals” all they took out is “Corn Grits” and “Poultry By-Product Meal”.  Perhaps the corn contained dangerous bi-product chemicals such as aflatoxin, of which the dangers were stated above?  But why did they take out a protein source?  It is good that they added some whole grain and dried vegetables, however as cats are strictly carnivores I am not sure how much this helps them besides adding more natural vitamins and minerals (ones that should be there by a good, healthy variety of meat sources).  Yes this makes it appear that it contains more “natural” ingredients, but it all boils down to the fact that all of the same chemicals are still present. 

And the most shocking ingredient present in both is the Animal Fat, which “The Truth About Pet Food” explained contains diseased euthanized animal remains and the chemical used to put them down.  “Natural” or not, if the pet food contains the disgusting, dangerous “Animal Fat”, it is TIME FOR A CHANGE!!

Our pets are stricken with debilitating diseases just as we humans are, and just as I am convinced with humans, the ”bad” fuel we put into our bodies causes the majority of diseases.  Give your pets the same respect as you so your own body and give them the proper, healthy fuel.I am now in search for a different cat food and will post my findings soon!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Major Issues Affecting Our Planet

So this can seem over-whelming and all "gloom & doom", but it is our reality. It is THE REALITY of what humans have done to our planet and environments. The fact that we shouldn't eat meat due to its environmental impacts, shouldn't eat fish due to over-fishing, shouldn't take a bath b/c its wasting water, shouldn't drive due to using too much oil and polluting the air with greenhouse gasses, shouldn't buy bottled water because of our plastic usage, etc, etc, etc....are all a sad fact that WE HAVE BROUGHT THIS UPON OURSELVES. The challenges ahead ARE overwhelming, but we need to restrict ourselves in these vital hours, ENCOURAGE CHANGE among the GREEDY (read: big businesses and governments who listen to supply & demand), and the uneducated who can't vote (read: those who have little $ to "vote" with). 

Please NOTE: This is a work in progress, but I welcome your comments at any time. I will re-post on page as I add additional information. I have a lot to add, but so much good info already that I don't want to have to wait to share <3  Your feedback is welcome!

~These Issues are in no particular order.  But keep in mind that most, if not all, of these issues are related directly or in-directly to each other, so they all have very just importance

**Pesticide Use**
-how can foods treated with pesticides be safe for human consumption when the people who spray pesticides must be masked and suited from head to toe with proctetive gear?
(Watch: The World According to Monsanto, Home)

**Consumption of Meat**
-Concentration Camp-Style raising of livestock
-Livestock alarmingly susceptible to disease due to factory farming (and not eating grass as nature intended) and thus given antibiotics
-Livestock given antibiotics, making humans less susceptible to antibiotics and making the bacteria stronger
-Livestock given steroids which is harmful to humans
-Inhumane raising of livestock creates toxic water and land pollution
-2,500 gallons of water used to raise 1lb of meat (contributing to water crisis)
-Forests cleared to raise livestock (contributing to deforestation)
-Forests cleared to grow grain for livestock consumption (contributing to deforestation)
-CO2 is bi-product from cattle and other livestock, polluting air

(Watch: Food Inc, Home.  Read: Skinny Bitch)

**Oil & Over-Use of Fossil Fuels**
-Oil can be reffered to as a "Pocket of Sunlight", explaining its power yet its precious-ness
-Oil used to make toxic plastic that harm the health of humans
-Bi-product polution form the creation of plastic
-Bi-product pollution from the recycling of plastic
-Plastic made from oil fills our landfils
-Air Pollution caused by Oil bi-product CO2
-Land and water pollution caused by oil spills (contributing to water crisis, fishing levels)
-Los Angeles: # of cars =  # of inhabitants
-What will happen when the oil runs out and we are not ready????
(Watch: Fuel, Home)

**Water Crisis**
-by 2025, 2 billion people will be affected by water shortage
-Pollution: Only 3% of the water on earth is fresh water and much of it is polluted. Many large corporations are the biggest polluters and it is claimed that many pollute deliberately so they can make money on their expensive technologies to clean it up.
-Water Privatization is also a huge issue: water for capital is a growing concern in many countries and a long-time reality for many in the third-world in particular, where citizens are being forced to pay for clean water that was once accessible in their own villages.
-Global Warming: Climate change and increasing global temperatures are melting glaciers at an alarming rate. Many villages and countries have relied on these water sources for centuries and in many places there will be no water supply left in the coming years.
-Wells: Wells are drying all over the world at alarming rates
-Wells are replenished by fossil fuel waters.  Wells enable crops to be grown in desert climates.
-In India 30% of wells have been abandoned.  India is predicted to suffer most from lack of water.
-Colorado River no longer reaches the sea due to over-consumption of water
-Deforestation prevents rainwater from purifying by running its natural course along the Humus (earth) and gathering precious minerals
-Wars: "Wars of the future will be fought over water, as they are over oil today, as our Blue Gold, the source of human survival, enters the global marketplace and political arena as a commodity to be sought out, fought over, and conquered...".
-Conflict (war) areas for water are: Brazil, Canada, and Russia.
(Watch: Blue Gold, Home)

-CO2 is bi-product of the machinery used to clear these forests
-Removing trees from the environment reduces the amount of CO2 that can be converted to O2 by these trees
-Deforestation prevents rainwater from purifying itself by running its natural course along the Humus (earth)
-Deforestation causes erosion of the earth (permanent in many areas), where water will not permeate and roots will not grow
(Watch: Home)

-By the end of the century mining will exhaust all of our precious resources
(Watch: Home)

-Creates mutant organisms and dangerous mutating genes (including virus' & baceteria)
-Creates pollen pollution
-Contaminates pristine, natural crops (perhaps to extinction)
(Watch: The World According to Monsanto)

**Climate Change**
(Watch: 11th Hour, An Inconvenient Truth, Home, Blue Gold)

**Consumption Rates**
-Americans consume 1/2 billion bottles of water on a weekly basis
-The average family consumes 700 gallons of water per week
-The junk mail Americans receive in one day could heat over 250,00 homes in the winter
-90% of trade is by sea
(Watch: Blue Gold, Home)

-Fishing rates have increased 5 fold since 1950
-We are exhausting most fish populations
-Many sea mammals and birds are dying of starvation because we are depleting their food-source (fish)
-Fishing fleets are at least two to three times as large as needed to take present day catches of fish and other marine species
(Watch: Home)

**Erosion of Soil**
-Soil indispensable to life
-All land on earth is linked
-Agriculture changed the relationship between animals and land
-Prevents rainwater from purifying itself by running its natural course along the Humus (earth) and gathering precious minerals
(Watch: Home)