Saturday, October 30, 2010
Great news for our Siberian TIGERS .... a species that is close to extinction. Hopefully with the preservation of their natural habitat from human encroachments, they will be allowed to co-exist with mankind in harmony. Let's celebrate and C-H-E-E-R for the TIGERS... ... ...
(Following article was posted by : Jake Richardson,Care2.com, Oct 29th, 2010)
There are an estimated 350-500 Siberian, or Amur tigers, remaining in the wild. In captivity there are another 400 or so. In the late 1940s, that number was down to twenty, and the species was very close to extinction.
Various conservation projects, including captive breeding programs were successful in staving off extinction and growing the populations, however research last year uncovered an alarming fact. The Amur wild tiger population shows very little genetic diversity, due to their small numbers and isolation, which means in the future they could be subject to diseases caused by inbreeding. The effective population, or number of individuals with genetic diversity, was only 27 to 35 tigers for the main population living in Russia. A second population of twenty living in China was shown to have an effective population of 2.8 to 11.
The genetic diversity research is very important on its own, but a new development had threatened to put more pressure on wild Siberian Tigers. The Russian government announced plans to auction logging rights to begin cutting down trees in Siberian tiger habitat. Logging was also scheduled for Sredneussuriysky Nature Reserve, which was reported to be the last natural wild corridor of habitat for the tigers which links their populations in Russia and China. The World Wildlife Fund protested via a press conference, and the media ran news stories about the plan for logging in the endangered cat’s shrinking habitat. So far their pressure has kept the logging at bay. One never knows exactly in such cases, if the project has been halted temporarily or permanently as not much information has come out since the cancellation.
The halting of the logging is a victory for environmentalists and tiger supporters. Some of them will be traveling to Russia soon to attend the Tiger Preservation Summit in St. Petersburg. Officials from countries where the tigers live are planning to attend the conference in order to share information and strategize about how to continue protecting them. There has been some speculation fewer representatives of the countries will attend due to being offended by the near logging of the imperiled animals habitat.
Just this past August, China and Russia came to an agreement which created a protected area linking the two isolated tiger populations. “This agreement is a great boost for Amur tiger habitats in Russia and China. Since both countries play a crucial role in terms of global tiger recovery, a future transboundary network would represent a big step in WWF’s global tiger conservation effort,” said Dr. Sergey Aramilev, Biodiversity Coordinator for Amur Branch of WWF-Russia. (Source: WWF.org)
Friday, October 29, 2010
Blogger's Note: Here's a good list of home-made 'green' cleaning agents that you can use to keep your home spick and span, minus the toxins and skin irritants. The ideas posted here are cheap and quick to follow and just as effective as the commercial ones which are overdosed with harmful chemicals. For those of us who are into kitchen waste eco-enzyme, you can use it as an alternative for vinegar - works just as good. Have fun!
The following methods were posted by : Annie B Bond, April 3, 2009 at Care2.com
Most modern synthetic cleaning products are based on age-old formulas using natural ingredients that were passed down through the generations because the chemistry was right. Going back to the original naturally derived ingredients is a way to make cleaning products that work, don’t pollute and save you money. Most are found in your kitchen cupboards. Mix and match with well-chosen and environmentally friendly green cleaning products found in health food stores, and you can easily and simply transform your home into a non-toxic and healthy haven.
Non-toxic cleaning can give you a deep feeling of gratification in knowing that your family’s health is protected, and that your home is a place for your bodies to rest and recuperate rather than promote harm.
Making your own nontoxic cleaning kit will take you no time at all with these simple, straightforward directions, and with this kit you will be supplied with enough cleaning product for months of cleaning.
As an added bonus, ounce for ounce homemade cleaning formulas cost about one-tenth the price of their commercial counterpart—and that includes costly, but worthwhile essential oils, and concentrated, all-purpose detergents for homemade recipes.
White distilled vinegar
A good liquid soap or detergent
Tea tree oil
6 clean spray bottles
2 glass jars
CREAMY SOFT SCRUBBER
Simply pour about 1/2 cup of baking soda into a bowl, and add enough liquid detergent to make a texture like frosting. Scoop the mixture onto a sponge, and wash the surface. This is the perfect recipe for cleaning the bathtub because it rinses easily and doesn’t leave grit.
Note: Add 1 teaspoon of vegetable glycerin to the mixture and store in a sealed glass jar, to keep the product moist. Otherwise just make as much as you need at a time.
1/4-1/2 teaspoon liquid detergent
3 tablespoons vinegar
2 cups water
Put all the ingredients into a spray bottle, shake it up a bit, and use as you would a commercial brand. The soap in this recipe is important. It cuts the wax residue from the commercial brands you might have used in the past.
OVEN CLEANER (Greensleeve's note: great for gas stoves too!)
1 cup or more baking soda
A squirt or two of liquid detergent
Sprinkle water generously over the bottom of the oven, then cover the grime with enough baking soda that the surface is totally white. Sprinkle some more water over the top. Let the mixture set overnight. You can easily wipe up the grease the next morning because the grime will have loosened. When you have cleaned up the worst of the mess, dab a bit of liquid detergent or soap on a sponge, and wash the remaining residue from the oven. If this recipe doesn’t work for you it is probably because you didn’t use enough baking soda and/or water.
ALL-PURPOSE SPRAY CLEANER
1/2 teaspoon washing soda
A dab of liquid soap
2 cups hot tap water
Combine the ingredients in a spray bottle and shake until the washing soda has dissolved. Apply and wipe off with a sponge or rag.
1/2 teaspoon oil, such as olive (or jojoba, a liquid wax)
1/4 cup vinegar or fresh lemon juice
Mix the ingredients in a glass jar. Dab a soft rag into the solution and wipe onto wood surfaces. Cover the glass jar and store indefinitely.
Keep a clean spray bottle filled with straight 5 percent vinegar in your kitchen near your cutting board and in your bathroom and use them for cleaning. I often spray the vinegar on our cutting board before going to bed at night, and don’t even rinse but let it set overnight. The smell of vinegar dissipates within a few hours. Straight vinegar is also great for cleaning the toilet rim. Just spray it on and wipe off. (Greensleeves' Note : Substitute with a citrus or lemon grass kitchen waste eco-enzyme and love it!)
Tea Tree Treasure
Nothing natural works for mold and mildew as well as this spray. I’ve used it successfully on a moldy ceiling from a leaking roof, on a musty bureau, a musty rug, and a moldy shower curtain. Tea tree oil is expensive, but a little goes a very long way. Note that the smell of tea tree oil is very strong, but it will dissipate in a few days.
2 teaspoons tea tree oil
2 cups water
Combine in a spray bottle, shake to blend, and spray on problem areas. Do not rinse. Makes two cups.
Straight vinegar reportedly kills 82 percent of mold. Pour some white distilled vinegar straight into a spray bottle, spray on the moldy area, and let set without rinsing if you can put up with the smell. It will dissipate in a few hours.
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Here's an interesting debate on the subject of meat eating- whether it is okay for the planet. Please take a read and let's have your views on it.
The following is posted by : Eric Steinman (Oct 25, 2010 at Care2.com)
Take it a few years back, and the notion of eating meat meant (for most) consuming a plate of factory-farmed, cruelly harvested, and environmentally adverse meat product that made you feel nothing but bad about yourself. Vegetarian and vegan ethos and principles were almost inarguable (regardless of how sanctimonious they may seem), as the consumption of meat was at the root of so many evils (animal cruelty, labor abuses, bad nutrition, etc) as well as the root of nearly 20 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions.
In some respects, nothing has changed. However, when considering the popularization and the growth of ethical, pasture-raised meat (otherwise known as “happy meat” in some circles) it seems that the previous conviction that eating any kind of meat was unethical (or at least environmentally harmful) might not be so absolute. Is it possible that veganism might not be the only ethical response to what is arguably the world’s most urgent social justice issue?
In the forthcoming book, Meat: A Benign Extravagance, British writer and farmer, Simon Fairlie affords the proper respect to vegans for opening up the debate, but then rips into the vegan logic (with respect, not retribution) and makes a case for eating pasture, and ethically-raised meat in moderation. Fairlie says that small-scale, holistic-minded farms that raise animals on pastures can actually be very efficient and earth-friendly — especially when said animals are consuming foods (or waste) humans don’t generally eat.
Some of Fairlie’s more compelling points on the matter (as compiled by Adriana Velez of The Stir) are as follows:
1. Pasture-raised pigs can eat whey (a dairy byproduct), leftovers, and agriculture waste. They turn waste into food!
2. Cows eat grass and other “weeds” and they aerate the ground, which helps produce more grass, which puts more clean oxygen into the atmosphere.
3. Many vegetable oils have a larger carbon footprint than animal fats.
4. Farm animals on a well-managed farm can help fertilize crops.
5. Raising livestock the “slow” way helps us all value our food and farmers more, and encourages us to eat more carefully
There’s no doubt that the livestock system has gone horribly wrong, but what Fairlie is advocating is an entirely different model where we all eat a hell of a lot less meat (maybe twice a week) and where the meat is expensive (yes) but meets strict environmental (low energy, low waste, diverse, and small-scale) and ethical standards.
As compelling as Fairlie’s upcoming book may be (set to be released in the U.S. early next year) some steadfast vegans and vegetarians will surely be unmoved by his argument for moderate, and responsible, consumption. As we all know, meat is murder, and that is a thorny ethical absolutism to get around and then pleasantly swallow. Still, if we were all to adopt these standards and guidelines (I realize that some of us already have, whereas some of us would perish the thought) would it be possible to eat moderately with a clean conscience? Have we, in our rush to discredit and vilify the meat industry, overlooked the option of sensible and sustainable alternatives? Or will eating meat (no matter what kind or quantity) always be a moral and environmental injustice that we can’t afford?
Blogger's Note: For me, the choice is very clear... ... ... Be Veg, Go Green to Save the Planet!
Saturday, October 23, 2010
Source : http://meatfreecop16.org/solutions/
Scientific findings that supports a plant based diet as an immediate solution to address climate change
UN Urges Vegan Diet
A global diet free of meat and dairy is necessary for the world to mitigate the worst effects of climate change, according to a new report from the UN. The report, Assessing the Environmental Impacts of Production and Consumption: Priority Products and Materials from the United Nations Environment Programme’s (UNEP), found that consuming a diet of meat and dairy is as bad for the planet as global fossil fuel consumption because both increase in direct proportion to the economic growth.
“Agriculture and food consumption are identified as one of the most important drivers of environmental pressures, especially habitat change, climate change, water use and toxic emissions,” explains the report. “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 according to the report. A vegan diet has the least impact on the planet.
NOTE: For a full report, go to the following link:
“Livestock and Climate Change”
Recent analysis by Goodland and Anhang co-authors of“Livestock and Climate Change” in the latest issue of World Watch magazine found that livestock and their byproducts actually account for at least 32.6 billion tons of carbon dioxide per year, or 51 percent of annual worldwide GHG emissions!
The main sources of GHGs from animal agriculture are:
**Deforestation of the rainforests to grow feed for livestock.
**Methane from manure waste. – Methane is 72 times more potent as a global warming gas than CO2
**Refrigeration and transport of meat around the world.
**Raising, processing and slaughtering of the animal.
Meat production also uses a massive amount of water and other resources which would be better used to feed the world’s hungry and provide water to those in need.
Based on their research, Goodland and Anhang conclude that replacing livestock products with soy-based and other alternatives would be the best strategy for reversing climate change. They say “This approach would have far more rapid effects on GHG emissions and their atmospheric concentrations-and thus on the rate the climate is warming-than actions to replace fossil fuels with renewable energy.”
NOTE : For a full report, go to the following link:
Adapting agriculture to mitigate climate change
The practice developing sustainable agriculture would make both adaptation and mitigation of climate change efficient, a point confirmed by a 2009 Dutch study which found that a global shift to an organic vegan diet would save world governments 80% of climate mitigation costs by 2050, or a savings of US$32 trillion.
NOTE : For full report, go to:
Cutting Back on Meat-Eating & Livestock Products Should Be Environmental Priority
The positive effect of vegan diets on the environment is pretty well documented at this point, but here’s another new study detailing the high environmental costs of meat: It concludes that because of increases in population and per capita consumption we will have to cut back on meat between 19-42% by 2050 just to keep environmental damage at current levels.
Reuters quotes the report authors, from Dalhousie University, as saying that “reining in growth in this sector should be prioritized.”
Furthermore, there’s “a profound disconnect between the anticipated scale of potential environmental impacts associated with projected livestock production levels and even the most optimistic mitigation strategies.”
Published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the report Forecasting potential global environmental costs of livestock production 2000-2050 notes, “by 2050, the livestock sector alone may either occupy the majority of, or significantly overshoot, recently published estimates of humanity’s “safe operating space”" when it comes to climate change, reactive nitrogen mobilization, and appropriation of plant biomass.
In really simple terms: More meat means more greenhouse gas emissions, more nitrogen runoff and pollution, and more land needed for grazing or to grow food for animals which humans will eat.
NOTE : For full report, go to:
Sources for more reading :
Dug up this article with expressed information on the Carbon Footprint left behind when we deforest trees for livestock farming.
According to the UN Global Forest Resources Assessment 2005, 70% of all deforested land in the Amazon rainforest is used for livestock grazing or for producing feed for farm animals (1). In fact a massive 30% of the entire land surface area of this planet is used to raise livestock in order to produce meat. According to the The World Bank stated that in order to achieve this goal, it is imperative to target the main economic drivers of deforestation, in other words the beef producers. (2)(3)
However the method known as “slash and burn”, a technique used to deforest the land so that it can be turned in to grazing land or used to grow livestock feed. Firstly, the useful trees are removed and sold, next the rest is left to dry out before it set on fire and scorched to the ground thus releasing huge amounts of incompletely combusted carbon, known as “black carbon” or soot. At the Arctic and Antartic it settles on the ice causing it to melt absorbing the solar radiation from the sun which would normally have been reflected back up in to the atmosphere by the reflective surface of the ice. What worsens the situation is that black carbon is hydrophobic. This means that these carbon particles do not like water, so instead of disappearing and sinking to the bottom of the ocean as the ice melts and turns in to water, instead it remains on the surface of the ice and thus increases in concentration overtime further warming the ice. According to a Greenpeace report “Slaughtering the Amazon”, a zero deforestation rate is essential in bringing climate change under control. (4)
Boverty is causal link between the poverty of a region/ country and the number of bovine livestock raised in the same area. In short, it is “the human impact of having too many bovines overwhelming the local biosphere’s ability to feed them”. However this problem is not limited to the Amazon, each year worldwide we burn deliberately burn 3.7 billion tones of dry matter, more than half of this, a staggering 2 billion tonnes and 200 million hectares is burnt by the livestock industry to maintain and create new pasture land in Africa. In Africa particularly in the sub-Saharan regions an approximate 260 million heads of cattle are raised annually but this does nothing to improve food security or provide nutrition for the citizens of these countries.
In a report by mathematician and computer programmer Geoff Russell entitled “Burning the Biosphere: Boverty Blues”, he states that “The areas doing so much of the burning are precisely the ones with the most cattle and the most chronically hungry people.(5)
Methane and Ozone
Methane gas has been greatly undervalued as to how much it contributes to global warming. Previously researchers worked with the assumption that methane has a global warming potential of 21, that is it is 21 times more potent than CO2 as a global warming gas over a 100 year period. However as Methane is a shorter lived gas it would be more accurate to average out its effect over 20 years, which would give it a Global Warming Potential of 72 rather than 21. In addition to this methane’s GWP was underestimated as aerosol interactions were not considered in these calculations. NASA scientists concluded that when factoring in aerosol interaction the warming effect of methane is one third higher than previously thought thus making methane almost 100 times potent than CO2 over a 20 year period. (6) (7) (8)
The solution is clear, it is now up to us, political parties & governments to implement strategies to save the planet and move society to a plant based lifestyle.
Note : For a full report on deforestation, go to the following link:
With COP16 around the corner, delegates and world leaders from around the world will once again be meeting to discuss the current climate change issues our planet faces. The previous conference in Copenhagen ended with major developing nations having made pledges but with no clear path toward a treaty all binding resolutions. Consequently, it is critical that our representatives demonstrate their commitment to make effective changes.
Recently, according to a new report from the UN. The report, Assessing the Environmental Impacts of Production and Consumption: Priority Products and Materials from the United Nations Environment Programme’s (UNEP), found that consuming a diet free of meat and dairy will be the best approach to dealing with climate change and its consequences.
So despite all the science pointing to animal agriculture being the largest contributor to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, inter-governmental talks do not even include on their agenda the discussion of the meat and livestock industries. The facts clearly demonstrate animal products are unsustainable and truly detrimental.
One goal of this meeting is to strive in making sustainable choices, therefore, we ask that our representatives and world leaders attending the COP16 truly take the initiative and demonstrate courage in choosing to be vegan during their attendance of this historical conference. By choosing to do so our delegates make a powerful statement,that is that they are determined to halt climate change by eliminating the root cause: Animal Agriculture. Furthermore we call on the COP16 organizers to only provide plant based meals during the conference to show their complete resolve to tackle climate change as well as other environmental issues. The world will be watching the participants of COP16 in hopes that the right choices and steps are taken, to avoid further climate change related calamities.
We invite all to join us in making a truly environmental, healthy and compassionate choice, choose a vegan diet and encourage others to do likewise. Each one of us also has the responsibility of sending this clear message that a plant based diet is the first choice when considering any possible solution to climate change.
For more information on the plant based solution please visit http://meatfreecop16.org/solutions/, on ideas on how governments can make the shift to a plant based diet, please visit http://meatfreecop16.org/making-the-shift/.
Thank you for your consideration.
Society for the Advancement of Animal Wellbeing
NOTE : After reading the above, you can voice your support by going to this link and do the necessary. God bless your efforts!
Link : http://meatfreecop16.org/send-letter/
Friday, October 22, 2010
Yea.... just the other day, at the ECO-FILM FEST 2010 event held on the 16th & 17th October at the main campus of University Malaya, I was trying to get someone to consider take meat off his diet in a bid to reduce his carbon footprint. Although he acknowledges the fact that meat is a very carbon-intensive product, and avoidance of it would see some positive results for the environment, he also said that it was a tough habit to get rid of.
My reply : It would be much easier for anyone to give up meat than for anyone to try to stop the smoking, drinking and gambling habits. In all my life (and I have lived some good many years to date), I have yet to hear of anyone 'going cold turkey' while trying to get rid of the meat eating habit. If anyone of you know any better, please tell me. I sure would like to be proven wrong. Unless, if the person is a blood-sucking vampire! Yikes! I mean, if you have watched any of the famed Dracula movies, you'd know what I mean.... those vampire specimens can really go beserk if they don't get their regular nightly fix!
Someone said once that we will never succeed in anything if we give up before we even have the determination to begin. So we need to give ourselves a chance by at least taking the first step. Incidentally, the young man I spoke to came by our booth to check us out and enjoyed the variety of 100% plant-based food we have laid out for free sampling. And he walked away after that, all in one good piece!
Plant-based food, any takers?
G-R-E-E-N your Diet and Save the Planet!
With World Vegan Week (24th - 31st, October) just round the corner, let's be more aware of the urgent call to avoid meat and animal products to help reduce carbon emissions in light of saving the environment from further deterioration.
G-R-E-E-N our diet to Save the Planet!
The following is a UN report for further emphasis on the subject.....
BREAKING GLOBAL WARMING REPORT!
United Nations Urges Worldwide Shift Away From Animal Products
Over the last few years, report after report has surfaced, conclusively linking animal agriculture to global warming, air and water pollution, and land degradation. The most prominent of these reports, the UN FAO’s Livestock’s Long Shadow, famously credited 18% of all greenhouse gas emissions to animal agriculture, and blamed the sector for a myriad of other environmental troubles. The report stopped short, however, of actually recommending a change in diet, and instead called for improved agriculture practices.
A new United Nations report entitled Assessing the Environmental Impacts of Consumption and Production is the first of its stature to actually stress the necessity of moving away from meat and dairy. Specifically, the paper says that “impacts from agriculture are expected to increase substantially due to population growth [and] increasing consumption of animal products [...] A substantial reduction of impacts would only be possible with a substantial worldwide diet change, away from animal products.”
The report goes into detail about the consequences we can expect if business continues as usual. Increases in population and wealth have historically resulted in increased consumption of meat, dairy, and eggs, which they blame for the bulk of agriculture’s environmental impact. Agriculture is said to be responsible 70% of global freshwater consumption, 38% of the total land use and 19% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions.
It is now undeniable that we need to substantially reduce our use of animal products in order to prevent global catastrophe. The simplest way to do this is to adopt a vegan diet, which, in addition to avoiding all of animal agriculture’s ecological impacts, also spares the lives of dozens of animals each year- amounting to thousands over one’s lifetime. The American Dietetic Association calls a well planned vegan diet “healthful and nutritionally adequate […] for individuals during all stages of the lifecycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence, and for athletes” and adds that it “may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases.”
Ready to consider a switch?
Visit www.VegKit.org for a free Vegan Starter Guide !
SOURCE : http://greenyourdiet.org/unreport10.htm
BE VEG, GO GREEN 2 SAVE THE PLANET!
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Posted by : Melissa Breyer (August 23,2010)
When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. But what to do with all those lemon peels? Don’t toss them, put them to work. Lemons juice is about 5 to 6 percent citric acid and has a pH level of between 2 and 3. This low pH acidity makes lemon juice a great ally in breaking down rust and mineral stains, but gentle enough to not dull finishes. There is generally sufficient juice left in used lemon halves to tackle small tasks, and it all comes with its own applicator (the rind itself).Plus, the oil in the peel is perfect for clever culinary applications, and not bad in the beauty department either. Here’s what you can do:
1. Clean greasy messes
Greasy pans? Splattered stove tops? Messy counters? If your kitchen has been the victim of some sloppy sauteing, try using lemon halves before bringing out possibly toxic chemical cleaners. Sprinkle some salt (for abrasion) on a juiced lemon half and rub on the greasy areas, wipe up with a towel. (Be careful using lemon on marble counter tops, or any other surface sensitive to acid).
2. Clean your tea kettle or coffee pot
For mineral deposit build up in your tea kettle, fill the kettle with water, add a handful of thin slices of lemon peel and bring to a boil. Turn off heat and let sit for an hour, drain, and rinse well. For coffee pots, add ice, salt and lemon rinds to the empty pot; swish and swirl for a minute or two, dump, and rinse. Hello, sparkly.
3. Clean your microwave
All it takes is one exploding bowl of food to render the interior of your microwave officially gunked, sometimes gunked with cement-like properties. Rather than using strong chemical cleaners, try this: Add lemon rinds to a microwave-safe bowl filled halfway with water. Cook on high for 5 minutes, allowing the water to boil and the steam to condense on the walls and tops of the oven. Carefully remove the hot bowl and wipe away the mess with a towel.
4. Deodorize the garbage disposal
Use lemon peels to deodorize the garbage disposal (and make your kitchen smell awesome at the same time). It is a great way to finally dispose of spent lemon peels after you have used them for any of these applications.
5. Polish chrome
Mineral deposits on chrome faucets and other tarnished chrome make haste in the presence of lemon–rub with a squeezed lemon half, rinse, and lightly buff with a soft cloth.
A halved lemon dipped in salt or baking powder can also be used to brighten copper cookware, as well as brass, chrome, or stainless steel. Dip a juiced lemon half in salt (you also use baking soda or cream of tartar for the salt) and rub on the affected area. Let it stay on for 5 minutes. Then rinse in warm water and polish dry.
7. Clean a stainless sink
Use the same method described to polish chrome, applied to any stainless sink.
8. Keep insects out
Many pests abhor the acid in lemon. You can chop of the peels and place them along thresholds, windowsills, and near any cracks or holes where ants or pests may be entering. For other ways to combat pests naturally, see 7 Steps to Chemical-Free Pest Control.
9. Make a scented humidifier
If your home suffers from dry heat in the winter, you can put lemon peels in a pot of water and simmer on the lowest stove-top setting to humidify and scent the air.
10. Refresh cutting boards
Because of lemon’s low pH, it has antibacterial properties that make is a good choice for refreshing cutting boards. After proper disinfecting (see: How to Clean Your Cutting Board) give the surface a rub with a halved lemon, let sit for a few minutes, and rinse.
11. Keep brown sugar soft
If your brown sugar most often turns into brick sugar, try adding some lemon peel (with traces of pulp and pith removed) to help keep it moist and easy to use. (For all recipes using lemon peel, try to use organic lemons–and scrub the peel well to remove any residues and wax.)
12. Make zest
Zest is the best! Zest is simply grated peel, and is the epitome of lemon essence–it can be used fresh, dried, or frozen. If you don’t have an official zester, which looks like a very fine cheese grater, you can use the smallest size of a box grater. To dry zest, spread it on a towel and leave out until dried, then store in a jar. To freeze, use a freezer-safe container. Use zest in salads, marinades, baked goods, grain dishes, etc.
13. Make Vegan Lemon Biscotti
Once you’ve made some zest, make these Vegan Lemon Biscotti cookies. Delicious.
14. Make twists
Strips of peel, aka twists, are good in cocktails, sparkling water, and tap water. Use a vegetable peeler to make long strips, or use a knife and cut the peel into long strips, cutting away the white pith which is bitter. These can be frozen in a freezer-safe container or bag.
15. Make lemon extract powder
Make zest or twists (above) and dry the strips skin-side down on a plate until they are shriveled and dried up, about 3 or 4 days. Put in a blender (or spice grinder) and pulverize into a powder. Use the powdered peel in place of extract or zest in recipes.
16. Make Lemon Sugar
You can make lemon extract powder (see above) and add it to sugar, or you can use fresh twists, put them in a jar with sugar and let the peel’s oil infuse the sugar.
17. Make Lemon Pepper
Mix lemon extract powder (see above) with freshly cracked pepper.
18. Make candied lemon peel
Orange or grapefruit peel can be candied too. Yum. Candied peels are pretty easy to make, and can be eaten plain, or dipped in melted chocolate, used in cake, cookie, candy, or bread recipes. These recipes for candied citrus and ginger use Sucanat, the most wholesome sugar you can buy.
19. Lighten age spots
Many folk remedies suggest using lemon peel to help lighten age spots–apply a small piece to the affected area and leave on for an hour. You can also try one of these 5 natural ways to lighten age spots.
20. Soften dry elbows
Use a half lemon sprinkled with baking soda on elbows, just place your elbow in the lemon and twist the lemon (like you are juicing it) for several minutes. Rinse and dry.
21. Use on your skin
Lemon peels can be very lightly rubbed on your face for a nice skin tonic, then rinse. (And be careful around your eyes.)
22. Make a sugar scrub
Mix 1/2 a cup of sugar with finely chopped lemon peel and enough olive oil to make a paste. Wet your body in the shower, turn off the water and massage sugar mix all over your skin, rinse, be soft! You can also try any of these 5 simple homemade sugar scrubs as well.
Blogger's note; GOOD LUCK WITH YOUR LEMONS!
“The environmental crises currently gripping the planet are the corollary of excessive human consumption of natural resources. There is considerable and mounting evidence that elevated degradation and loss of habitats and species are compromising ecosystems that sustain the quality of life for billions of people worldwide,” says Corey Bradshaw, leader of a new study by the University of Adelaide’s Environment Institute in Australia that has ranked most of the world’s countries for their environmental impact.
The study, Evaluating the Relative Environmental Impact of Countries, uses seven indicators of environmental degradation: natural forest loss, habitat conversion, marine captures, fertilizer use, water pollution, carbon emissions and species threat. Unlike existing rankings, this study deliberately avoided human health and economic data, and instead focused on environmental impact only. Other variables–bushmeat harvest, coral reef habitat quality, seagrass loss, freshwater habitat degradation, illegal fishing, invertebrate threat patterns, and some forms of greenhouse gas emission–were excluded due to a lack of country-specific data.
Two rankings were created: a “proportional” environmental impact ranking, where impact is measured against total resource availability, and an “absolute” environmental impact ranking which measures total environmental degradation at a global scale. Listed here are the top ten worst offending countries for absolute environmental impact, those that are just doing the most damage, regardless of per capita calculations.
The study, in collaboration with the National University of Singapore and Princeton University, found that the total wealth of a country was the most important driver of environmental impact. “We correlated rankings against three socio-economic variables (human population size, gross national income and governance quality) and found that total wealth was the most important explanatory variable the richer a country, the greater its average environmental impact,” Professor Bradshaw said. “There is a theory that as wealth increases, nations have more access to clean technology and become more environmentally aware so that the environmental impact starts to decline. This wasn’t supported,” he added.
Although Peru hardly seems capable of the harmful environmental impact that larger industrialized countries are capable of, the South America country ranks number 10 overall of countries creating negative environmental impact. Of 179 countries, Peru ranks 2nd for marine capture and 7th for threatened species. Over fishing and illegal trade of endangered species seem to be the culprit: Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITIES) lists ten animal species as critically endangered (like the short-tailed chinchilla pictured above) the last step before extinction, 28 as endangered, and 99 as vulnerable in Peru.
About 11.5 percent of the the total land area of Australia is protected, which leaves a lot left (although much of it is arid desert) for unbridled usage, which is how the country ranks 7th worst in habitat conversion. It also ranks 9th for fertilizer use, and 10th for natural forest loss.
Less than half of Russia’s population has access to safe drinking water. While water pollution from industrial sources has diminished because of the decline in manufacturing, municipal wastes increasingly threaten key water supply sources, and nuclear contamination poses immense problems for key water sources as well–landing Russia in 4th place for worst water pollution. Russia ranks 5th in worst CO2 emissions–air quality is almost as poor as water quality, with over 200 cities often exceeding Russian pollution limits. The country ranks 7th for marine capture.
According to the Wall Street Journal, in an effort to boost food production, win farmer votes and encourage the domestic fertilizer industry, the government has increased its subsidy of urea fertilizer over the years, and now pays about half of the domestic industry’s cost of production. The overuse of urea is so degrading the soil that yields on some crops are falling–landing India is 2nd place for environmental impact due to fertilizer use.
India ranks 3rd for water pollution as increasing competition for water among various sectors, including agriculture, industry, domestic, drinking, energy generation and others, is causing this precious natural resource to dry up–while increasing pollution is also leading to the destruction of the habitat of wildlife that lives in waterways. India comes in 8th for another three areas: threatened species, marine capture and CO2 emissions.
Mexico holds more species of plants and animals than just about any other country: 450 mammals (Brazil, which is more than twice Mexico’s size has only 394 mammals); about 1000 birds, 693 reptiles; 285 amphibians, and more than 2000 fish. As of the mid-1990s, many species were known to be already threatened: 64 mammals, 36 birds, 18 reptiles, 3 amphibians, and about 85 fish. Mexico did not join the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), the chief international agreement to stop trade in threatened and endangered plants and animals, in effect since 1975, until 1991, the last Latin American nation to do so. It is perhaps because of these factors that Mexico ranks 1st for threatened species. One of the many reasons? The country ranks 9th for natural forest loss.
Japan ranks 4th for marine capture. By 2004, the number of adult Atlantic bluefin tuna capable of spawning had dropped to roughly 19 percent of the 1975 level in Japan, which has a quarter of the world supply of the five big species of tuna: bluefin, southern bluefin, bigeye, yellowfin and albacore. After the moratorium on commercial whaling in 1986, Japanese government started its “whaling for research purposes” the following year, which has resulted in documented cases of “scientific” whale meat ending up on sashimi platters. Japan ranks 5th for both natural habitat conversion and water pollution, and 6th for CO2 emissions
According to Global Forest Watch, Indonesia was still densely forested as recently as 1950–yet 40 percent of the forests existing in 1950 were cleared in the following 50 years. In round numbers, forest cover fell from 162 million ha to 98 million ha2. For this, Indonesia ranks 2nd in natural forest loss, which probably has some to so with their taking 3rd place for threatened species. Indonesia is ranked 3rd for CO2 emissions, 6th for marine capture, 6th for fertilizer use, and 7th for water pollution
China’s coastal waters are increasingly polluted by everything from oil to pesticides to sewage, helping China earn its 1st place ranking for water pollution. In China, 20 million people lack access to clean drinking water; over 70 percent of lakes and rivers are polluted; and major pollution incidents happen on a near daily basis–the World Health Organization recently estimated that nearly 100,000 people die annually from water pollution-related illnesses.
China isn’t doing much better in terms of overfishing–they take 1st place for marine capture. Add to that 2nd place for CO2 emissions and 6th place for threatened species, and we can see how China takes the bronze for most environmental impact. Chinese environmental protection agencies lack sufficient authority, financial resources and manpower. When there are conflicts between environmental protection and economic development, the former often loses to the latter.
You’d think with all of the smarts and resources this country has, it would rank a bit better than Number 2–afraid not. Although it did rank a respectable 211 for natural habitat conversion–that honor is pretty much negated by the country’s abysmal ratings in other areas. Ringing in at 1st place for fertilizer use, this country’s excessive application of nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium (NPK) fertilizers can result in the leaching of these chemicals into water bodies and remove, alter or destroy natural habitats. The USA also ranks in 1st place for CO2 emissions, 2nd place for water pollution, 3rd place for marine captures, and 9th place for threatened species. Not feeling all that proud to be American at the moment
In all seven categories considered for the report, Brazil ranked within the top ten for all but marine capture: 1st place for natural forest loss, 3rd place for natural habitat conversion, 3rd place for fertilizer use, 4th place for threatened species, 4th place for CO2 emissions, and 8th place for water pollution. What’s to account for these areas of intense environmental impact? A large portion of deforestation in Brazil can be attributed to the expansive Amazon rain forest (pictured above) land clearing for pastureland by commercial and speculative interests, misguided government policies, inappropriate World Bank projects, and commercial exploitation of forest resources. Soy and cocoa crops, as well as cattle ranching, have had a far-reaching effect. While in the Atlantic forests of Brazil, some of the world’s most diverse ecosystems have been converted to fast growing plantations (mostly non-native eucalyptus) for paper pulp.
The proportional index, which takes into consideration the impact as proportional to the resources available in the country, ranks these as the top ten countries creating the most negative environmental impact: Singapore, Korea, Qatar, Kuwait, Japan, Thailand, Bahrain, Malaysia, Philippines and Netherlands. According to the study from which both of these rankings were taken, “continued degradation of nature despite decades of warning, coupled with the burgeoning human population (currently estimated at nearly 7 billion and projected to reach 9 to 10 billion by 2050), suggest that human quality of life could decline substantially in the near future. Increasing competition for resources could therefore lead to heightened civil strife and more frequent wars. Continued environmental degradation demands that countries needing solutions be identified urgently so that they can be assisted in environmental conservation and restoration.”
The world must act now to prevent the rapid loss of animal and plant species that allow humans to exist, warned the UN at the beginning of the United Nation’s Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) today.
Delegates from the 193 members of the CBD are meeting in the Japanese city of Nagoya to strategize on how to prevent a man-made mass extinction. Experts now warn that the planet faces its sixth mass extinction phase; the latest since dinosaurs disappeared 65 million years ago
“The time to act is now and the place to act is here,” CBD executive secretary Ahmed Djoghlaf said as the meeting opened, describing the 12-day event as a “defining moment” in the history of mankind. “Business as usual is no more an option when it comes to life on Earth.”
Delegates were told that the impact of expanding human population is destroying ecosystems such as tropical forests and coral reefs, killing off animal and plant species that form the ecostystem which humanity depends on. The Earth’s 6.8 billion humans are effectively living 50 percent beyond the planet’s biocapacity in 2007, according to a new assessment by WWF that said by 2030 humans will require the resources of two Earths.
At the start of the decade, UN members pledged under the Millennium Development Goals to achieve “a significant reduction” in the rate of wildlife loss by this year, the International Year of Biodiversity. Instead, habitat destruction has run rampant. Nearly a quarter of mammals, one third of amphibians, more than one in eight birds, and more than a fifth of plant species now face the threat of extinction, said the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
The CBD entered into force in December of 1993 with these 3 main objectives:
• The conservation of biological diversity
• The sustainable use of the components of biological diversity
• The fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources [For example, plants or animals that have been used by indigenous groups and have commercial use such as in the pharmaceutical industry.]
Delegates in Nagoya plan to set a new target for 2020 for curbing species loss, and will discuss boosting medium-term financial help for poor countries to help them protect their wildlife and habitats.
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Posted by : Mel (Oct 10th, 2010 @ care2.com)
Blogger's Note : Some diets may consist of meat products which vegans may not find acceptable.
When it comes to eating (and many other indulgences), the United States is a culture of excess. To the average American, bigger plus faster equals better; we shovel massive quantities of food and beverages into our mouths on the go, scarcely taking time to taste what we’re consuming … and then we complain about how much weight we’re gaining. Meanwhile, diners in other countries favor moderately sized but well-rounded portions, savor their meals in a leisurely fashion with friends and family members, and make exercise part of their daily life. Is it any surprise, then, that so many people in other cultures sustain enviably trim figures without depriving themselves of culinary enjoyment? Let’s learn how they do it.
Eat at Home More Often Than You Eat Out (Poland)
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Americans spend an average of 37 percent of their food budget on eating out, compared with only 5 percent among Poles. No wonder U.S. obesity rates are so high: restaurants here are notorious for serving oversize, calorie- and fat-laden portions. By eating our meals at home, we not only have much more control over the ingredients we put in our mouths, but we also save money and get to spend quality time with our families. It’s a win-win.
Go Nuts for Nuts (Africa)Packed with protein and often healthy fats, nuts can serve as a nutritious and filling replacement for meat and poultry. In Africa, particularly in Gambia, peanuts are a common complement to vegetables and spices in numerous soups and stews—and perhaps it’s no coincidence that this nation has not only no problems with obesity, but also one of the lowest international incidences of all types of cancer.
Make Friends with Rice and Beans (Brazil)
Americans tend to think of starchy foods as the enemy, but according to a study published in the journal Obesity Research, a diet focused on rice and beans (in contrast with a typical Western diet), such as the kind Brazilians espouse, reduces people’s risk of becoming overweight by approximately 14 percent. Low in fat and high in fiber, it’s a winning combination that stabilizes blood sugar and leaves people feeling satisfied.
Spice Things Up (Thailand and Malaysia)The hot peppers in Thai cuisine, which is legendary for its spiciness, accomplish a dual dietary purpose: they both speed metabolism and slow the eating process. For Americans, weight gain is an inevitable side effect of our tendency to wolf down our meals; our brains don’t have time to process our bodies’ signals that we’re full until we’ve already overeaten. So when spicy fare forces us to slow our pace (because we simply can’t eat three-alarm red curry as quickly as we can put away, say, McDonald’s french fries), our waistlines benefit.
In Malaysia, turmeric, a spice that conveniently grows wild in the jungle, contains a substance called curcumin, which, according to a Tufts University study, may suppress fat-tissue growth and increase our bodies’ fat-burning capacity.
Don’t Skip Breakfast (Germany)
It may seem counterintuitive that consuming more calories can encourage weight loss, but eating a healthful, well-balanced breakfast—such as a hard-boiled egg, whole-grain toast, and fruit—jump-starts our metabolism and satisfies our brains’ reward centers, making us less likely to succumb to the desire to indulge in high-calorie food later in the day.
Stretch Your Legs and Arms (India and the Netherlands)In the United States, we’re apt to hop in our cars at the slightest provocation, even if the grocery store is only a few blocks away. By contrast, in the two-wheeling Netherlands, there are even more bicycles than people, and 54 percent of Dutch cyclists use them for daily activities. Take a page out of their book and pedal your way to a slim physique; an average-size adult pedaling at a moderate pace can burn around 550 calories per hour.
In India, yoga devotees hit the floor to burn calories, gain strength, and expand their minds. While people all over the United States are following suit, they often focus primarily on yoga’s potential to reduce stress, when in fact it can also be a powerful weight-loss tool: the combination of practicing on an empty stomach and building muscle boosts metabolism, which means more pounds shed even after practitioners leave the mat.
Put Meat on the Back Burner (Greece and Asia)
In contrast with the steak-and-potatoes fare that characterizes the U.S. diet, the dominant paradigm in Mediterranean countries, such as Greece, is less meat-intensive. Heart-healthy olive oil; vegetables like artichokes, spinach, eggplant, onions, and tomatoes; and proteins such as chickpeas and nuts form the building blocks of daily meals, whereas meat is treated as a supplementary item, not the main event—stuffed inside grape leaves with rice to make dolmas, for example.
Similarly, in Asian countries, meat is viewed as a garnish, rather than as the focal point of a meal; Asian diners get their protein from fish and soy, and load up on vegetables, rice, noodles, and soup to satisfy their hunger.
Drink Rooibos Tea (South Africa) Naturally sweet and even more full-flavored than green tea, rooibos may prevent overeating by keeping drinkers well hydrated (what people often perceive as hunger pangs are actually just signs of dehydration) and contains catechins, antioxidant compounds found to help promote exercise-induced abdominal fat loss. Many tea-drinking cultures are known to have lower rates of obesity than the United States, but we’re finally catching on—rooibos tea is now available at our great beverage bastion Starbucks.
Munch on Pickled Veggies (Hungary) Put Meat on the Back Burner (Greece and Asia)
In contrast with the steak-and-potatoes fare that characterizes the U.S. diet, the dominant paradigm in Mediterranean countries, such as Greece, is less meat-intensive. Heart-healthy olive oil; vegetables like artichokes, spinach, eggplant, onions, and tomatoes; and proteins such as chickpeas and nuts form the building blocks of daily meals, whereas meat is treated as a supplementary item, not the main event—stuffed inside grape leaves with rice to make dolmas, for example.
Similarly, in Asian countries, meat is viewed as a garnish, rather than as the focal point of a meal; Asian diners get their protein from fish and soy, and load up on vegetables, rice, noodles, and soup to satisfy their hunger.
Make Lunch, Not Dinner, the Biggest Meal of the Day (Europe and Mexico) Americans tend to skip breakfast, eat a light lunch, and save all their serous eating for the nighttime hours. But having a big meal shortly before bedtime doesn’t do our metabolism any favors; on the contrary, any extra calories we ingest at that hour get stored as fat. Rather than consuming the bulk of your calories in the evening, start the day with a light, sensible breakfast and treat yourself to a hearty lunch, followed by a light dinner, as people do in most Latin and European countries. That way, you’ll maximize your body’s fat-burning potential and wake up hungry, ready to supercharge your system with a morning meal.
Eat Slowly and Enjoy Yourself (France)
A mere 28 percent of American families eat together each night, compared with 92 percent of French families. Taking time to relish one another’s company over a nutritious, drawn-out meal is good for both the soul and the body: not only will you bond with your loved ones, but you’ll also experience fullness earlier and therefore consume fewer calories. Make dinnertime a family affair to look forward to—not just something you squeeze in between work and TV time—and you’ll see the results reflected in your scale.
Incorporate More Fish into Your Diet (Japan and the Netherlands) The Japanese eat more fish than any other country, but people in the Netherlands are no strangers to seafood, either—in fact, the Dutch consume an average of eighty-five million raw herring per year. Fish contains high concentrations of omega-3 fatty acids that enhance brain function, improve cardiovascular health, and reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which has been proven to increase abdominal fat deposits. And because most seafood is low-fat and low-calorie, you can fill up on it without packing on pounds.
Stop Eating Before You’re Full (Japan)
The Okinawans have perfected a calorie-control system that they call hara hachi bu: it means eating until you’re only 80 percent full. The logic behind this tactic is that habitually eating until you’re extremely full will cause your stomach to stretch and therefore require greater quantities of food to achieve satisfaction. By learning to leave the table at the moment when the first inklings of fullness creep in, you’ll keep your total daily caloric consumption to a minimum. Suspicious? The Okinawans are reaping the rewards of this practice: their average body mass index is only 21.5, as opposed to American adults’ 28.
Losing weight and maintaining a trim physique don’t necessitate all of the extreme lengths to which Americans go; you don’t have to starve yourself, skip meals, drink only lemon- and cayenne-spiked water for ten days, or spend six hours each day at the gym to slim down. What you do need to do is become a more balanced, more conscious observer of your own intake—someone who knows that it’s actually a good thing to indulge in a piece of rich dark chocolate or a glass of robust red wine, but who simultaneously doesn’t overindulge by following those items with an entire sleeve of cookies or three more drinks. By striving to emulate the sound culinary practices of these other countries, where people enjoy eating to the fullest but not till they’re uncomfortably full, we stand to gain only knowledge and good health—not weight.
NOTE: At DivineCaroline.com, women come together to learn from experts in the fields, of health, sustainability, and culture; to reflect on shared experiences; and to express themselves by writing and publishing stories about anything that matters to them. Here, real women publish like real pros. Together, with our staff writers, they’re discussing all facets of women’s lives from relationships and careers, to travel and healthy living. So come discover, read, learn, laugh and connect at DivineCaroline.com.
Read more: http://www.care2.com/greenliving/13-healthy-diet-habits-from-around-the-world.html?page=5#ixzz10i84kah6
Saturday, October 9, 2010
Another Posting by JOHN ROBBINS (17th August, 2010) which 'cracked' and opened up the truth behind the lots of eggs!!
Source : http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-robbins/are-your-eggs-safe-to-eat_b_696660.html
HOW EGG INDUSTRY GREED CAUSED THE SALMONELLA OUTBREAK
For years, the U.S. egg industry has been telling us that there is no connection between salmonella outbreaks and the practice of cramming layer hens into cages so small the birds can't lift a single wing. It's been their party line for so long they've probably begun to actually believe it. Earlier this year, the leading U.S. egg industry trade group announced, true to form, that caging hens is "better for food safety."
With more than 95 percent of all U.S. eggs currently coming from caged hens, and salmonella outbreaks sickening more than one million Americans every year, this isn't merely an academic debate. Salmonella poisons people, causing a nasty, painful disease that can be fatal to the very young, the elderly and anyone with a weakened immune system.
As you've probably heard, we are now in the midst of the latest in a long series of salmonella outbreaks caused by bad eggs. More than 500 million eggs have been recalled in the last two weeks. And once again, industry representatives are claiming the problem has nothing to do with the practice of housing hens for their entire lives in cages where they are barely able to move. Anyone who would tell you otherwise, they say, is probably an animal rights zealot with a hidden agenda.
But wait a minute. The editor-in-chief of the trade journal Egg Industry is certainly not what most people would call an animal rights advocate. What is his opinion of the industry position that squishing living birds into tiny cages has no bearing on public health? Such claims, he wrote recently, not mincing his words, are "invalid... unconvincing, unsupportable and easily refuted."
Though his remarks might not be popular at the next gathering of egg industry moguls, they are in fact correct. There have been nine scientific studies published on the issue in the last five years in peer-reviewed journals. Every single one of them has found increased salmonella rates in eggs coming from facilities that confine hens in cages.
Summing things up, an article earlier this year in World Poultry, aptly titled "Salmonella Thrives in Cage Housing," found that eggs from hens kept in cages consistently carry an increased risk of salmonella.
This morning, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) began an ad campaign pointing out that every one of the more than half a billion eggs involved in the current recall came from hens crammed into cages. The practice of forcing egg-laying hens to live their entire lives in tiny cages isn't just an animal welfare concern, say the ads. It is a public health issue. Housing hens in cages so small they can't take a single step is not just inhumane. It is a public health menace.
Should we be suspicious of the HSUS? The group is, of course, fundamentally an animal protection organization. But does that automatically mean they are stretching the truth? Not according to a study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology. The study suggests that by switching to cage-free production systems the egg industry would likely reduce the risk of salmonella to the American public from bad eggs by 50 percent.
How do you think the egg industry is taking all this? They frankly would just as soon not be bothered. They are doing quite well with things just the way they are, thank you very much.
Are they afraid of being held financially accountable for the damage to human health caused by their tainted products? No, because they know that America's food safety systems have been superbly designed not to protect public health, but to protect agribusiness from liability.
So why rock the boat?
Except that the boat is already rocking. As of January, 2012, it will be illegal to house laying hens in cages anywhere in the European Union. In the U.S., the states of Michigan and California have already passed laws phasing out the practice of confining hens in cages. In California, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed a bill requiring that all whole eggs sold in the state be cage-free by 2015. And other states are considering similar legislation.
The egg industry defends the status quo by threatening that healthier eggs from better treated birds would be vastly more expensive, and thus would mean more malnutrition among the poor. It's a powerful argument, except it's not true. If you factor in the economies of scale, going cage-free need add only about a penny an egg to the retail price.
This is why a number of major fast food companies, including Burger King, Subway and Wendy's, and retailers including Trader Joe's, Safeway and Wal-Mart, have made various levels of commitment to purchasing or selling cage-free eggs. And why major food companies like Hellmann's mayo, which uses 350 million eggs a year, have announced they are going 100 percent cage-free.
McDonald's in the U.S. has been a little slower to get the message. One of the burger giant's executives recently said he didn't think hens "should be treated like queens." But does going "cage-free" mean the hens will be treated like royalty? Far from it. Cage-free does not mean cruelty-free. But at least cage-free hens will have two to three times more space per bird than caged hens. And unlike caged hens, they will be able to stand up, fully extend their limbs, lie down and turn around.
From an animal welfare point of view, cage free eggs are far from perfect, but they are better. And from a public health perspective, cage-free eggs are a necessary and urgently needed improvement.
What can you do?
1) Take the HSUS "cage-free pledge."
2) If you are going to eat eggs, seek out organic and free-range eggs.
3) Never eat raw eggs.
4) Don't spend extra for brown eggs. They aren't any more nutritious than white eggs, they are just from a different breed of hens.
5) Don't be fooled by eggs that claim they are produced without "added hormones. That sounds nice, but is meaningless. No hormones are currently approved for use in U.S. egg production.
6) Beware that the egg industry has been eager to co-opt the language of humane farming. As awareness of the horrors of egg factory farms has been growing in recent years, the industry trade group United Egg Producers responded, not by improving conditions, but by labeling cartons of eggs "Animal Care Certified." In actuality, this "certification" was only the industry's misleading attempt to whitewash its tarnished image. After legal action forced them to remove the meaningless label, the industry came up with yet another bogus attempt to hoodwink the public. Egg cartons that say "Produced in Compliance With United Egg Producers Animal Husbandry Guidelines," are designed to help you feel safe and confident as you purchase eggs that come from filthy disease mills, including the very facilities whose salmonella-infected eggs are the target of the current recall.
7) Users of craigslist may have seen the warning: "Deal locally with folks you can meet in person. Follow this one simple rule and you will avoid 99 percent of...scams." This principle applies to eggs, too. If you are going to eat eggs, try bypassing the supermarket entirely, and get them from local farmer's markets. To find one near you, see Localharvest.org.
At the moment, cage-free, free-range and organic eggs are indeed more expensive. Are they worth the added cost? That's up to you to decide. But the more you learn, the more able you are to make informed choices. When you include the risk of salmonella poisoning, when you take into account the differences in flavor and nutrition, and when you factor in the degree of animal cruelty involved, getting away from eggs that come from concentration-camp chickens starts to seem less like a luxury. The more you know, the more it seems like an ethical and health imperative.
John Robbins is the author of The New Good Life: Living Better Than Ever in an Age of Less. His other bestsellers include The Food Revolution and Diet For A New America. He is the recipient of the Rachel Carson Award, the Albert Schweitzer Humanitarian Award, the Peace Abbey's Courage of Conscience Award, and Green America's Lifetime Achievement Award. For more info about his work, see johnrobbins.info
Books & More From John Robbins
The Food Revolution
The New Good Life
Diet for a New America
Healthy at 100
Follow John Robbins on Twitter: www.twitter.com/@johnrobbinsinf
Here's a recent posting from JOHN ROBBINS blogsite that is disarming the goodness of milk for infant consumption and should alert all concerned parents to the harm milk is causing to their newborns. Won't it be safer, wiser and better to opt for mothers' milk?
People are very upset about this, and for good reason. Female infants in China who have been fed formula have been growing breasts.
According to the official Chinese Daily newspaper, medical tests performed on the babies found levels of estrogens circulating in their bloodstreams that are as high as those found in most adult women. These babies are between four and 15 months old. And the evidence is overwhelming that the milk formula they have been fed is responsible.
Synutra, the company that makes the baby formula consumed by these babies, says it’s not their fault. They insist that “no man-made hormones or any illegal substances were added during the production of the milk powder.”
Then what is the source of the hormones? A Chinese dairy association says the hormones could have entered the food chain when farmers reared the cows. “Since a regulation forbidding the use of hormones to cultivate livestock has yet to be drawn up in China,” says Wang Dingmian, the former chairman of the dairy association in the southern province of Guangdo, “it would be lying to say nobody uses it.” Bovine growth hormones are used in China, as they are in the U.S., to promote greater milk production.
An extraordinary number of food products sold in the U.S. today come from China. Could some of this tainted formula be making its way to the U.S.?
There is currently no way for consumers to know whether infant formula they might purchase has been made with milk products from China.
If this problem appears in the U.S., who will be held responsible? The retailers? The importers? The Chinese producers? Will anyone be called to account?
As I describe in my books The Food Revolution and Diet For a New America, and on my website, this isn’t the first time something like this has happened. In the 1980s, doctors in Puerto Rico began encountering cases of precocious puberty. There were four-year-old girls with fully developed breasts. There were three-year old girls with pubic hair and vaginal bleeding. There were one-year-old girls who had not yet begun to walk but whose breasts were growing. And it wasn’t just the females. Young boys were also affected. Many had to have surgery to deal with breasts that had become grossly swollen.
Writing a few years later in the Journal of the Puerto Rico Medical Association, Dr. Carmen A. Saenz explained the cause. “It was clearly observed in 97 percent of the cases that the appearance of abnormal breast tissue was…related to local whole milk in the infants.”
The problem was traced, and found to stem from the misuse of hormones in dairy cows. When Dr. Saenz was asked how she could be certain the babies and children were contaminated with hormones from milk rather than from some other source, she replied simply: “When we take our young patients off… fresh milk, their symptoms usually regress.”
Along with China, the U.S. is today one of the few countries in the world that still allows bovine growth hormones to be injected into dairy cows. Though banned in Canada, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and most of Europe, the use of these hormones in U.S. dairy is not only legal, it’s routine in all 50 states.
The U.S. dairy industry assures us that this is not a problem. But there is a very real problem, and its name is Insulin-like Growth Factor-1 (IGF-1). Monsanto’s own studies, as well as those of Eli Lilly & Co., have found a 10-fold increase in IGF-1 levels in the milk of cows who have been injected with bovine growth hormone (BGH).
Why is that a problem? A report by the European Commission’s authoritative international 16-member scientific committee not only confirmed that excessive levels of IGF-1 are always found in the milk of cows injected with BGH. It also concluded that excess levels of IGF-1 pose serious risks of breast, colon and prostate cancer.
How serious is the increased risk? According to an article in the May 9, 1998 issue of the medical journal The Lancet, women with even a relatively small increase in blood levels of IGF-1 are up to seven times more likely to develop breast cancer than women with lower levels.
IGF-1 that is consumed by human beings in dairy products is rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream. It isn’t destroyed by human digestion. And pasteurization is no help. In fact, the pasteurization process actually increases IGF-1 levels in milk.
What’s a consumer to do?
If at all possible, breast-feed your babies, and support breast-feeding friendly workplaces and other environments. It’s hard to overstate the health advantages of breast-feeding for both mother and baby. They are enormous, and particularly so today, when the possibility exists that commercially available infant formula could be contaminated with excess hormones.
If you are going to buy dairy products, try to get them from organic sources. Organic milk products by law can’t be produced with bovine growth hormone (BGH). Or look for dairy products that specifically say they are produced without BGH (also called recombinant bovine somatotropin, or rBST). Starbucks only uses dairy products that have not been produced with the hormone. Ben & Jerry’s ice cream likewise uses only milk and cream from dairy farms that have pledged not to use BGH.
If you’re going to eat cheese, remember that American-made cheeses are likely to be contaminated with BGH and excess levels of IGF-1 unless they’re organic or labeled BGH-free. Most cheeses that are imported from Europe are safe, though, since much of Europe has banned the hormone.
Have you ever wondered why dairy products made from cows injected with the hormone aren’t labeled? It’s because Monsanto, the original manufacturer of BGH, has aggressively and successfully lobbied state governments in the past to make sure that no legislation is passed that would require such labeling.
As if that wasn’t enough, Monsanto has also insistently sought to make it illegal for dairy products that are BGH-free to say so on their labels, unless the labels also included wording exonerating BGH. How does Monsanto justify such a ban? They say that allowing retailers to tell consumers that a dairy product is BGH-free shouldn’t be allowed, even if it’s true, because it unfairly stigmatizes BGH.
Monsanto acts as though accurately labeling products would make them the victim of some irrational cultural bias. But the company’s products are, in fact, responsible for untold damage to human health.
My compassion is not for Monsanto. My heart goes out to the babies in China and their families, to the children in Puerto Rico and their families, and to the millions of others who have been or will be adversely affected by the abuse of hormones in dairy production.
To learn how to steer clear of potentially dangerous foods and household products, and how to make healthier, safer, cost-saving choices, read The New Good Life: Living Better Than Ever in an Age of Less.
Here's a piece of disturbing news that by 2050, human population will increase to 9 billion and the demand for meat will rise dramatically. Consequently, the environment will suffer as a result of the negative impacts from the meat industry. Please read the full news article at the following source: http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/afp_world/view/1083780/1/.html
More meat eaters will require doubling of world livestock
(WORLD MEAT CONGRESS , Buenos Aires)
With meat eating on the increase, livestock producers will have to double their output when the world population hits nine billion, experts attending the World Meat Congress said Monday in Buenos Aires.
"The challenge is how to reach sustainable production of 460 million tons (per year) by 2050, when there will be nine billion souls" on earth, Meat International Permanent Organization director and one of the event organizers Arturo Llavallol told AFP.
Key to meeting the challenge, he said, was addressing the growing threat to the farming sector posed by "climate change, with its droughts and floods, among other problems."
Beside the rise in world population, meat eating is becoming more popular. The Chinese, for example, now consume four times as much meat than 30 years ago -- up to 59.5 kilograms per year from 13.7 kilograms, according to the UN World Food Programme figures disclosed at the congress.
In some developing countries, meat consumption is as high as 80 kilograms per year, it added.
The WFP estimates that world production of beef, pork and lamb needs to double when the current world population of six billion increases by 50 per cent.
"There's no other choice but to take care of our planet and stop its deterioration," said Llavallol. - AFP/fa
BLOGGER'S NOTE : Let's have more people turning to a plant-based diet to help reduce the growing demand for meat and help save the planet from further damage and depletion of our earth's natural resources.
BE VEG, GO GREEN 2 SAVE THE PLANET!
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
BLOGGER'S NOTE :
THE following article was published in the WORLD BOOK at NASA. Please take time to read up on what the experts have to say on the causes and impacts of Global Warming to our Planet Earth.
Global warming is an increase in the average temperature of Earth's surface. Since the late 1800's, the global average temperature has increased about 0.7 to 1.4 degrees F (0.4 to 0.8 degrees C). Many experts estimate that the average temperature will rise an additional 2.5 to 10.4 degrees F (1.4 to 5.8 degrees C) by 2100. That rate of increase would be much larger than most past rates of increase.
Scientists worry that human societies and natural ecosystems might not adapt to rapid climate changes. An ecosystem consists of the living organisms and physical environment in a particular area. Global warming could cause much harm, so countries throughout the world drafted an agreement called the Kyoto Protocol to help limit it.
Causes of global warming
Climatologists (scientists who study climate) have analyzed the global warming that has occurred since the late 1800's. A majority of climatologists have concluded that human activities are responsible for most of the warming. Human activities contribute to global warming by enhancing Earth's natural greenhouse effect. The greenhouse effect warms Earth's surface through a complex process involving sunlight, gases, and particles in the atmosphere. Gases that trap heat in the atmosphere are known as greenhouse gases.
The main human activities that contribute to global warming are the burning of fossil fuels (coal, oil, and natural gas) and the clearing of land. Most of the burning occurs in automobiles, in factories, and in electric power plants that provide energy for houses and office buildings. The burning of fossil fuels creates carbon dioxide, whose chemical formula is CO2. CO2 is a greenhouse gas that slows the escape of heat into space. Trees and other plants remove CO2 from the air during photosynthesis, the process they use to produce food. The clearing of land contributes to the buildup of CO2 by reducing the rate at which the gas is removed from the atmosphere or by the decomposition of dead vegetation.
A small number of scientists argue that the increase in greenhouse gases has not made a measurable difference in the temperature. They say that natural processes could have caused global warming. Those processes include increases in the energy emitted (given off) by the sun. But the vast majority of climatologists believe that increases in the sun's energy have contributed only slightly to recent warming.
The impact of global warming
Continued global warming could have many damaging effects. It might harm plants and animals that live in the sea. It could also force animals and plants on land to move to new habitats. Weather patterns could change, causing flooding, drought, and an increase in damaging storms. Global warming could melt enough polar ice to raise the sea level. In certain parts of the world, human disease could spread, and crop yields could decline.
Harm to ocean life
Through global warming, the surface waters of the oceans could become warmer, increasing the stress on ocean ecosystems, such as coral reefs. High water temperatures can cause a damaging process called coral bleaching. When corals bleach, they expel the algae that give them their color and nourishment. The corals turn white and, unless the water temperature cools, they die. Added warmth also helps spread diseases that affect sea creatures.
Changes of habitat
Widespread shifts might occur in the natural habitats of animals and plants. Many species would have difficulty surviving in the regions they now inhabit. For example, many flowering plants will not bloom without a sufficient period of winter cold. And human occupation has altered the landscape in ways that would make new habitats hard to reach or unavailable altogether.
Extreme weather conditions might become more frequent and therefore more damaging. Changes in rainfall patterns could increase both flooding and drought in some areas. More hurricanes and other tropical storms might occur, and they could become more powerful.
Rising sea level
Continued global warming might, over centuries, melt large amounts of ice from a vast sheet that covers most of West Antarctica. As a result, the sea level would rise throughout the world. Many coastal areas would experience flooding, erosion, a loss of wetlands, and an entry of seawater into freshwater areas. High sea levels would submerge some coastal cities, small island nations, and other inhabited regions.
Threats to human health
Tropical diseases, such as malaria and dengue, might spread to larger regions. Longer-lasting and more intense heat waves could cause more deaths and illnesses. Floods and droughts could increase hunger and malnutrition.
Changes in crop yields
Canada and parts of Russia might benefit from an increase in crop yields. But any increases in yields could be more than offset by decreases caused by drought and higher temperatures -- particularly if the amount of warming were more than a few degrees Celsius. Yields in the tropics might fall disastrously because temperatures there are already almost as high as many crop plants can tolerate.
Limited global warming
Climatologists are studying ways to limit global warming. Two key methods would be 1) limiting CO2 emissions and (2) carbon sequestration -- either preventing carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere or removing CO2 already there.
Limiting CO2 emissions
Two effective techniques for limiting CO2 emissions would be (1) to replace fossil fuels with energy sources that do not emit CO2, and (2) to use fossil fuels more efficiently.
Alternative energy sources that do not emit CO2 include the wind, sunlight, nuclear energy, and underground steam. Devices known as wind turbines can convert wind energy to electric energy. Solar cells can convert sunlight to electric energy, and various devices can convert solar energy to useful heat. Geothermal power plants convert energy in underground steam to electric energy.
Alternative sources of energy are more expensive to use than fossil fuels. However, increased research into their use would almost certainly reduce their cost.
Carbon sequestration could take two forms: (1) underground or underwater storage and (2) storage in living plants.Underground or underwater storage would involve injecting industrial emissions of CO2 into underground geologic formations or the ocean. Suitable underground formations include natural reservoirs of oil and gas from which most of the oil or gas has been removed. Pumping CO2 into a reservoir would have the added benefit of making it easier to remove the remaining oil or gas. The value of that product could offset the cost of sequestration. Deep deposits of salt or coal could also be suitable.
The oceans could store much CO2. However, scientists have not yet determined the environmental impacts of using the ocean for carbon sequestration.
Storage in living plants
Green plants absorb CO2 from the atmosphere as they grow. They combine carbon from CO2 with hydrogen to make simple sugars, which they store in their tissues. After plants die, their bodies decay and release CO2. Ecosystems with abundant plant life, such as forests and even cropland, could tie up much carbon. However, future generations of people would have to keep the ecosystems intact. Otherwise, the sequestered carbon would re-enter the atmosphere as CO2.
Agreement on global warming
Delegates from more than 160 countries met in Kyoto, Japan, in 1997 to draft the agreement that became known as the Kyoto Protocol. That agreement calls for decreases in the emissions of greenhouse gases.
Thirty-eight industrialized nations would have to restrict their emissions of CO2 and five other greenhouse gases. The restrictions would occur from 2008 through 2010 Different countries would have different emissions targets. As a whole, the 38 countries would restrict their emissions to a yearly average of about 95 percent of their 1990 emissions. The agreement does not place restrictions on developing countries. But it encourages the industrialized nations to cooperate in helping developing countries limit emissions voluntarily.
Industrialized nations could also buy or sell emission reduction units. Suppose an industrialized nation cut its emissions more than was required by the agreement. That country could sell other industrialized nations emission reduction units allowing those nations to emit the amount equal to the excess it had cut.
Several other programs could also help an industrialized nation earn credit toward its target. For example, the nation might help a developing country reduce emissions by replacing fossil fuels in some applications.
Approving the agreement
The protocol would take effect as a treaty if (1) at least 55 countries ratified (formally approved) it, and (2) the industrialized countries ratifying the protocol had CO2 emissions in 1990 that equaled at least 55 percent of the emissions of all 3 industrialized countries in 1990.
In 2001, the United States rejected the Kyoto Protocol. President George W. Bush said that the agreement could harm the U.S. economy. But he declared that the United States would work with other countries to limit global warming. Other countries, most notably the members of the European Union, agreed to continue with the agreement without United States participation.
By 2004, more than 100 countries, including nearly all the countries classified as industrialized under the protocol, had ratified the agreement. However, the agreement required ratification by Russia or the United States to go into effect. Russia ratified the protocol in November 2004. The treaty was to come into force in February 2005.
Analyzing the Global Warming
Scientists use information from several sources to analyze global warming that occurred before people began to use thermometers. Those sources include tree rings, cores (cylindrical samples) of ice drilled from Antarctica and Greenland, and cores drilled out of sediments in oceans. Information from these sources indicates that the temperature increase of the 1900's was probably the largest in the last 1,000 years.
Computers help climatologists analyze past climate changes and predict future changes. First, a scientist programs a computer with a set of mathematical equations known as a climate model. The equations describe how various factors, such as the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere, affect the temperature of Earth's surface. Next, the scientist enters data representing the values of those factors at a certain time. He or she then runs the program, and the computer describes how the temperature would vary. A computer's representation of changing climatic conditions is known as a climate simulation.
In 2001, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a group sponsored by the United Nations (UN), published results of climate simulations in a report on global warming. Climatologists used three simulations to determine whether natural variations in climate produced the warming of the past 100 years. The first simulation took into account both natural processes and human activities that affect the climate. The second simulation took into account only the natural processes, and the third only the human activities.
The climatologists then compared the temperatures predicted by the three simulations with the actual temperatures recorded by thermometers. Only the first simulation, which took into account both natural processes and human activities, produced results that corresponded closely to the recorded temperatures.
The IPCC also published results of simulations that predicted temperatures until 2100. The different simulations took into account the same natural processes but different patterns of human activity. For example, scenarios differed in the amounts of CO2 that would enter the atmosphere due to human activities.
The simulations showed that there can be no "quick fix" to the problem of global warming. Even if all emissions of greenhouse gases were to cease immediately, the temperature would continue to increase after 2100 because of the greenhouse gases already in the atmosphere.
Contributors: Michael D. Mastrandrea, B.S., Graduate Fellow, School of Earth Sciences, Geological and Environmental Sciences, Stanford University. Stephen H. Schneider, Ph.D., Professor of Biological Sciences, Stanford University.
How to cite this article:
To cite this article, World Book recommends the following format: Mastrandrea, Michael D., and Stephen H. Schneider. "Global warming." World Book Online Reference Center. 2005. World Book, Inc. http://www.worldbookonline.com/wb/Article?id=ar226310
Find this article at: http://www.nasa.gov/worldbook/global_warming_worldbook.html