Monday, December 13, 2010

5 Environmental Crises To Care About

Posted by : Samantha at (selected from Planet Green, Dec 6th, 2010)
Link :

Imagine for a minute if corporate-sponsored mouthpieces like Limbaugh and O’Reilly were correct on either of these points:

**Global warming is a hoax ...
**Humans are not responsible for climate change
Well, guess what? It wouldn’t change the green movement’s primary mission. Because while some waste valuable time debating deniers, every 24 hours:

**13 million tons of toxic chemicals are released across the globe
**Over 100 plant or animal species go extinct
**200,000 acres of rainforest are destroyed
**45,000 humans die of starvation
And that’s just the tip of the melting iceberg

Climate change, of course, connects to many of the pressing green issues but our eco-system would be in peril even if the deniers are right. We’d still have 80 percent of the world’s forests gone. We’d still have 90 percent of the large fish in the ocean gone. In other words, we’d still have an urgent need to dismantle industrial civilization and work towards a greener future.

Next: 5 eco-problems Al Gore may never make a movie about (but should)

1. Nuclear Waste

Imagine tomorrow that global warming were reversed, slaughterhouses shuttered and closed, pesticides banned, and the auto industry no longer received corporate welfare. Even as we celebrated, the reality would remain: radiation is forever. The half-life of DDT in the environment is 15 years — which is bad enough — but the half-life of uranium-235 is 704 million years; and for uranium-238, it’s about 4.47 billion years.

Note to Al Gore: Stop supporting nuclear power.

Take Action: Learn why nuclear power is not and can never be clean energy. (Link :

2. Factory Farming
For just a snapshot of what this insane institution can do to the environment, we’ll turn to PETA:

Each day, factory farms produce billions of pounds of manure, which ends up in lakes, rivers, and drinking water.
Of all the agricultural land in the U.S., 80% is used to raise animals for food and grow the grain to feed them — that’s almost half the total land mass of the lower 48 states.
Chickens, pigs, cattle, and other animals raised for food are the primary consumers of water in the U.S.; for example, it takes more than 2,400 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of cow flesh, whereas it takes about 180 gallons of water to make 1 pound of whole wheat flour.
Note to Al Gore: Why were burgers and hot dogs sold at the Live Earth concerts?

Take Action: Go vegan

3. Deforestation

Deforestation, put simply, is the permanent destruction of indigenous forests and woodlands. Greenpeace tells us that an area of natural forest the size of a football field is being chopped down every two seconds. The Nature Conservancy adds that over 32 million acres of the planet’s natural forests are lost each year due to logging, much of it illegal. Other reasons (sic) for deforestation cattle grazing, agriculture, mining, oil extraction, population expansion, dams, pipelines and other infrastructure projects.

Note to Al Gore: Without trees, we’re doomed.

Take Action: Recognize the connection between what we eat and why trees are clear cut.

4. Overfishing

“Populations of top predators, a key indicator of ecosystem health, are disappearing at a frightening rate,” explains Greenpeace, “and 90 percent of the large fish … have been fished out since large scale industrial fishing began in the 1950s.” The connection between human survival and the oceans has never felt more vital.

Note to Al Gore: You shouldn’t have served endangered Chilean Sea Bass at your daughter’s wedding.
(Link :

Take Action: Transition away from fish in your diet.
(Link :

5. The Use of Pesticides
“Prior to World War II, annual worldwide use of pesticides ran right around zero,” says author Derrick Jensen. “By now it’s 500 billion tons, increasing every year.” As a result of such a massive toxic overload, about 860 Americans suffer from pesticide poisoning every single day; that’s almost 315,000 cases per year. Worldwide, the death rate from pesticide poisonings is more than 200,000 per year.

Note to Al Gore: Those tobacco farms used an awful lot of pesticides. (Link :

Take Action: Go organic.

Planet Green is the multi-platform media destination devoted to the environment and dedicated to helping people understand how humans impact the planet and how to live a more environmentally sustainable lifestyle. Its two robust websites, and, offer original, inspiring, and entertaining content related to how we can evolve to live a better, brighter future. Planet Green is a division of Discovery Communications.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

RECIPE : Tossed Tempeh Salad

Posted by : Angel Flinn at (Dec 9, 2010)
Link :

Here’s another recipe that uses tempeh, one of my favorite ingredients. Tempeh is a bit more expensive than tofu, so it’s a bit of a luxury in our kitchen, but it adds a lovely flavor and texture that always makes me want to use it again.

If you’re a fan of the taste and texture of tempeh, but not such a fan of the price, you might want to investigate how to make it yourself. It’s a bit labor-intensive, but it’s worth it if you use tempeh frequently.

If you’re not a fan of tempeh, you can also make this exact same recipe using tofu instead. You can also skip straight to page 2 and just make tofu or tempeh chunks as a side dish. They can either be cooked in a non-stick pan or baked in the oven on a baking tray.

Tossed Tempeh Salad

10 cups mixed greens & lettuce (washed and drained)
2 carrots, grated
2 tomatoes, cubed (or use cherry tomatoes)
1 cucumber, peeled, sliced
1 sweet red pepper, sliced
1 celery stalk, sliced thinly
1/2 sweet onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced (optional)
1 1/2 cups button mushrooms
2 Tbsp. tamari (Japanese soy sauce)
2 cups mixed cooked beans (garbanzo, kidney or your choice)
Tempeh Chunks (see next page)
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
Golden Caesar dressing (see next recipe)

1. In a salad bowl, break up lettuce and greens into bite-sized pieces. Gently toss with carrots, tomatoes, cucumber, pepper and celery. Set aside in a cool place.
2. Sauté onion and garlic in tamari with a little water. Add the mushrooms and cook until soft. Let cool.
3. Drain beans of any excess water and place in a bowl. Mix in mushroom sauté. Add the cooled tempeh chunks (next page) and stir.
4. In a non-stick pan, toast sunflower seeds until browned. Set aside.
5. Make dressing and toss over salad. Place dressed salad into individual bowls or plates. Top with tempeh mixture and toasted sunflower seeds

Tempeh/Tofu Chunks
yields 1 skillet

3 (8 oz.) cakes tempeh or tofu
4 Tbsp. tamari
4 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
3 Tbsp. oil or tahini
1/4 tsp. garlic powder

If using tofu, rinse, drain and cut into bite-sized cubes, then go to step 2.
1. Steam the tempeh, allow to cool then cut into bite-sized cubes.
2. Marinate tofu/tempeh in a mixture of the remaining ingredients. Stir periodically.
3. Oil a skillet and pan-fry the chunks. Add a little more tamari and oil (optional) while frying.

Golden Caesar Dressing
3 dates soaked in 1/2 cup water
1 Tbsp. mustard (stoneground)
2 Tbsp. cold-pressed olive oil
1/2 tsp. nutritional yeast
1/4 tsp. sea salt
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice

In a blender, blend all ingredients until smooth.

(This information has been reproduced from Incredibly Delicious: Recipes for a New Paradigm by Gentle World, which includes over 500 recipes and all sorts of tips to help make the transition to veganism easy and delicious.

Gentle World is a non-profit educational organization, whose core purpose is to help build a more peaceful society, by educating the public about the reasons for being vegan, the benefits of vegan living, and how to go about making such a transition. Visit for more information)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Truth behind GELATIN

Posted by : Angel Flinn (Nov 30, 2010) at
Link :

I’ll never forget the day I first learned the truth about gelatin. I was 16, and was in a café with a new friend when I offered him one of the marshmallows destined to be stirred into the hot chocolate I was about to drink.

He shook his head no, then explained, “I’m a vegetarian.”

I thought I was a vegetarian too, so I was pretty shocked to find out that my consumption of marshmallows and other candies indicated either an innocent ignorance (not anymore!) or a profound inconsistency that I was going to have to address, as I was soon to find out that gelatin(e) is derived from the collagen inside animals’ skin, bones, and connective tissues.

From the website of Gelatin Manufacturers of America:

“Gelatin is… obtained from partial hydrolysis of collagen derived from natural sources such as skin, connective tissue, and bones of animals. The raw materials used in the production of gelatin… include cattle bone, cattle hides and fresh, frozen pigskins.”

On a commercial scale, gelatin is made from by-products of the meat and leather industry. Contrary to popular belief, horns and hooves are not commonly used. Worldwide production amounts to 250,000 tons per year.

A translucent, colorless, nearly tasteless substance, gelatin is identified on coded labels by number E441. Like “natural flavors,” gelatin can be found in marshmallows, desserts like “Jell-O,” frosted cereals, some low-fat yogurt, desserts, trifles, aspic, and many confectionaries such as gummy bears and jelly babies. It may also be used as a stabilizer, thickener, or texturizer in foods such as jams, yogurt, cream cheese, and margarine.

Gelatin can be used for the clarification of juices, such as apple juice, and of vinegar, and sometimes in the clarifying of wine. (Casein, egg white and isinglass are other wine fining agents that are not vegan.) When used in this way, it does not have to be listed in the ingredients. Luckily, it’s easy enough to ask the manufacturer if any animal products were used in the clarifying process.

Household gelatin comes in the form of sheets, granules, or powder, and is used as a gelling agent, stabilizer or thickener in cooking. Alternatives are carrageenan, Irish Moss, agar-agar (seaweeds), pectin from fruit, dextrins, locust bean gum, and silica gel.

Capsules for pharmaceuticals and supplements are typically made from gelatin, in order to make them easier to swallow. Hypromellose is a vegan alternative, and due to growing concern about the use of animal products, some nutritional supplements now use this ingredient, even though it is more expensive to produce.

Something I never knew is that gelatin is used as a carrier, coating or separating agent for other substances. In soft drinks containing beta-carotene (think yellow soda), it’s likely to be gelatin that made the beta-carotene water-soluble.

Gelatin is used in such a variety of products that one can’t help but wonder if the average person knows how widespread it is, and whether the manufacturers rely on this ignorance to sell their products.

It is also found in a range of non-edible products, such as glues, nail polish remover and crêpe paper, in addition to being used in virtually all photographic films and photographic papers. Despite some efforts, no cost-effective substitutes have been found for photographic film. Digital photography is, of course, vegan, and there are some glossy papers for home photo printing that do not contain gelatin, such as most produced by Epson.

In art supplies, many watercolor papers are also sized with gelatin, and the highest-grade gelatin – made from the skins, hooves, and bones of calves – is used in gesso. Cosmetics may contain a non-gelling variant of gelatin under the name hydrolyzed collagen – another reason to buy only vegan cosmetics if you use them at all.

The existence and widespread use of gelatin is one of the more compelling reasons to check ingredients carefully when trying a new food. If you see that number E441, don’t let the coded message blind you to the truth of what is hiding behind it. Remember where gelatin comes from. Like rennet (used in cheese), it’s not vegan, it’s not vegetarian, and it’’s not acceptable.