Friday, February 11, 2011

7 Common Animal-Derived Ingredients to Avoid

The following post may be an "eye-opener" to those of us who are 'strict' vegans....

Posted by : Samantha at (selected from ANIMAL PLANET)

At first glance, it might seem like a simple task to avoid animal products in your food if you’ve elected to do so. After all, meat, dairy, eggs, fish, honey, etc. need no introduction. Not so fast. There’s more out there (or should I say “in there”?) than even the most seasoned vegan could imagine. Who knew the dirty little secret behind something called lipase? It’s an enzyme from the stomach and tongue glands of calves, kids, and lambs found in some vitamin supplements.

No matter where you stand on the animal exploitation meter, you might want to know that blood from slaughtered animals is used as adhesive in plywood, or that the keratin in your shampoo comes from ground-up horns, hoofs, feathers, quills, and hair of various creatures. Go ahead and see if those aromatic folks behind the cosmetics counter know amylase is an enzyme prepared from the pancreas of hogs. Musk may or may not sound animal-derived, but how enticing is that pricey perfume after discovering it is obtained from the genitals of the North Asian small hornless deer?

This indigestion-inducing inventory goes on below and won’t be popular in your local tavern. Some beers contain gelatin, but it’s wine that would send shudders down any veggie’s spine: isinglass (internal membranes of fish bladders), egg albumen, and even ox blood are often added as fining agents. Yikes…and I haven’t yet mentioned abstract ingredients like “cruelty.”

So, brace yourselves, here comes the top 8 hidden animal-derived ingredients to avoid:

1. Carmine
Nope, this ain’t a character on The Sopranos but rather a red food coloring made from ground up cochineal beetles. Found in fruit drinks, sauces, and bottled cherries, carmine, says Wiki, is also used as a fabric and cosmetics dye, “as well as for oil paints, pigments, and watercolors. When used as a food additive, the dye must be labeled on packaging labels.” The cultivation of cochineal beetles dates back to Mexico nearly 400 years ago. “Today,” reports The Wall Street Journal, “the bugs are raised on farms in Peru, Mexico, and the Canary Islands, where they feed on cacti. The bodies of female beetles are dried, ground, and heated, and the colored powder is filtered out. It takes 70,000 beetles to make one pound of marketable carmine.” This insect version of the slaughterhouse is not only non-vegan, it’s a potential health hazard. Allergies to carmine can be severe. If you prefer your candy didn’t contain crushed beetles, PETA has some suggestions for bug-free sweets.

Where is the carmine hidden?
Fruit drinks, sauces, bottled cherries, fabric and cosmetics dye, oil paints, pigments, and watercolors.

2. Casein
A protein found in milk and used in many foods as a binding agent, casein is often used in bread, processed cereals, instant soups, instant potatoes, margarine, salad dressings, sweets, and mixes for cakes. Casein is also found in some medication. To make things especially confusing, it’s even in some products labeled “lactose-free.” While this is a hidden trap for those seeking a truly vegan diet, the implications can run deeper for anyone allergic to this animal product. Another reason to read those ingredient labels carefully is the growing evidence of a link between casein and autism. As reported by PETA,” scientific studies have shown that many autistic kids improve dramatically when put on a diet free of dairy foods. One study of 20 children found a major reduction in autistic behavior in kids who were put on a casein-free diet.” Again, “lactose-free” doesn’t always mean “dairy-free,” even in products like soy cheese, so read those labels.

Where is the casein hidden?
Some soy cheeses, bread, processed cereals, instant soups, instant potatoes, margarine, salad dressings, sweets, and mixes for cakes.

3. Gelatin
You dutifully take your daily vitamins—a storehouse of important nutrients all packed into a tiny gel cap. A tiny “gel” cap made of gelatin. A generic definition of gelatin might go something like this: “A colorless, flavorless thickening agent that is used to give body to molded salads and desserts.” Once you get a little more technical, it gets a lot uglier: Gelatin is “prepared by the thermal denaturation of collagen, isolated from animal skin and bones, with very dilute acid. It can also be extracted from fish skins.” Skin, hooves, claws, etc.—all of which are by-products of the slaughterhouse—are also used. Gelatin is not vegan, not vegetarian, and definitely not necessary. A natural gelatin replacement is agar agar also known as “kanten.”

Where is gelatin hidden?
Gel caps, yogurt, cereals, marshmallows, and some candies

4. Isinglass
Are you ready for this? Isinglass is obtained from the swimbladders of fish (in particular, Beluga sturgeon) and is used to “clarify” some wine and beer. Uh, cheers? Thus, in name of avoiding such ingredients and greening your drinking habits, you might want to let the fish keep their bladders while you choose vegan and organic options. For example, vegan wines use carbon, limestone, silica gel, and other non-animal products for equally smooth end results. Buy local, buy organic, buy vegan.

Where is the isinglass hidden?
Wines and beers.

5. Rennet
Even those who become vegetarians often balk at going all the way to veganism. Quite often, the reason is cheese. More specifically, they don’t want to stop eating cheese and the horrors of animal products are less obvious with dairy products than they are for meat. Then, of course, there’s rennet: “The stomach contents of an unweaned animal” of which the chief source is “the fourth stomach of young calves.” PETA puts it this way: “Certain words just make you cringe, like coagulate, congeal, clot—which is what rennet, an enzyme taken from baby calves’ stomachs, is used for in cheese production.” To make matters worse, the powers that be have conjured up genetically engineered rennet. Roughly 80 to 90% of commercially made cheeses in the U.S. and England contain GMO-based rennet.

Where is the rennet hidden?

6. Whey
A by-product of cheese making, whey is formed when the curds separate from the milk or cream. Those following a vegan lifestyle have no trouble classifying whey as a no-no. However, thanks to the enduring protein myth, many actively seek out whey as an ingredient. So, now that we’ve brought it up, how much protein do we really need? The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition says 2.5% of our daily calories should come from protein. According to the World Health Organization, it’s about 5%. How does that work out in grams? A lot lower than the U.S. average of 100 grams a day, that’s for sure. “An adult male on a fast only puts out 4.32 grams of urinary nitrogen per day,” says William Harris, M.D. author of The Scientific Basis for Vegetarianism. “Each gram represents 6.25 grams of broken down protein, so under conditions in which some protein is actually being catabolized and used for fuel, only about 4.32 x 6.25 = 27 grams/day are actually needed.” Twenty-seven grams. Whey? No way. Watch out for it in a few surprising places.

Where is the whey hidden?
Boxed cereals, bread, granola.

7. Cruelty
The morally indefensible and scientifically tenuous institution of animal experimentation is the hidden ingredient in a frighteningly wide range of products. Do you know which companies do and don’t rely on this practice? Aysha Z Akhtar, M.D., M.P.H., is a senior medical advisor and Jarrod Bailey, Ph.D., is a senior research consultant for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. “The more we study the relevance of animal tests, the more apparent their shortcomings become,” Akhtar and Bailey state. “Even subtle physiological differences between humans and animals can manifest as profound differences in disease physiology and treatment effectiveness and safety. For example, numerous differences in spinal cord physiology and reaction to injury exist between species and even strains within a species. These differences likely contribute to the repeated failure of spinal cord treatments that have tested safe and effective in animals to translate into human benefit … A major shift in our research paradigm is long overdue. The move away from animal experiments toward more accurate methods of studying disease and intervention is scientifically superior and more ethical for humanity, as well as for animals.” To help end this archaic practice, we must educate ourselves and work toward alternative methods of discovery to create cruelty-free products.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

6 Nutrients Every Vegetarian Needs

Posted by : Delia Quigley (Feb 9, 2011) in
Link :

Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.” ~Albert Einstein

As people strive to improve their health and evolve their food choices to a more plant-based diet, it is easy to get lost along the way. You can happily end up living on chocolate whole-wheat croissants for breakfast, cheese pizza for lunch and a large bowl of Fettuccine Alfredo for dinner; but the pounds will eventually stack up as your energy declines. When you transition to a more vegetarian way of eating it is important to educate yourself about the nutrients your body will need on a daily basis.

Learn how to create a balance of vegetable protein, carbohydrates and quality fats with each meal. You must also replace the six essential nutrients provided by animal proteins with plant-based foods containing the protein, iron, zinc, calcium, B12, and Essential Fatty Acids that are reduced with the elimination of meat, poultry, pork and fish. The fun part is putting them together into delicious recipes and then chewing slowly for the full satisfying experience.

A crucial part of any diet, the average RDA for women is 45 grams and for men 55 grams, which you can easily consume in the form of:

Beans, legumes, lentils and peas
Fermented soy products in the form of tempeh, miso, and natto
Free range eggs
Raw milk, cheese and yogurt.
Nuts and seeds, which benefit from soaking in water or sprouting first
Non-dairy nut and seed milks

NOTE: Pseudo-meats and other pretend protein foods should be avoided if possible, as they are highly processed foods with a list of ingredients as long as my arm. In an article by Sally Fallon and Mary G. Enig, Ph.D. they write that, “Phytic acid remaining in these soy products greatly inhibits zinc and iron absorption; test animals fed soy protein isolate develop enlarged organs, particularly the pancreas and thyroid gland, and increased deposition of fatty acids in the liver.

Strong, healthy blood requires proper amounts of Iron and a vegetarian diet can provide plenty. Average RDA for woman 19-50 years is 18mg, women 51+ years is 8mg and adult male is 8mg.

Because the human body does not store Zinc, it is essential to obtain it from the food you eat. Zinc is responsible for cellular metabolism, immune function, protein synthesis, wound healing, DNA synthesis and cell division. The RDA for adult women is 8mg and for men is 11mg.

Green leafy vegetables: kale, collards, cabbage, spinach, and broccoli
Nuts, seeds: almonds and cashews
Beans, lentils, legumes, peas, in cooked and sprouted form
Fruits and dried fruits: apricots, dates, and raisins
Date syrup and molasses
Whole grains and whole grain flours

In a nutshell, your body needs calcium to maintain strong bones and teeth, and for your nervous system to function properly. The RDA for adults is 1000-1200mg and can be found in a variety of foods, such as:

Dark greens: broccoli, kale and Chinese cabbage
Sea Vegetables: wakame, arame, dulse, hijiki, and kelp
Dairy products: milk, yogurt and cheese

Vegans and vegetarians who do not eat eggs or dairy will need to take this essential nutrient in the form of a B complex supplement that includes the RDA for B12 of 1.5 microgram for adults. Fermented soy, shitake mushrooms, sea vegetables and algae contain something similar to B12, but it does not work in the body in the same way as B12 from animal sources. Some nutritional yeast food products contain some Vitamin B12.

The body needs quality fats to help absorb the ‘fat soluble’ vitamins A, D, E and K, to regulate cholesterol, provide energy, maintain heart health and a number of other important functions. Saturated fats from animal sources is limited in a vegetarian diet, but hydrogenated and trans fats in baked goods and chips should be avoided for their harmful health effects. Recommended RDA for Omega Fatty Acids is 1-2 tablespoons.

Extra Virgin Olive oil
Sesame oil
Raw butter and clarified butter
Coconut oil: a saturated vegetable oil that has proven beneficial in the diet
Omega-3 oils: Flax, hemp and walnut oils

Greensleeve's Note: For those of us who are strict VEGANS, we can skip those foods that contain animal by-products.

NOTE : Delia Quigley is the Director of StillPoint Schoolhouse, where she teaches a holistic lifestyle based on her 28 years of study, experience and practice. She is the creator of the Body Rejuvenation Cleanse, Cooking the Basics, and Broken Bodies Yoga. Delia's credentials include author, holistic health counselor, natural foods chef, yoga instructor, energy therapist and public speaker. Follow Delia's blogs: and To view her website go to

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

14 Ways to Save Money on Groceries

The following article is sourced from "Country Living" on Wed, 2nd February, 2011 offers great tips on how to extend the shelf life of your fresh produce...Source:

Save money and trips to the market with these tips and tricks from Rebecca DiLiberto’s Penny Saving Household Helper. You’ll be surprised how simple it is to keep food at its best.

1. Line the bottom of your refrigerator’s crisper drawer with paper towels. They’ll absorb the excess moisture that causes vegetables to rot.

2. To keep herbs tasting fresh for up to a month, store whole bunches, washed and sealed in plastic bags, in the freezer. When you need them, they’ll be easier to chop, and they’ll defrost the minute they hit a hot pan.

3. A bay leaf slipped into a container of flour, pasta, or rice will help repel bugs.

4. Stop cheese from drying out by spreading butter or margarine on the cut sides to seal in moisture. This is most effective with hard cheeses sealed in wax.

5. When radishes, celery, or carrots have lost their crunch, simply pop them in a bowl of iced water along with a slice of raw potato and watch the limp vegetables freshen up right before your eyes.

6. Avoid separating bananas until you plan to eat them – they spoil less quickly in a bunch.

7. Put rice in your saltshaker to stop the salt from hardening. The rice absorbs condensation that can cause clumps.

8. Stock up on butter when it’s on sale – you can store it in the freezer for up to six months. Pack the butter in an airtight container, so it doesn’t take on the flavor of whatever else you’re freezing.

9. In order to make cottage cheese or sour cream last longer, place the container upside down in the fridge. Inverting the tub creates a vacuum that inhibits the growth of bacteria that causes food to spoil.

10. Believe it or not, honey is the only nonperishable food substance, so don’t get rid of the stuff if it crystallizes or becomes cloudy. Microwave on medium heat, in 30-second increments, to make honey clear again.

11. Prevent extra cooked pasta from hardening by stashing it in a sealed plastic bag and refrigerating. When you’re ready to serve, throw the pasta in boiling water for a few seconds to heat and restore moisture.

12. Keeping brown sugar in the freezer will stop it from hardening. But if you already have hardened sugar on your shelf, soften it by sealing in a bag with a slice of bread – or by microwaving on high for 30 seconds.

13. If you only need a few drops of lemon juice, avoid cutting the lemon in half – it will dry out quickly. Instead, puncture the fruit with a metal skewer and squeeze out exactly what you require.

14. If you’re unsure of an egg’s freshness, see how it behaves in a cup of water: Fresh eggs sink; bad ones float.

5 Smart Ways to use Vinegar in the Home

Instead of using commercially prepared cleaning agents that contain chemicals in your home, try this idea with vinegar which is definitely non-toxic and more eco-friendly to our environment and our health... ...

Posted by : Annine B. Bond on (May 6, 2002)
Source :

Studies referenced by Heinz show that it kills 99 percent of bacteria, 82 percent of mold, and 80 percent of germs (viruses).

Vinegar is very useful in the home for cleaning mold and areas where bacteria can grow (like Australian tea tree oil (see below). It is very cheap–the cheapest natural antiseptic material we know about!

Here are my five favorite formulas for vinegar:

Note: All references to vinegar refer to 5 percent white distilled household vinegar.

1. Toilet Bowl Cleaner
Spray straight white distilled vinegar on the toilet bowl rim.

2. Poison Ivy KillerSpray straight white distilled vinegar on poison ivy.

3. Cutting Board DeodorizerSpray straight white distilled vinegar on the cutting board. Let set for at least ½ an hour. Rinse.

4. Window Cleaner
Add ¼ cup of white distilled vinegar to 2 cups of water, and a dab of liquid soap or detergent to a spray bottle.

5. Wood Cleaning Rinse
After washing wooden floors, add 1 cup of vinegar to a gallon of water to the rinse water. The detergent or soap, and many odors, are neutralized by the vinegar, and the floors are left very clean.

GREENSLEEVES' NOTE:For those of us who are into making kitchen waste/fruit peel enzyme, use the harvested, ready-to-use enzyme as above suggestions. The enzyme works just as good as the good old vinegar!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Drought in Amazon - impact on global warming

Read about the impact of the severe drought in the Amazon Basin which is causing the destruction of trees and vegetation resulting in the release of carbon dioxide emission and further accelerating global warming ... ...

Amazon drought 'severe' in 2010, raising warming fears
(By Richard Black, Environment correspondent, BBC News)

Last year's drought in the Amazon raises concerns about the region's capacity to continue absorbing carbon dioxide, scientists say.

Researchers report in the journal Science that the 2010 drought was more widespead than in 2005 - the last big one - with more trees probably lost.

The 2005 drought had been termed a "one in a century" event.

In drought years, the Amazon region changes from being a net absorber of carbon dioxide into a net emitter.

The scientists, from the UK and Brazil, suggest this is further evidence of the Amazon's vulnerability to rising global temperatures.

They also suggest the days of the Amazon forest curbing the impact of rising greenhouse gas emissions may be coming to an end.

The 2010 drought saw the Amazon River at its lowest levels for half a century, with several tributaries completely dry and more than 20 municipalities declaring a state of emergency.

Research leader Simon Lewis, from the University of Leeds, is the scientist who gained an apology from the Sunday Times newspaper last year over the so-called "AmazonGate" affair.

"It's difficult to detect patterns from just two observed droughts, but to have them close together is concerning," he told BBC News.

Both droughts were associated with unusually warm seas in the Atlantic Ocean off the Brazilian coast.

"If that turns out to be driven by escalating greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere, it could imply that we'll see more drought years in the near future," said Dr Lewis.

"If events like this do happen more often, the Amazon rainforest would reach a point where it shifts from being a valuable carbon sink slowing climate change to a major source of greenhouse gases."

Some computer models of climate change - in particular, the one developed at the UK's Hadley Centre - project more droughts across the region as the planet warms, and a diminishing capacity to absorb CO2.

There are several ways in which warming can turn greenhouse gas-absorbing forests into emitters.

In the Amazon, the principal mechanism is simply that trees die and then rot; in addition, those trees are then not available to absorb CO2 from the air.

Eye in the sky
For this research, scientists used data from the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM), a US/Japanese satellite that monitors rainfall in a belt extending either side of the Equator.

Its observation showed that whereas the 2005 drought covered an area of nearly two million sq km, in 2010 it stretched for three million sq km.

Following the 2005 drought, scientists were able to study the impact on trees and work out the relationship between the rainfall loss and the release of carbon.

In an average year, the basin absorbs about 1.5 billion tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere.

By contrast, the impact of the 2005 drought, spread over a number of years, was calculated as a release of five billion tonnes.

The new paper calculates the figure for 2010 as about eight billion tonnes, as much as the annual emissions of China and Russia combined; but this, the researchers acknowledge, is a first estimate.

"It could be that many of the susceptible trees were killed off in 2005, which would reduce the number killed last year," said Paulo Brando from the Amazon Institute of Environmental Research (IPAM) in Belem, Brazil.

"On the other hand, the first drought may have weakened a large number of trees, so increasing the number dying in the 2010 dry season."

Leeds University is part of a research group that maintains about 130 land stations across the Amazon region.

If funds are forthcoming, the team will visit them all in the coming months to gather first-hand data on tree deaths.

This should provide for a more accurate estimate of the 2010 drought's contribution to global emissions.

Closing the gate
The likely fate of the Amazon under climate change came under focus early last year when, as one of a series of attacks on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the Sunday Times newspaper accused the panel of having included an unsubstantiated claim that up to 40% of the forest could be affected by climate change in future.

It used quotes from Dr Lewis in support of its claim.

In fact, Dr Lewis was concerned about the region's vulnerability and had sent the newspaper a sheaf of scientific papers to back the case.

He told the newspaper that the IPCC had sourced its statement to a report from environmental group WWF, when it should have referenced the scientific papers WWF had used in its report.

"In fact, the IPCC's Amazon statement is supported by peer-reviewed scientific evidence," the Sunday Times acknowledged in its apology.

Commenting on that so-called "AmazonGate" episode from the perspective of the new research, Dr Lewis noted:

"The notion that the Amazon is potentially very vulnerable to droughts linked to climate change was reasonable and defensible at the time, and is consistent with the new findings.

"If greenhouse gas emissions contribute to Amazon droughts that in turn cause forests to release carbon, this feedback loop would be extremely concerning.

"Put more starkly, current emissions pathways risk playing Russian roulette with the world's largest rainforest."


Monday, February 7, 2011

New USDA Guidelines Praise Vegetarian Diets

Posted by : Mac McDaniel on
Link :

The guidelines are issued by the US Department of Agriculture and US Department of Health and Human Services and serve as a guide for any nutritional initiatives like public school lunches, etc. The guidelines are updated every five years; these guidelines were just issued last week.

It is a big step forward to have the federal government acknowledging the health benefits of a plant-based diet. The guidelines include the following: "Vegetarian-style eating patterns have been associated with improved health outcomes -- lower levels of obesity, a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, and lower total mortality. Several clinical trials have documented that vegetarian eating patterns lower blood pressure."

The guidelines are issued by the US Department of Agriculture and US Department of Health and Human Services and serve as a guide for any nutritional initiatives like public school lunches, etc. The guidelines are updated every five years; these guidelines were just issued last week.

It is a big step forward to have the federal government acknowledging the health benefits of a plant-based diet. The guidelines include the following: "Vegetarian-style eating patterns have been associated with improved health outcomes -- lower levels of obesity, a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, and lower total mortality. Several clinical trials have documented that vegetarian eating patterns lower blood pressure."

The guidelines are issued by the US Department of Agriculture and US Department of Health and Human Services and serve as a guide for any nutritional initiatives like public school lunches, etc. The guidelines are updated every five years; these guidelines were just issued last week.

It is a big step forward to have the federal government acknowledging the health benefits of a plant-based diet. The guidelines include the following: "Vegetarian-style eating patterns have been associated with improved health outcomes -- lower levels of obesity, a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, and lower total mortality. Several clinical trials have documented that vegetarian eating patterns lower blood pressure."

GLOBAL WARMING puts the ARCTIC on Thin Ice

Answers to questions about the Arctic's shrinking ice cap and its global significance.

1. Why are global warming specialists watching the Arctic so closely?The Arctic is global warming's canary in the coal mine. It's a highly sensitive region, and it's being profoundly affected by the changing climate. Most scientists view what's happening now in the Arctic as a harbinger of things to come.

2. What kinds of changes are taking place in the Arctic now?
Average temperatures in the Arctic region are rising twice as fast as they are elsewhere in the world. Arctic ice is getting thinner, melting and rupturing. For example, the largest single block of ice in the Arctic, the Ward Hunt Ice Shelf, had been around for 3,000 years before it started cracking in 2000. Within two years it had split all the way through and is now breaking into pieces.

The polar ice cap as a whole is shrinking. Images from NASA satellites show that the area of permanent ice cover is contracting at a rate of 9 percent each decade. If this trend continues, summers in the Arctic could become ice-free by the end of the century.

3. How does this dramatic ice melt affect the Arctic?
The melting of once-permanent ice is already affecting native people, wildlife and plants. When the Ward Hunt Ice Shelf splintered, the rare freshwater lake it enclosed, along with its unique ecosystem, drained into the ocean. Polar bears, whales, walrus and seals are changing their feeding and migration patterns, making it harder for native people to hunt them. And along Arctic coastlines, entire villages will be uprooted because they're in danger of being swamped. The native people of the Arctic view global warming as a threat to their cultural identity and their very survival.

4. Will Arctic ice melt have any effects beyond the polar region?
Yes -- the contraction of the Arctic ice cap is accelerating global warming. Snow and ice usually form a protective, cooling layer over the Arctic. When that covering melts, the earth absorbs more sunlight and gets hotter. And the latest scientific data confirm the far-reaching effects of climbing global temperatures.

Rising temperatures are already affecting Alaska, where the spruce bark beetle is breeding faster in the warmer weather. These pests now sneak in an extra generation each year. From 1993 to 2003, they chewed up 3.4 million acres of Alaskan forest.

Melting glaciers and land-based ice sheets also contribute to rising sea levels, threatening low-lying areas around the globe with beach erosion, coastal flooding, and contamination of freshwater supplies. (Sea level is not affected when floating sea ice melts.) At particular risk are island nations like the Maldives; over half of that nation's populated islands lie less than 6 feet above sea level. Even major cities like Shanghai and Lagos would face similar problems, as they also lie just six feet above present water levels.

Rising seas would severely impact the United States as well. Scientists project as much as a 3-foot sea-level rise by 2100. According to a 2001 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency study, this increase would inundate some 22,400 square miles of land along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of the United States, primarily in Louisiana, Texas, Florida and North Carolina.

A warmer Arctic will also affect weather patterns and thus food production around the world. Wheat farming in Kansas, for example, would be profoundly affected by the loss of ice cover in the Arctic. According to a NASA Goddard Institute of Space Studies computer model, Kansas would be 4 degrees warmer in the winter without Arctic ice, which normally creates cold air masses that frequently slide southward into the United States. Warmer winters are bad news for wheat farmers, who need freezing temperatures to grow winter wheat. And in summer, warmer days would rob Kansas soil of 10 percent of its moisture, drying out valuable cropland.

5. Can we do anything to stop global warming?Yes. When we burn fossil fuels -- oil, coal and gas -- to generate electricity and power our vehicles, we produce the heat-trapping gases that cause global warming. The more we burn, the faster churns the engine of global climate change. Thus the most important thing we can do is save energy.

And we can do it. Technologies exist today to make cars that run cleaner and burn less gas, generate electricity from wind and sun, modernize power plants, and build refrigerators, air conditioners and whole buildings that use less power. As individuals, each of us can take steps to save energy and fight global warming.

The above information is sourced from from the NATURAL RESOURCES DEFENSE COUNCIL, USA's most effective on-profit environmental group, whose mission is to safeguard the Earth: its people, its plants, its animals and the natural system on which all life forms depends.


5 Green Habits that matter more than Recycling

Posted by : Samantha on (selected from Planet Green)
Date : Feb 1, 2011
Link :

So, like every person trying to do their part to reduce their personal carbon emissions and make the most of the natural resources we all consume you recycle right? If you’re an average Planet Green reader you probably do a bit more than the average US citizen who recycles about one third of the waste they produce, preventing about 1600 pounds of carbon being released into the atmosphere. That’s a good thing, but do you want to do even more? Here are five things you can do which reduce your emissions as much or more than recycling:

Drink Less Bottled Water = 2.6 Tons CO2
You’ve probably heard it dozens of times, you really should be avoiding bottled water. It uses figurative tons of resources to bottle and ship to you, and much of the time (at least in the developed world) is no more pure than the water coming out of your tap. Even if you regularly drink tap water there’s probably some time when you’ve forgotten your water bottle, or the tap water isn’t exactly palatable, whatever. So you reluctantly buy a bottle of water. But oh how fast those emissions add up! Even if you only do this once per month, over the year you’ve just emitted 2.6 tons of CO2 into the atmosphere. Twice as much as you’ve saved by recycling. So, really make the effort and reduce your bottled water consumption.

Skip One Mid-Range Flight = 1 Ton CO2
I know that if you live in the United States your long range public transportation options aren’t as diverse or convenient as some other places in the world, but in terms of reducing your personal carbon emissions reducing the amount you fly adds up quickly. Simply skipping one mid-range flight (say from New York City to St. Louis, Missouri) reduces your emissions as much as one full year of recycling, by about 1970 pounds per flight on that route. If you travel frequently for work, investigate other options such as video conferencing, and if you have family that live halfway across the country try to combine smaller trips into one longer one or simply go less frequently. You’re serious about reducing your emissions, right?

Go Vegetarian (or Vegan) = 1 to 2 Tons CO2
I know I say it all the time, but cutting meat out of your diet has a large impact on your lifestyle carbon emissions. And can lower your food bill by 20 percent to boot! The emissions and resources needed to raise animals for food are so much higher than for raising vegetables that by eating a lacto-ovo vegetarian diet you can save about one ton of carbon emissions each year compared to your carnivorous friends. Cut out eggs and cheese and save two tons per year.

Wash Your Clothes in Cold Water & Air Dry Them = 1 Ton CO2
Another perennial favorite suggestion on Planet Green that really works: Wash in cold water and air dry. There are plenty of detergents now that work as well in cold water as they do in hot, and even in the middle of winter shirts dry in a couple of hours on an indoor drying rack (or in the case of my shirts, as I write this, on my shower curtain rod). How much will you save by a very slight tweak in your laundering routine? You guessed it: As much as recycling your paper, plastic and metal for an entire year.

Sign Up For Green Power = 7 Tons CO2
Again, I’ve said this before but here’s the one thing that is probably the quickest and most effective thing you can do to reduce your carbon emissions: Enroll in a green power program with your utility. While the exact electricity mix varies from state to state, based on the average mix in the United States, by choosing green power from your utility you can reduce you carbon emission by some 7 tons per year. And at the same time send a message to your utility that they better start investing in some more wind farms, because more and more people are committed to greening the national power supply. Yes, a few minutes and one phone call can reduce your personal carbon emissions seven times as much as recycling.

(Greensleeve's Note: The above article was first written by Matt McDermott, Planet Green)