You are currently browsing the monthly archive for April 2008.

I collected some stats on drink consumption from, The Good Stuff guide, produced in 2004 by the Worldwatch Institute that I thought might be of interest to people.

  • People in the U.S. consume more packaged drinks per capita than in any other country—about 350 aluminum cans per person per year, compared to 103 in Sweden, 88 in the United Kingdom, and 14 in France. [Go France!]
  • Making 1 million tons of aluminum cans from virgin materials requires 5 million tons of bauxite ore and the energy equivalent of 32 million barrels of crude oil. Recycling the cans, in comparison, saves all of the bauxite and more than 75 percent of the energy, and avoids about 75 percent of the pollutants.
  • Recycling just one aluminum can saves enough electricity to run a laptop computer for 4 hours.
  • Making 1 million tons of plastic bottles from virgin materials (petroleum and other fossil fuels) generates an estimated 732,000 tons of climate-altering greenhouse gases.

Again I say, that’s crazy!

Eco-Cycle Media did a piece called, Zero Waste Systems that gives you an idea of how messed up our production/consumption/recycling system is right now. Then they wrap it up with some simple solutions you can do to reverse this doomed process.

Zero Waste!

-Cara

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Reason 75 from, 101 Reasons Why I Am Vegetarian:
Okinawa has the healthiest and longest-lived people in the world, boasting the highest percentage of people who live to be a hundred years old. The super-seniors who inhabit the island tend to retain their mental keenness, and few need to live in nursing homes. Not surprisingly, they eat very little food of animal origin, according to a 25-year study on the island. Genes could take some of the credit, although today’s old folks are projected to outlive their children who have adopted Western eating habits.

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OK, so this is shameless promotion of another blog of mine that Marine and I started last week called, “Those Movies We Watched Out Of The Box [after we turned off the satellite TV]“. This is an “green” entry because we are watching “recycled” DVDs. :)

What is it all about you ask? I’ll tell you…

On April 9th, 2008 in the House of Marine and Cara the Direct TV was turned off (If you would like to learn more about why this event occurred you may go here.). Anyway, with no TV now, we watch movies on DVD, but quickly went through our selection of personal DVDs. Things began to look dark, when suddenly I remembered our friend Tony had given us a box containing millions of his old movies and so began this journey to review every film we watch from out of the box.

Our reviews will be short and to some point I am sure. We rate the films from 1 to a 6. 1 being, “we only watched it to review it” and 6 being “one of the most super fresh films out there”.

As you will see so far the selection has not been the greatest, but ALL films will be watched. I am not sure we can watch all in this lifetime, but we will try!

Pop the popcorn and let’s go.

-Cara
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Reason 74 from, 101 Reasons Why I Am Vegetarian:
New York State’s Department of Environmental Conservation and its Department of Health have posted an Internet factsheet called “Eating Sport Fish.” The advice speaks for itself: No one should eat more than one meal of fish per week from any of the state’s fresh waters; chemical contaminants may be a problem; trim all fat; don’t consume cooking liquids. On the other hand, if you still want to enjoy the “fun” of sport fishing but don’t want to poison yourself, the factsheet recommends catch and release. But don’t tear out the hook–cut its leader, goes the advice. Also, avoid playing fish to exhaustion. Other states could post similar Web pages: nearly every state in the union has a mercury-in-rivers advisory.

On Fridays I usually do a shopping or a recycled object making entry, then Saturdays a recipe entry and Sundays are a game or quiz entry, but two Fridays ago it was my 100th post, so I didn’t do the shopping/recycled entry until Monday. This Friday I was into tips, so I guess and forgot to do my regular entry. Today I will make up for missing said entry.

Here are three cool products I found. I mention places to buy the things I talk about, but I suggest trying to find products locally whenever possible.

On siliconsolar.com I found for $24.95 the Solar Battery Charger AA AAA C and D. It has the ability to charge AAA, AA, C and D batteries using solar cells. The company has one complaint in 36 months at the Better Business Bureau, which they resolved. I worked for the BBB here in New York City for about six years and that is a fine record for an online company…in my opinion. I think this charger is a great idea.

Alright, I am not sure how many people grill, but my dad does and smokes food. He makes me a mean, marinated, smoked portobello sandwich like you wouldn’t believe. Anyway, his grill light uses batteries I think, so I found the Maverick SOLAR LED Grill Light, Stainless Steel GL-04 for $48.99. Happy Father’s Day!!!

Last but not least, we were talking about brining your own water bottle to work instead of using disposable cups. I like the Switzerland company Sigg’s water bottles. They aren’t too big, and have a clean fresh look and feel to them. They are fashionable and sustainable.

I will update this entry with any reviews once I’ve tried any of these products. Please leave a comment if you’ve tried any of these contraptions, as I would love to know what you thought of them

Enjoy.

-Cara

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Reason 73 from, 101 Reasons Why I Am Vegetarian:
Grass-fed beef is more eco-friendly than corn-fed, but supplies of it could never sustainably meet current consumer demand. Several guides are available to help seafood consumers “eat with a conscience.” But the species that are recommended would quickly run out if everyone ate them. Legally, “free-range” and “cage-free” designations are dubious to outright meaningless. At least one humane certification program was officially debunked. “Organic” has gone strangely industrial and is rightly tagged “ethically challenged.” Ultimately, to “eat green” and to “be kind,” one needs to go vegan. [Opinion of Pamela Rice only. I feel that to not validate free-range and grass-fed animals/farming is to tell meat eaters, that their choice does not matter between industrial farming and free-range, when of course it does make a difference. -Cara]

Principles of Ecology where you review the basic principles of ecology. There’s 10 questions and the only thing you win is the fact that you won because you know something!!!

Good wholesome fun!

-Cara

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Reason 72 from, 101 Reasons Why I Am Vegetarian:
In most large commercial chicken slaughter plants the inverted heads of doomed birds are first plunged into an electrified brine bath. The current is set at a voltage just high enough to immobilize the birds and to promote bleedout without hemorrhage. It serves to minimize inconvenient flailing that would otherwise interfere with the slaughter process. The birds are not only sentient during slaughter but must also suffer the excruciating shock, sometimes twice.

These rice cakes are like no other rice cakes. They are like a healthier, tastier, and all around better rice crispy treat. Not only that but they take no real time to make.

What You Need

3/4 cups organic blanched or just thinly sliced, raw almonds work just as well

3/4 cup organic wildflower honey [I prefer organic wildflower honey, but any organic honey will do]

2 tablespoons of organic crunchy almond butter [I prefer crunchy organic almond butter to smooth, but either is fine.]

1 teaspoon pure, organic vanilla extract

Pinch or two of organic sea salt [I understand that salt cannot be “organically grown”, as it is a mineral, not a plant, but it can be “Certified Organic”. To learn more about that you can go here.]

2 cups organic puffed brown rice [I use Nature’s Path Organic Rice Puffs which I think work perfect for this recipe]

What You Need To Do

In a blender, grind the almonds to a medium-coarse texture. In a 2 quart saucepan, bring the honey to a simmer over medium heat, then simmer on low heat for 5 minutes. Add ground almonds, almond butter, vanilla extract, and salt. In a large mixing bowl, add the puffed rice, then pour the syrup mixture on top and mix well. Press mixture in a lightly oiled 8-inch square baking dish. Allow it to set for 2 hours. Cut them into whatever size you want and enjoy!

I already have everything on the counter to make some tonight. Don’t be jealous.

:)

-Cara

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Reason 71 from, 101 Reasons Why I Am Vegetarian:
Today’s turkeys are unable to copulate on their own, thanks to selectively bred, freakishly huge breasts in the “toms.” The industry must use artificial insemination. The job is nearly as dehumanizing for the workers–who must work rapidly for long hours and low wages–as it is deplorable for the tortured breeder birds, who are essentially raped every week for 12 to 16 months until they are sent to slaughter.

Here are tips that are so simple that I can’t believe people don’t do them.

1. Bring your own drinking cup or coffee cup to work and stop using the plastic/paper ones provided. I don’t have official statistics, but let’s just say according to a recent Cara Poll, you can save 68585.73 acres of land a year if you do it and your carbon foot print will be a size 3. [If people listen to you at work, tell them to do it to and tell your office organizer to stop the insanity and no more paper/plastic cups. It so you will save a fafillion acres and no longer have a carbon foot. Nice…]

2. Do e-bills and e-bank statements and e-whatever…no more paper! Let’s say for this one, you will not lose the cure for cancer and aids located in the Rainforest, where they are cutting down the trees to print your bills on. If you are worried about all your personal information being on-line, where someone may hack into and steal your identity, don’t worry, it’s already there. If you think your bank and credit card company have all your information on papers hidden in a vault, you are incorrect. I believe the World Wide Web is probably a bit more secure than your mailbox, so stop with all that.

3. Last, but not least, it is one I struggle with because I am impatient and hate waiting for a computer to boot up, but turn off your computer when you aren’t using it. Standby is not good enough. It uses almost the same amount of energy, and I hear all of you out there saying, but doesn’t she know it uses more energy to start up a computer than to leave it on??? Lies, that is not true, an urban myth, ancient history, etc. It is not true, so turn it off.

I think these three tips are easy.

-Cara

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Reason 70 from, 101 Reasons Why I Am Vegetarian:
The number of foodborne outbreaks involving produce more than doubled between 1999 and 2004. But before you blame the veggies, it’s important to know that the contaminating pathogens are invariably those that hitch a ride on fecal matter. And we know plants don’t defecate. So what’s the story? It all gets down to one simple fact: Feedlot operators cannot afford to properly treat all the waste that their mammoth-size facilities generate, so they often divert the muck to the nearest waterway. Down stream, produce processors use the water as a rinse.

I usually try to stay away from animal cruelty newsletters or web sites as they really upset me and as a vegetarian I feel like I don’t need to be exposed to these horrors. I don’t eat or wear animals because of said suffering, so I don’t want to read or see things that are so sad. That said a few months ago I signed up for PETA’s newsletter for the second time to remind myself that I should do more, even if I don’t want to see it, it does motivate me.

In the latest newsletter I got today, PETA talks about leather. I being a lover of super fresh shoes, always had leather and suede shoes, until a few years ago where I read about the horrors of leather and decided to give up buying any leather products. Recently, I started to see a few shoes made from animals that I thought were cute and I couldn’t quite remember why I gave up leather…

Then along came PETA, with their Shopping Guide To Compassionate Clothing and Cows Are Cool, with their page on, What’s Wrong With Leather. This information reminded me why I gave up leather and suede. I’d like to share some information from Cows Are Cool with you.

Leather may be made from cows, pigs, goats, and sheep; exotic animals like alligators, ostriches, and kangaroos; and even dogs and cats, who are slaughtered for their meat and skins in China, which exports their skins around the world. Since leather is normally not labeled, you never really know where (or whom) it came from.

Most leather comes from developing countries like India and China, where animal welfare laws are either non-existent or not enforced. Many of the millions of cows and other animals who are killed for their skin endure the horrors of factory farming—extreme crowding and deprivation as well as castration, branding, tail-docking, and dehorning, all without any painkillers. In India, a PETA investigation found that cows have their tails broken and chili peppers and tobacco rubbed into their eyes in order to force them to get up and walk after they collapse from exhaustion on the way to the slaughterhouse. At slaughterhouses, animals routinely have their throats slit and are skinned and dismembered while they are still conscious after improper stunning.

Most of the millions of animals slaughtered for their skin endure the horrors of factory farming before being shipped to slaughter, where many are skinned alive. Buying leather directly contributes to factory farms and slaughterhouses since skin is the most economically important byproduct of the meat-packing industry. Leather is also no friend of the environment since it shares all the environmental destruction of the meat industry, in addition to the toxins used in tanning.

With every pair of leather shoes that you buy, you sentence an animal to a lifetime of suffering. Instead, you can choose from hundreds of styles of nonleather shoes, clothing, belts, bags, and wallets. Fashion should be fun, not fatal! Read more about the cruelty of the leather industry.

…so nevertheless I have cured myself of my desire for leather, thanks to PETA and Cows Are Cool and my conscious.

Also, PETA has given shopping alternatives to leather, wool, silk, fur, down on their site. Here are the links and one link for companies who offer cruelty-free products to be listed in PETA’s guide:

Vegan Companies
Leather and Fur Alternatives
Search by Product Type
Animal-Friendly Companies Wanted

Remember all animals feel pain and nothing is done to alleviate these animals suffering in their processing and slaughtering. I don’t want to ever be a part of that.

Knowledge is enlightenment.

-Cara
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Reason 69 from, 101 Reasons Why I Am Vegetarian:
In 2005, a $7.1 billion plan to prepare the U.S. for a bird-flu pandemic was instituted by the Bush administration. It included very little to help poor countries slow the spread of the H5N1 strain already on the march. Pharmaceutical companies would get most of the largesse in order to stockpile and develop speedier methods to develop appropriate vaccines for American citizens. In addition, President Bush proposed that he be given the power to impose essentially martial law on the land in the event that a pandemic actually came about. The number of countries with bird flu increased from 14 to 55 in 2006.

That’s right…negative! I don’t know why but I am super not into Earth Day. It puts me in a bad mood. I get that rhetoric that people say…it is a time where non-“green” people get into it, but I feel like it is a way for people to make up for sucking all year long. Like confession, but only annually.

For example, places like GE/NBC having a “star-studded” tree planting party on Earth Day. A tree planting day will not make up for the tons and tons of paper they print a day in visitor passes, millions of pieces of paper for a 30 minutes meeting, instead of just have people bring in their laptops to review the documents,  or the zillions of pieces of paper they use on new hire brainwashing propaganda.

If people related to how they are a part of the problem when they did these types of things, that would be awesome, but most don’t. They pat themselves on the back, which then gets them through another year of printing pages of documents they don’t really need to print.

I was negative today, but now I’m done.

-Cara
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Reason 68 from, 101 Reasons Why I Am Vegetarian:
To choose industrial meat is to support a system that has long ago put family farmers out of business. Essentially, it is only the big players–those who bought into factory systems–who are feeding America. We do have lower prices at the retail level. But ultimately, what is the real cost of cheap meat? You need to factor in the $20 billion per year in government subsidies to commodity farmers, higher medical costs attributable to excessive diets, antibiotic resistance in common bacterial strains, a dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico, the inordinate need for oil for petrochemical fertilizers, and dwindling aquifers–the list goes on.

Beauty you see in art is as important as beauty you see in nature. A connection to either beauty inspires. These paintings are by Romaine Brooks a painter who moves me. I think she did her most amazing work from 1920 through 1924, painting portraits of women in blacks and grays. Brooks’ story reminds me that you may not know it at the time, but amazing things may be around the corner, you just need to get there.

Who inspires you?

-Cara

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Reason 67 from, 101 Reasons Why I Am Vegetarian:
Most of America’s cows are not “Happy Cows,” in spite of what the California Milk Advisory Board might say in its nationally televised commercials. Many cows in the Western state spend their lives negotiating bogs of their own feces and urine. Elsewhere, they may be tethered at stanchions. All are inseminated annually to keep them lactating, and many regularly suffer painful udder infections. Thanks to calcium depletion and foot infections, slaughter occurs after only three or four lactation periods. The CMAB is a government agency and so is not subject to false-advertising laws.

Since Friday was my 100th post, we missed the weekly shopping entry, so thank you Monday, for picking up Friday’s slack.

Sometimes I commit sins against green. It is true I still sin. One example of said sinning is my desire to dry the counters with clean, pristine, white, recycled [:)] paper towels. I have a sponge for the counters, but it always seems to get dirty so fast, that I can’t bear to “clean” anything with it. Thus, the paper towel dilemma.

I decided to research this issue of mine and find a solution. Here is what I will try, the European Sponge Cloth. I think it might be a winner. I will let you know, and if anyone reading this has tried it, please review as I am curious.

Second sin…composting. I’ve done tons of research on composting…for whatever reasons, I will not get into now. Nevertheless, with all I know of what makes what type of compost, and what to do to keep out the bugs, how to make it not smell, plenty of room on my fire escape, food byproducts everyday, plants that need to be re-potted and fed…I still don’t compost. What I will do is buy these BioBags [100% biodegradable and 100% compostable bags and films made from the material, Mater-Bi. All of our products contain GMO free starch, biodegradable polymer and other renewable resources. No polyethylene is used in the production process. BioBag products meet ASTM D6400 specifications and California SB 1749 requirements.] and line this old wooden wine box

and compost away. Again, I’ll let you know…

And last but not least, to begin to make up for all the paper and whatever else I have done, I will give to The Arbor Day Foundation’s, Rain Forest Rescue Program.

I like having “to-do” lists.

-Cara

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Reason 66 from, 101 Reasons Why I Am Vegetarian:
The meat industry doesn’t treat the causes of its problems, only the symptoms. When it imprisons massive numbers of animals in cramped stress-inducing cages, it provides the perfect breeding ground for deadly bacteria, which later infect the meat. Technologies to kill meat pathogens are now very big business. We have acidic-solution carcass misting, alkaline-solution sprays, steam/vacuum technology, high-temperature carcass washes, steam pasteurization, and chlorine applications, etc., ad nauseam. Some bug-fighting methods, such as food irradiation and sprays of antidotal viruses and probiotic bacteria, pose risks in themselves. And in the end, the meat still isn’t safe

Sunday’s Fun game, Michael, Michael, Go Recycle!

Clean fun.

-Cara

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Reason 65 from, 101 Reasons Why I Am Vegetarian:
The state of Oregon has taken warnings about bird flu to heart, devising elaborate plans to deal with a “most likely scenario” pandemic. The state, which represents less than 1.3 percent of the U.S. population, has anticipated how tanker trucks hauling 38,000 pounds of liquid carbon dioxide can be obtained to kill as many as a million infected chickens and where an estimated 2,000 tons of chicken carcasses can be buried. The state is also ready for as many as 800,000 human illnesses, 9,700 hospitalizations, and 2,300 deaths.

I remember when I was a kid growing up in Miami my Nana and Papa had the best backyard. In it, to name a few of the million plants, were mangoes, guavas, avocados, papayas, bananas and sea grapes. I remember helping them make guava and sea grape jelly in their small ranch house. We always made less of the sea grape jelly, so it made it more of a treat.

Here is my Nana’s Sea Grape Recipe given to my mom, then given to me.

2 to 3 quarts of sea grapes

8 cups fruit juice from sea grapes

8 1/2 cups sugar

1/3 cup lime juice

Select ripe and partly ripe sea grapes. Wash and place in large pot, add water to not quite cover the fruit. Bring to a boil and soak until tender. Squeeze juice out by hand or strain through jelly bag, then measure juice.

To each 8 cups of juice obtained, add 8 1/2 cups sugar and 1/3 cup lime juice.

Cook to 225 degrees, which will take about 27 minutes. When it reaches the jelly stage, skim and pour into sterile jars and seal. Makes eight 1/2 pound jars.

It’s been a long time since I’ve made sea grape jelly. I need to find some wild sea grapes again.

-Cara

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Reason 64 from, 101 Reasons Why I Am Vegetarian:

Want the omega-3s in fish but would rather skip the mercury, PCBs, and dioxins? Well, push aside that fish altogether, and rediscover flax. Two tablespoons of ground flax daily give you all of the essential fatty acid you need with several bonuses: Flax seeds contain iron, zinc, and high-quality protein, plus almost all of the vitamins. They’re loaded with soluble fiber and are the best source anywhere of phytonutrient lignans. They ease symptoms of diabetes and even promote healthy brain growth in utero and in infancy.

Today is the 100 post and day of The Day After An Inconvenient Truth. I would like to take a moment to list 10 things I have learned in these 100 days.

One – Writing every day makes you smarter.

Two – Because you say you are green, doesn’t mean you are.

Three – Every time I think there is nothing to write about, there is.

Four – Corporations have more rights than people. They are allowed to kill without repercussions in more cases then you may think.

Five – The truth is out there, you just must search through everything to find it.

Six – More people care about the world out there than you think. Mass media does not want you to realize this, and revolt against the obscenely rich who control the mass media. The people who use the world to become richer at the expense of the world.

Seven – I don’t need or miss TV.

Eight – Globally, human rights are being violated every day and it is not discussed in America on a level that will change things that can be changed. We must question why.

Nine – A majority of people do not think beyond what they are told. In many cases when you point this out to them through love, they begin to deprogram themselves.

Ten – One person can make a difference.

Much love.

-Cara

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Reason 63 from, 101 Reasons Why I Am Vegetarian:

Fifty-two billion pounds of inedible byproduct (bones, fats, unusable hides, and cartilage) from America’s meat and poultry slaughterhouses is each year transmogrified by “renderers” into saleable adhesives, lubricants, chemicals, cosmetics, and processed food ingredients–a grisly but profitable side business of the flesh trade. This amount, however, does not include the 6 billion pounds of dead stock that accumulate on U.S. feedlots. It must also be dealt with. Unfortunately, only half of it is rendered and therefore processed safely. If buried, dead stock attracts vermin, leaches nitrogen and methane into the environment, and poisons the groundwater. If burned–usually the case when mortalities are catastrophic due to weather events or disease outbreaks–pyres will poison the air with dioxin. If composted, the process is often poorly managed, failing to adequately promote full decomposition and allowing vermin to carry disease off site.

Growing up in North America the US was always the bad sibling and Canada the good one. You hear about how beautiful the land still is, how they are more open minded, a place where draft dodgers found their refuge from the evil American government, that Canada is not all about the insane capitalism worshiped in America, and how still in this day and age people don’t lock their front doors, so imagine my surprise when cruising the Rainforest Action Network I came upon this action alert, Help Free Political Prisoners in Canada!

Political Prisoners in…Canada? I don’t believe it! I decided to do some investigating, here’s what I found…

On March 17th, 2008, Chief Donny Morris and five other band council members (five men and one woman, KI councilor Cecilia Begg, who sits alone in the Thunder Bay District Jail. A jail which has had three aboriginal deaths in the last four years.) of Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug First Nation were sentenced to six months in prison by Justice Patrick Smith of the Ontario Superior Court in Thunder Bay, for contempt of a court injunction which prohibits them from interfering with a mineral exploration program by Platinex Inc., where they have lived in the Boreal forest for over 5,000 years.

The KI6 and tribe believe that according to the Adhesions made in 1929 of Treaty 9 it is their right by law to defend their land from Platinex Inc. In 2005, Platinex, prepared to drill on land it had staked a claim pursuant to Ontario’s mining laws, land covered by Treaty 9. KI First Nation members protested on the site, preventing the drilling. Plantinex sued for damages and sought an injunctionto prevent further protests.

KI First Nation, then received an interim injunction. The injunction was granted on the condition that the parties negotiate toward an agreement that would allow Platinex to drill. Ontario joined as the “intermediary”, between the two parties, but no agreement was reached.

Justice Patrick Smith lifted the injunction last May and imposed an agreement, proposed by Platinex and Ontario. This proposal pretty much ordered KI First Nation members to allow Platinex onto their land to drill. When they did not submit, they were found in contempt of court and have been jailed ever since.

What they KI First Nation did was defend an agreement enforced by the Treaty No. 9 to share the land as equals and to protect their land in accordance to their spiritual beliefs. The results was they were inprisoned. Watch out Canada you’re sounding more and more like America here. I enjoy thinking right above me is a place, that if need be, I can run to escape the evils of the U.S.A….don’t ruin it for me now.

Below I listed the KI demands, which I discovered in an article on Canadian Dimension‘s website, by Matthew Brett, an anti-war activist and freelance journalist based in Montreal.

THE KI DEMANDS:

With consultation between the exiled Council members and the Council in Kitchenuhmaykoosib, we take a strong stand on the following:

1. No Parliamentarian, be it federal or provincial member, is allowed in the Homelands of Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug;
2. No more free entry to Kitchenuhamaykoosib lands by Platinex or any other mining entity including First Nations mining companies;
3. Ongoing blockade will be more protected and secured in order to protect our KI Homelands;
4. Assembly of First Nations must abandon the partnership agreements with the mining industry in Canada;
5. All First Nation political territorial organizations in Ontario do not speak directly for or on behalf of Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug, but their support on the issue is welcome;
6. Ontario must respond to our proposal made with our brothers and sisters of the Ardoch Algonquin First Nation, to establish a joint panel on mining on First Nations lands.

These demands don’t seem so bad when you look at the history between Native Americans and North Americans, but I will not get into all of this here.

If you feel that injustice is being done, there are ways to get involved. First, the Rainforest Action Network has set up a letter to the Ontario government, where you just enter your information and click! Second, send this entry to everyone you know to educate people on what rights violation are occurring towards the KI First Nation. You can also email Premier McGuinty here.

I will leave you with a photo (and thought) I saw on the Free the KI6 site.

Amen.

-Cara

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Reason 62 from, 101 Reasons Why I Am Vegetarian:
In what is still the most comprehensive study of diet and life-style ever made, the China Study found that the consumption of relatively small amounts of animal protein is linked to chronic disease. The findings from this grand epidemiological study are especially compelling because they allowed meaningful comparisons between populations with similar genetic backgrounds, yet with nonhomogeneous diets. All together, the China Study provides the ultimate vegetarian vindication.

No, this is not becoming an arts and entertainment blog, but I watched a documentary tonight called, Dangerous Living: Coming Out In The Developing World, and now I feel like talking about it.

It is a crazy world we live in where people feel like it is OK to torture, rape, belittle, and murder each other in the name of God, Country and what is “morally” right. Dangerous Living: Coming Out In The Developing World follows the lives of gays, lesbians and transgender people living in the Global South, during this time. The film centers around the 52 men in Cairo who were arrested, tortured and imprisoned for gathering at a discothèque on the river Nile on May 11th, 2001. There is no law against homosexuality in Egypt so the Egyptian Government officially accused the men of committing crimes of debauchery. The 52 were later tried, convicted, and sentenced to 3 years in prison. Sentenced to three years in prison for being on a boat dancing with other men, can you imagine…Chelsea would be empty! No, but seriously…what? This is absurd. I am glad I found this flick, because it reminds me of all the work we still must do to undo all the ignorance that is alive and well all over the world and not just in my beautiful America. This film is not only about the 52 men in Egypt, but about homosexuals in Honduras, the Philippines, Kenya, Uganda, Brazil, Pakistan, Vietnam, Namibia, India, Fiji Islands, Iran, El Salvador, China, Malaysia, and Jamaica to name a few, that are being treated inhumanely by their fellow countrymen and being encourage to do so by their own government.

We as people need to stop hurting each other, because of our ignorance and insecurities. We need to open are eyes and hearts and then minds to create a better place to exist. It is important not only for others, but are own wellbeing. First step, watch the movie. I got it from Netflix today and will return it tomorrow so you can watch it. ;) Second, visit The the International Lesbian and Gay Association, they are a world-wide network of national and local groups dedicated to achieving equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people everywhere and do something!!!

Take back the night!

-Cara

p.s.- I almost forgot in all my outrage that another reason to watch it is Janeane Garofalo is the narrator of the film! That’s a sweet deal.


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Reason 61 from, 101 Reasons Why I Am Vegetarian:
From the animal-feed breadbasket and feedlots of the nation’s Midwest, massive amounts of fertilizer, pesticides, and manure-runoff travel down the Mississippi River. This high-nutrient mix causes an eco-chain reaction that ends with microscopic organisms robbing oxygen from the waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Marine life must relocate or suffocate. The phenomenon is known as hypoxia. Scientists have dubbed affected areas “dead zones.” Each summer the Gulf’s dead zone grows to an area the size of New Jersey. A recent U.N. report showed a 34 percent jump over 2 years in the number of dead zones–now 200 worldwide. Today, red tides (harmful algae blooms) line some coastlines of entire nations nearly without break. Soon, the hot real-estate properties around the world will be away from the waterfronts.

Another great passion of mine is music. Music is important, like art, like living instead of surviving, like love, we all need it. Music inspires, makes us believe maybe we aren’t alone, that we are connected, that others feel like us, breath like us, hurt like us…

OK, before I keep going on and on, why I bring this up now is the other day my friend Jorge sent me a mix tape through Muxtape.com and thus I found a site I really like. It is like the good old days of making your best friend, lover/potential lover that mix, to tell them how you feel or who you are without telling them how you feel or who you are…so here you go…this is me at this moment in time and if you want to be super fresh, make one, and add the link as a comment. :)

Enjoy the mix.

-Cara

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Reason 60 from, 101 Reasons Why I Am Vegetarian:
Before 1981, E. coli O157:H7 poisoning didn’t exist. Today, the deadly strain infects 80 percent of cattle on America’s feedlots. You can blame a change in feed for this. To make the animals grow five times the rate they would on hay, feedlot operators foisted a corn-based diet onto their charges and provided the perfect environment for O157:H7 to emerge. And now this terrible strain is regularly poisoning our raw veggies via cross contamination.

I was wondering the other day if there was a film distribution company that dealt with predominantly or only “green” films, as I love films and “green” is a good thing. If this company did existed, what and who defines what a “green” film is? This is how my journey began to find the greatest green film company…

Here’s my fresh find, Green Planet Films. Their mission, according to their site is,

Green Planet Films is a non-profit distributor of nature and environmental DVDs from around the globe. We promote environmental education through film. We seek to preserve and protect our planet by collecting and distributing documentaries that can be used to educate the public about the science, beauty, and fragility of the natural world. Our mission is to grow our web-based DVD library, which provides a channel that connects these films to schools, organizations, businesses, and individuals worldwide.

I, being weary of people calling anything “green”, went to investigate this company and their film selections. First, let me just say that not only am I very impressed with their selections, but I am also impressed with the company and the people who work there. Here’s why, Green Planet Films is a nonprofit organization that caries only environmental and nature films from around the world, which after researching is true. Not only that, but the twelve people that work there are volunteers. That leads me to believe they are doing this out of love more than profit, something I respect.

To give you an idea of what types of films they carry, here is, The End of Suburbia.

Now that I no longer have satellite TV I will invest in a few of these DVDs. I figure I will buy them in support of their organization, watch them, and then pass them on to friends. I will also encourage said friends to pass them on, and on, and on as well. It’s a plan.

See, no TV just keeps getting better everyday.

Start popping the popcorn!!!

-Cara

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Reason 59 from, 101 Reasons Why I Am Vegetarian:

Genetic manipulation has created monsters as well as monstrous suffering for farmed animals. Cloning threatens to jack up the misery yet another notch. Its general use is probably a ways off, provided it becomes commercially viable at all. Meanwhile, as the scientists tinker, their cloned creations will suffer from premature deaths and deformities, and the resultant meat and milk are sure to enter the human food supply.

The Seagull Strikes Back

According to WFF,

Our oceans are being seriously over fished. So much so, that unless action is taken some of our favourite fish may disappear from the seafood counter and restaurant table altogether. But it is not just our supper that’s at stake. Unsustainable fishing is decimating the world’s fisheries, as well as destroying marine habitats and incidentally killing billions of fish and other marine animals each year.

Play The Seagull Strikes Back and help blast the unwanted politics out of fisheries management!

I love this game…pooing on the man!!! Warning, it is not as easy as it looks!

Good luck!

-Cara

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Reason 58 from, 101 Reasons Why I Am Vegetarian:
Several years ago, a New York Times story featured an Ohio schoolteacher who discovered that a “swirling poison” invaded his home from a nearby hog farm and “robbed him of his memory, his balance, and his ability to work. It left him with mood swings, a stutter, and fistfuls of pills.” His diagnosis: irreversible brain injuries from hydrogen sulfide gas. But the source of the H2S was half a mile away. Only after visits to 14 doctors was the cause of his symptoms determined. Surprisingly low levels of the gas will eat the brain over time. Neighbors of industrial hog farms will also experience diarrhea, nosebleeds, earaches, lung burns, chronic sinusitis, asthma, and corroded lungs.

These biscuits I have made a million times and never once did they not turn out. In fact, they have turned out delicious every time. You will not be disappointed.

Organic Biscuits

1/2 cup softened organic butter
2 cups all-purpose organic flour
1 tablespoon organic sugar
3 teaspoons organic baking powder
1 teaspoon organic sea salt
3/4 cup organic whole milk with 1 teaspoon vinegar added to it

Heat oven to 450F. Cut butter into flour, sugar, baking powder and salt with pastry blender until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Stir in milk until dough leaves side of bowl, dough will be soft and sticky. Turn dough onto lightly floured surface. Knead lightly 10 times. Roll or pat 1 inch thick. Cut with floured 2 1/2 inch round cutter or a glass turned upside down. Place on ungreased cookie sheet and bake until golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Immediately remove from cookie sheet.

Eat well.

-Cara

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Hoof-and-mouth disease is rarely fatal for livestock, but it remains a death sentence just the same. When blisters form on hooves and lips, and growth slows because of fever, economics prescribe execution and incineration. In 2001, Great Britain responded to an outbreak by destroying nearly 6 million mostly healthy cattle, sheep, and pigs at a cost of [U.S.]$9 billion to save its export trade. There were actually only 2,030 known cases of the disease. The rest were exterminated to provide buffers to contain the outbreak.

Spring Cleaning

It’s Spring people and that means it’s Spring cleaning time. Usually Fridays is about buying stuff, but today I thought it would be a fresh idea to make good cleaners, instead of recommending good cleaners. That’s my idea!!!

Drain Cleaner – Try a plunger first, if that doesn’t work pour 1/2 cup baking soda down drain, add 1/2 cup white vinegar, and cover the drain. The resulting chemical reaction can break fatty acids down into the soap and glycerine, allowing the clog to wash down the drain. Do not use this method after trying a commercial drain opener–the vinegar can react with the drain opener to create dangerous fumes.

Scouring Powder can be made from baking soda or dry table salt.

Window and Glass Cleaner is easy with these tips: to avoid streaks, don’t wash windows when the sun is shining. Use a vinegar-and-water solution, cornstarch-vinegar-and-water solution, or lemon-juice-and-water. Wipe with newspaper unless you are sensitive to the inks in newsprint.

Floor Cleaner and Polish can be as simple as a few drops of vinegar in the cleaning water to remove soap traces. For vinyl or linoleum, add a capful of baby oil to the water to preserve and polish. For wood floors, apply a thin coat of 1:1 oil and vinegar and rub in well. For painted wooden floors, mix 1 teaspoon washing soda into 1 gallon hot water. For brick and stone tiles, use 1 cup white vinegar in 1 gallon water and rinse with clear water.

All-Purpose Cleaner can be made from a vinegar-and-salt mixture or from 4 tablespoons baking soda dissolved in 1 quart warm water.

I think that should be enough to kick start you into the joys of Spring cleaning…enjoy.

-Cara

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People who eat a lot of fish are increasingly falling victim to the debilitating effects of mercury poisoning. Women, in particular, are putting their babies at risk for irreparable brain damage when they eat seafood high in mercury while pregnant and even beforehand. According to the EPA, about 630,000 newborns in the United States every year–roughly 15 percent of all–may be exposed to dangerous levels of mercury in the womb.

Today on April 10th, 2008, I welcome the Official Web Site of Me, CaraReynolds.com into the world. Firstly, I would like to thank Marine Boudeau for all the work and time she put into creating this fantastical place and making it more than I ever expected. It has been a long journey, but we did it!

What is CaraReynolds.com all about you may be wondering? It is about me wanting to have a space for my photography that goes beyond Flickr, a place that not only showcases my photos, but my life as well. I think this site turned out amazing. It is as I say ALL the time, AWESOME!

So, sit back and enjoy the show… and remember, just like me, CaraReynolds.com will continually evolve, so come back sometime and see me again.

– Cara

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Between 1980 and 2004, meat production in the developing world tripled, today amounting to well over half of the world’s output. Dense concentrations of corralled industrial livestock, which create vast quantities of manure, now skirt the edges of major cities in Asia and Latin America, causing severe environmental damages.

Goodbye TV

A couple weeks ago Marine and I were talking about turning off our DirectTV DVR service. There is really nothing worth watching and I, just speaking for myself, am not strong enough to not turn it on and watch if given half a chance. I learned this when we said Tuesdays would be a no TV day and then proceeded to watch TV every Tuesday unless we went out! :) One main reason for no TV Tuesdays is there are millions of other things to do like read, go to the park, walk, create, write, talk, volunteer, make a difference, take a class, etc. instead of watching said TV. Now with no TV at all, who knows I might have time to run for President!

Originally, we got the DirectTV DVR to put an end to channel surfing, only record what we wanted to watch, and to avoid commercials. What I learned from this experience is, yes we stopped channel surfing, but now we show surf off the guide instead, we pretty much only watch crap, and because of TIVO/DVR services, every show has commercials in the actual show. This makes the shows I thought had some standards complete whores for advertisers. I understand it has always been that way, but now it is worse, before, I could walk away from commercials, but now to escape you must walk away from TV…so I am.

Another reaction to the turning off of DirectTV is we will not be using the biggest consumer of electricity in the house, our TV. I don’t know how big our carbon footprint is, but is it much smaller now. I was thinking this morning if our electricity bill will go down as in NYC ConEd averages your bill. They say they do this because 9 out of 10 times they can’t get to the meter. In this day and age the fact that the meter does not communicate with their database is ridiculous. This is something I will look into. I don’t want to pay what the average consumer of electricity pays, because I use way less then that guy! ;)

The Direct TV service was supposed to be turned off on April 6th, so to celebrate, Marine and I and some friends went out on Sunday to raise our glasses to the end of TV in our home [of the two friends, one has no TV and the other has no cable, just a TV for when she wants to watch DVDs.] When we came home the DirectTV was still on. I thought about calling and reminding them, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. Then the next day it was on and the next till I turned it on today and it was gone, just gone. I don’t know who reading this has a DVR, but there is a list of saved shows you can watch, so Marine and I filled it, that way when they turned off the actual service we could slowly wean ourselves off the boob tube. I thought that even without the service you could still watch the saved shows, but I was incorrect. Now, I am like a drug addict forced to go cold turkey without any warning, but like that drug addict I know that if I stay off the crack, life will only get better.

I am excited to see how it changes me.

Crack is whack!

-Cara

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Fish and shellfish farming, or aquaculture, is no less disruptive to the environment than taking fish from the wild. Shoreline pens replace mangroves, that is, the habitats where wild fish would otherwise reproduce. Some farmed species will not breed in captivity, so fish farmers must steal juveniles, who never get a chance to reproduce, from the wild. There are numerous cases where farmed fish have escaped into the wild, corrupting the genetic purity of native species and spreading disease. Indiscriminate biomass fishing for fishmeal threatens ecosystems. Feed-to-flesh ratios soar in some farmed species to 25 to 1. Nitrogenous waste poisons the seabed floor below cages that hold fish in unnatural densities.

I am always figuring out ways to turn garbage into something. Soon I will start to give away my projects, as there is a lot of garbage in my world and only so much room in my NYC apartment!

Here is a cool project I tried today. I took a million different versions I found online on how to do it, altered them and created my own style…so far it looks cool, once it dries, maybe I will coat the beads with clear nail polish as well for a shinier look. I will let you know and provide photos!

Paper Beads

What tools you’ll need

Scissors
Different types of paper such as pages from old magazines, used wrapping paper or store catalogs
Glue Stick
Toothpicks and/or straws

What to Do

From your paper collection, select one piece that is about the size of a greeting card or larger, no more than 11 inches I would say.

Now cut long, slender triangles from the paper. The longer the strip, the thicker the bead. The base, or large end of the triangle, can range in size from 1/2 to 1 inch. The entire strip should be no longer than 11 inches. [Make beads of different shapes. Rectangular paper makes cylindrical beads. Triangular paper makes rounded beads. If you use a rectangular strip of paper with a triangle cut out of the middle, your bead will be spool-shaped.]

Spread a thin coat of glue over side of the triangle you don’t want to show. Be sure to leave a small area (at the tip of the triangle) without glue.

Place a toothpick or straw on the base of the triangle with the decorated side facing down.

Carefully roll the paper around the toothpick/straw. Keep the paper tight and the edges even.

Just before you finish rolling the paper, place a dab of glue on the triangle’s tip and seal the end in place.

I spin then every once in awhile just to check that they are not stuck to the straw or toothpicks.

When the glue has dried, remove the toothpick from the tightly rolled paper. You have now made your first bead. You can decorate it with paint or apply clear fingernail polish to give it a shiny finish. The ones I did today I dipped in diluted white Elmer’s glue. I just put enough glue in water to look milky.

I will put pictures up of them once dry. I think I made a few mistakes, like not keeping them perfectly even, but we will see.

Watch out friends and family there might be some jewelry coming in your future.

-Cara

UPDATE

I have since painted my first attempt of paper beads with shiny, clear nail polish and it makes a difference for sure. They are still too big for my taste, but shiny = pretty. Some issues I had were, I didn’t spin the beads enough on the straws, so they were stuck to the straw. I just cut them with the straw inside, which turned out fine and made them stronger. I also had to figure out a way to paint them and a place for them to dry, so I just did this…

and here is the end result.

It was a fun experience and I will make more to show different designs going forward. Exciting stuff. :P

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Reason 53 from, 101 Reasons Why I Am Vegetarian:
Male chicks are a bothersome expense to the egg producer. Sexers must be hired to pick them out for diversion to expedient deaths. No law protects them as they are dumped in trash bins to die by crushing, suffocation, starvation, and exposure.

Kiss

I have been dreading doing the reviews of stuff people have sent me. It isn’t that I am not opinionated, because ask anyone around…opinions I’ve got! I guess I feel pressure to say good things, because I received the stuff for free or maybe because I was raised to be thankful for whatever anyone gives you…or because it feels like….who knows what…it doesn’t matter because I need to do these reviews as I said I would, so here we go…

I’ll start with Eco Lips organic lip balm. I selected the vanilla flavored hemp 98% organic lip balm. The 2% that is non-organic seems to be D-Alpha Tocopherol [vitamin E] and the Rosmarinus Officinalis [rosemary] leaf extract. It is interesting that they can’t get organic rosemary leaf extract or organic vitamin E. I will see what I can find out about that. This product is also cruelty free, non GMO product, and petroleum free. Made in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. GBA! ;)

Let me give you a little bit of history about me and lip balm. I love it. I can’t get enough of it. I have tried a million different types of lip balms. I think it started when I was the Body Care buyer at Whole Foods for a few years. One of my duties as a Body Care Buyer was to sample all lip balms and bring in the best ones for our consumers. I feel as though my experience in lip balmery makes me an excellent candidate to review said lip balm. :)

I like the green label with the silver packaging of the hemp Eco Lips lip balm. It is a throwback to futuristic movies in the 70’s with a hemp leaf square in the middle. :D The vanilla smells like high end vanilla extract you use while baking. Then when you put it on your lips, it is a silky softness that stays. I am really impressed with it. Out of the three different Burt’s Bees lip balms I have and a plethora of other such brands right now Hemp Vanilla Eco Lips is my favorite and that’s saying a lot.

So of a rating of 1 to 5 I give this a solid 4 and it would have been a 5 but for the 98% organic shaved off a point.

OK, review one done and I feel good. Stay tuned…more to follow.

Best.

-Cara

UPDATE:

I have learned from an employee at Eco Lips after asking, Why do you all make it 98% organic instead of 100%…” that “Vitamin E can be extracted in a 100% NATURAL process, but not organic. This is very complex and has to do with chemicals and molecular bases, but it is just the way it is at this point in time.” and he also wanted to make sure I knew, “that Burt’s [Bee] is not at all organic, but only 100% natural.” I think both are important points, so I am sharing them here with you. You are welcome!

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Animal agriculture routinely mutilates farmed animals for its own convenience and often simply out of habit. Debeaking, branding, castration, ear notching, wing and comb removal, dehorning, teeth clipping, and tail and toe docking are ever-present tasks on today’s farm and ranch. Laborers, not veterinarians, perform the surgeries, employing restraint, not anesthesia.

I found this link the other day and took the “Quiz” to see if I could win a free tote bag…Earthbound Farms, champions of organic salads and other organic, pesticide-free produce is giving away the earth-conscience shopper’s ultimate must-have: a free reusable shopping tote for those who can answer 9 out of 10 questions correctly in their Conservation Quiz!!

I will not give away anything, but I have a feeling everyone might win a tote!

So, Test your Conservation knowledge! Take the Earthbound Farm Conservation Quiz and try your hand at winning a free shopping tote! Good luck!

Also, spend some time on their site. They have some good stuff on there.

Enjoy.

-Cara

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About a decade ago the government began imposing manure-handling controls on the nation’s confined animal feeding operations. The rules, which now regulate only 40 percent of the nation’s largest feedlots, have not only been laughably overdue in their implementation but have amounted to nothing more than permits to pollute as usual. And the vast majority of the nation’s mostly moderate-sized livestock operations are simply urged to follow recommended guidelines voluntarily. In 2004, the EPA granted a sweetheart deal to 130 companies representing thousands of mega-feedlots when it allowed them amnesty from the Clean Air Act in exchange for scientific monitoring. Other facilities across the country are now in line for exemptions from Superfund lawsuits.

This is a classic Cuban recipe for sweet plantain bread. It is not only classic, but delicious.

Again this can be an organic recipe if you can find organic plantains…not an easy feet, but possible.

What you need…

1 large ripe organic plantain

1 tablespoon organic butter

2 1/4 cups organic flour

1 teaspoon organic baking powder

1 teaspoon organic baking soda

1/2 teaspoon organic salt

1/2 cup organic butter at room temperature

1cup organic sugar

2 organic eggs

1 teaspoon organic vanilla

1 teaspoon organic lemon juice

organic butter and flour for greasing and dusting pan

What to do…

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Peal and slice the plantain into 1-inch thick diagonal slices.

Melt the butter in a sauté pan over medium heat.

When hot add the plantain slices.

Sauté 2 to 3 minutes on each side, just until soft.

Transfer the plantain to a small mixing bowl and mash it well with a fork, then set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, cream the 1/2 cup butter with the sugar. Beat in the eggs, then add the plantain, vanilla, and lemon juice. Add the plantain mixture to the dry ingredients and blend.

Grease 2 8X5″ bread pans with butter and lightly dust them with flour.

Pour the batter into the pans and bake approximately 1 hour, until a knife comes out clean when inserted into bread.

Remove from pan and allow to cool slightly on a wire rack before serving.

Serves about 20 people.

Eat with a great cup of coffee for breakfast and you are guaranteed to have a great day.

-Cara

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According to one study, when diabetics eat copious amounts of fiber they are able to control their blood-sugar levels significantly. Fiber, which is found only in plants, helps people to lose weight because of its ability to satiate. According to a European study of 400,000 people, a high-fiber diet can slash the risk for deadly cancers by up to 40 percent.

My mom sent me this link today. It’s perfect for earth day shopping. Thanks Mom!

Green Coupons and Discounts: 30 Money Saving Deals Good All Month Long! An Earth Day Month of Saving Money on Organic Foods, Paints, More!

Save money on everything you need to go green this April with this exclusive collection of coupons, discounts and deals from some of America’s best eco-friendly manufacturers. From organic foods, low VOC paints, earth-friendly fashions…even gifts for the green pet…we have 30 great finds here on one page. Many of these deals are exclusive to readers of The Daily Green. All together, they’re a recession-busting way to celebrate Earth Day all month by going green. Enjoy…and, Happy Earth Day, everyone!

-Deborah Barrow, Founder, The Daily Green.com.

Who is this Deborah Jones Barrow you may ask? I found via the “About Us” page on The Daily Green.com, Deborah Barrow herself states,

“I had gone to the country to live. After years of the media wars in Manhattan, I was ready to raise heirloom roses in my organic garden. And to volunteer. It was that kind of time.

But then the climate in my garden began to change. And then I saw An Inconvenient Truth. And then one day, my husband Peter said, “Honey, somebody ought to invent a great green website for regular people.”

So, welcome to TheDailyGreen.com.”

Nice…I like her style.

-Cara

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A study of 49 island countries found 55 percent of their coral reefs overfished. To sustainably harvest the million metric tons of fish taken annually from the islands, 30,000 square miles more of reef–or the equivalent of nearly four Great Barrier Reefs–would be needed. Demand for reef fish is largely coming from Hong Kong traders, who are now supplying a burgeoning market in Mainland China. Reef fish take 5 to 10 years to reach breeding age and so are particularly vulnerable. Fishers capture the fish, live, using cyanide, destroying coral in the process; 75 percent of the fish die even before getting to their market destinations.

I have nothing in my head to write about today. I think I am just having one of those days where I am not really sad, more disheartened than anything. Every time I seem to believe in people and what they are doing, they seem to disappoint me with their utter lack of long term faith. I wonder sometimes why people are satisfied with their two seconds of believing they can do anything, but when it gets hard they give up and succumb to the alternative. It is not as simple as unhappiness, but if something can be better or happier, why not? Am I crazy? Once you give up and lose faith that anything is possible, what do you replace that with? Is this what people mean when they talk about growing up? Does growing up means losing faith in God and yourself? When you think of it that way it’s super sad.

It’s interesting, people watch films where the protagonist is at the end of their rope, about to give up and turn to the “Dark Side”. They cheer them on with, “Don’t give up!”, and “You can do it!”. You see in their hearts they want the hero to make it, to believe in the fact that anything IS possible. Those same people who are cheering on the protagonist, are also telling their kids, lovers, friends, parents, etc to just grow up already. Grow up and just accept that this is the way it is, but nothing is a particular way. Why not cheer themselves and people they love on the same way? You might be surprised.

I know I’ve put this quote by Harriet Beecher Stowe in another entry, but when I start to get down like this, lose faith, or forget the times I did what was right, instead of what was easy and succeeded, I think of this quote,

When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hold on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.

Ain’t that the truth, so everyone reading this do me a favor and believe. We are all connected in this world, what you do affects everything and everyone, so just do the right thing.

Don’t grow up, instead just grow.

-Cara

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Smithfield Foods, the largest pork producer in the world, slaughtered 27 million pigs in 2005. Pound for pound this number represents, in equivalent human weight, the combined population of the 32 largest U.S. cities yet only 26 percent of all the pigs that are slaughtered in the country as a whole. North Carolina’s pigs alone emit the waste-equivalent of 40 million people, and essentially none of it is treated.

As of April 2, 2008, all 50 states have either applied for extensions of the original May 11, 2008 compliance deadline or received unsolicited extensions, meaning that the REAL ID Act will not become an issue at federal facilities and airports until December 31, 2009…

What am I talking about? Did you know about this? May 11th of next month? I looked into this craziness, and according to good old Wiki, by the people for the people, ;) ,

The REAL ID Act of 2005 is U.S. federal law which imposes certain security, authentication and issuance procedures standards for the state driver’s licenses and state ID cards, in order for them to be accepted by the federal government for “official purposes”, as defined by the Secretary of Homeland Security. Currently, the Secretary of Homeland Security has defined “official purposes” as presenting state driver’s licenses and id cards for boarding commercially operated airline flights, entering federal buildings and nuclear power plants. The Act is Division B of an act of the United States Congress titled Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act for Defense, the Global War on Terror, and Tsunami Relief, 2005.

The Real ID Act implements the following:

  • Establishing new national standards for state-issued driver licenses and non-driver identification cards;
  • Waiving laws that interfere with construction of physical barriers at the borders;
  • Updating and tightening the laws on application for asylum and deportation of aliens for terrorist activity;
  • Introducing rules covering “delivery bonds” (rather like bail bonds but for aliens who have been released pending hearings);
  • Funding some reports and pilot projects related to border security; and
  • Changing visa limits for temporary workers, nurses, and Australian citizens.

In the left hand corner ladies and gentleman we have, Real Nightmare Dot Org and in the right hand corner we have Homeland Security. Let the fight begin…

According to Real Nightmare Dot Org

The Real ID Act is a law signed by President Bush in May 2005, which, if it is accepted by and carried out by the states, would turn state driver’s licenses into a genuine national identity card and impose numerous new burdens on taxpayers, citizens, immigrants, and state governments.

Real ID would force the states to standardize driver’s licenses cards across the nation into a single national identity card and database. It does this by stipulating that state driver’s licenses and state ID cards will not be accepted for “federal purposes” – including boarding an aircraft or entering a federal facility – unless they meet all of the law’s numerous conditions, which include:

  • Standardized data elements and security features on the IDs
  • A “machine readable zone” that will allow for the easy capture of all the data on the ID by stores or anyone else with a reader
  • The construction of a 50-state, interlinked database making all the information in each person’s file available to all the other states and to the federal government

A requirement that states verify the “issuance, validity and completeness” of every document presented at motor vehicles agencies (usually called “DMVs”) as part of an application for a Real ID card.

Simply put, Real ID would offer significant costs and disadvantages without any corresponding advantages:

  • By definitively turning driver’s licenses into a form of national identity documents, Real ID would have a tremendously destructive impact on privacy.
  • The Act would impose significant administrative burdens and expenses on state governments, and would mean higher fees, longer lines, repeat visits to the DMV, and bureaucratic nightmares for individuals.
  • Yet, it would not be effective at increasing security against terrorism or bring any other benefits which would justify those costs.

For more FAQs go to http://www.realnightmare.org/about/2/.

Then according to The Department of Homeland Security,

REAL ID is a nationwide effort intended to prevent terrorism, reduce fraud, and improve the reliability and accuracy of identification documents that State governments issue.

The REAL ID Act requires that a REAL ID driver’s license be used for “official purposes,” as defined by DHS. In the proposed rule, DHS is proposing to limit the official purposes of a REAL ID license to those listed by Congress in the law: accessing a Federal facility; boarding Federally-regulated commercial aircraft; and entering nuclear power plants. DHS may consider expanding these official purposes through future rulemakings to maximize the security benefits of REAL ID.

Continuing to protect the privacy of license holders was a key consideration for DHS in the development of this NPRM [A Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) is filed with the Secretary of State when DHS proposes to adopt, amend or repeal a rule. ], which contains a detailed analysis of the three key privacy issues posed by the Act: (1) the connectivity of the databases; (2) the protection of the personal information stored in the State databases; and (3) the protection of the personal information stored on machine readable technology on the DL/IDs. We invite comments on whether the steps outlined within the NPRM are appropriate and adequate.

I am sure they do…for more of DHS take on the REAL ID go here and for those who are truly brave and want to know it all, Minimum Standards for Drivers Licenses and Identification Cards Acceptable by Federal Agencies for Official Purposes: Final Rule.

I’ll keep my opinion to myself on this one and just leave you with this…

;)

-Cara

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If you like the idea of being welcome at the places where your food is produced, don’t count on your not-so-local poultry grower allowing you, the consumer, to view his massive sheds of monocultured birds any time soon. Without natural immunities that could otherwise be acquired by outdoor life, his flocks need to be protected from the slightest infection. When operators are even slightly lax in applying rigorous measures of “biosecurity,” a case of the sniffles in one bird can escalate to a mass outbreak, forcing a giant cull involving millions of birds.

sp

I’m really into solar right now, so I decided today will be the day to gather and share ten cool solar facts from around the World Wide Web.

What? You’re welcome! :P

  1. As for solar energy history as we know it, it wasn’t until 1839 when French physicist Edmond Becquerel first discovered photovoltaic activity.
  2. This discovery was followed by another Frenchman, Auguste Mouchout, in the 1860’s who invented the first motor to be powered by solar energy.
  3. In 1883, Charles Fritz turned the sun’s rays into electricity!
  4. In 1990, a aircraft powered solely by the sun crossed the United States.
  5. It takes only about 8 minutes for solar energy to travel from the sun to the earth.
  6. Solar energy is measured in kilowatt-hours. One kilowatt hour (kWh) is the amount of energy needed to burn a 100 watt light bulb for 10 hours.
  7. If we covered a small fraction of the Sahara desert with photovoltaic cells, we could generate all the world’s electricity requirements.
  8. Enough sunlight falls on the earth every minute to meet the world’s energy demands for an entire year.
  9. Two billion people in the world have no access to electricity. For most of them, solar photovoltaics would be their cheapest electricity source, but they cannot afford it.
  10. Solar energy will not pollute our air with carbon dioxide and other harmful greenhouse gases and bad emissions which is one of the main causes of global warming.

In 5 billion years the sun will run out of fuel, so let’s use this baby while we still can.

-Cara

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Arsenic has been a common additive in factory chicken feed for nearly 50 years. It is used to kill parasites, reduce stress, and promote growth in the birds. The practice has long been deemed safe. Recently, however, scientists have found that the substance turns carcinogenic rather quickly after application. Arsenic-imbued manure becomes toxic to the environment when spread as fertilizer. The risk for those who ingest the meat of treated birds is, in fact, worse than once thought, particularly since exposure to arsenic is cumulative and people are eating three times the chicken they once did in the 1960s.

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