Saturday, October 30, 2010
Well we’ve had Swine Flu, so why not Enviropig?
That’s right... The Enviropig has been developed in Canada and is genetically modified (GM) to excrete less polluting phosphorous in it’s faeces... Get this, this little piggy is also trademarked!
I regret to say, ladies and gentlemen, we are entering the age of Genetic Modification...
Old McDonald had a farm...
And on that farm, he had a GM chicken, capable of laying eggs that can fight cancer!
This may sound like a good thing, but wait there’s more...
In this menagerie, you will also find a goat that produces a spider’s web protein – paving the way for silk-farming and GM goats developed to produce human breast milk and also to deliver a special protein for people whose blood cannot flow smoothly.
Not crazy enough yet?
Well, there’s also the Aedes mosquito capable of sterilising female mosquitoes and the GloFish, a fluorescent zebrafish that comes in ‘three striking colours’ — starfire red, electric green and sunburst orange...
All of this may sound more suited to the crazy experiments of some mad scientists taking place in the far corners of the world, but the reality is it’s all too true and sadly we are slowly but surely entering an age in which large corporations want to exercise power over mother Nature and ultimately every living organism on this planet...
Frankly, if you ask me, someone is over-stepping the mark...
Recently there’s been a major uproar about the production of GM foods, in particular meat and fish. Whilst Americans have been consuming GM grains, vegetables, and milk for years now, the words "genetic engineering," still make people nervous, especially in Europe.
The stakes suddenly got much higher when the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was faced with approving, for the first time, genetically engineered food animals.
It all started with a company, AquaBounty, who came up with an answer to satisfy the world’s seemingly insatiable appetite for fish.... GM salmon — dubbed Frankenfish — that mature to market weight twice as fast as their natural cousins do.
Whilst the global consumption of farmed fish can easily outpace global beef consumption by 10 per cent within the next 5 years, according to the United Nations (UN), GM salmon is far from a desirable solution... the impact it will have on consumers and the environment is a major concern, not to mention animal welfare issues.
Unfortunately, the FDA thinks Frankenfish is safe for human consumption, posing no environmental threat (they are sterile) and has no "material difference" that would require the fish, once approved, to carry a special label...
The opposition has a different story to tell...
Whilst the FDA maintains there is "no biologically relevant difference" between the AquaBounty engineered fish and regular Atlantic salmon, research on GM trout in Canada found that while they grew faster and were much bigger, a number developed misshapen heads and bloated bodies.
Because the FDA sees no "material difference" between GM salmon and its natural counterpart it will not require the Frankenfish, once approved, to carry a special label... Which means the consumer will not know whether they are bying organic or GM. This works massively in favour of GM corporations, because the phrase "genetically engineered" on a label still has a very negative connotation for many consumers, and would probably prevent them from buying GM food...
Unfortunately, this also deals a big blow to the salmon industry, because people may now simply avoid all salmon rather than run the risk of getting a piece of Frankenfish on their plates...
Aqaubounty expects to receive the final nod of approval from the FDA by the end of this year. Knowing the FDA, we shouldn’t be surprised if GM fish production is allowed to go full steam ahead, which will have enormous implications for global food production.
Whilst it is difficult to tell how GM animal foods will affect consumers in the long run, I have a funny feeling the impact won’t be pleasant... The old saying ‘If it’s not broken don’t fix it’ comes to mind...
Instead of producing our own animals and fish in an attempt to satisfy growing consumption and prevent the depletion of natural sources, why don’t we spend millions on investing in responsible, organic farming? That way Mother Nature can do what she does best and perhaps our planet with all it’s inhabitants will be left a little less unscathed...
Thursday, October 28, 2010
From our friends at Health Book Summaries
Genetically modified (GM) foods are “plants or animals whose genes have been changed in the laboratory by scientists.” Recently, GM salmon have taken the spotlight in today’s health and consumer news. The FDA will soon decide whether or not to approve GM salmon as food. If approved, the GM salmon will be the first GM animal officially authorized for human consumption in the United States. In a freaky twist of nature, scientists have been able to engineer the salmon’s genes to continually produce growth hormone, which allows them to grow to full size in fewer than 250 days. In nature, it takes around 400 days for an Atlantic salmon to grow. Read on to learn more about this untested science and what it means for our food supply.
1. The terms "genetically modified organism" (GMO) and "genetically modified foods" (GM foods) refer to plants or animals whose genes have been changed in the laboratory by scientists. All living organisms have genes written in their DNA. They are the chemical instructions for building and maintaining life. By modifying the genes, scientists can alter the characteristics of an organism. In agriculture, genetic engineering allows simple genetic traits to be transferred to crop plants from wild relatives, other distantly related plants, or virtually any other organism. Manipulating the genetics of foods is not new.
- Michael Murray, N.D. and Joseph Pizzorno, N.D., The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods
2. We have entered an era of genetically modified foods, which are just that — genetically mutated foods that are not necessarily better for you. The health implications not only to humans but also to the environment is a hotly contested debate; the introduction of genetically altered food could have serious consequences, such as allergic reactions and increased resistance to certain antibiotics. Two of the prime targets for genetic engineering — soy and corn — are America's cash crops.
- Brenda Watson and Leonard Smith, The Detox Strategy: Vibrant Health in 5 Easy Steps
3. Genetically modified (GM) foods may look and feel the same as conventional foods, but they are drastically (and possibly harmfully) different. These types of foods have been altered by taking the genetic material (DNA) from one species and transferring it into another in order to obtain a desired trait. The FDA does not require any safety testing or any labeling of GM foods, and introducing new genes into a fruit or vegetable may very well be creating unknown results such as new toxins, new bacteria, new allergens, and new diseases."
- M.D. David Brownstein, The Guide to Healthy Eating
4. Apart from the fact that corn contains a high amount of sugar and often a lot of mold, most corn you buy in the United States is genetically modified (GMO). GMO corn was lauded by farmers and biotech firms for its ability to be disease- and pest-resistant and more bountiful. Genetically modified organisms are different from hybridized plants, which are naturally occurring. An example of hybridization is one breed of dog mating with another. An example of a GMO would be mating an eggplant and a dog in a Petri dish, which is, obviously, not naturally occurring. GMOs are not good for us.
- Frank Lipman, Mollie Doyle, Spent: Revive: Stop Feeling Spent and Feel Great Again
5. Organically grown soybeans are grown without pesticides and are not from genetically modified seeds. This is an important issue for soy foods in particular, as genetically modified soy crops have increasingly dominated in the agriculture business. Fortunately, there are farmers and manufacturers who are committed to raising and producing organic soy products. The optimal use of soy would be to start early in life and eat a diverse array of soy foods with a total dietary intake of 50 to 150 mg of soy isoflavones per day.
- Tori Hudson, N.D., Women's Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine: Alternative Therapies and Integrative Medicine for Total Health and Wellness
6. If manufacturers are so sure there is nothing wrong with genetically modified foods, pesticides and cloned meats, they should have no problems labeling them as such. After all, cancer will kill one in every two men and one in every three women now alive, reports Samuel Epstein, chairman of the Cancer Prevention Coalition. Like our ancestors, we act in ways that will bemuse future societies. The military-industrial complex lubricates the mass-agriculture system with fossil fuels. Tons of heavy metals and other hazardous, even radioactive, waste is sprayed on American agricultural soil.
- Adam Leith Gollne, The Fruit Hunters: A Story of Nature, Adventure, Commerce and Obsession
7. The typical North American diet used to be higher in beta-sitosterol, but with increased consumption of processed foods and genetically modified foods, our diet has become relatively deficient. I have no doubt that this deficiency has contributed to the rise in both heart disease and cancer. I recommend supplementing your diet with beta-sitosterol, particularly if you are a woman with breast tenderness, fibrocystic breast disease, or high cholesterol.
- Phuli Cohan, The Natural Hormone Makeover: 10 Steps to Rejuvenate Your Health and Rediscover Your Inner Glow
8. About 90 percent of all soy is genetically modified (GMO). Soy is also one of the top seven allergens, and is widely known to cause immediate hypersensitivity reactions. While in the last forty years soy has occupied an important place in the transition from an unhealthy meat-based diet to vegetarian and vegan cuisine, it is time for us to upgrade our food choice to one having more benefits, and fewer negative possibilities. In 1986, Stuart Berger, MD, placed soy among the seven top allergens — one of the "sinister seven.” At the time, most experts listed soy around tenth or eleventh.
- Gabriel Cousens, There Is a Cure for Diabetes:The Tree of Life 21-Day+ Program
9. I would avoid any product that contains genetically modified (GMO) corn, because there are still questions regarding the long-term health effects of genetically altered foods on the human body have not been thoroughly tested. Sugars are also sneaked into tons of different foods, especially foods marketed to kids. Again, study the labels carefully before buying.
- Deirdre Imus, Growing Up Green: Baby and Child Care: Volume 2 in the Bestselling Green This! Series (Green This!)
10. Stress increases our nutritional needs, but, sadly, today's standard diet of refined, enriched, preserved, irradiated, genetically modified, pasteurized, homogenized, hydrogenated, and otherwise processed foods doesn't begin to meet our increased nutritional needs. Today's foods are less nutritious than their counterparts of yesteryear, owing largely to methods employed by modern agribusiness to increase agricultural yield and shelf life — at the expense of nutrient content and consumer health.
- Brenda Watson and Leonard Smith, The Detox Strategy: Vibrant Health in 5 Easy Steps
11. Stop eating unfermented soy and genetically modified corn. While soy and corn are less detrimental and Spent-causing than sugar or gluten, they do add to the body's burden and can throw us out of rhythm. For the last twenty years, soy has been touted as the ultimate replacement for animal protein, fish, and dairy products. The thinking goes that Asian societies are healthier because they eat large amounts of soy. But the truth is that Asian cultures consume soy foods in small amounts (about 2 teaspoons a day) as a condiment and not as a replacement for animal foods.
- Frank Lipman, Mollie Doyle, Spent: Revive: Stop Feeling Spent and Feel Great Again
12. Since plants cannot be patented unless genetically modified, drug manufacturers will not research and promote as medicinal any natural foods or herbs, even though they generally result in far less harm and are far less toxic than laboratory drugs. There is simply no huge profit markup in natural healing. Yet diet is most certainly key when all of the research is examined. Dr. Campbell reached the conclusion that "nutrition [is] far more important in controlling cancer promotion than the dose of the initiating carcinogen."
- Susan E. Schenck, The Live Food Factor: The Comprehensive Guide to the Ultimate Diet for Body, Mind, Spirit & Planet
13. We are eating hybridized and genetically modified (GMO) foods full of antibiotics, hormones, pesticides, and additives that were unknown to our immune systems just a generation or two ago. The result? Our immune system becomes unable to recognize friend or foe — to distinguish between foreign molecular invaders we truly need to protect against and the foods we eat or, in some cases, our own cells. In Third World countries where hygiene is poor and infections are common, allergy and autoimmunity are rare.
- Mark Hyman MD, The UltraMind Solution: Fix Your Broken Brain by Healing Your Body First
14. Since the body becomes what we feed it, genetically modified foods and produce will have a negative influence on one's cellular structure.
- Ron Garner, Conscious Health: A Complete Guide to Wellness Through Natural Means
15. The FDA's letter to Monsanto regarding its MON810 Bt corn is typical: 'Based on the safety and nutritional assessment you have conducted, it is our understanding that Monsanto has concluded that corn products derived from this new variety are not materially different in composition, safety, and other relevant parameters from corn currently on the market, and that the genetically modified corn does not raise issues that would require premarket review or approval by FDA...."
- Jeffrey M. Smith, Genetic Roulette: The Documented Health Risks of Genetically Engineered Foods
16. Laura Krause, like other American farmers who choose not to grow genetically modified corn, are now paying the price for the unwanted consequences of a technology they did not ask for. They are discovering that their economic fate is tied, through the complex connections of the agricultural commodities market, to the efforts of those French farmers to remove Monsanto's fingerprints from their soil, and from the sentiments of European consumers who don't want them in their supermarkets.
- Mark Schapiro, Exposed: The Toxic Chemistry of Everyday Products and What's at Stake for American Power
17. If a farmer with a one-hectare plot plants a single row with genetically modified seed, it will overtake the natural corn in only seven years.
- Michael Murray, N.D. and Joseph Pizzorno, N.D., The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods
18. Cows given genetically modified growth hormones make more milk, but have painful swollen udders, have ulcers, joint pain, miscarriages, deformed calves, infertility, and much shorter life spans. Their milk contains blood, pus, tranquilizers, antibiotics, and an insulin growth factor that can cause a fourfold increase in prostate cancer and sevenfold rise in breast cancer. This is the milk used in our school lunch programs and served to our children. This is the milk that you buy every day. This is the milk used in all cheeses, yogurts, butter, and cream.
- Kevin Trudeau, More Natural Cures Revealed: Previously Censored Brand Name Products That Cure Disease
19. In 1994, the Flavr Savr* tomato (engineered to resist rotting) was the first genetically modified food reviewed and approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for human consumption. FDA-employed scientists warned that altered products such as the Flavr Savr® could create toxins in food and trigger allergies. Shockingly, the FDA approved the "Frankenstein" tomato anyway with claims, "... the Flavr Savr passed muster so well that the rigor of its testing will not have to be repeated for other bioengineered foods."
- Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, ND, DACBN, Health Begins in the Colon
20. The introduction of genetically modified foods (GMO) tampers with the essence of life in an experiment with an unknown outcome and no real way to undue the damage. The FDA purposely does not require labeling of GMO food, since no one who understands the issue would ever purchase it. This makes it all the more difficult to locate healthful food.
- Byron J. Richards, The Leptin Diet: How Fit Is Your Fat?
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
From David Ropeik at the Huffington Post
Anyone who takes seriously the threat of climate change might wonder why we are having trouble adopting solutions. Why is concern about it broad (though it goes up and down with the vagaries of weather and politics) but thin? Majorities consistently think climate change is real and we ought to do something, but only thin minorities say they are actual doing something themselves, or would accept changes that might cost them anything. Given the profound harms climate change is sure to cause, why aren't we more worried?
The usual explanations include poor communication by scientists or environmentalists or the news media, purposeful obfuscation by selfish economic interests, or the way the issue has been polarized politically. May I suggest that the problem is much deeper. It's a matter of how the human animal has learned to detect and respond to risk. Our risk perception system hasn't evolved to cope with the complex long-term threats involved in the unsustainable way we're living on the planet. It evolved to deal with simpler dangers, like wolves and bad guys with clubs and the dark. We may understand the modern risk choices we face intellectually, but the human response to risk is not just about the facts. It's a mix of facts and feelings, reason and gut reaction, and the huge threats posed by climate change and deforestation and all the other manifestations of our unsustainable ways just don't ring the emotional alarm bells of a system that evolved to deal with simpler, more immediate dangers. Moving forward on climate chance is a psychological challenge as much as it is technical or economic.
The good news is, knowing how risk perception psychology works -- and science knows a lot about that -- can help. First of all, just knowing that risk perception relies on affect more than fact can help us realize that as much as our fears might feel right, they can get us into trouble. If we're too afraid, or, as in the case of climate change not afraid enough, the result, what I call the perception gap, can be a risk all by itself. Then, knowing specifically why our fears sometimes don't reflect the facts about a given risk can help protect us from the dangers our misperceptions can create. As Italian philosopher Nicola Abbagnano put it, "Reason itself is fallible, and this fallibility must find a place in our logic."
In previous posts here and elsewhere, I've explained a bit about some of the subconscious emotional/instinctive filters the risk perception system uses to figure out threats like climate change:
• Optimism Bias -- we think the future will turn out rosier than it usually does.
• Is the risk abstract or personalized? -- Personalized is scarier, abstract less so.
• Do we think it could affect us personally? -- If so, we worry more. If not, we worry less.
• Cultural Cognition -- We choose positions that confirm the general view of the tribes with which we most strongly associate, to strengthen that tribe's prominence, because as our tribe's chances go, so go ours.
So here is one example of how to use that knowledge. Can you name one way climate change will seriously, negatively, impact you in the next ten years? Most people can't. Well, if you don't think it will happen to you, your concern will remain relatively shallow. You don't feel threatened, so you're not likely to change your behavior, or push governments and businesses to make the changes necessary to deal with the threat.
So try to think of the risk in personal terms. Ask yourself about what climate might do to you. What would more frequent heats waves or cold spells or floods or storms or other extreme weather do to your life? What will changed patterns of precipitation do to your local water supply? How would you feel if scientists are right about the spread of some exotic diseases into your neighborhood? How about a reduced supply and increased price of some of the foods you like? Just engage in the mental exercise of reducing the abstract, intellectual, distant, global issue of climate change, to the realities and specifics of your daily life in your home and neighborhood and town. That's where you live. That's the level your risk perception system is set to respond to. Don't think globally. Think, and feel, locally, and put things in terms relevant to your health and safety.
Will this change how you think? Probably not much. There are a lot of influences on our affective response to risk and the "Can it happen to me" factor is only one. But thinking about climate change this way starts to cast the facts of the issue in the emotional language relevant to your survival system. And that, far more than science and statistics and Academy Award-winning movies or PowerPoint presentations, is likely to inform your feelings and your behavior.
This is one tiny example of how we can apply the wisdom science has given us about how the psychology of risk perception to the challenge of making healthier choices. There are many more, including several suggestions for how policy makers can use these insights, in chapter 5 "Closing The Perception Gap' in How Risky Is It, Really? Why Our Fears Don't Always Match the Facts. A lengthy excerpt of that chapter is available free online. We can not undo the affective/emotional/instinctive way we perceive risk, but we can use what we've learned about that system to make healthier choices for ourselves, and society.
Sunday, October 24, 2010
By Joseph Picard | September 30, 2010 3:35 PM EDT
The philosopher Frederick Nietzsche once famously said, "That which does not kill me, makes me stronger."
That may or may not be true for human beings. It is certainly true for bacteria. The superbugs are among us and they are not leaving. Indeed, they are growing stronger.
Chickens drink water next to calves on a farm near Poolesville, Maryland, October 19, 2005. Experts say the misuse of antibiotics for farm animals is helping to create superbugs.
"The incidence of drug-resistant infections is a national and global problem, in both the civilian and military world, and has grown dramatically over the past decade in civilian hospitals," said Rep. Vic Snyder, D-AK, at a House subcommittee hearing Wednesday on what the military is doing to deal with multi-drug resistant organisms, aka superbugs.
The military, according to the military physicians who testified to the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, has ramped up anti-infection measures over the past few years in the areas of prevention through standardized practices, detection through screenings and surveillance, and control through isolation, sanitization and the targeted use of antibiotics.
"While considerable progress has been made in controlling infection, the problem has not been solved," Congressman Snyder said. "New outbreaks will be a continuing challenge."
In July of this year, Dr. Stuart Levy, director of the Center for Adaptation Genetics and Drug Resistance at Tufts University School of Medicine, and a world-renowned expert on superbugs, appeared before another House subcommittee.
"We are not gaining ground in the struggle against antibiotic resistance," Levy said. "All of us - you, me and your constituents - are at ever greater risk of contracting a resistant bacterial infection and even one that is untreatable."
Levy explained to lawmakers "the paradoxical nature of human engagement with antibiotics."
"On the one hand, these miraculous drugs are pillars of modern medicine, helping us to manage and prevent dangerous bacterial infections and save lives. On the other hand, the widespread use - and misuse - of antibiotic drugs has spawned the evolution of life-threatening bacteria that render our current antibiotics useless," he said.
While the military physicians in their testimony this week, and the military branches in their efforts over the past several years, concentrated on prevention and control of superbugs, Levy took aim at the root cause of the problem - the overuse and misuse of antibiotics.
"Some progress has been made in developing protocols and encouraging more judicious use of antibiotics in human medicine," Levy told lawmakers in July. "But there has been precious little progress with regard to stemming the spigot of antibiotics flowing into animal agriculture."
Kathleen Young is the executive director of the Alliance for the Prudent Use of Antibiotics, a worldwide organization founded by Levy.
"The problem is that the animal agriculture industry makes massive use of low-dose antibiotics for growth promotion and in place of effective infection prevention methods," Young said, adding that the farm animal population is much larger than the human population.
The low-dose antibiotics do not kill the disease. They make the disease stronger, more resistant to those and other antibiotics. The animals - the cattle, pigs and chickens - thus treated become superbug factories. The diseases stay in them and they wash off them to infect the surrounding environment.
"The diseases are not only spread around. The superbugs propagate, making more superbugs," she said.
On the human side, antibiotics are still widely misused, Young said.
"Often, the diagnostics used to determine what bacteria is ailing a person are not precise," she said. "So the doctor, out of convenience, will use a broad spectrum antibiotic."
But a broad spectrum antibiotic - the popular Cipro, for example -- may not kill the specific bug, making it stronger.
Superbugs get into hospital settings, propagate and spread. When a patient actually needs an antibiotic in, say, a serious operation to stem infection, the antibiotic may not work. The physician goes to another type of antibiotic. That also may not work. The superbug is resisting. Another type of antibiotic is tried, if the patient is still alive for the trial.
Not only is there the threat to health and life, costs rise as more antibiotics are used to lesser and lesser effect, Young said.
Levy and Young say that the animal agriculture industry, and the pharmaceutical industry that supplies the antibiotics, have not responded to the outcry of professionals to curb non-therapeutic antibiotic use.
"The solution requires a multi-dimensional, multi-stakeholder approach," Young said. "The animal farming industry and Big Pharma do not want to cooperate."
Levy pointed out that the Food and Drug Administration has made plain to the animal farming industry that their use of antibiotics for growth promotion is dangerous to the public health. But FDA's guidance has no clout, and .the industry ignores it.
"Agribusiness has fought efforts to curtail overuse of antibiotics every step of the way," Levy said. "We've given moral suasion, medical urgency, scientific study and voluntary guidance its chance and the problem has only grown worse. We can't wait any longer. Congress must act."
Congress has at least begun to act. In July 2009, Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-NY, introduced the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act, and the late Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-MA, sponsored the Senate version of the bill.
Slaughter's bill would phase out the use of the seven classes of medically significant antibiotics that are currently approved for nontherapeutic use in animal agriculture and, so people will better know what's in their chicken and burgers and pork chops, require producers of agricultural antibiotics to report the quantity of drugs they sell and information on the claimed purpose.
The bill is idle in a House committee. Young, however, said there is still interest in the bill and has hope that it will move in the future.
"Its provisions are similar to those of a law passed by the European Union that bans antibiotics for food animals and orders surveillance of the use of all antibiotics," she said. "We need to move in that direction."
Friday, October 22, 2010
Bill Clinton became a vegan, lost 24 pounds, healing himself by not ingesting any cholesterol.
Former US President Bill Clinton recently confirmed that he is indeed eating a mainly vegan diet. In the interview, the former president explains the reason behind his decision to go vegan.
“I’m trying to be one of those experimenters,” said Clinton. “Since 1986, several hundred people who have tried essentially a plant-based diet, not ingesting any cholesterol from any source, has seen their bodies start to heal themselves — break up the arterial blockage, break up the calcium deposits around the heart. 82 percent of the people who have done this have had this result, so I want to see if I can be one of them.”
Clinton decided to adopt the diet in the early part of May 2010. While he does occasionally eat fish, the former president otherwise follows a strict vegan diet.
What made him go vegan? Clinton has read many books on the topic, including books by T. Colin Campbell, Caldwell Esselstyn and Dr. Dean Ornish. Although losing weight was a benefit of the dietary change, the choice to go vegan was about more than just losing weight.
With time, Clinton could become the most outspoken proponent of a complete vegan diet.
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Herb Swanson for The New York Times
From Tom Zeller at the Green blog in the New York Times
Click here to read a response from our friends at RenewableEnergyWorld.com
As I mentioned in Sunday’s Times, the nation’s building stock plays a bigger role in energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions than many Americans might realize — accounting for as much as 40 percent of primary energy use, 70 percent of electricity consumption and nearly 40 percent of carbon-dioxide emissions.
Why? Well, one reason, according to Laura Briggs, a professor of architecture, interior design and lighting at Parsons the New School for Design, is that for most of the 20th century, the architecture and design world has remained quite separate from engineering.
“The main hurdle to seeing more energy-efficient building is a lack of knowledge,” she said in an interview last summer. “We’ve done a really bad job as educators in linking building sciences with architectural aesthetics.”
In other words, while American architects are well schooled in matters of design, they often receive little training in the physics of how a structure breathes, how it consumes energy and how best to elevate its overall efficiency.
This is changing, of course, as evidenced by the budding forest of “green” building standards and certifications on the market, from the United States Green Building Council’s LEED for Homes point system to what is arguably the most recognizable label for many Americans: the federal government’s own Energy Star program.
Indeed, more than 1 million Energy Star qualified homes, which consume at least 15 percent less energy than conventional construction, have now been built in the United States, according to the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy, which jointly administer the program.
That might sound good, but advocates of more aggressive building protocols like the passive house standard, which aims for homes that use up to 80 percent less energy overall than conventional construction, say the lack of ambitious targets may actually be hindering the effort to address pressing problems like global warming.
“If everybody keeps building to the Energy Star standard, just meeting that, we’re not going to solve our global problems, and our buildings are not going to be ultimately reducing our impact on the environment,” said Peter Schneider, a project manager with the Vermont Energy Investment Corporation, a nonprofit charged with administering the state’s efficiency programs. Mr. Schneider was on hand to administer the preliminary blower-door test on the Landau house, the passive house that I profiled on Sunday.
“What we need to be doing,” Mr. Schneider said, “is what passive-house is doing.”
Monday, October 18, 2010
A quintessential Italian town of 2,700 people in Italy’s poor mountainous center, with its well-maintained church and ruined castle, Tocco is in most ways stuck in yesteryear. Old men talking politics fill gritty bars, and old women wander through the market. The olive harvest is the most important event on the calendar.
Yet, from an energy perspective, Tocco is very much tomorrow. In addition to the town’s wind turbines, solar panels generate electricity at its ancient cemetery and sports complex, as well as at a growing number of private residences.
“Normally when you think about energy you think about big plants, but here what’s interesting is that local municipalities have been very active,” said Edoardo Zanchini, in charge of Legambiente’s energy division. “That this can happen in a place like Italy is really impressive.”
Italy is an unlikely backdrop for a renewable revolution. It has been repeatedly criticized by the European Union for failing to follow the bloc’s environmental directives. It is not on track to meet either its European Union-mandated emissions-reduction target or its commitment to get 17 percent of its total power from renewable sources by 2020, experts say.
Currently, only 7 percent of Italy’s power comes from renewable sources.
But the growth of small renewable projects in towns like Tocco — not only in Italy, but also in other countries — highlights the way that shifting energy economics are often more important than national planning in promoting alternative energy.
Tocco was motivated to become an early adapter because Italy already had among the highest electricity rates in Europe, and nearly three times the average in the United States, and it could not cope with the wild fluctuations in fossil fuel prices and supply that prevailed during the past decade.
At the same time, the costs of renewable energy have been falling rapidly. And as in much of Europe, the lure of alternative power here was sweetened by feed-in tariffs — government guarantees to buy renewable electricity at an attractive set price from any company, city or household that produces it.
In the United States, where electricity is cheap and government policy has favored setting minimum standards for the percentage of energy produced from renewable sources rather than direct economic incentives like Europe’s feed-in tariffs, stimulating alternative energy has been only mildly successful. But in countries where energy from fossil fuels is naturally expensive — or rendered so because of a carbon tax — and there is money to be made, renewable energy quickly starts to flow, even in unlikely places like Tocco.
With its four wind turbines (two completed in 2007 and two last year), Tocco is now essentially energy independent from a financial standpoint, generating 30 percent more electricity than it uses. Production of green electricity earned the town 170,000 euros, or more than $200,000, last year. The town is renovating the school for earthquake protection and has tripled the budget for street cleaners.
Kieran McNamara, Italy desk officer for the International Energy Agency, said that although small renewable energy projects were not enough to sustain an entire industrial economy like Italy’s, they were important.
“These small projects have their own intrinsic value and make a very, very positive contribution in countries where electricity prices are high,” Mr. McNamara said.
Saturday, October 16, 2010
An informative piece from our new friends at Plant And Be Happy
Modern agricultural science considers soil in terms of chemicals. A better way to see the soil is in terms of energy. Energy flows between the earth’s two poles.
The various mineral compounds in the soil allow this energy to flow in different amounts. If you get too much mineralization you can have too much flow. Too little and you won’t have enough energy flow.
Let’s take a practical example. If you fill a bathtub with distilled water, turn on a hair dryer, and drop it in, what will happen?
Nothing – because it is distilled water.
Now add some minerals, such as epsom salts – which is magnesium sulfate, two necessary minerals in the soil. If you’re in the tub of distilled water when the hair dryer is dropped in, and you slowly add epsom salt, at some point your body will start to tingle. As you keep adding more you’ll start feeling uncomfortable. Keep going and you’ll get seriously shocked, and if you get enough salts in the water, you’ll kill yourself instantly.
Please don’t try this experiment at home!
It is the same with plants. You might hear about “burning the plant roots” by adding too much fertilizer. What’s actually happening is that there is too much electrical current flowing, that’s what burns the plants. Mosture content also impacts this – if your soil is very wet the plants won’t get burned as much, but when it starts to dry out a little then they’ll get burned more. It’s like letting the bathtub water evaporate – the mineral concentration is getting higher and the energy flow increases.
Now suppose there is a natural current in the water that you can’t turn off. And you want to take a bath, and you want some epsom salts because it’s good for sore muscles and you worked hard in the garden all day. How do you prevent yourself from getting shocked? (Remember there is a hypothetical current that you can’t turn off.) How do you know how much epsom salt you can safely add?
You can test the conductivity of the water for minerals already in solution, and only add epsom salts if the conductivity is low enough. And you can test while you’re adding to make sure you don’t add too much.
Similarly, suppose you need some minerals in your garden, because you see some mineral deficiencies in the plants. An example can be found here: http://4e.plantphys.net/article.php?ch=3&id=289.
But how much should be applied?
Test the conductivity of the soil. If it is already high and you add more minerals you can burn the plants. This also applies to organic fertilizers, although there is less chance because most organic fertilizers have lower percentages of minerals.
Therefore we only fertilize when the conductivity is low. This won’t tell you what minerals are needed – that is done with a soil test and by watching the plants for signs of nutrient excesses or deficiencies – but it will tell you whether or not it is safe to add nutrients, and prevent you from adding too much.
How do you test your soil conductivity? The easiest and cheapest way is with an electrical conductivity meter (EC meter). You can buy them online for as little as $30-40.
If you have a TDS meter (Total Dissolved Solids) you can also use it - but you have to convert the reading by multiplying by 1.7. TDS meters are often sold with RO water purifier units. For more detailed information on conversions between EC and TDS see http://www.hydroponics.net/learn/debate_over_ec_and_tds.asp
First prepare your sample to test. Take a small sample of soil in one cup, and mix it with an equal volume of DISTILLED water from another cup. The soil should not have any pieces of organic matter in it. ½ cup of soil and ½ cup of water is sufficient. Stir the mixture up really well and let it sit for about 10 minutes. Stir it up again, and take a reading by inserting the meter tip into the mixture.
If the number is less than 200 you should fertilize. (Remember to adjust the reading for TDS meters.) What kind of minerals you add will be according to the soil test results or according to any mineral deficiencies you see in the plants. Don’t just add indiscriminately unless you can see that you need it, or based on the annual soil test.
Conventional agriculture often says (as an example) “side dress with x amount of nitrogen after two months.” The result is often a waste of fertilizer, and over-fertilization which can bring a host of other problems – not the least of which is pollution of water supplies. Excess nitrogen can also increase pest problems and produces low-quality food.
Conductivity around 200 or below means your plants will not grow much. Conductivity at around 1000 means you have far too much nutrients or salts already, which will usually be evident by problems in the garden such as root rot, nematodes or plant wilt.
If the conductivity is above 600 then you should not fertilize unless you really know what you’re doing, because there is a good chance you’ll burn the plants. And if is between 200 and 600 then you can fertilize, but do so with caution if it is above 400. A range of around 200-500 is very good for robust growth.
In new gardens that are actively planted you sometimes cannot put the full quantity of minerals needed all at once, because you might burn the plants. Some beginning soils are very deficient in nutrients that the plants need. If your soil is in the upper range it is better to fertilize more frequently with less fertilizer, cautiously.
Fertilizers include organic sources such as seed meals, and any other type of fertilizer or soil amendment. If you’re adding compost, you can also test the conductivity of the compost itself. Finished compost should have a conductivity of around 1500, whereas unfinished compost (which should never be added to the garden) can be as high as 100,000.
Remember the first rule of high brix gardening is to only put into the soil what the soil needs, and that is based on the soil test. (Get the weak-acid test, also known as the Morgan Extract.)
For more detailed information here are two great sources.
And when you’re finally finished in the garden for the day, take a nice epsom salt bath for those sore muscles, but without the electricity!
Friday, October 15, 2010
This week at Hare Krishna Valley there was a lot happening. The house which my wife and I are living in is off the grid, not being connected to mains electricity or gas. In order to generate more power to run a 12 volt fridge, four more solar panels were installed on the roof to supply the necessary energy. This keeps in line with our philosophy at Hare Krishna Valley to explore and employ alternative energy resources.
Work was also begun on our water bore, which is being dug to supply high quality water for our agricultural pursuits and domestic uses. The people who were digging the bore found water between 31-37 meters underground, and they feel that there will be a sufficient supply for our needs.
On the weekend we were the main caterers at the Birregurra Festival, which attracts over 10,000 people. Hundreds of people enjoyed the taste of Krishna prasadam, food offered to Krishna with love and devotion. Some people told us that they had waited the whole year to come and taste the halva (sweet semolina pudding) which we were serving.
We look forward to speaking to you again next week.
Until then, I remain yours in the service of Srila Prabhupada.
Thursday, October 14, 2010
From Kent Hayden at The Huffington Post
At the end of a journeyman's summer, I lay in an unfamiliar wood, watching the stars assert themselves upon a deepening night. My wanderlust faded into a gentle homesickness, and I dreamt of cookies, warm chocolate chip cookies and coffee, the deepest of comforts from my Christmases and homecomings. I flipped through the remembered textures and smells of soft dough and chocolate, and I was struck by the centrality of food to my story. Eating has marked my celebrations and my tragedies. Its rituals surround and define the points of reference by which I know my life, and from which I collect hints of life's meaning.
I imagine that such an association with eating is, or has been, the norm for most of us. Across cultures and traditions, the cycles of gathering, preparing, and consuming food have been occasions of ritual and storytelling. They have led to a series of practices and beliefs that ground people in their social, environmental, and existential contexts. But these connections are fading as our eating loses its grasp upon what sacred moments we have left.
Our ancestors indwelled a world flush with the sacrosanct. Hunters connected with their prey as a part of a single chain. They spoke to the spirit of the slain animal and respected its sacrifice. Farmers tended an order that both depended upon and sustained them. They danced and sang for the rain and acknowledged their place in the cycles of nature. Cooking was sanctified as communities grew and defined themselves in terms of their diets. Laws and rituals were developed to bind people together through food. And the final act of eating was sanctified as sustenance was passed between the work-rough hands that contributed to its production. Prayers were spoken and bread was broken as friends and families fed their living with a sense of gratitude.
As these relationships and connections began to be displaced by considerations of utility and efficiency, the sacred was squeezed out of our food system from the outside in. Scanning cartoon-faced packages and dropping cold-cuts into a basket is rarely occasioned with reflection upon one's place in the universe. The commodification of our eating eliminated the empathy between consumers and consumed. Chemically nurtured and internationally distributed monocropping robbed farmers of their connection with the rhythms
of the soil and their relationship with their customers. Mass-produced and nutritionally bankrupt diets broke the social ties of traditional cuisine. And the subjugation of meal-time to our commutes and our sitcoms eliminated the occasion for reflection upon and gratitude for the simple good of enjoying our food.
Our eating has been secularized. It has been robbed of its poetry and beaten into the staccato uniformity of packaged snacks. We have insisted upon efficiency as the only criterion of our culinary aesthetic. As a direct result, our prey suffer needlessly, our planet is wilting under the pressures of our demands, our neighbors are strangers, we are unhealthy, and our place in the order of things is lost behind the incessant pace of our living.
We are in desperate need of reconnecting our eating with the sacred. This needn't mean a return to the perspectives and practices of the past. It does necessarily mean a reevaluation of the fundamental principles by which we relate to our eating. It means including considerations of beauty and meaning in the design of our food systems.
Conveniently, our religious traditions are equipped with tools and traditions for just such a reconsideration. Ramadan, Yom Kippur, the Sabbath, and the Eucharist -- all opportunities for exploring and restoring connections between the sacred and our eating.
But to take advantage of this shared concern for sacred eating, we must be willing to crack open the shells that have formed around our rituals and allow them to inform our everyday living. They must be set loose on our reality so that our memories of warm cookies and coffee continue to bind together not only our own narratives, but our communities, our planet, and the thousand little relationships out of which the sacred emerges.
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
WASHINGTON — Solar power is coming to President Barack Obama's house.
The most famous residence in America, which has already boosted its green credentials by planting a garden, plans to install solar panels atop the White House's living quarters. The solar panels are to be installed by spring 2011, and will heat water for the first family and supply some electricity.
Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced the plans Tuesday in Washington at a conference of local, state, academic and nonprofit leaders aimed at identifying how the federal government can improve its environmental performance.
Former Presidents Jimmy Carter and George W. Bush both tapped the sun during their days in the White House. Carter in the late 1970s spent $30,000 on a solar water-heating system for West Wing offices. Bush's solar systems powered a maintenance building and some of the mansion, and heated water for the pool.
Obama, who has championed renewable energy, has been under increasing pressure by the solar industry and environmental activists to lead by example by installing solar at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, something White House officials said has been under consideration since he first took office.
The decision perhaps has more import now after legislation to reduce global warming pollution died in the Senate, despite the White House's support. Obama has vowed to try again on a smaller scale.
Last month, global warming activists with 350.org carried one of Carter's solar panels — which were removed in 1986 — from Unity College in Maine to Washington to urge Obama to put solar panels on his roof. It was part of a global campaign to persuade world leaders to install solar on their homes. After a meeting with White House officials, they left Washington without a commitment.
Bill McKibben, the founder of the 350.org group, said Tuesday the administration did the right thing.
"If it has anything like the effect of the White House garden, it could be a trigger for a wave of solar installations across the country and around the world," McKibben said in a statement.
What was unclear Tuesday was how much the White House solar project will cost, and how much fossil fuel-based electricity it would displace, since the system is not yet designed and the White House will not disclose how much energy is needed to keep the president's lights turned on.
Based on available roof space, administration officials expect the photovoltaic system will include between 25 to 75 panels and will convert sunlight into 19,700 kilowatt hours of electricity a year. That would save a typical household $2,300 on its electricity bill, based on commercial rates in Washington. The solar hot water heating system, based on government estimates, could save an additional $1,000 a year.
But the White House is far from a typical house, noted Danny Kennedy, the founder of California-based solar energy provider Sungevity, which offered to put solar panels on the White House for free earlier this year as part of a campaign called SolarontheWhiteHouse.
Kennedy estimates that outfitting Obama's pad with solar would cost about $100,000 if paid out of pocket. But the money would be earned back with savings on the electric bill in the first five years, he said in an interview from the Maldives, where he is installing 48 solar panels on President Mohammed Nasheed's private residence.
Kennedy said his calculations were based on a 5,000 square-foot California home, which uses 60,000 kilowatt hours of electricity annually.
"They use a lot more electricity than that," Kennedy said. "We had to make a few assumptions about what electricity cost was in the White House."
Copyright © 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
Sunday, October 10, 2010
ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates — Back in 2007, when the government here announced its plan for “the world’s first zero-carbon city” on the outskirts of Abu Dhabi, many Westerners dismissed it as a gimmick — a faddish follow-up to neighboring Dubai’s half-mile-high tower in the desert and archipelago of man-made islands in the shape of palm trees.
A modern interpretation of the Arabian wind tower is used to cool the plaza areas at the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology. More Photos »
Designed by Foster & Partners, a firm known for feats of technological wizardry, the city, called Masdar, would be a perfect square, nearly a mile on each side, raised on a 23-foot-high base to capture desert breezes. Beneath its labyrinth of pedestrian streets, a fleet of driverless electric cars would navigate silently through dimly lit tunnels. The project conjured both a walled medieval fortress and an upgraded version of the Magic Kingdom’s Tomorrowland.
Well, those early assessments turned out to be wrong. By this past week, as people began moving into the first section of the project to be completed — a 3 ½-acre zone surrounding a sustainability-oriented research institute — it was clear that Masdar is something more daring and more noxious.
Norman Foster, the firm’s principal partner, has blended high-tech design and ancient construction practices into an intriguing model for a sustainable community, in a country whose oil money allows it to build almost anything, even as pressure grows to prepare for the day the wells run dry. And he has worked in an alluring social vision, in which local tradition and the drive toward modernization are no longer in conflict — a vision that, at first glance, seems to brim with hope.
But his design also reflects the gated-community mentality that has been spreading like a cancer around the globe for decades. Its utopian purity, and its isolation from the life of the real city next door, are grounded in the belief — accepted by most people today, it seems — that the only way to create a truly harmonious community, green or otherwise, is to cut it off from the world at large.
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Click here to read the full article from the New York Times
It’s been a busy week for vegetables.
The baby-carrot industry tried to reposition its product as junk food, starting a $25 million advertising campaign whose defining characteristics include heavy metal music, a phone app and a young man in a grocery cart dodging baby-carrot bullets fired by a woman in tight jeans.
On the East Side of Manhattan, crates of heirloom vegetables with names like Lady Godiva squash were auctioned for $1,000 each at Sotheby’s, where the wealthy are more accustomed to bidding on Warhols and Picassos than turnips and tomatoes.
Both efforts, high and low, are aimed at the same thing: getting America to eat its vegetables.
Good luck. Despite two decades of public health initiatives, stricter government dietary guidelines, record growth of farmers’ markets and the ease of products like salad in a bag, Americans still aren’t eating enough vegetables.
This month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a comprehensive nationwide behavioral study of fruit and vegetable consumption. Only 26 percent of the nation’s adults eat vegetables three or more times a day, it concluded. (And no, that does not include French fries.)
These results fell far short of health objectives set by the federal government a decade ago. The amount of vegetables Americans eat is less than half of what public health officials had hoped. Worse, it has barely budged since 2000.
“It is disappointing,” said Dr. Jennifer Foltz, a pediatrician who helped compile the report. She, like other public health officials dedicated to improving the American diet, concedes that perhaps simply telling people to eat more vegetables isn’t working.
“There is nothing you can say that will get people to eat more veggies,” said Harry Balzer, the chief industry analyst for the NPD Group, a market research company.
This week, the company released the 25th edition of its annual report, “Eating Patterns in America.” The news there wasn’t good, either. For example, only 23 percent of meals include a vegetable, Mr. Balzer said. (Again, fries don’t count, but lettuce on a hamburger does.) The number of dinners prepared at home that included a salad was 17 percent; in 1994, it was 22 percent.
At restaurants, salads ordered as a main course at either lunch or dinner dropped by half since 1989, to a mere 5 percent, he said.
The nation has long had a complicated relationship with vegetables. People know that vegetables can improve health. But they’re a lot of work. In refrigerators all over the country, produce often dies a slow, limp death because life becomes too busy.
“The moment you have something fresh you have to schedule your life around using it,” Mr. Balzer said.
In the wrong hands, vegetables can taste terrible. And compared with a lot of food at the supermarket, they’re a relatively expensive way to fill a belly.
“Before we want health, we want taste, we want convenience and we want low cost,” Mr. Balzer said.
Melissa MacBride, a busy Manhattan resident who works for a pharmaceuticals company, would eat more vegetables if they weren’t, in her words, “a pain.”
“An apple you can just grab,” she said. “But what am I going to do, put a piece of kale in my purse?”
No one really wants to admit that they don’t eat vegetables. A nurse who works at the Hospital for Special Surgery on the Upper East Side openly acknowledges that vegetables make her gag. Still, she begged to not be publicly identified because she is in the health care field and knows that she should set a better example.
David Bernstein, who lives in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, is sheepish about the lack of vegetables in his diet. He waits tables at the hip M. Wells restaurant in Long Island City, Queens, and knows his way around the Union Square Greenmarket. But his diet consists largely of bacon, yogurt and frozen stuffed chicken breasts.
“It’s just like any other bad habit,” he said. “Part of it is just that vegetables are a little intimidating. I’m not afraid of zucchinis, but I just don’t know how to cook them.”
Monday, October 4, 2010
Help Us Get Ready for the Winter!
If you are looking for Sponsor an Earthworm or Bookworm click HERE.
Donate to: Help Us Get Ready for the Winter!
Soon winter will be upon us and there are a few projects we need to complete and equipment that we need to purchase before the snow falls.
Whatever you can donate to help us get ready for winter will help us protect the cows during this winter's cold ice and snow.
Last winter was a wake up call as to what can happen if there is a hard winter.
- Old gutters last winter. When the snow melted, the gutters could not
- hold all the water and flooded the front part of the barn.
Barn Roof Gutters Replaced
The present gutter is too small to support the amount of water that comes off the large barn roof (75' by 185') due to rain and snow. We had previously thought that we just had to repair it but after consultation and closer observation the conclusion is that the present gutter pipe needs to be replaced mainly because it is not wide enough to catch the amount of water that comes off the roof. The goal is that the rain water and melting snow that previously flooded areas of the barn and was deteriorating some of the beams and roofing materials will be more efficiently directed away from the barn by replacing the present gutter with a larger one of commercial quality.
Doors on Geriatric Barn (Completed!)
The geriatric barn is used for old cows, ill cows, dying cows or very young cows. During the last 2 years snow and rain came through both sides of the barn covering 1/2 of the barn floor. This made it uncomfortable for the cows inside the barn since some were not well and could not move freely.
Before next winter we would like to build two sets of sliding doors on both sides of the barn to prevent the snow and rain from coming into the barn. The sliding doors would give the option of leaving that space open in decent weather so the cows can have lots of fresh air.
- The trees on the road bowing with snow.
Telescoping Pole Pruners
Trees and branches are overhanging the road to ISCOWP. When heavy snow falls, the branches and trees can break and block the road. Our neighbor, who moved, use to cut the branches. With these pruners we will be able to maintain the plant growth along the road. Last winter we could not get down the road for 1 week. Then we had a few days of open road and again another week of road blockage.
We were without power several times, once for almost 2 weeks.
Power outages happen here too often and last too long causing water shortage for the cows and garden not to mention the ISCOWP staff. Freezers and computers would also be able to continue to operate with this generator.
Last year we bought a portable generator for one side of the farm. It was an emergency purchase and took care of the lack of water supply for the cows after 1 week of no electricity.
There are two sides to the farm, each on a different well and pump. To keep the ISCOWP services going during a power outage we need another generator. The generator we wish to purchase is a permanent unit that sits outside all year and gets turned on when there is the need. It is always connected to the power of the building being serviced. After attachments and installation we figure the cost to be:
This gives a total of :
To find out how you can help and our gifts to you:
Thanking you in advance,
Balabhadra and Chayadevi
(William E. Dove and Irene M. Dove)
ISCOWP Managing Directors
Saturday, October 2, 2010
Here is a short and sweet little pictorial (courtesy of Huff Post) touching on 8 organic food myths that also happen to coincide with many of my food pet peeves! Oh, joy.
Organic milk, such as Horizon brand, dumps its cows on massive feedlots and is an example of the lowpoints of agribusiness. How do you think Horizon sells its organic dairy so cheaply to Walmart? By carrying on in the same way that commercial dairies do–but with organic instead of conventionally grown grain.
Organic tv dinners–expensive crap wrapped in plastic packaging and then boxed. Waste.
Exotic, far-flung fruits and veggies make the list. I am definitely guilty of this one. Unfortunately, apples are an exotic fruit when you live in Florida. And the majority of organic apples that I’ve seen in the market come from New Zealand. Which, you know, is kind of on the other side of the world. One thing the Huffpo piece doesn’t touch on, but that I think is important to point out, is that the organic standards only apply to the growing process. Your organic bananas may be gassed with ethylene on the way to the market and nobody is going to say boo about it.
“Natural” advertised on the label. To paraphrase Michael Pollan, if it has a label, it probably isn’t natural.
Single Servings. Yes. This upsets me. I am not totally free of this. We do occasionally keep a stash some “natural” sugary granola bars for emergency situations, but in general, I am weary of snack packs and all the waste they generate.
Plastic water bottles. Cancer. Bad taste. Landfill. No thanks.
Soy junk is another item on the list that I must hang my guilty head in shame over. On road trips, it is our convenience food to fill up our kids. Tofu turkey. Smells like dog food to me. Vegan dog food I occasionally feed my children.
See, I am very judgmental when it comes to food, but am capable of admitting my wrongs. I feel more guilt over feeding my children lousy stuff or buying so called food with packaging than the average person.
Now, should I do a post about how there is truly no such thing as a “green remodel” (unless you salvage *everything*). How about you? Do you experience a direct correlation between your consumption and your accumulation of guilt?