Ecology

hailstorm.jpg So we had a hail storm yesterday. 

We'd had kind of crazy weather all day - blue skies and puffy clouds one minute, dark gray clouds, pouring rain and sky to ground lightning the next.  The national weather service (or whoever does this) even interrupted TV programming to run some severe weather warnings throughout the afternoon.

Initially the warnings were about the lightning in the area, but then around dinner time they mentioned the hail.  Bill and I had been in the kitchen - he was making dinner and I was making the TWD Mixed Berry Crumble (see previous post) - when the latest warning came on, and we went downstairs to listen (we have one TV, and it's in the basement), and after hearing about possible hail, and just sort of shrugging it off, we went back up to the kitchen to see - yes - hail coming down.

So we called the kids, I got my camera, Bill got the DVD camera, and we hung out, mostly at the big front window, watching the spectacle.

It's good to do things as a family.

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earth_drop.jpg Here are four things you can do to reduce your carbon footprint in 2008.
 
1)     Buy a Terra Pass at: http://www.terrapass.com

You can get one to offset your automobile, air travel, home energy use…or all three!
 
2)     Cut down on your electric bill by turning off the lights or appliances that are not in use, or if you are in the market for a new appliance, buy one with a high energy star rating.

3)     Get out of your car! Ride a bike, if weather & fitness permit. Take public transportation, if it’s available near you.

4)     Buy compact fluorescent bulbs for as many lights in your house as you can. You’ll save power, AND some money!

Happy New Year!
Ed 

terrasse1.jpg Around 6 years ago, our family took a trip to France. Our friends have a house in Ramtuelle, a Medieval city built in a circle overlooking the sparkling Mediterranean. Honest, it does sparkle. We frolicked on Pamelonne Beach, made famous by the production company filming And God Created Woman with Brigitte Bardot and we ate at Club Cinquante Cinque (55). 

You know how you often hear “oh, the restaurant’s right on the beach”? Well, Club Cinquante Cinque (55), really, really IS right on the beach. Sitting around a large table in the canvas-shaded patio of this beautiful place, we had no idea how hard it was to get a reservation. Our girls, aged 12 and 7, adapted to the lifestyle like seasoned European travelers.  The kids ate everything that came to the table. Fried smelt were eaten like potato chips…that is, until the real thing came along (one of the restaurant’s specialties). Lena and Hannah devoured catch of the day and seasonal vegetables such as artichokes without the usual suspicion, wrinkled noses and coaxing. Score! After 2 weeks in Ramatuelle, we went off to Paris. 

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unnamedlake.jpg Checks and balances.  Have you ever thought about how amazing those two words are?   In the simplest sense, writing checks and figuring out how much money you have left after you’ve written them.  In the larger sense, if something is depleted or out of whack, something comes along to reestablish order.

Which brings me to AANWR....

On the northern edge of our continent, stretching from the peaks of the Brooks Range across a vast expanse of tundra to the Beaufort Sea, lies Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. An American Serengeti, the Arctic Refuge continues to pulse with million-year-old ecological rhythms. It is the greatest living reminder that conserving nature in its wild state is a core American value.
                    (National Resources Defense Council)

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eat_local.jpg The future of our food system is at a critical juncture, says Arty Mangan, Food and Farming Program Director for Bioneers. “The industrial agriculture industry says that they want to feed the world, but at what cost?”

The cost Mangan is referring to is the system of subsidies that eliminates crop diversity, cost structures that force out small farmers, international trade agreements that favor free flow of grain over local food security, and farming methods that favor profit over food safety or environmental health.

“The system has been rewarding the wrong thing,” Mangan concludes.

One of the main methods being used to transform our food system is localization. The power of localization becomes clear when discussing the “multiplier effect.” If a dollar is spent at a chain store to buy imported produce, only about ten cents ends up in the local community. In contrast, if a dollar is spent at a local market buying locally produced food, that dollar ends up generating over $5 in local benefits.

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