Ecology

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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This thing is so awesome.  I would mortgage my soul for one of these (Satan, if you're reading this...).  It may be red on the outside but the inside is all green.  Since the engine is completely electric it is carbon emission free.  It can legally cut lanes at blistering speeds, 0-60 in 4 seconds... thats faster then the Lamborghini Gallardo!  

You and your passenger sit like F1 pilots in seats actually taken from fighter planes.  The designer claims its very safe using the same roll-bar technology that NASCAR drivers use. 

Still aren't impressed. Watch this...

kindle1.jpgMy husband Dave always seems to be ahead of the cool gadget curve, making sure we're the first kids on our block to have the latest and greatest tech toys. We've had our Wii for years, stood in line the first week for the iPhone (him not me), sold our regular laptop to upgrade to the MacBook Air (worth every penny) and are still jamming away a year later on Rock Band when most people have never even played the game. I couldn't imagine what he was going to pull out of his Christmas stocking this year. Thanks to the generosity of his boss, it was a Kindle. For those of you who shop on Amazon – which would be almost everyone with an Internet connection on the planet – the Kindle is not exactly new, but it sure is hard to get your hands on, which is a bit of a surprise considering how expensive it is.

I certainly wasn't going to pay $359 for this "toy." As an avid book reader who buys 30-40 books a year, I'd make my money back pretty quickly, considering the regular cost of new books. Of course, to actually read anything on it, you have to pay more, around $8-10 per download, which is about half the price of most hardcovers and over time seems like a good deal. Ultimately, my decision to not jump on this bandwagon was all about the experience. Sure, the "books" are cheaper and kept all in one place (you can switch from book to book at the click of a button and the device even keeps your place for you, which is nice), but what about the physicality of watching the story unfold as you turn the page? Of the feel of the paper beneath your fingertips? Of getting the latest book by your favorite author right off the press?

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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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Just in time for Earth Day, we've discoverd two absolutely cute and cost-cutting ways you can help eliminate waste and save the planet.

vegsaversFOOD HUGGERS

We all spend a lot of money on plastic wrap and aluminum foil, but let's face it...these items are filling up landfills! Plus they are pricey too. Now you can ditch the plastic/ aluminum foil and give your fruits and veggies a hug that does the same job! Food Huggers is a brand new food gadget that simply slips onto the unused portions of your fruits and veggies.

Food Huggers are silicone covers, and they can prolong the life of your produce by providing a seal around your unused portions. A set of four Food Huggers is around $19 and they last for years. They even make one for our favorite fruit/vegatable - avocados! You can purchase them at www.foodhuggers.com

 

LOO HOO WOOL DRYER BALLS

loohoo deluxe starterWho said laundry can’t be fun? LooHoo Wool Dryer Balls are colorful, reusable dryer balls that reduce drying time (by 25 percent) and soften laundry naturally! LooHoos lift and separate clothes creating a constant motion that allows more air to circulate around your wet laundry so it dries faster. Made of lanolin-rich wool, about the size of a baseball, these dryer balls can be used for years and the hues will never transfer onto your clothes. The wool fibers absorb static cling, and an added bonus, wool absorbs odors too… so no more stinky socks!

Unlike many commercial dryer sheets, LooHoo Wool Dryer Balls are all-natural and contain no harmful chemicals or toxins, making them ideal to use with all laundry including delicate garments such as baby clothes and cloth diapers. Sold individually, or in sets of three. Save money by not spending your extra cash on commercial dryer sheets... LooHoos will last for months! www.loo-hoo.com Retail price point starts at $24.

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