Mom, stop reading now. I bought a bike. I am in my early 30′s and I haven’t owned a bicycle or ridden one since I was 8 years old (partly because my mother made me think I was going to get hit by a crazy driver who didn’t stop at a stop sign). The first day I bought it I got in and rode down the street. I had a smile plastered on my face the whole way. I felt like a kid again.
When I lived in NYC I walked everywhere or took public transportation. I would never ride a bike in Manhattan- I think that’s tempting fate. I also never owned a car until I moved upstate last year. It’s so interesting to me that I moved upstate for a slower more farm oriented life (it’s hard not to when your husband is a farmer) and yet I am making a bigger carbon footprint than I did before. I drive EVERYWHERE! And usually I am alone, I don’t even carpool. I fill up my tank of gas at least once a week and every time I do I cringe a little bit. I just visited NYC for 2 days and I walked everywhere. I was sooooooo exhausted when I got home but it made me realize I have totally become reliant on my car for transportation. I think part of the problem is that I now live somewhere that does not have a sophisticated public transportation system. Taking the bus will take at least double the time as a car. So, I bought a bike. I didn’t just buy a bike, I rescued one at the Troy Bike Rescue. People drop off old bikes and you can go and “adopt” one for very little money. So not only do I hope to drive less but I didn’t even buy a new bicycle, I recycled- baby steps.
I am going to be honest- I like meat. Nothing beats a good plate of meat and potatoes or the perfectly rare hamburger with all the fixin’s (I am not 100% sure if that apostrophe goes before or after the “s”). This may come as a surprise to those of you readers who see that I blog a lot about the farming industry. But, the stomach wants what the stomach wants. I always tell people I am a vegetarian in my heart and head but not my stomach. However, when I do eat meat I try to eat it responsibly. In the kosher industry that is really hard to come by, so we now eat meat maybe once a week, if that much. There was a great company in Colorado that shipped kosher meat to anywhere in the United States, but alas, they have gone under. There are a handful of other options that I am in the midst of exploring but in the meantime for all you vegetarians at heart that just cannot give up that juicy steak, here is a guide to how to be a more responsible meat eater.I was once given the opportunity to watch a goat being slaughtered, it was all part of a “know where your meat comes from” experience. I opted out. I want to know that my meat came from an animal that had a happy life but I do not need to watch it die in order to better appreciate its gifts. I could never eat something I watched die, but hey that’s just me. Apparently, a lot of other people who chose to watch the slaughter ate meat for the first time in 30 years!
Here we go again! Things have settled and I am working to get back up and running. We are working on getting the farm going again and we are looking into getting chickens this summer. It will be nice to have my own eggs and not search high and low for affordable organic free range eggs. In the meantime check out my article about the flood in the awesome magazine, Green Door.
That’s all I can say. This blog has totally fallen by the wayside but I aim to reinvigorate it. So much has changed: I got married, quit my job to move to upstate NY, survived the aftermath of Hurricane Irene and the decimation of our hay farm etc…. Hopefully now I will have some time to get back on the wagon. There are so many issues going on there is definitely no dearth of topics to blog about. Lately, anyone I tell that I have a Masters in Environmental Health Policy asks me where I stand on the fracking debate. So I really should use this blog as a forum to project my voice and tell you where I stand. Please stay tuned as I attempt to become more disciplined with my life – both real and cyber.
You may remember a post I wrote last year concerning mountaintop mining. Last week, the EPA revoked a permit allowing this practice from a mining company in West Virginia. Environmental advocates are cheering and local miners and businessmen are decrying the revocation as an illegal and unfair move. They say EPA is overreaching their authority. The consequences of mountaintop mining are devastating. Not only does it destroy the earth’s natural landscape but the runoff pollutes the local water systems. The mining industry is up in arms because the EPA is taking away jobs and commerce. I refuse to believe this is a binary issue. It cannot be that the two viable choices are jobs and pollution vs. no jobs and environmental preservation. There has to be a middle ground that provides jobs AND clean water and a beautiful landscape that includes mountains with their tops still intact. I applaud the EPA for this bold move as they faced extremely heavy opposition and I am offended that some say EPA is overstepping their bounds. THIS IS THEIR JOB- TO PROTECT THE ENVIRONMENT!!! (Their slogan is “40 years of protecting health and the environment”) As we saw this summer after the oil spill we MUST invest and explore clean energy options that make arguments like this moot.
There is an urban legend that Albert Einstein said that if the bees die out humans will die four years later. This is a prospect that scares me more than blackbirds falling out of the sky. A recent study out of University of Illinois, Urbana, reports that in addition to the honeybees, bumblebees are now experiencing rapid declines in population. We may forget that bees of all types are essential in food production. They pollinate crops and flowers and without them we would be in a major food crisis. There are many theories as to why the bees die. One of the more popular ones is Colony Collapse Disorder. Colony collapse disorder or honey bee depopulation syndrome is used to describe the phenomenon of the disappearance of the worker bees in a hive. Many scientists attribute the decline to the increased use of pesticides on our crops. Another reason the US needs to seriously consider a return to local, organic farming. Another theory is that cell phone radiation is affecting the bees. I wonder if I start my own bee colony if it would even help increase the population. Good thing I’m not allergic. Summer project?
We environmental health specialists have our fingers crossed that the 9/11 Health Bill, aka the James Zadroga Bill is going to be approved. The first responders were exposed to a bevy of toxins in the aftermath of the attacks and they should not have to go bankrupt treating their illnesses. Jon Stewart is championing this bill on his show and I encourage everyone to read up on it (myself included).
The Food Safety Modernization Act has passed the Senate and is now waiting approval in the House. If you read this blog regularly, you know that I am obsessed with factory farming and therefore am very interested in this Act. The bill would increase FDA inspections and make safety regulations more stringent all in an effort to protect the population from deadly outbreaks of e.coli et al.
The Cancun Climate Summit: not much happened. Really.
Thousands and thousands of apologies for my absence. Like a psychotherapist I felt like taking off the month of August and went on a blogging hiatus. That hiatus carried over to September and October but here I am. One of our former bloggers is now working on an anti-obesity campaign and just sent around this video. Take a look and feel free to re-post it. Please watch for more posts.
Two weeks ago someone mentioned the term “slow money” to me as if I knew what they were talking about. Not having a head for finance I just thought it was a term they teach you in business school that I really don’t care about. However, I was very wrong. Slow money is something very much environmentally related. The idea was created by a man named Woody Tasch. His long term goal is to get one million people to invest 1% of their income to food security, ecological diversity and nutritional health, to name a few. The speakers at this year’s Slow Money event reads like a who’s who list of characters from the movie Fast Food Nation. Chapters of Slow Money have been started around the country. I think this is an extraordinary idea. The government does not subsidize organic family farms and yet we have a food revolution afoot. How can we expect people to eat better and be more conscious about the food they buy if nobody is helping the farmers? I really like the idea of going beyond the CSA to help our local farmers. I am a little fuzzy though on how funds will be distributed… I will keep you updated.