Check out my new book, The Non-Toxic Avenger: What You Don't Know Can Hurt You, available from Amazon.

2012 Silver winner in the Health/Medicine/Nutrition Category of the Independent Publishers Book Awards

Friday, June 29, 2007

The Green Book - author interview

the green bookWell, for those of you just dying to read more about The Green Book, I submitted some interview questions to the authors and the following is their responses. If you want to find out more, check out my review of the book.

Enjoy!

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1. What was your biggest influence (people or otherwise) that made you an environmentalist - that inspired you to write this book?

First can I just say what a genius name Crunchy Chicken is, I love it!!

It’s funny I forget that I am a environmentalist. I think of myself first as a mother and then as someone who has so many questions that I want answered and that was my main inspiration for writing this book to answer all of my own questions.

2. You've added quite a few statistics regarding what kind of impact each suggested tip has to help people really see why it matters to do them. How difficult was it to compile the statistics for each entry?

This book was incredibly labor intensive. It took three people almost a year to complete all of the research and then we had a team of people triple check all of the work.

3. What was the most surprising thing you learned when doing your research? Was there anything you thought wouldn't matter as much, but really made a difference and vice-versa?

One thing I had never thought about before was rubber bands. They are synthetic and a a large amount of them are made from crude oil. When these are incinerated at the dump, they can cause health risks.

4. As an environmentalist, were you concerned that, by focusing on allowing people to still be "selfish", it gives them the impression that they are off the hook? That by encouraging low hanging fruit, people will feel placated and won't try to do as much as is needed to really lower their footprint?

This book is meant to be a starting point for everyone. It is welcoming and user-friendly and will hopefully draw people deeper into the green movement in their personal lives.

It shows that little things really do add up to big make a impact.

5. Which of the celebrity writings do you like the best - that really gets your message across?

I think that all of the celebrity anecdotes have something different and unique to offer to the reader and to the book, that is why those artists were chosen to be in the book. They each have such different perspectives and voices. Each piece is funny and thoughtful and worth a careful read!!

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And there you have it!

Have a great weekend! I'll be gearing up for Local Food Month which starts on Sunday. So, there's a cherry pie, homemade tofu and okara veggie burgers in my near future!

See you tomorrow for a silly post...

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

When is eating local worse?

Local Food Month - July 2007Sometimes focusing strictly on eating local can be a bad thing. What if your local producer uses conventional methods? What if your local producer is a mega-agribusiness that practices farming techniques that are deleterious to the environment? Think giant hog farms.

When choosing to eat local you need to weigh your options among your local growers. Choosing sustainable or organically grown over conventional is an easy decision if it's grown locally. But what if all you have are conventional products locally? Does it make sense to buy organic products if you have to ship it in from outside your "area"?

This is a decision that everyone has to make for themselves. As discussed in Michael Pollan's, The Omnivore's Dilemma, one farmer argues that buying organic from a giant producer at the very least removes those acres of produce from being farmed conventionally. So, even though that produce is grown in a mono-culture or those chickens have only "access" to the outside (but not truly free-range), it's better than the alternative.

Does this same line of thinking hold for conventional and local versus organic and distant? When it comes down to it I think each situation will depend, but my yardstick will be organic and distant over local and conventional. Of course, when choosing a U-Pick farm or facing down the options at the local farmer's market, this may just waver a bit. Sometimes I forget that just because I'm at a farmer's market doesn't mean that the grower is practicing sustainable farming. I have to remember to ask.

One of my readers brought up a book that addresses these issues: The Ethics of What We Eat: Why Our Food Choices Matter. I haven't read it yet, but it looks like it makes for a good read along with The Omnivore's Dilemma.

What about you? How will you decide? What do you do now?

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Green Clean

Clean n' GreenToday this post requires your input. I've been looking for green products (low or no toxic chemicals) to replace my regular cleaners.

So my question(s) for you, my friends, are as follows...

What is your favorite homemade or green product to clean:

1. bathrooms (replacing Comet)
2. countertops (replacing 409)
3. mildew (replacing X-14)
4. soap scum (replacing Comet)
5. windows (replacing Windex)
6. laundry (replacing Tide)
7. dishes (hand - replacing something like Joy)
8. dishes (machine - replacing Electrasol)
9. linoleum
10. wood floors
11. skin
12. hair
13. teeth (replacing Colgate)

Looking at the list of replacements above, it's amazing how toxic mainstream cleaners are. But, they work. How do your green replacements stack up? I've already switched out some cleaners but I'm not all impressed with some of them.

So, that's it! Now get crackin'. I want answers, people!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Environmentalists love Ed

Ed Begley, Jr.Sorry, Leo DiCaprio. Too bad, Robert Redford. The people have spoken and, well, 1 out of 3 readers prefer Ed Begley, Jr. over six other celebrity environmentalists.

Join in the excitement next month when Crunchy Chicken enlists the help of you, the readers, in interviewing Ed Begley, Jr. Those readers that participate will be entered in a drawing to win some fabulous swag.

Fixing the PlanetStart doing your homework now by checking out Living with Ed and Fixing the Planet!

And, stay tuned - July 15th is when the fun begins!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Local Food Month poll

Local Food Month - July 2007Well, it sounds like the almost 30+ people (so far) that will be participating in Local Food Month are already buying a lot of local, sustainable foods and are looking to up things with the challenge.

What better than to get a baseline of things but with a poll?



Also, if you haven't yet "signed up" and want to (if you are, you'll see your name/link on the sidebar to the right), let me know and I'll add a link to your blog so we can follow your progress!

One of the issues that has come up has been when to decide whether eating local is actually worse than buying something sustainably produced, but shipped in from elsewhere. Look for a post this week discussing this...

Friday, June 22, 2007

Bumble bees in my hole

Fuzzy, wuzzy bumbly beeOh, fuzzy bumble bee. So soft and fluffy. I wish you were bigger so that I could rest my head on your chubby body as if you were a giant pillow.

But, you see, the problem is you've set up shop in my hole. Or, rather, the hole that used to be the shutoff valve for the old sprinkler system in our lawn.

It seems like hundreds of you come and go each day out through the hole. I have no idea where you go once inside. Which makes you lucky or I would prevent your ingress/egress except I fear that you'll decide to make your way out through the house.

On one hand, I love you... you pollinate all my crops in the backyard and are just so darn cute and, well, bumbly. On the other hand, my kids play out front and we walk by your entrance several times a day. Can you please not sting anyone? I don't want to have to "remove" you.

Does anyone have any suggestions as to what to do with them? Wait until winter and then seal up the hole? Call in a professional?

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Homemade tofu

Tofu - what the hell do I do with it?Well, I made my first batch of soymilk from my brand-spankin' new Soyabella machine. It's a relative breeze to do. The only time consuming thing is soaking the beans for 6 hours. Since I can get organic soybeans for about $1.50 a pound and you only use a little cup worth, my soymilk is going to be pennies per gallon. You can also make raw nut milks (like almond) in it too.

Anyway, another fun thing you can do with your homemade soymilk (I suppose you can do the same thing with store bought plain soymilk) is make your own tofu. I'm guessing that this will result in another super-inexpensive homemade item.

Once you've cranked out your soymilk, all you need to do is add a coagulant (like nigari), let it sit for 20 minutes and then put it in a press. Et voilĂ ! Tofu. Again, for pennies on the dollar.

Now, I just need some good tofu recipes...

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The Green Book review - Crunchy Chicken style

the green bookDo you have a friend or loved one who is a budding Crunchy Chicken, but doesn't know where to start? Are you afraid of scaring them off with your eco-tales of composting toilets, cloth TP and the DivaCup?

Well, don't squelch their burgeoning interests. There's a new book out (released 6/19), called The Green Book: The Everyday Guide to Saving the Planet One Simple Step at a Time that will help the green-curious get started. It's chock full of easy to manage things they can do to live a greener life, broken down into chapters such as home, work, school, travel and more. Each chapter includes a section titled "The Simple Steps" that highlight those actions that have the biggest bang for the least amount of effort. Interspersed throughout the book are celebrity's writings revealing the things they are doing to live green.

Now, given all that, I wouldn't necessarily recommend this book to a serious treehugger as they will have heard most of the suggestions already and will be left wanting more. Many of the tips don't go far enough and I found myself wondering why they didn't include this or that. It does have a laundry list of Internet links for each section to pursue more information, but who's going to type in 50 reference pages worth of URLs? I would like the see these links available on the authors' website for easier navigation.

As for the celebrity's personal "going green" stories, some are well worth reading (like Will Ferrell's take on his EV and Owen Wilson's musings on how he's turning into Ed Begley, Jr.), but others prompt an eye roll or two. I'm still trying to figure out how Jennifer Aniston manages to take a shower in three minutes and brush her teeth at the same time. Something's not getting done there. I know celebrities have a lot of power, but I didn't know they had control over the physical universe and could compress time. Maybe a shower saver should be in her next swag bag.

But I digress... Each tip includes statistics relating to how doing the suggested action would affect consumption. For example, "if every traveler in the United States stopped using paper luggage tags for each of their trips, sixty million sheets of paper could be saved per year." While these stats help demonstrate why doing that action will help, I found them to be distracting after a while. And I wished they had spent the space instead with suggestions of how to do more.

All in all I think this is a great introduction to living a greener lifestyle. The celebrity writings will appeal to many and adds an element of hipness to the book.

Interview alert!
This book was featured on the April 20th episode of Oprah and was written by Elizabeth Rogers (co-producer of MTV's Trippin') and Thomas M. Kostigen with a foreward by Cameron Diaz.

I will be interviewing the authors of this book at the end of the month and will be incorporating some of the questions you submit. So, if you are interested in asking the authors a question, please post them here by June 24th!

If you want more information, check out their website.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Omnivore's Dilemma book discussion - Section II (chapters 11 - 14)

Omnivore's DilemmaHere are the rest of the discussion questions for the second section, Pastoral - Grass (chapters 11 through 14). The following includes a question that touches on at least one point in each of the chapters.

Chapter 11: The Animals - Practicing Complexity I found the concept of "stacking", growing or producing more than one crop or animal at a time, to be quite an interesting one. For example, raising rabbits and chickens in the same living space - the chickens peck through the rabbit droppings, turning over the mess and greatly reducing the urine smell. This type of growing creates a balance, providing no need for antibiotics, chemicals or medications. It allows the grower to watch the animals for signs of illness instead of suppressing disease prophylactically.

I thought that trying to find a grower who practices rotational grazing would be difficult enough, but trying to find out which growers practice "stacking" has got to be next to impossible. Do you think that consumers should have more information about how their food is grown in addition to the standard "organic" labelling? Or do you think people even care about these extra tidbits of information regarding how their food is grown?

Chapter 12: Slaughter - In a Glass Abattoir I love the Emerson quote: "You have just dined and however scrupulously the slaughterhouse is concealed in the graceful distance of miles, there is complicity." I've always been amazed at how the average consumer expect their meats to be unidentifiable, shrink-wrapped, pristine-looking cuts of meat. I think that truly exposing people to what goes on in order to deliver those shimmering chicken breasts to your grocer would make people think a little more about how their food is raised and processed. Did reading the explicit description of chicken dispatching and processing have an influence on you? Was this at all a shock to the system?

Chapter 13: The Market - Greetings from the Non-Barcode People One argument people keep making against organics is that it is "elitist" and that the average American can't afford organic produce and other products. I think the fact that Americans spend 1/10 of their income on food versus 1/5 during the 1950s is truly enlightening (of course, Pollan doesn't bring up the increased cost of housing, but I'll let that slide). It seems that people have the money to scrape together for their cell phones, high speed Internet, giant TVs and DirecTV/cable, but not on food raised sustainably. People are making a choice and they are choosing other pleasures over organics. How does looking at the matter in this light affect your thinking of the "organics is for the elite"?

Chapter 14: The Meal - Grass-Fed I love the whole idea of not only eating local, organic and sustainable but also eating seasonally. Because if you are eating local, organic and sustainable, it really comes down to seasonality. Am I the only one clueless to the fact that meats are seasonal? That one should really be eating beef and pork in the fall or winter and that chickens are a summer delicacy? It makes sense that foods grown according to the seasons and true to their nature (e.g. pasture-raised) will have a higher nutritional value. This shows up in the quality and taste in the food. What experience do you have in the difference in taste, enjoyment and quality when eating something produced seasonally?

As per the usual, correct me if I'm wrong on anything here...

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Celebrities and the environment

A few weeks ago I ran a poll asking who your favorite celebrity environmentalist is. So far, about 80 readers have voted; with Ed Begley, Jr. in the lead, closely followed by Robert Redford.

Today's poll takes a look at the connection between celebrities and the environment from a different slant. Does what a celebrity says about what they are doing to help the environment change your thinking? Do you even care? Or does it depend on who is saying it?

the green bookI was recently asked to review a book that will be published this Tuesday. It is called the green book and it is comprised of a listing of things you can do to lower your impact on the environment, interspersed with celebrity's writings on how they are living greener lives.

I'll be posting my review of the book this week and interviewing the authors at the end of June. I'll be collaborating with my readers for interview questions (if you guys have any), so stay tuned for more information!

In the meantime, don't forget to take this poll:

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Soyabella

SoyabellaWell, I did it. I threw down for a soy milk making machine (it does other things as well, but it's main function is to produce soy milk).

Since it looks like we'll be going through about a gallon and a half of soymilk a week, I thought that making our own would be somewhat fun as well as cost saving. I can easily get organic soybeans for less than $1.50 a pound and you only need a cup of soybeans to make a quart. And it takes a mere 15 minutes.

I did find a local producer of organic soy milk at my favorite co-op store today, but at almost $8 a gallon, I'm thinking this thing will start paying for itself soon.

I'll let you know how it works out!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Local Food Month challenge

Local Food Month - July 2007So, you've done Low Impact Week and you're still continuing with some of the things you tried out. You feel good about reducing your energy and water consumption and your garbage output. What's next? Well, let's focus on the food now.

There's so much energy expended in buying food not grown, produced or packaged locally. For those of you following along with the Omnivore's Dilemma Book Club, you've read the statistics. You may still be troubled by the idea of eating organic versus local. Either way, you can't deny that buying fruits and vegetables from thousands of miles away consumes a whole lot of petroleum products.

Now, here's the challenge:

During the month of July you're going to increase your consumption of locally and sustainably grown food and decrease your consumption of imported and packaged food. You choose the level of participation you want to do.

Think of this as an a la carte menu - you can pick as many or as few items to focus on.

Eat local:
  • produce (fruits and vegetables)
  • dairy (milk, yogurt, cheese)
  • meats and seafood
  • breads and grains
Limit:
  • pre-packaged food
  • frozen food
  • fast food
Make your own:
  • cereals
  • pastas
  • breads
  • soymilk
  • yogurt
FAQs
What about beer, wine and spirits? Well, that's up to you. You can continue buying your regular brands of beverages or you can see if you can find a local equivalent.

What is considered "local"? Again, you have a choice. You can follow the "100 mile" yardstick, but I know a lot of you don't have growers in your area. So, for those that have few resources, you can choose your "region", whether that be your entire state or including neighboring states. One thing to do to see what's available in your area is to check out the list of farmer's markets nearest you.

Does this mean all day, every day? It's up to you. If you want to have Saturdays off, go for it. Do you want to limit it to dinners only, that's great. Set up something you think is workable for you. I want you to think about what you are putting in your mouth, but I don't want to make it so onerous that you give up. Each individual is different, so decide for yourselves how far you want to take it. Or start slow and work your way up to being more involved by the end of the month.

What else? Take into consideration how things are grown. If possible, opt for food items that are grown organically over conventional methods. Or at least without chemicals. Find out if your meat producer practices rotational grazing. Make sure your fish is acquired from a sustainable fishery and only buy farmed seafood that is sustainable.

Considering it's summer and there's lots of food in season, the produce part shouldn't be too hard to do. However, if you still must have that avocado for your guacamole and the limes for your margaritas, well, it's up to you.

The goal is to try and to let you see how easy it is to add local products to your diet and, hopefully, get you in the habit of shopping at those farmer's markets and farmstands. In addition, depending on what level you are doing, you will become more aware of where your packaged foods come from.

Like during Low Impact Week, I'll be adding a list of links to fellow bloggers so we can see what everyone else is up to. Go ahead and grab the graphic if you want to co-sponsor this or participate on your blog. I hope that with the encouragement of each other we can keep the momentum of Low Impact Week going!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

DivaCup haiku

DivaCup inside
Has it been one month again?
Super suction time.


Yes, I agree, that DivaCup haiku really sucks. Ha! Anyway, welcome back for another menstrual madness post.

Based on last Sunday's poll, I'd have to assess that ya'll are diggin' the DivaCup. There are a few out there still too squeamish about it, but even less who tried and didn't like it. Of the 77% who have tried it, only 3% didn't like it. So, the failure rate, so to speak, is pretty low! If you're on the fence about it, you might just want to give it a whirl or, rather, twirl.

Speaking of menstruation, which you would think by now it's my favorite topic or something (guys - bear with me here on this one), I am still troubled by the fact that I use plastic-lined pantyliners. I know, TMI, but this has to be said. I think.

Anyway, plastic-lined pantyliners are not exactly good for the environment. And I'm pretty sure they're probably not good for air circulation too. But I like the backup and for just the general everyday usage. But all of that ends up in the landfill.

Oh, I hear you out there! You're thinking, why doesn't she use something like GladRags or LunaPads? They sell cloth pantyliners too that you can wash and reuse! And, you're right, they do.

In fact, I didn't know until I started researching that there were so many options for reusable "mama pads" or whatever you want to call them. In various form factors. Except for thongs. Which I tend to wear more often than not. Again, TMI. But someone has to be Magellan, no?


Bad Ass Flame & Skull PantylinerBut I digress. Anyway, after much searching I found something that might be suitable: HagRags. Not only do they have super cool designs but they carry them in a variety of shapes, thicknesses and configurations to suit your needs. So, I ordered some. If you're interested in cloth pads, definitely check the site out. I had to control myself from buying one in each fabric style because they are so damn cool.

I'll be sure to report back. Oh, you know I will.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Soapy clean

Ever since I saw Fight Club I was fascinated with making soap. Not the way they did in the movie mind you, but with the whole process of turning natural ingredients into soap.

Before that I never really even thought about where soap "came" from nor did I think you could make your own soap (the history of soapmaking in itself is fascinating). So, off I went on my soap making adventures, experimenting with various cold process soaps involving coconut oil, cocoa butter, olive oil, goat milk and the like. I also liked the fact that I could make vegetarian soaps.

The whole process was intriguing... a mix of the wonders of chemistry, the frugality of making it yourself and the idea of controlling all the ingredients. Who cares that if you're not careful you'll singe your lungs and burn your eyes with the fumes created when mixing lye into water. You made some soap for crying out loud! Who cares that it sometimes took way too long to trace (firm up enough to pour) and you stood there for hours watching it, stirring and hoping you didn't just waste your whole evening.

Somewhere along the way I got too busy with the kids, got too lazy and started buying soap again. I still avoided the petroleum/detergent based soaps that most people use in favor of the more "natural" milled soaps. But, recently I found Dr. Bronner's soap in bars. I have used the Dr. Bronner's liquid soaps before and didn't like them. But the bar soap? It's the closest thing I've found to homemade without costing an arm and a leg. Well, maybe just one arm.

I'm also doing an experiment this week with the Dr. Bronner's bar soap - washing my face with it. I normally use a special facial cleanser, but I hate that it comes in a plastic container with dubious recycling qualities. The Dr. Bronner's comes wrapped in recyclable paper so the waste is minimal. I thought it would strip the heck out of my skin, but so far it's been fabulous. And, let me tell you, I have some pretty picky, prone to break out skin.

One of these days I'll get back to making my own soap, but in the meantime it's great to know that there are also some great locally made organic soaps.

What do you all use?

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Low Impact Week contest winner!

Low Impact Week: June 1 - 7, 2007Well, you all certainly have made it hard to choose the winner of the Low Impact Week contest and I'm glad I had so many days to think about them all :) I'd list all the runner's up but the list would go on and on and on...

But, I have to say that I really liked EPM's answer. So, EPM (who has the blog, Capturing Today) email me at crunchychickenblog@gmail.com and I'll get your information to send the goodies your way. Oh yeah, and you may just have inspired me enough to give cloth wipes a try. I must be truly nuts. But I'll definitely blog about it in gory detail for my reader's entertainment.

Are you wondering what my favorite thing about Low Impact Week was? Well, although it did give me a kick in the pants to finally doing some of those things I said I was going to do, my favorite thing was you guys. I love how you all came together to support each other by visiting each other's blogs and leaving notes of encouragement. It was great to see. I know a lot of you feel like you live in a wasteland and there are no likeminded people out there. To learn and finally realize that you are not alone, that what you are doing is highly valued by others, was way more worthwhile than any other thing I did during this week.

Again, congratulations to everyone who participated in Low Impact Week! I'll be following up toward the end of the month to see how everyone is doing.

And... don't forget that I'll be announcing a new challenge this Friday, June 15th!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

DivaCup poll

Alright Divas, you thought I'd never ask!

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Farmer interview #2

Seeds of ChangeSeeds of Change has posted on their website the second of nine interviews with farmers that they will be sharing with the public.

This interview is with Nash Huber, a local guy (well, for me at least), who farms 400 acres of vegetable and seed crops and is busy with preserving the farmland in the Dungeness Delta.

If you're interested in reading about his farming practices and/or issues with farmland and development, check it out!

Friday, June 8, 2007

Low Impact Week Contest question

Low Impact Week: June 1 - 7, 2007Congratulations! You survived Low Impact Week!

Now what? Well, I'm running myself a little contest.

Here are the rules again for those that didn't see the first announcement. At the end of this post, there is a question regarding Low Impact Week. You have until Monday, June 11th (5:00 pm PST) to post your answer. In a truly not so objective manner, I'll choose the answer that I like the most. I'll announce the winner on Tuesday, June 12th.

So, what does this person win? Well, let me tell you... it's a care package of sorts to help send you on your way and continue doing some of the things you started during Low Impact Week:

  • Package of CFL bulbs
  • Lowflow showerhead
  • Reusable produce bags
  • 100% recycled plastic kitchen garbage bags
  • EcoDent toothbrush with replaceable head
  • Organic natural soap

Also, don't forget that I'll be announcing another challenge mid-June so as to take advantage of the momentum we've built up. For those who can't stand the suspense, here's a hint: it will have something to do with what we're currently reading in the book club.

And, here's my question:

"What did you like most about Low Impact Week and why?"

Good Luck!

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Low Impact Week wrap-up

Low Impact Week: June 1 - 7, 2007Well, this is it - the last day of Low Impact Week! I thought I'd follow up the week with another poll (or two) to get your impressions on how you did and whether or not you will continue.






I hope that, for the most part, this has been a positive experience for you and that it has provided that one little push to get you doing something you've always wanted to do or introduced you to some new ideas. I know for some of you this week was bad timing as you had other things going on.

One thing I've seen on some of your blogs is some of you being really hard on yourselves because you didn't get done some of the stuff you set out to do this week. Just because Low Impact Week ends today doesn't mean that you can't try next week or later. Those goals don't need to disappear. I think this community of people will still be around for your support.

I have to say that I am equally impressed at the amazing amount of work you all have done even if it was one small change or completely upending your lives.

I'll be checking back in with you all, probably at the end of the month, to see how you are doing. In the meantime, watch for other posts to keep us all involved in encouraging each other. We've created a community and I don't want to see it disappear just because it's June 7th.

Also, I'll be announcing a new challenge mid-June. I thought I'd give you all a few days breathing space, but I don't want to lose the momentum that we all have gained so far! Don't worry, it's not another Low Impact Week, but it does focus on one area of impact.

So, congratulations to each and every one of you.

And don't forget! Tomorrow I'll be posting the Low Impact Week contest question.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Low Impact Week - Crunchy Chicken style

Environmental CupcakeFor those of you wondering how Low Impact Week is going for me, here's my report.

Energy
*Kept the heat low (which wasn't an issue due to the heat for some of the days)
*Didn't use A/C in the car
*No TV (except we did watch one DVD)
*Forgot to unplug some of the major appliances until Sunday
*Line dried all the clothes except for one load (hung laundry outside!)

Water
*Collected water from all showers and used to water garden
*Took shorter showers or used the toggle water saving shower head

Food
*Ate mostly vegetarian (okay, so one serving of Copper River Salmon snuck in)*Planted a dwarf fig tree, dill, brussel sprouts, acorn squash
*Switched to drinking organic soy instead of organic milk
*Used cloth bags at the stores
*Shopped at a farmer's market for the week
*Focused on getting local produce over produce shipped in
*Bought very few pre-packaged foods

Long term
*Worked on my compost pile
*Switched out 7 CFLs
*Signed up for 100% green energy

In addition, I continued many of the other things I already started last month that I've mentioned in previous posts.

All in all, I think I'm doing pretty good. I had a few slipups at the start. I'm impressed by how much some of you did during the week and I can definitely say you are my heroes!

Stay tuned Friday for the Low Impact Week contest.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Omnivore's Dilemma book discussion - Section II (chapters 8 - 10)

Happy Cow?Here are the discussion questions for the second section, Pastoral - Grass. Once again, I've tried to include a question that touched on at least one point in each chapter.

Chapter 8: In "All Flesh is Grass" Pollan again argues that there is a disconnect between the effort to make food versus the cost the consumer pays and that in order to expand organic food into the American food chain, organic growers must sacrifice their ideals. Underlying this is the difference between organic agriculture versus sustainable agriculture. Is it possible to have the best of both worlds? Can we, as consumers, drive growers into making better decisions by focusing our purchases on organic and sustainable?

Chapter 9: This chapter, "Big Organic", knocked me off my feet. In it we learn that organic milk, in many cases, really comes from factory-like farms where the cows are fed organic grain and not given hormones or antibiotics, but for the most part, the conditions are the same. Same thing with free-range chickens, where the "free-range" part seems a farce. Does reading this chapter make you want to focus more on buying local organic food (farm stands, farmer's markets, u-pick) and, more importantly, food where you can talk directly with the grower?

Chapter 10: It seems so obvious and natural (not to mention cheap) that practicing rotational grazing on grasslands eliminates or reduces disease in the grazing animals and the animals, in turn, keep the grasslands healthy. Did this information surprise you? Will you pay more attention to the type of farm your beef comes from? Will you seek out farmers/growers that practice rotational grazing?

Omnivore's DilemmaYou have the month of June to read these chapters and post your comments or bring up new discussion questions. I'll be posting questions on the rest of the chapters in Section II in two weeks.

Again, if I stated anything inaccurately, please feel free to correct me!

Monday, June 4, 2007

Low Impact Week Contest

Low Impact Week: June 1 - 7, 2007Here we are, halfway through Low Impact Week!

I wanted to congratulate you all and encourage you to keep up the good work. If you haven't done so yet, don't forget to take the Low Impact Week poll to let us know how you're doing!

In the spirit of Low Impact Week, I'm holding a contest. The winner of the contest will receive a care package to help them continue doing the good things they started this week.

This gift basket will include items to help with some of the 7 areas of impact:

  • Package of CFL bulbs
  • Lowflow showerhead
  • Reusable produce bags
  • 100% recycled plastic kitchen garbage bags
  • EcoDent toothbrush with replaceable head
  • Organic natural soap

Contest rules: the day after Low Impact Week ends (Friday 6/8) I will announce a question related to what you've been working on. You'll have until the following Monday (6/11) to post your answer. The answer I like the best (and I'll try to not look at who the submitter is) will be the winner. Sure, it's subjective, but it's my contest dammit :)

The winner will be announced Tuesday, 6/12!

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Low Impact Week Poll

It's day three of Low Impact Week...



I'm planning on having a Low Impact Week contest. Stay tuned for details Monday!

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Omnivore's Dilemma Book Club Update

Omnivore's DilemmaBased on my poll last week, I've decided to cover the first few chapters of Section II this Tuesday (6/5) and then do the rest of the Section mid-month (6/19). That way those of you that are ready have something new to work with and those that are a little "behind" have some time to catch up.

So stay tuned for June 5th when I'll be posting some new questions...

Friday, June 1, 2007

Low Impact Week Begins Today!

Low Impact Week: June 1 - 7, 2007Holy crap! I guess this means that I'll be doing all those things I said I'll be doing and then some.

The hardest part will be remembering to do them. I find that habits are so ingrained that I'll forget to huck the bucket under the water stream when I turn on the shower. Or I'll absent-mindedly grab a paper towel in the bathroom at work after washing my hands.

One thing I'm adding that I didn't mention in my goal post or, rather, my post about my goals, was that I'm going to go shopping for produce at a farmer's market this weekend.

Also, make sure you check out other people's Low Impact Week goals by visiting the websites and blogs listed on the right.

How are you all feeling on this auspicious day?

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