Archive for the ‘Environment’ Category

Nicole Richie; Organic Mama

I absolutely adore Nicole Richie. I full fledge have a girl crush on her. Massively. I love her boho style, her relaxed demeanor, her lifestyle, her wit, her family and her kids. She is my celebrity soul sister. So of course I only love her more now since discovering that she had an elephant at her winter themed wedding. (Elephant = my favorite animal. Winter wedding theme = what I was planning before we ended up doing a destination wedding.) This girl! I need to meet her. I want to personally tell Nicole Richie she is the beez neez.

As many of you know I am a vegetarian and I love kids. Naturally I plan on having vegetarian kids (at least until they can decide if they want to eat dead animals or not with their own free will). So I thought it was pretty cool that Nicole Richie is doing the same in her household. (It helps that her husband Joel Madden is a vegetarian.) As if I didn’t already love this girl, I love how she is raising her kids. Nicole has revealed she uses chlorine-free, non-toxic and hypoallergenic diapers for her children, and refuses to use baby wipes and instead uses cloth and water. She grows her own vegetables in her garden and purees her own baby food. Everything in her household is organic, down to the clothes, food and diapers. She also doesn’t feed her kids dairy. On The Talk, she also shared, “We don’t use battery-operated toys, we don’t use plastic… Sugar is obviously a big no-no.” She went on to share, “I was at a birthday party and there was a cupcake with all this pink icing and there was a blueberry on top of the cupcake. Harlow looked at it and her eyes got so wide and she was like ‘Ohh,’ and I was like, ‘Oh boy, here we go,’ and she was like ‘Blueberries!’ So I went to the kitchen and got her a whole thing of blueberries. And she was happy.”

I give it to her. It’s hard today to be able to live this kind of lifestyle but she’s doing it. It also helps that she has oodles of money, more than I’ll ever have but hey, still I give her props and can only hope I’ll be a kick ass mom like her one day.

Look at these guys-the cutest family ever. For more pics go to Nicole’s blog.

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Becoming Joey

I was reading today and came across a poem that really caught my attention. I thought it was worth sharing since I’ve been on my writing so much about diversity this week…

Becoming Joey
By Paul. C Gorski

Jose’s ten.
Looks six by size,
twenty in the eyes.

Down
the school-morning street
he ambles along
dotted lines of busses and cars
that spit exhaust like expletives,
disturbing his meditation
on a few final moments of peace.

He is frail but upright.
Hand-me-downs hang from his slenderness,
patched and stained.
Soles flop beneath battered shoes,
worn through but hanging on,
if only by lace.

He pauses in the schoolyard
where white kids laugh and scurry
unaware of this, his battle;
of this, his burden; of this, his borderlands.
Behind him; cracked sidewalks
and frosty nights
sweetened by the warmth of belonging.
Before him: manicured playgrounds,
heated classrooms,
and enthusiastic lessons about a world
that doesn’t see him.

Still he moves forward,
what feels in his stomach
A regressive sort of forward.
And he straightens his shirt,
tries dusting off the stains of ancestry.
And he clears his throat,
tries spitting out his Mexican voice.
And, becoming Joey, he crosses into school.

 

Fast Food Nation

Last night I had the extreme pleasure of viewing the movie Fast Food Nation for the very first time. Let me tell you, if you haven’t seen this movie, you must! I was only a tad reluctant because the movie got very mixed reviews. Many of the reviews I read on my beloved Netflix were terrible. People we’re complaining that the movie should have been made into a documentary instead but I disagree. I thought the movie was well made. In defense, the way I see it is that not many people enjoy documentaries. I in fact, love them, but I know that many people find them to be boring, slow, long, etc. Therefore taking the matter of slaughterhouses, the fast food industry, the meat industry, immigration and activism and putting it into a fictional plot seems like a good idea to me. I find that people who cannot bear to sit and watch documentaries can watch a movie that has a plot, storyline and characters that they can identify with.

For anyone who hasn’t seen the movie, it is a movie following a few different people’s lives who are all somehow affected by the meat/fast food industry. We follow around a business man who works for Mickey’s, a fast food chain, a high school girl who works at Mickey’s while becoming friends with college activists, and an illegal immigrant couple who come to America and end up working at Mickey’s beef supplier. It stars many people, including Patricia Arquette, Ethan Hawke, Catalina Sandino Moreno, Wilmar Valderama, Avril Lavinge and Bruce Willis.

For whomever out there that wants to see this movie in documentary form, there is a version, called Food, Inc. This documentary is great, and was one of the first movies I saw that really concreted my decision of giving up meat. It shows you a behind the scenes look at slaughterhouses, worker conditions for immigrants and nonimmigrants, and also describes all the preservatives and hormones that you are consuming when you eat industrialized meat.

The book that both films are based off of is New York Time’s bestseller, Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser. The book takes you behind the scenes to what we are really eating when we eat beef from our favorite fast food restaurants. It goes into detail about the “flavorings” that make our beef taste “cajun” or “smoked,” shows us what ingredients are in our foods, where our food comes from, and who touches our food before it gets to us. There are insights, interviews, and so much more…I love it. Because of this book, which I read many years ago, I no longer consume McDonald’s strawberry milkshake-it has over 30 ingredients and 50% of them are chemicals. Yum!

For anyone who either doesn’t have the time or patience for reading Fast Food Nation, Schlosser (along with Charles Wilson) wrote a second book, called Chew on This, which is a tamer, shorter version of Fast Food Nation. It was made to aim at teenagers and younger people, but with the same concept-to educate people on the fast food industry. I have yet to read this but plan on doing so soon.

So in conclusion, I have to recommend both films, the fictional Fast Food Nation and the documentary Food, inc. Both will broaden your horizon and knowledge on the meat and fast food industry. I feel better just knowing where meat comes from, and it helps me remember why I don’t consume it. For anyone who is reluctant because they do want to consume meat, don’t fret, just go organic. Food, Inc. will show you how a chicken is killed in a slaughterhouse versus how they are killed on a local farm. Good stuff folks.

Peace!

Other good, similar films to check out:

Veggies Can Feed the World

One of the most depressing things to me is waste. I’m a huge advocate of recycling, reusing, and leftovers. I don’t like seeing things wasted, ever. Although I am liberal in almost all parts of my life, I am very conservative with my money-which also aids me in my ability to never waste. I don’t like to see unused water go down the drain, food go uneaten, jars in the garbage, paper not being reused, etc. So of course it kills me that we are a country of completeexcess and waste. We have more than we could ever need or want, yet we want more, need more, and certainly waste a whole lot more. While we waste there are other places in our world that do not even have enough of what they need, and never see what they want. It depresses me all the time. Especially when I think of my parents who didn’t grow up in America, in particular my dad, who never owned a pair of shoes in his youth or tasted dessert. One of the reasons why I am a vegetarian is because I think its one step closer to solving world hunger. Yes, I am aware I myself am not changing the world, but I like to think that the more of us that become vegetarians, the more our country can start growing crops for the right reason, like feeding people. Jim Motavelli from The Environmental Magazine  has said, “The 4.8 pounds of grain fed to cattle to produce one pound of beef for human beings represents a colossal waste of resources in a world still teeming with people who suffer from profound hunger and malnutrition.” Now take a look at these horrific numbers that I found the other day from Diet for a New America, by John Robins.

• Human population of United States: 270,000,000 (and counting)

• Number of human beings who could be fed by the grain and soybeans eaten by U.S. livestock: 1,300,000,000

• Percentage of corn grown in United States eaten by human beings: 20%

• Percentage of corn grown in United States eaten by livestock: 80%

• How frequently a child dies of starvation: Every 2.3 seconds

• Pounds of potatoes that can be grown on 1 acre of land: 20,000

• Pounds of beef that can be produced on 1 acre of land: 165

• Percentage of U.S. agricultural land used to produce beef: 56

• Number of children who starve to death every day: 38,000

• Number of people who could be adequately fed if Americans reduced their intake of meat by 10%: 100,000,000

• Amount of meat eaten by average person in Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras and Panama: Less than the average American house cat

• Water needed to produce 1 pound of wheat: 25 gallons

• Water needed to produce 1 pound of meat: 2,500

Seriously. These numbers depress me! We are stuffing our faces, overeating meat that will give us cancer and other health issues while there are others who do not have enough to eat at all.

Another thing I want to touch on is that I know a lot of people will read these numbers and go “Okay, I kind of see the connection. But there’s no proof that meat is really a reason why people are starving.” Well, I would consider that, since I’m open minded, but the facts are hard to ignore. Jeremy Rifkin, president of the Foundation on Economic Trends in Washington, DC, stated that during the Ethiopian famine in 1984, “While people starved, Ethiopia was growing linseed cake, cottonseed cake and rapeseed meal for European livestock. Millions of acres of land in the developing world are used for this purpose. Tragically, 80 percent of the world’s hungry children live in countries with food surpluses which are fed to animals for consumption by the affluent.”

And to see that everyone could eat if we all gave up meat, or at least consumed less of it, is sad because not enough people will give up meat. Why have we become so meat obsessed? Like Steve Spielberg has said “Humans are the only race that hunts when not hungry.” So wasteful, it makes me want to cry. Especially since we are doing something so greedy, so wasteful, so unhealthy and hurting animals in the process. And I am no animal person, and many people aren’t…however I don’t know too many people who would turn their backs on a hungry child. So why don’t we all do our part and reduce our meat intake and help feed the rest of the world? I’ve already talked about it over and over…going veggie for your health, for the animals, the environment…but if you don’t care about any of those, can you at least do it for the people out there who are going to go to bed hungry tonight?

Peace.

Never knew I’d become a Preacher!

I never really set out to tell the world to become vegetarians or vegans. I never really thought I was an activist for anything, much less animal rights. However after becoming a vegetarian myself I started to really care. Deeply, passionately care about what I am putting into my body, and what is happening to our world from consuming meat. What started off as guilt for killing cows, has full blown into something else for me. Our meat problems do not end at animals. Meat is much worse of an issue than murder. Meat is poisoning the human race, causing the environment to disintegrate, preventing the world from overcoming world hunger, and killing other natural resources. I never knew that one day I would become a preacher. I also never thought one day I’d become a teacher. I guess this is where I’m headed on my path to enlightenment. 😉

First off for anyone who bitches about weight or wanting to shed some extra pounds, you will definitely stop yo-yoing once you cut out the animal fat. Once that is gone you don’t have to worry about fat as much. Of course it will still be your responsibility to care for your body and to watch your sugar consumption, but cutting meat will slim you down! Once I stopped buying meat, my husband really didn’t have a choice in the matter, so he gradually stopped eating meat as well. And everyone has noticed that he’s lost weight! He didn’t even mean to, but because he’s not consuming all that extra animal fat, he has naturally leaned out. It’s also a great way to detox your body and let the engine start fresh! Also not having the meat sitting in your body makes you even feel lighter, cleaner, and less sluggish. According to the American Dietetic Association, vegetarians are also less likely to develop heart disease, cancer, diabetes, or high blood pressure than meat-eaters. Vegetarians get all the nutrients they need to be healthy (from plant protein, fiber, minerals, etc.) without all the nasty stuff in meat that slows you down and makes you sick, like cholesterol and saturated animal fat.

Being a vegetarian is also the best way we can help animals without being in the industry ourselves. By not eating animals, we are not stopping this business, or stopping the slaughtering but we are a voice that will speak loud and clear to the companies when their customers no longer want to consume their products. “Every vegetarian saves more than 100 animals a year from abuse.” (goveg.com 09)

Plus, I’ve talked about it before, meat is nasty! Meat is often contaminated with feces, blood, and other bodily fluids, all of which make animal products the top source of food poisoning in the US. Scientists at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health tested supermarket chicken flesh and found that 96 percent of Tyson chicken was contaminated with campylobacter- a dangerous bacteria that causes 2.4 million cases of food poisoning each year!

And what’s sad is that we’re all happily eating meat and getting food poisoning when other people in the world are starving and don’t even have enough grains to eat, much less meat! “It takes tons of crops and water to raise farmed animals-in fact, it takes up to 16 pounds of grain to produce just 1 pound of animal flesh! All that plant food could be used much more efficiently if it was fed to people directly. The more people who go vegetarian, the more we can feed the hungry.”

Okay, so I’ve already talked about how bad it is for us and the animals. Now what a lot of people don’t know…it’s bad for our Earth! Eating meat is one of the worst things that you can do for the Earth; it’s wasteful, it causes enormous amounts of pollution, and the meat industry is one of the biggest causes of global warming.

Just think about it! Have a good weekend! =)

At the very least, please give up Tyson!

I know I preach a lot but I’ve been reading a lot lately about the conditions at Tyson and KFC and had to share the disgusting facts I’ve been finding out. I wish I had blogged about this earlier, and wish I had known years earlier about it. In all reality, I don’t care if you give up meat or not. There are organic meats out there, and farmers doing their part in making our world better but I do deeply, honestly care if you get chicken at KFC or buy Tyson brand. Please, for the love of everything humane do not contribute to the slaughter that goes into getting your bucket ‘o chicken at KFC. Being someone who used to eat there as well, I know that it tastes good. I know, but it’s not worth it. And not just for the animal’s sake, but yours as well. Tyson and KFC are nasty. Nasty to the chickens and nasty to you.

PETA conducted an undercover investigation in 2004-2007 at a Heflin, Alabama, Tyson slaughterhouse and on nine separate days (all in 2007), investigators saw workers urinating in the live-hang area, including on the conveyor belt that moves birds to slaughter. WTF. If this isn’t enough for you to stop eating at KFC then I am just shocked. Now onto what I think is even worse: The chickens abuse. Here are only some of the incidents happening to the meat you are serving to your kids at dinner time. 😥

At Tyson slaughterhouses in Georgia and Tennessee investigators found that “Birds died when their heads and legs became trapped under a door at the end of the conveyor belt that transported live birds to be hung. A supervisor was aware of this problem but did nothing to stop it.” Also “The killing-machine blade often cut birds’ bodies instead of their throats. Although aware of this problem, a supervisor offered no solution, instead blaming the problem on the “nature of the machine.”

“During an undercover investigation at a KFC “Supplier of the Year” slaughterhouse in Butterfield, Missouri—owned by George’s, Inc.—it was documented that live birds were being thrown by workers and crushed by metal dumping machines. Birds were often impaled by mangled transport cages, and workers were instructed to simply yank them out when this happened; PETA’s investigator saw workers doing this and found dismembered limbs left behind in cages after the birds had been removed.”

“A whistleblower at a Tyson slaughterhouse testified that birds intentionally were scalded to death, were blown apart by makeshift firecrackers, and had their legs broken by workers to fit them into slaughter-line shackles.”

Workers at a KFC-supplier slaughterhouse in Maryland were documented punching frenzied, terrified birds and spiking them like footballs, among other sadistic acts of cruelty.”

Ugh! I feel terrible! What makes anyone think that animals can be treated this way? It’s like Hitler. Ugh. Please go to one of the sites (if not all of them) below to see more videos, pictures, articles, and ways you can help stop this. There are petitions, letters and other things that you can send to KFC, Tyson, and George’s Inc., although who knows what will happen. After all these years all we get are empty promises that they will fix their animal welfare conditions, and then year after year we still find out that the workers are allowed to treat the animals like crap. The industry did publicly announce that they were educating their employees on more humane practices and that they were going to take this matter seriously, however by paying workers (and often many are immigrants) poorly, demanding the workers to produce at incredibly fast speeds, it’s hard for the promises to be kept. As long as there is a high demand for chicken, there will be high demands of the employees and slaughterhouses, meaning there won’t really be any success at properly producing the meat. The only thing we can do right now that sends a clear message is by not eating it. By not consuming it and purchasing it is the only way they will stop making money off such cruelty and get away with it. Less demand for the meat, and more demand for humanity, may be the only way to get this message across. It’s so sad! Please support your local farmers and buy organic chicken. Please stop giving Tyson and KFC your money to abuse animals!

Please go to any/all of these sites: kfccruelty.com, peta.org, torturedbytyson.com, compassionoverkilling.com. Also at almost all these sites you can sign up for a FREE vegetarian starter kit!

Look at this claim from KFC: “KFC suppliers, KFC and the National Chicken Council have standards for stocking density to ensure birds have sufficient space and are healthy. … The cleanliness of these facilities and the health of the birds are top priorities for the farmers.” Take note that ALL my pictures are from KFC suppliers! Top priority my ass!!

‘That’s Why We Don’t Eat Animals!’

I was at the cabin a few weekends ago and the family made some ribs, steaks and hot dogs. Instead, I had my salad and beans. My darling 7 year old niece, E, asked me “What is steak?” As she chewed it up.
“It’s cow,” I replied.
“WHAT!?” She looked like I told her that she just ate a puppy. Which I don’t see the difference of anyways.
“Yeah, a cow. Like moo.” I then preceded to tell her the ribs on her plate were pig, much to her parents’ dismay. (Hey. She asked first.) She didn’t know that either. Then my 10 year old nephew M piped in “It’s okay E. They were made for us to eat. It’s normal.”
Hmm. “What makes you think that?” I challenged him. (Poor kids, having me for an aunt.)
“I don’t know. I just know we eat animals.” M replied.
“M, do you go to the zoo?” I asked him. He nodded. “Do you eat those animals? Do you eat zebras and giraffes?”
“No…” Something inside him clicked. “That’s weird! How come we eat farm animals but not zoo animals?” He was intrigued now.
“Good question. I guess we think it’s normal to eat farm animals. But it’s not really. Would you eat a dog?” I asked.
M and E both started freaking out. “No! Gross! Sick!”
“Well you know some places like China eat dogs.” I told them.
Again, “No! Gross! Sick!”
“Well…they think it’s normal. Just like how you think it’s normal to eat cows, chickens and pigs.”
“But it’s not normal!” M protested.
“Well, then I guess eating cows, chickens and pigs aren’t normal than either.” I simply replied. Both of them nodded. I don’t think I converted anyone into vegetarianism that night but at least the topic was discussed. That’s the thing, kids don’t know what they are eating. They have no idea! They consume meat from such a young age that they don’t realize the connection between the farm animals they  meet at the County Farm and the meat on their plate. And really, that’s not too fair. To the animals or to them. And the thing is, kid’s are intelligent and compassionate enough to be able to know and decide if they want to eat it or not. Of course there’s always a lot of turmoil with parents who eat meats who breed children who don’t want to…but there shouldn’t be. To each their own.

This topic struck me as important so I went searching to see if there were any sources for kids to look at if they are interested in knowing where their food comes from. There really isn’t too much. The one book that I did find though, is a great one. I love it. It’s called That’s Why We Don’t Eat Animals; A Book Vegans, Vegetarians, and All Living Things written and illustrated by Ruby Roth. Roth is a young artist and art teacher living in Los Angeles. A vegan since 2003, Roth was teaching art in an after-school program when the children’s interest in healthy foods and veganism first inspired her to write That’s Why We Don’t Eat Animals. It’s a fantastic picture book totally appropriate (and designed) for kids, while still providing information adults don’t even know. Roth addresses the topic of animals in a light manner, with cute pictures and easy vocabulary. She briefly describes how animals have families just like us, feelings just like us, and deserve a life just like us. It’s cute, touching, provides good information and shows kids why meat isn’t necessary. Roth also does it in a kid friendly way, so don’t worry, its not like the book is describing slaughterhouses, or cows legs being hacked off (which is what truly is happening).  Jane Goodall, a PHD, DBE says it best, “This is a powerful and important book. Farm animals have emotions similar to our pets and this is conveyed in Roth’s enchanting illustrations. It will make children – and their parents – think. But it will not lead to nightmares, rather respect and compassion for the creatures whose wellbeing is in our hands.” I enjoyed the book a lot, and already know that this will be a book I read to my own child. After checking the book out I decided to look into Roth and her website, http://www.wedonteatanimals.com, and adored it. It, like the book, is packed with Roth’s cute illustrations, detailed information and advice on everything kids and their families need to know about animals and vegetarianism. It’s lovely. Please check it out, I highly recommend it!

Watch this video! It is so good…at least make sure you watch the end…the girl is so cute!

More Pics!