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working on making sense of it all
Aug 24 '11

to the GOP about the environment…

If you want to “dismantle the EPA” and/or put a “moratorium on all regulations” then fine. 

If you want to team up with companies that blame “inbreeding" for the problems of people who are directly affected by mountaintop removal instead of take the blame, then fine.

If you want to continue to deny climate change even though it’s happening right in front of you, then that is fine too.  

If you want tar sands, nuclear energy, and “clean coal” instead of sustainable, renewable energy… fine.

If you want to be friends with the Friends of Coal, I think you’re creepy, but that’s fine too.

But if this is what Ron Paul wants:



As President, Ron Paul will lead the fight to:

* Remove restrictions on drilling, so companies can tap into the vast amount of oil we have here at home.

* Repeal the federal tax on gasoline. Eliminating the federal gas tax would result in an 18 cents savings per gallon for American consumers.

* Lift government roadblocks to the use of coal and nuclear power.

* Eliminate the ineffective EPA. Polluters should answer directly to property owners in court for the damages they create – not to Washington.

* Make tax credits available for the purchase and production of alternative fuel technologies.

It’s time for a President that recognizes the free market’s power and innovative spirit by unleashing its full potential to produce affordable, environmentally sound, and reliable energy.

Then back off.  If the EPA is so ineffective (only because you fail to include mountaintop removal and hydraulic fracturing in it’s clean air and clean water acts) then get used to this again:

1970s LA

Secretly though, all of these things are not fine with me and I like breathing air that is much much cleaner than pictured above. 

Jul 9 '11

'Away' Does Not Exist.

All day I’ve been trying to figure out a different way to say “throwing ___ away” because there really is no ‘away’.  No, think about it.  Where does your trash go?  How long does it stay there?  Does it move around?  How long does it take to travel to ‘away’?  Does it leave ‘away’? 

I’m not saying I don’t toss things into this magical place, I do and have done for almost 22 years now.  Or since I knew where the garbage can was located. 

I just read this book about this boat that sailed last year called Plastiki.  It was made of recycled materials, plastic bottles, and was self sustainable.  It went equipped with a hydroponic vegetable garden, solar panels, and a sail made of of recycled PET woven polyester.  The goal was to make people aware that we’re trashing our oceans.  It talks a little about wildlife, the garbage patches, and where they think we went wrong with treating our environment. 

So, an excerpt for now, thoughts later. 

"Right now, society is accustomed to regarding plastic as a valueless and ultimately disposable material.  Out of a substance that lasts for thousands of years, we make packaging and products designed to be used for just ten minutes— and oftentimes less than that.  The tragic dimensions of that throwaway mind-set are seen in our oceans— and in their inhabitants— filling up with plastic.  We can change that. 
Plastic itself isn’t to blame.  Plastic’s amazing qualities made possible huge advances in medicine, technology, entertainment, transportation, and pretty much every facet of modern life.  The problem is our inability to understand that trashing plastic at the end of its useful life is a design flaw.
In natural systems, garbage doesn’t exist.  Dung and death yield vital nutrients that are soon metabolized by other organisms in an endless cycle of buildup and breakdown, construction and destruction.”

Plastiki, p. 72 

Jun 15 '11

Keep America Beautiful. Endofstory.

You know when you’re driving and you see a “Keep America Beautiful” sign?  Keep America Beautiful is an actual organization.

Throughout the years they have done several studies and campaigns about litter.  States and cities adopted the signs, “Keep North Carolina Beautiful”

But let’s just take a second and think about this.  Litter.  Paper, soda cans, straws, beer bottles, water bottles, cigarette butts.  What makes people think that the proper disposal is the ground?  We are humans and we are all educated.  We all have eyes and a brain.  So why littering?  Because it’s closer than the trash can.  Because it’s trash and trash is dirty so you much drop it right where you are even though it’s your trash?  Any excuse for litter is an awful excuse.

Here in Asheville (actually just outside) there is a swimming hole that Reid and I really like going to.  The first time we went there was a pile of trash at the edge of the woods.  Beer boxes, bottles, clothes, cans, whatever.  Just left there for someone else to clean up.  The last time we went we took a trash bag and filled it. We filled a 13 gallon trash bag with a pair of children’s shoes, playing cards, bottles, enough empty beer cans for the next year, clothes, socks, a beach towel, hair ties, and ever cigarette butt I could find.  With a few of us digging around it probably only took us 45 minutes total to gather everything, taking a few minutes here and there.  The time before that we used two sticks as giant chop sticks to pick up a dirty diaper.  Really?  You bring a baby to a swimming hole but bring nothing for trash?  That just doesn’t make any sense.
And then you see it on your way out.  Drink boxes, mcd’s cups, straws, candy wrappers.  Ugh.  It comes with you, it leaves with you.

I read a blog about a lady in Wrightsville, NC that does 20 minute beach clean ups.  She does them at different beach accesses, when she has time (so possibly not every day, but sometimes consecutive days).  She weighs the litter and counts every single cigarette butt that is picked up.  So in 72 20 minute cleanups she has picked up over 20,000 butts.
so what is she doing this for?  ”About 95% of cigarette filters are composed of cellulose acetate, a form of plastic which does not quickly degrade and can persist in the environment”…”Cigarette butt litter can also pose a hazard to mammals and marine life when they mistake filters for food.” -KAB

Think of it sometimes happening like this:

Smoker extinguishes cigarette at beach.  Cigarette butt gets washed in water.  Fish eats butt.  Fish gets caught.  You eat the fish.  Which ate the butt.  Get it?

People shouldn’t have to organize cleanups or fill up a trash bag of mostly recyclables at a swimming hole.  Where did your manners go?  TRASH belongs in a TRASH can, not on the ground.  If you can’t handle that then I feel like you shouldn’t be able to handle things that mean using your brain more.  Like driving.

Please, if you are going to the beach then take a bag with you for trash.  And maybe pick up some other careless person’s trash while you’re there.  If you go hiking, take a bag and expect to find trash.  It’s outrageous.  And everywhere.

May 15 '11

why you should buy a breadmaker

We’ve had our bread maker for a little while now, and I’m pretty sure we love it.  Why the heck did we buy one you ask?  You can do all kinds of things with a bread maker.  You can make bread, knead dough, make rolls, pizza dough.  The list goes on.  And while I was slightly nervous about the loaf size, “2 lbs” which is not quite as long as a grocery store loaf but a little taller, I love our Breadman.

Isn’t it a hassle to have to wait for your bread to bake?  Not at all!  I take my time with life (for the majority of things) and the bake time is about 3 hours.  So you realize you’re almost out of bread, put all the ingredients in, and enjoy the smell of fresh baked bread for the next few hours.

Is it cheaper to make your own bread?  Each loaf uses water, 2 tsp butter, salt, honey, and 3.5 cups whole wheat bread flour.  The yeast is where it’ll get ya.  Running at about $7-$8 for a small jar.  Depending on what kinds of bread you are trying to make and how often, the little guy will last you for a while if you take care of it properly.  I can buy about 12 cups of flour for $4-$5ish (it’s a little hard to tell because I buy it in bulk by weight and the only estimation on cups is on the giant ball jars we use), which would ultimately last us about 4 loaves of bread.  It’s hard to tell how much in dollars we use of salt, honey, and butter but I’ll work on figuring it out.

Now for the plastic part of the idea of a breadmaker (you didn’t think I would leave that out did you?).  Assuming we would buy 2 loaves of bread per week like we had been, at two plastic bread bags per week for 52 weeks that’s 104 plastic bags (easy math) that we don’t use.  And assuming we get to have pizza night every week for a whole year, that’s another 52 non recyclable plastic pizza crust packets we don’t use.  Totaling at 156 plastic items we don’t use in one year, I’d say we’re off to a good start.

May 12 '11
The Black Keys - Dearest (Buddy Holly cover) (Rave On Buddy Holly)


Dearest by The Black Keys
originally by Buddy Holly 

via fuckyeahpastiche:

A substantial portion of my music library is devoted to Buddy Holly and his Rockabilly contemporaries. I’m particularly partial to Mr. Holly, which has me absolutely thrilled for this upcoming tribute album (save for the Kid Rock track… confusing). Click through to onethirtybpm for more info.

Just listened to this 3 times in a row, really excited for June 28 now.

(Source: pastichepastiche)

May 5 '11

let’s get things straight

I don’t hate plastics.  I think they’re an incredible invention with a lot of different uses.  I hate the way we use them.  I hate that single use items are made from plastics.  I hate that we are just now seeing the awful effects of this awesome invention.  I hate that people, such as myself can, are, were, and will continue to be blind when it comes to the issue.

I don’t feel like I need to fix it.  But I feel like “99 is not 100” as stated in Waste Land and I will continue to do whatever is possible to rethink, refuse, reduce, reuse, and then recycle.

May 2 '11

It’s not like we were going to NOT try to kill Osama bin Laden after he directed his men to crash four planes into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and whatever third target he hoped to strike with the fourth plane. He murdered thousands in an act of war. Does his death solve anything? Not necessarily. But at least he’s dead.


(edit, h/t to rustybenches)

I agree.  At least he’s dead.  I’m sure this really hits home for a lot of people: soldiers who have fought and are fighting, ones we’ve lost, and families who’s loved ones were victims of 9/11.  I’m just going to put this out there though and you can hate me for it or whatever: I’m not sure about celebrating this person’s death.  I’m fully aware that he was a bad man capable of unthinkably awful things and “at least" he’s dead.  I just don’t know if he’s deserving of a celebration for death.  Remember Easter was last week?  And Good Friday?  That’s when we should be celebrating death.  Today I’m not "celebrating."  I’m remembering.  And keeping my head on straight, because things like "burn in hell" and "towel head" are just not really appropriate no matter how evil.  Be relieved and don’t let it cause hatred.

May 1 '11

not about plastic

Dear Life,

Hey, how’s it goin?  I see you just got off work and your brain is in that “just got off work and can’t think” mode right now.  This is obviously the perfect time to analyze the past four years of your life.

I could make this about plastic, as I have a few things to be said about plant based plastics and bioplastics, but alas! I’ll save it for another day.  (maybe tomorrow)

What this is about is being okay with myself and who I am as an individual and why it matters to me.

Four years ago I graduated from high school, technically it’ll be four years on the 18th.  If I had gone ahead to college like the rest of my peers (to either akron, walsh, or kent it seems) I would be graduating sometime in the coming weeks with some kind of bachelor’s degree.  I would also not be in Asheville.  I would also not be married to my handsome man.

But.. there is some kind of feeling like, “oh, I should be graduating right now.”  And when I used to feel like I had fallen behind because I wasn’t doing what everyone else was doing I tried to push myself into school and I finally learned that didn’t really work.  So I gave up (I became what I thought was a quitter).  But I did a ton of other fun things, I learned an amazing skill, and I’m living life.

There are so many small adventures in there, and I wouldn’t have had the chance to do them had I been in school.  So for all of this I am thankful:

Instead of going to summer parties before school started I went to Georgia.  Instead of going to class, I went to coffee and tea lessons.  Instead of going on a class trip, I went to a regional barista competition.  Instead of trying to pick up guys at frat parties, I pushed for cheesy fries after interrupting his reading time at muggswigz.  Instead of visiting Pittsburgh, I moved there.  I went hiking and camping.  I went to Costa Rica.  I stayed up for half of the night working on my handmade wedding invitations.  I learned a lot about myself.  I learned to cook.  I developed a deep understanding for human impact on the environment.  I’ve made some amazing friends that I would have never met if I hadn’t moved.  I learned that I love crafting and making things.  Instead of any kind of college formal, I had the most amazing day of my life and I got married.

And I am okay that all of these things do not currently include college or graduating.  I feel like I have finally come to terms with who I am and the decisions I have made in the past.  My life is fantastic.  It has it’s ups and downs, but I have so much to be thankful for.  If you had asked me about this a while ago, I would have told you that I’ve been working on it and I would have tried my hardest to validate why I shouldn’t have been in school at the time.  But ask me right now?  I’ve gone to school, it wasn’t working out financially, I didn’t put enough effort into figuring it out for a while, life got interesting and I moved, I know I’m going to go back and I’m working on figuring that out.  I won’t get it all mapped out by tomorrow and probably not even by next week.  I’m okay with that because I know in time it will come.  I don’t really care if you disagree.

Apr 27 '11
Apr 21 '11

organic v. conventional

time to tumble.

Recently we have been buying mostly organic, specifically organic meat and produce.  After learning a few things and watching Food Inc., we pretty much came to the conclusion that we don’t agree with conventional agriculture techniques.  Okay so what’s my beef?  (no pun intended)

In Food Inc., they talk about the use of ammonia in meat, which kind of freaks me out.  Ammonia can be used for a lot of things and you can check out the wikipedia article on it for all kinds of info, but we’re here to talk about meat.

Here is a quote from this website that pretty much sums up what was said in Food Inc.,:

"Conventionally raised animals are fed genetically modified corn, a food no body is meant to consume, in order to fatten them up quickly. This goal is achieved because they are not meant to eat that food. Antibiotics are given to them because bacteria like E coli are created in the stomachs of these animals as a result of their inappropriate diet. Today’s ground beef has bits of literally thousands of different steer making contamination of bacteria a big problem. So the factory’s solution to ensure that a recall doesn’t happen is to wash meat in ammonia before packing to kill the E coli. This actually happens! E coli exists because of their business model. Instead of changing their business model, they add further contaminants to the product, and never tell you what they have done to the food you are buying and eating. If the package read, “soaked in ammonia to kill E Coli,” do you think anyone would buy it?"

Ammonia exists naturally in the human body.  The Fertilizer Institute says this: about 17 grams of ammonia are created by the body every day and about 4 grams are absorbed into the circulation system, the rest is excreted through urine.  So my brain is saying, “okay so you only need about 4 grams of ammonia to be absorbed in your body to keep your body’s pH balanced since the rest is basically discarded.”

I have not found any serious short term side effects of consuming ammonia injected meat, but I’m wondering if there are long term side effects of it?  You know, like when Americans thought that plastic shopping bags were a good idea and then a few decades later realized that they pollute the environment like crazy.  So what are the long term side effects of the human body?  I guess we’ll have to wait and see…

There is a great chart here by the Organic Trade Association about organic v. conventional in livestock.  Look closely at the use of antibiotics, grown hormones, and genetic engineering.  Of course read the rest of it too.

There’s this article here about ammonia (ammonium hydroxide, when mixed with water) that seems to be all about using ammonia in beef.  It seems to state over and over again that the FDA approved ammonia in 1974 as GRAS.  What is GRAS you ask?  Generally Recognized As Safe.  Remember this is the same FDA that approved cloned meat as safe to eat.

But here in the New York Times they completely question the safety of what BPI (Beef Products Inc., who’s website is conveniently under construction) is doing to the meat.

This meat store has a website that is pretty informative about the whole process.  When a company is USDA Certified Organic (it’s important that it’s USDA Certified) the animals must be birthed organic,
"Certified Organic meat animals must consume Certified Organic vegetarian feed; pasture, hay and or grain that has been produced without the use of insecticides, pesticides, chemical fertilizers, synthetic fertilizers, irradiation, genetically modified organisms (GMOs), sewage sludge, or animal byproducts such as bone meal, blood meal, or other animal byproducts." and,
"When processing; slaughtering, cutting, grinding, packaging Certified Organic meat products no use of chemicals, fillers, additives or preservatives are allowed. Substances such as MSG, ammonia, bleach, formaldehyde, nitrates, nitrites, phosphates, are all prohibited."

So will we continue to eat only organic meat?  Uhm, duh.  The loose requirements of conventional farming make me nervous and the fact that BPI is exempt from FDA inspections doesn’t make it any better.

Don’t forget earth day is tomorrow!