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Apr 30, 2008
Focus: Environment
Action Request: Think About
Location: United States

With summer thirst just around the corner – stay active and stay healthy all season long with filtered water and reusable water bottles for hydration on-the-go.  Spring and summer activities require water and lots of it – but that doesn’t mean stocking up on bottled water. Visit our Conscious Consumer Marketplace to find bottled water alternatives and start reducing your carbon footprint.

Bottled water is a huge habit we need to break. Nearly 8.3 million gallons of water went into plastic containers in 2006.  That’s not the only drain on resources, though. The energy used to make those bottles and transport that water also takes a heavy toll.  Keep carbon out of the air and chemicals out of your water – by filtering your own water right at the tap and using non-plastic reusable water bottles for the whole family.

Conscious Consumer Marketplace logoThere are many water filters that can work for your lifestyle.  Pur, for one, makes a number of water filtration systems that fit directly on your tap or for storage in your fridge.  Also think about getting a durable stainless steel or lined aluminum bottle.  Klean Kanteen makes stainless steel bottles—with cool colors for kids to start them on healthy, conscious, smarter habits now. And they’ll save you money too! Drinking bottled water can cost up to $1,400.00 per year; drinking the same amount from the tap costs around $0.59 for the year, according to an article in the New York Times.

Visit our Conscious Consumer Marketplace at www.consciousconsumer.org and get connected with healthier choices for you and the planet – today.

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Posted: Apr 30, 2008 3:14am
Mar 12, 2008
>From HealthNewsDigest.com

Environment
Leather and the Environment
By
Mar 8, 2008 - 12:43:23 PM


(HealthNewsDigest.com) - Leather is everywhere—from shoes and belts, to purses, wallets, jackets, furniture and car seats. Most probably assume that the leather that finds its way into our wardrobes and living spaces is a byproduct of the meat industry. But while cows are certainly the most popular animals to use for leather goods, in truth most of our leather is sourced from overseas, from countries like China and India, where a host of animals may be raw material for our bags and belts, including horses, deer, sheep and, in more exotic cases, alligators or snakes. All of which may make an animal-lover or vegetarian queasy.


But environmentalists have reason to forgo leather, too. Processing leather requires copious amounts of energy and a toxic stew of chemicals including formaldehyde, coal tar, and some cyanide containing finishes. The tanning process is just as pollutant-laced, and can leave chemicals in the water supply (as described in the best-selling book and popular movie, A Civil Action) and on the hands (and in the lungs) of developing world workers.


Tanneries are top polluters on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) “Superfund” list, which identifies the most critical industrial sites in need of environmental cleanup. Due to their toxicity, reports organicleather.com, “many old tannery sites can’t be used for agriculture, or built on, or even sold.” That website is the home of Mill Valley, California, retailer Organic Leather, which offers a return to the tanning practices of old—using animals that are organically fed and humanely raised and a tanning process that uses plant tannins, vegetable tannins or smoke to cure the leather with zero toxicity in the process.


But with the wealth of fashionable faux leather alternatives, there’s no need to ever wear animal skins. So-called “cruelty-free” fashions have advanced in leaps and bounds, with variations on every style of handbag, wallet, belt and boot. Online “vegan boutique”Alternative Outfitters even has a version of the ubiquitous Ugg boot made with microsuede “shearling” on the outside and synthetic wool inside, while Iowa-based Heartland Products sells western-style non-leather boots and non-leather Birkenstock sandals. Science has come up with plenty of comfortable, durable alternatives to materials made with animal products. These include vegan microfiber, which claims to match leather in strength and durability, and Pleather, Durabuck and NuSuede.


Products made with these synthetic materials tend to be less expensive than their leather counterparts and are being produced by major manufacturers like Nike, whose Durabuck athletic and hiking shoes “will stretch around the foot with the same ‘give’ as leather... and are machine washable,” according to company sources. And you won’t need to adjust your style, either. Vegetarianshoesandbags.com offers everything from purple faux snakeskin peep-toe pumps for hitting the clubs to hemp sneakers with recycled outsoles that look skate park-ready, to distinctive Pleather bags and versatile woven belts.


CONTACTS: Alternative Outfitters, www.alternativeoutfitters.com; Heartland Products, www.trvnet.net/~hrtlndp; Organic Leather, www.organicleather.com; Vegetarian Shoes and Bags, www.vegetarianshoesandbags.com.


GOT AN ENVIRONMENTAL QUESTION? Send it to: EarthTalk, c/o E/The Environmental Magazine, P.O. Box 5098, Westport, CT 06881; submit it at: www.emagazine.com/earthtalk/thisweek/, or e-mail: earthtalk@emagazine.com. Read past columns at: www.emagazine.com/earthtalk/archives.php.

www.HealthNewsDigest.com

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Posted: Mar 12, 2008 3:25am
Jul 23, 2007

Can the Environment Survive the Environmentalists?

There is a now-old saying; "All we have to fear is: fear itself!". It has been attributed to FDR and to Winston Churchill. What is amazing is just how true that sentiment remains.

Nowhere is this so true today than in the realm of the neoLuddite dilemma. At least one neoLuddite would have himself described this way:

The original Luddites were textile workers who smashed automated weaving equipment, not realizing that there was such ElasticityOfDemand? in the textile markets that the new looms would improve their lot rather than worsening it.

A movement beginning in the early 1970s was variously called "voluntary simplicity," Luddite, Neo-Luddite, and other names.

Beliefs vary among participants but a separation from the commercial value system promulgated by television, other media, and retailers is a common element. Some participants take a faith-based approach, drawing from diverse Christian traditions including the Quakers, Mennonites, Amish, and Shakers. Other participants are atheists.

By eliminating commercial messages entirely, and keeping them out of our life, we are better able to think for ourselves and are less tempted by the shallow pleasures of foppish fashion. We are not inundated with the implicit value judgements in television programs.
Now, to be fair -- there is absolutely, positively, nothing -- in and of itself -- that is wrong with this sentiment. Not by one iota. But there is a 'deeper' element to it, with a vicious political drive, that is a great hazard to our future.

There is one thing which is absolutely true, whether you enjoy it or not -- our race is locked into an ever-expanding economic cycle. This is absolute fact; if the economy were to collapse, it would take millions or even perhaps billions with it. And there are zero signs of its changing over to anything else. There is some question as to how long this game can be continued, yes -- in the current form. And therein lie the rub: the neoLuddite would have you believe that economics is a fixed-sum game. They speak of fungibility, and how food and shelter are somehow non-fungible goods. In its extreme form, environmentalism is also quite neoluddite in nature, today. Take for example the "Deep Ecology" 'hilosophical' movement. From the Wikipedia entry:

Deep ecology is a recent branch of ecological philosophy (ecosophy) that considers humankind as an integral part of its environment. It places more value on other species, ecosystems and processes in nature than that in established environmental and green movements, and therefore leads to a new system of environmental ethics. The core principle of deep ecology as originally developed is Næss's doctrine of biospheric egalitarianism — the claim that all living things have the same right to live and flourish. Deep ecology describes itself as "deep" because it is concerned with fundamental philosophical questions about the role of human life as one part of the ecosphere, rather than with a narrow view of ecology as a branch of biological science, and aims to avoid merely utilitarian environmentalism.
This is the sort of movement that leads to the extreme forms of veganism, such as has been exemplified by certain versions of Buddhism, wherein you have monks whom have dedicated themselves to eating leaves and fruit that fell on its own, and nothing but, for the remainder of their lives; they consider their lives to be equal in value to that of an earthworm.

And, again -- there is nothing wrong with that way of thinking, nor with that particular way of life. Where the problem comes in, however, is when this sort of thinking gets tied into things like the feminist movement. Enter ecofeminism:
Ecofeminism is a social and political movement which unites environmentalism and feminism[1], with some currents linking deep ecology and feminism.[2]oppression of women and the degradation of nature, and explore the intersectionality between sexism, the domination of nature, racism, speciesism, and other characteristics of social inequality. Some current work emphasizes that the capitalist and patriarchal system is based on triple domination of the "Southern people" (those people who live in the Third World, the majority of which are south of the First World), women, and nature. Ecofeminists argue that a relationship exists between the
As a bit of an aside -- there is a 'saw' (joke, that is), that runs something like this: Where would you put the Men's Studies department at a university? The answer to that question reveals precisely a great deal of the difficulties facing the intellectual community as a whole when confronting this sort of ideology as it enters the political spectrum, as recently discussed byCato@Liberty, the blog of the Cato Institute -- the premier libertarian policy thinktank. Suffice it to say that science ought not involve itself in politics -- and, frankly, neither should politics involve itself in science.

It is this dilemma -- that of the politicization of the environmentalist movement -- that has ironically created some of the greatest obstacles to the greening of the economy. Take, for example, this simple fact: Poverty is the greatest destroyer of the ecology there is. If you doubt this, consider the association between the ecological havoc that is being wrought in Africa and the Meso/south American rainforests, in light of the practice of subsistence farming.

One of the quickest ways to "save the rainforest" would be to make soil fertilization cheap enough and sustainable enough that the South American "slash and burners" would no longer have any reason to move on from their lands. What is most interesting about this -- specifically in terms of the Amazon -- is that it is now known that there once was an entire civilization that existed along the Amazon river. They used a technique of fertilization which has been abandoned due to ignorance of it, but which could revolutionize the lives of these poverty-stricken individuals, and perhaps lead them to greater economic success -- which in tandem would result in ecological preservation and restoration. This technique is simple enough; take the chaff of the farming process, turn it into charcoal -- rather than simply burning it -- and till the soil with this charcoal. The rain can't wash it away -- and there you have a sustainable patch of farmland. Add nitrogen-based fertilizers, and the amazon region could become a net exporter of foodstuffs -- while the rainforests could recover into the wasteland of burnt-out fields.

But this isn't information the "dark greens" wish to hear. There are a number of reasons for this, but they have been summed up somewhat sufficiently elsewhere (iteratively, no less). This author, of course, is by no means above letting others do his typing, and thus:
8. Technology Is Not the Problem; It's the Solution.
[...]
Nuclear generation of electricity emits no pollutants and no carbon dioxide. About 110 nuclear power plants provide about 20 percent of U.S. electricity today. Yet more than 100 additional plants have been cancelled or deferred indefinitely since the early 1970s.204 This was the direct result of an intense antinuclear-power campaign, carried out by many of the same individuals who are now demanding domestic reductions in carbon dioxide emissions.
And:
9. Bad Advice Is Often Worse Than No Advice.
[...]
All too often the advice reflects the reactionary environmentalists' theological dislike of man-made things rather than a true concern for the environment. As a result, this advice often encourages environmentally destructive behavior.


The simple truth is this: if the environmentalist movement continues down its current path of technological obstruction, especially in light of the continued development of ever-increasing economy, their actions could very readily result in abject ecological ruination.

As evidenced by the fact that "green tech" is now the third highest category globally for venture capital investment, right after biotech and information tech, in that order -- it would now seem that the antitechnology environmentalist is the environment's worst enemy. Surely there must be a cause for this; but one must ask: what is its source?
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Posted: Jul 23, 2007 12:43pm
Mar 1, 2006
Focus: Environment
Action Request: Other
Location: United States
www.newfreegas.com
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Posted: Mar 1, 2006 9:24am

 

 
 
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\\n\\r\\n“Integrity is telling myself the truth. And honesty is telling the truth to other people.”\\r\\n\\r\\ n \\r\\n\\r\\nSpence r Johnson\\r\\n\\r\\n  \\r\\n\\r\\nMany years ago, when I was in high school chemistry lab, I was assigned to do a litm...
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New Petition! Speak out against Time-Warner Merger with Comcast! Let your opinion be know before your bill goes up and your programming choices dwindle.\\r\\n\\r\\nUrge DOJ and FCC to Not Allow Merger of Time-Warner and Comcast\\r\\nhttp://www.t hepetitionsi...
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New Petition! Speak out against Time-Warner Merger with Comcast! Let your opinion be know before your bill goes up and your programming choices dwindle.\\r\\n\\r\\nUrge DOJ and FCC to Not Allow Merger of Time-Warner and Comcast\\r\\nhttp://www.t hepetitionsi...
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\\nCoretta Scott King: “We have done what we can to reveal the truth, and we now urge you as members of the media, and we call upon elected officials, and other persons of influence to do what they can to share the revelation of this case to the ...
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\\nWe declare that no man nor nation nor race have a greater right than others to enjoy the fruits of their work, as the ecological sphere is our common condition of life http://www.beat s4change.org/aims.htm Nous déclarons qu\\\'auc...
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\\nauthor: Ralph Nader\\r\\n\\r\\nAn epidemic of sky-rocketing medical costs has afflicted our country and grown to obscene proportions. Medical bills are bloated with waste, redundancy, profiteering, fraud and outrageous over-billing. Much is wrong with t...
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\\nDear Friends:\\r\\n\\r\\n\\r\\ n\\r\\nMy two current books have been published and are available for sale through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and the publisher’s website, http://sbprabooks.com/Max Hammer. Reading these books can be very helpful for anyone...
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\\nA stainless steel tank the size of a basketball court lies buried in the sandy soil of southeastern Washington state, an aging remnant of U.S. efforts to win World War II. The tank holds enough radioactive waste to fill an Olympic-sized swimming poo...
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\\r\\nThe Olympic Peninsula is home to important state-owne d forests and many of our state’s most iconic creatures. To keep these forest ecosystems healthy, WEC and our partners at Conservation Northwe st and Olympic Forest Coal...