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Saturday, March 28, 2009

Earth Hour is Tonight!

Participate in the 3rd annual Earth Hour- tonight at 8:30 (to 9:30)pm in every time zone. Turn off the lights, the tv, and anything plugged in. Ok, I'm not unplugging my fridge, but you get the point. Help fight global warming by making a point to go powerless for 1 hour tonight.

Bands pledge to play acoustic for an hour. There are some big cities who have pledged to shut off all the city lights. In fact, right now Sydney Austrailia is dark (even the lights on bridges and stuff) - it was just on TV.
In Florida, where I live, the only citywide efford I believe is Sarasota, FL (not my city though...). So, take that 1 hour and relax, light some candles, hang out with your friends or just enjoy the peace and quiet.

8:30 pm. DO IT!

Tossing Food Scraps Out of a Car Window

I don't eat apples while driving very often, and I certainly don't litter, but I am sure that I have thought it was ok to toss an apple core out the car window. I've probably done it before. For that matter, any food that is biodegradable can't count as litter, right? It will break down and feed the Earth. Well, its not about litter, its about what takes place after you leave the scene of the apple core, banana peel, or bread crust. Roadkill.
The little critters come to eat what you left behind, then they get run over by a car. Then another animal comes to eat them. Luring an animal to the road, away from thier homes in the woods, is a sure way to reduce thier population. While we can mostly all agree that there are plenty of squirrels to go around (no fear of extinction there!), although I would not kill a squirrel on purpose, its the bigger animals in this equation who should be the focus of this behavioral change.
The biggest predator of the Key Deer (a really cute species of deer that lives only in the Florida Keys) is the vehicle. There is actually a sign on Big Pine Key that says how many Key Deer have been hit by cars each year. The numbers are changable, so when the locals find another one, they update the sign. Its so sad.
When I was just starting college in Florida, I was on a camping trip at the springs and we heard something bustling around the woods. Turned out it was an armadillo. An armadillo in the woods? Seriously? I thought they lived on the side of the road!! That's because the only place I have ever seen an armadillo in the first 20 yrs of my life was on a roadside, usually dead. So clearly there are some animals that make a habit of sniffing out food left on the roadside. Whether it is food left by a human or food that was run over by a human.
For an entertaining clip of this, watch this zap root video. There is some other eco-news in this video too. But the first segment is about roadkill.
So, don't throw food scraps out by the road. If you have to toss them, make sure your throwing arm is loose, and hurl that stuff way off into the woods. You may need to stop the car first, too.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Green Printing Options - Save Paper and Ink!

I recently installed this free program called Green Print that helps to conserve printer ink and paper when you are printing out documents. Also, have you ever printed an email or website where those annoying ads are on the page and you really didn't need that printed out, but its there and often causes another sheet of paper to be wasted? Well, Green Print is some kind of magic and it can get rid of the unnecessary stuff when you are printing. It also has this function where it will calculate over time how much paper is saved and how much money is saved. So check it out and you can download it for free. I think its perfect for home use, but an aquaintance of mine is planning to use it at his job to save the company money and resources. He is going to have everyone at the office install it, and claims it has saved his job from the chopping block. Ok, I don't know if it will save a year's salary of money, but its going to save something. A penny saved is a penny earned!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Eco News on the Quick!

I found a new fun eco-website. Although, if you have TiVo, you can watch the videos on TV too. Thats how I found out about it. Its called Zap Root. Every week they put out a new video, about 4 minutes long. Theres this fun New Zealander who spouts out all the latest eco-news in an entertaining way. The current video is on the website, along with an "Archive" link with multiple other videos that are worth checking out.
Check it out. There's also an eco-networking site affiliated with it called Viro Pop. I'm on there. You can be my friend :)
If you are a TiVo subscriber, go to the main screen, click on Videos on Demand, then Browse Free Videos. ViroPop is on there. Set up a Season Pass and you everytime there is a new video, it will be in your Now Playing List.

Recycle Old or Broken Electronics

My DVD player died.
This is the 3rd one I've had that has died. I never pay more than $99 for them, my most recent was only $43 and it is a well-respected brand name from a well-respected retailer. So what do I do with the dead one?
I'm always thinking about finding a re-use. Maybe there's some techno-geek who can revive it. But in all reality, its probably not worth it to the techno-geek, especially since new ones are so cheap. So I googled. I found a site that you can put in your zip code and it tells you where to recycle you electronics.
It's called My Green Electronics. Check it out and bookmark it. Next time your electronics die, before you throw it in the landfill, you will know where to take it. My drop off site happens to be the County Solid Waste/Recycling Center. But not every community will be the same.

Evolution of One Species Triggered by Other Species

I saw this article and I found it interesting that they are studying this, since its so difficult to capture in nature. Just thought I'd share.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Although widely speculated, researchers have now shown that the evolution of one species can drive the evolution of another.
For the first time, researchers from the University of Florida, the University of Notre Dame and Michigan State University have documented what evolutionary biologists call “cascading speciation.” In the Feb. 6 issue of the journal Science, they describe how the continuing evolution of a fly species directly triggers changes in a wasp that preys on those flies — a powerful demonstration of the complexity of Darwin’s theory.
“This is the sort of thing that scientists know is happening, but is almost impossible to show in nature because it happens over large areas over long periods of time,” said Lukasz Stelinski, an entomologist with UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. “In this instance, it happened very quickly and virtually in our own backyard.”
Of course, “quickly” is a relative term to biologists.
Charles Darwin and John Chapman (a.k.a. Johnny Appleseed) probably never met. The year Darwin was born, 1809, Appleseed was in the midst of spreading orchards across America’s frontier lands. Nevertheless, as Darwin’s bicentennial approaches, it turns out that Appleseed helped lay the foundation for this modern evolution research.
As apple trees were spread, some members of a fly species that had previously been laying its eggs in the berry-like fruit of the hawthorn plant began instead infesting the newly available apples.
Because the new fruit ripened at a different time of the year, emitted different fragrances and had an entirely different texture for the larvae to burrow through, these deviant flies, now commonly called apple maggots, began to change to best accommodate their new breeding ground.
However, the flies weren’t alone in this change. A wasp that used the fly larvae as a host for its eggs followed the flies along their evolutionary journey — changing to adapt to the new timing, fragrance and physical qualities of the fruit.
The flies and wasps haven’t completely changed species yet, although the apple flies and wasps have very different lives than their hawthorn kin. The definition of a new species is an animal that can no longer mate with its predecessor and produce fertile offspring, and the researchers do observe that a small amount of mating still occurs.
The researchers were able to document the ongoing change by collecting thousands of samples of the flies and wasps across Illinois, Michigan, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Through behavioral, genetic and physiological analyses, they were able to chart gradual differences that are marking one species’ journey to the next.
“This was probably one of the simplest, clearest examples that we could have studied,” said Andrew Forbes, an entomologist at the University of Notre Dame at the time of the research and now with the University of California, Davis. “And, yeah, it was still a pretty massive undertaking. But, hopefully, this will open the door and encourage others to study this aspect of nature — and draw some attention to the really marvelous diversity of insects.”

Credits: Writer Stu Hutson, stu@ufl.edu, 352-392-0400
Source Lukasz Stelinski, stelinski@ufl.edu, 863-956-1151

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Self-Foaming Soap Refill

I used to think that self-foaming soap was a special kind of soap. Nope. Its the pump on the container! So, when I had an empty container of Kiss My Face self-foaming hand soap I thought I'd give this a shot, and it worked.

I took some Dr. Bronner's liquid soap (peppermint, but I think lavendar may be nice too!) and put some in the empty bottle. Then filled the rest with water (you have to dilute Dr. Bronner's). I replaced the cap and pumped out some foamy soap!! Yay!!

Kennel Club Funding Greyhound Adoptions

While its only for the month of October, its a step in the right direction. A kennel club (where dogs race) in West Palm Beach, Florida, is going to pay for the retired greyhounds to be checked out by a vet, administered shots, and fixed so they are ready to be adopted into a loving home.

The dogs are bred to be racers, are usually kept in cages, are not potty trained, have no obedience training, and all they know is how to run for people to bet on them. As sad as that is, when they are deemed useless as a racer, they are either euthanized or rescued by an adoption agency. The adoption agencies are like angels for these greyhounds. They usally specialize in the breed (its not a general dog/cat adoption center) and they potty train the dogs and have a foster parent get them used to life in a home, with people who love them. Pretty soon, they are ready to be adopted by a forever home.

There are certainly expenses involved in all of this, and thats where the kennel club footing the bill is a GREAT thing. It says that the kennel club acknowledges the problem of the unwanted dogs after they are through the racing world. A lot of people think that greyhounds are treated well when they are racing, just like most race horses are treated well. The problem is that is usually not the case. Race horses ARE, according to everything I have learned, treated well. But they are a much larger animal, born one at a time, and it is a much greater investment to wait to get them to the age before they can race. Greyhounds start racing much earlier in life and they are born in litters of several puppies at a time. So, to the racing industry, they are more disposable.

The local greyhound resuces I met with have told me about thier poor treatment in the racing industry. I have been wanting to adopt a greyhound for a while, but I don't think I have the time to devote to a new pet, so I'm going to put that off until I can give the animal what it deserves.

So here is what I am thinking- if this concerns you, talk to the local greyhound rescues in your area and have them pressure the local kennel club to pay for the costs that are required to get the dog from the racetrack to a loving home. West Palm Beach is not that far from me, so I suppose its probably the closest kennel club to me. Yet there are greyhound rescue groups closer to me. The dogs are really unique and I think that a greyhound would be a great dog for me.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Bisphenol-A: Safe by one agency, Unsafe by another

The FDA has lost a lot of credibility, especially since they are mostly paid off by pharmaceutical and chemical companies to approve things and come up with ways to say why they are safe. Yet often, these so called "safe" products have been later pulled from the market because of death or serious side effects. So, perhaps all those bunnies and mice who got tortured for the "approval" don't really simulate human systems (of course they don't!!) or the approval was paid for. Or both.

Anyway, bisphenol-A, the chemical compound in plastic that has recently been in the news was tested by independent right-to-know groups like the Environmental Working Group (EWG, website link on the right side of the page) has been reported to be damaging to our health and endocrine systems and can cause birth defects Then about a month later, the FDA issued an opposite statement resulting from thier "official" tests. "oh, its safe, we say so, and we are the FDA"
So then there were more tests. Now by the NTP- National Toxicology Program, part of the National Institute of Health. The NTP's results are more like EWG. There are health concerns.

Its a win some, lose some kind of thing, but as with many things, just reduce your consumption. That means anything that is stored in plastic can expose you to bisphenol-A and other chemicals.
If you want to go by the recycling symbols, the rule of thumb is to stay away from #3, #6, and #7 plastics. For plastic wrap, "get Glad", not Reynolds or Saran.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Environmental Issues of the 2008 Presidential Election

Hey everyone,
We are neck deep in political poop-slinging these days, but I found this awesome green issue comparison from "the daily green" between the major candidates, Obama and McCain. They do not analyze the VP picks, just the Presidential nominees.
However, I know that the Republican VP-pick, Sarah Palin has a bad environmental record- supporting wolf killing by air, sueing the US Fish & Wildlife to get the Polar Bear off the Endangered Species List, and her husband works for BP- a major oil company. She also obviously does not promote or use birth control. What family plans to have kids 17 yrs apart? I'm not even talking about her soon to be grandchild.
So, these are 7 key "green" issues to know about. They don't discuss animals (Endangered Species or welfare issues), but I guess in the big picture, thats not the best use of the candidates time.
Its no surprise to most people that I'm voting Democrat, but I just wanted to say that before I learned more about McCain (and certainly before he chose an anti-animal friendly running mate), I thought, "well, if the Republicans win, at least I won't hate the president's view on environmental issues...." haha! See, I was fooled by the old "McCain-Leiberman Climate Stewardship Act". That was back when Leiberman was a true Democrat. I think he needs to come out of the GOP closet these days. Also, compared to the Democratic ticket, climate stewardship and John McCain are not related. Moreso, adding Palin to the Republican ticket has dragged him down, I believe. I'm all for women in power, but not that one.
Read up on this stuff and vote smart, my eco-peoples!! :)

Friday, August 29, 2008

Plants poisonous to cats

A lot of people have these plants in thier homes and can cause major problems, even death, to our cats! I personally have to keep my plants way up high where the cats cannot get them in order to keep the plants alive. But I am also keeping my cats alive!

Here's the info, copied from the ASPCA website, starting with the common plans of the season:

Here is the full list of toxic plants - in alphabetical order.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Leather shoes or shoes "Made in China": what is more sustainable?

I debated on the title of this blog... "A woman's right to shoes", "Walking on China", "Scrap leather vs. sweatshop labor and plastic"...

Anyway, I've been known by many for not wearing any leather. I actually still have a few pairs of shoes and 1 belt that are leather which I bough many years ago and still use sometimes. But lately I have been realizing that all the leather-immitation shoes are a man-made material that includes a petroleum product, and 99% of them are, you guess it: MADE IN CHINA.

The animal rights organizations will agree that China is responsible for so many animal deaths, especially those of people's pets and many that are absolutely unnecessary. Undercover investigations have found cat and dog pets crammed in cages (on thier way to become "fur trim") were wearing collars, boiled alive (to die), then purposely mis-labeled as "rabbit fur" and "raccoon".
So, between that "fur" situation and various other issues with China and use of animals and resources, I have been wondering:
What's the lesser of both evils, buying items made in China or leather shoes? Leather is the flat out, obvious use of an animal's skin. What if its only a small portion, perhaps scrap? I'm not a leather boot type of girl, so only small bits of leather on sandals. But the shipment, sweatshops, pollution, support of a country's goods, and resource use of petroleum to make the man-made fake leather (or other plastic, because canvas shoes do not quite work for everything, no matter who you are) begin to add up and make quite a case. Maybe small bits of leather are more sustainable and socially acceptable to put on my feet than a country's stamp that is synonomous with pollution and waste, cruelty to animals and making athletes train from age 3 and never see thier families.

Here are links that speak of Chinese activities regarding animals.
And one about leather:

I'd rather just wear flip flops everywhere, but since I have a career and there's this thing called a dress code, I have to have some nice shoes that are acceptable to wear with dress pants and skirts.
What's your opinion of the big question? Please, don't be bitchy (as some previous commenters have), I just want to know leather or China.

Shower water filter to remove chlorine

I recently bought a water filter for my shower head- its supposed to filter out chlorine, dirt and odors. My water has a lot of cholorine in it (apparently more than a typical pool would have). Its the residual from the water treatment plant. There is so much junk in our water in south FL (mostly due to agricultural runoff) that they *have* to chlorinate the heck out of it. Its also a result of deep well injection of the treated wastewater. I am not really ok with wastewater (even though its treated) ending up back in our "pure" Floridan Aquifer. There are things in our water we can never filter out, such as hormones- endocrine disrupting hormones. This is why girls have big boobs by age 12 when a decade ago it took most of us to get to our maximum size by age 16 or 17. The old adage "theres somethin' in the water" is not so much of a joke anymore.

Anyway, I'm getting hormones in my water whether I like it or not. Even the bottled water comes from Florida (most of it), therefore that's got it too. But since shower water is not only on my skin, but when its hot, I breathe it in too (steam). So, I'm hoping that this filter on my shower will help my skin not be so dry. I'll let ya'll know how it goes. I only got the $20 filter at Lowe's. It attaches to the shower arm, then you attach your shower head to it. So, its not a whole showerhead. Thats one of the reasons its cheaper. When I say cheaper, I'm referring to the up to $200 varieties out there. I agree that you often get what you pay for, but this is worth a shot. Filters are $10 and replaced 2 times a year.

My hair probably won't be as blonde after this since I won't have the daily chlorine "bleaching" action, but if it gets really bad, I can highlight with lemons.

Anyone out there have a shower water filter and have any results to share? I looked up reviews online but you never know who actually published them!

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Why the US Government wants us to drive more and spend more money on gas

Once again, it comes down to taxes. The government says they won't have enough for road maintenance when we don't buy enough gas. I think they can come up with another way to find money for maintenance costs. Besides, the less we drive on the roads, the less they need to be maintained (and less staff to keep on payroll). In the community where I used to live and work, we found out that part of the costs that residents pay for trash collection goes toward road maintenance because its the trash trucks who ruin the roads. That's not from gas tax. Anyway, this article from ENN really sparked my interest. The part about greenhouse gas emissions dropping in the 1st quarter of 2008 was wonderful! I am actually rather content with the high gas prices because its giving our country time to see what the impacts are, plus the momentum of driving less, taking transit, and buying hybrid cars has been great. Trust me, I don't like paying a lot for gas either, but I purposely moved 1 mile from my job so I don't have to drive-although when I do, its not a big impact. I also don't have the money to buy a hybrid (or any new car now). But I think this gas price "crisis" will have a happy ending for us environmentalists...someday.

Here's the article:

Americans Are Driving Less... So Why Does the Government Think This Is Bad News?
While We Finally Get Efficient, the FHA Worries Over Tax Revenue
May 5, 2008 at 8:05AM by Dan Shapley

Each month since November, when gas prices hit a milestone ($3.01 a gallon) that looks comparatively modest by today's standard ($3.93, on average across the U.S.) Americans have been driving less.
We're not only driving less – which means presumably that we're taking more public transportation, biking and walking more, and combining errands when we do drive – but the cars we're buying are more fuel-efficient than the gas guzzlers that we drove off the lots just a few months ago.

All this would seem like bad news (very high gas prices) with a very shiny silver lining (a very real move toward fuel-efficient transportation). After all, greenhouse gas emissions from transportation (one-third of the overall U.S. contribution to global warming) dropped 9 million metric tons in the first quarter of 2008.

You might see it that way. But not if you are a bureaucrat at the Federal Highway Administration, which released its latest "Traffic Volume Trends" report to much fanfare this week. They showed that March traffic was down 11 billion miles – 4.3% – from a year earlier, the first drop seen in the month of March since 1979.
Here's the FHA's take-home message in a
very short press release announcing the March statistics:

"That Americans are driving less underscores the challenges facing the Highway Trust Fund and its reliance on the federal gasoline excise tax," said Acting Federal Highway Administrator Jim Ray.

That's right. While we still drive 3 trillion miles every year (or more – the latest figure is for 2006) the FHA is concerned that it isn't squeezing as many cents per gallon out of American motorists. Cumulative "vehicle miles traveled" – the operative statistic – has dropped 17.3 billion miles since November 2006, resulting in a loss (the FHA doesn't include this figure in its press release) of $3.18 billion dollars in tax revenue.

If finding another source of highway maintenance money is the cost of reducing global warming and driving more efficiently, it just might be worth it. (Insert visions of raging wildfires, mass migrations out of the desert Southwest, deadly storms, etc., etc.) The FHA might want to think about rethinking its message.

Monday, May 26, 2008

How to Detox Your Body

Detoxifying your body on a regular basis (yearly at minimum) has a lot of benefits. While we have a liver and kidneys to filter stuff, there are a lot of things we can do to give them a fresh start. Its like an oil change for your car. Sort of.
For a while, I used to think that the only ways to detox were to fast, exercise, go to a sauna, and get a massage followed by drinking lots of water. I found this cool article from Gaiam.com and learned a bunch of stuff. The article (link above) has enlightened me to a few other ways to detox. Here are 10 ways:

10 Ways to Help Your Body Detoxify
After a detoxification program, you can cleanse your body daily through diet, supplements and lifestyle practices.
1. Eat plenty of fiber, including brown rice and organically-grown fresh fruits and vegetables. Beets, radishes, artichokes, cabbage, broccoli, spirulina, chlorella, and seaweed are excellent detoxifying foods.
2. Cleanse and protect the liver by taking herbs such as dandelion root, burdock and milk thistle, and drinking green tea.
3. Take vitamin C, which helps the body produce glutathione, a liver compound that drives away toxins.
4. Drink at least 2 quarts of water daily.
5. Breathe deeply to allow oxygen to circulate more completely through your system.
6. Transform stress by emphasizing positive emotions.
7. Practice hydrotherapy by taking a very hot shower for five minutes, allowing the water to run on your back. Follow with cold water for 30 seconds. Do this three times, and then get into bed for 30 minutes.
8. Sweat in a sauna so your body can eliminate wastes through perspiration.
9. Dry-brush your skin or try detoxifying patches or detox foot spas / foot baths to remove toxins through your pores. Special brushes are available at natural products stores.
10. What is the most important way to detoxify? "Exercise," says Bennett. "Yoga or jump-roping are good. One hour every day." Also try qigong, a martial-arts based exercise system that includes exercises specifically for detoxifying or cleansing, as well as many other exercises with specific health benefits.

I have recently used the foot patches and practice dry brushing. The dry brush looks like a back brush for your shower, only you don't take it in the shower. Brush toward the heart.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Green Clothes Shopping

I'm always going on binges of being super good to the Earth. Then I realize sometimes its expensive. I really tried to do everything I could but eventually realized that nobody's perfect and its best to give an honest effort, but not stress myself out over one little thing. If its going to cost me more money and pollution to get across town to a store that *might* sell clothes Made in the USA, does it make a difference if I buy one item thats not made domestically? I think every little bit helps, but rather than people going crazy to be an environmentalist, I think the best advice is take it one step at a time and do what you can so you don't get frustrated with it all and give up completely.

Here's an article from Care2's Green Living that has echoed my thoughts. I really don't do thrift store stuff much when it comes to clothing, mostly because where I live I'd only get 2nd hand stuff from grandmas, but if I had a friend who could sew, I'd totally remake some duds. I saw a show on tv where they do that with people's old clothes. One more talent I haven't mastered: sewing.

Clothes Shopping: Easy Greening
By Melissa Breyer, Producer, Care2 Green Living

For what seemed like ages, eco-fashion meant oatmeal-hued flaxy hemp garb. Times are changing and this year’s New York fashion week even featured some earth-friendly couture designs…but great green fashion is still out of reach for many. So with an eye to greening the closet, we set out to define some easy-to-apply guidelines for eco-friendly clothes shopping.
When the word “eco-fashion” comes up we tend to think of
organic cotton and other sustainable fibers, but as these are just starting to come onto the wider market—they’re not necessarily all that affordable or widely available. So with trying to avoid $245 organic Levis in mind, the key is to think outside of the organic box and shop conscientiously. Just by changing the way you shop can make a big difference for both your closet and the planet.

Shop for clothes that don’t require dry-cleaning.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), Perchloroethylene (PERC), a potential human carcinogen, is the most commonly used dry cleaning solvent. Symptoms associated with exposure include: depression of the central nervous system, damage to the liver and kidneys, impaired
memory, confusion, dizziness, headache, drowsiness, and eye, nose, and throat irritation. Check out Annie’s tips for Wet Cleaning and keep them in mind when purchasing wool, rayon and silk.

Shop for classic styles.
You know those stores that offer trendy styles at rock bottom prices? Well, stay away! They are based on the premise that the garment’s deterioration will coincide with the end of the trend, so quality isn’t an issue. The problem here is all of those Flashdance sweatshirts can take up quite a bit of landfill space. Instead, buy classic styles that you will not need to throw out. And classic doesn’t have to mean traditional, just what has proven to work well for you.

Shop for clothes that are well made and durable .
Along with choosing classic styles, it is important to invest in clothing that is well made and durable—you’ll save money in the long run, and won’t be contributing to the landfill. Avoid garments with bunched seams, lumpy stitching, sticky zippers, loose threads, wobbly buttons, and uneven or puckered hems. Know that lining extends the life of a piece of clothing, but make sure the lining doesn’t pucker or hang below the garment.

Shop for labels stating “Made in the USA”.
This isn’t patriotic advice—just an easy indicator that the garment was shipped no farther than across the country, as opposed to across the globe. Buying “local” reduces travel emissions, and protects against supporting unfair labor conditions in places with less lenient standards.

Shop for clothes with less textile finishing.
"Finishing" is the last step in the processing of many conventional, easy-care garments. Textiles are treated with chemicals to make garments that are miraculously: wrinkle resistant, stain resistant, fireproof, mothproof, anti-mildew, ant-bacterial, and anti-static. The little problem here is that the chemicals used for finishing include formaldehyde, caustic soda, sulfuric acid, bromines, urea resins, sulfonamides, halogens, and bromines. Not things you really want rubbing against your skin or wafting up through your nose. (Not to mention the toxic wastewater run off during production and washing of these items.) The “new smell” of clothes is usually from a sizing that is used to prevent wrinkling during shipping and display in the store—it is temporary and will be rinsed out after a few trips through the wash. The other finishings, however, are heat treated into the fabric and are much more permanent. Watch out for labels like “stain-resistant” and “no iron.”

Consider the fiber.
Because clothes are an important interface between our bodies and the atmosphere around us, the fabrics you choose can enhance or hinder the quality of your life and health. Linen, hemp, cotton, wool, and silk are all natural fibers that are "active" in that they breathe with your body, and wick moisture off the body and some even give you good UV protection. Choosing fabric made of organic fiber supports environmental stewardship and is the ideal choice, but since it isn't always affordable, at least do your body a favor in your purchasing decisions and choose materials that work with your body instead of against it.

You can get beautiful, barely worn, designer clothes at thrift shops, resale stores and consignment shops. It’s recycling at its very best. Vintage clothing has developed its own cachet—and embellishing thrift shop finds is a great way to really make something your own. In turn, you should always donate unwanted clothes to a resale shop to give them a second life. Alternatively, have a swap party with friends. Have everyone bring clothes that they no longer wear, provide wine, and refresh your wardrobe for free.

Any thoughts on this? I recently puchased a shirt thats sort of a sweater (not meant to be worn alone, it wraps in the front and ties, but you need something under it) made from hemp. Its soft and cuddly. I got it at www.Gaiamliving.com and considering how cold the a/c is set at my office (trust me, I've tried to reason with them!) I need a sweater almost daily. So this baby will get a lot of use, making the hemp investment worthwhile.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Victory for the Florida Manatee

I am super excited about the latest news here in Florida. The Governor, Charlie Crist, recently did something to give Manatees another chance at survival. They are currently an Endangered species and were about to be downlisted to "Threatened", which offers less protection. This is a species that has not recovered. Ever year, hundreds die from boat collisions and some also from natural causes.
Wednesday the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, FWC, was going to take their final vote on whether or not to downlist the manatees. They have been pressured by boaters and developers for quite a while. As you can guess, environmentalists and manatee lovers like me fought it. I guess our letters to the governor helped! I sent another one to thank him. Former Gov. Jeb Bush didn't do much for manatees. In fact, he was in office when this concept of downlisting them first started. Damn, I hope Jeb doesn't run for president in 2012.
Press release from the Save the Manatee Club:

Florida Governor Crist Asks State Agency to Postpone Endangered Manatee's Reclassification

On September 12th, the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is scheduled to vote on whether to reclassify the manatee at the state level from "endangered" to "threatened" status based on listing/delisting rule language that environmental groups have continually called greatly flawed, and that was objected to by numerous scientists worldwide. Further, environmentalists point to the state's own findings that 50% of the statewide manatee population could be lost in the next 45 years.
Calling the manatee one of Florida's beloved natural resources, Florida Governor Charlie Crist has issued a letter to Rodney Barreto, Chair of the FWC, asking the Commission to postpone the vote on whether to downlist the species, "...given the need for a better method to estimate the population of the Florida Manatee, and the record 417 manatee deaths in 2006, I believe a more prudent course of action at this time would be to postpone consideration of the proposed change in the status of this species."

View the full text of Governor Crist's letter (pdf).

Patrick Rose, Save the Manatee Club's Executive Director, applauds Governor Crist and expresses his deep appreciation to the governor for his action. Pat also thanks all of you for your help in making this happen. Those e-mails, letters and phone calls DO help!

What You Can Do:
Please contact the Governor's office and add your thanks to Pat's (see contact information below).
Thank Governor Crist for asking the Commission to postpone their vote to downlist manatees.
Urge Governor Crist to revisit Florida's listing/delisting rule criteria for imperiled species in order to give endangered manatees and other imperiled plants and animals a fair shake.

Governor Charlie Crist
PL-05 The Capitol
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0001
Phone: 850-488-7146
Fax: 850-487-0801
E-mail: Charlie.Crist@MyFlorida.com

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Sunday, July 15, 2007

Google Aims To Go Carbon-Neutral by the End of 2007

Google Inc. aims to voluntarily cut or offset all of its greenhouse emissions by the end of the year, the Web search leader said Tuesday. Google is one of a number of companies, including News Corp., and Yahoo Inc. that are attempting to cut emissions of gases scientists link to global warming.

~courtesy of www.ENN.com

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Florida's New Governor Looking Good to Environmentalists

Charlie Crist, the current governor of Florida (where I live), has been proving himself to us and making great strides in the environmental movement- something previous governor Jeb Bush didn't quite crack. Jeb started out with some hope but he did not quite follow through. Recently, Crist has made some claims on stronger global warming protection. He has been known to veto legislation that is not strong enough! So, reading the recent news on Florida reducing greenhouse gas emissions has me pretty happy. I've always said that even though I'm a Democrat, the one main thing that makes me hate Republicans is thier attitude and lack of positive actions on the environment. So when I hear a Republican has made a good move environmentally, I give a little praise.
In today's local paper, I read on the front page that "The Sunshine State's lags behind in harnessing sun's power". We aren't the Sunshine State for nothing, people! People keep moving here and yet we are so unpopular with environmental laws. Its about time we become more of a leader on environmental issues.

Here is a repost of an article through Reuters, posted on the Environmental News Network site.
Reference is made to the Florida Summit on Global Climate Change. A friend of mine attended the conference and said it was amazing how Crist really steps up and answers the call to protect the environment.

Florida To Introduce Tough Greenhouse Gas Targets
July 12, 2007 — By Jim Loney, Reuters (Additional reporting by Michael Peltier in Tallahassee)

MIAMI -- Florida, the fourth most-populous U.S. state, will impose strict new air-pollution standards that aim to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by 80 percent of 1990 levels by 2050, according to draft regulations released Wednesday.
Gov. Charlie Crist was expected to sign executive orders at a global warming conference in Miami this week setting new emissions targets for power companies, automobiles and trucks, toughen conservation goals for state agencies and require state-owned vehicles to use alternative fuels.
Florida would adopt many tough pollution standards set by California and mimicked by other states, which have implemented their own such regulations because Washington has failed to pass national laws. President Bush has also rejected the international Kyoto agreement on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
The rules would establish targets for Florida to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to 2000 levels by 2017, to 1990 levels by 2025 and by 80 percent of 1990 levels by 2050.
"I'm delighted but not surprised," said Preston Robertson, vice president of the Florida Wildlife Federation. "This is the kind of leadership we need across the nation."
Florida is one of the fastest-growing U.S. states, with a net gain of nearly 1,000 new residents per day. Its estimated population of 18 million ranks behind only California, Texas and New York.
The draft orders note Florida's critical tourism industry, which brings nearly 85 million visitors a year, and the vulnerability of its 1,350 miles of coast to the possible effects of global warming, including higher seas and violent storms.
"All of the issues we work on -- protecting land, keeping estuaries clean, and preventing unnecessary growth -- none of them will mean very much if we have global sea rise," Robertson said.
Among the state's new targets are milestones for electric utilities culminating in a reduction in emissions to 20 percent of 1990 levels by 2050. Power companies would also be required to produce at least 20 percent of their electricity from renewable sources, focusing on solar and wind power.
More than 70 percent of Florida's electricity now comes from fossil fuels.
The regulations also call for adopting California's new motor vehicle emission standards -- requiring carmakers to build cars and trucks that reduce emissions by 25 percent by the 2009 model year -- if the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency approves them.
California passed the tougher standards but needs an EPA waiver to implement them. The EPA has promised to act on the request by year's end.
Crist, a Republican, would also require state government to reduce emissions 10 percent from current levels by 2012, 25 percent by 2017 and 40 percent by 2025.
The new rules would be passed by executive orders, which do not need the approval of the legislature. But the orders also call for drafting a "climate change action plan" including recommendations for legislative changes to existing laws needed for enforcement.
New Jersey became the latest state to bypass Washington last week when Gov. John Corzine, a Democrat, signed a law mandating cuts of greenhouse gas emissions by about 16 percent by 2020 and 80 percent by 2050.
Environmentalists said the New Jersey law was tougher than California's because the 2050 reduction is an enforceable standard while California's is just a target. The drafts of Crist's orders for Florida also refer to targets.
Crist is expected to sign the new regulations at his Florida Summit on Global Climate Change set for Thursday and Friday in Miami, where California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and environmental activists Robert Kennedy Jr. and Theodore Roosevelt IV are featured speakers.

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Toward Endangered Status

Below are 2 articles from the Environmental News Network (http://www.enn.com/) regarding a sea turtle and 10 penguin species all about to be endangered.

Longline Fisheries, Global Warming Threaten North Pacific Loggerhead Sea Turtles : Endangered Status Sought
July 13, 2007 — By the Center for Biological Diversity
SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. — Conservation groups filed a formal petition today to increase protections for critically imperiled loggerhead sea turtles that are found off the U.S. West Coast and are caught and killed in industrial fisheries based in California and Hawaii. The petition, filed by the Center for Biological Diversity and Turtle Island Restoration Network, seeks to have North Pacific loggerhead sea turtles listed as "endangered" under the federal Endangered Species Act and to have areas along the California coast and off Hawaii designated as "critical habitat" for the species.
Loggerhead sea turtles in the North Pacific nest in Japan, but cross the Pacific to feed in the rich waters off the coast of California and Baja California, Mexico. These ancient animals, which can live for a century or more, have swum the Earth's oceans since the days of dinosaurs. However, in the past 25 years populations have declined by over 80 percent, with fewer than 1,000 females returning to their natal beaches to nest each year.
The primary threat to loggerhead sea turtles is pelagic longline fishing. Longline fishing vessels seeking swordfish and tuna each deploy several thousand baited hooks on fishing lines that can extend for more than 60 miles. Over a billion longline hooks are set in the world's oceans each year, catching and killing not just swordfish and tuna but thousands of sea turtles, seabirds, marine mammals and sharks.
"Sea turtles survived the asteroid that killed off the dinosaurs, but are unlikely to survive longline fishing," said Miyoko Sakashita, ocean program attorney for the Center for Biological Diversity. "This barbaric fishing gear should be banned from our nation's and international waters."
More than 1,000 scientists and 300 organizations from 100-plus countries have called upon the United Nations for a moratorium on pelagic longline fishing in the Pacific Ocean. Unfortunately, rather than head this call, the United States is gearing up to expand such fisheries. Following a successful lawsuit by the Center for Biological Diversity and Turtle Island Restoration Network, in 2004 longline fishing for swordfish was prohibited along the West Coast. However, the National Marine Fisheries Service, the federal agency charged with managing fisheries as well as sea turtles, has proposed to issue a permit that would allow an "experimental" longline fishery for swordfish off the California and Oregon coasts this fall. The permit is the first step toward establishing a full-scale industrial longline fishery off the West Coast. A similar fishery is operated out of Hawaii and is responsible for the deaths of numerous whales in addition to sea turtles.
"Rather than opening the waters off California and Oregon to deadly industrial fishing fleets, we should be protecting these areas as critical habitat for loggerhead sea turtles and other imperiled wildlife," said Todd Steiner, executive director of Turtle Island Restoration Network.
North Pacific loggerheads are geographically isolated and genetically distinct from loggerheads that occur in the Atlantic, Indian and South Pacific Oceans. Loggerhead sea turtles are currently listed as "threatened" throughout their range under the Endangered Species Act. Separate listing of the more imperiled North Pacific loggerheads would trigger additional protections under U.S. law, including the designation of critical habitat.
More information is available from Turtle Island Restoration Network at
www.seaturtles.org and from the Center for Biological Diversity at www.biologicaldiversity.org.

Ten Penguin Species March Toward Endangered Species Act Protection
July 11, 2007 — By the Center for Biological Diversity
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. government has announced it is advancing the emperor penguin and nine other penguin species toward protection under the federal Endangered Species Act. The action comes in response to a petition filed by the Center for Biological Diversity in November 2006 seeking protection for the species, followed by a June 2007 Notice of Intent to Sue the agency for failing to respond to the petition. The primary threats to penguins are global warming and industrial fisheries.
Abnormally warm ocean temperatures and diminished sea ice have wreaked havoc on penguin food availability in recent decades. Less food has led to population declines in species ranging from the southern rockhopper and Humboldt penguins off South America to the emperor penguin in Antarctica. The ocean conditions causing these declines have been linked by scientists to global warming and are projected to intensify in the coming decades.
The emperor penguin colony at Pointe Geologie, which was featured in the film March of the Penguins, has declined by more than 50 percent due to global warming. Krill, an essential food source for penguins, whales and seals, has declined by up to 80 percent since the 1970s over large areas of the Southern Ocean. Studies indicate that even under the most optimistic greenhouse gas emission scenarios, continued warming over the coming decades will dramatically affect Antarctica, the sub-Antarctic islands, the Southern Ocean, and the penguins dependent for survival on these ecosystems.
"These penguin species will march right into extinction unless greenhouse gas pollution is controlled," said Kassie Siegel, director of the Center's Climate, Air, and Energy Program. "It is not too late to save them, but we have to seize available solutions to global warming right away. I hope the penguins' tragic plight will motivate people to support stringent greenhouse gas reductions."
Each of the petitioned penguins also faces threats in addition to global warming, from introduced predators, disease, habitat destruction, disturbance at breeding colonies, oil spills, and marine pollution to direct harvest. Many species are also hurt by industrial fisheries, either directly - such as when individuals are killed in trawls, nets and longlines - or indirectly, through the depletion of essential prey species like anchovy and krill. Similar fishing fleets figure prominently in the hit movie Happy Feet, which features two of the petitioned species, the emperor and rockhopper penguins.
"While our greenhouse emissions melt away the penguins' world, our industrial fishing fleets are depleting the oceans of their food," said Brendan Cummings, director of the Center's Oceans Program. "If penguins are to survive in a world dramatically altered by global warming, we must eliminate all other threats to these wonderful creatures - first and foremost, by reforming our abysmally managed fisheries."
Listing under the U.S. Endangered Species Act will provide broad protection to penguins, including a requirement that federal agencies ensure that any action carried out, authorized, or funded by the government will not "jeopardize the continued existence" of the species. Monday's finding, to be published in the Federal Register today, was made by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which found listing "may be warranted" for 10 of the 12 species covered in the petition. The Endangered Species Act requires the Service to solicit public comment and issue a proposed rule by November. Final protection would occur one year thereafter.
The 10 species are the emperor, southern rockhopper, northern rockhopper, Fiordland crested, erect-crested, macaroni, white-flippered, yellow-eyed, African and Humboldt penguins. Two other species, the snares crested penguin and the royal penguin, were found not to warrant Endangered Species Act protection at this time.
Additional information, including the Wildlife Service's finding, the petition, photos, and range maps for each species are available at
The Center for Biological Diversity is a national nonprofit conservation organization with more than 35,000 members dedicated to protecting endangered species and wild lands.

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Sunday, July 08, 2007

Eco-Tips - In the spirit of Live Earth

After the many commercials during the Live Earth tv broadcast yesterday telling us to go online for more tips on saving energy, I have gathered up a bunch of sites for you. Some are directly from http://www.liveearth.org/ and others are from links I found through those sites. Of course theres always a bunch of good stand-bys on the side of this page too.

http://www.liveearth.org/crisis_solutions.php - all sorts of tips for home, office, shopping, and your community.

http://www.eco-labels.org/home.cfm - helps you seek out all those strange claims on labels of products you buy, should buy, or shouldn't buy.

http://www.earthlab.com/carbonProfile/LiveEarth.htm?ver=10 - calculate your carbon output. Mine was 307. Its on a scale of 150 to 900. I scored less that the average for an American! It doesn't calculate a lot of small things though.

There are also a lot of tips that are derived from a book called The Live Earth Global Warming Survival Handbook: 77 Essential Skills to Stop Climate Change by David de Rothschild which they are selling on Amazon. The tips they share online are here (see "Even More Solutions") and the link to buy the book (its around $10 US) is here. Thats $10 well spent, and if you buy it online, you are saving the gas to drive to the store! Plus, if you buy it used, you will save paper and energy used to produce a new book!

Gosh, I really hope this climate change/energy saving movement started by Live Earth doesn't just go away like any other fad. I really hope its here to stay. Any chance our President was watching tv yesterday? Any chance he will think twice about how serious people are about global warming? Al Gore was well received by the crowds yesterday. I love Al.

One of my favorite tips, although its really only powerful if everyone does it, is to "vote with your wallet". I have been trying my best on this for a while now and its not easy. By not supporting companies whose practices are not in line with my values, I feel I am making a difference. But one customer is nothing to a giant corporation. So I think thats one tip we all need to really look into and start doing. Its not the easiest tip to start doing, it will take some homework. But for those of you who have graduated from recycling and online bill-pay, but aren't quite ready for solar panels on your roof.... vote with your wallet.
I've been successfully avoiding Wal-Mart, companies who test on animals, and sometimes I check the label to make sure a garment is made in the USA before I buy it. But how are we to know about a company's reputation on energy and the environment? Make this website your friend: http://www.coopamerica.org/programs/rs/ It tracks the responsibility ratings of companies.

As with gas, Hess and Sunoco support renewable energy research. Hess even had a big sponsorship sign up at Giants stadium yesterday during Live Earth. I drink soy milk and prefer Silk over 8th Continent because Silk supports more eco-friendly causes and even currently has a campaign on green energy. Its simple things like that that can add up if everyone does it.

If you have any great eco-tips, comment and tell me what you do. Thanks!

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Thursday, May 17, 2007

Way to Go, PepsiCo!

I'll admit I hate soda. I gave it up. Its "liquid Satan" according to the book "Skinny Bitch". But since so many people drink it, we have to give props to the company who made a very important change.
PepsiCo will no longer test products on animals! Below is an article from a PETA email.

Food-industry giant PepsiCo—the multibillion-dollar parent company of brands like Pepsi-Cola, Frito-Lay, Tropicana, Quaker Oats, and Gatorade—has joined the ever-growing list of companies that are creating innovative products without using animals in laboratory tests.

Prior to its agreement with PETA, PepsiCo and its partners had funded several experiments on animals:

~The PepsiCo Foundation funded an experiment that involved surgically implanting testosterone pellets and human prostate tumors in mice and injecting them with an acid compound. Two animals died before the end of the study, when all the animals were killed.

~PepsiCo's partner, Tropicana, funded a student research project that involved injecting 60 young rats with a chemical that causes colon cancer, leaving the majority of these animals to suffer with the disease for seven months, only to be killed at the end of the experiment.

~PepsiCo's affiliate, the Gatorade Sports Science Institute (GSSI), funded an experiment in which mice were infected with a respiratory virus and then forced to exercise on a treadmill for more than two hours for three consecutive days, after which they were all killed.

~The GSSI funded an experiment in which live rats' hind limbs were cut open from the heel to the knee and their muscle tissue was cut out, after which the animals were killed.

~The GSSI awarded several grants to students to conduct animal experiments, such as one in which a student caused rats' muscles to waste away in order to learn how various protein supplements could re-grow the tissue.

After PETA brought these experiments to the attention of PepsiCo executives, the company began discussions with us regarding what they could do to eliminate animal testing. As a result of this collaboration, PepsiCo has announced that it will not experiment on animals and is pledging to communicate its opposition to animal testing to all entities that the corporation works with.

PepsiCo's compassionate decision to end funding for tests on animals stands in stark contrast to other food and beverage companies that continue to fund needless animal experiments, such as Coca-Cola and Unilever (maker of Lipton Tea and other food products).

What You Can Do

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) states: "[T]he Agency is not aware of any circumstances that would result in the FDA requiring a food or beverage company to conduct laboratory experiments on animals …"
Please write to the following food companies and urge them to stop conducting tests on animals in favor of the many non-animal test methods that are now available.

The Coca-Cola Company

Thomas G. Mattia, SVP and DirectorWorldwide Public Affairs and Communications

The Coca-Cola Company

1 Coca-Cola Plaza

Atlanta, GA 30313-2499


404-676-6792 (fax)



Michael B. Polk

Group VP and President, Americas Unilever

PLC 700 Sylvan Ave.

Englewood Cliffs, NJ 07632



201-871-8257 (fax)


(Unilever's group chief executive and director, based in the U.K.) Also, please take a moment to thank PepsiCo for making the compassionate decision to stop funding all experiments on animals: PepsiCoIndra K. Nooyi, Chair and CEOPepsiCo, Inc.700 Anderson Hill Rd.Purchase, NY 10577-1444

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

You call them "Chicken" McNuggets?

What is really in a McDonald's Chicken McNugget?
When I was a kid and McNuggets first hit the scene, it was great. BBQ dipping sauce, those "handy" styrofoam containers, much better than a burger with onions and mustard on it. Blah. Then as I got older, styrofoam was replaced by paper and I started to notice that every box of 6 McNuggets had at least one "boot", one "oval", one "circle", and some other repetitive shapes. Well, its "processed food" my brother used to tell me. Eventualy I stopped eating them and at McDonalds alltogether. It all built up and really icked me out. Ecoli, Salmonella, too much salt on the fries... then I became a vegetarian and it was almost impossible to eat at McDonalds. Fast forward many years and theres the movie "Supersize Me". If you haven't seen it, you should. So when I came across this article from one of Dr. Mercola's websites, I wanted to share it. Its not just about McDonalds, its how I can't beleive the food industry puts this crap on our food!! Ever since I moved to my new house I've been trying to cook for myself more and more. Less junk, more whole foods.

Chicken McNuggets include several synthetic ingredients, such as tertiary butylhydroquinone (TBHQ), a petroleum-derived chemical sprayed onto the "food" or inside the box to preserve freshness.
Deep-fried foods in general are also dangerous in many ways, which is why
French fries remain one of the worst foods anyone could eat.
Also, about one-third of the ingredients necessary to make the average McNugget (13 out of a lengthy list of 38) include some derivatives of corn, which may explain one reason why industrial agriculture produces so much of it -- in addition to the
lucrative subsidies.

Comments from Dr. Mercola:
Not only do the french fries contain acrylamide but the nuggets also contain TBHQ, which in high doses has caused precursors to stomach tumors and DNA damage in lab animals. A number of studies have also shown that TBHQ can be carcinogenic with prolonged exposure.
Other McNuggets ingredients include sodium acid pyrophosphate, sodium aluminum phosphate, monocalcium phosphate, calcium lactate, hydrogenated vegetable oils (that is to say, trans fats), and dimethylpolysiloxane.
Sounds like exactly what you want in your food, doesn't it?

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Sunday, April 08, 2007

Seal hunt began this week in Canada

I want to share some words regarding the seal hunt from a letter I recieved from Ingrid Newkirk, the president of PETA. I'm excited to see that Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klien have ended the use of fur in thier clothing lines. Ralph Lauren announced his intent last year. Since then I've been supporting his move by buying a lot more Polo clothes (at the outlets, of course)!
I'm still upset about my office mate's purchase of a stingray purse (Chanel). The leather from a stingray is called caviar and to be honest it looks like fake material but she probably payed a ton for it. She thought my vegan shoes were real leather and I told her that just goes to show that you can't tell the difference so there's no need to kill animals for clothing!

Ok, on with the letter from April 3rd:

Even though more than 120,000 caring people voiced their outrage to Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, the Canadian government has sided with the killers. The hunt of baby seals began today.
Despite this disgusting development, we cannot give up. We must redouble our efforts to protect harp seals and end their slaughter. Together we will continue to fight for seals and all other animals who are killed for their fur until the fur trade is stopped in its tracks. That is a long-term commitment that requires constant, unfaltering work.
While the Canadian government is responsible for allowing the slaughter to resume this year, it's the furriers and their cohorts in the fashion industry who are ultimately profiting the most from the slaughter. It's only by educating both designers and consumers about the true cost of every fur and fur-trimmed item that we can hope to see an end to the killing of seals, minks, foxes, raccoons, and other animals who are murdered for their fur.
In recent months we have made huge progress working with the fashion industry. Our victories for animals include convincing Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, and other leading retailers and designers to stop using fur in their fashion collections.
We have also revealed to millions of consumers exactly how terribly animals' lives are ended and how they suffer. Media coverage of PETA's demonstrations and riveting ads featuring Simon Cowell and others are spreading our message that there's no excuse for fur.To be successful in stopping the fur industry, we need your continued help:

Start at home: Never buy or wear fur, not even the smallest bit of trim, and encourage everyone you know to do the same.

Be outspoken: Learn polite and effective ways to engage people—even fur-wearers—in conversations about this cruel industry.

Tell the fashion industry to stop: Support our campaign to end fur sales by major fashion retailer Burberry.

Working together we can end this horribly cruel practice, make fashion fur-free, and save countless animals' lives.

Terrrapin Pics!

Since my last two posts were about species which are not that common, I thought I'd add some pics.

Diamondback Terrapin: Lives in salt marshes in the Chesapeke Bay Area. http://www.turtletrack.org/Issues03/Co01252003/CO_01252003_Partridge_Whistle.htm

Gopher tortoise:
Called a "keystone species" because it digs burrows which are home to other animals as well.

Gopher Tortoises Buried Alive

I love in Florida and I am aware of this expressway that is to be built. I was not aware of the gopher tortoises, though. They are supposed to relocate them, not bury them! Please write and help!

PETA was just alerted to an urgent situation in Central Florida . A permit has reportedly been issued to the Orlando-Orange County Expressway Authority, which has been authorized to pave a new freeway interchange over the habitat of helpless gopher tortoises - a threatened species - as well as dozens of other sensitive species. Click here to read more about this disturbing situation. According to wildlife experts, it could take months - up to a year - for tortoises who are buried alive to die of suffocation, dehydration, and starvation in their burrows.
Please contact Orange County authorities immediately and urge them to halt construction of this expressway at once. Demand that they explore humane alternatives by consulting with experts. There is no justification for allowing these animals to suffer and die in agony.
Please send polite comments to:

Orlando-Orange County Expressway Authority
525 S. Magnolia Ave.
Orlando, FL 32801
407-316-3801 (fax)http://us.f365.mail.yahoo.com/ym/Compose?To=%20e-pass@oocea.com

The Honorable Richard Crotty
Mayor of Orange County201 S. Rosalind Ave., 5th Fl.Orlando, FL 32801
407-836-7370407-836-7360 (fax)http://us.f365.mail.yahoo.com/ym/Compose?To=mayor@ocfl.net

Commissioner Teresa Jacobs (http://us.f365.mail.yahoo.com/ym/Compose?To=district1@ocfl.net)
Commissioner Fred Brummer (http://us.f365.mail.yahoo.com/ym/Compose?To=district2@ocfl.net)
Commissioner Mildred Fernandez (http://us.f365.mail.yahoo.com/ym/Compose?To=district3@ocfl.net)
Commissioner Linda Stewart (http://us.f365.mail.yahoo.com/ym/Compose?To=district4@ocfl.net)
Commissioner Bill Segal (http://us.f365.mail.yahoo.com/ym/Compose?To=district4@ocfl.net)
Commissioner Tiffany Moore (http://us.f365.mail.yahoo.com/ym/Compose?To=district4@ocfl.net)
Board of County Commissioners201 S. Rosalind Ave., 5th Fl.Orlando, FL 32801
407-836-7350407-836-5879 (fax)

Please forward this message to others who might be willing to lend their voices to this important issue.

Thank you for your compassion for animals and for your willingness to act.

Sincerely yours,

Stephanie L. Boyles, M.S.
Wildlife Biologist
Domestic Animal and Wildlife Rescue & Information Department
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)

Teen Turtle Defender

What a great story I read on a Defenders of Wildlife email. It reminds me of the movie/book "Hoot" by Carl Hiaasen.

When Chris Farrow and his dad read an article about the decline of diamondback terrapins, he decided to do something about it. Chris, a 6th-grader at Central Middle School in Mayo, Maryland became an advocate for his state’s official reptile and famous University mascot. This iconic turtle of the Chesapeake Bay is in high demand for soup in Asian markets, and populations in the wild are in trouble because of it.
Chris and his dad gathered 275 signatures in just over two weeks from friends, family, neighbors and members of his community. And he didn’t stop there. Chris brought his case to the Maryland state legislature, testifying with his dad at a committee hearing on legislation to stop the commercial harvest of terrapins in the state. By all accounts, the lawmakers were impressed with the young activist’s dedication and determination to save the diamondback terrapin -- Maryland is well on its way to banning commercial harvests of the iconic "terp."

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Birth Control for Deer

I'm not sure how I feel about this. I support things like feral cat sterilization (catch, spay/neuter, then release), but this is birth control in the form of a hormone vaccine that makes the deer sterile. Should we be doing that? In a way its the same thing but instead of an operation, its a vaccine. Vaccinating wildlife. Hmm. I guess I don't really consider cats to be "wildlife", even feral cats. Deer don't know people. How can they be vaccinated? They aren't herded. They will probably have to be captured somehow (the bill apparently restricts tranquilization by a dart, so that doesn't seem likely) then given the vaccine, then left to wake up in the woods never to reproduce again...for 2 yrs. Below is the story as it is considered in Iowa.

Iowa Considers New Deer Contraceptive
Mon Feb 5, 6:41 PM ET
DES MOINES, Iowa - Iowa wildlife experts are looking into a new deer contraceptive that could curb the state's multimillion-dollar-a-year overpopulation problem.
The new, single-dose birth control vaccine would neutralize sex hormones in the famously fertile and polygamous animals. It would result in infertility in both males and females.
"It's not something you want anyone or everyone to use," said Dale Garner, wildlife bureau chief at the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. "We want to make sure it's not used willy-nilly in the state."
In order to do that, there's a bill before the state Legislature aimed at regulating wildlife contraceptives. The proposed legislation would also restrict the use of growth hormones in deer, as well as drugs for sedating animals or treating them for disease.

The contraceptive vaccine, called GonaCon, is being developed by researchers at the National Wildlife Research Center, a branch of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It is expected to be submitted to the
Environmental Protection Agency in March, said Gail Keirn, a spokeswoman for the research center.
The EPA wouldn't likely approve the drug until early 2008, making it the first wildlife contraceptive available for nonresearch purposes.
Researchers say the vaccine, a protein, shouldn't be dangerous for people to eat meat from a vaccinated deer. However, Garner worries about what could happen if people are accidentally injected with the drug.
"What if some people in a neighborhood get a deer down ... and it's kicking or takes a side step or a roll and some guy or lady gets injected in the rear end?" he said. "Or if somebody's shooting a dart gun at deer in a park, and it misses an animal and hits a person? Or if a kid picks up an unspent dart and the injection goes off?"
Use of wildlife contraception in Iowa is not a common practice, so far, said Chad Machart, president of the Iowa Whitetail Deer Association. Other vaccines have seemed impractical because they required singling out females for an injection, then finding the same animals again later for a booster shot.
Garner said it could cost anywhere from $300 to $1,000 to capture and inject each deer with the vaccine, adding that its effect lasts only two years.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Children with high IQs become vegetarians!

How cool is this? You may have heard Albert Einstein and a lot of historical figures like Amelia Earhardt were also vegetarians. Rueben Studdard of American Idol recently became veggie and lost 80 pounds!

By Steven Reinberg HealthDay Reporter
FRIDAY, Dec. 15 (HealthDay News) -- As a child's IQ rises, his taste for meat in adulthood declines, a new study suggests.
British researchers have found that children's IQ predicts their likelihood of becoming vegetarians as young adults -- lowering their risk for cardiovascular disease in the process. The finding could explain the link between smarts and better health, the investigators say.
"Brighter people tend to have healthier dietary habits," concluded lead author Catharine Gale, a senior research fellow at the MRC Epidemiology Resource Centre of the University of Southampton and Southampton General Hospital.
Recent studies suggest that vegetarianism may be associated with lower cholesterol, reduced risk of obesity and heart disease. This might explain why children with high IQs tend to have a lower risk of heart disease in later life.
The report is published in the Dec. 15 online edition of the British Medical Journal.
"We know from other studies that brighter children tend to behave in a healthier fashion as adults -- they're less likely to smoke, less likely to be overweight, less likely to have high blood pressure and more likely to take strenuous exercise," Gale said. "This study provides further evidence that people with a higher IQ tend to have a healthier lifestyle."
In the study, Gale's team collected data on nearly 8,200 men and women aged 30, whose IQ had been tested when they were 10 years of age.
"Children who scored higher on IQ tests at age 10 were more likely than those who got lower scores to report that they were vegetarian at the age of 30," Gale said.
The researchers found that 4.5 percent of participants were vegetarians. Of these, 2.5 percent were vegan, and 33.6 percent said they were vegetarian but also ate fish or chicken.
There was no difference in IQ score between strict vegetarians and those who said they were vegetarian but who said they ate fish or chicken, the researchers add.
Vegetarians were more likely to be female, of higher social class and better educated, but IQ was still a significant predictor of being vegetarian after adjustment for these factors, Gale said.
"Vegetarian diets are associated with lower cardiovascular disease risk in a number of studies, so these findings suggest that a such a diet may help to explain why children or adolescents with a higher IQ have a lower risk of coronary heart disease as adults," Gale said.
One expert said the findings aren't the whole answer, however.
"This study left many unanswered questions such as: Did the vegetarian children grow up in a household with a vegetarian parent? Were meatless meals regularly served in the household? Were the children eating a primarily vegetarian diet at the age of 10?" said Lona Sandon, an assistant professor of clinical nutrition at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas.
"In addition, we don't know the beliefs or attitudes of the parents of the children, nor do we know if there was a particular event that led these children to becoming vegetarian in their teens or adulthood," Sandon said.
As the study showed, more women than men chose a vegetarian diet, Sandon noted. "Other research shows that women in general will focus more on their health than men. So, if they believe that a vegetarian diet will have health benefits, they are more likely to follow it," she said.
Given these factors, "we cannot draw any solid conclusions from this research," Sandon added.
Another expert agreed that a vegetarian diet is healthy.
"The evidence linking vegetarianism to good health outcomes is very strong," said Dr. David L. Katz, the director of the Prevention Research Center and an associate professor of public health at the Yale University School of Medicine.
"Studies, for example, of vegetarian Seventh-Day Adventists in California suggest that they have lower rates of almost all major chronic diseases, and greater longevity, than their omnivorous counterparts," Katz said. "Evidence is also strong and consistent that greater intelligence, higher education, and loftier social status -- which tend to cluster with one another -- also correlate with good health."

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Commercial Fishing - Strict New Limits

Good news for fish and the oceans!

Congress just passed a bill protecting our oceans from rampant overfishing. With this bill, commercial fishing operations will have to follow strict limits on the amount of fish they can catch. Equally important, if a fish population becomes depleted, fishermen will be required to give that population a break until it can recover to healthy levels.

Over the last three months Care2 activists sent thousands of letters to their US Representatives and Senators urging them to strengthen the law governing ocean fishing in US waters, the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. Thanks to this powerful effort, Congress listened and did just that. Now there is hope that our ocean fish and ecosystems can recover from decades of misuse.

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