Rethinking Recycling

This video shared by Treehugger’s own Margaret Badore is a simple and excellent look at the changing landscape of recycling over the years. This 3-minute video discusses the switch from refillable to plastic bottles, and the actual source of the ¬†American anti-littering campaign.

Towards the end of the video, she brings up the idea of “Product Stewardship,” which is a topic that has been generating interest lately. One of the more notable takes on the idea is within the book, Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things. Written by Micheal Braungart, a renowned German chemist, and William McDonough, a famous American designer, the book explores the system of waste and product generation in the world today, as well as possible solutions to each of the issues presented.

Personally, I highly recommend the book. It was one of the first I picked up in my search for continuing environmental education, and it was an awesome introduction into the world of greater thoughts on sustainability. Do you have any picks for some green reading? Let me know!

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What’s Wrong With What We Eat?

TED talks are awesome. If you’ve never heard of them, TED is a non-profit with the motto of “ideas worth spreading”. It gets its name from the original conference in 1984 that brought together talented people from three disciplines: technology, entertainment and design. They host a variety of conferences around the world and post the best videos on their site. If you have time to kill and want to find all sorts of fascinating stuff, check their website out.

I’m talking about TED because today I wanted to share a bit of a long post. This video, clocking in at just over twenty minutes, is a concise summary of many of the challenges facing America today in the culinary world. Mark Bittman, a renowned New York Times food writer and bestselling author, explains in a simple and entertaining way the issues with our diets.

He speaks from a position most of us can relate to, a meat lover who also cares about the planet. Without being pretentious or preachy, he explains the argument against meat. He relays the astonishing fact that livestock production generates over 1/5 the greenhouse gasses on our planet, even more than transportation, and follows it up by promising he’s not “anti-cow”.

Most of the time, bringing up topics like this causes people to scoff. What could be healthier than a thick-cut steak and a cold glass of whole milk? Unfortunately, almost anything else.

Bittman doesn’t advocate that everyone on the planet should become tempeh-chomping, kombucha-swilling vegans, but he does advocate a more responsible food production system. Considering that the United States consumes ten billion animals per year (enough to string from here to the moon and back six times), Bittman does not live in an idealistic world where animal consumption will ever stop completely. But neither does he deny that livestock production is seriously harming our environment. A happy medium does exist, however. Eating more vegetable and less meat and dairy is a budget friendly way to make a difference in the world, and to be more sustainable.

This video is entertaining and informative, if you have free time, I highly recommend it.

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Grocery Store Wars

When I first saw this video a few years ago, it definitely struck a chord. This adorably geeky parody played right into my love of Star Wars, the environment and puns. Could it be any more perfect?

It brings up an important message though. The importance of local food cannot be understated – it is the simplest way to reduce the carbon footprint of your produce. Food produced locally cuts the biggest waste of carbon, transportation. In the next few posts, I’ll spotlight some areas in Gainesville that make local food a priority, so that you can too.

Be a part of the “Organic Rebellion” today!

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