Archives for posts with tag: Nutrition

The Sierra Club has put together a list of “The 5 Worst Foods for Environmentalists to Eat.” For many of you, this list probably doesn’t hold many surprises, but it is still an important reminder of the decisions we as consumers make on a daily basis when choosing what to put into our bodies. Some foods, like it or not, are best avoided completely, no matter how delicious they may taste.

Conventional Coffee

From an environmental standpoint, it’s crucial to buy shade-grown, organic coffee. (Fair trade is also important for the growers.) Coffee is meant to grow in the shade, but many farmers now grow it in full sunlight, with a heavy dependence on pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, and fertilizers. They also chop down rainforests, destroying bird habitats. Look for the green gecko stamp from the Rainforest Alliance when purchasing coffee.

Factory-farmed Beef

“Cheap burgers are environmental assassins,” says Logan Strenchock, Central European University’s sustainability officer. Forests are clear-cut to grow the GMO corn and soy used to feed cows. Those crops have awful pesticide runoff that contaminate waterways, not to mention the waste generated by keeping large numbers of cows in CAFOs (concentrated animal feeding operation). Even grass-fed beef “depletes native biodiversity, increases invasive exotics, diverts water, fouls streams, and bares the soil,” according to Mary O’Brien, director of the Utah Forests Program. Then the fresh meat has to be kept cool till it’s used, requiring vast amounts of energy.

Palm Oil

Palm oil is used in half of all packaged foods sold in the U.S., particularly cookies, crackers, and soups. Pam oil is the largest cause of rainforest destruction, resulting in huge swaths of Indonesian and Malaysian rainforests being bulldozed in order to plant palm oil trees. “Eight million acres have been cleared and burned already, and the orangutan is on its way to extinction,” says Christy Wilhelmi, author of Gardening for Geeks. The solution? Ditch those packaged foods, start cooking from scratch, and always, always read labels.

Bluefin Tuna

Bluefin is a popular choice at high-end sushi restaurants, but their numbers in the oceans are dropping fast. Because they live so long, Bluefin are unable to stand up to overfishing. They’re also high in mercury. The Sierra Club quotes food critic Jonathan Gold, saying, “People need to stop eating Bluefin tuna, period… The numbers of these magnificent fish are dropping fast. If we don’t stop eating them now, we’ll stop in a few years anyway because there won’t be any more.”

Genetically Modified Corn

GMO corn “destroys habitats, depletes soils, breaks nutrient cycles, pollutes air and water, contaminates native maize varieties, and on and on,” according to Douglas Fox, professor of sustainable agriculture at Unity College. It kills bees, reduces biodiversity, drives heirloom crops to extinction, and requires excessive processing to transform it into high fructose corn syrup, another ingredient found in processed foods (which should be avoided anyways because they contain palm oil).

No doubt there are many other foods that should be added to this environmental blacklist, but banishing these five from one’s diet is a good place to start.

Another great Green article from Green Halo
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A Mexican castaway who says he survived more than a year drifting at sea pleaded on Sunday to be taken home as he was picked up from the remote Pacific island where he had washed ashore.

 “I want to get back to Mexico,” the castaway, who identified himself as Jose Ivan, told interpreter Magui Vaca as he was about to board a Marshall Islands patrol vessel to be taken from Ebon Atoll to the capital Majuro for a medical examination.

“I feel bad,” he told Vaca of his physical and mental state. “I am so far away. I don’t know where I am or what happened.”

Green Halo Mexican Cast Away

An emaciated Jose Ivan was found last Thursday clad only in ragged underpants, when his 24-foot fibreglass boat with propellerless engines floated on to the reef at Ebon Atoll, the southernmost cluster of coral islands in the Marshalls.

He managed to communicate to his rescuers that he had drifted across a 12,500 kilometre (8,000 mile) expanse of Pacific Ocean north of the equator between southern Mexico and the Marshall Islands.

Jose Ivan told Vaca he left his home in Mexico to go shark fishing on December 24, 2012, putting his time at sea at 13 months, not the 16 months his rescuers initially believed.

“It’s been difficult trying to communicate with him,” said Ebon Mayor Ione deBrum who had only been able to communicate with the Mexican by drawing pictures.

“I’ve gotten to know him through pictures he’s drawing. He said he was on his way to El Salvador by boat when it started drifting.”

No details have yet emerged as to why he began drifting, or what happened to a companion he said had died a few months ago.

Vaca said Ivan was disorientated and did not know what had happened during his many months at sea.

“He feels a little desperate and he wants to get back to Mexico, but he doesn’t know how,” she said.

Green Halo Mexican Cast Away 2

When Ebon islanders discovered Ivan on their remote atoll he was sporting a long beard and was unable to walk without assistance.

There was no fishing gear on the boat and Jose Ivan suggested he caught turtles and birds with his bare hands. There was a turtle on the boat when it landed at Ebon.He indicated that he survived by eating turtles, birds and fish and drinking turtle blood when there was no rain.

“We’ve been feeding him nutritious island food and he’s getting better,” deBrum said. “He has pain in both knees so he cannot stand up by himself. Otherwise, he’s OK.”

Vaca was on a yacht in Majuro Atoll — around 320 kilometres north of Ebon — when she was briefly able to speak to Jose Ivan via radio before he was ushered on to the patrol vessel for the estimated 18-hour trip to Majuro.

He is expected to arrive in Majuro late Monday morning, at the earliest.

His talk with Vaca is believed to be the first time in many months the Mexican has had a conversation he could understand.

However, Sunday’s brief interview organised by the Marshall Islands National Telecommunications Authority (NTA) working with Mieco Beach Yacht Club officials, proved difficult as the radio transmission was marred by static.

The single phone line to Ebon — population 700 — went out of service Saturday, leaving radio the only option for communication.

There is no Internet service on the remote atoll. Had the drifter not washed onto the reef at Ebon, there is another 1,000 or so miles of open ocean before he might have landed in Papua New Guinea or the Solomon Islands.

Stories of survival in the vast Pacific are not uncommon.

In 2006, three Mexicans made international headlines when they were discovered drifting, also in a small fibreglass boat near the Marshall Islands, nine months after setting out on a shark-fishing expedition.

They survived on a diet of rainwater, raw fish and seabirds, with their hope kept alive by reading the bible.

Castaways from Kiribati, to the south, frequently find land in the Marshall Islands after ordeals of weeks or months at sea in small boats.

The Marshall Islands, in the northern Pacific, are home to about 60,000 people spread over 24 low-lying atolls.

Another great Green article from Green Halo
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