Going vegetarian or vegan can be quite a commitment, so how do you decide and more importantly, how do you maintain your momentum during the shaky transition period?
Vegucated explores the world of beginner veganism from the perspective of 3 different individuals from New York, all with different reasons. While the producer herself is along for the journey and provides much of the up front educational and overview commentary, she is absent for much of the meat (pardon the pun) of the movie.
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The Pipe is your classic David vs Goliath story, except that it’s not. It follows a small Rossport community fighting against an invasion by Shell Oil and the Irish State. Gas found off the remote coastal village prompted a clash between farmers, fisherman and huge numbers of private security and police.
Behind the scenes, you experience the tragic division of community, neighbors and friends when things turn dire. 5 locals decide to spend 94 days in jail when faced with an ‘eminent domain’ situation, protesting the pipeline’s path across their farming fields and land.
All seems lost for this town of age-old way community residents, with trades and a way of life passed down for generations. Beat in the courts, on their land and with seemingly no recourse for the destruction of their livelihood, desperation is apparent and a true theme of the film. › Continue reading
For all of you with Android phones looking for eco-friendly apps, here is my top pick! As many of you know, the Monterey Bay Aquarium puts out a Seafood Watch list of sustainable fish choices when it comes to dining or shopping. I used to print and carry around the paper version, but the great thing about it is that it updates itself so you get the most up-to-date information on fisheries and status.
Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch App
Platform: iphone & android
Details: Provides up-to-date information on sustainable seafood choices for dining or shopping in an easy to search or browse format.
Plus there is so much more, with interesting facts, illustrations and more. This guides you with ratings of ‘Best Choice’, ‘Good Alternative’ and ‘Avoid’ so you can make the best decision for the planet and your health. Since many of these fisheries are contaminated with high levels of mercury, even the USDA recommends pregnant women avoid these fish. › Continue reading
With all the new eco-friendly phone applications out there today, it’s like having a green guide in your pocket. Both the iphone and android phones are capable of keeping you updated with eco events, tips and green living ideas in practical ways. If you have an iphone, visit our Top 5 Must Have iphone Eco Apps. The android app selection is still behind iphone selections, but it is catching up with many vendors now duplicating their eco iphone apps for the android enabled phones.
- Seasonal Harvest from Discoversites
$0.99 or free ad supported ‘lite’ version
Keeps you up to date with the growing seasons in your area so you can select the locally grown produce grown in your area. Select your state or use the GPS to view local produce in season for your state. Also locates nearby farmers markets and can even search recipes. For those transitioning from the iPhone, it is very similar to the Locavore app.
- Greenpeace Tissue Guide from Greenpeace
Allows you to look up eco-friendly home paper products in 4 categories: paper towels, toilet paper, paper napkins, and facial tissues. Shows you recycled content (both pre and post consumer content and bleach processing) and gives you recommendations on your most eco-friendly choices. Both a scrollable category list by manufacturer or search by brand.
I find it very useful in quick decision situations, its just another way to stay informed and not get fooled by marketing greenwashing. Just do an android market search for Greenpeace.
- Visibility from the Robotics Lab at USC
This handy little app is being used to accumulate data about visibility and air quality for research. Hopefully this will help researchers track air quality and better asses pollution levels for different areas at different times, all concurrently through a base of mobile users.
It’s pretty simple, you just take a picture of the sky, select pixels from the sky and submit it to the USC lab.
Smart phones today have enabled you to have a green resource right in your pocket. Several non-profits and green companies have taken advantage of this by creating apps for the iphone to keep you informed, eco minded and living green. If you have an Android enabled phone, check out our Top 5 Must Have Android Eco Friendly Apps.
- Seafood Watch App from the Monterey Bay Aquarium
A staple for me since I enjoy fish and sushi, I have been printing out the card for years. Now you can have up to date information about your best health and eco-friendly fish options right on your phone. Great for restaurants or for picking up some fish at the market, get detailed information about the fish, fishery status and great alternatives.
New feature allows you to pinpoint sustainable seafood restaurants and markets and share them with others.
- Find Green App from 3rdWhale
An awesome multi-purpose app providing you information on green businesses near you. From organic restaurants, farmers markets, yoga studios and bicycle shops, this app will tell you how far they are and how to get there. Included are eco friendly green living tips, reviews and more. Not a stranger to this app, I reviewed it earlier last year when it was called the Green Business Finder app.
3rdWhale is worth a visit as they have developed great mobile apps for Greenpeace and 350.org and other non-profits.
- The Good Guide
An awesome app for shopping giving you an instant rating based on Health, Environment and Social Responsibility. Just scan the items barcode using your iphones camera. Currently covering information on over 65,000 personal care and household chemical products, and soon expanding to include food, toys, electronics, and more.
Good Guide was founded by Dara O’Rourke, a professor of environmental and labor policy at the University of California at Berkeley. Ratings are based on research of the world’s leading academic experts on global supply chains – tracking product life cycles from resource extraction into manufacturing, through consumer use to disposal.
If you love magazines and catalogs, and haven’t transitioned over to a Kindle or e-reader, then you may be interested to hear about how paper manufacturers and magazines are staying eco-friendly. Or not. While some contain 10-15% recycled content and FSC certified paper, most still use 100% virgin paper.
One company stands out in this arena, and is the only paper company in the country capable of doing 85-100% recycled content Mechanical Coated Paper (aka the glossy paper in magazines and catalogs) domestically. Everything else is from overseas, its carbon footprint adding unneeded impact. Not only that, Futuremark has stepped up in other arenas including:
- Providing post recycling remnants to an agricultural supply company that sells 30,000 tons of it a year to farmers rather then dumping them into a landfill.
- Partnering with the City of Chicago and its schools to collect paper and textbooks, paying schools, faith and civic groups, etc, for what they collect.
Many of us have spoken up by signing up for junk mail reducing lists, but for those who still enjoy the occasional catalog or subscribe to print magazines, publishers need to know that this is a concern of their readers.
After receiving a letter in the mail proposing $100,000 to lease his 19.5 acre property, filmmaker Josh Fox embarked on a multi-state mission to explore the source, reason, and consequences of hydraulic fracturing; a relatively new process of extracting natural gas. Fox’s documentary, ‘GASLAND,’ paints an in-depth picture of the new part of our county, GASLAND, in what their website calls part travelogue, part expose, part mystery, part bluegrass banjo meltdown, and part showdown.
I mention that hydraulic fracturing is a relatively new process; within the last 50-60 years. In a Q & A session at the Sundance Film Festival Fox states that fracturing was used only as a last resort process in the past. Fox mentions the interesting point that “as we are running out of [natural gas] the desperation technique becomes the primary way”. The process of hydraulic fracturing (also known as ‘fracking’) is aimed at forming a fracture within shale or formation rock to make it easier and more efficient to extract natural gas that is trapped within the rock. A hydraulic fracture is formed by injecting 207 million gallons of water per well into a well which creates a pressure that cracks the rock, and allows the fracturing fluid to expand the crack further into the rock. In order to keep the fracture open, the fracture water includes materials such as grains of sand or ceramics. The fluid itself can also be gel, foam, nitrogen or carbon dioxide. In addition to this, there are also 596 (according to Fox) different chemicals used in this process, injected underground, and most of the fluid is left there. It is estimated that 90% of the natural gas wells in the United States actually rely on hydraulic fracturing in order to release and collect natural gas at the demanded rates. › Continue reading
Now for a little environmental optimism. I’ve stumbled across Grist‘s clever side project, HopenSource a few times and would highly recommend swinging by next time you’ve got the chance. It’s a joint blog and twitter account (including its very own hashtag to allow everyone to join in the conversation) dedicated to the discussion of the good news in the environmental arena.
That’s right, you didn’t read that wrong. I said good news. In a field almost completely dedicated to approaching issues from an “Oh Lord, what have we done?” angle, I find the optimism to be refreshing. I’ve said it many times, one of the most basic obstacles to environmental progress is the ease with which everyday people get bogged down in the despair and general permeation of bad news, particularly in the media. This idea that because we’ve gone so far at this point, in terms of habitat destruction, climate change, toxic distribution, etc., there’s really nothing we can do on an individual level that would make a dent, and therefore no point in trying.
In fact, this perspective couldn’t be farther from the truth. › Continue reading
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