My thoughts on the Gulf oil spill… (heartbreak and fury)…

oil slckOver the past 39 days I’ve been asked (countless times) my thoughts about the Deepwater/Gulf Oil disaster… I find the situation both infuriating and heartbreaking.  This has become a full-scale environmental disaster and sadly, it is all man-made.

It is now believed that 12,000 barrels of oil are streaming into the Gulf on a daily basis.  There are 100 miles of beaches, marshes, wetlands and barrier islands now being destroyed along the Louisiana coastline and what took nature thousands of years to create is taking no time for man to destroy.  The harm created to the environment and wildlife is staggering and sadly, no amount of clean-up will allow nature to repair itself in our lifetime, or potentially even within our children’s. This is what I find heart-breaking.

What I find infuriating is that in the hour before the explosion, there were three indicators that a failure could actually occur.  All warnings were ignored and resulted in the loss of eleven lives and now the environmental devastation we are hearing about daily.oil brd

Even if the oil were stopped today, let’s remember that it took a month for the oil to reach the shore so there is now at least another month’s worth of oil still on its way to make landfall….the destruction will continue to spread.

I could get extremely political with who’s at fault and who should be fixing the problem but it seems to me… umm, BP?… you BUILT it, you KNOW how it works… fix it, stop it… NOW! A private corporation created it, not our government, and only they would have the intense understanding and technology of deep sea drilling.  Am I crazy to believe this?  And now I understand that after creating such a disaster, BP may only be liable for a cap of 75 million dollars of the cost to repair the damage and clean up this mess.  But the damage will never truly be repaired. Sickening.

Gulf Oil SpillI, for one, will never patronize a BP for any reason. I understand that all U.S. BPs are franchised and some may say that this will only hurt the business owner but, regardless, they are still supported by BP and I will not give them my money.  There are too many other choices and I will allow myself to run out of gas and walk before I stop at one of their gas stations or stores (my husband already boycotted them recently for charging $1 for air!).

But no matter how large a boycott would become it would be matter of principal alone, because BP is too large and powerful and cannot be destroyed… I only wish I could say the same for our environment.

(*View The Washington Post’s presentation of photos of the environmental disaster and destruction of wildlife)

See “The Cove”… and take part…

My love of dolphins has been lifelong. I don’t remember when it started, but I know it has never ended.

I do remember visiting Sea World and coming home with a dolphin mobile that hung over my bed from the time I was 5 until I headed off to college.  There is something dreamy, graceful and mesmerizing about these animals and their extreme intelligence is without question.

So when I heard about the documentary “The Cove” I was caught between that feeling of “I must see this” and “oh, I don’t want to see this…”  Well, I watched it… and it is absolutely haunting.

Richard O’Barry, Louie Psihoyos and their team uncover the killing of these beautiful and intelligent animals in a closely guarded and shielded cove in Taiji, Japan.  Each day, they are driven into the cove where the most visually-appealing dolphins are selected and sold to marine and aquatic parks, and the others are brutally and inhumanely slaughtered for their meat (meat that is passed off as expensive whale meat and sold for a premium price, and because of dolphins’ place in the food chain, contains extraordinary levels of mercury).  Take a look…

There are so many points of this story that just sicken me.  From the capture of these animals to turn them into “entertainers”, to the inhuman killings, to feeding unknowing consumers and school children(!) toxic food… it’s despicable.

As pointed out by the film, the 70’s had a massive movement to “Save the Whales”… now is the time to “Save the Dolphins”



Please take time to see this documentary.

And if you’re like me and you want to do something, please go to TakePart… and help us make a change and stop the killing…

Using palm oil = harm and destruction (here’s why…)

palm plnttnUntil recently I had never really heard much about palm oil… but as soon as I did, everything changed.

More and more, palm oil is commonly being used as an ingredient in everyday products including margarine, shortening, baked foods, cookies, candies and even soaps, candles and personal care products. Its main purpose, aside from its “binding properties”, is to replace trans fat that we’re all trying to avoid, however, there is also a great sacrifice being made through the acceptance of palm oil as our alternative to such things as hydrogenated oil…

… The sacrifice is vast amounts of rainforests and the animals that make the rainforest their home. These forests are being cleared at alarming rates to make way for palm plantations and to keep up with the demand for the product. Malaysia and Indonesia account for 83% of the production and 89% of the export of palm oil.  Within these countries the threat is enormous for endangered species including orangutans, tigers, elephants and rhinoceroses.  The threat is the greatest for the orangutans, as they live ONLY in these areas that are being cleared to make way for the palm oil plantations.  As you can imagine, the occurrence of hunting and poaching these poor animals has dramatically increased as well, and it is estimated that 50 orangutan are being killed each week.  At this rate, their existence is limited… and I find that absolutely heartbreaking and unnecessary.orang tans

It’s also important to realize that when this deforestation occurs and the rainforests are burned, they release decades of stored carbon back into the atmosphere, contributing to the tragedy of global warming.

Also keep in mind that, though the health effects of palm oil may be a BIT less with palm oil as a substitute, it is NOT a heart-healthy food or adequate hydrogenated oil substitute, like olive, soy or canola oils.  It is only a smoke-screen used by manufacturers because it is a cheap substitute and keeps the words “trans fat” off of the content label.

Sadly, the demand for palm oil is expected to double in the next 10 years… IF we continue to support the products that are using this oil as a “new” substitute.  This is NOT an option.

When you are shopping, DO NOT PURCHASE products containing palm oil.  By NOT buying, and selecting products without palm oil, it speaks loud and clear.  It means you will not support this product and the harm and destruction it is creating!

(* Note: the image above shows a palm oil plantation as it butts up to a rainforest that has been cleared for this crop.)

Eggs and all the confusing “terms” that go with them…

eggzEvery time I visit the organic dairy case, I get more and more overwhelmed by the classifications and categorizations of eggs.  Too many terms… too many confusing terms!

They can also be misleading and aren’t always as “dreamy” as they might seem, so take a look at the real deal on these most common terms in the   “egg world”:

  • Organic – these eggs come from hens that are free of hormones, steroids and antibiotics.  They are fed an organic, vegetarian, pesticide-free diet.  Organic eggs are said to include three times more omega-3 fatty acids, twice as much vitamin E and 40% more vitamin A than non-organic eggs.  This label is regulated by the USDA.
  • Cage-free – while cage-free sounds more humane, the reality isn’t always as great as it sounds.  While the hens aren’t confined to tiny individual cages, they are often placed in much larger common areas with other hens, but have no more individual space than a single cage… so no, cage-free does not mean they have ample space to spread their wings either.  Also keep in mind that this “label” is not regulated and cage-free does not mean organic unless it says so.
  • Free-range – these hens are raised with “access” to the outdoors, but sadly it doesn’t mean they spend their life prancing around the grassy hillside.  The reality is that they still spend much of their life in a cage-free environment, but are supposed get some time outdoors.  Since this term isn’t regulated eitchikn field2her, some reports say that free-range hens may actually spend little to NO time outdoors despite the claim.  Again, free-range does not mean organic unless it says so.

There are plenty of other terms –- “natural” which essentially means nothing (all eggs are natural!), “pasture-raised” which means they do peck around outdoors or “grass-fed” meaning they do get outdoors and eat grass, insects and all that nature intended (so these eggs contain the most nutrients, but you will pay for them… dearly!), “certified humane” meaning they live indoors, but are confined much less densely –- so all you can do is know what the terms mean and choose what matters to you.

I haven’t even touched on conventionally-raised hens but believe me, they are often fed cheap, disgusting grains and foods (including the by-products of other animals), kept in the smallest of cages with deplorable conditions, and have the tips of their beaks burned off so they don’t peck one another… sure, the dozen eggs you purchase may be 99 cents, but I cannot condone or support those practices.

We’re an “organic, free-range” family because, aside from raising my own chickens (no, not likely!) or knowing someone who does (unfortunately, I don’t!), I’m hoping that the eggs come from somewhat happy chickens that maintained a healthy diet and drug-free life!

(There you have it…  and I didn’t say “egg-cellent”, even once!…)