Friday, August 19, 2011

Burning Trash in War Zone; Politics; Cult of Celebrity; Food Facts

"Veterans Administration and private physicians have seen a significant increase in respiratory problems in soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. Other physical problems among war veterans include shortness of breath, headaches and coughing up blood. Almost all of these soldiers had exposure to burn pits as well as battlefield smoke and dust storms. It seems unlikely that the thousands of Iraqis and Afghans working on U.S. military bases or living nearby have escaped such debilitating ailments themselves."

Pulled from a recent article on the USA's grand sustainability and green methods in Afghanistan -- burn pits. That's 10 pounds of trash generated by each American soldier (100,000 total), maybe more by the tens of thousands of contractors shooting up the desert. Pretty nifty -- each ground troop in Afghanistan costs around $1.2 million a year to keep alive and "supported" by infrastructure, energy output, etc.

Going to hell in a hand basket. Hmm, how apropos is that? Read the great piece here --


WING Nut central -- Aspirants Bachmann and Perry are losers when it comes to basic science -- here's a pulled chunk from a great piece in Alternet:

Science. Both Perry and Bachmann object to the theory of evolution, even though evolution has a similar scientific consensus to the theory that mammals need to breathe oxygen to survive. Perry put his anti-science views into action, appointing creationists to the Texas School Board in hopes they can deceive Texas schoolchildren about reality.

Perry and Bachmann also object to global warming, even though it also enjoys scientific consensus. Bachmann’s objections to science won her a space on the House GOP American Energy Solutions Group, which is dedicated to killing off any actual solutions to American energy problems. Perry went beyond vague insinuations that he somehow knows better than scientists about climate into the territory of promoting the theory that climate change is a global hoax involving thousands---millions?---of scientists and leaders, in order to get the sweet cash from imaginary funders who have some non-disclosed interest in cutting into oil profits. Instead of listening to scientists on the subject of climate, Perry prefers a more 12th-century approach, asking people instead to pray for rain.

We are heading for the Bronze Age, for sure, and James Howard Kunstler, of The Long Emergency and Geography of Nowhere fame, predicted the USA would be putting in more and more radically stupid and superstitious folk in low and high elected office. This is where we are heading, for sure, when you look at the GOP and tea bag party.


Okay, Matt Damon for president is another reaction to these bizarre times --

The Guardian mentioned Damon as a defender of teachers and public education. As a misguided establishment consensus has emerged around standardized testing, privatization and charter schools, Damon has made a full-throated and deeply personal defense of public education, teachers and even the much-maligned teachers’ unions. He gave a real barnburner speech at a recent pro-public education “Save Our Schools” rally.

Like many other progressives, Damon has grown weary of Democrats looking for phony centrism instead of standing up to a shockingly far-right Republican party. Against this backdrop, Damon’s principled and public stands do indeed make us sit up and pay attention.


Our own Spokane has some wing nuts running, including Mike Fagan for City Council --

Here are some questions pulled from the Seeping Spokesman Review --


12. Spokane’s library system offers significantly fewer hours than many of the 20 largest cities in Washington. Would you be willing to ask voters for a tax to boost this service as was requested earlier this year by the city library board?

Again, NO MORE TAXES! Please see answer #8. It is very imperative that we get a firm control on labor costs. Lower taxes, smaller and less intrusive and transparent government. To hear the Mayor claim that we are cut to the bone is laughable.

13. A consultant hired by the city to review city services in 2006 said that the city was not investing enough in its urban forest. Should the city do more to plant and maintain street trees. If so, how?

I believe the urban forest is adequate. While I love trees, they sure can do a lot of damage and require a lot of maintenance to our infrastructure, i.e. pruning, leaves, sidewalks, sewer, and water pipes. Let’s not forget, the expansion of our urban forest program has been a contributing factor to growing the size of our city government also as we now have at least 3 arborists working for the city and parks.

14. Do you support the sustainability plan promoted by Mayor Mary Verner, which was adopted by the Spokane City Council in 2010? Do you support the decision of former Mayor Dennis Hession to sign the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ Climate Protection Agreement?

I actively practice and support conservation, composting and recycling. I have been schooled and have hands-on experience with LEAN principles. I have had a hand in the creation of several community gardens in northeast Spokane, but, I do not and cannot support any taxation or regulation which has its roots in the “global warming” lie.

15. Some nearby cities have crafted restrictions for watering lawns during certain hours. Would you support instituting similar rules in Spokane?

AHH, notice the tea bag, Patriot Party, Libertarian-faux guy go at all these things. He'll be with some interesting council members, if Fagan wins. Laughable, the city would be, but then we had a child rapist mayor, Jim West, supported by conservatives, Christian-talkers, no less.

Food, sustainable sanity --

Lastly, these are real tough times for people trying to eat, but here is a phalanx of ways to connect to positive action -- Nourishing the Planet (dot) ORG:

Nourishing the Planet also highlighted five plants that not only provide nutritious crops, but also help farmers mitigate the effects of climate change. And we discussed how energy from the sun is being used to provide water for crops. 

All the best,
Danielle Nierenberg
Nourishing the Planet Co-Project Director
Please connect with us on Facebook!
Here are some highlights from the week:

Marula Tree

Five plants you've never heard of that can slow climate change

Nourishing the Planet provides five plants that are helping farmers adapt to changes in the climate. Crop yields are estimated to decrease by 30 percent by the end of the century in the United States as a result of climate change. But heartier and more tolerant crops, such as the marula tree and marama, have significant potential to heal degraded soils and aid in the global fight against climate change.

SELF Innovation of the Week: Harnessing the Sun's Power to Make the Water Flow

This week's innovation discusses how energy from the sun is being used to get water to crops. In the KalalĂ© district of northern Benin, agriculture is a source of livelihood for 95 percent of the population, yet small-scale farmers lack access to effective irrigation systems. But the Solar Electric Light Fund (SELF), a U.S. nonprofit, has introduced an innovative solar-powered drip irrigation system that is helping farmers-especially women-irrigate their fields.   

Ending the Hunger Season

Fred Bahnson, co-founder of the Anathoth Community Garden in North Carolina, discusses the work that the Educational Concerns for Hunger Organization (ECHO), a Florida-based group, are doing to reduce global food insecurity. In addition to conducting research, ECHO provides free consulting for development workers, and promotes agricultural practices, such as growing indigenous crops, to make marginal land more productive. By helping small farmers, the staff at ECHO believe you increase food security for the whole country--and the world.

NtP TV Nourishing the Planet TV: Farmers Groups and Cooperatives

In this week's episode, we discuss the role cooperatives have in supporting small scale farmers in Africa. We highlight the role that organizations, including Urban Harvest and the Oromia Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union, play in helping farmers establish local groups, which help to increase crop yields and improve access to markets.

Creating a sustainable world: An interview with Barton Seaver

In this interview, National Geographic fellow and chef, Barton Seaver, discusses the role that a chef can play in creating a sustainable food system. He believes that chefs can act as advocates and educators and can be an important part of changing people's food habits and food choices.

Food Waste -- Letting funding go to waste

In the United States, an estimated 27 percent of all food available for consumption is thrown away. Food waste in the United States amounts to about 30 million tons and accounts for 12 percent of total waste produced in a year. But organizations, including the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, are working to ensure that food that would otherwise be thrown away is delivered to the people in need.

30 Project Dinner kicks-off in San Francisco

Ellen Gustafson and her colleagues brought together food advocates from a variety of organizations,including California Food Policy Advocates (CFPA), CoFed, and the Jamie Oliver Foundation, to eat and talk about the best ways to change the global food system. This is the first of 30 dinners that Gustafson will host in 30 states, where she plans to bring policy makers and other important stakeholders to the table to discuss the future of domestic food policies.

What did you think of this newsletter? Please give us your feedback...we will use your comments to constantly improve our work. Write Danielle Nierenberg, Senior Researcher and Co-Project Director of Nourishing the Planet, at

1 comment:

  1. We are polluting our planet rapidly, there will be a stage when we can no longer control the pollution, if we do not change our attitude towards it.


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