Tag Archives: beans

Friday Linkage 10/4/2019

For the first time in forever…sorry, Frozen fans I was just thinking that for the first time in a long time it actually feels like fall.  Within the span of a single work week we have seen the temperatures drop from nearly ninety degrees to nearly freezing overnight.  Welcome to the Midwest during the shoulder season!

On to the links…

The Short List Of Climate Actions That Will Work—It is super easy to explain to people:

  1. Electrify everything
  2. Overbuild renewable energy generation
  3. Integrate electrical transmission across continents
  4. Build hydropower storage systems
  5. Plant a lot of trees
  6. Reform agriculture to capture carbon in the soil

And so on.  None of these actions is hard to grasp or hard to implement.  It just takes political will.

Solar, Wind Are Now Cheaper Than Coal In Most Of The World—The battle has been won.  To win the war we must keep pressing forward.

World’s Largest Wind Turbines to be Built off Yorkshire Coast—It is hard to grasp the scale.  A single turbine producing enough electricity to power 16,000 homes.  Wow.  This is why the UK is transitioning away from coal.

McCharge? Yes, McDonald’s Wants To Charge Your EV—One of the goals of any convenience type purchase—food, gasoline, coffee, etc.—is to increase the number of trips you make to the location.  The more trips a person makes increases the potential that the person will spend more money.  If you could spend thirty minutes on a DC fast charger at McDonald’s while wolfing down a Big Mac it might make you stop.

Volta’s EV Network Gives You 30 Minutes of Free Fast Charging—Think about this as an amenity that draws traffic.  If you have an EV and can get thirty minutes of high voltage charging would you be more likely to stop at that retail location over another?  Probably.

First Gas Station in America to Ditch Oil for 100% Electric Vehicle Charging Opens in Maryland—Someone had to be first.  However, given that EV charging does not require expensive underground storage tanks for a flammable liquid like traditional gas stations I have to imagine that the old model of gas stations is a dinosaur.

Here Is Why Electrification Of Medium/Heavy Trucks Is Important—Representing just 4% of vehicles these trucks are responsible for 9% of vehicle miles traveled and 26% of fuel gallons consumed:

Vehicle Population, VMT, and Fuel Use by Vehicle Class, 2017 Source energy.gov.png

Anheuser-Busch To Deploy 21 BYD Electric Trucks In California—The truck that is delivering those cases of Natty Light may now be an EV.

If Everyone Ate Beans Instead of Beef—One change, half of our greenhouse gas emissions reduction goal.  Simple.

That Viral Study About Red Meat Left Out The Most Important Part—Climate change is the greatest risk to our collective health.  Ignoring its potential impacts when considering the climate change impacts of red meat production is like trying to quantify the opioid epidemic without looking at heroin use.

Amid Rising Demand for Beyond Meat Burgers, U.S. Farmers Can’t Solve This Supply Problem—It has not even been a complete growing season in North America since Beyond Meat went public and meat substitutes became a thing in the United States.

Germany Makes a National Commitment to Rescue Its Forests—There is a massive amount of climate change mitigation potential waiting to be exercised in rebuilding our stocks of forested lands.  As rain forests in South America and Indonesia burn as a result of bad policy it is more important than ever to rethink our relationship to the forests in our collective backyards.

Los Angeles, a City Known for Its Freeways, Is About to Plant a Shit Ton of Trees—I do not know if it is actually a “shit ton” of trees, but it is a start.  Now imagine communities across the United States and the world for that matter doing the same thing.  It is possible.

The Story of The Largest Private Land Donation In History and Creation of Patagonia National Park—Just take a few minutes out of your day and watch this video.  Also, imagine a world where the uber rich like Jeff Bezos and Mark Zuckerberg spent money on truly bold conservation efforts.

What Would It Be Like to Live in an Era of Geoengineering?—Is it our fate to live on a planet where we have knowingly changed the natural systems to counteract our own collective stupidity?  God I hope not.

Friday Linkage 5/26/2017

Melania Trump may be my new hero.  Okay, maybe hero is a strong word but her refusal to even consent to contact with the flaccid cantaloupe masquerading as the President of the United States is something to behold:


Damn girl.  What are you feeding the president?

On to the links…

Factory Farming Threatens Public Health—There it is.  The single most important headline I have read in the past few weeks.  No explanation needed.

The “License to Kill” Bill Is As Terrifying As It Sounds—Republicans are going about an orgy of legislation that is designed to make the world a better place for companies that do not mind injuring, sickening, or straight up killing you.  You are worth less than corporate profits in the eyes of Republicans.

Be Compassionate, But Never, Ever, Pity The American Male—After the election of Donald Trump, I still shudder just saying that, the press was filled with reports about how he was fueled by a disaffected group of white males.  Never has a group that has been given so much privilege, squandered so much potential, and been so angry about their own failings gotten so much attention for the fact.  Can we please stop the pity parade?

The Markets Frustrate OPEC’s Efforts to Push up Oil Prices—The market is kicking oil’s ass.  If it is not shale oil production, it’s demand.  If it is not demand, it is something else.

Shale Is Just a Scapegoat for Weaker Oil Prices—It’s the demand, baby.

`Gas Apocalypse’ Looms Amid Power Plant Construction Boom—Why exactly are there any power plants still burning coal in this region?

North Sea Wind Power Hub: A Giant Wind Farm to Power all of North Europe—Imagine power for 80 million Europeans coming from offshore wind.  Wow.

We are the Bicycle Lobby. We are Coming for Your Parking.—The grumpy old men who want to park in acres of free parking after having driven to the parking lot at seventy miles an hour are just going to have to deal with people on bicycles.  They will bitch and they will moan, but they are the past and we are the future.

America’s Cars Are Suddenly Getting Faster and More Efficient—Cars are going faster but doing it using less gas.  If someone tells you that government regulation is stifling innovation they have not been paying attention when they fire up their car.

How a Remote California Tribe Set Out to Save its River and Stop a Suicide Epidemic—When we lose our connection to our past and to our land we lose a lot of what it means to be human.  In a world where forces are trying to privatize all land so that only the rich truly have access and the rest is polluted by industry we need to remember the value of the land in our identity.

Replacing Beef with Beans Would Dramatically Slash Greenhouse Gasses—Rather than put solar panels on our houses, commute by bicycle, or elect politicians who gave a damn the best thing you could do for the planet tomorrow would be to stop eating meat.  Eat beans, pulses, kale, tofu, whatever in place of meat.

You Must Read— The Resilient Gardener: Food Production and Self-Reliance in Uncertain Times

My wife’s late grandfather always maintained ownership of about 100 acres of farmland near his home in central Ohio.  Everyone wondered why he bothered.  The land did not bring in much in terms of lease income, although it was paid off and the income offset any taxes so the holding cost was only the opportunity cost of deploying the sale price elsewhere.  He kept the land because, as a child who had lived through the Depression, he always wanted the ability to “put calories on the table.”  Not food on the table per se, but calories.

There is a slight, but very important difference between the two terms.  Most gardens, mine up to this point in my nascent gardening career, put food on the table but sorely lack in replacing any appreciable amount of calories.  I still get the bulk of my calories from foodstuffs that I purchase and, when looking at carbohydrates in particular, I purchase those calories from relatively conventional channels.

Carol Deppe’s The Resilient Gardener: Food Production and Self-Reliance in Uncertain Times deals with this exact issue.  There may come a time when gardeners are forced to sustain themselves, their families, and quite possibly the larger community without the benefit of many modern conveinences like synthetic fertilizer, irrigation, or modern “terminator” seeds that are unable to be used from generation to generation.  Deppe’s goal is to provide the wisdom to move a step beyond that and toward a more resilient—hence the title—form of small scale agriculture that is truly sustainable in all senses of the word.

Focusing on five key crops—potatoes, corn, beans, squash, and eggs—that are the lynchpins of self-reliance in terms of food.  With these five crops an individual can hope to put enough calories on the table to break free or survive without conventional agriculture.  Considering the precarious nature of our modern systems in the face of global climate change, energy insecurity, and a generally piss poor economic climate it is imperative that anyone wishing to be prepared for calamity heed Deppe’s wisdom.

Of the five crops mentioned above the only one I see consistently in the gardens around my neighborhood is squash.  People here in eastern Iowa love their squash.  It’s like a ritual every year for bundles of squash to appear on desks at work with notes attached announcing “Take one!  Please!”  However, I know of almost no one who grows corn or potatoes and only a few who grow beans, mostly the fresh green kind as opposed to dry varieties.

The tone of the book is one of the things that I enjoy the most.  It is not a diatribe against the evils of modern, industrial agriculture or the current corrupt capitalist system.  Her intent, as she says, is “to suggest a gentle, moderated response” to the possibility of hard times to come.  It is not that it is likely that “mega hard times” will afflict us, from a statistical standpoint, but learning the tools and pathways to be increasingly self-sufficient is a low-cost way to mitigate some of that risk.

I do quibble with a few things that are stated in the book.  In particular, I find value in compost.  Her contention is that once a garden gets to be the size of an acre or more, compost is a futile exercise.  However, the fertility of soils can be greatly impacted at a micro level even in a contiguous acre and compost is one tool in ensuring adequate soil fertility.  I realize that this is a small difference of opinion, but I think it merits pointing out because on the scale that most of us will garden compost is a vital tool—if not the religion that Deppe claims it has become to some gardeners.

The other quibble that I have is with her regionalism.  She is very upfront about the focus of her efforts being geared toward the climate in the Pacific Northwest, but for a great swath of this country those conditions are nowhere near our local climate.  I guess that is why I have the Iowa State University extension to answer all of my questions about growing food in Iowa.

Plus, I do not know if I agree with her belief that ducks are superior to chickens.  Why?  I just love watching the strange behavior of chickens.  It fascinates me.  Ducks tend to bore me.

In the end, this book is part of a tool kit for future resilience and sustainability.  Just like learning to do more things yourself instead of depending on large supply chains is about resilience in the face a disruption.  One last note, buy this book in paper form as opposed to an e-reader.  Think about it for a moment.  What good is a book for hard times when it is on a device that may not have power?  You cannot run out of juice with a paperback.