Not to get all “War on Christmas” on you, but I want to wish everyone a happy holiday season as we head into the week of Christmas. The only reason that I center my holiday season around Christmas is because my employer has a holiday shutdown with Christmas as the center piece of the week off. Therefore, I am a Christmas guy.
Enjoy the season with your loved ones and remember the people who are gone from our lives too soon.
On to the links…
In the Belly of the Beast—I forget that Rolling Stone is still in publication and that is a shame because occasionally they put out some drop dead good journalism. There is nothing groundbreaking in this piece about factory farms, but it encapsulates so many of the issues surrounding our meat obsession that it makes a good primer for those people you know who are less informed.
Factory Farms Fed Cows the Mess from Bottom of Chicken Cages—Here’s a nice and appetizing story about the feed for cows made from the “mess” in the bottom of chicken cages. Just nasty.
Hawaii’s Growing Solar Industry Fighting Uphill Battle With Energy Industry Over Threats To Grid—Hawaii’s solar growth should be an unmitigated success story, but as the utilities on the island begin to push back the story is getting slightly less rosy. Granted, there are issues with the islands’ archaic grid but that seems like an opportunity to move forward with improvements rather than stick to the status quo.
The Export-Import Bank Stops Funding Coal Projects Abroad—This is one of those “boring but important” news items that shapes the direction of large macro trends. If the Export-Import Bank stops financing these projects than it will be even harder for coal to compete. Hurray!
Interactive Map Tracks Lac Megantic’s Tragic ‘River Of Burning Oil’—This story is just awful. The town was basically wiped off the face of the map by a river of burning oil. What price our obsession with cheap fossil fuels?
The U.S. Is A Gas-Guzzling Horror Show—This one chart shows just how bad we are when it comes to consuming fuel for our transportation “needs.” It also shows that we could cut a lot of that use and not really impact our quality of life.
13 Major Clean Energy Breakthroughs Of 2013—2013 was not all bad. Here is a list of thirteen big happenings in the world of clean energy.
Cyclists are the New Enemies of Right Wing Politicians—There just must be something socialist about someone on a bicycle, says the right wing whack job. Why aren’t they in a big American truck, says the zealot on Fox News. Different strokes for different folks you clowns.
Scientists Turn Their Gaze Toward Tiny Threats to Great Lakes—The threats to the Great Lakes are many and the attention is a fraction of what is paid to the oceans. It’s a shame because these gigantic bodies of freshwater are a resource like no other in the entire world.
What’s That Clinging To The Towering Wall And Why Doesn’t It Fall Off?—Now for something a little more light hearted. Check out these goats, alpine ibexes to be exact, clinging to the side of the damn. What’s even more amazing is watching them move along the sheer face to get a lick of salt. Goats are so cool.
The Temperfect Mug—If this mug is half what it claims to be it would be sweet. I want one.
Posted in Linkage
Tagged accident, bicyclists, Christmas, Climate Progress, coal, cruelty, factory farm, Friday linkage, goats, Grist.org, Hawaii, HECO, holidays, Import Export Bank, Kickstarter, Lac Megantic, linkage, Mother Jones, New York Times, NPR, oil, renewables, Rolling Stone, solar pv, Temperfect Mug, Think Progress, Treehugger
Grist.org put out a flow chart to understand the ins and outs of the various ag-gag laws moving through state legislatures:
Instead of actually cleaning up their act, various companies have decided to respond to the spate of video exposes by sponsoring legislation that would make it illegal to make videos like these. The sponsors of the legislation are couching the support for a restriction of our free speech rights by saying it protects our food supply from terrorism, blah, blah, blah…
In Iowa such a law was passed in March 2012. I do not know of anyone who has challenged the law’s constitutionality or if anyone has been brought up on charges related to the law. It’s only a matter of time.
When the holiday season rolls around I really get to think about food. Normally, I think about food a lot but the holidays kick that thought process into high gear because it’s around Thanksgiving that most of my prep for winter is done. Thus, my focus turns inward to the interior of the home and my focus in the home is the kitchen.
And when it is Thanksgiving week, my attention shifts to turkey. However, the shift is really to the lack of turkey in my family’s new Thanksgiving tradition…the “sides only” dinner. Every year, the family would gather dutifully and someone would struggle to cook a bird well while everyone salivated over the side dishes. So, we finally crossed a Rubicon of sorts and did away with the turkey altogether. In the end, everyone is much happier because no one feels obligated to deal with the bird and everyone has more room for sides. Mmmmm…
The folks over at Mercy for Animals have caught the treatment of turkeys at a Butterball turkey facility in 2011. This barbarism makes me glad that we decided to go turkey free on Thanksgiving.
One of the things that blows me away about these videos is the wonton disregard for the well-being of the animals by the individuals involved. The system has dehumanized the employees so much that there is no sympathy for the plight of these animals. Further, very few people over the entirety of the country get very angry about incidents like this. Yet, there was a national fury unleashed when Michael Vick got caught running a dog fighting operation. What?
Or, just look at some of these crazy facts about the turkeys we eat.
Never mind the fact that it is estimated Americans throw away $282 million dollars of uneaten turkey annually. Opt out of the system and abandon the turkey this Thanksgiving.
Posted in Food
Tagged Butterball, Christmas, cruelty, dinner, food, holidays, meat, Mercy for Animals, Thanksgiving, Treehugger, turkey, waste
As if reading articles and books on the dangers of industrial food were not enough. As if watching television stories about people dying from eating cantaloupe tainted with listeria were not enough. No, it is pictures like these that make me very happy that I am trying my hardest to swear off industrial food:
Granted, poultry is one of the most industrial foods. If you have every visited a facility that raises broiler hens or seen videos from facilities involved in some steps of the process it is madness. There is an element of dystopian visions to this method of food production. Just consider what Mercy for Animals videotaped at the Hy-Line Hatchery.
Seeing these animals in these conditions makes me recoil. I still eat meat–very little of it compared to the average American–but I want that meat to come from animals that have been treated well. If these animals are to pay the ultimate price for my sustenance than I should have the decency to not be cruel. Maybe that is hippy dippy of me, but I do not care anymore. Trying to moderate my opinions to placate ignorance is a prescription for disappointment.
Note: The picture above originally appeared in the Minneapolis Star Tribune in an article about a turkey processing facility. See it here.