Sunday, April 29, 2012

Quote of the moment

We don't need a law against McDonald's or a law against slaughterhouse abuse -- we ask for too much salvation by legislation. All we need to do is empower individuals with the right philosophy and the right information to opt out en masse.
- Joel Salatin (farmer, author, Polyface Farms)

 Source: Earth Eats

Monday, April 23, 2012

2012 Bike Challenge

Shortly after writing my recent post on biking in the U.S., I got an email from a friend who works for the Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin about this year's Wisconsin Bike Challenge. The challenge asks you to form a team with your coworkers, or participate as an individual, and log the miles that you ride your bike from May 1 to August 31. You can log the miles online or on your smart phone. It's a really easy way to motivate yourself (and/or your colleagues) and to keep track of how well you do. I'm always more likely to do something if I know I am going to write it down and look at the results. My personal goal? To bike to work at least two days per week this spring. The place where I currently work is four miles away, so that should mean I log 16 miles per week! And the Bike Challenge also has prizes for participants - even more motivation.

The Bike Challenge was started by the Wisconsin group, but it's a national challenge now! So, no matter what state you live in, set a goal for yourself of biking to work, the grocery store, or anywhere that you normally drive to, and click here to sign up for the Bike Challenge!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Food waste in America...yikes

Found this article about food waste on Eat Drink Better. I don't have a compost pile at my apartment anymore because we don't have a yard to put it in, but I keep meaning to start a worm bin again. This infographic might be the inspiration I need to put it together. The most shocking statistic is probably that each American produces 254 pounds of food waste a year. Yikes. Click on the image to see a larger version. For info on how to start your own worm compost bin, click here.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Biking and walking in the U.S.: 2012 benchmarking report

A friend of mine just passed this fascinating document along to me. It's a report done annually on walking and biking in the U.S. I was shocked (but I guess not surprised) by some of these statistics. Click here to see the full report, or here to read quick facts from the report summary. I've always been somewhat conscious of how often I choose to drive somewhere that is within walking or biking distance. But now I'm going to try even harder to get places by my own two feet. I'm just glad I live somewhere that is reasonably bike-friendly. Some places are impossible to get around. (That's a whole other issue that we need to work out in this country.) Anyway, here are some interesting stats from the report:
  • 40% of trips in the U.S. are shorter than two miles, yet we use our cars for 87% of these trips.
  • 27% of trips in the U.S. are shorter than one mile, yet we use our cars for 62% of these trips.
  • Only 1% of trips are by bicycle. Only 10.5% are by foot.
  • Biking and walking levels fell by 66% between 1960 & 2009, while obesity levels increased by 156%. [connection??]
  • The number of children who biked or walked to school fell by 75% between 1966 & 2009, while the percentage of obese children rose by 276%
This report also ranks all 50 states, as well as 51 major cities, based on how often their residents walk or bike to work. My current state (Michigan) ranks pretty low at #34, whereas Alaska surprisingly ranks #1!

So, if that isn't enough inspiration to consider walking or biking to work (or at least one place that you normally drive to), check out this infographic for some more reasons.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

What's inside a school lunch burger (and a lot of processed veggie burgers)?

Here's an interesting this video from NPR about the unnecessarily long list of ingredients in a school lunch burger. The food scientist in the video argues that children who don't have three balanced meals a day need the extra ingredients in the burger. But I don't think anyone needs thiamine mononitrate, disodium inosinate, and pyridoxine hydrochloride added to their food. Most or all nutrients our bodies need can be found by eating whole, unprocessed foods.

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