Algae burger on rye, anyone?

Algae burger on rye, anyone?

You will probably never deliberately order an algae burger on rye, a bean-and-algae burrito, or an algae caesar salad. But a day will eventually come when you will be inadvertently making algae a part of your diet: How can this be, you wonder? Start by enjoying this cool stop-motion animation, an illustration of Michael Pollan’s Food Rules created by the team of Marija Jacimovic and Benoit Detalle for an RSA competition: embedded by Embedded Videovimeo Direkt (Did you like it? Help them win by voting here.) In the video, Pollan made the point: In 2008, which was a year of supposed food crisis, we grew enough food to feed 11 billion people. Most of it was not eaten by humans as food, however; a great deal of it was fed to animals, about half, to feed our meat habit. And a great deal, especially in the United States, was fed to automobiles, because we’re driving our cars on food right now. We hear that meat takes an enormous amount of resources to produce –  water, land, crops, pesticides, fertilizer – all tied up in feeding the animals to get them all nice and fat and ready for us to eat. Wouldn’t it be great if that could all change? If we could figure out a way to feed our warm-blooded protein sources without sacrificing clean water and whole grain for humans? To really have our cake and eat it too? An article today in Grist by Claire Thomson discusses how that may come to be. Researchers are figuring out a way to substitute algae-based animal feed for corn and soy-based feed...

The over-packaged banana

For reasons of self-preservation, I don’t get angry with the content of most news reports. I generally accept that, despite best intentions and the presence of good in this world, there will always be greed, evil, and just plain stupidity. But a plastic-wrapped banana – seriously? What’s going on here?

Got water?

Got water?

Definitely go and watch the excellent documentary Tapped. As soon as you can, before the next episode of Jon Stewart or Married to Rock, or whatever your viewing pleasure may be. Then go out and recommend it to everyone you know. The movie addresses what the filmmakers call “the not-so-new bogeyman in town: the bottled water industry.” They explore a variety of issues that are all bonded together with those tiny molecules of hydrogen and oxygen – privatization to plastics and farming to pharmaceuticals, all topped off with a healthy dose of environmental (in)justice. I knew there were issues surrounding bottled water from an excellent water law class I took – I just didn’t know what they were. The professor slyly pointed out that “Evian” spelled backward is “naive” before stating that he was prevented by court order from sharing anything he knew about the bottled-water industry. We moved on to specifics of California water law. A few year later, now, Tapped fills in the blanks. Here are a few of the points the movie made: The business of bottled water began around 1989 when the introduction of disposable plastic bottles made it cost-effective. Now the bottled water industry collectively generates over a billion dollars in sales each year. Water bottling companies purchase or lease water rights from private parties to pump water from the ground to sell to us. The quality of bottled water is not regulated by the FDA or anyother governmental agency. Municipal water supplies are. In fact, many tap water quality reports are even available online. Communities located in close proximity to plastic bottling plants...

HFCS, a gloppy monster

News that Hunt’s is cutting high fructose corn syrup from their catsup recipe makes me wonder if HFCS will fall into the “seemed like a good idea at the time” category along with DDT and subprime mortgage loans. I cut it out of our diets over decade ago and since then it just sounds worse and worse. Give me my sweets straight from the plant, please!