Global Warming Gets Its Day In The Sun

"We want our children to live in an America that isn’t burdened by debt, that isn’t weakened by inequality, that isn’t threatened by the destructive power of a warming planet. -- What makes America exceptional are the bonds that hold together the most diverse nation on Earth -- the belief that our destiny is shared; that this country only works when we accept certain obligations to one another, and to future generations; that the freedom which so many Americans have fought for and died for comes with responsibilities as well as rights, and among those are love and charity and duty and patriotism. That's what makes America great..." ~ President Barack Obama  

Good Luck, O! We need you...and we know you've got your work cut out for you. In the next four years, my hope is that clean energy is a top priority.

Photo: Greenpeace

Fixing Food On A Starving Planet

How we farm and how we eat may prove to be one of the largest issues of our time. There seems to be a lot of deep thinking around this topic, viagra buy and I believe the multi-dimensional problem of climate change reaches into the core of why we need a realignment of the inequalities in our food system – both locally and globally.

How do we fix food on a warming planet? Can we find a solution that will not cause worse damage and more starvation?

Planet Food

In regards to climate change, sick agriculture is a double-edge sword. It’s a sector of our society that is adversely affected by environmental changes. Yet our global food system is one of the greatest contributors to climate change.

“Climate change, price in turn, is contributing to rising rates of hunger and food insecurity. As much as 1/3 of greenhouse gas emissions come from the food system.” ~ Slow Food

Pollutants such as pesticides (insecticides and herbicides) sprayed on our food, and injected into the soil, are landing on our plates. We have fumigants in our strawberries, growth inhibitors sprayed on our potatoes, hazardous chemicals like mercury swimming in our fish, and antibiotics pumped into our livestock. Even chocolate and peanut butter are threatened by global warming.

Agriculture has the ability to pollute the environment and make us sick. It also poses potential solutions as we create smarter food alternatives for our families. Growing chemical-free food, and shopping locally can help push back against a broken food system.

But, what about our global community? How can we worry about eating organic spinach when people are dying of malnutrion?

Starving Planet

Changes in climate have exasperated the problem of famine. 

"Higher temperatures and changes in precipitation result in pressure on yields from important crops in much of the world…Biological impacts on crop yields work through the economic system resulting in reduced production, higher crop and meat prices, and a reduction in cereal consumption. This reduction means reduced calorie intake and increased childhood malnutrition." ~ Scientific American

I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject, as I’ve just scratched the surface of the issue of food. To create a cleaner plate, the fix won’t just happen organically. As our planet grows warmer, we are going to need to do something. I believe we’ll need to start voting with our stomachs, and healing with our hearts.

Here’s one way to start...

8 Reasons To Rock-On With Meat-Free Monday (with Paul McCartney and Gwyneth Paltrow)

I don’t generally get star struck, and food is not one of my writing niches, as the cook at the ‘ol econest is my husband, but when a Beatle and an Oscar-winning actress get involved in something I care deeply about, like whether or not to eat meat, I’m over the moon. Actress Gwyneth Paltrow has a blog. She and Paul McCartney, a dyed-in-the-wool vegetarian, have a story to tell about the environmental impact of raising livestock.

Read More

Letting It All Hang Out: The Clothesline Wars

It seems like one of the simplest of household tasks – hanging out the laundry to dry. But this mundane chore has received quite a bit of controversy. The politics of laundry drying has been the subject a New York Times article that chronicles one woman’s struggle to put her laundry out to dry.

After learning about the threat of global warming, recipe Jill Saylor decided to hang her clothes outside on a line behind her mobile home to save some energy. “I figured trailer parks were the one place left where hanging your laundry was actually still allowed, troche Saylor told New York Times reporter, remedy Ian Urbina. But Saylor was wrong. Apparently, many people in her trailer park view clothes drying outside as an “eyesore,” so she was forbidden from doing so. What happened to Saylor is not uncommon. In fact, 60 million people living in 300,000 private communities in the U.S. are banned from drying their clothes outside.

However, the laws are changing with implications that are cultural, political, economic and environmental. What’s behind the controversial clothesline wars?

• Proponents believe they should not be prohibited by their neighbors or local community agreements from saving on energy bills or acting in an environmentally-minded way. • Opponents say the laws lifting bans on outside clothesline drying erode local property rights and undermine the autonomy of private communities.

Clothes dryers use at least 6% of all household electricity consumption and 10-15 %t of domestic energy in the U.S. The environmental impact of using the clothes dryer less could easily help each of us do our small part for the planet.

Project Laundry List provides 10 reasons to hang dry laundry:

1. Save money. 2. Clothes last longer. 3. Clothes and linens smell better. 4. It conserves energy and environmental resources. 5. Hanging laundry is a moderate physical activity that can be done outside. 6. Sunlight bleaches and disinfects. 7. Indoor racks can humidify in dry and cold climates. 8. It is safer. Clothes dryer fires account for about 17,700 fires, 15 deaths and 360 injuries annually. 9. It is a fun outdoor experience that can be meditative and community-building. 10. Small steps make a difference.

The cultural and community-building component to laundry drying became evident to me a few years ago when I spent some time in Spain. Our fourth floor apartment had a laundry line attached to our windowsill, and connected to a neighbor’s window. Looking out the laundry window, as we affectionately called it, your could see all neighbors communal laundry lines crisscrossed up and down the center alley of the building. Everything from towels to underwear to sneakers went on the line to dry. Every few days, I would lean out the window, retrieve my line and smile and wave to the other apartment dwellers as we put our laundry out to dry together.

Maybe thinking about home building differently can nudge us closer to using the dryer less. This Huffington Post article suggests adding a “dry room” to homebuilders’ plans: “a place where the furnace, water heater (or tankless water heater) and washer/dryer could live together along with built-in lines or racks for drying [where] all that excess heat that is normally vented and wasted could be used to dry the family laundry, particularly in the winter when outdoor line drying is not always possible.” This idea is simple, efficient, and could save a homeowner money.

However, if you’re stuck in a house without a “dry room,” and don’t have the means to line dry your clothes outside, especially as the air gets cooler for those of us on the cooler climates, here are some tips to lighten your dryer’s energy load.

What happened to Ms. Saylor and her mobile home park neighbors? “Pressure makes a difference.” A petition was delivered to the property owner, who recently complied with Saylor. Laundry drying victory prevailed.

What do you think? Should drying laundry al fresco be a cultural, political, economic or environmental clash? Do you believe that sheets dancing in the wind are beautiful because they help heal the environment, or do you want to look outside your window and see nature, not laundry?