Sustainable Table

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EDITOR’S NOTE: EACH TUESDAY MY GREEN SIDE BRINGS SIMPLE TIPS FOR GREEN LIVING TO THE CHRISTOPHER GABRIEL PROGRAMWE ALSO HIGHLIGHT A FAVORITE GREEN SITE EACH WEEK. YOU CAN STREAM THE SEGMENT AT APPROXIMATELY 1220PM (CENTRAL) EVERY TUESDAY AT WDAY.COM OR, IF YOU’RE IN NORTH DAKOTA OR WESTERN MINNESOTA, LISTEN ON YOUR RADIO AT AM970 WDAY.

GREEN TIP: As you travel this summer, make sure you’re using the same sustainable practices that you use when you’re at home. For example, continue conserving water, recycling and reusing even when you’re away.

Here are some sustainable tips to remember when you’re traveling this summer:

  1. Don’t litter.
  2. Don’t purchase illegal souvenirs or food produce.
  3. Don’t waste water in destinations that face water shortages.
  4. Don’t leave lights on.
  5. Don’t leave the air conditioning on in hotel rooms when you’re not in them. Most hotels have systems that are designed to quickly respond to make sure you’re comfortable when you return to your room.
  6. Don’t purchase mineral water in plastic water bottles when the hotel provides drinkable water.
  7. Don’t stand on coral reefs. It takes approximately one hundred years for one inch of coral to grow.
  8. Don’t disturbing wild animals by getting as close as possible for a better picture.
  9. Don’t throw cigarette butts on the ground.
  10. Don’t forget to recycle when offered the facilities to do so.

Here are some more tips from National Geographic Traveler from their Ultimate Guide To Sustainable Travel:

  1. Before you even leave for your vacation make sure you turn off and unplug any appliances, computers and TVs to avoid wasting energy while you’re away.
  2. Bring your own reusable bottle. According to the Container Recycling Institute, more than 60 million plastic water bottles are thrown away in the United States each day. Recycling or reusing those bottles instead would save enough energy to power a 60-watt light bulb for an entire day in 15 million households. Travelers can help by recycling and reusing existing water bottles, and refusing to purchase or accept new bottles; instead refilling a single bottle or other dishwasher-safe, reusable bottle with filtered water.
  3. Shut off the lights. When you leave your hotel room, turn off the lights, television, and radio to save electricity. In the summer, close the blinds and/or curtains to reduce heat gain in the room. In the winter, open the blinds and/or curtains on sunny days to let in the sun’s warmth.
  4. Use the right gear. Choose environmentally friendly clothing and travel gear made from recycled, reused, organic, and sustainable natural materials such as cotton, hemp, and bamboo.
  5. Bring a reusable shopping bag. Packing a basic canvas tote, or other similar sturdy, washable bag, in your luggage is an easy way to help keep trash out of landfills and off roadsides, conserve energy, and protect marine life. Use the bag—instead of the paper or plastic bags provided by stores—to carry souvenirs and other purchases made during your trip.
For more sustainable travel tips from National Geographic Traveler, visit http://traveler.nationalgeographic.com/sustainable-travel-tips.

More sustainable DO’s for your green vacation:

  • Eat Local. Find local restaurants during your trip that source their foods from local farmers. You will get better tasting, fresher food and you’ll be supporting the environment at the same time. Visit the Eat Well Guide and search their extensive database to find local, sustainable and organic food at http://www.eatwellguide.org/.
  • Buy Local. Buying keepsakes from local artists and businesses who have local products will give you something that is truly reminiscent of your vacation destination. But buying locally also supports a reduction of emissions because you aren’t purchasing an airbrushed t-shirt that shipped from some far away location.

My Green Side’s web pick of the week:

SustainableTable.org

Sustainable Table celebrates local sustainable food, educates consumers on food-related issues and works to build community through food. The program is home to the Eat Well Guide, an online directory of sustainable products in the U.S. and Canada, and the critically-acclaimed, award-winning Meatrix movies – The MeatrixThe Meatrix II: Revolting and The Meatrix II½.

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EDITOR’S NOTE: EACH TUESDAY MY GREEN SIDE BRINGS SIMPLE TIPS FOR GREEN LIVING TO THE CHRISTOPHER GABRIEL PROGRAMWE ALSO HIGHLIGHT A FAVORITE GREEN SITE EACH WEEK. YOU CAN STREAM THE SEGMENT AT APPROXIMATELY 1220PM (CENTRAL) EVERY TUESDAY AT WDAY.COM OR, IF YOU’RE IN NORTH DAKOTA OR WESTERN MINNESOTA, LISTEN ON YOUR RADIO AT AM970 WDAY.

GREEN TIP: Do not flush your leftover/expired medications down the sink or toilet.    

The old recommendation that leftover and expired medications be flushed down the toilet is one of the worst things we could be doing. Researchers have found traces of pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) in our rivers and streams around the country. Not good for our wildlife. Also, our wastewater treatment plants were not designed to remove medicines from the wastewater so it’s important not to let them go into the sewer systems.

Four of every five patients leave the doctor’s office with a prescription according to the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS 2002), so the disposal of pharmaceuticals is an important issue.

The US Geological Survey studied water from 139 streams in 30 states and found that 80% contained traces of pharmaceuticals. The affect that those traces may have on the environment, plants, marine life and human health is unknown.

Tips to lessen your environmental impact:

  • DO make sure you take all of your prescription when a medication is prescribed to you.
  • DON’T flush your unused pharmaceuticals down the sink or toilet.
  • DON’T throw your unused pharmaceuticals in the garbage.
  • DO establish good eating/nutrition and exercise habits to prevent disease.
  • DO contact your city or county government’s household trash and recycling service and ask if a drug take‐back program is available in your community. If not, inquire into your city’s household hazardous waste collection sites.

A study of this issue was done for Environmental Health Perspectives and is posted on the Environmental Protection Agency’s site.  Its author, Christian G. Daughton, begins by stating:

Since the 1980s, the occurrence of pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) as trace environmental pollutants, originating primarily from consumer use and actions rather than manufacturer effluents, continues to become more firmly established. The growing, worldwide importance of freshwater resources underscores the need for ensuring that any aggregate or cumulative impacts on (or from) water supplies are minimized.

Some highlights of the study:

The age-old wisdom of flushing medication down the toilet (still recommended by many professionals)… is probably the least desirable of all the alternatives…

The key and critical disease-prevention role played by nutrition should continue to be explored and emphasized at all levels.

The connections between health maintenance/improvement via proper nutrition and the reduced need for medication are well documented.

Probiotics (beneficial, endogenous microflora) have long been used and studied for the protection of the gut [largely by blocking pathogen adhesion (e.g., Kaur et al. 2002)]. More recent work has expanded this important domain of clinical microbial ecology to other medical uses such as prophylaxis for postsurgical infection [in lieu of prophylactic antibiotics (e.g., Harder 2002; Reid et al. 2001)]. 

Local Disposal Locations

Residents of Fargo, ND can dispose of medications including liquids, pills and inhalers at the front desk of the Fargo Police Department. Items can be dropped off between the hours of 8 am to 6pm. Check with your local law enforcement agency to see if they provide this service, most do.

TakeAway is a national program to help you find disposal locations for your unused prescription medications. TakeAway pharmacies are located in all of North Dakota’s counties and at over 225 pharmacy sites around the country. Find a site near you.

My Green Side’s web pick of the week:

Sustainable Table – Serving up Healthy Food Choices
Sustainable Table
celebrates local sustainable food, educates consumers on food-related issues and works to build community through food. They have recipes and tips, a list of issues faces sustainable food, an informative blog, a searchable database (Eat Well Guide) of sustainable food in your area and much more.

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Editor’s Note: Each Wednesday My Green Side brings Simple Tips for Green Living to The Christopher Gabriel Program. We also highlight a favorite green site each week. You can stream the segment at approximately 1220pm (central) every Wednesday at WDAY.com. NOTE: SIMPLE TIPS WILL AIR ON TUESDAYS BEGINNING OCTOBER 25 2011.

GREEN TIP: Try to plan a more sustainable Thanksgiving. Plan ahead for perfect portions and leftover packaging. At least 28 billion pounds of edible food is wasted each year – more than 100 pounds per person.

Use Less Stuff has 42 Ways to Watch Your Holiday Wasteline (pun intended). They’ve created a convenient list of approximate food portions for your Thanksgiving meal:

  • Turkey- 1 pound per person
  • Stuffing- ¼ pound per person
  • Sweet potato casserole- ¼ pound per person
  • Green beans- ¼ pound per person
  • Cranberry relish- 3 tablespoons per person
  • Pumpkin pie- 1/8 of a 9 inch pie per person

Locally, you can find a number of wonderful ingredients for your Thanksgiving meal at Sydney’s Health Market. If you not been there yet, head over this Saturday, November 13th 2010 for their Healthy Holidays Celebration from 10am to 3pm. Sign up for door prizes, samples some treats and soak in their warm and welcoming atmosphere.

Go to Sydney’s Health Market’s website for more information.

Talking turkey:

According to Sustinable Table, the traditional Thanksgiving turkey is different today than it was 50 years ago. Today, 99% of all turkeys raised in the U.S. are the “Broadbreasted White” variety (sometimes also referred to as the “Large White”).

These birds are raised in confinement in extremely crowded conditions on factory farms. They live in unnatural, uncomfortable conditions and are fed a steady diet of grain and supplements like antibiotics, rather than the grubs, bugs and grasses they should eat.

They are produced because of their large, white meaty breast. The breasts of these turkeys are so large that they are unable to reproduce naturally. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, without artificial insemination performed by humans, this variety of bird would become extinct in just one generation.

Industrial turkeys are often injected with saline solution and vegetable oils in an attempt to help improve the taste and texture of the meat. These factory farmed birds tend to be dry and tasteless, so cooks have developed a variety of methods to try to improve the taste. Turkeys are now marinated, brined, deep fried and covered with syrups, spices and herbs.

You have other options. You can order a heritage turkey, or you can look for organic and/or sustainable birds at butchers, specialty shops and at farmers markets around the country.

Locally: Pre-order your turkey at Sydney’s Health Market. They have local, free-range, organic birds available for $2.99 per pound. Head on over to 810 30th Ave S in Moorhead or give them a call at 218-233-3310.

On to the leftovers:

You know you’re going to have them so make a plan. The Alternative Consumer has a wonderful suggestion in their green Thanksgiving guide.

Avoid plastic wrap. Most plastic wraps contain PVC which quickly winds up in landfills and has been linked to harmful environmental consequences. Use aluminum foil or, even better, send family home with glass or ceramic storage containers that they can return to you.

Or, call your guests and ask them to bring their own container if they’d like leftovers.

Above all, relax and enjoy your Thanksgiving, remember why we are celebrating.

My Green Side’s web pick of the week:

Sustainable Table
Sustainable Table
was launched in 2003 to educate consumers about issues surrounding the food supply and to encourage individuals to switch to healthier, more sustainable eating habits.

Sustainable Table is also home to the Eat Well Guide, an online directory of sustainable products in the U.S. and Canada.

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By Wendy Gabriel

GREEN TIP: Buy organic, buy local, read labels . . . get to know the origin of your food.

A recent study published March 30, 2009 about irradiation sent me for a loop. Not just the study’s findings but how they were being disseminated.

The headline from IHealth Bulletin: Irradiated Food Causes Demyelinating Neurological Disorder.

First paragraph: “Scientists studying a mysterious neurological affliction in pregnant cats that have been fed irradiated food have discovered a surprising ability of the central nervous system to repair itself and restore function when placed back on a normal diet.”

The article goes on to discuss the “surprising ability of the central nervous system to repair itself.”

The summation: “We think it is extremely unlikely that [irradiated food] could become a human health problem,” Duncan explains. “We think it is species specific. It’s important to note these cats were fed a diet of irradiated food for a period of time” (Courtesy of Eurekalert).”

Seriously? Doesn’t anyone find it a little troubling that feeding the cats irradiated food caused a neurological disorder? Shouldn’t that be what is being discussed? For Duncan to off-handedly say “we think it is species specific.” We think? Not good enough. When it comes to feeding our children a healthy diet, “thinking” food won’t cause a neurological disorder is unbelievably negligent.

As I mentioned in Irradiation: part I, I am not a scientist. That said, I will do everything in my power to prevent my children from eating food that has been irradiated. Period.

How to Avoid Irradiated Food from Dr. Joseph Mercola

1. Fortunately, the FDA currently requires that irradiated foods include labeling with the statement “treated with radiation” or “treated by irradiation” and the international symbol for irradiation, the radura. That might change in the future, but for now avoid all foods that contain these labels.

2. You can also avoid irradiation by choosing locally grown, organic foods as much as possible. Certified organic foods may not be irradiated, and foods from a small, local farm are unlikely to be either.

3. Getting to know a farmer near you (or joining a food co-op with access to one) is one of the simplest ways to know how your food is grown and whether or not it’s irradiated.

And, I would add, growing your own food is the ultimate in trusting its origins. Another great resource is Sustainable Table. They have a lot of information about our food sources and a link to find sustainable food in your area.

I will leave you with the following quote:

The five animal studies on which the FDA based approval of irradiation in 1983 “do not document the safety of food irradiation, and why the FDA relied on them is mystifying.” Donald Louria, M.D., Chairman of the Department of Preventive Medicine, New Jersey School of Medicine and Dentistry.
Louria: “Zapping the Food Supply.” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, September 1990

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By Wendy Gabriel

GREEN TIP:  Precycle.  Stop needless consumption.

Adam Shake with Twilight Earth describes precycling as “the act of ‘not purchasing’ something that would otherwise be recycled or thrown into a landfill.”  It’s a fancy, more compelling word for reducing your consumption.  Remember our mantra: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.  Now let’s kick it up a notch: Reduce/Precycle, Reuse, Recycle.  Very catchy.

For many people this decision has been taken out of their hands.  Due to the current economic situation most people do not have a lot of disposable income to spend frivolously.  But we do have a choice:  We can continue to complain about the world’s economic bleakness and blame anyone who seems culpable, or we can embrace this great opportunity we now have to stop and think about how we spend our money.  Some ideas for precycling:

Buy used stuff

Sports equipment, workout equipment, consignment/thrift store clothes, used cars.  There are local shops all of the country that resell anything and everything.  Also, take a look at FreeCycle.com.

Buy local and organic

This has become a priority in our home, not only for the sustainability but for the health benefits.  The more I research conventionally processed foods, I find they’re becoming more and more devoid of nutrition.  But not only are our nutritional needs being shortchanged, we’re getting a lot of things that are making us unhealthy.  From the  irradiation of produce and meat, pesticides, herbicides, GMO’s, mercury and who knows what else is allowed to be put in our food in the name of keeping us “safe,” our food supply is slowly killing us.

Meanwhile, it takes connections to the CIA to find and purchase healthy raw milk products in my state.  Thankfully, I can always rely on the Eat Well Guide and Sustainable Table to help me find good food. 

I’m not telling you to stop buying stuff.  I am imploring you to stop and think about the stuff you’re buying.  Do you need that 10-pack of paper towels or could you use and reuse a nice set of dish towels?  Do you need a case of bottled water or could you use a filter for your tap water?  Do you need a brand new Lexus or could you outfit my home with solar panels?  OK, maybe that last one is a stretch…

Be Thoughtful.  Be Green.

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