Monday, September 24, 2007
Thursday, August 23, 2007
I've just barely returned from an epic adventure in the Blue Range Primitive Area on the Arizona/New Mexico border. Myself and 4 others were one of 11 separate teams who were doing "recon" for the new Prescott College incoming Wilderness Orientation class. There's 150 students coming in this fall and nearly all of them will journey over three weeks into the Arizona wilderness while learning about Prescott College. As one of the orientation instructors, I went on a 5 day recon with 4 other instructors. On this trip, we check out part of our route, get to know our co-instructors, and prepare for the 3.5 week course.
This all sounds fine and exciting, except 3 days into our recon trip, 20 miles in, over 8,000 foot mesas, box canyons, steep terrain, forest glades, and cool streams, I came down with a deathly illness. We arrived at camp on day 3 after climbing Government Mesa, a tall and exposed high area on our route. Once I arrived in camp, I immediately threw on my fleece and climbed in my down sleeping bag. It was a hot day and I had just finished a long and strenuous hike, but I could think of nothing more than getting myself warm. The next 30 hours was hell: chills, nausea, vomiting, body ache, fever, and an inability to eat or drink almost at all. We were still 2 days away from our van. My group took all of my gear and the next day we hiked up and over a small pass where we camped for the night. I slept. Next morning we walked out 6 or so miles while my group again took all of my gear. What a great group, they took great care of me. We arrived on day 5 at the van, visited a stream to clean ourselves and debrief, and headed over to the Hoffman ranch where we spent a wonderful evening recovering and reuniting with others who were doing recon in the area. I was able to get hot soup, a hot shower, talk with Jen, and sleep in a soft bed.
I'm now back in Prescott and feeling nearly recovered. We meet the new students in a few days and we leave back for the field the end of next week. I'm sure I'll be fully recovered by then. I'm looking forward to the next stage, but I'm definitely relishing in the fact that I made it safe and sound out of our epic adventure. I've got a great crew of colleagues and I know that I'm better prepared with an experience like I've just had under my belt.
Overall it was a beautiful trip through "the Blue." It's one of Arizona's finest wild places and is filled with amazing canyons, waters, wildlife, and abundant vegetation. Overall, it was a great experience for everyone, we all enjoyed our time together. The entire group, including myself, performed very well within our circumstances. It may sound weird that it was a great trip, but somehow that's how we all feel.
I'll post another general update when I return from the trip with the students. For now, take a look at a few photos I took (before falling ill) on my Flickr website. http://www.flickr.com/photos/15057302@N00/sets/72157601629413775/show/
Thursday, August 16, 2007
"This country has some of the best public water supplies in the world," the New York Times said in an editorial earlier this month.
"Instead of consuming four billion gallons (15 billion liters) of water a year in individual-sized bottles, we need to start thinking about what all those bottles are doing to the planet's health."
As was pointed out at World Water Week in Stockholm on Monday, US personal consumption per capita, including water from all sources, hits 400 liters (106 gallons) each day -- compared to 10 liters (2.6 gallons) a person in developing countries.
And US consumers are drinking more bottled water by the day. According to the Beverage Marketing Corporation, growth in bottled water sales last year was 9.7 percent, making the total market worth about 11 billion dollars.
Bottled water in the United States does not mean mineral water, even if Americans grumble more and more about paying a high price to drink water with little to distinguish it.
At the end of July beverage giant PepsiCo was forced by public pressure to explain on its Aquafina bottled water that the contents inside come from ... the tap.
Pepsi's response "is an important first step," said Gigi Kellett, director of the "Think Outside the Bottle" campaign.
"Concerns about the bottled water industry, and increasing corporate control of water, are growing across the country," she said.
From mineral springs or from public pipes, water once in a bottle is expensive. The New York Times estimated that for some consumers the bill could hit 1,400 dollars a year - for an amount that, taken from a home faucet, might cost less than half a dollar.
And it is not always better.
"Bottled water sold in the United States is not necessarily cleaner or safer than most tap water, according to a four-year scientific study," the National Resources Defense Council recently reported. It also said regulation has not guaranteed more pure water in bottles.
Thursday, August 9, 2007
As they note in their study, concrete — though one of the most widely used construction materials — suffers from a high porosity that allows water to soak in and cause cracks and other problems when the water expands or changes state. And while sealants are widely available, most have serious shortcomings. In their trials, the scientists demonstrated that sodium acetate could seep into pores in concrete and crystallize upon exposure to water — blocking the entry of any further moisture. Once the crystals shrink back under dry conditions, the moisture is allowed to evaporate.
The net benefit according to Al-Otoom and his team: a large reduction in water permeability that "can be expected to increase the service life of the concrete." And though we're no big fans of concrete, it'd be nice to see a similar, more environmentally-friendly approach taken to strengthen other construction materials.
Wednesday, August 8, 2007
Monday, August 6, 2007
by David Pimentel, Xuewen Huang, Ana Cordova, and Marcia Pimentel
Submitted for publication to Population and Development Review, New York, NY, USA
As the world population continues to grow geometrically, great pressure is being placed on arable land, water, energy, and biological resources to provide an adequate supply of food while maintaining the integrity of our ecosystem. According to the World Bank and the United Nations, from 1 to 2 billion humans are now malnourished, indicating a combination of insufficient food, low incomes, and inadequate distribution of food. This is the largest number of hungry humans ever recorded in history. In China about 80 million are now malnourished and hungry. Based on current rates of increase, the world population is projected to double from roughly 6 billion to more than 12 billion in less than 50 years (Pimentel et al., 1994). As the world population expands, the food problem will become increasingly severe, conceivably with the numbers of malnourished reaching 3 billion.
I think this a huge concern right now in the world. As our population grows the amount of areas in which there is adequate land has decreased. As the years pass and our population grows how will we be able to make up for the shortage that is already effecting our earth.
Sunday, August 5, 2007
Here are the ingredients:
Ingredients: WHEAT FLOUR, SUGAR, VEGETABLE OIL (PALM, SHEANUT, AND COTTONSEED OILS), MALTODEXTRIN, FRUCTOSE, NONFAT MILK, CONTAINS TWO PERCENT OR LESS OF GLUCOSE SYRUP, EGGS, SOY LECITHIN, SALT, ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR, PGPR (POLYGLYCEROL POLYRICINOLEIC ACID), NATURAL ORANGE, LEMON, LIME AND OTHER NATURAL FLAVORS, YELLOW #6, RED #40, YELLOW #5, NIACINAMIDE, BLUE #1, VITAMIN A PALMITATE, PYRIDOXINE HYDROCHLORIDE (VITAMIN B6), TOCOPHEROLS FOR FRESHNESS, RIBOFLAVIN (VITAMIN B2), THIAMIN HYDROCHLORIDE (VITAMIN B1), SESAME FLOUR, VITAMIN B12, VITAMIN D.
140 calories, including 12g of sugar and 3.5g of fat, including 2g of saturated fat
Who is watching the food industy ??
Friday, August 3, 2007
Since early this year, local food lovers, supporters, and advocates have been coming together on a monthly basis to get to know one another, to dream, to inspire, to be inspired and to celebrate local foods!
Please join all of us on the first Tuesday of every month for a local foods happy hour! And, invite others whom you think would be interested!
That being said, on Tuesday August 7th we will be meeting at the newly opened Common Roots Café in Minneapolis. (To clarify any confusion, we had been meeting at Chang Bang's restaurant, which recently closed). There will be local beer and wine available and Common Roots will be offering free appetizers to our group. (Thanks Common Roots!)
The quick details....
At Common Roots Café, http://www.commonrootscafe.com
Tues., Aug. 7th, starting at 5 PM, ending around 7PM
5:30PM-Danny Schwartzman, owner of Common Roots, will talk about the many ways he is implementing sustainable practices at the Café
Free street parking
Happy hour, for our group, from 5-7PM
-local beers $4.75
-local wines $5.00
-4 local beer sampler with chips $5.00
Wishing you well and hoping to y'all soon!
- your local food friends
"According to a new report published by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, the livestock sector generates more greenhouse gas emissions as measured in CO2 equivalent – 18 percent – than transport. It is also a major source of land and water degradation."
This doesn't mean that you can drive that gas-guzzling SUV more often than you need to.
Wednesday, August 1, 2007
Many scientists believe that global warming is due to the increse of CO2 in the atmosphere. Farmers believe that the increase in temperature will create a longer growing season for fruits and vegetables. The United States Environmental Protection Agency ( U.S.E.P.A ) predicts a 7% increase in precipitation by the year 2060 and a 5 degree increase in the temperature. A key question arises from this increase in temperature, if the plants have an increase in precipitation, they will have plenty of fruit, plus they will have plenty of CO2, why would this harm the earth?
Many scientists believe that this theory is faulty, for the rise in temperature will bring a variable in overall weather causing drought, and floods, as well as irregular growing seasons.
We have all heard rumors of the mercury content in seafood for many years, but due to pollution and the dumping of garbage, the mercury levels in seafood has risen. Unfortuately, fish and shellfish contain a massive amount of protein, essential nutrients, are low in saturated fat, and obtain a large amount of omega-3 fatty acids. The FDA has released new information stating that the amount of mercury a pregnant women may consume could possibly harm their unborn child's nervous system and brain development. It has been advised that all pregnant women do not eat swordfish, shark, king makerel and tilefish. It has also been stated that they do not consume more than 6 ounces of fish per week.
In the past decade, most international trading companies have focused on trading animal products such as ivory, and rhinoceros horns, paying little attention to the vast decrease of the tiger population. Three of the eight subspecies of tigers are already extinct, and the numbers of the remaining tigers is falling rapidly. Recently the medicinal purpose of tiger by product has been listed on the black market, especially in the Chinese culture. A new establishment has created an investigation system to stop the poaching of these precious animals, as well as the increse in punishment. I wonder, are these new laws enough to prevent the extinction of tigers all together?
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
This article is about how in 1997 during an el nino squids were showing up on beaches while they normally remained in the warmer waters of the eastern pacific ocean. They dissapeared but showed up again in 2002 and stuck around. These large carnivorous creatures are aggresive towards their pray and are starting to devour the hake fish which are an important commercial fish in the upper west and British Columbia. The reasons for this are undetermined but it could be because of overfishing of the tuna and billfish allowing much room for reproduction and spreading also the warming of the waters are too blame. The squid are able to tolerate large temperature changes and adapt well making this coastal area the perfect place for them to stick around.
This article is about some people in Zambia who are making necklaces, bracelets and decorative items out of old snares that which were once used in the poaching of animals. More than 40,000 former poachers have joined a co-op which allows them to exhange these snares for training in organic farming, beekeping, carpentry, and gardening. Sence 2002 this has made more than $350,000 for the co-op.
Monday, July 30, 2007