Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Hanford Reach National Monument

Today I continue my series on all 129 U.S. National Monuments. This is in follow up to my series that featured open access photos of all of the U.S. National Parks. In the coming years, I will highlight open access images all of the U.S. National Monuments in alphabetical order.

Today's featured monument is Hanford Reach National Monument in Washington. This is one of the monuments that was under review for delisting as per executive order by the former president. Following the photos is a list of U.S. National Monuments previously featured on this blog.

Click for image credit.
Click for image credit.

Click for image credit.

Click for image credit.

Click for image credit.
Previous On the Brink posts on the U.S. National Monuments

Admiralty Island National Monument
African Burial Ground National Monument
Agate Fossil Beds National Monument
Agua Fria National Monument
Alibates Flint Quarries National Monument
Aniakchak National Monument
Aztec Ruins National Monument
Bandelier National Monument
Basin and Range National Monument
Bears Ears National Monument
Belmont-Paul Women's Equality National Monument
Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument
Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument
Booker T. Washington National Monument
Browns Canyon National Monument
Buck Island Reef National Monument
Cabrillo National Monument
California Coastal National Monument
Canyon de Chelly National Monument
Canyons of the Ancients National Monument
Cape Krusenstern National Monument
Capulin Volcano National Monument
Carrizo Plain National Monument
Casa Grande Ruins National Monument
Cascade Siskiyou National Monument
Castillo de San Marco National Monument
Castle Clinton National Monument
Castle Mountains National Monument
Cedar Breaks National Monument
César E. Chávez National Monument
Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument
Chimney Rock National Monument
Chiricahua National Monument
Colorado National Monument
Craters of the Moon National Monument
Devils Postpile National Monument
Devils Tower National Monument
Dinosaur National Monument
Effigy Mounds National Monument
El Malpais National Monument
El Morro National Monument
Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument
Fort Frederica National Monument
Fort Matanzas National Monument
Fort McHenry National Monument
Fort Monroe National Monument
Fort Ord National Monument
Fort Pulaski National Monument
Fort Stanwix National Monument
Fort Union National Monument
Fossil Butte National Monument
Freedom Riders National Monument
George Washington Birthplace National Monument
George Washington Carver National Monument
Giant Sequoia National Monument
Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument
Gold Butte National Monument
Governors Island National Monument

Sustainability Case Studies 22: Small-Scale Sustainable Agriculture in Broward, Florida

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This is the 22nd post in this blog series, Sustainability Case Studies, that is based on the book The Palgrave Handbook of Sustainability: Case Studies and Practical Solutions edited by Robert Brinkmann (yours truly) and Sandra Garren and published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2018. Each post in the series will comment on the content of the chapter as well as some general take-aways or practical teaching or personal/organizational initiatives that could be gleaned from the chapter. Links to previous posts on the series (including the post that introduced the series) follow after the review.

This chapter is called Treehugger Organic Farm:  Visions for Small-Scale, Sustainable Agriculture in Broward, Florida and is by Thelma Velez. The chapter begins with a discussion of the legacy of the green revolution and its ecological repercussions. Velez defines the green revolution as a transition from small scale agriculture to more industrial and mechanized forms of food production. In the United States, this translates as much larger farms over time run by smaller numbers of farmers who often have to work multiple jobs to make ends meet. The ecological impacts of industrial farming are many. For example, soil erosion is quite high, nutrient pollution has increased, and pesticide use is problematic for ecosystems. In addition, a range of genetically modified organisms have replaced traditional natural crops.


Another important issue with food is that although there are over 2 million farms in the US, there are only a handful of powerful retailers, distributers, and processors that are responsible for bringing the food to consumers. Many of these actors are part of global corporations that serve as the bottleneck between farmers and consumers. Local food activists have been working to remove the bottleneck and bring consumers closer to food producers--particularly local food producers in urban and suburban settings. These farms take on a range of forms:  community sponsored farms, rooftop gardens, community gardens, famers markets, and school gardens. As Velez notes, these activities help communities reach their sustainability goals.

The case study in the chapter focuses on Treehuger Organic Farm, which was founded in 2012 on 4.6 acres of land in a mixed-use area of Davie, Florida which is located in the greater Miami area. The owner purchased the property to produce, in particular, fresh fruits and vegetables that were free of chemicals. He quickly brought on a team to help him develop the property into a producing farm in harmony with the local ecosystem. The team focused particularly on permaculture. 

There were some tough times as the farm developed. There were soil issues, tropical storms, and unexpected expenses. In addition, a community sponsored agricultural component of the farm never really took off. However, the farm expanded a range of permaculture plants--particularly fruit trees. Unfortunately, the owner eventually decided that it was in his best interest to sell the farm to a neighboring farmer.

Click for image credit.

The author highlights in a lessons learned section of the chapter that while there were successes in terms of social and ecological sustainability, the farm had serious economic sustainability issues. The farm needed significant upfront investment and those investments were not fully returned and the farm was not ultimately economically sustainable. 

The chapter concludes that cities and suburbs often make it difficult for small farms to integrate within the broader landscape and that there are an array or rules that make it difficult for small-scale farmers. The author suggests that communities should consider how to better support these farmers since they play a big roles in enhancing community sustainability.

Click here for more information about the book.

Here are some discussion questions when using this chapter for a unit on urban farming.

1. What forms of urban agriculture were discussed in the chapter and what examples for them can you find in your community?

2. What environmental conditions did the farmers in Broward, Florida, face? What types of environmental conditions do farmers face in your community?

3. In the U.S. about half of all food retailing is managed by 5 companies. What are the impacts of this reality on small farms?

4. Small urban farms certainly produce food. However, they are often involved in other activities. What other things often fall within their mission?

5. What is the closed-loop concept within permaculture?

6. Why was it difficult for Treehugger farm to turn a profit?

7. Do communities have an obligations to financially support small farms if they prioritize sustainability and local agriculture?

8. What would you have done to try to keep Treehuger Farm in business?

Previous Entries in This Series


Wednesday, June 23, 2021

I Have an Ask

I have been writing this blog for about a decade and I haven't asked much of the readers until today. Today I want to ask you to consider donating to a student scholarship fund at Northern Illinois University in the area of Environment, Sustainability, and Energy. 

Why? 

Well, NIU is a special place. We provide amazing opportunities for our students--many of whom are the first in their families to attend college. I truly see lives transformed in amazing ways on our campus. Many of our students are working multiple jobs to pay for school and scholarships, even small ones, make all the difference. Each summer, NIU sets aside a day for this day of giving and I hope you will consider helping our students.

While you can give to a number of scholarships as part of our day of giving, I am particularly hopeful that you will consider giving to the scholarship fund that supports students in Environment, Sustainability, and Energy. These students are the future and will be key to our ability to navigate the complex environmental problems we will face in the coming years. 

You can make a contribution here https://dog.niu.edu/amb/clas21  Once there, if you scroll down, you will see that there is a link to “Give Now”. Once you click on that link, you will find a scroll down menu called “Areas of Giving” from various funds to which you can give. Please select “Environment, Sustainability, and Energy” from the list in the scholarship area. 

Thank you!

Sunday, June 20, 2021

5 Tips on How to Green Your Pride

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June is pride month in much of the world and it is worth taking the time to think about how to make your celebrations a bit more sustainable. Here are 5 tips to green up your rainbow events.

1. Go carbon neutral. Whether you are hosting a dinner or planning a parade, you can build the costs of carbon credits into the event with the help of organizations like Terrapass (not an endorsement, just an example). Check out this site that will help you calculate the carbon footprint of your event and the costs to make it carbon neutral. It is cheaper than you think!

2. Vegan up your brunches. One of the hallmarks of many community pride events are brunches that kick off or close the month. Why not mix up the menu to cut out the meat and dairy products?

3. Dump the SWAG. If you've ever been to any pride event, one of the take aways from them are all the take aways. Every non-profit and for-profit group hands out everything from t-shirts to fliers. Most of that stuff gets thrown out. Who wants to wear a pride t-shirt advertising a credit card company? Even better yet, make your event waste free. Don't forget to ban the balloons. They are terrible for the environment.

4. Dump the corporate sponsors. Pride events, particularly parades, originally started out as a form of protest. Now, in part due to the costs of putting on the events, pride parades are often sponsored by corporations--some of which are not particularly friendly to the cause or to the environment.

5. Less is more. You don't need to purchase new clothes, new pride gear, or anything else special. Pride celebrations are in the midst of summer and it is hot. Throw on some old shorts and a t-shirt and just show up. Remember that pride was forged out of protest and buying into the corporatization of pride goes against the original intent. Indeed, the roots of pride, it could be argued, are in part based on an anti-consumerist agenda. It was those at the margins of the community that did the hard core activism that got to where we are today. Also, if you find pride events in your community a bit too corporate, you don't have to go. Celebrate in your own way.

Saturday, June 19, 2021

Environmental Justice Quiz

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To celebrate our new national holiday, Juneteenth, I bring you a new On the Brink Quiz. This time the topic is environmental justice. Links to other On the Brink quizzes are at the end. The answers to the quiz are in the comments.

1. Environmental justice is sometimes defined as equal sharing of environmental benefits and ______________ . It also includes equal access to decision making processes.

2. Name the person who is sometimes called the father of environmental justice.

3. One US government agency has an office of environmental justice. Name the agency.

4. One of the most recent national examples of an environmental justice problem occurred when a community changed the source of a water supply. The new water supply was not treated appropriately and lead was released in household water sources. Name the city and state.

5. Hazel Johnson is sometimes called the mother or grandmother of the environmental justice movement. She focused on cancer clusters in and around which big American city?

6. A great deal of environmental justice work has been done in the United States. However,  there are international issues as well. Most recently, there has been tremendous concern in one country that has seen Indigenous lands burned and taken away in a quest to expand this country's cattle industry. Name the country.

7. The US contributes to environmental justice problems through plastic recycling. We send a great deal of plastic overseas for recycling or reuse and the majority of that plastic is mishandled or enters the waste stream of the receiving country. Approximately what percent of the plastic that is recycled is shipped overseas?

8. One relatively new area of focus in environmental justice is access to clean and healthy food. Many research projects have documented areas without comprehensive grocery stores in poor urban and rural locations. What are these areas called?

9. One of the challenges with the environmental movement within the context of environmental justice movement is that it emerged out of a largely white middle class political movement. One of the earliest environmental organizations, the Sierra Club, for example, was founded by someone with racist views (note:  the Sierra Club has made a distinct reckoning with this past in recent years). Name this founder of the Sierra Club.

10. Black and low-income individuals face the greatest health risk associated with associated with PM2.5 releases from particular facilities. What is PM2.5 and what are the facilities?

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument

Today I continue my series on all 129 U.S. National Monuments. This is in follow up to my series that featured open access photos of all of the U.S. National Parks. In the coming years, I will highlight open access images all of the U.S. National Monuments in alphabetical order.

Today's featured monument is Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument in Idaho. This is not one of the monuments that was under review for delisting as per executive order by the former president. Following the photos is a list of U.S. National Monuments previously featured on this blog.

Click for photo credit.
Click for photo credit.
Click for photo credit.
Click for photo credit.
Click for photo credit.
Previous On the Brink posts on the U.S. National Monuments

Admiralty Island National Monument
African Burial Ground National Monument
Agate Fossil Beds National Monument
Agua Fria National Monument
Alibates Flint Quarries National Monument
Aniakchak National Monument
Aztec Ruins National Monument
Bandelier National Monument
Basin and Range National Monument
Bears Ears National Monument
Belmont-Paul Women's Equality National Monument
Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument
Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument
Booker T. Washington National Monument
Browns Canyon National Monument
Buck Island Reef National Monument
Cabrillo National Monument
California Coastal National Monument
Canyon de Chelly National Monument
Canyons of the Ancients National Monument
Cape Krusenstern National Monument
Capulin Volcano National Monument
Carrizo Plain National Monument
Casa Grande Ruins National Monument
Cascade Siskiyou National Monument
Castillo de San Marco National Monument
Castle Clinton National Monument
Castle Mountains National Monument
Cedar Breaks National Monument
César E. Chávez National Monument
Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument
Chimney Rock National Monument
Chiricahua National Monument
Colorado National Monument
Craters of the Moon National Monument
Devils Postpile National Monument
Devils Tower National Monument
Dinosaur National Monument
Effigy Mounds National Monument
El Malpais National Monument
El Morro National Monument
Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument
Fort Frederica National Monument
Fort Matanzas National Monument
Fort McHenry National Monument
Fort Monroe National Monument
Fort Ord National Monument
Fort Pulaski National Monument
Fort Stanwix National Monument
Fort Union National Monument
Fossil Butte National Monument
Freedom Riders National Monument
George Washington Birthplace National Monument
George Washington Carver National Monument
Giant Sequoia National Monument
Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument
Gold Butte National Monument
Governors Island National Monument

5 Green Father's Day Gifts for the Sustainable Dad

My sustainabillidad chopping down a 
tree for firewood in 1967.
Father's Day comes at a really lovely time of year. Summer is upon us and most of us are able to take some time to enjoy the holiday with our family and friends. I thought I would share some green Father's Day gift ideas that would align with your dad's personal sustainability mission. Many fathers are sustainabillies, a term I coined some time ago, to refer to those folks who are doing something "old timey" that makes a contribution to sustainability in some way. Sustainabillies may be gardeners, they may build things out of recycled wood, or they may be tinkerers who try to make their energy footprint smaller by modifying heating or adding solar. Regardless, here is a list of 5 gifts any sustainabillidad would love.

1. Carbon credits. One of the best gifts you can give is peace of mind. Carbon credits give angst relief to those dads who worry about the impact that they are having on the environment. There are many great companies that provide carbon credit gifts for people. One that I have used (no endorsement meant) is Terrapass. They have a range of gift options that you can explore here. One month of carbon offsets costs about $15 and three months would be around $45.

2. Plants. Who doesn't love plants? Trees are a great gift idea--if your sustainabillidad has space. However, you could go smaller with a nice indoor or outdoor plant. You could also sponsor a tree planting in a park, botanical garden, or arboretum. The extra benefit of a tree planting is that your dad can take credit for all of that yummy carbon storage.

3. An organic meal. Whether you cook at home or go out to eat, why not make the meal an organic one? Your sustainabillidad might even appreciate a vegan feast.

4. An online vegan cooking class. Even if your sustainabillidad is a carnivore, he probably likes a vegetarian or vegan meal once in a while. There are tons of online cooking classes you can find online that you can take together at the same time even if you are not in the same kitchen. It's a great way to connect if you are not able to get together to celebrate in person. We have all had dreary vegan food. However, there are great chefs out there who make vegan food go from meh to mehvolous dahling.

5. Something you made. Sure, we all made our parents gifts when we were in elementary school, but there are no rules that say you can't keep making them! Why not make a nice family photo Zoom background? You could also make a picture frame or vase from found objects. You know your crafting skill level and I am sure that you can figure out a way to figure this one out.

Of course, most sustainabillidads don't need any gifts. They probably are comfortable with everything they have and just want the best gift of all--your time.

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Major Chemical Plant Fire In Illinois Leads to Environmental Concerns

 A major chemical plant caught fire and exploded over the last week in Rockton, Illinois, near Rockford and the state line with Wisconsin. The plant manufactured solvents, lubricating oils, and greases. As you can imagine, there are serious concerns about the environmental impact of the fire, the emissions from the fire, and any leakages that may have occurred. A video of the fire is below. There were reports of ash falling as far away as DeKalb.


As reported by the Illinois Chronicle, the state's EPA is involved and citing violations in the plant as a result of the explosion and fire. They are also seeking information as to the nature of the emissions and the causes of the fire. 

This is a story that we may be hearing about for some time given the nature of the emissions.

Sustainability Case Studies 21: Methodology for Selection of Sustainability Criteria: A Case of Social Housing in Peru

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This is the 21st post in this blog series, Sustainability Case Studies, that is based on the book The Palgrave Handbook of Sustainability: Case Studies and Practical Solutions edited by Robert Brinkmann (yours truly) and Sandra Garren and published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2018. Each post in the series will comment on the content of the chapter as well as some general take-aways or practical teaching or personal/organizational initiatives that could be gleaned from the chapter. Links to previous posts on the series (including the post that introduced the series) follow after the review.

This Chapter is called Methodology for Selection of Sustainability Criteria:  A Case of Social Housing in Peru by Daniel R. Rondinel-Oviedo and Christopher Schreier-Barreto. The chapter is a fascinating review of work that the authors completed on how to assess sustainability of social housing.


The chapter begins with a bit of background on housing and sustainability. The authors also note that access to quality housing globally is at a deficit. In Latin American and the Caribbean, only 22% of families have access to quality and adequate housing. In Peru, the site of the case study, there are 1.8 million people without adequate housing and 7.6 million people live in slums.Significant construction is needed to provide housing to the population in Peru.

Is this being done sustainably?

First, as the author's note, there are a wide array of differences in how sustainable housing is defined. Different sustainable evaluation tools measure different things. For example, the well-know US Green Building tool focuses heavily on environmental impacts and does not focus on social or economic impacts as much. Plus, most of the tools for assessing sustainable building were developed in developed countries. In developing countries, where utility services can be spotty and where equity may be more important than things like building materials, tools for evaluating building sustainability may be challenging to employ. Indeed, the authors utilize the idea of fractal triangles to demonstrate "...multiple interactions that can occur between the aspects that converge..." 

Click for image credit.

The chapter continues through interesting discussions on sustainability in architecture, sustainable social housing in less-developed countries, and sustainable building certifications. What is fascinating is that while there is a tremendous need for social housing in Latin America and the Caribbean, and while there is a push to make more of this housing sustainable, only most of the sustainability efforts are isolated. Certainly there are programs to provide financial incentives for including sustainable architecture and building, but they are not widely used. There are also few local building sustainability certifications in Latin American and the Caribbean that are designed for the region. Peru, when the article was written, had 12 buildings certified for LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design--a US Green Building Coalition rating system) and 102 others in the process of certification. However, it is important to note that non of these certifications were for social housing.

The chapter next moves into a discussion of the development of a sustainability rating system for social housing developed by the authors. At the broadest levels, the categories for evaluation were water, indoor environmental quality, architectural design, energy, material, site and environment, and social/environmental. Within these categories, a further list of 25 criteria were developed. Each of these were further broken down into subcriteria. For example, under the energy category, one criteria is passive strategies for energy efficiency. This criteria was broken into two sub criteria:  sunshades in facade and cool roofs. A complete list of criteria and subcriteria is given within the article. Bonus points can be given for particular green special initiatives. The authors evaluated the rating system and came up with some interesting results that indicate that there are significant challenges to actual outcomes.

The authors conclude by noting that there remain challenges with creating social housing throughout Latin America and the Caribbean and that there are also challenges with infusing sustainability in efforts to create more housing in the region. Some of the biggest challenges are a lack of awareness about the field among professionals involved with constructing social housing in the region and a lack of overall local evaluation or sustainability criteria.

Click here for more information about the book.

Here are some discussion questions when using this chapter for a unit on green building and social housing within the realm of sustainability. 

1. How does the concept of sustainability intersect with the need for social housing?

2. Explain what the author's mean by the concept of the "fractal triangle".

3. Why do you think it is hard to apply traditional green building rating systems in some settings in developing countries?

4. Why do you think Peru has so few building that are certified through a sustainability rating system?

5. In the case study, the authors highlight a building rating system for social housing that uses social and economic categories. Review the categories and explain why they are important within the context of social housing.

6. Why do you think there is a need for housing in Latin America and the Caribbean?

7. Does Peru have a national strategy that embraces sustainability? Why or why not?

8. The issue of energy is common in most building rating systems. How does rating of energy in social housing differ from the rating of energy in other buildings?

Previous Entries in This Series

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

12,000 Acres of Florida Farmland and Panther Habitat to Become Home to 11,000 People in Collier County

Developers are soon to break ground on one of Florida's newest mega developments in Collier County--in an area that is home to some of the only remaining habitat of the Florida panther. Environmentalists and locals are concerned over the increase of people and traffic in one of the few parts of the state that retains a rural character.

According to this news story here from local Fox 4 News, the new development will cover 12,000 acres. Developers claim that they are trying to protect some of the land from development--even though the increase in roads and traffic will certainly push wildlife away. 

It is odd that this development is happening at all. Florida's population growth isn't what it once was. For much of the twentieth century, the population of the state more or less doubled every decade. Over the last few decades the rate of growth has slowed significantly. The state's real estate market, while still strong, is not as robust as it once was. 

The development has somewhat split environmental groups in the region with some pushing hard against the development--particularly the Conservancy of Southwest Florida. Other environmental groups signed onto what some call a "grand bargain" that gave developers a pass if they would preserve key areas and provide underpasses for wildlife. You can read a bit about this issue here in this op-ed by the President and CEO of the Conservancy of Southwest Florida.

Even if some land is preserved, any ecologist will tell you that less open land means less habitat and more people means more wildlife/human conflicts that nearly always ends with the death of the animal. It is thought that only about 230 panthers exist in the wild--sixteen of which are known to have died this year. Eleven of those deaths were from collisions with automobiles. Does the development of new residential developments in rural Florida sound like a great grand bargain for the environment to you?

Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument

Today I continue my series on all 129 U.S. National Monuments. This is in follow up to my series that featured open access photos of all of the U.S. National Parks. In the coming years, I will highlight open access images all of the U.S. National Monuments in alphabetical order.

Today's featured monument is Grand Staircase-Esccalante National Monument in Utah. This is one of the monuments that was under review for delisting as per executive order by the former president. Following the photos is a list of U.S. National Monuments previously featured on this blog.

Click for photo credit.

Click for photo credit.
Click for photo credit.
Click for photo credit.
Click for photo credit.
Previous On the Brink posts on the U.S. National Monuments

Admiralty Island National Monument
African Burial Ground National Monument
Agate Fossil Beds National Monument
Agua Fria National Monument
Alibates Flint Quarries National Monument
Aniakchak National Monument
Aztec Ruins National Monument
Bandelier National Monument
Basin and Range National Monument
Bears Ears National Monument
Belmont-Paul Women's Equality National Monument
Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument
Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument
Booker T. Washington National Monument
Browns Canyon National Monument
Buck Island Reef National Monument
Cabrillo National Monument
California Coastal National Monument
Canyon de Chelly National Monument
Canyons of the Ancients National Monument
Cape Krusenstern National Monument
Capulin Volcano National Monument
Carrizo Plain National Monument
Casa Grande Ruins National Monument
Cascade Siskiyou National Monument
Castillo de San Marco National Monument
Castle Clinton National Monument
Castle Mountains National Monument
Cedar Breaks National Monument
César E. Chávez National Monument
Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument
Chimney Rock National Monument
Chiricahua National Monument
Colorado National Monument
Craters of the Moon National Monument
Devils Postpile National Monument
Devils Tower National Monument
Dinosaur National Monument
Effigy Mounds National Monument
El Malpais National Monument
El Morro National Monument
Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument
Fort Frederica National Monument
Fort Matanzas National Monument
Fort McHenry National Monument
Fort Monroe National Monument
Fort Ord National Monument
Fort Pulaski National Monument
Fort Stanwix National Monument
Fort Union National Monument
Fossil Butte National Monument
Freedom Riders National Monument
George Washington Birthplace National Monument
George Washington Carver National Monument
Giant Sequoia National Monument
Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument
Gold Butte National Monument
Governors Island National Monument

Monday, June 14, 2021

Meatless Monday Series: Part 1. Where Did Meatless Monday Come From?

Click for photo caption.
Today I kick off a new On the Brink series on Meatless Monday to highlight one of the easiest ways you can make a difference in creating a more sustainable world. Today, and for the next four Mondays, I will highlight different aspects of Meatless Monday and why it is such a powerful tool to address global and national sustainability issues. 

Today, in Part 1, I am exploring how and when the Meatless Monday initiative emerged. As you will see, it has grown significantly from its early days. 

For centuries, societies developed food guidance that included particular diets for different days of the week. Today, many modern religions have meat-free days. Catholics, for example, have long had the tradition of meat-free Fridays. The Friday fish fry dinner get together is still a regular activity in many parishes. Plus, during times of emergencies, leaders often urge people to change their diets so that they can divert meat for military troops or because of low production numbers. This type of rationing occurred in the United States during both World War I and II. People were urged to grown their own food as well during those years.

Click for photo caption.

Today's idea of Meatless Monday emerged from an advertising campaign developed by the noted marketing creative director, Sidney Lerner, who passed away this year in January. Lerner, who many older folks in the US might now from his Please don't squeeze the Charmin toilet paper campaign, realized that marketing can have a big impact on public health if it is used for the greater good. As a result, he created The Monday Campaigns in partnership with the John Hopkins Center for a Livable Future in 2003.

Since the Meatless Monday program started in partnership with a public health focus, the early initiatives highlighted the health benefits of eating less meat. However, as climate change became a more pressing issue in recent years, the program has highlighted the planetary benefits of choosing to eat less meat.

The beauty of Meatless Monday is the clarity of the initiative. The ask is simple. Don't eat meat on Monday. That's it. Even if you are a major carnivore, you can find something you can eat that doesn't have meat once a week. The options are endless--and delicious. The Monday Campaigns provides a ton of recipes and resources to help individuals or groups in their efforts. You can find them here

One of the great things about this campaign is that it focuses on Monday and Monday is a day of new beginnings for most of us. We start the work week on Mondays and the cycle of the week flows from whatever we do at the outset of the week. Thus, for many, Meatless Monday is not just about a day, but can lead to several days or even a complete change of lifestyle. 

While there are certainly some who embrace a vegan or vegetarian diet after starting Meatless Monday, you can make a huge difference in your health and you can improve the planet by embracing a meatless diet just once a week. 

Next Monday the series continues with a review of these health and planetary benefits. For now, join me and give Meatless Monday a try--your body and our planet will be better for it.

Sunday, June 13, 2021

5 Ways to Green Your Summer Wardrobe

Summer is around the corner and like many of you, I am storing away my cool weather clothes and pulling out my lighter, summer looks. Because clothing manufacturing and disposal have big impacts on the environment (for example, clothing manufacturing is responsible for significant water pollution around the world), I thought I would share 5 ways that you can green your summer wardrobe. 

1. Evaluate, repair, and reuse. One of the first things I do at the start of every summer is go through the clothes that I stored away in the fall to evaluate whether the clothing is still usable and to determine what repairs I can make. Fast fashion is a serious social and environmental problem at the moment. In the US and in many other parts of the world, we have access to very cheap clothing. As a result, more and more people are throwing away lightly used clothing and not taking the time to repair or reuse. I have a pair of brown camouflage shorts I have been fixing up since the 1990's. I don't think that people notice (or care about) the patches I have put into them. If you cannot repair a piece, think about how you can reuse them. I take off buttons from old worn shirts and save them and use the shirts as dog or floor washing rags. If you are thoughtful about the materials, you can look at unusable clothing as a resource. Don't forget to evaluate and repair shoes. Well-made shoes can last a lifetime if you take the time to get soles repaired.

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2. Buy quality. Fast fashion is inexpensive because it is made cheaply. We've all had the experience of buying pieces that were inexpensive but made poorly. They don't last. The fabric wears out, buttons or other parts of the garments are attached poorly, and the sewing is imprecise. It is worth spending a few extra dollars for something that will last you a long time.

3. Buy classic looks. Fashion "looks" used to have distinct seasons. The great fashion houses put out a winter, spring, summer, and fall, collections. Now, with fast fashion, we are pretty much post-season. The looks keep changing and trends are hard to keep up with during the year. As a result, it is easy to get out of fashion if you go for too bold of a look. Classic looks last for years. We all like to peacock on occasion, but make sure that your major clothing purchases will last beyond one season.

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4. Find ways to give your clothing a second life. Clothing that is in good shape but that doesn't fit, can have a second life if you are thoughtful about it. It is important to recognize that much donated clothing actually ends up in landfills. Because the cost of clothing is so cheap, the demand for used clothing is not what it once was. Thus, it is worth taking the time to find individuals who could use your clothing. For example, many colleges and universities have offices that take suits and dress clothes for students to use during interviews. Many churches, synagogues, and mosques will take used clothing to give away to those in need.

5. Make do with what you have. Most of us in the United States probably have more summer clothing than we need. I have a whole drawer of t-shirts that I use at the gym or in casual situations that I've had for years. I don't need any more. When I got out my summer box of clothes, I found about a dozen more dressy summer shirts and several pairs of shorts that were still in great shape. While I could purchase some new items to freshen up the look, I really don't need to. I suspect the same is true for most of you reading this. You can help to break the cycle of fast fashion by using what you already have. 

Saturday, June 12, 2021

Awesome Photos of the Recent Solar Eclipse: Can You Identify the Locations?

I don't know about you, but I love any kind of eclipse. Last week Thursday, there was a partial solar eclipse of the sun right about sunrise in the United States and many people got some awesome photos of it. I thought I would share some amazing open access photos with you. Most of the locations of the photos are pretty easy to identify. However, I am not sure you can get them all! See how you do. The locations are listed in the comments section.

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