The Death of Environmentalism (continued)

Catch-22.

Many Christian fundamentalists feel that concern for the future of our planet is irrelevant, because it has no future. They believe we are living in the End Time, when the son of God will return, the righteous will enter heaven, and sinners will be condemned to eternal hellfire. They may also believe, along with millions of other Christian fundamentalists, that environmental destruction is not only to be disregarded but actually welcomed — even hastened — as a sign of the coming Apocalypse.

Because of its power as a voting bloc, the Christian right has the ear, if not the souls, of much of the nation’s leadership. Some of those leaders are End-Time believers themselves. Others are not. Either way, their votes are heavily swayed by an electoral base that accepts the Bible as literal truth and eagerly awaits the looming Apocalypse. And that, in turn, is sobering news for those who hope for the protection of the earth, not its destruction.

Link: Christian-right views are swaying politicians and threatening the environment | By Glenn Scherer | Grist Magazine | Main Dish | 27 Oct 2004.

via Joel Makower

The Five Absolute Worst Foods You Can Eat

Dr. Mercola: The following foods are so bad for your body that I really can’t see any reason to eat them. Not only do they have zero nutritional value, but they also give your body a healthy dose of toxins, which should make the idea of eating them really hard to swallow.

Doughnuts

Soda

French Fries (and Nearly All Commercially Fried Foods)

Chips

Fried Non-Fish Seafood

Link: The Five Absolute Worst Foods You Can Eat

Doughnuts

Doughnuts are fried, full of sugar and white flour and most all varieties contain trans fat. Store-bought doughnuts are made up of about 35 percent to 40 percent trans fat.

An average doughnut will give you about 200 to 300 calories, mostly from sugar, and few other nutrients.

It’s too bad that Americans view doughnuts as a breakfast food as, nutritionally speaking, eating a doughnut is one of the worst ways to start off your day. It will throw off your blood sugar and won’t stay with you so you’ll be hungry again soon. You are better off eating no breakfast at all, or better yet grabbing a quick glass of Living Fuel.

Soda

One can of soda has about 10 teaspoons of sugar, 150 calories, 30 to 55 mg of caffeine, and is loaded with artificial food colors and sulphites. I can’t think of any good reason to ever have it. The diet varieties are also problematic as they are filled with harmful artificial sweeteners like aspartame.

Studies have linked soda to osteoporosis, obesity, tooth decay and heart disease, yet the average American drinks an estimated 56 gallons of soft drinks each year. Plus, drinking all that sugar will likely suppress your appetite for healthy foods, which pave the way for nutrient deficiencies.

Soft drink consumption among children has almost doubled in the United States over the last decade, which is not surprising considering that most school hallways are lined with soda-filled vending machines.

Schools often make marketing deals with leading soft drink companies such as Coca-Cola from which they receive commissions–based on a percentage of sales at each school–and sometimes a lump-sum payment, in exchange for their students’ health. School vending machines can increase the consumption of sweetened beverages by up to 50 or more cans of soda per student per year.

If you routinely drink soda–regular or diet–eliminating it from your diet is one of the simplest and most profound health improvements you can make.

French Fries (and Nearly All Commercially Fried Foods)

Potatoes are bad enough when consumed in their raw state, as their simple sugars are rapidly converted to glucose that raises insulin levels and can devastate your health. But when they are cooked in trans fat at high temperatures, all sorts of interesting and very unpleasant things occur.

Anything that is fried, even vegetables, has the issue of trans fat and the potent cancer-causing substance acrylamide.

Foods that are fried in vegetable oils like canola, soybean, safflower, corn, and other seed and nut oils are particularly problematic. These polyunsaturated fats easily become rancid when exposed to oxygen and produce large amounts of damaging free radicals in the body. They are also very susceptible to heat-induced damage from cooking. What is not commonly known is that these oils can actually cause aging, clotting, inflammation, cancer and weight gain. You can read the article "Secrets of the Edible Oil Industry" for more information.

It is theoretically possible to create a more "healthy" French fry if you cook it in a healthy fat like virgin coconut oil. Due to its high saturated fat content, coconut oil is extremely stable and is not damaged by the high temperatures of cooking. This is why coconut oil should be the only oil you use to cook with.

I am fond of telling patients that one French fry is worse for your health than one cigarette, so you may want to consider this before you order your next ‘Biggie’ order.

Chips

Most commercial chips, and this includes corn chips, potato chips, tortilla chips, you name it, are high in trans fat. Fortunately, some companies have caught on to the recent media blitz about the dangers of trans fat and have started to produce chips without trans fat.

However, the high temperatures used to cook them will potentially cause the formation of carcinogenic substances like acrylamide, and this risk remains even if the trans fat is removed.

Fried Non-Fish Seafood

This category represents the culmination of non-healthy aspects of food. Fried shrimp, clams, oysters, lobsters, and so on have all the issues of trans fat and acrylamide mentioned above, plus an added risk of mercury.

Seafood is loaded with toxic mercury and shellfish like shrimp and lobsters can be contaminated with parasites and resistant viruses that may not even be killed with high heat. These creatures, considered scavenger animals, consume foods that may be harmful for you.

Eating these foods gives you a quadruple dose of toxins–trans fat, acrylamide, mercury and possibly parasites or viruses–with every bite.

If you have a taste for seafood, there’s an easy solution. It’s best to avoid your local fish fry and try the only fish I now eat–the delicious wild red Alaskan salmon that was proven through independent lab testing to be free of harmful levels of mercury and other contaminants.

The Death of Environmentalism by Adam Werbach

It saddens me to see this, but sometimes clarity is unpleasant. Eventually, spring will arrive again. The invisible hand moves.

The theme, “the death of environmentalism,” had already been explored in print by Werbach’s colleagues, Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus. But this speech transcended their intellectual analysis of the environmental and progressive movements. Rather, it was a rawer, more emotional telling, taking the audience through the four “seasons” of environmentalism: Spring (1952-1964) — from the ascendancy of David Brower and Rachel Carson, to the rebirth of conservatism following Barry Goldwater’s 1964 presidential election debacle.

via Joel Makower: Two Steps Forward: Adam Werbach’s ‘Autopsy’ on Environmentalism’s ‘Death’.

Summer (1964-1978) — through the first Earth Day and the passage of the great environmental acts protecting air, water, and endangered species.

Fall (1978-1990) — the rise of conservatism and the religious right, during which “that we began to lose the war of ideas.”

Winter (1990-2004) — environmentalists’ failure to capture public attention on major problems — for example, that “After a decade of framing global warming as a problem of pollution and future disasters, we are in a weaker place than we were when we started.”

It was a dark and deadly serious speech, punctuated by few light moments. “With fond memories, a heavy heart, and a desire for progress, I say to you tonight that Environmentalism is dead,” he proclaimed, adding

“Environmentalism is dead in no small part because it could never match the right’s power to narrate a compelling vision of America’s future. The argument I will make tonight is that every time environmentalists step outside the confines of the environmental discourse to articulate a more expansive, more inclusive and more compelling vision for the future, they cease being environmentalists and start becoming American progressives.”

The Four Agreements

The Four Agreements gives us direction about what WE can do to respond appropriately to difficult behaviors and make our work relationships run more smoothly. They are deceptively simple, yet are rather difficult to apply. However, with mindful and diligent practice, they are utterly effective.

1. Be impeccable with your word

2. Don’t take anything personally

3. Make no assumptions

4. Always do your best

via Good Morning Thinkers!: Four Agreements & Work

America – Danger From Within

Wendell Berry farms the land and writes about taking care of the land. He is trying to tell us something important.

Since the beginning of the conservation effort in our country, conservationists have too often believed that we could protect the land without protecting the people. This has begun to change, but for a while yet we will have to reckon with the old assumption that we can preserve the natural world by protecting wilderness areas while we neglect or destroy the economic landscapes — the farms and ranches and working forests — and the people who use them. That assumption is understandable in view of the worsening threats to wilderness areas, but it is wrong. If conservationists hope to save even the wild lands and wild creatures, they are going to have to address issues of economy, which is to say issues of the health of the landscapes and the towns and cities where we do our work, and the quality of that work, and the well-being of the people who do the work.

Governments seem to be making the opposite error, believing that the people can be adequately protected without protecting the land. And here I am not talking about parties or party doctrines, but about the dominant political assumption. Sooner or later, governments will have to recognize that if the land does not prosper, nothing else can prosper for very long. We can have no industry or trade or wealth or security if we don’t uphold the health of the land and the people and the people’s work.

Link: Orion > Orion Magazine > November | December 2004 > Wendell Berry.

via Fred1st

Now and the Future

Now is the only time. How we relate to it creates the future. In other words, if we’re going to be more cheerful in the future, it’s because of our aspiration and exertion to be cheerful in the present. What we do accumulates; the future is the result of what we do right now.

Pema Chodron

Link: Wisdom Quotes.

Scoot Over

Scootersramp Scooter the Siamese Cat pulled off one of his most surprising stunts ever to disturb our much-needed sleep. To understand what happened, you’ll need some background.

Last year I built Scooter a ramp so he wouldn’t have to jump up onto our bed, where he sleeps night and day. Since he turned 20, his hind legs have lost much of their spring and power. He needs the ramp because sometimes his leap didn’t make it over the edge of the bed, which meant he’d have to grab some cover or sheet with his front claws. Occasionally, he’d fall back to the floor, scratching for balance. Not only did he risk hurting himself, it was a most unpleasant way for us to wake up in the middle of the night — and he always spit out some curse words in yowlese when it happened.

Scoot really likes his ramp (click here for video).

On Tuesday night, we were awakened by a flurry of rustling and scratching. Ann turned on a light and I got out of bed. Scooter was stuck, hanging from the end of the ramp by his front paws — like a rock climber hanging from a cliff! His claws were hooked firmly in the fabric.

I grabbed him, unhooked his claws, and put him on the floor. Ann and I were stunned at his predicament.

Scooter’s mischief sometimes backfires on him.

The ideal job

The passage below is from the Ripples weblog. I agree with David’s premise. In hindsight, I must have known this subconsciously, because it is the only explanation for my career path.

Employment today is temporary. Like it or not, you are an employee at will. You can be let go for cause or no cause. There is only one long-term solution.

Every job you take should be part of a plan to equip you for full self-employment at some later point in life.

When one is post-retirement age as I am, there are few positions available even for the most highly skilled professionals. The internet shakeup of 2001 spilled hundreds of thousands of experienced workers into the ranks of unemployed. Many of the over-fifty group are still looking for work. The only solution for most others was to work for themselves.

Pensions are a thing of the past and Social Security may be a mirage, but a skilled person with business acumen and a nest egg can always generate income. The ideal jobs are those that prepare you for long-term job security as your own boss.

Link: Ripples: The ideal job