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Are you enjoying your daily chemical cocktail?

by Kristin Wartman

You're probably ingesting a wicked chemical cocktail every day before tea time.

Chemicals and additives found in the food supply and other consumer products are making headlines regularly as more and more groups raise concern over the safety of these substances. In a statement released this week, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) asked for reform to the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976. The group is particularly concerned about the effects these substances have on children and babies.

Last month, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) held hearings on the safety of food dyes but failed to make a definitive ruling. The most recent study on Bisphenol-A (BPA) added to growing doubts about its safety; but the FDA’s stance on it remains ambiguous. Meanwhile, in 2010, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) reported [PDF] that the FDA is not ensuring the safety of many chemicals.

Yet while the FDA stalls and hedges on the safety of these substances, Americans are exposed to untested combinations of food

additives, dyes, preservatives, and chemicals on a daily basis. Indeed, for the vast majority of Americans consuming industrial foods, a veritable chemical cocktail enters their bodies every day and according to the GAO report, “FDA is not systematically ensuring the continued safety of current GRAS substances.” (more…)

Dog Wars Android App – Really??

I’m not a religious person, but I know the phrase, “going to hell in a hand basket” and seeing this new app game for your phone just makes me wanna say it!  With a slogan of, “Raise your dog to beat the best,” can you guess what this game is?  Yes, it’s dog fighting.  You care for and train your dog to fight against other player’s virtual dogs. This new app has many, especially animal lovers, outraged.  The app creators are aware of this outrage and have posted these 6 points about the game.

1. It is just A VIDEO GAME
2. Perhaps one day we will make gerbil wars or beta fish wars for people who can’t understand fantasy role play games
3. Just because something is illegal in real life in certain countries, does not mean it is illegal to make a song, movie, or video game about it (looking at you XDA Developer Forums… deleting our beta testing thread and banning our account?!)
4. Just go slingshot some virtual birds to kill some virtual pigs.

5. Go complain to someone who cares about Call of Duty, Grand Theft Auto, Weed Farmer, Smoke a Bowl (these two are listed in the top 15 of casual games on Android Market) and maybe even Sierra’s Leisure Suit Larry from 1987.

6. This is listed as a HIGH MATURITY app, and does NOT violate the Terms of Use with the Google market in any way!!!

Kage Games goes on to say they have the right to free speech and that they are dog lovers themselves.  While I hear all of the points made, I’m still not on board with this game.  We know how people are so easily influences and desensitized.  There is a scary and fine line for some between fantasy and reality.  I don’t think any of the games listed above are great for anyone either. My concern is that it creates people thinking that it’s not a big deal and/or gives them the interest in real live dog fighting.  Same goes for other violent games. Sadly I don’t trust that all people won’t get caught up and not be able to discern fantasy role playing and real life. It’s just something else in the world that is not helping move us in the direction of love and kindness toward one another, animals and life in general.  I guess that wouldn’t make a game that thousands want to download and play though.  And I’ll put this out there too – if you play this game, I can’t be your friend, same goes if you drive a Hummer :)

Does a Wine Diet Count for Meatless Monday??

O. M. G. – My Easter weekend was amazing. I went to Napa wine country and had myself the best wine tasting experience. I’m hooked, addicted, want more!! The people were so so friendly and the wine, my goodness the WINE, some of it left me speechless. I stayed with friends that live there and hadn’t seen them in a while, so I had to alert them to my new vegetarian status. It was the first time people weren’t sure what to do with me. They didn’t disagree or debate my choice, but rather asked this question, over and over, “what do we feed you?” They were sincerely at a loss. I kept saying just veggies or what you regularly make but I just won’t eat the meat. They took us to a vegetarian restaurant named Ubuntu.  It was amazing.  We had 5 courses of delicious vegetarian dishes, many made with produce right from their garden.  Each dish was of course paired with a wine.  By the end of dinner I had 5 glasses in front of me.  After all the wine tasting that day and a yummy dinner I was really relaxed, ha.  My friend decided, being the chef that he is, to prepare a vegan dinner one night.  He created a vegan masterpiece. A fresh asparagus and greens salad, veggie soup with a braised artichoke cup, a spring veggie pasta and strawberries that had soaked in a citrus sugar mixture. It was so good, however, I’m not sure their in-laws were so excited about it, but no one complained.  I’m not used to having meals prepared around me.  The attention freaks me out, but I truly appreciate the effort.

Anyhow, I know I’m a little off course with my post on Meatless Monday, but I had to share the amazing meatless wine tasting weekend I had.  I think for dinner you can try making a spring vegetable pasta and pair it with a great wine.  I’m still learning about wine, so I won’t suggest anything just yet. I’ll make a list of the places I went and what bottles I bought.  That way I can start pairing wines for vegetarian dishes too!

Have Your CAKE & Eat It Too!

Happy Earth Day!  I hope you’re all out there doing something fantastically earth friendly today.  I’m dedicating my Earth Day to the band CAKE and all of their environmental efforts.  CAKE just released their new album Showroom of Compassion and it was recorded on 100% solar energy in their studio.  I think that’s something to tip your green hat to!

I had the pleasure of speaking to CAKE front man John McCrea to find out more about this solar undertaking. John said it’s something they have wanted to do for years, but with touring and hectic schedules, it just wasn’t happening.  A couple of years ago things calmed down a bit and the band decided it was time to jump on the opportunity.  They brought in Borrego Solar to get them set up by the sun.  Now their studio runs 100% on solar power and the extra energy created is put back into the grid.  That’s green energy being put back in the grid, and they actually get paid a fair price for it.  You’re thinking about solar now aren’t you??  Watch the installation video below.

Another great contribution CAKE has been doing the last five years is giving away a tree sapling to an audience member at every show. A winner is selected by the band and called up on stage. The winner must confirm they have a yard to plant the tree in and make a pledge to care for the tree and make sure it has a healthy life.  Tree winners are encouraged to take a photo with their planted tree and send it in to be put on the website.  The CAKE FOREST page has a map showing where the trees are now.  Just click on any tree and see the photo and info on the species of tree. I love how they get their fans involved. How awesome would it be to tell the story of that tree??

The band doesn’t stop there with their green contributions. John said they have four chickens, all with 80’s girl names – Ashley, Britney, Cindy and Trish.  How adorable is that?  The chickens provide fresh eggs and get to eat lots of kitchen veggie scraps. The rest is composted.  This reduces a good amount of waste.  I’ve had chickens and compost and for sure my waste went down at least 70%.  I hardly throw anything away anymore.  One thing they have that I’ve yet to do, is plant a small garden. Although a grapefruit fell off my neighbors tree into my yard and I totally ate that bad boy and it was ridiculously delicious! That kinda counts!

Of course they are not fully relying on these efforts as if going into survivalist mode, but these easy and small efforts can make a big difference.  John is concerned about where things are heading, as we should all be. Giving back or lightening your footprint is something we can all do. CAKE reaches a wide audience and it’s great how dedicated they are to the environment and letting people know. Plus they make that rad music! Check out the new album, Showroom of Compassion!  Thanks to John McCrea for taking time to talk to People for Green Justice.  Happy Earth Day!

Great Green Kids Books!

As we become adults you realize all the values and normal day to day habits you have might have been instilled since childhood. Like that friend that is a coupon monster because her mom did the same. With the earth not being greatly cared for by one generation, maybe those new generations will have a new set of values about our earth. Start ‘em young! Here’s some great books that will help. They look awesome, I think I’m gonna get them for myself… (more…)

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