29 August, 2007

The Spin on Spinach

What's the world coming to folks? Word again from AP, that nearly a year after the E. coli outbreak killing three and sickening over 200 eating spinach, that another spinach recall has been announced. This time the culprit is salmonella, commonly contaminating uncooked chicken, which showed up in 1 of 3 samples of spinach hailing from California. Metz Fresh instigated the recall, even though there have been no reports of illness, and have on hold nearly 80% of the potientially hazardous supply. Over 8000 cases of spinach have been affected distributed in the great 48 and parts of Canada.

What does this mean to those who are trying to eat their vegetables, and why are pathogens normally found in meats making their way to spinach?

No answered founds so far, but the Blue Penny suggests you may consider growing your own.

21 August, 2007


Let me just apologize for all the whiny well-intended earth lovin', granola crunchin', hybrid drivin' holier-than-thous that are never satisfied with whatever you're doing or not doing. There's a lot of them out there, and they seem outraged if your coffee's not organic, or if it is organic, it's not fair trade coffee beans, or if it is fair trade coffee, you didn't bring your own cup, or you're drove to the coffee shop and they walked 22 miles to drink their fairly traded organic soy yerba matte latte, and they brought their own god-damn bag to take their organic scone with them. While I admire the fact that they knitted that bag, or reused junk mail to hand-make the paper to make their own bag, I must admit the self-righteous indignation or any and everything you're about to (un)do gets a bit tiring. Irksome. Personally, it makes me want to litter sometimes. Right in front of them. What are they going to do about it? Yeah, that's right, earth-freak, I got my Hummer to back it up.

Here's hoping I never nag at you, dear reader, even if you are my mother and you're reading this to support your m' ijacita linda. Even if you're not my mother (which I doubt, but let's just say) I would never want to nag you for drinking Yuban, for shopping at Walmart, for driving over my foot in your gas guzzling Hummer. Never. You just do your part, whatever that is. It, small act as it may be, is a wonderful step towards a better future, a better you.

Blaze your whole house with halogens, scoff at those oddly charming CFLs on sale at Ace Hardware, see if I care. Leave your grocery bags at home, and take your canned peas and carton of cigarettes home in a double plastic bag. Smother your tomatoes with Round-up, eat Dophin-unsafe Tuna, go ahead ! It's your god-given right to be wasteful! If He didn't want us to drill in the Artic, He wouldn't have given us the ability to make drills, am I right?

Ok, I do mind. I just don't want to nag you. Just promise me gentle reader, no, promise yourself, that you'll consider doing one thing, one thoughtful thing. For yourself, your community, your planet. Let me know about it. And I'll mail you a nice thank-you card. Made on recycled paper and compostable ink, of course. Definitely.

Electric Avenue

Even granola girls have the right to look cool. As a committed non-driver of cars, I've recently upgraded my pedestrian status to scooter girl. Well, technically it's a bike, & it's electric. Tons of research led me to the e-bike of my dreams: an eGo Cycle2 Lx. The company hails from Cambridge, MA, the bikes are built in Taiwan, & they're built to last, & look good to boot. I could get all techy on y'alls, but the eGo website does it better than I ever could, so let me just say, the company is run by good folks, and the bike come with a 10-year chassis warranty. Oh yeah, and I look cool riding on it.

To the eye, it looks like a scooter, and compared to some of the other models out there, looks well made, and sturdy. I actually attach a Burley cargo trailer to the back and do all my shopping with it. I've carried over 100 lbs of goodies on the thing, and it holds up to 6 grocery bags. Not bad for pennies per charge. As for speed, it's legally a bicycle because it goes under 24 mph. Which means this little missy can ride out without a motorcycle licence. And the less time I'm failing driving tests at the DMV, the better.

eGo bikes have made in the news, most recently in a LIVE EARTH appearance. Perhaps you've caught a glimpse of them on Bravo TV, CNN, the Today show, or seen them reviewed in Popular Mechanics or in the pages of Time. I'm surprised they haven't made more headlines, as I seem to be turning heads whenever I'm on the thing. The ride's a definite ice-breaker, and the sporty good looks doesn't hurt. Get a picture of Leonardo DiCaprio on one of these babies & you've got yourself one delicous little Eco-razzi centerfold.

Even without the pretty, these bikes hold considerable attraction. The commuter model (which I ride) comes with head & rear lights, turning signals, a dual braking system, rear view mirrors, a speed/odometer and a horn. Yeah, pretty bitchin'. I should mention I can scoot approximately 20 miles before I need to plug it back in for a re-charge. Any household outlet will do.

For more information, email the nice folks at eGo, and tell 'em Bella sent ya. info@egovehicles.com

18 August, 2007

earth 911

Here's the 411 on the 911:There's a fantastic internet resource for those who want to recycle, but don't know where to take their goodies. It's called Earth911.org. You can just plug in your zip code, and voila! Local resource information on recyclers in your area.

We're talking blue glass, brown glass, clear glass. Batteries & cell phone recycling. It seems like anything you can think of, you'll find the right place for it. For me, this makes it tidy & organized, and yeah, I like tidy & organized. I've a handful of sites set in MY FAVORITES that basically list the same info. Now it's one-stop center for my R&R&R. www.earth911.org

Blue's been a long time coming

You ever make a promise to yourself, some sort of noble intention, then just let opportunity slip right on by, and the next thing you know that promise gets holed up somewhere, stuffed into some dark corner, filled to the neck with other well meant but fuzzy good goals, a broom closet full of every new year's resolution you made since 1971? The classic lose 10 lbs, the give blood, give-up gossip, the go-to-church-more chestnuts? Well you know what they say: good intents, hell roads, nice pavement.

Well, meet one of mine. I've been wanting, meaning, trying to take the plunge and go fully green, live by my principles and take that one small step towards living a kinder, gentler lifestyle. To do what it takes to lighten my footstep, and to help others take heart and help lessen theirs. This is definitely the time for it. Let's face it, more and more people are jumping on the green bandwagon. And it feels good not feeling so goofy bringing my own grocery sacks to the store, as I'm clearly no longer the only person doing it. I remember a few years ago (ok, maybe 5 or 6 years ago) being mocked at Target by the cashier, because I brought my own bags and insisted on bagging my purchases in them. Just last week, same Target, different cashier, I was told I was "right on" because I brought my own bags. Small action, but signs of progress.

Since the once & future president, Mr. Al Gore burst on the scene with his modest blockbuster, An Inconvenient Truth, global warming has become a household word, the so called mainstream has entered the foray in wanting to do something about it. Green has become more than a color, it's become a movement. When Walmart is the biggest purveyor of organic T-shirts, it may be safe to say we've hit the tipping point, and to care about global warming has become cool.

Oh sure, I know, there's now the danger of greenwashing. of "the Man" marketing things as green & earth friendly, but its still the same ol' same ol' business as usual. This danger is real, I see it all the time now that Vanity Fair has annual green issues, and green is the new black, and Cheetos makes what looks like a healthy cheese nibble. A little green paint over the same petroleum-based product or sweat-shopped shoe, and all we've done as consumers is pay for the feeling of feel-good without any real change.

There's also the danger of turning it into a fad, a passing fancy, like the summer of love, shoulder pads & the hoolah hoop. Hey dad, remember the year when we paid to offset our carbon footprint? Yeah, crazy times, what were we thinking? Reminds me of the year when I put cornrows in my hair in the early 90's, not that it looked good on me, I just wanted to try something different. And they didn't look too bad, at least not until up to the point when they started falling out in long chains, and fell down like a rope from an open window. Yeah, I was real classy in the 90's. Anyhow, I do realize this green buzz thing does run the danger of us just going through the motions and not really do much about it. It, I guess, could be the nafarious le warming de global, or just a recognition that our species and our culture has gone a been cancerous and is blooming out of control across the planet, and we need to do something about instilling a balance in our being in relation to the planet.

Specifically, I want to put balance in my relation to the planet. And still live a lively life, still taking an active part in my society. I don't think the problem gets solved with everybody going off into the wilderness and homesteading, growing our own food, clothes and televisions. In fact, I kinda suspect we need to leave a lot more wilderness, and just get more efficient with the space we do take up. I don't want to be some sort of bearded, shack-living, manifestoed neo-luddite, I means that's neo-ludicrous. I do want to figure out how I can avoid any sort of personal green wash (look ma, I recycle!) and really take stock of my life, and its impact on my environs.

So last year I made a pact. To commit fully to an organics lifestyle. To turn my house inside out & integrate green technology and principles of sustainability into my home. To make positive change. Admittedly awkward in the transition (what do you do with all those empty yogurt containers?) but worth the effort. I bought an electric bike, a bike trailer to tow my groceries, am taking up sewing (recycling fashion), cleaned out my cupboards of all toxic chemicals, cleaners, and cosmetics, and threw out what was left of questionable practices. Shopping at the farmers market. Using those CFLs. My footprint is getting lighter. But still, there is so much room for improvement.

And there's always room for inspiration, and that seems to be plenty. From Cradle to Cradle and Permaculture design philosophies to the simple pleasures of container gardening, to checking out the boon of information out here on the internet. There are challenging times ahead, perfect for creativity and community. And it's really good to be here.