Archive for the 'Environment' Category

On Wednesday we had the pleasure of being able to show off the wannaveg booth at the annual Sony Electronics Environmental Expo.  The booth was quite a hit!  We had a raffle to win one of two vegetarian cookbooks.  We also had vegetarian starter kits and all kinds of information on going veg one day a week.  However, I’d say most people stopped by for the tofu teriyaki bites and the chocolate, peanut butter, banana bread samples we were giving out.  We figured about 400 people stopped by for a veg snack and we were happy to see them.

The show also featured Sony’s “green” initiatives and products, a whole host of hybrid cars (and a Smart car) and a bunch of other environmental related vendors showing off their stuff.

The vegetarian lunch option included a portobello mushroom burger (all the veggies were locally grown) and pasta salad.

All in all, not a bad way to spend a few hours on a beautiful San Diego day.  Thanks to Sony for letting us participate in the expo.


It’s in Our Hands

If this is the first time you’ve visited wannaveg, or if you have been here before, it is plain to see that you can make a big difference by going veg one day a week.  This kind of change may seem simple, and it is, but it is also extremely effective at reducing your environmental footprint. Furthermore, when you combine it with other simple things, like growing some of your own food, changing your light bulbs to CFL’s, buying food from local and organic sources, reusing a bag at the grocery store, ditching bottled water, unplugging your cell phone chargers, walking or riding a bike more…well you get it, you can see that a few small things add up to a huge difference in your habits, your lifestyle and your impact on the planet.

Sure, we can wait around for technology and governments to get it together and “save us,” but by the time that happens, there probably won’t be much worth saving (including ourselves).  So let’s do our part, let all of US “get it together” and start making a positive change with our own lives…and let’s pass that change on to others.  Spread the message that caring for our planet isn’t just for “environmentalists,” it is for everyone who calls this planet home.


Ditch the Beef and Go Local

A study released by Carnegie Mellon University has found that if you want to green up your dinner table; cut out the red meat.  The study found that eating vegetables and (alternatively) other kinds of animals such as fish and chicken creates fewer greenhouse gas emissions than eating from local sources ONLY.

“We suggest that dietary shift can be a more effective means of lowering an average household’s food-related climate footprint than ‘buying local,’” the researchers write. “Shifting less than one day per week’s worth of calories from red meat and dairy products to chicken, fish, eggs, or a vegetable-based diet achieves more greenhouse-gas reduction than buying all locally sourced food.”

However, it’s important to note that buying food from local sources still significantly reduces food related greenhouse gases. By combining these two methods together (cutting out the red meat and buying locally) you will make a big difference in your “food footprint.”

Read more about it here.


Featured Blog: CAFO Hell

I was searching around for some information on Contained Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO’s) and came across this site. The mission behind the blog is to document people’s experiences that live around CAFO’s in New York State. When we drive out to AZ to visit my parents we pass these things in eastern California and in Maricopa, AZ. I have often wondered how people live around these awful places.

From CAFO Hell

The purpose of this blog is to document residential living near some of New York’s industrial dairy farms. These “farms” are called CAFO’s (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation) which confine hundreds and sometimes thousands of dairy cows packed together on a small tract of land. They store massive amounts of cow excrement in football field sized ponds referred to as “lagoons.” The manure is liquefied and trucked out to be spread on the fields, often close to residential housing. Contaminated run-off and extremly poor air quality are the results. Garbage flies and mosquitos reproduce in vast numbers. Property values plummet. Oppostion to this type of industrial agriculture is mounting nationwide. Stay tuned for more photos in the coming months.


Farm Subsidies Database

Want to see what your state/county receives in government farm subsidies? The Environmental Working Group has compiled a huge database that lists great details on who is receiving commodity based subsidies and the amounts they are receiving in your state.

About EWG

The Environmental Working Group is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to using the power of information to protect human health and the environment. To learn more about we what do—and the many issues like farm subsidies, cosmetics, tap water, organics, and non-stick chemicals that we research

View the database here.

Hi everyone! I haven’t posted in the last couple of days because Meg and I were camping/hiking in Sequoia National Park. It was really beautiful and peaceful….but now it’s back to the grind. I figured today was a good day to catch up on the news.

Humane Meat: A Contradiction in Terms- huge numbers of compassionate people have joined the ranks of the vegetarians. Some, however, have looked instead to meat from animals treated less badly, which they call “humane meat.” This raises three questions. First, is there such a thing as truly “humane meat”? Second, would consuming only humane meat satisfy the demands of ethical living? And third, do we, as individuals, have good reason to promote “humane meat” rather than vegetarianism? (huffingtonpost)

Even Kenyans Are Effected by Our Food Bill- As the United States Congress debates an omnibus farm bill, it is considering a small change that advocates say could make a big difference to the world’s hungriest people: allowing the federal government to buy some food in Africa to feed the famished, rather than shipping it all overseas from America. (NY Times)

A Factory Farm Near You- This is a good editorial from the NY Times and it includes a link that shows an interactive map of factory farms throughout the US…..Once upon a time, only a decade or so, it wasn’t hard to know where factory hog farms were because they were nearly all in North Carolina. But since those days, the practice of crowding together huge concentrations of animals — hogs, poultry, dairy cows, beef cattle — in the interests of supposed efficiency has spread around the country. (NY Times)

The Localvore’s Dilemma-  Sometimes buying local food helps in the battle against climate change. Sometimes it doesn’t. And sometimes, it’s just too confusing to decide. (The Boston Globe)

Internet Junk Food- Brands such as McDonald’s, Starburst, Haribo and Skittles are using the Internet to target children now that new rules from the media regulator Ofcom have made it difficult to advertise during children’s television. (Guardian Unlimited)



By now we all know that animal agriculture places an enormous strain on our planet. Between greenhouse gases, pollution, deforestion, soil erosion, cruelty, the list goes on…we have a very compelling reason to go vegetarian, even one day a week. Check out this statistic found by Akifumi Ogino of the National Institute of Livestock and Grassland Science in Tsukuba, Japan.

A kilogram of (…conventionally farmed…) beef is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions and other pollution than driving for 3 hours while leaving all the lights on back home.

Now consider the impact of going vegetarian just one day a week. By making this simple change in the way you eat, over the course of a year you will save 15kg (35lbs) of meat. Based on Mr. Ogino’s research, that’s like driving a car for 45 hours and leaving all the lights on in your home at the same time…more time than a standard work week! This is a pretty easy thing to do and our planet (and every living being on it) will appreciate it.

A kilogram of beef is responsible for the equivalent of the amount of CO2 emitted by the average European car every 250 kilometres, and burns enough energy to light a 100-watt bulb for nearly 20 days.

On the days that you choose to eat meat, consider eating grass-fed beef. A 2003 Swedish study showed that organic beef, raised on grass rather than concentrated feed, emits 40 per cent less greenhouse gases and consumes 85 per cent less energy.

For more information, check out the NewScientist article.

Eat It While You Can- because your great-grandchildren won’t. World water supplies are dwindling and that means the water intense animal based diet will eventually become a thing of the past. “It’s going to be almost impossible to feed future generations the kind of diet we have now in western Europe and North America.” (bbc)

Hate Thy Neighbor- If you are a Confined Animal Factory Operation (CAFO) owner and you move your operation to a new community, prepare yourself to be the most hated person in that community. “Can you imagine what it smells like when they burn a pile of rotting pigs for an afternoon or an entire day and night?” a nearby resident said. “The odor is just absurd.” (vernonbroadcaster)

Meats and Sweets = Breast Cancer- A study of Chinese women who adopted a more Western diet that included higher consumption of meat and sweets showed an increase in breast cancer. “The researchers found that overweight, postmenopausal women who ate a western-style diet had a greater than twofold increased risk of estrogen-receptor-positive breast cancers. There was no association between breast cancer risk and a vegetable-soy-fish diet.” (yahoo news)

Have You Hugged a Rat Today?- You should! Rats may be more caring and selfless than their reputation suggests. Or at least they can be very kind to each other, even to rats they have never met before. Ok, so this isn’t vegetarian or food related, but I found it interesting nonetheless. (nytimes)

Slap a Label On It- An overwhelming majoring of folks in the U.S. want to know more about thier food. In fact, 92 percent of Americans want to know which country produced the food they are buying. I hope this has a trickle down effect in create measurable standards for other food labeling initives (e.g. free-range, humane, sustainable), but after seeing what the USDA has done recently to undermine the ‘organic’ standards, I won’t be holding my breath. (msnbc)

Moo Cows Go Poo- I wanted to post this video on wannaveg, but it’s only available on MSN video. This is the PSA I mentioned that was shown at Live Earth last weekend. It encourages people to go vegetarian one day a week. It’s a bit on the gross side, but the message is fantastic! (msn video)

Sheepmower- No need for pesticides or herbicides in this vineyard….also no need for tractors. Some researches are training sheep to clean up vineyard weeds but stay off the grapes. “They don’t use gasoline and keep down weeds — a necessary task to deter pests and keep vines healthy — sans herbicides.” (msnbc)

I didn’t like the name “Rundown:” of the news summaries we post. It really didn’t have anything to do with going veg. So, I came up with this one. Let me know what you think about it….if you would like to suggest another name for our periodic news summaries, let me know.

Organic’s better? - A ten year study finds that organic tomatoes have more flavonoids (anti-oxidents) than conventionally grown tomatoes. I’d say most people didn’t need a study to find out that organic is better….but thes studies are nice to see. (bbc news)

Methane Kills- Literally. Five people died last week in a pool of liquefied cow shit. It seems that they were overcome by methane gas while cleaning out a pipe in the lagoon. “You cannot smell it, you cannot see it, but it’s an instant kill” (cnn)

Subsidizing Snacks- Our food system is based on five commodity crops (soybeans, corn, rice, wheat and cotton). Not one of these subsidized crops is a fruit or vegetable. Subsidies lead to cheap snack foods and soft drinks, made from ingredients like high fructose corn syrup and partially hydrogenated soybean oil. Meanwhile, the lack of subsidies for fruits and vegetables makes them expensive by comparison. (ny times)

Live Earth: Go Veg One Day a Week- Say what you want about Live Earth, (see also: ‘Hippie Episode’ on Southpark) they apparently had a publice service announcement tell people about the environmental benefits to going vegetarian one day a week. Good news for wannaveg! P.S. if anyone can find and send us this video, we would be greatful! (

Concientious Meat Eater- From the Magazine, “Food: The Way We Eat.”  In his Meat Manifesto, Fearnley-Whittingstall corners the reader: “Are you, among the millions of consumers putting pressure on farmers to produce mountains of cheap meat of dubious quality, by dubious means?” and “Have the animals you’ve consumed lived well? . . . Have they been cared for by someone who respects and enjoys their contact with them?” (ny times via Ethicurean)


Sustainable Harvest International

baby with baby greens

Obviously, rainforest destruction is a heated topic of discussion. Many popular websites claim to plant trees in exchange for donations, and even Dell has hopped on the bandwagon. When you buy a new computer you can select “plant a tree for me” as you checkout and help offset your carbon footprint. Planting trees can be a good thing, but are we really making progress if we do nothing about the source of the problem? Sustainable Harvest International is heading straight for one source. This small non-profit organization “has worked with nearly 1,000 families and 900 students in Honduras, Panama, Belize and Nicaragua implementing alternatives to slash-and-burn farming, the leading cause of rainforest destruction in the region.” Malnutrition is a huge problem in this area of the world, and many vegetables are considered a luxury item. SHI teaches new farming techniques to the local families, such as alley cropping, organic vegetable gardening, and seed saving and storage.

Since 1997, SHI has successfully:

· Planted more than 2,000,000 trees.

· Converted 6,000 acres to sustainable uses, thereby saving 30,000 acres from slash-and-burn destruction.

· Improved nutrition through the establishment of more than 200 organic vegetable gardens.

· Increased farm income up to 800%.

· Built 165 wood-conserving stoves (saving 1,650 trees per year)

Now, did you know that it’s possible to eat yogurt, help these farmers, save forests, and get free organic chocolate and tea all at the same time? Stonyfield Farm is featuring SHI along with two other non-profits on their yogurt lids this summer. Vote for your favorite non-profit and help direct funds their way, while getting cool prizes!

Visit for more information on SHI and Stonyfield’s “Bid With Your Lid” program.

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