Friday, January 30, 2015

Is Eating Meat bad for the Environment?

Friday Eco Facts
And... A very LARGE disclaimer!

I do not, in anyway, endorse, promote or work for any of the organizations mentioned in this post. I eat meat. I have no hidden agenda and I do not secretly work for Peta.

That being said.

I report and share Eco facts because, I truly believe that many people do harmful things to our planet, due to lack of environmental knowledge. 

I also believe that alone we are a tiny drop of water, but together we are a mighty ocean. Many educated people in one group, can make positive change. 


Instead of going into this long and lengthy report, I prefer to list many FACTS about the meat industry and how our meat is produced, what eating meat does to the planet and what you can do to help.

This post is specifically about the harm to our environment, but I must stress that if you were to take the time to research CAFO's, you would see the most disturbing, horrible and tortured conditions for these animals.You don't have to be an animal rights activist, to understand, it's just wrong.

These studies, reports and findings are from reputable sources such as BBC News, The Guardian, The University of Cambridge and Aberdeen, as well as The Scientific American.

  • Most packaged meat comes from factory style meat production -- Referred to as CAFO (Confined Animal Feeding Operations)
  • The quantity of urine and feces that comes from even a very small CAFO is the same as roughly 16,000 humans.
  • The total waste from American CAFO's produce three times as much waste as the entire human population in the United States.
  • The urine and feces from CAFO's become a major health and environmental threat as these large concentrations of waste seep into surrounding water, air and soil.
  • The surrounding areas become full of parasites, bacteria, viruses, pesticides, antibiotics, microbes (e-coli), antibiotic-resistant pathogens, nitrates and hormone infested manure.
  • CAFO's are very modern practices of cramming hundreds of animals together and feeding them on a diet of grain, usually imported.


  • An estimated 70 percent of the antibiotic consumption in the United States is fed to non-diseased live stock to promote growth and counter health risks of being an animal in a CAFO factory.
  • The widespread and large amounts of antibiotics used in CAFO factories has led to an increase of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
  • Because of the lives that the animals lead, if the animals aren't dosed with high amounts of antibiotics, cows are unlikely to live long enough to make it to slaughter.


  • The majority of corn and soy grown in the world feeds animals, not human beings. 
  • Raising animals for food consumes more than half of all water used in the United States.
  • It takes 2,500 gallons of water to produce a pound of meat, but only 25 gallons to produce a pound of wheat.
  • Of all agricultural land in the United States, 87 percent is used to raise animals for food.
  • The meat industry is directly responsible for 85 percent of all erosion in the U.S.
  • The amount of grain needed to produce just eight-ounces of steak will feed 45-50 people.
  • Beef cattle need 28 times more land and 11 times more irrigation water than pork, poultry, eggs or dairy.
  • Livestock are typically fed corn, soybean meal and other grains which have to first be grown using large amounts of fertilizer, fuel, pesticides, water and land.
  • If all the grain currently fed to livestock in the United States were consumed directly by people, the number of people who could be fed would be nearly 800 million.
  • There are roughly seven billion livestock in the United States that consume five times as much grain as is consumed directly by the entire U.S. population.
  • Good quality cropland is being used to grow animal feed rather than human food.


  • Four-fifths of the deforestation across the Amazon rainsforest can be linked to cattle ranching.
  • When compared to staples like potatoes, wheat and rice, the impact of beef requires 160 times more land and produces 11 times more greenhouse gasses.

CAFO's violate the Clean Water Act

But, all hope isn't lost.
There are changes you and your family can make, to help save the Environment.

...Have you considered...
Being a "Flexitarian"


Also

Avoiding excessive meat consumption, especially beef.

If you can, buy and eat meat from a local sustainable farm.

Design your diet with it's environmental impact in mind.


There you have it.

I hope I have enlightened you, at least a little bit.

I eat many meatless meals every week, especially during lunch, and I have a few recipes that are vegetarian that my children also enjoy. 

I do eat meat, I am a Texan after all. We like our BBQ.
But I'm thinking environmentally about mine and my families diets now.
I hope you will too.

Have a wonderful weekend!
Tammy x



These are quoted facts from the following
Sources:







Wednesday, January 28, 2015

This business of adult children

It's been 5 years now.

Since I became a "new" mom to an adult child.

Now I have 3 ...They are 23, 22 and 18. All boys.

When I was younger, in my early 20's, when I had 2 small children and a 3rd on the way. I was constantly elated about being a mother. I would be in horror and shock when a mother would speak words of annoyance towards her children... How could she? I was still elated after birthing my 4th and then finally my 5th child. Being a mother rocks! Right? It did, all the time. Then.

I would also think about the people that I knew with children leaving home, I would think "How do they handle it? How do they let their children go?"

Then.

My beautiful and perfect children became teenagers.

Then. I knew. 

I knew that I would have no problems with my children flying out of the nest, in fact... I might push a couple out!! :)


But recently... I feel like I have just been given this new "Mom thing" to do all over again.
See... I had this whole mom situation down, or at least I thought I did. I only threatened to sell my children when they were really naughty (I'm so kidding people), but the truth is, for me, being the mom of 5 children was perfect.

In fact two are still young, My 13 year old boy and my 10 year old girl. Lord knows they have seen more arguing and craziness in their lives, more than my grown children ever did. Because well... They have had to live with their siblings going through their teens. That's never argument free, I don't care what family you come from! Teens are going to argue with you from time to time.

It was so hard for me when my first one left home, but he left and was GONE. He's in the military, I cried a lot. And when he didn't put me first once he left home... I made an ass out of myself a time or two. Acting like a spoiled brat and saying things I regretted later. It did give me a reality check though. I was no longer number one. In fact, I don't even place very high up on his list any more. I know he loves me, but he has his wife, his own home... his friends.... his career.


It's hard.

And harder still? 
Trying to figure out and knowing your place as a mom, in your adult childs life. 

As they pull away from me (as they should) in order to gain their independence and find their place in the World, I'm left wondering, if I'm a friend or a mom? Sometimes, they look at me, as if I'm completely clueless. They don't mind telling me either! (Even though their father, somehow, manages to walk on water!).

I know they don't need mothering any longer. But I AM their mother. 
I never had my heart broken by one of my children, until they were adults.
As a mom, where my children are concerned, my heart heals quickly. I think that's how God made moms.



Right now, we are all in a place, where we are working out where we are in the hierarchy of family. That's a lie. There is no hierarchy! Though I do have to often remind my adult boys, when they get cocky, that I AM still their mother, and adults or not, there is a certain respect I deserve.

Honestly though, I don't place high in their lives anymore. 
Raising children is easy... babies, toddlers, adolescence, pre-teens.. that's not the hard part.

Being a brand new mom to adult children. That's the hard part!
For me, anyway.

It's in my nature to always find the positive. And my positive is this...
Though I struggle now because my men children have their own lives. 
I can look forward to watching them become, who they are meant to be.
I get to enjoy watching them flourish in life, as they become educated, have careers, fall in love, buy homes, get married and eventually have children. 


So maybe in writing this, I have worked out my place now.

It's to just sit back, and enjoy them!

I don't need a psychiatrist. I have my blog :)

Much love to you and I hope you have a great upcoming weekend!
Tammy x

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Panasonic Lumix Underwater Digital Camera 16.1 MP

Very rarely do I endorse a product, but this one is a must!

I have 3 cameras. A Nikon D3200 24 MP. A Samsung Galaxy Wi-Fi 16.3 MP. And...
This bad boy.

The Panasonic Lumix Digital 16.1 Camera.
This little guy is AWESOME!


Last July the kids and I flew to Fort Lauderdale, and then drove down to the Florida Keys. It was at the last minute that I thought... "Hey, wouldn't an underwater camera be really cool!?". We were specifically going for the crystal clear water, and I didn't want to miss out on the experience, plus after spending a very pretty penny on a Nikon, I wasn't going to take it on the beach and get sand in it!

I can't remember exactly how much I paid for it, but with the memory card it was around $300. 

WORTH. EVERY. PENNY.

So the nitty gritty is this...
This camera is extremely light weight, It takes amazing photos and works underwater! What more could a person want?

You don't have to worry about it leaking because when you close up this camera, after taking out the memory card or battery, it will remind you if it's not completely water proof. Like this...

Though I love my camera's, and I like to think of myself as a budding photographer, the truth is, I don't know much about cameras. I'm learning, and I love the process, but my point is this...
This camera is easy to use and takes fantastic photos! Regardless of your level of experience.

We couldn't stop using it, the kids loved it as well.
Here it is in action at the hotel pool.

And at the beach.


And admit it, I took a great selfie with this camera! 
No selfie stick needed!


You know I have a great sense of humor if I'm willing to post THAT photo of myself :)

And this one of my son, cracks me up!

This Lumix camera really is worth the money if you're planning a trip around water. Why risk your camera or your camera phone?

It's only slightly bigger than a deck of cards and you can even stick it in your pocket!
Go on..
You know you want one!

On a side note...The Florida Keys..Is a place everyone should visit, at least once!
I hope you have a great rest of your week,
Tammy

Friday, January 16, 2015

What's in your shampoo?


My goal for this post was to research and discover what Sulfates do to the environment.

But what I found was much more alarming.

Most brands of shampoos, soaps, bubble-bath, tooth paste, dish soap, laundry detergent, stain removers, carpet cleaners, fabric glues, body wash, shaving cream, mascara, mouthwash, skin cleanser, lotions, sunscreen and face creams have a chemical called Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS)

This is some dangerous stuff my friends... I don't know about you, but my house is full of it!

Sulfates are used for their foaming ability and also as an emulsifier.

Not only have I learned of the poisons that lurk around my home, I am highly discouraged in discovering that the items labeled "natural" or "organic" ... may be anything but! There are currently no federal regulations for beauty products in the United States. How CRAZY is that?


Let me explain why this is crazy. 
This chemical that is in most of our personal products, is actually a pesticide. SLS is used to kill insects. KILL insects. The makers of SLS petitioned to have SLS listed as a pesticide for organic farming. However, since this product pollutes and causes damage to the environment. It was denied.

So the makers of SLS ask for their product to be used to organically kill insects, and they also heap bucket loads of this garbage into our lotions and shampoos?

Products that we put ON our bodies, end up IN our bodies. This isn't good, because if we ingest something, at least the enzymes in our mouths and stomachs have a fighting chance of breaking some of this junk down. But as it turns out, SLS just builds up in our bodies. The average person absorbs up to 5 pounds of chemicals into their bodies every single year. 

That's scary!

Our bodies can't break down certain chemicals, Therefor- They accumulate IN. OUR. BODIES.

The use of Sulfates has been linked to:
Skin Irritation
Organ Toxicity
Endocrine Disruption (Hormones)
Neurotoxicity
Eye Irritation
Developmental/Reproductive toxicity
Increased Canker Sores (Mouth Wash and Toothpaste Use)
Damage to cellular DNA
And 
The research continues about sulfates and their link to various cancers


If Sodium Lauryl Sulfates cause havoc to your body, imagine what they do when they hit our water supply?! High concentrations of SLS can kill fish and aquatic life.

I stopped using shampoo with Sulfates about a year ago, when a hair dresser told me how bad it was for my hair. But guess what? I *thought* I was using Sulfate free shampoo. It turns out sulfates are listed under several names and my "sulfate free shampoo"... you guessed it. Full of sulfates!

Here are some of the other names for Sulfates:
Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS)
Sodium laureth sulfate (SLES)
Sodium dodecyl sulfate
Sodium salt sulfuric acid
Monododecyl ester sodium salt sulfuric acid
A 13-00356
Akyposal SDS
Ammonium Laurel Sulfate (ALS)
Aquarex ME
Aquarex methyl
Sulfuric acid
Monododecyl ester
Sodium salt
Sodium Coco-Sulfate 

The last one is especially frightening. Why? Because organic companies use it insisting it's "better" and not a sulfate. Wrong. It's still a dangerous sulfate.

Don't be fooled by "Green Washing"

Chances are, if you can't pronounce it, you may not want to let it soak into your skin.

Here are a few of the "Natural" companies that use Sulfates
Lush
The Body Shop
Avalon Organics
(This list goes on and on)

Sulfates are bad for the planet and they're bad for you.
Read your labels!

I know it's hard to switch from the easily obtainable products, to safer ones.
I'm just starting my journey in buying and using safer products, and to be honest, I'm finding that home made products are the best (I LOVE homemade body scrubs). However, I've also tried "No Poo" and I just don't like how baking soda and vinegar make my hair feel. So my quest for earth friendly and safe shampoo continues! If you know of any fantastic sulfate free products, please share with me! I'll also keep you posted on anything that I find.

Have a great weekend friends!
Tammy



Sources:







Friday, January 2, 2015

Flying planes on fuel, Made from your garbage!

I'm starting a new series on my blog...

Friday Eco Facts

Maybe not EVERY Friday, as you never know when one might be tending to children, or traveling the world... With said children.

Environmental Issues are extremely important to me. And though I do like to travel, I try to offset my carbon footprint by being as Earth friendly as possible, in other areas of my life.

Living day to day life. Honestly, the way we consume, buy, eat, commute and dispose of our waste are some of the biggest obstacles, we all face on a daily basis. For those of us trying to leave a small footprint that is. For those of you that don't care... Please allow me to cringe for every plastic bottle you throw away.

I've already caught some *crap* for sending out Christmas cards this year, what I thought was a bit of cheer. I was reminded what a waste of paper, money and... well there is that issue of CO2 from flying those planes around. In fact a friend even said to me "What kind of Environmentalist sends out Christmas Cards? Does it matter if I recycle all of my cards? No?

But what if (and we all know it wasn't) but what if the planes that were flying around my paper cards of cheer were, none other than, British Airways?

You think I've lost the plot now don't you? I haven't.

Though I know that British Airways aren't in the business of delivering my personal cards across the pond, I do know that they are part of my Friday Eco Fact.

Did you know that British Airways has teamed up with Solena Fuels and by 2017 will (if all goes as planned) start to use fuel that has been made out of household garbage?

Yep. Your banana peels... Are flying planes.
Even better news... Did you know that Virgin Airlines, have already begun flying some of their planes, on a bio-fuel blend?

If Virgin and British Airways can hop on this Eco band-wagon, then I see no reason why others wouldn't want to follow suit? Well. They have!! Alaska Airlines and Southwest Airlines also fly some flights using bio-fuel.
(I really should get a discount on my next ticket for plugging these Airlines!!)

Seriously though... The "London Green Sky Project", is fantastic news. It's the first of it's kind because it uses household waste. If our garbage can be turned into bio-fuel, we can fly with the knowledge that, our trash is literally carting us around the planet!

Am I the only one that gets passionately excited about these kinds of things?
It's an amazing technology. Think about it. YOUR garbage, collected up in London, and turned to fuel. British Airways is committed to using local trash. It helps the communities in London by keeping the boroughs clean and keeping the municipal garbage out of the landfills.
If you want every juicy sorted detail about the project, you can read even more about it in this Environment and Energy Publication.

British Airways is by far my favorite airline. But when it comes to Earth friendly air travel, I'll go with any airline, committed to helping me, to leave a smaller carbon footprint.

So air travel may soon be more environmentally friendly, than we imagined possible!  

BE GREEN IN 2015!

Happy New Year,
Tammy
All pictures used on this particular blog posting are not mine. They were found on various sites on the internet or by using google photos.