Everybody needs good neighbours. And Josef Brown (who plays Sergeant Matt Turner on Neighbours) is a real good’n. In between fighting crime in Erinsborough, he managed to produce an awesome web series about the impact our food choices make. Check it out:
Who knew Josef Brown was secretly a talented writer and producer as well as an actor?! (He can also dance, but I’ll leave that for another time so as not to explode your brain.) You can watch the full ‘At the Fork’ series here.
Josef has been meat-free for 22 years now. In that time, his choice has not only saved thousands of animals' lives, he’s significantly reduced his environmental impact. So he’s looking out for his neighbours, and his children’s neighbours and his grandchildren’s neighbours ... Ok, I might’ve taken that ‘Neighbours’ metaphor too far but the point is that he’s a top bloke.
It’s the International Year of Quinoa! Quin-what? Yea I know, I’ve only just discovered this wonderful grain. And now it’s way up there on my list of favourite grains. (And trust me, that’s a competitive list.)
Quinoa has all of a sudden started popping up in salads and next to stews and even in cakes. It’s arguably the hipster cafe grain of choice. Although I’m sure hipsters were eating it long before it was cool. Which I guess makes Incas the original hipsters, since they were eating it centuries ago.
The most important thing to know about quinoa is how to pronounce it. Too many times I’ve had the guy behind the counter at the veggie place shake his head at me for asking for ‘kwin-noah’. At first I would shy away, back to the grains that are easier to pronounce, such as rice and barley. But then I downloaded the ‘How to Pronounce Quinoa’ YouTube tutorial and listened to it every day on the bus to work. Now I say quinoa like a pro. Kee-nwah. Kee-nwah.
“Morning Amy. How’s it ...”
The second most important thing you should know about quinoa is that it is DELICIOUS! And good for you. It’s high in protein and has all of the essential amino acids. (No idea what an amino acid is but my mum’s always raving on about them.) AND, there are so many different things you can do with quinoa. Here’s some of my personal faves:
Since it’s the year of quinoa, I’m going to get both feet on this grain train and experiment with even more quinoa recipes. Want to take the challenge with me? Let me know your favourite new recipes in the comments below.
P.S. The picture of the cat had nothing to do with this blog whatsoever, but let’s be honest, cats are cuter than quinoa.
Proving once and for all that people who work at NASA must be pretty brainy ... scientists there have developed over 100 different meals for future manned trips to Mars. And each and every one of those meals is vegan! Maybe it's time to rename Mars from the 'Red Planet' to the 'Green Planet'?
Mars has been seen as the most likely planet for humans to live on in the future. NASA has a whole program dedicated to researching the place, and the plan is to send astronauts up there by the year 2030. At first it might sound like a 'world's worst job' kinda thing. It'll take astronauts 6 months to get there; then they're going to spend 18 months doing 'sciencey' things; then another 6 months to return to Earth. But throw in the all-vegan menu, and pics of the pizza that'll be going with them - and all of a sudden it doesn't seem too bad! Time to start paying attention in science class...
The reason NASA has gone for cruelty-free space food is that it'd be impossible to preserve meat and dairy products on such a long journey. There's also an idea being floated that the Mars astronauts will be able to grow their own greens and eat them. It's common knowledge now that the farming of animals for human consumption is contributing to environmental destruction and wasting water here on Earth, so making the first human contact with a new planet vegan is a pretty good idea I reckon.
There's no word yet if the astronauts will be able to swing through Lord of the Fries to grab takeaway for their trip, but I'm betting that the boffins at NASA will have come up with plenty of meal ideas to keep them happy and healthy while they're up in space. If they need some more inspiration - there's plenty of delicious, cruelty-free eats here.
What food could you absolutely NOT do without if you were sent off to space for 3 years?
CONTENT WARNING: If you're too young to remember when Pokemon first went nuts, or if you're squeamish, you might want to tune out now.
Here's a blog to sink your teeth in to! Umm ... or not. A Serbian chef has released a cookbook/great-conversation-starter on how to cook testicles! Which I assume someone would then actually eat.
"Waiter - there's a hair in my testicle soup! Oh ... no."
I don't want to go into the gory details (because I just ate lunch), but the recipes include a Testicle Pizza, and the book also shows the correct way to "peel a testicle", to help beginner cooks get the balls rolling. Har-har-har.
If you think that's pretty wrong, then you probably don't want to know what goes into meat pies in Australia. (I'll give you a clue - it involves rind, connective tissue, nerves and blood vessels). And don't get me started on hamburgers.
The good news is that it's easy to avoid these mystery meats, and in the process improve your health, help the environment and save animals all at the same time! By going veg, you'll find yourself in the company of people like Leonardo da Vinci, Missy Higgins and the Incredible Hulk! Which would also make a pretty interesting dinner party. Bags sitting next to Missy!
Sportswear giant Puma have scored some big points on the 'animal friendly' score board with news that it's considering giving leather the boot!
In an interview on the weekend, Puma's chairman, Jochen Zeitz said that given the environmental damage caused by raising cattle, "I think eventually we'll have to look at alternative materials, there's no question about it. We should eat less meat, all of us, and we should use less leather, I mean that's reality."
This move would save millions of animals from being abused and killed in the leather industry, not to mention cutting down on greenhouse gases and the toxic chemicals used to preserve dead cow's skin. Hopefully the other big shoe companies will come to the party soon too!
Luckily, Puma isn't the only one in the sporting world that is kicking out cruelty. From sports companies to sports teams ... Last year, the English football team, Forest Green Rovers lived up to the 'green' in their name and went vegetarian! The club announced that "on nutritional advice, it was decided to no longer feed our team red meat for health and performance reasons". But they didn't stop there: "If red meat was not good enough to feed our players, then it wasn't good enough for our staff, fans and visitors too". And so meat pies and hot-dogs were shown the red card, substituted by mushroom pies, polenta chips and felafel wraps.
I don't know if the new menu at the club can take all the credit, but the Rovers improved from 20th in 2011 to finish 10th in the 2012 season (after meat had been cut)! Even if the new menu can't take credit for all the points on the pitch, the players and fans can take heart in knowing that vegetarians are less likely to be obese or have high levels of artery clogging cholesterol, and enjoy a range of other health benefits - simply by choosing not to eat animals.
Ever go to the footy? What do you think of the food on offer at the games? (Apart from the fact that it's overpriced, I mean). What do you think they should be serving?
ps. When you've got a sec, please send Puma a supportive message to let them know that you think getting rid of leather would be a slam dunk for animals and the environment: firstname.lastname@example.org
Even Olivia knows the world needs to pull its socks up when it comes to protecting animals! If a 7 year old knows it, surely adults can get it too right?
Sadly, Australasia isn't going so well in the biodiversity department. I mean, we have loads of amazing species of flaura and fauna, the trouble is that according to conservation experts, our native plants and animals are disappearing faster than anywhere else on the planet.
So while we scramble to save the pandas of China, the Orangutans of Borneo and the Bengal tigers of India, it's also good to know what we can do in our own backyard to save the bilbies, potoroos, frogs, orange-bellied parrots, spiny skinks, sheathtail bats, sharks, burrowing crayfish, even native snails and bees that make Australia amazing but are critically endangered. (I've only skimmed the surface here -Â check out this list!)
Rainforests, scrub and woodlands generally have a rich variety of animals and plants, but that quickly disappears when you cut down the trees! And according to the UN, livestock production is one of the key contributors to deforestation, species extinction - not to mention land, water and air pollution.
So it would seem that going veg can save more lives than just the one on the plate! Sounds like a win-win to me! More animals safe from extinction and more yummy food in our bellies :)
Einstein said "Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet." But it doesn't take a genius to see we need to do more to protect biodiversity. And what better place to start than with what we eat? Aren't you hungry for change?
So I thought I'd share a little something with you:
Funny, right?! And it's enough to make someone want to Pledge to be Veg, isn't it! Which would be a great way to help yourself this World Health Day -- not to mention improving the health of animals and the planet we live on!
Whip out the candles and get ready to turn out the lights, 'cause this Saturday is Earth Hour. At 8:30pm, people across Australia (and around the world) will flick off their switches to shed light on climate change.
There's really no denying our planet is sick: climate change, species extinction, water shortages, pollution... the list just goes on and on
The theme for this year's Earth Hour is 'Beyond the Hour'. So, 'beyond the hour' what can you do to help heal our planet? Well personally, I'd prescribe that people take action for the planet 3 times a day: breakfast, lunch and dinner! I'll let New York Times food writer Mark Bittman explain:
"We have to take matters into our own hands. Not only by advocating for a better diet for everyone, but by improving our own. And that happens to be quite easy: less meat, less junk, more plants. It's a simple formula."
Einstein also put it well: "Nothing will benefit human health and increase the chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet." Which also reminds me of this video...
World Water Day is brought to you by the United Nations to remind us that over 1 billion people don't have access to clean water. It's staggering to think that nearly 4,000 kids die every day as a result. 
And this got me thinking… A lot of us have water restrictions affecting out gardening or our shower time, but these savings aren't even a drop in the ocean compared with what is used in the meat and dairy industries every day.
When I was at uni, we went to a cattle feedlot in Tungali in rural SA. I nearly fell over when the guide told me that in summer, a cow can drink up to 80 litres of water in a day. There were 3,000 thirsty cows jammed into this feedlot! That's almost a quarter of a million litres of water used a day just so people can eat unhealthy hamburgers made from the bodies of unfortunate cows in just one of the many feedlots across Oz.
Now while I wait for you to find your feet again, I'll let you in on some other scary stats:
To produce just one kilo of chicken meat takes 3,500 litres of water. 
To produce a kilo of beef takes 100,000 litres! 
And wait for it … over 12% of all the water used in the world is used to produce … milk!  Yep, dairy is undoubtedly the biggest guzzler of water in the world (not to mention one of the cruellest industries to boot)
So, if you're serious about saving water, you could refuse to shower for an entire year, let your garden dry up into a dust patch, and never ever wash the car. OR, you could join me to go vegan and reward yourself with some amazingly delicious cruelty-free food!
How will you be saving water on World Water Day (and every other day)?
Pristine beaches, beautiful coastlines, incredible rainforests, arid deserts and crisp clean snow - Australia is without a doubt one of the most amazing countries in the world.
So don't you just hate it when you see rubbish littering this beautiful landscape? I mean, when you find out how rubbish affects our environment, you quickly realise it doesn't just look ugly, it can be a serious danger to our wildlife. That's why you'll catch me with my gloves on, cleaning up next Sunday (6th March) for Clean Up Australia Day!
I remember first hearing how plastic bags can wash into oceans and be eaten by turtles, dolphins, birds, etc - blocking their digestive tract, causing them to slowly starve. Now, I can't walk by a stray plastic bag (esp. near waterways) without picking it up and putting it in a bin! This story of 'The Majestic Plastic Bag' puts it well:
And plastic bags are just the start...
You wouldn't think that something as small as the plastic ring around the top of a drink or vitamin bottle could do much harm. But check out what happened to this turtle, who got caught in a plastic ring at a young age, and literally grew around it! This magpie didn't fare much better! Btw, simply cutting rings before tossing them out is a simple way to avoid this happening to any other animals.
And seeing a snake with her head trapped in a soft drink can is just saddening. Especially when you know how easy it would have been to crush the can and put it in a bin!
Clean Up Australia Day on Sunday, March 6th is a fantastic opportunity to help make Australia even more beautiful, save animals from falling victim to our litter and meet some other caring cleaner-upperers! There are over 5000 volunteer sites all over Australia and you can find one near you simply by typing your postcode in here. If you know of a site that needs attention, you can register that as well!
I'll be down at my local creek the morning of Sunday the 6th, clearing away hazards to animals and prettying up the place! I hope to see you out there!
Are you taking part in Clean Up Australia Day? Where do you plan to clean up?
2. Masses of native vegetation have been cleared to graze sheep, irreversibly changing the Australian landscape.
3. Countless native Australian animals are extinct or endangered because of habitat loss through land clearing (livestock production being one of the main causes of this land clearing). In fact Australasia leads the entire world in species extinction :(
4. Sheep produce methane, a greenhouse gas 21 times more potent than carbon dioxide, which is affecting the whole planet (which btw includes Australia).
5. Sheep have wonderful personalities and are just as smart and deserving as the beloved dogs and cats in the homes of countless Australians.
And finally, this:
Would anyone seriously want that adorably cute and bouncy critter to have to die for their dinner?
These undisputed facts only point to one conclusion -Â Sam's got it backwards: it's eating lamb that is un-Australian!
Take that Kekovich!
I wanna know how you'll be spending Australia Day? Leave a comment!
What did you have to eat on Monday? I hope it was tasty, green and animal friendly ;)
I'm happy to say that the people of San Francisco and Washington DC are being encouraged to eat green every Monday! The city councils of both these US cities have decided to beef up their environmental stance, by cutting out the cow (and chicken, and pig... you get the idea), and promoting Meat Free Mondays.
The problem is that most people don't realise that eating meat is about as green as hunting wildlife in an SUV! If you've watched Meat the Truth then you know that raising livestock produces more greenhouse gases than all the world's transport combined. Not to mention being a major contributor to species extinction, scarcity of water and all sorts of pollution. I mean, run off fertilisers and excrement from animal industries was killing plenty of wildlife in the Gulf of Mexico well before BP botched things up. (ever heard of a dead zone?)
So it's exciting to see cities encouraging their citizens to eat for a healthier planet every Monday. San Fran and Washington join the Baltimore school system, the original Hard Rock Cafe (in London) and the Belgian city of Ghent in promoting a meat free day once a week to save the planet. Sydney City Council also gave the campaign a plug last year (fingers crossed they'll join these others in officially adopting the initiative).
UPDATE: And now Cape Town has become the first African city to promote a meat-free day each week as well. Yay!
Did you know that June 8th is World Oceans Day? I often wonder why our planet wasn't called Ocean, instead of Earth, since most of the planet is covered by water! Not only that, the ocean creates oxygen, regulates our climate and is home to about 97% of all life on the planet. But there's a crisis happening below the water...
Scientists are warning that we will fish out our oceans by 2048 if we don't change what we are doing. Meanwhile fishing mentality seems to be: plunder what you can while you still can. Since the ocean is literally Earth's life support system, I am frankly terrified by this!
But it's not just people who are gobbling up ocean wildlife. Every year countless billions of marine animals are ground up and fed to livestock - yet another ecological disaster.
"More than 50% of the fish taken from the oceans are fed to livestock making pigs, sheep, cows, and chickens the largest marine predators on the planet" -Captain Paul Watson SSCS.
And if fishing our oceans doesn't make sense, then fish farming makes even less! Every fish raised in a fish farm is fed up to ten times its own weight in ocean-caught fish. That means more fish are caught from the oceans to feed fish in factory farms!
If you're like me, and would rather avoid an ocean apocalypse, then you'll be glad to know that there is something we can all do to stop this. This World Ocean Day, join me and give fishing the finger by pledging not to eat fish (or any other innocent animal).
Did you know that June 1st is 'World Milk Day'? Or, as I think it should be called, WMD? I think this acronym is more than suitable because milk is a Weapon of Mass Destruction -- for cows, calves and the environment.
On WMD, let's remember the 1 million bobby calves who were taken from their grieving Mums, only to be slaughtered as 'waste products' of the dairy industry -- so that the milk nature intended for them could be fed to humans...
On WMD, let's spare a thought for the struggling Murray Darling Basin. It takes 200 litres of water to get one glass of milk. Not only is this the driest inhabited continent in the world -- our river systems are at record lows. But I'm taking shorter showers while the dairy industry is draining our waterways!
On WMD, let's think about how we can change things for the better. What better day than World Milk Day to mark the day you ditch dairy?
P.S. Did I mention, "Milk is for babies"? Check out our new WMD-inspired banner! Show you care by slapping it on your Myspace, or uploading it to Facebook :)
Click here to download the banner, or copy and paste this code to your Myspace:
<a href="http://www.unleashed.org.au?tr=1026"><img border="0" src="http://www.unleashed.org.au/images/banners/280_dairy.gif" alt="Milk is for babies! unleashed.org.au" title="Milk is for babies unleashed.org.au" height="250" width="280" /></a>
So I just went out and saw a great movie. I didn't feel much like eating the popcorn though (I'll tell you why in a sec). Believe me, you MUST see Food, Inc. SO it's lucky that we've got 5 double passes to give away!
I don't think I need to tell you how cruel factory farms are. In fact, I'm sure you tell other people about this all the time. And no doubt you've come across at least one person who seemed not to care. Well, maybe they'd care if they knew they might literally be eating sh!t!
I've had the misfortune of visiting a feedlot.I saw how they pile up the dung in the middle of each pen to provide - get this -"enrichment for the cows"! Many of the cows I've seen in feedlots were caked in each others faeces from nose to tail, so it's really no surprise that some of that finds its stinky way into the meat people eat. I know... YUCK! It sounds like I'm making this up, I wish I was. But this is actually a reality! In fact, Food, Inc. features a 2 year old, who died after eating a hamburger infected with E.coli from traces of cow dung in the meat.
Oh yeah, the popcorn. I learnt today that if the massive amount of corn grown isn't used for livestock, it's used for nearly everything else. As high-fructose corn syrup, you can find it in cakes, cheese, yoghurt, Coca-Cola, bread, orange juice, even in batteries and charcoal. They grow too much corn, because of government subsidies and so they end up putting it in charcoal?!? Don't they realise there are people starving in Africa!? And here we all are wondering why people make corny puns, we can't help it - there's an excess of corn to go round!
Even if you've already made the healthy switch to being veg or vegan, there is still so much to learn about the food you consume. There are moments in this film that will have you throwing that popcorn at the screen in frustration, but it's an excellent film and well worth checking out!
If you care about animals, people, the environment or yourself, this film is a must see. And here's how you could WIN a free double pass: Leave a comment below to tell us what makes you hungry for change and you could win! The competition ends next Monday (31/05/10), so be quick if you don't want to miss out!
UPDATE: Congrats to the winners who each get a double pass to see this amazing movie. Well done to sarahwithanh27, Carly, Sammy, Sabavana and Nikkikats. Enjoy watching Food, Inc. (with or without the popcorn)!
This week the 7:30 Reportran a story on the dangers of milk. According to the program, regular milk may be linked to a long list of diseases including: heart disease, diabetes, autism and even schizophrenia!
Should we really be surprised that a drink intended for baby calves isn't ideal for adult humans? As Dr. Michael Klapper said: "The human body has no more need for cows' milk than it does for dogs' milk, horses' milk or giraffes' milk."
So milk might make you sick. But what the report didn't mention is that it's also making the environment sick. It takes about 200 litres of water to produce just one glass of milk. That's almost as much water as many people use for all their household activities in a day!
But perhaps the darkest side of the dairy industry is what happens to the animals. Cows do not automatically produce milk. Just like humans, first they need to have a baby. So what happens to the calf? Every year in Australia, 1 million baby calves are slaughtered as 'waste-products' of the dairy industry. Their flesh may be sold as pink veal, their bones may be crushed-up and made into designer dog biscuits, and the lining of their stomachs may be used in the process of making cheese.
Now that's enough to make anybody sick!
Fortunately, enjoying milk without such sickening side effects is a breeze! Next time you're at the shops, why not try one of these fantastic cruelty free milks?
Soy milk:Â My personal favourite. It's high in protein and fibre. My recommendation? Try out Sanitarium's So Good Lite if you like that milky taste. But then if you asked Karen, she'd tell you that Vitasoy's Soy Milky Lite is the way to go.
Rice milk:Â A favourite for some in cooking. If you've got a sweet tooth, this may be the option for you as it's known for its sweeter taste compared to other milks. Vic Unleashed Street Team Co-ordinator Rochelle's recommendation: go get yourself a carton of Vitasoy.
Almond milk, Oat milk, and the list goes on... If you're feeling really adventurous you can even make your own, for example this recipe for cashew milk.
The neat thing with all of these is that not all soy/rice/almond/oat milks taste alike. So there's one to suit everyone's taste. On the flip side, it might take you a little exploring to find the one that suits you. So if at first you don't succed, try another brand ;)
And don't forget to comment below and share which one's your fave?
I'm seriously happy about the new Earth Choice ad that's currently airing on prime time telly. It seems to be the first ad that brings to light the plight of our marine animals. It scares me that the world has largely forgotten them.
I wanted to cry when the stingray was being used as a cleaning rag and the octopus as a mop. I'm a diver and I've had interactions underwater with octopuses that lasted for minutes. These highly intelligent creatures can communicate by changing their colours, the tentacles can express emotions such as anger and affection. They express curiosity through touch and they will look you in the eye to check you out. I've even seen them open jars to get something inside.
And it's not just our ocean life that gets poisoned by many of our household products. Supermarket shelves are lined with products from companies like Procter & Gamble, Colgate/Pamolive, Johnson & Johnson, and Glade who still test on animals! As if it weren't bad enough that we're flushing chemical cocktails into the oceans, first they're dripping them into the eyes of rabbits, feeding them to mice and giving dogs chemical burns just to find out how toxic they really are!
Fortunately, Earth Choice is just one of many great brands that are looking out for animals. There are plenty of others that you can find in pretty much any supermarket, for example: Blast, Planet Ark, and Seventh Generation.
Every time we go to the supermarket we can make a powerful choice not to support animal cruelty. And let's face it, the animals need us (octopuses and bunnies alike). There's just no need for us to torture animals in labs or destroy our oceans just to wash the dishes! So take the pledge to say 'No!' to animal tests and make sure to support brands that look out for our oceans.
So, you may have seen in the news that Australia is lifting its ban on beef imports from mad-cow countries. Let me tell you why this makes me mad:
Mad-cow disease is an illness affecting cattle - caused by feeding cows to cows. Nasty stuff!
But it gets even nastier! If humans eat this infected meat, it can cause the fatal disease, called Variant Creutzfeldt Jakob Disease (you know with a name that long it's gotta be bad!). Sure, these countries claim to have the all clear from mad-cow disease now, but any country that used to feed cows to cows doesn't sound like a smart place to import beef from (not that killing cows sounds like a good idea to begin with). Anyway, while turning cows into cannibals before eating them sounds pretty mad, we've got some home-grown nastiness to worry about - a not-so-little thing called factory farming.
Packing animals into overcrowded sheds, where they may have to live in their own filth without fresh air, natural light or exercise is bound to make them sick. So animals in factory farms are often fed a diet of antibiotics just to keep them alive long enough to be killed. The problem with this? Viruses evolve and antibiotics don't. Factory farms are the perfect breeding ground for antibiotic-resistant super bugs. That's right; diseases not even modern medicine can cure - *cough* Bird Flu *cough* Swine Flu *cough*
And while it's gross - what goes in must come out. The major problem: The huge amount of waste produced by factory farms is not treated, like human waste is. In the case of pigs, it is channelled into massive, open-air cesspits. These "lagoons" (as the industry calls them) can pollute the soil and underground water supplies, and run-off can wreak havock on local waterways - not to mention the health risks to the local community!
But, no need to worry! Like a wizard, I have the perfect solution for you! And while you're at it, you'll be helping heaps of others in a big way. What is it, I hear you chanting? What do I have to do? What must I eat? No, no, no! It's much simpler than that! It's what you don't have to eat - animals!
Not eating animals reduces your risk of getting heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes. Don't eat animals - get a longer life expectancy - it's that easy! Your Mum's been telling you to eat your vegetables forever, so what better way to make her happy?
Sound good? Great! Then click here to take the pledge to be veg and give the cows one less reason to be mad ;)
Some time back, the UN released a very revealing report that revealingly revealed that our habit of eating meat is contributing more to global warming than all the world's trains, planes and automobiles combined. Yep, they say a whopping 18 percent of all the world's greenhouse gas emissions come from livestock.
It seems that back home our pollies might have missed this memo. While other countries are looking at ways to ween their citizens off meat, yesterday our Federal opposition spokesperson for agriculture (that is, the guy who's supposed to know a lot about agriculture), said he reckoned that killing all the feral camels in Australia would be a great way to help save the planet. WTF!?
He says that shooting one million of these unfortunate animals would be like taking 3 percent of Australia's cars off the road. That left me wondering which animals will need to be taken out next to curb the other 97%?
This just in! Al Gore (a.k.a. “Mr Global Warming” himself) has finally confronted the biggest inconvenient truth of all: that meat-eating is responsible for much of the world's most devastating environmental problems: "It's absolutely correct that the growing meat intensity of diets around the world is one of the issues connected to this global crisis - not only because of the CO2 involved, but also because of the water consumed in the process … You could add in the health consequences as well".
It's obvious when you think about it, isn't it? When you need to feed about 10 kilos of food to a cow just to produce merely one kilogram of ‘beef' (and let's not forget the millions of methane-producing burps and farts let off by the global cattle herd every single day), eating green to save the environment is a no-brainer.
Strangely it took the world's most renowned environmental campaigner three years since producing “An Inconvenient Truth” to realise that you can't be a meat-eating environmentalist. And for some reason, Gore stops short of leaving all animals off his plate, saying that he has now “cut back sharply”. A good step in the right direction for sure, but I guess those of us who care more about animals and the planet than the taste of dead flesh will still need to offset Gore by eating green every day (and really, with food this good – who wouldn't want to!?)
No doubt Gore's new appreciation for environmentally sustainable foods will also help his waste line and keep him campaigning a good few years longer :)
And on that note, Yahoo! News wants to know if you'd go veg to help save the planet.Please vote yes!
While saving animals doesn't often appear at the top of governments' agendas, it is starting to sneak in by way of "Green Living"! In a recent newsletter from Sydney City Council I noticed they are promoting Meat Free Mondays.
Meat Free Mondays is a global campaign encouraging people to help curb climate change by having at least one meat-free day per week. If you think this sounds like a great idea, then you're in good company! The campaign already has the support of Paul McCartney, Richard Branson, Moby and the head of the International Panel on Climate Change (ie. the guy who advises the UN on all things climatey).
Governments promoting vegetarianism really makes me all goose-pimply with excitement. And this story gets better! Cause Sydney's not the only city either. In May, the Belgian city of Ghent launched a brilliant initiative to urge the whole city to go vegetarian every Thursday.
If you think Sydney Council is on a winning idea, then why not write to your school/uni/workplace to encourage them to combat climate change too and adopt Meat Free Mondays. Just think of the lives saved if they do!
So if you're like many Australian families, you may well have a copy of the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet (as my parents do). This 240 page book could have easily been summarised in one word – "meat" because that's pretty much the main ingredient in every meal.
But what you may not know is that CSIRO scientists (the good guys) discovered that high meat consumption is linked with bowel cancer and presented this to the CSIRO board (bad guys) in April 2006. Yet in October 2006 the CSIRO ran a second print of their bestselling book, despite the fact the book claimed "Studies have shown that fresh red meat (beef and lamb) is not a significant risk factor for colorectal cancer." LIES! So basically the book was reprinted and continues to be sold despite containing completely misleading information about the risks of cancer and meat. Not to mention the fact it promotes a diet that is extremely harmful to the environment!
Thankfully there is a good bloke out there by the name of Geoff Russell making sure that this blatant spread of misinformation does not go unheard, and he's written his own book: CSIRO Perfidy. Now I'll be honest, I didn't know the definition of 'perfidy' before I heard about this book, but when you read the definition, you'll see that there's no better word to describe the actions of the CSIRO.
Perfidy: –noun, 1. deliberate breach of faith or trust; faithlessness; treachery: perfidy that goes unpunished.
So the good news is you can pick up a copy of CSIRO Perfidy from the Unleashed store. I recommend anyone whose parents have a copy of the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet to buy a copy of this book for them, to give them the full story. As Professor Peter Singer (Philosopher, Author of Animal Liberation, Hero) said "Read this book: it may save your life. And if enough people read it, it just might save the planet.''
It's time to whip out your Australian flag and chant 'Aussie Aussie Aussie!', cause we're number one! Actually... you might want to just sit on that flag when you hear this...
"Our region has the notorious distinction of having possibly the worst extinction record on earth," said Richard Kingsford, one of the authors of a new study on extinction. The study highlighted the fact that the earth is currently expreriencing its 6th greatest extinction, and guess what... Australia and the Pacific top the list of culprits.
According to the report, land clearing and overlogging are amonst the biggest threats to Aussie plants and animals. So who's cutting down all our trees? According to the UN the livestock industry is the number 1 cause of deforestation worldwide. When you connect the dots it's just obvious: eat less meat - save more planet!
And so on that note, it's time for another installment of "Spot the Difference"!
Meat and Livestock Australia have launched a new green-washing campaign to 'keep it real' and highlight the environmental contributions made by livestock producers. This campaign hopes to counter all these concerns about about deforestation, methane emissions (the livestock industry also produce 18% of all greenhouse gas emissions), and all that crap (Literally! - livestock produce 130 times the waste of the entire human population.).
The first image below is the ... ahem ... crap that MLA are trying to feed us. The second is the crap that they're polluting our land with.
Q: What do gorillas and mobile phones have in common?
A: They're both native to the Congo.
Ok, so that might be a stretch. But there is a tiny piece of metallic ore inside your phone, called coltan, which was mined in the Congo. And every time your mobile rings, it's the coltan inside that makes that call possible.
It turns out that whilst a mobile may be convenient for you and me, the mining of coltan to make that phone isn't so convenient for gorillas. Mining in the Congo River Basin is causing deforestation and unrest in the region. And that's bad news for the gorillas, whose populations are dropping at a troubling rate.
Fortunately the ever amazing Jane Goodall is onto the case, and is spearheading a mobile phone recycling program, "They're Calling on YOU". Giving the coltan in your phone a second life, might just help spare a gorilla's in the process. Not to mention the fact that recycling your phone means less landfill. And to top it all off, the sale of refurbished phones helps fund the Jane Goodall Institute's primate conservation work in Africa!
If you're saying "bye bye" to your old hand set then hand it over to the "They're Calling on YOU" recycling program to help protect gorillas.
If you're thinking of catching a flick this week, you might like to check out the new Aussie doco "The Burning Season" (starting 9th July). Narrated by Hugh Jackman, this film follows the young Aussie entrepreneur, Dorjee Sun, in his efforts to save the Indonesian rainforest and the orangutans who live.
The trailer looks fantastic. Who doesn't like an inspiring story of someone changing the world!
Who wants to move to Belgium? I have to admit the thought crossed my mind when I heard that last month the Belgian city of Ghent declared Thursday a vegetarian day for the entire city!
In an effort to combat the impact of the livestock industry on global warming, the city has invited its 230,000 inhabitants to help the planet by eating green every Thursday. The city will be providing free veggie lunch snacks, vegetarian cooking classes and general info on healthy eating. And best of all they will be distributing 90,000 free veggie street maps to guide people to Ghent's vegetarian restaurants. Woo!
According to the UN the livestock industry is responsible for 18% of all greenhouse gas emissions. That's more than all the planes, trains and automobiles in the world combined! To me, that sounds like reason enough to join Ghent in making Thursday (and every other day) a vegetarian day.
If you think Ghent are on a winning idea you might want to write to your local council and suggest they follow Ghent's lead.
I think I've just found my new favourite cartoon! This brilliant illustration was sent to us by the insightful and very talented Donn Pattenden (thanks Donn!).
This is one issue that really stirs me up. The meat and dairy industries are huge water guzzlers. The UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation estimates that one glass of milk takes roughly 200 litres of water to produce. That's almost 3 days worth of showers! But that's nothing compared to the 100,000 litres of water that David Pimentel, a water resource specialist, says is required to produce just 1 kilo of beef!
In a country as dry as Australia, this sort of squandering of water just doesn't make sense. I live in Brisbane, where water shortages are a real threat (just like many of our other cities). We've been told to keep our domestic water usage below 140L of water per person per day...
I'm all for water conservation at home. In fact, we've just installed a new rain water tank :-) ... but when 70% of global water usage is for agriculture, it seems like what we eat and drink would be a smart place for us to start looking at how we can save water.
In recent weeks there have been more and more emerging stories of how these 40+ °C weeks coupled with the Victorian Bushfires are taking their toll on animals, and wild animals are even starting to accept help from their fellow humans. Check out the Sam the Koala taking water from a fire fighter whose picture has made it all around the world!
This serves as an important message folks – as the world is heating up due to global warming, animals need our help.
Wildlife: I'm sure you know that Australia is in one of the biggest droughts of our history, therefore water resources for our furry friends are scarce. Please leave containers of water on your property and in local parks for the birds and other wildlife to ensure they have drinking and bathing water. If an animal wanders on to your property, please do not approach it – leave a large enough tub of water for the animal to bathe in and keep it cool. If you approach the animal, you may stress the animal and it will be frightened to use the water you have provided.
If you see sick or injured wildlife that you don’t know how to help, call your local wildlife group, RSPCA, or vet (some are listed below). Also see information on Wildlife First Aid.
Companion Animals: Make sure you constantly refill their water bowl with cold water - put ice cubes in there to help keep it cool. Before you head out each day, if you know it’s going to be hot, give them a quick bath or pour some water over them to keep them cool while you’re not home (unless they’re cats!). If your family allow it, let them inside with the air conditioning with you. If they live outside, make sure there is plenty of shade (such as trees, building shadows, sail shades) for them because the sun moves throughout the day and UV rays can hurt our little ones, and the pavement can become extremely hot. If you have fish in a fishpond, make sure it’s out of direct contact with the sun as the water can heat up rapidly and literally boil them alive! And never leave a dog in a hot car.
A few local wildlife groups in your state (for a more comprehensive list, visit www.fauna.org.au):
(Note: Please do not email these groups to report injured wildlife – these animals need immediate attention and you should call them).
DPI emergency hotline (for farm animals)
RSPCA (for domestic and wildlife)
Wildlife Victoria Emergency Hotline
1300 094 535
Uni Melb Werribee Vet Clinic Emerg. & Critical Care*
Fun4Paws (looking after fire victims' pets)
0415 104 044
Fauna Rescue of South Australia
08 8289 0896
Koala Information Service
08 8273 5110
02 6287 8100/ 0413 495 031
1300 094 737
Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service
1300 130 372
Wildlife Rescue Darwin
0409 090 840
Dept. Env. & Cons. Wildcare Helpline
08 9474 9055
03 6363 6162
Central North Wildlife Care & Rescue
0409 978 064
*University of Melbourne Werribee vet clinic has offered to provide free treatment to pets and horses injured in the fires.
In a recent press release, the Australian Chicken Meat Federation made a gutsy move in admitting what we all already know: meat stinks for the environment. They say: "if we are to avoid a food and environmental crisis, we must improve the efficiency of grain use for meat production or simply eat less of all types of meat."
Perhaps they read the UN's Livestock's Long Shadow report which reveals that meat production is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than all the world's planes, trains, and automobiles combined!
Despite this momentary glimpse of clarity, ACMF attempts to suggest that the solution is not to save the planet (and our struggling health system) by adopting a healthier, vegetarian diet—but to eat more birds! Clearly one saturated-fat-laden-chicken-wing-too-many has clogged vital blood vessels to the brain of the exec who thought up that brilliant idea.
While it might be true that raising pigs, cows and sheep are even worse for the planet than chickens, the poultry industry is still responsible for massive amounts of damaging pollution that is wreaking havoc on the environment. Incidentally, a key reason for the difference between the ecological footprint of raising chickens and other animals is that Australia's meat chickens have been bred to grow so unnaturally fast that they are just 6-week-old babies—many of which suffer heart conditions and lameness—when they are killed for their flesh. This cruel system is something the chicken industry likes to euphemistically call 'food conversion efficiency'.
So, as the Australian Chicken Meat Federation says, eat less of all types of meat. But really, when it's so easy to save 100 lives every year, why not dump meat all together?
This is the coolest thing I've seen all week! If you're like me and think it's pretty cool to have a planet to live on (and want to keep it), and you dig animation, then check out Animal Planet's new tips to protect animals (and the planet)...
And while you're at it, send them a thank you email to let them know how fantastic they are for encouraging people to eat less meat. There's no better way to save the planet, so kudos to them for speaking up!
p.s. If anyone out there has animation skills to offer up, drop me a line. We can always put you to work to kick ass for animals.
I have to admit, I have a real soft spot for good spoken word. There's something awe inspiring in seeing a room full of people transfixed by words. And Saul Williams takes the cake for razor sharp lyrics with a political bite (check out any of his performances on youtube and you'll see what I mean). There's an intense passion behind his genre-leaping mix of performance poetry, underground hip-hop, rock, drum and bass and anything else that takes his fancy.
Speaking out on everything from workers' rights to the environment to the war in Iraq, Saul's music and activism meld seamlessly. His poetry inspires action and his actions inspire. With lyrical gems like "Quit rhyming about being hardcore. Be heart-core. What else is life worth living for?" how can anyone not dig his music and his message? And to top it off he's vegan!
I recently stumbled across an email Saul sent to his fans and thought I'd share a few of his insights with you all. Saul talks in big ideas and, being a poet, can write like words are going out of style. But his message is worth the read.
Martin Luther King said "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter." If you ask me, Saul Williams is definitely alive and kicking. I hope you are too! Anyway, enough babble, here's what the man had to say:
"A story was recently recounted to me of a popular TV chef who chose to raise little piglets on his show to insure that they were fed organic food and not injected with chemicals (as is the practice on most factory farms), all for the sake of fattening them up for their slaughter and another primetime recipe. Yet, the time that this chef spent with these pigs taught him a valuable lesson (more valuable for the pigs, no doubt). What he learned was how intelligent pigs are. In fact, in recent times, it is common knowledge for most that pigs are arguably more intelligent than “mans best friend” and companion, the dog. For our chef, this meant switching gears and realizing that he could not consciously kill this intelligent animal, that it would constitute a murder as brutal as slicing your fluffy pets neck and watching it writhe and bleed to death, or sticking an electric prod up its ass and electrocuting it, if the fur or skin is of value…
I wouldn’t want to make you “lose your lunch”, but these are the common practices perpetuated by the factory farm industry on millions of animals a day, in the name of your breakfast lunch and dinner. And, no, I’m not simply talking about pigs, but also cows, chickens, turkey, horses (that’s right horses. Everyday), and fish. Everyday, our species participates in the mass genocide of other species without care or concern or even questioning whether the violence that we ingest and condone plays any role in our apathetic support of the war machine we have become. How is it that we as human beings can represent both the highest and most developed and lowest and least concerned forms of intelligence of any living species? Are we simply glued to age-old barbaric traditions that cloud our senses and render us inhumane in our dependence on comfort foods and practices?
[W]e all identify with the teachings of Gandhi, the genius of Einstein, the art of Leonardo Da Vinci, Picasso, Rembrandt and the talent and compassion of living artists like Alice Walker, Will Smith, The Mars Volta, Dead Prez, Prince and countless others. Some of us choose to emulate their styles, their fashion, their career choices, but why not their diets?
Perhaps the biggest issue at hand is not what our cars run on, but essentially what do we run on?
We’re supposed to let you know that the ideas expressed here are the views of the individual authors, and may not necessarily reflect the views of Animals Australia or Animals Australia Unleashed. So now you know.