Recently an email came through decrying that produce was grown in human poop and that Chinese suspend chicken wire crates over the fish ponds and the fish with their shit. While this sounds sensational, in truth, human manure was a standard farming nutrient prior to the flush toilet.
I am not overly concerned about chicken poop or people poop – where do people think dirt comes from? it’s worm & bug poop (also known as castings). The “Circle of Life” is not just a cute song from the Lion King – creatures eat predominantly other creatures – bones, stomachs, poop and all. Cows & horses poop on the land that grows the grass that they soon graze on. Human poop starts as food and is simply food that has been burned as fuel or excess nutrients that cannot be fully absorbed at the time. Allan Savory in his TED presentation establishes how new deserts have been re-established as verdant grasslands by re-introducing traditional cattle herding whereby the droppings both enrich the soil and contain the grass seeds for reseeding.
We need those excess excreted nutrients over and over again each day and they need to return to the food stream through the soil, though a diet entirely of poop is probably not very well balanced and should be mixed with veggie matter for a full-bodied compost. Composting and percolation through the ground to underground aquifers (except those exposed to fracking or other underground toxins) exposes excrement to the pro-biotic bacteria necessary to cleanse it for eventual safe reabsorption into plants. The Rich Earth Institute in Vermont does just that with collected urine (rich in nitrogen, phosphorous & potassium) in a [rpcess they call “peecycling” which is used after it is pasteurized !
That being said, excrement of sick humans and animals should be contained and kept out of the food stream.
No less an authority than our founding father, George Washington, considered people and horse casting to be more valuable than gold. Though he was many things to our nation, he considered himself, first and foremost a farmer. He studied it, saved seeds, used crop rotations, fertilizers, was intimately knowledgeable about the micro-climates of Mt. Vernon & the 8,000 acres he maintained for his wife’s family around Virginia. He built lovely “necessaries”, outhouses, throughout his estate from which the proceeds were harvested regularly and encouraged everyone to use them. The farms were extraordinarily prolific and provided all the food for the family and 300 workers.
Amish have been recycling their refuse regularly though some municipalities are now requiring them to put in leach beds.
Composting, Gardening, Landscaping, manure, Organic, Re-use, Recycle, Sustainable Food, Toxic Chemicals, Water | Comments (2)
You’ve probably all read the memes and emails on wonderful things you can use fabric softener sheets for. What the manufacturers would rather you not know are how the ingredients affect our bodies and our central nervous system .
The chemicals go from our clothes to our skin, our largest organ, and are absorbed through our bodies. Children, pregnant and nursing women are at increased risk.
The most common chemicals found in name brand Fabric Softeners and their health risks are listed below:
Alpha-Terpineol – central nervous system disorders, highly irritating to lungs; pneumonitis, fatal edema, ataxia (loss of muscle coordination), headaches, respiratory depression
Benzyl Acetate – pancreatic cancer, irritating to eyes and lungs, respiratory coughs and lung irritation
Benzyl Alcohol – headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, drop in blood pressure, upper respiratory tract problems, central nervous system, depression, and death in severe respiratory responses
Camphor – central nervous system disorders, irritates eyes, nose & throat, dizziness, confusion, nausea, twitching muscles & convulsions
Chloroform – headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, irritation of respiratory tract, loss of consciousness, kidney disorders, liver disorders, skin disorders, inhalation can be fatal
Ethyl Acetate – headache, stupor, anemia, leukocytosis, liver damage, kidney damage, irritating to eyes and respiratory tract
Limonene – human carcinogen
Linalool – respiratory disturbances, depression, CNS disorders
Pentane – headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, drowsiness, irritation of respiratory tract, loss of consciousness depression, dermatitis, CNS disorders.Clothing & Fabrics, Toxic Chemicals | Comment (0)
Hello Eco- Mom!
Please explain to me why leaving water running is bad! Fresh water is a limited resource; how does running it and using it end up ruining the fresh water?!
Love, Your Daughter
Hello Wonderful, Curious Daughter,
In order for water to get to your faucet it must first:
- Be pumped from sewers, storm drains, resevoirs to a water treatment plant. Pumping takes lots of electricity
- That water must be filtered, stirred (again more electricity) and treated (lots of not so nice chemicals)
- Bad stuff from filtering must be lifted out, transported somewhere (more electricity and gasoline to transport to waste disposal site)
- Good treated water must again be pumped from the plant all around the city through the water mains (again more electricity)
- If you’ve used hot water, there is also the natural gas or electricity used to heat that water that is just going down the drain to no good purpose
20% of energy in the US is used just to pump, clean and filter water. Even if you pour clean water back into the drain it gets mixed up with the dirty stuff and has to be re-pumped and re-cleaned endlessly.
PS. Here’s a wonderful design concept to clean your water at home.
Electricity, Reduce, Solar Thermal (hot water), Toxic Chemicals, Transportation, Water | Comment (0)
Looking for sustainably & ethically harvested Ceylon cinnamon? Enjoy the photos and stories of La Cannelle plantation.
Cinnamon has several health benefits, a source of manganese, fiber, iron and calcium. It’s believed to help with anti-clotting abilities, help stabilize sugar levels for those with Type 2 diabetes, lower bad cholesterol, and fight infections.
There are two kinds of cinnamon, but product labels do not usually identify the type. Cassia, “common” cinnamon, usually from China, is redder, stronger in flavor, and cheaper. Ceylon (from Sri Lanka, Vietnam) or “true” cinnamon is a pale tan color; it is milder, sweeter, and more expensive than cassia.
Ceylon cinnamon sticks are tight rolls of thin layers; cassia sticks are hollow tubes of thicker, rougher, bark. They are generally ground into powders.
Not sure which type of cinnamon to use for your food? Penzeys offers a helpful guide.
CINNAMON AS ALLERGEN
Cinnamon also contains as essential oil called cinnamal, which can act as an allergen in a fair amount of people. Those who are allergic to cinnamon can suffer from contact dermatitis. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, cinnamon can also cause a severe allergic reaction that can lead to anaphylactic shock. We can only hope that someone who knows they are allergic to cinnamon would politely decline the challenge; but for someone who wasn’t aware of the existence or severity of an allergy, the results could be … challenging.”
CINNAMON AS NATURAL TOXIN & PESTICIDE.
On the plus side, cinnamon can be used as a natural pesticide known to be unkind to mosquito larvae, moths and ants … and most famously, rats.
Cinnamaldehyde is the organic compound that gives the spice its flavor but, used in concentration, is a pesticide and fungicide that causes internal hemorrhage & death. EPA warns of acute dermal toxicity; acute oral toxicity; eye irritation; dermal irritation and dermal sensitization. When cooking, use recommended portions.
CINNAMON AS MEDICATION.
Cinnamon contain substantial amounts of coumarin (also present in the tonka bean, from which it’s name came, and other plants). Coumarin is better known by its trademarked name, Coumadin, an anti-coagulant used to keep blood from clotting. Although coumarin itself has no anticoagulant properties, it is transformed into the natural anticoagulant dicoumarol by a number of species of fungi. Eating cinnamon, by itself, will not help your heart disease.
Coumarin is a possibly carcinogenic substance that can cause liver inflammation and can affect blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. In people who are sensitive, coumarin might cause or worsen liver disease.
Ground cinnamon can lead to a bronchial constriction that can be life threatening. For anyone suffering from asthma or COPD, this can be very serious.
Cassia cinnamon contains .5% coumarin. Due to concerns about the possible effects of coumarin, several years ago the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment warned against consuming large amounts of Cassia cinnamon. One teaspoon of cinnamon powder contains may be above the Tolerable Daily Intake for smaller individuals.
Ceylon contains only .0004% coumarin and is unlikely to be problematic. If you enjoy cinnamon but are at risk, consider cooking with Ceylon.
Fair Trade/ Ethically Traded, Organic, Sustainable Food, Think Globally, Toxic Chemicals |
I was thinking about how I could save more water at the sink, then thought:
QUESTION: how much water evaporates from an uncovered pool?
ANSWER: 200-300 gallons per WEEK (Marin MWD). In Redwood City, that would cost
about $12-15/mo (but our rates are scheduled to increase soon) and that’s before splash replacement, what people and dogs drip out. An older pool with leaks could increase that evaporation many times over.
Surprisingly, most evaporation occurs in autumn when water temperatures are
high and air temperatures are cold (especially at night).
You can eliminate 80% of evaporation with a pool cover.
A lawn v pool study for Sacramento (much hotter & dryer than Redwood City) figures that a pool still uses less water than a lawn.
A lawn the size of a pool uses 4,270 gals divided by 748 gal/unit = 5.71
units X $6.2/unit =$35/mo to water a swimming pool-sized piece of grass.
So… 1) don’t swap out your pool for a lawn
2) Cover your pool when not in use
3) If you’re eliminating the pool (pool maintenance is getting pricey) replace it with native and drought tolerant plantings that don’t require much water after they have been established.
PaxDonnaVerdeGardening, Landscaping, Toxic Chemicals, Water | Comments (3)
My daughter sent me an image of a factory spouting smoke with the tagline ” Explain to future generations that it was good for the economy when they can’t farm the land, breathe the air and drink the water”
“Americans from coast to coast are living with the human health and environmental costs of factory farms that cram together thousands of animals in filth conditions… producing huge quantities of manure that taint local water supplies and air quality. Consumers…end up eating meat, poultry and dairy products loaded with antibiotic-resistant bacteria and artificial hormones” – Food and Water Watch. See the online map of farm factories near your water supply.Sustainable Food, Think Globally, Toxic Chemicals, Water | Comments (2)
That nice shiny paper that most receipts are printed on? BPA (or BPF) is likely-as-not an ingredient. We slip those recieipts in next to our currency in our wallets, slide our hands over them countless times as we rummage through our purses, pick them up to enter them in Quicken, then one more time to file, trash or shred them.
“When people talk about polycarbonate bottles, they talk about nanogram quantities of BPA [leaching out],” John C. Warner of the Warner Babcock Institute for Green Chemistry observes observed about carbonless copy papers when he worked at Polaroid. “The average cash register receipt that’s out there and uses the BPA technology will have 60 to 100 milligrams of free BPA.” By free, he explains, it’s not bound into a polymer, like the BPA in polycarbonates. It’s just the individual molecules loose and ready for uptake.”
But thats not the end. Those duplicate check records? Carbonless credit card receipts? What if you’re a cashier handling them all day? Touched some food after handling the receipt? Ouch! Of course, many of us recycle those receipts, cool huh? Maybe not, it may be ending up in our recycled toilet paper. Is shredded thermal paper part of your composted fertilizer? Ooops.
Bill Van Den Brandt of Appleton papers point out that his company’s receipt paper (manufactured for NCR) is now BPA-free. This after after a lawsuit (NCR also named) for cleaning up PCB’s from the Fox River in Wisconsin) and subsequent change of ownership to employees.
“Attempts have been made to develop a thermal ink which reduces the problems associated with thermal papers by obviating the need to provide a thermal coating over the whole surface of the paper.” but this technology has not been perfected. I’ve got some receipts I can no longer read (though I really have no idea which technology was actually used).
Another option, the companies, TransactionTree, and AllEtronic emails a receipt to you (instantly) and you have 24 hour access to your receipts through their website. TransactionTree might also email you a retailer discount coupons & AllEtronic will soon have an iPhone app.
The sticking point is actually figuring out which manufacturers still use the BPA method and which stores buy paper from which mfg; data still outstanding. In the meantime, be aware. Don’t put thermal receipts in your paper recycling (or compost). Consider the electronic options, if available. Educate the stores you frequent. Decrease your use of microwaved convenience foods.Bisphenol, Composting, Organic, Packaging, Plastics, Polymer, Recycle, Sustainable Food, Think Globally, Toxic Chemicals | Comment (0)