Dirty Dozen / Clean Fifteen: toward lowering our pesticide intake

The Dirty Dozen and The Clean Fifteen.   If you haven’t yet heard these memorable titles, they refer to lists produced by the U.S. eco-educational Environmental Working Group (EWG) www.ewg.org, which wants to help us decrease our intake of agricultural pesticides.apples my photo

Dietary guidelines need to promote planetary as well as personal health.

To eat for health, we also need to eat in ways that are good for the environment.  We can’t enjoy physical well-being if our ecosystems are degraded and buckling under climate change.  As a result, numerous governments are wrestling with whether their regular nation-wide dietary recommendations should advise citizens to plan meals that cut greenhouse gases and pollution.  And that is not good news for large-scale livestock and meat industries.

Avian flu: Consumers can help by paying more for naturally-produced meat.

Once again thousands of poultry animals are dying in the Fraser Valley from avian flu.   The sad news arrived in the past few days, that an H5 virus had been found on a turkey farm in Abbotsford and a chicken farm in Chilliwack.  Since then those farms and at least two others nearby have been quarantined, and roughly 18,000 birds have either died or will be euthanized.chickens FacFarmed (purchased)

True innovation means finding more sustainable ways.

When people use the term ‘innovation,’ they’re often thinking of, and referring to, high-tech.   Innovation accolades usually go to those who devise a fancy new way to engineer the natural world.

But my ideal of innovation is lower-tech.  I believe that many of our solutions to environmental and social problems will involve moving away from technology and toward methodologies that rely on human — rather than computer — intelligence.

Should We Eat Meat? Here’s a considered opinion from Vaclav Smil.

Should we eat meat?   That’s the title of Professor Vaclav Smil’s 2013 book, a summary of which I have just had the pleasure to re-read on a Scientific American site.  Here’s the URL (http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/should-humans-eat-meat-excerpt/) but I’ll save you some time by summarizing the article as follows:goat- curious (bought pic)

Yes, humans should eat meat – but not in the crazy amounts we do today.

Food systems can be compassionate as well as healthy and sustainable.

For companies in the business of making food, their work often involves animals.  But livestock production today raises serious questions about the ways animals are treated for human sustenance.  Intensive, large-scale operations for meat, dairy and eggs attract criticism from animal advocates and others.  As well, mainstream consumers increasingly want to know their food was made in ways they can feel good about.

To protect our agricultural base, we’ve got to “Love the Land.”

lenore 1“Love the Land.”  It’s a phrase has haunted me since I heard it from Lenore Newman.  “We’ve got to love the land, or we’ll lose it,” she says.

Canada Research Chair in Food Security and the Environment at the University of the Fraser Valley, Dr. Newman has been a sought-after speaker recently on the Agricultural Land Reserve.  It’s on people’s minds now that the B.C. government has been reviewing the ALR and its governing Agricultural Land Commission.