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Reposted from Lefty Coaster by VL Baker Editor's Note: Fastest way to reduce GHG emissions is to reduce short lived climate forcers by reducing meat consumption -- VL Baker

The rate of Global Warming is accelerating at a faster pace and will continue to warm for decades to come.  That is the alarming conclusion in a letter written by climate researchers to the scientific journal Nature last April and just published after being reviewed for accuracy by the editors.

This means the planet's climate has probably passed the dreaded "Tipping Point" scientists have warned us about for many years. Positive feedback loops are becoming the dominant driver of Global Warming, surpassing human inputs from our GHG emissions.

Near-term acceleration in the rate of temperature change

By Steven J. Smith, James Edmond, Corinne A. Hartin, Anupriya Mundra & Katherine Calvin

Anthropogenically driven climate changes, which are expected to impact human and natural systems, are often expressed in terms of global-mean temperature1. The rate of climate change over multi-decadal scales is also important, with faster rates of change resulting in less time for human and natural systems to adapt2. We find that present trends in greenhouse-gas and aerosol emissions are now moving the Earth system into a regime in terms of multi-decadal rates of change that are unprecedented for at least the past 1,000 years. The rate of global-mean temperature increase in the CMIP5 (ref. 3) archive over 40-year periods increases to 0.25 ± 0.05 °C (1σ) per decade by 2020, an average greater than peak rates of change during the previous one to two millennia. Regional rates of change in Europe, North America and the Arctic are higher than the global average. Research on the impacts of such near-term rates of change is urgently needed.

Global warming rates are about to hit the gas, researchers find

By Susannah L. Bodman

 Their work explored the rates of change in global-mean temperatures in 40-year periods extending through 2020, based on past climate records and future projections.

What they found, as mentioned in the quote above, is that rates of global warming are set to accelerate at a pace not seen for thousands of years.

Climate data for the past millennium show that global temperatures have fluctuated by 0.2 degrees Fahrenheit each decade. In the past 40 years, the trend's ramped up, angling toward 0.4 degrees Fahrenheit per decade but remaining roughly within historical boundaries.

However, the researchers project that will change in the next five years (2020), with warming rates surpassing what's been seen in the past 1,000 years -- and perhaps even the past 2,000. If greenhouse gas emissions continue at current levels, rates will keep rising to hit 0.7 degrees Fahrenheit per decade. The researchers expect the warming rates to continue to be that high through 2100.

World regions that can expect to be the first to experience these accelerated warming trends will be the Arctic, North America and Europe.

And in using a timescale of 40 years, the researchers put the results into a context relevant to "the lifetime of much of human infrastructure," they wrote. And in terms of human socio-economic infrastructure, the implication is time is of the essence for Arctic dwellers, North Americans and Europeans to start thinking about adaptation planning.

We've reached that "Oh Shit!" moment when our predicament has taken on so much momentum that it will continue to get worse for decades to come at an accelerated pace.  
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Mon Mar 09, 2015 at 03:34 PM PDT

Happy Meatless Meatball Monday!

by VL Baker

Today is National Meatball Day and we are going to celebrate by incorporating it into Meatless Monday which is a weekly celebration of all foods healthy and Earth friendly.

We now know that we (you, me and the rest of us humans) are poisoning our planet's atmosphere by our uber consumption of fossil fuel produced products. And we also now know that our diets can be the biggest climate culprits of all as meat production has an immense contribution (pdf) to climate change, water and land depletion, deforestation etc. But we can all be a part of solution to these issues by simply having a low carbon diet which consists of primarily plant products.

Dr. Jason Box is a climatologist and former professor at The Ohio State University and is now conducting extensive climate research on Greenland melting which I wrote about in five separate diaries found here  . He was featured in the must see recent documentary "Chasing Ice" and is presently working on the Dark Snow Project. In this video, he gives us his take on how vegans can have a positive impact on climate.

But now I have a dilemma. I want to celebrate National Meatball Day and continue being part of solution to climate change by having a Happy Meatless Meatball Monday. For that we need recipes. My family expects spaghetti and meatballs on a regular schedule so I've collected some recipes that I rotate which seem to keep everyone happy. The recipes I'm sharing today are perfect for vegetarians and vegans.

Cannellini Bean Vegetarian “Meatballs” with Tomato Sauce Recipe
Recipe credit: The Cooking Canuck

    1 ½ cans (15 oz. each) Cannellini Beans, drained and rinsed
    1 roasted red bell pepper (2 halves), roughly chopped
    ½ medium yellow onion, grated
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    ¼ cup chopped Italian parsley
    1 ½ tsp dried oregano
    1 egg
    ½ cup dried breadcrumbs (see note)
    ½ tsp kosher salt
    ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
    3 cups marinara sauce (your fave)
    Parmesan cheese for grating
    Cooked spaghetti

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Thoroughly coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray.
    In the bowl of a food processor, combine beans and roasted red peppers. Pulse until chopped, but not smoothly pureed.
    Transfer the mixture to a medium-sized bowl and stir in grated onion, garlic, parsley, oregano, egg, breadcrumbs, salt and pepper until well combined.
    Using a rounded 2 tablespoon portion of the bean mixture, form “meatballs” by rolling between the palms of your hands. Place the “meatballs” on the prepared baking sheet, spacing evenly.
    Bake until the meatballs are firm to the touch and have developed a light golden brown coating, 15 to 20 minutes.
    In a large saucepan, heat you favorite marinara sauce over medium heat until simmering. Add “meatballs” and stir to coat. Simmer until the sauce thickens slightly, stirring occasionally, 10 to 15 minutes.
    Serve over spaghetti and top with grated Parmesan cheese.

The amount of breadcrumbs required can change depending on the climate (dry vs. humid). If you find that the "meatballs" are not holding together firmly as you are shaping the first few, add more breadcrumbs, then reshape.

The Meatball Shop's Meatless Meatballs

Yes, there really is a Meatball Shop in NYC and today they are celebrating National Meatball Day and Meatless Monday with their own Veggie Meatballs!
Serves 6 (makes about 2 dozen 1 1/2-inch meatballs)

    2 cups lentils
    1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
    1 large onion, chopped
    2 carrots, chopped
    2 celery stalks, chopped
    1 garlic clove, minced
    1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
    2 teaspoons salt
    3 tablespoons tomato paste
    8 ounces button mushrooms, wiped clean and sliced
    3 large eggs
    1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
    1/2 cup bread crumbs
    1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
    1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts

Combine the lentils and 2 quarts water in a medium stockpot and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the lentils are so (but not falling apart), about 25 minutes. Drain the lentils and allow to cool.

Add 1/4 cup of the olive oil to a large frying pan and sauté the onions, carrots, celery, garlic, thyme, and salt over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes, until the vegetables are tender and just beginning to brown. Add the tomato paste and continue to cook, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently, for 15 more minutes, or until all the liquid is absorbed. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and allow to cool to room temperature. When cool, add the lentils to the vegetable mixture.

Add the eggs, Parmesan, bread crumbs, parsley, and walnuts to the cooled vegetable mixture and mix by hand until thoroughly incorporated. Place in the refr igerator for 25 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Drizzle the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil into a 9 x 13-inch baking dish and use your hand to evenly coat the entire surface. Set aside.

Roll the mixture into round, golf ball-sized meatballs (about 1½ inches), making sure to pack the vegetable mixture firmly. Place the balls in the prepared baking dish, allowing ¼-inch of space between the balls and place in even rows vertically and horizontally to form a grid.

Roast for 30 minutes, or until the meatballs are firm and cooked through.

Allow the meatballs to cool for 5 minutes on the baking dish before serving.

Gardein Meatball Sub

There are many days when I crave meatballs but no time to prepare them. I turn to my fave vegetarian meatballs from the Gardein brand.  Amazingly these have an Italian grandmother taste although they are perfect rounds so don't look like the traditional lumpy homemade variety. These are vegan so they get a heavy rotation in my house.

You know what to do. Just follow package instructions and add to marinara if you like. I use this for quick Meatball Subs all the time.

buon appetito!

Reposted from beach babe in fl by VL Baker
Concentrated Animal Farm Operation (CAFO)
Guardian UK

Everywhere there is talk of sustainable meat and how environmentally and ethically correct it is. Nowhere is this more discussed than by the retail fast food giants who are feeling the heat as more are learning about the meat industries mega contribution to climate change and resource depletion and degradation.

It’s widely agreed that beef has a sustainability problem. According to the latest assessment from the UN, livestock production accounts for 14.5% of greenhouse gas emissions.
This is more than all global transport combined and farmed livestock is also responsible for a staggering 30% of global biodiversity loss

So far, blame has been placed on industrialized factory farmed feedlots, and that is as it should be because CAFO's (Concentrated Animal Farm Operations) are the major culprits of the worse abuses of the meat industry.

But, there is a reason CAFO's were created and that is that they can satisfy mega meat demand while being more efficient in water, energy and land use than traditional livestock farming methods.

Feedlots significantly reduce land and water resources required for raising beef, Capper points out. That’s because entirely grass-fed animals grow slower than corn- and soy-fed ones. Producing the current amount of beef with purely grass-fed operations would take an extra 131m acres of land per year and 468bn gallons of water, and it would increase the carbon footprint by the equivalent of adding 26.6m cars to the road, she said.
You can't blame people for wanting to see the problem through rose colored glasses. It is so much easier to think that all we have to do is make some little adjustments and bingo we won't have to make any significant change to our habits and lifestyles to deal with climate change. The reality is that we have to make more than minor tweaks to navigate to a sustainable future.
The industry alone isn’t to blame for current industry practices, Gunther notes. “We are not, as consumers, innocent here,” he says. “They’ve been producing this way because consumers have demanded this so-called cheap food.”
Reposted from beach babe in fl by VL Baker
US typical fast food style school lunch
Sweetgreen created the global school lunch project by evaluating government standards for school lunch programs, and compared this data to photos that real students had taken of their meals and shared online. What they captured amazing shows the huge disparity between school lunches around the world. It shows the value that a country places on its future citizens health and well being and in the case of the US shows that the over 32 million students who eat school lunches on a typical day are receiving over processed, factory farmed crap as befits the capitalist, for profit health killing, Earth killing (pdf) US food system.
Typical school lunches from are the world and how the US stacks up:

    Local fish on a bed of arugula, pasta with tomato sauce, caprese salad, baguette and some grapes


    Pea soup, beet salad, carrot salad, bread and pannakkau       (dessert pancake) with fresh berries


    Steak, carrots, green beans, cheese and fresh fruit


    Pork with mixed veggies, black beans and rice, salad, bread and baked plantains

South Korea

    Fish soup, tofu over rice, kimchi and fresh veggies


    Baked chicken over orzo, stuffed grape leaves, tomato and cucumber salad, fresh oranges, and greek yogurt with pomegranate seeds


    Mashed potatoes with sausage, borscht, cabbage and syrniki (a dessert pancake)


    Sautéed shrimp over brown rice and vegetables, gazpacho, fresh peppers, bread and an orange


    Fried ‘popcorn’ chicken, mashed potatoes, peas, fruit cup and a chocolate chip cookie

Doesn't make me feel like shouting "we're #1". We do have an opportunity to improve the dismal US school lunch program by implementing the recommendations of US government scientists to change the US Dietary Guidelines to an environmentally  sustainable model for the first time in history.

We can improve the nations public health as well as the health of the planet by taking the advise of the expert panel which was chosen to recommend changes to the US food system based on scientific research rather than on profit for our industrialized corporate food system.

More than one-third of kids in America are obese or overweight. In 2013, the National School Lunch Program, a federally assisted meal program operating in public and nonprofit private schools, served 5.1 billion lunches, Bloomberg reports. The quality of these lunches must somehow correlate to the health of America's youth, considering more than 32 million children are served NSLP every day.
Reposted from beach babe in fl by VL Baker

Yep, those are pigs you see flying over DC. The new proposed changes (pdf) to the US Dietary Guidelines are getting a lot of press because they propose changing the US agricultural paradigm to a environmentally sustainable model for the first time in history.

Katie Valentine writing at Think Progress/Climate brings us the stunning news.

The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC), a panel of scientists that makes recommendations to the U.S. Department of Agriculture on every five years when the agency updates its Dietary Guidelines, published its 2015 report Thursday. In it, the DGAC states that adopting a sustainable diet helps ensure that future generations will have access to the foods we have access to now. It also stated that “a diet higher in plant-based foods, such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds, and lower in calories and animal-based foods is more health promoting and is associated with less environmental impact than is the current U.S. diet.”


“Current evidence shows that the average U.S. diet has a larger environmental impact in terms of increased greenhouse gas emissions, land use, water use, and energy use, compared to the above dietary patterns,” the authors write, going on to say that the U.S. as a whole currently eats more animal-based foods and fewer plant-based foods than is recommended in diet patterns singled out by the report as more sustainable choices, such as vegetarian and Mediterranean-style diets.

Meat has long been known to be a carbon-intensive food. Last year, a study found that individuals who cut back on or eliminate meat have significantly lower carbon footprints than those who don’t. Meat-eaters, according to the study, contribute 50 to 54 percent more food-related greenhouse gases than vegetarians and 99 to 102 percent more than vegans. And a study this month found that, emissions-wise, agriculture is worse for the climate than deforestation.

I've been writing about reducing meat consumption to mitigate climate change and protect water and land resources for over eight years. I always knew that people did not want to hear about reducing meat consumption as a solution for mitigating climate change because it was a change they didn't want to make. But, in fact, it is the most effective action we can take to reduce our carbon footprint. But now, the sh*t has hit the fan and we can no longer ignore the changes that have to be made on a political and individual basis.

The stunning statistics from EcoWatch and the documentary "Cowspiracy":

Animal agriculture uses 55 percent of the water in the U.S. American homes use five percent. One thousand gallons of water are needed to produce 1 gallon of milk. Two thousand five hundred gallons of water are needed to make one pound of beef. Growing water shortages make animal agriculture unsustainable.

Livestock uses 30 percent of the Earth’s total land mass, including nearly 50 percent of the U.S. mainland. The growing demand for animal farmland is responsible for 80 percent of Amazon rainforest destruction. (Palm oil production is second). With 160-million acres cleared or degraded annually for the animal industry, 40 percent of the rainforest will be destroyed in 20 years, affecting species survival and carbon sequestration.

Animal agriculture is responsible for 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions. All forms of land, air and ocean transportation total 13 percent. Transportation industry air pollution is overshadowed by animal agriculture air pollution.

Seventy billion animals are raised annually worldwide. Everyday 144 million animals are killed for food. U.S. farm animals produce 7 million pounds of excrement every minute. Our lakes, oceans and psyches cannot sustain animal agriculture.

diarist bold

The federal governments new proposed recommendations could be the meat industries worst nightmare and the meat industry is fighting these changes with all they have; and that includes lots of money and the political influence that money can buy. How long will we let them call the shots when the health and safety of our planet is in jeopardy?

Reposted from Climate Action Hub by VL Baker
The folks at The Center for Biological Diversity have good reason to be concerned about the loss of species.  With the Earth losing half of our wildlife in the last forty years, our arrogant species has taken over most of the available land and resources of our planet and we're not leaving much room or unpolluted food for the other inhabitants. So they are on a quest to promote that we consciously slow down our breeding and they are even giving us the means to do so.
The Earth’s population now tops 7 billion people. The rapid growth of our human population is pushing other species off the planet in what most scientists are calling the sixth mass extinction crisis. Yet this population explosion is too often ignored by the public, the media and even the environmental movement, while it continues to drive all the major environmental problems that plague our planet — including climate change, habitat loss, ocean acidification and resource depletion.

That’s why the Center for Biological Diversity launched our Endangered Species Condoms project in 2009, and since then has distributed hundreds of thousands of free condoms across the United States. Wrapped in colorful, wildlife-themed packages (with artwork by Roger Peet), Endangered Species Condoms offer a fun, unique way to get people talking about the link between human population growth and the species extinction crisis.

The Center for Biological Diversity's brilliant campaigns are helping people to make the connection between human population growth, their choices and the species extinction crisis. With 227,000 new humans added to our planet each day, this is a crisis which can't be ignored.

The Center for Biological Diversity is all about solutions and so am I. They recognize that we must work on reducing consumption as well as control population, and they have connected the dots between our out-of -control meat consumption with their campaign to Take Species Extinction Off Your Plate.

The Center for Biological Diversity recognizes livestock production as one of the greatest threats to wildlife and the planet. Consistent with our Earth-friendly Diet campaign, which urges people to reduce meat consumption as a critical means of reducing their environmental footprint, it’s the Center’s policy to serve vegetarian-only menus at events where food is provided by the organization.
The Center has had success in saving over 500 species! They are definitely a non-profit worth supporting, I do.
You can even vote for the next class of endangered species condom here!
Reposted from beach babe in fl by VL Baker
USDA pig inspection
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is trying out a new method of pork inspection; faster speed inspection lines and fewer inspectors. If this sounds familiar to you, it should. It's the same method of inspection they tried, and are now partially using, to inspect chicken.  How's that worked out? Well, as long as people don't seem to mind eating crap (literally) and all kinds of pathogens, including antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria, all is good.

Since people seem to be okay with the consequences of the looser inspection methods, the USDA seems to think they should expand the method to include pork inspection; because what the inspectors can't see, can't hurt you, right?

Lindsay Abrams at Salon gives us the meat of the matter:

The USDA is piloting a new pork inspection program that features sped-up lines and a reduction in government inspectors — and its own inspectors are now speaking out publicly in condemnation of it.

The Government Accountability Project released affidavits Friday from three USDA inspectors working in plants running the pilot program, known as HIMP, as well as from a fourth, Joe Ferguson, who retired last year after 23 years with the agency. All voice concerns about the public health implications of increasing line speeds, which adhere closely to the criticisms from outside parties. The gist, in the words of one anonymous inspector: “There aren’t enough eyes on the line to monitor carcasses coming by at such high speed.”

The whistleblowers allege, moreover, that the pilot program gives too much regulatory control to the industry. The new model replaces USDA line inspectors with plant employees, who, they say, lack both the adequate training to spot defects and signs of contamination and the legal safeguards that would allow them to freely speak out about food safety problems. ”I have witnessed company employees personally condemn the plant’s products and then attempt to sneak the condemned carcasses past me when I turned away,” wrote one anonymous inspector. “The company threatens plant employees with terminations if they see them condemning too many carcasses or carcass parts.”

So yes, the new inspection method turns the hen house inspection over to the foxes. Who profits from these new inspection methods? The meat industry, of course.

Reposted from beach babe in fl by VL Baker

Paul McCartney singing about 'Meat free Monday'

England's Education Secretary, Michael Gove, has launched a new set of school food standards, with accompanying guidance, that recommended that all school children have a weekly meat-free day.

In the School Food Standards A practical guide for schools their cooks and caterers, one of the ‘Top Tips’ is: “Encourage all children to have a meat-free day each week, using alternatives such as pulses, soya mince, tofu and Quorn.”


Also included in the new standards, which will be mandatory in all English maintained schools, new academies and free schools from January, are requirements for one or more portions of vegetables or salad as an accompaniment every day, at least three different fruits and three different vegetables each week and an emphasis on wholegrain foods in place of refined carbohydrates.

Will New York City be next? NY Council Member Helen Rosenthal has
introduced a resolution calling for the City of New York to declare Mondays 'Meatless Mondays"
“I’m so excited to be introducing a resolution today calling on the City of New York to declare Mondays ‘Meatless Mondays,’ said Council Member Rosenthal. “Meatless Monday is a national and international campaign that encourages people to enjoy meat-free meals on Mondays to improve their personal health and the health of the planet.” She expressed her hope that the resolution would quickly pass through the City Council and arrive on the mayor’s desk surrounded by a variety of healthy veggie treats.

Approximately 40 schools in New York City already participate in Meatless Monday, including public, private and charter schools at all grade levels. New York City colleges and universities have also participated in Meatless Monday, including Barnard College, Brooklyn Law School, Columbia University, Fordham University, LaGuardia Community College and Manhattan College.

People are waking up to the understanding that it's our consumption that has created the crisis of climate change. Taking it to the micro level; it's our over consumption of all kinds of stuff that is taking us over the cliff. Of course, our consumption is being enabled by our economic system which relies on growth, growth and more growth, all reliant on fossil fuels which are choking and burning our planet.

Of course, we have to change the system, no small feat, but when we understand how we all fit into the system it becomes doable. It's difficult when our whole society is constantly bombarding us with the message to consume, consume, consume. When we hear that message often enough, we make robotic decisions and our consumption becomes habitual. Time to make some conscious decisions to take us out of our spiraling destructive patterns.

Many prominent climate scientists including James Hansen, Jason Box and Rajendra Pachauri, the Head of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) of the United Nations, are calling for people to reduce their meat consumption as the most effective individual action we can take to reduce climate change.

To make it easy for you to start today, Chipotle, is making an offer you can't refuse:

To get the word out about their new organic tofu Sofritas, Chipotle is offering a tasty deal, nationwide.  If you order their Sofritas today, January 26th, and save your receipt, you can return anytime between January 27th and February 28th, 2015, for a FREE burrito, order of tacos, salad or bowl of your choice.

It’s a risk-free way to try their new tofu option and enjoy a Meatless Monday. Chipotle is committed to serving the best sustainably raised food possible, with an eye to great taste and great nutrition.  Their new Sofritas is no exception.  They start with Hodo Soy, made from non-GMO, US-grown whole soybeans.  It’s shredded, then braised with chipotle chilis, roasted poblanos, and a blend of aromatic spices.   Chances are you won’t miss the meat in your burrito, taco, or salad once you taste the spicy Sofritas.

I'll see you at Chipotle later, I love their Sofritas!
Reposted from beach babe in fl by VL Baker
The New York Times has prepared an investigative report on a remote research facility on the Nebraska plains. The project was begun because of a whistle blower who had worked at the facility for 24 years. The whistle blower, James Keen, a scientist and veterinarian, was concerned about the disregard for animal  mistreatment and the the frankenstein tactics of research done at the center.  Dr. Keen approached The Times a year ago with his concerns and The Times proceeded to interview two dozen current and former center employees, and reviewed thousands of pages of internal records obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.
Pigs are having many more piglets — up to 14, instead of the usual eight — but hundreds of those newborns, too frail or crowded to move, are being crushed each year when their mothers roll over. Cows, which normally bear one calf at a time, have been retooled to have twins and triplets, which often emerge weakened or deformed, dying in such numbers that even meat producers have been repulsed.
These experiments are not the work of a meat processor or rogue operation. They are conducted by a taxpayer-financed federal institution called the U.S. Meat Animal Research Center, a complex of laboratories and pastures that sprawls over 55 square miles in Clay Center, Neb. Little known outside the world of big agriculture, the center has one overarching mission: helping producers of beef, pork and lamb turn a higher profit as diets shift toward poultry, fish and produce.
“They pay tons of attention to increasing animal production, and just a pebble-sized concern to animal welfare,” said James Keen, a scientist and veterinarian who worked at the center for 24 years. “And it probably looks fine to them because they’re not thinking about it, and they’re not being held accountable. But most Americans and even livestock producers would be hard pressed to support some of the things that the center has done.”
Listen to Dr. Keen speak here.

The report found that the research is done to benefit the needs and increase the profits of the 21st-century meat industry. Like they need more support to produce more cheap meat which has created a major public health crisis and is a major contributor to climate change.


Sun Jan 18, 2015 at 07:10 AM PST

Why I Don't Eat Mammals

by swellsman

Reposted from swellsman by VL Baker

[This is actually something I wrote for my nephew.]

Harrison –

When I was visiting you over Christmas, you asked why I avoid eating mammals and birds. I tried to explain this, but I think what I gave you was a rather long-winded, rambling, disjointed explanation, and that bothers me. It bothers me because you deserve better when you ask questions, and I should be better at explaining myself.

So, here goes . . . .

Continue Reading
Sofrita vegan tacos too!
Chipotle does it right. Again. The fast casual icon who bucked tradition by sustainable sourcing of its products is doing it again by sticking to its principles of antibiotic, hormone free meat, when possible. And its not budging on its commitment to humanely raised livestock.


About a third of Chipotle restaurants are without pork because the company stopped taking pigs from one of its suppliers. A routine audit found that farmers were not complying with the company’s animal welfare standards, Chipotle communications director Chris Arnold explained in an email.

“This is fundamentally an animal welfare decision, and is rooted in our unwillingness to compromise our standards where animal welfare is concerned,” Arnold wrote.


Though Arnold didn’t share the details of the company’s protocol, the website says Chipotle buys from farmers whose “pigs are raised outside or in deeply bedded pens, are never given antibiotics and are fed a vegetarian diet.” It’s a lot more expensive to provide the space to keep pigs on a pasture and to buy the straw needed for deeply bedded pens when it gets cold outside. [...]

“These are good people who are trying to do the right thing, and we should certainly consider having them back as a supplier if the issues were addressed to our satisfaction,” Arnold wrote.

But Chipotle doesn't want you to suffer burrito withdrawal so they are making an offer you can't refuse: Buy One Get One Free! That's right; to introduce you to their new product 'Sofritas' which includes organic, US grown tofu marinated in yummy spices they are offering a free product of your choice when you buy a Sofrita on January 26.

Disclaimer: I am a Chipotle devotee and am hooked on the Sofrita burrito. It is that good!

Reposted from beach babe in fl by VL Baker

Tom Philpott at Mother Jones brings to attention the new UK government study on antibiotic failure. The study, like the headline is a stunner. It reiterates the causes of our antibiotic crisis as the 1) over prescription of antibiotics to humans 2) the massive use of prophylactic antibiotics in livestock feed. But, don't be fooled, with 80% of antibiotic use in US going to raising livestock the causes do not have equal influence.

And in a new report, the UK government has come out with some startling global projections. Currently, the report finds, 700,000 people die annually from pathogens that have developed resistance to antibiotics, a figure the report calls a "low estimate." If present trends continue, antibiotic failure will claim 10 million lives per year by 2050, the report concludes. That's more carnage than what's currently caused by cancer and traffic accidents combined.
The economic toll will also be mind-boggling. By 2050, the report estimates, antibiotic resistance will be incurring $8 trillion in annual expenses globally. That's equal to nearly half of the total output of the US economy in 2014—an enormous hemorrhaging of global resources.

The report, the first in an ongoing review on antibiotic resistance ordered by British Prime Minister David Cameron last summer, focuses narrowly on impacts. Future ones will discuss potential solutions. Here's a start: Convince the US meat industry, which now sucks in 80 percent of the antibiotics consumed in the country, to wean itself from it reliance on routine antibiotic use.

With livestock production a leading cause of climate change AND a leading cause of antibiotic resistance; what could be more simple than to reduce meat consumption as a solution to two of our species most dangerous crisis?
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