Friday, April 30, 2010

Sweet Sea Lions

It's video week on the blog, huh?! These Galapagos sea lions are currently on the list of threatened species. Traditionally, wildlife experts have observed them breeding and living on the islands near Equador but since ocean temperatures in Peruvian waters have increased 11 degrees over the past decade, the sea lions have begun setting up colonies outside of their native island chain. Hopefully their new home is also off the beaten path of traffickers and those awful people responsible for the January 2008 massacre. Read more here.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Domestic Transformer

Check out this incredible use of space in a tiny Hong Kong apartment. Very green. Very cool.

Go Tigers!

Just learned that my alma mater Towson University made The Princeton Review's Guide to Green Colleges, for having demonstrated an above-average commitment to sustainability in terms of campus infrastructure, activities and initiatives. Eight colleges in Maryland made it into the list of 286. Learn more about the Green Campus Campaign here and check out the Guide to see if your own institute of higher education made the cut.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The smallest carbon hoof-print in the world?

Okay, okay. That's reaching. No relevant reason to post this video. Just a seriously adorable little horse.

And here's some press coverage of the little fella:

Santa Clara bans toys in Happy Meals

When I was little, the Happy Meal toy was a magnificant, sought-after prize received on a special occasion in a folding box with some food my mom told me I had to eat before I could play with it. I can still remember my favorites: Fraggle Rock Friends, Transformer Chicken McNuggets Box, and those Garden Tools. Of course at that time a trip to McDonalds was treated as, well, a special treat. The McDonald's in our 'hood actually bordered a farm so we also got some farm animal visiting time. Today, it's hard to find a town in America without a bumper-to-bumper drive-thru line and dedicated traffic lights for fast food restaurants. In fact, you can't go more than 107 miles without finding one. But come on, Santa Clara. Beanie Baby craze aside, is it really because of the toys?

Could it possibly be because of... say... the super-low prices? artificial flavor induced cravings? convenience? Is eliminating the toy the solution or simply treatment for one symptom? The LA Times reports:

"...Happy Meal toys and other promotions that come with high-calorie children's meals will soon be banned in parts of Santa Clara County unless the restaurants meet nutritional guidelines approved Tuesday by the county Board of Supervisors. "This ordinance prevents restaurants from preying on children's' love of toys" to sell high-calorie, unhealthful food, said Supervisor Ken Yeager, who sponsored the measure. "This ordinance breaks the link between unhealthy food and prizes. "Voting against the measure was Supervisor Donald Gage, who said parents should be responsible for their children. "If you can't control a 3-year-old child for a toy, God save you when they get to be teenagers," he said. Gage, who is overweight, said he was a living example of how obese children can become obese adults. But he questioned the role of fast-food toys. "When I was growing up in Gilroy 65 years ago, there were no fast-food restaurants," Gage said.The board, whose jurisdiction extends only to the unincorporated parts of the county, including much of Silicon Valley, voted 3 to 2 in favor of the ban after a contentious meeting that included more than an hour of testimony on both sides. In favor of the item were public health administrators, parents and doctors; opposed were fast-food franchisees, other parents, and fans of fast-food toys who said the promotions are often used to provide Christmas presents for poor children..."

I'm all in favor of food reform but would rather see an emphasis on the real roots of the problem and on a solution as opposed to South Park-style bans. Thoughts?

(Thnx x3, Neeks)

Blue jeans, Black river.

A few weeks ago we highlighted National Geographic's Water Issue and a few particular statistics that took our breath away. One of those was the 2,900 gallons of virtual water needed to produce a single pair of blue jeans. However, I was unaware at the time of that post that there is also an enormous pollution price tag on those jeans.  

The indigo dye used to make our blue jeans blue is also turning China's Pearl River black. A portion of the river adjacent to Xintang's blue jean factories - which produces 200 million pairs of jeans per year including 60 different foreign brands - has indeed turned black. Not to mention the nearby riverbank is piled with denim scraps and garbage.

According to Poisoning the Pearl, a report put out last year by Greenpeace, a fair share of factories may be flagrantly dumping their wastewater into the river. The organization found excessive amounts of heavy metals, organic pollutants and chemicals among the contents of pipes from five different factories, including a textile factory. The following clip that aired just yesterday on CNN sums up the issue in less than three minutes:

Further information and script from the video available here. And a download of Poisoning the Pearl is available here.

Saturday, April 24, 2010


The most stylish and sustainable disposable dishware ever. Now available in the U.S. Love it. Find it here.

Too Fat to Fight?

A reader recently alerted me to a new report estimating that 27 percent of all Americans of recruitment age - which is about 9 million young adults - are in fact too fat to fight for their country that prompted Sen. Richard Lugar, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, and a group of retired generals and admirals to warn that America, with 1/3 of our fighting force unfit, is facing a national security crisis.

It's an interesting topic, no? Daniel Engber thought so too and took a deeper look into the Census numbers, requirements for military personnel, school lunches and war times and wrote this great article.

Read it. Let it marinate. And please share your thoughts.

Eww^x, as x approaches infinity

Apparently some folks have taken the Double Down a step further and are lobbying for a "KFC & Krispy Kreme Fried Chicken Luther Double Down Sandwich." Learn how to make your own here. (Pay careful attention to Step 2: Purchase KFC Double Down and Krispy Kreme Glazed Doughnut through the drive-thru (no need burning calories when you’ll be consuming so many.)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Another Amazing Earth Day Video

Earth Day Giggles

Hopefully this isn't too racey for the blog... It is just so darn funny I couldn't help but post. Let's try and keep any comments G-rated though, folks. "My love is like global warming - you can't deny it. Girl you know ah ah ah..."

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

My Earth Day Pledge: To Be Turquoise

Thanks to a fantastic article by John Tierney: For Earth Day, 7 New Rules to Live By we here at JustSaying would like to officially adopt and strive to fulfill the title of "Turqs" which is a term derived from the color turquoise and coined by Stewart Brand to describe and inspire a new breed of environmentalists that combine "traditional green with a shade of blue, as in blue-sky open-minded thinking." Think of a Turq as an environmentalist guided by science instead of nostalgia or (gasp) technophobia.

If you are able to take a few moments to read Tierney's new-age-enviro-article, you will recognize some ideas, like supporting nuclear power and being realistic about "organic" foods, and likely learn something new. Here are the seven rules discussed:

1. It’s the climate, stupid.
2. You can never not do just one thing.
3. “Let them eat organic” is not a global option.
4. Frankenfood, like Frankenstein, is fiction.
5. “Green” energy hasn’t done much for greenery — or anything else.
6. “New Nukes” is the new “No Nukes.”
7. We are as gods and have to get good at it.

Tee hee

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

40 for 40 Earth Days put together a great interactive of 40 tips gathered from local environmental organizations in honor of the 40th annual Earth Day coming up on Thursday. Find it here. Tips touch upon the food you eat, the home/lawn you keep, the products you purchase and the energy you consume.

Way to go, Wendy's. Eww.

Nate Silver from FiveThirtyEight has taken a very careful look at KFC's Double Down to determine if it is in fact the "caloric monstrosity that it appears" and the results just may surprise you: It's not the absolute worst fast food option out there. In the chart below Nate uses one KFC Double Down as a unit of comparison.

"...So, is the Double Down the most gluttonous fast food sandwich ever created? It depends on how you measure it. At the margins, consuming one Double Down almost certainly isn't as bad for you as a Triple Baconator, a Thickburger, or even a fully-loaded Chipotle burrito. But while those products should, in theory, fill you up for at least half the day, the Double Down might leave you hankering for seconds. It's a high bar to clear, but it's the closest thing to pure junk food of any "sandwich" being marketed today.

** To calculate Double Downs for your own favorite sandwich, apply the following formula: divide the number of mg of cholesterol by 469, the number of mg of sodium by 3,754, the number of grams of total fat by 133, the number of grams of saturated fat also by 133, and the number of grams of trans-fat by 66. Then sum the result. To calculate Double Downs per Calorie (DDPC), take the above result, divide by the number of calories, and multiply by 540..."

Set your DVRs or TiVos!!

Wednesday April 21, 2010. 9:00PM - 10:30PM ET.

On the eve before Earth Day, PBS will be airing Food Inc. The film by Robert Kenner, Eric Schlosser and Michael Pollan lifts the veil on the U.S. food industry, reveals surprising facts about what we eat, how it’s produced, who we have become as a nation and where we may go from here. If this fiml doesn't make you do a double take about your dietary decisions, I don't know what will.

Get ready for Earth Day!

I know what you're all thinking: "What can I do this Earth Day to reduce my carbon footprint?" Well, you've come to the right place. JustSaying likes to use these days/weeks of Earth Awareness to highlight the simple daily decisions you can all make that will have the greatest impact on the planet. We've sorted through the Official 2010 Earth Day Action Campaign and would like to suggest that our readers adhere to a few of the following pledges submitted by greenies like us:
  • I will abstain from meat at least one day a week to curb carbon emissions from the livestock industry.
  • I will use a reusable water bottle and coffee mug.
  • I will buy local produce whenever possible.
  • If I see a piece of litter I will pick it up.
  • I will pay my bills online and take the time to make a phone call and stop paper statements.
  • I will call my utility provider and make sure I am using the greenest energy option available.
  • I will take shorter showers.
  • I will turn off the tap when brushing my teeth.
  • I will turn off lights, computers and other electronics when not in use.
  • I will unplug my cell phone charger, microwave, etc when not in use.
  • I will opt for environmentally friendly cleaning products.
  • I will use public transport more often.
  • I will use fewer paper towels.
  • I will recycle more.
Thinking of a pledge that we haven't listed? Be sure and add it to our comment section and post it on the Earth Day Action Center's website - where you can browse and sign tons of great pledges and green ideas.

If you're looking for an activity to celebrate, might we recommend helping out our friends over at the Chesapeake Bay Foundation this Sunday April 25th from 1:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Volunteers are needed to help plant over 1,000 native trees and shrubs at the Foundation’s Holly Beach Farm located near the Bay Bridge in Annapolis. The vegetation planted will filter pollution and sediment coming from adjacent farm fields. This activity is suitable for adults, families, youth and community groups. Please bring shovels, work gloves, insect repellent, a water bottle/lunch and a smile. Registration is required though so sign up by sending your complete contact information to Marcy Damon at

Thursday, April 15, 2010

SPCA Walk is this Sunday

Just a little reminder that the JustSaying mascot (pictured to the left) will be participating in the annual SPCA March for the Animals this Sunday and he still needs a few more donations to meet his fundraising goal. Please visit his donation page for more informaation and if you enjoyed the Pedigree commercial about shelter dogs, donate or adopt a pet through their program here.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Are you kidding me, Kleenex?

"People in the U.S. dry their hands on cloth bathroom towels approximately 200 billion times a year. The CDC guidelines for hand washing recommends hand drying with a single-use towel. Families have not had a practical alternative to traditional cloth hand towels in their home bathrooms… until now. Kleenex® Hand Towels are an innovative solution that delivers one clean, fresh, dry towel every time you wash your hands."

"Your hands are only as clean as the towel you dry them with."

Way to prey on the germaphobes. And people who have never heard of paper towels.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Someone ate the KFC Double Down

Scott Lamb from Buzzfeed:

"I tried my best to capture the experience in video, since words fail when it comes to KFC's newest sandwich. I hope this will keep you from eating it — consider it a PSA. Also, it cost $5.98 (including tax) when I bought mine in Brooklyn, and took forever to make, I guess because of the bacon. Or because to person who made it had to overcome so much revulsion."

New Studies

Making sustainable choices just got even more complicated. Slate's Green Lantern dedicated a column to three new studies: One suggesting meat and dairy consumption plays a smaller role in greenhouse emissions than... gulp... transportation; Another points out that our country's carbon footprint only seems smaller because we outsource our greenhouse emissions; And the last brings some good news about how impactual certain personal green choices can be. Read more here.

So continue to keep your vehicles well-maintained, choose local foods when possible, switch to florescent bulbs, and use electricity sparingly but perhaps JustSaying shouldn't hassle folks about their occasional steaks until she is driving a hybrid, huh? 

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Road Trippin' Part Two: Pemaquid Point Pics

Perhaps I am partial to this lighthouse because of fond family memories, but doesn't it feel like it just belongs right there on the cliff?

And here is a pic of the little adventurous one who does not belong right there on the cliff and nearly gave his mother a heart attack:

Love Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution

Okay, okay... I was a little skeptical of the reality tv show approach to changing the way America eats but I stand corrected. Oliver's methods are heart-warming, his energy is contagious, and this show is fantastic. On last night's episode he tapped into Marshall's energy and created a stir-fryin' flash mob in the center of the university. Check it out (the dancing starts about the 9:00 minute mark):

For those of you who haven't caught an episode of Food Revolution yet, I urge you to check it out. The clip above is a particularly fun, smile-inducing one but the earnest folks in the show are likely to bring tears to your eyes as well. What this guy is doing is remarkable. He is bringing so much attention to the desperately important

Watch entire episodes on hulu.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Road Trippin' Part One

As the tree pollen count in the MD/DC/VA area approaches an unbearable high, JustSaying is headed north to Boothbay Harbor, an inspirational and historical place for Rachel Carson fans and a relaxing place for certain bloggers. Considering the length of the drive, my furry four-legged co-pilot and I have made a few stops along the way and thought we'd share:

Top NJ turnpike rest-stop: Woodrow Wilson. Why? Because of the tree farm next to it that I am dying to research.

And of course I couldn't resist the two mile detour to Stew Leonard's in Norwalk, CT. Jack reacted just as I would have if someone had tried to take Stew's ice cream from me!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


The science behind this genetically engineered Canadian pig with earth-friendly poop is a little bit beyond the average bear's understanding but I think a lot of folks are aware that growing amounts of high-phosphorus animal waste flowing into our water systems is a big problem for aquatic life. It creates "Dead Zones."

In an ideal world, all the earth's pigs would enjoy a regular pig diet - one sans corn and grains - and there wouldn't be a huge phosphorus problem to solve. But Americans like to have their bacon and eat it too so I suppose if this little piggy makes poop with 65% less phosphorus than usual we should embrace the Enviropig.


"...The researchers who created the Enviropig say it’s not just eco-friendly, but it also cut farmers’ feed-supplement costs. If the pigs eventually become common, they could also help U.S. farmers comply with “zero discharge” rules that forbid pork producers from releasing nitrogen or phosphorus runoff... The Enviropigs will be raised only in controlled research settings in Canada for now, and experts say transgenic pork won’t be landing on your plate anytime soon; the new biotech pig will face years of safety trials to see if it should be approved for commercial production and consumption in the United States and Canada. No transgenic animal has been approved for consumption as of yet..."

Great Data on American Food Consumption

The USDA's Economic Resource Service has gathered and published some fascinating data about America's food consumption. Nothing too shocking about these graphs but really interesting stuff. The article in Amber Waves that accompanies these graphs offers a great understanding of the technological, political, social and economic forces affecting food availability over the past century (in fewer words than so many books on the subject).

Monday, April 5, 2010

Safety From Sun and For Skin

Spring sure has sprung, huh? The sun is shining, the temperature (alonside the electric bill) is rising, and the bikes, tykes, runners and sunners are out and about enjoying the weather. The great news is: more people are slathering SPF on themselves and their little ones than ever before. So much so that JustSaying has been asked to take a deeper look into the ingredients in sunblock and offer advice on the best block with the fewest harmful chemicals.

Lucky for us, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) has created a fantastic Shopper's Guide to Safer Sunscreen with the following suggestions:

The toughest part about this topic is that we greenies can get a little nutty about chemical exposure so keep in mind that effectiveness is paramount. Sacrificing effectiveness in say... an all natural deodorant may mean fewer phone numbers at barbeques but skipping the sunscreen is like picking up a smoking habit. It's just plain dangerous. If you or your child have fair skin and need more protection than any of the products listed above is giving you or you simply don't have the extra cash for certain products: any sun protection is better than no sun protection. Lesser of two evils, folks. And remember you can always cover up the old-fashioned way. A lightweight cardigan and sun hat can be of service all season - not only at Preakness - so go ahead an leave 'em in your trunk.

For more reviews and easy lists of the pros and cons of tons of greensumer tested options, click here.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Speaking of Eww...

KFC will seriously be selling this heart attack later this month. Bacon and cheese sandwiched between two pieces of chicken.

The Original Recipe Double Down (pictured): 540 calories, 32g of fat and 1380mg of sodium
The Grilled Double Down: 460 calories, 23g of fat and 1430mg of sodium

Read more here.