Saturday, January 30, 2010

State of the Mooooooooonion

So apparently the Great Recession has shrunk the U.S. cattle herd to its smallest size since 1958 but fear not, meatatarians. According to Jim Robb, the director of the Denver-based Livestock Marketing Information Center, an industry and government-funded researcher (hmmmm...), there will still be plenty of beef to go around. "We're forecasting that beef production in 2010 won’t be the smallest since 1958, because the average animal processed now weighs twice as much,” he told Business Week. That's right, folks. The weight of an average catle for slaughter has doubled in the last fifty years.

Read all about the state of the meat and dairy industries - and the corn industry that they rely on - here.

(What you see in the photograph accompanyng this post is a revolving platform at a dairy "farm." It was this image or one of a slaughter house so enjoy the lesser of two evils.)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Product Plug Time

As you all know, it is JustSaying's policy to encourage minimal consumption on multiple levels. Whether in the realm of food, packaging, or purchasing - the best option is to stay local. Shopping at farmers markets, yard sales, and opting for lightly used and  re-purposed items from friends and family (instead of the latest "Made in China" choice that claims greenliness) is not only eco-friendlier, it's cheaper.

Having said that, every once in a while a sparkling green gem pops up in the market and I feel it is my duty to share it with you folks. That gem is: Kinetic Go Green Premium Food Storage Containers

They are remarkable. Any fresh fruit lover knows the short shelf life of berries - particularly organic ones. That icky white mold creeps in within days and a sizeable portion of the fruit goes to waste. Well waste no more! These BPA free containers and their FDA approved, Nano Silver Technology, kept store-bought blueberries, raspberries and pomegranate seeds perfectly fresh in the fridge for more than two weeks. Probably even longer had I not used them in my smoothie this morning. Apparently the containers are infused with Nano-sized particles of silver that reduce the growth of mold, fungus and bacteria. The brand also makes glassware that - like the premium plasticware - is airtight and microwave safe. Find it here.

My sister gave me a set of these for Christmas and I absolutely had to leave one at her house to help fruit stay fresh for longer for my little niece. I highly, highly, highly recommend these for yourself, for wedding gifts, for house-warming gifts, etc. They are obviously a tad more pricey than regular tupperware but I assure you they will more than pay off their investment. They also have a Baby Safe line of products for the moms out there (although I haven't heard any complaints about the popular Born Free brand).

MP on Oprah today

Oprah is doing an entire show on food issues today. Michael Pollan will be on discussing "Food Rules" and Food, Inc. (If you're stuck at work and may miss, fear not - I will post the full episode on the blog as soon as it is up on hulu) (And yes, I have taken this opportunity to repost a pic of me and MP that has been posted at least twice before).


Can't find the episode to post just yet but the great news is that Amazon (the dotcom, not the rain forest) is offering the Food, Inc DVD for just $9.99 from now until midnight on Friday. Get some!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Raccoon Crasher!

So the hours of my life I spent watching/LOLing The Bachelor last night weren't a total waste thanks to adorable the raccoon crasher popping up at the end. Keep your eye on the rock behind the blond around 42:07.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Burger King asks: "Would you like a beer with that, sir?"

Just in case hamburger-flavored injections into sh**meat, extremely low prices, clever advertising, and addictive additives don't keep you coming back to the BK, the company has decided to expand their menu to include beer. Swap out the soda in your Whopper combo meal for an "adult beverage" for the bargain price of only $2.00 extra bucks! I wonder if that option will be available in the drive thru? Three cheers for corporate responsibililty! Ugh.

Read more here. (thnx Becky)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Chicken for breakfast every day but Sunday

Apparently this isn't a "new" thing - fried chicken for breakfast that is. Does anyone else find it odd? I know other meats make regular appearances at breakfast and of course eggs but... something about this made my stomach turn.

Sadly Adorable

This photo popped up on buzzfeed and I thought I'd share. Resourceful little fella, huh? Recycling is so hip.


A friend of mine uploaded this gem to facebook last night. Wow.

CU Boulder considers plastic water bottle ban

The University of Colorado at Boulder, ranked by Sierra Magazine as the number one green school in the nation for 2009, plans to build on their accolades this year with some ambitious projects including a possible ban on bottled water.

Still in the early stages, leaders in the sustainability projects on campus are considering the possible cnsequences of such a ban - students opting for less-healthy (and still bottled) soda instead, and
 the scholorship program that benefits from the funds (approximately $280,000 yearly) brought in by vending machines.

Other initiatives on the table for 2010 include:

- Re-using water from sinks and showers to flush toilets
- Discontinued printing mass copies of phone directories
- Solar-powered trash compactors
- Ways to keep students from shaving in the shower (wasting water)
- And switching the schools fleet of hybrid cars to plug-in hybrids

Hopefully the young adults and faculty advisors who are striving for sustainability at CU Boulder will inspire folks at universities nationwide. Learn more here and here.

Friday, January 22, 2010

MP Answers 10 Reader Questions

Michael Pollan answers reader questions in the February 1, 2010 issue of TIME magazine. If you can't wait, read it on their website here. Here's a good one:

How can consumers ensure a strong food system for future generations? -Brad Christian; MEMPHIS, TENN.

MP: We need to vote with our forks as consumers. We also need to make our agricultural policies support the kind of food system we want--support farmers who are growing organic food or local food, not just big corn and soy farmers.

Frighteningly on point

The Awesomest JS Post Ever: Doggie DNA Results

Thank you for your patience, readers. I know everyone has been on the edge of their seats so without further delay, check out the results on this handy-dandy chart:

I know what you're thinking: "Chow Chow!?! Rhodesian WHAT?!?" Before we get into just how shocking these results are, let's talk about how the test was done, how the results were presented, and what they mean. If anyone has a greater understanding of DNA testing, I urge you to weigh in via the comment section on this post. Here goes.

The BioPet Vet Lab DNA Breen Identification Test required two cheek swabs - at least ten seconds of swabbing each - with lots of time, space and distance from food and other dogs in the hours before the swabs. The directions were followed extremely carefully. A few weeks later, the Ancestry Analysis Certificate arrived with the following explanation/disclaimer:

The breeds listed in the following report include the breeds that we detected in your dog. In processing, breeds are detected as ranges rather than absolute values. These are then listed on your certificate as values, which are defined as follows:

Level 1: Over 75% of the DNA found in your dog is from the breed listed (Most mixed breeds will not show any breeds listed under Level 1 unless the dog has a purebred parent)
Level 2: Each breed listed represents between 37-74% of your dog's DNA
Level 3: Each breed listed represents between 20-36% of your dog's DNA
Level 4: Each breed listed represents between 10-19% of your dog's DNA
Level 5: Each breed listed represents less than 10% of your dog's DNA

Jack's ancestry certificate lists his breeds as follows:


The percentages in the pie chart up above are approximate and for the purpose of JustSaying's short-attention-spanned readers only. BioPet Vet Lab did not provide such an easy to understand visual. They only sent horoscope-sounding personality assessments of the detected breeds and potential associated health problems. No photos or specifics (like whether Jack has American or English Bulldog, Border or Welsh Collie, etc). Here are some highlights - some applicable, some ironic - from those summaries:

The Chow Chow has an innate sense of dignity and may seem aloof and detached. They may be restrained with their affections and are very independent. They can learn, but do not have a strong desire to please their masters and must see the point of commands given.

Highly intelligent and easy to train, the Collie is extremely loyal, devoted and protective. They are sensitive and sweet. May be suspicious of strangers. They may nip at people's heels, due to their herding nature.

Although originally bred for dog fights, the Boston Terrier of today is much less aggressive. They are enthusiastic, have a sense of humor and like being a part of their family.

The bulldog is kind and resolute. The can be very persistent, especially when seeking out attention. Their digestive systems are very active, which may result in flatulence.

A ferocious hunter, the Rhodesian Ridgeback is calm and gentle in the home. They are loyal, straighforward, and very protective of their families. A very healthy breed that is able to withstand extremes in temperatures.

Here's my assessment:

Thursday, January 21, 2010

To recycle bin or to trash can...

It is quite the question, huh? Like certain doggie's heritage? Anywho, those resultst tomorrow. Back to recycling. In some cities/counties there are actually fines for throwing away items that belong in the bin. In others industrial-sized bins accept unsorted plastics, papers, glass and aluminum, and carry another kind of cost: damaged equipment or a ruined batch of otherwise usable material. Lucky for us, Slate's Green Lantern has some tips:

"...Things to avoid throwing in the blue bin unless you know for a fact that they belong there: noncontainer glass (like mirrors), Pyrex, plastic bags and films, aluminum pots and pans, and crockery...

...The next time you find yourself hovering indecisively over a set of trash bins, here are some rules of thumb. Plastics marked No. 1 or No. 2 are virtually guaranteed to be accepted, so go ahead and toss them in with your recycling. Newspaper, corrugated cardboard, magazines, and office paper are almost always good to go as well. If your mystery object doesn't fall into one of those categories, trash it. If your community participates in single-stream recycling—where everything from bottles to cans to cardboard boxes get placed in one curbside bin—it might be tempting to err on the side of tossing your mystery item into that bin as well. It's all going to get sorted out in the end, right? But there's an argument to be made that single-stream recycling actually requires more diligence from consumers—contamination rates often rise dramatically in these programs, so anything you can do to keep unwanted items out of the mix will make the system more efficient."

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Doggie DNA Results Arrived!!

I know you folks are just as eager to know the breeds present in the little furry one as I am but - in an effort to boost blog traffic to an all-time high this week - we won't be posting the results until Friday. Isn't it more fun to get everyone's predicitons?!? I'll go first. I predict: German Short-Haired Pointer, Pit Bull, Jack Russell Terrier, and Dalmation. I believe the test will reveal the top breeds present up to ten.

I'm posting a photo of Jack for those of you who may not know him personally but would like to participate in the fun (and because he is so gosh darn cute!). Jack is considered a medium-sized dog, weighing in between 38 and 43 pounds since he was adopted when he was approximately one year old in March of 2004. He has two other large spots like those on his face - one on his back hip and one centered around his stubby, seemingly-clipped, tail.


6:16 PM - AF has opened the results and will be keeping them a secret until Friday so that I may continue to guess along with readers. Here is what she has shared with me: Two breeds make up about half of Jack. Three breeds make up the other half. This does not mean he has five parents, but just that neither parent was a purebred.

6:18 PM - AF has shared with me that NONE of my guesses are in these top five dominant breeds. Wowsers.

6:28 PM - AF shares: "Out of the five, there is one that I have no idea what it looks like and three that I'd be able to draw." "Does the length of hair matter? Cause I am surprised he doesn't have longer hair."

6:32 PM - BioPet VetLab disclaimer: It is important to remember that the physical and behavioral traits of the breeds desribed in your analysis may not necessarily be evident in your dog. Hmph.

7:34 PM - Made it through dinner but not dessert before convincing AF to tell me the results. All I will say is: I may seek out a second opinion. The three lesser-dominant breeds make sense, but the most dominant are quite surprising. Keep guessing guys!

9:40 PM - Text, BBM, FB, email and Tweet at me all you want, folks. The results are top secret until  Friday. Without revealing AF's identity (for fear she will be overwhelmed by texts from inquiring minds), I will share this picture taken as we opened the envelope:

Penguin Party!

January 20th is National Penguin Awareness Day! In honor of our flightless, flippered friends, JustSaying invites you to waste a solid hour of company time looking at pictures and videos of these little fellas. Here are some fun facts and photos to get you started:

  • Penguins can swim at up to 15 miles per hour!
  • The distinctive markings of penguins is no accident. The white underside and a dark upper-side is camouflage against predators - from above or below sea level.
  • Penguins are very social animals, breeding in groups or in large noisy colonies called rookeries. After mating on shore in the spring - almost always with the same partner- female penguins lay one or two eggs (although usually only one chick is reared). Please watch March of the Penguins for a deeper understanding of penguins love, life and rookeries.
  • Penguins are found in the Southern Hemisphere. The greatest number is found on the coasts of Antarctica and on the subantarctic islands. Some penguin species live as far north as the Galapagos Islands on the Equator and the subtropical coasts of South America, South Africa and Australia.
  • That's right: Penguins don't only live on icebergs. They can be found in warm areas (like Humboldt Current along the western coast of South America and Benguela and Agulhas Currents around South Africa) but only because there are cold water currents there.
  • Speaking of climate conditions, penguins are extremely sensitive to climate change and their greatest threat is global warming.
  • Today's penguins face a number of other threats including: destruction of nesting habitats, competition with fishermen for fish and shrimp, and introduced predators (such as rats, dogs and foxes) which eat penguin eggs and young.
  • Emperor penguins, who live on floating ice packs in Antarctica, can grow to be up to four feet in height and 80 pounds in weight.They are also the deepest diving penguins, capable of diving to depths of 1,700 feet! 
If you enjoy these seabirds as much as I do and want to help, consider adopting one or two through the World Wildlife Fund. (Note: This is a symbolic adoption. You will not actually be recieving a little penguin pet in a WWF box. So just saying... don't waste the vacation day waiting for him/her.)

Monday, January 18, 2010


A recent study published in the online edition of Environmental Health Perspectives claims a connection between exposure to certain Persistant Organic Pollutants (POPs) and insulin resistance. In simpler terms: rats exposed to high levels of these chemical pollutants in fish oil could not regulate fat properly. Scientific American reports:

"Researchers fed rats a high-fat diet of either crude or refined fish oil from farmed Atlantic salmon over 28 days. The crude fish oil contained average levels of POPs that people are exposed to through fish consumption, while the refined oil contained none. Both had equal fat levels.

They found that rats exposed to the crude fish oil developed belly fat and could not regulate fat properly. They had higher levels of cholesterol and several fatty acids in their livers. Those exposed to the refined fish oil experienced none of those symptoms.

Researchers said the findings provide "compelling evidence" of a causal relationship between POP exposure common in the food chain and insulin resistance, and highlight the need to understand the interactions of POPs and fat-containing foods such as fish, dairy products and meat.

How to deal with POPs is particularly challenging because they persist in the environment for long periods and can build up in animals' tissues.

The 2001 Stockholm Convention, which the United States has ratified but not signed, lists and bans numerous POPs from manufacture and use. The researchers say their evidence reinforces the need to have international agreements aimed at limiting the release of POPs into the environment in an effort to protect public health."

Saturday, January 16, 2010

FDA Finally Expresses Concern About BPA

The Washington Post reports:

Growing scientific evidence has linked the chemical to a host of problems, including cancer, sexual dysfunction and heart disease. Federal officials said they are particularly concerned about BPA's effect on the development of fetuses, infants and young children.

"We have some concern, which leads us to recommend reasonable steps the public can take to reduce exposure to BPA," said Joshua Sharfstein, FDA's deputy commissioner, in a conference call to reporters Friday.

The Obama administration has pledged $30 million dollars to a two-year study of the chemical.


Seriously?? Learn all about the "Drive Thru Diet" on the Taco Bell website. (Thnx AF)

Two thumbs down, Monsanto

A quick lesson about GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms also called GEOs, Genetically Engineered Organisms) and why we don't like them:

Techniques, generally known as recombinant DNA technology, combine DNA molecules from different sources into one molecule to create a new set of genes. The new DNA is then transferred into an organism, like a seed, giving it modified, novel and desirable genes like, in the case of corn and soybean seeds: resistance to the pests, resistance to harsh environmental conditions, and resistance to the powerful herbicide: Roundup. Monsanto owns the Roundup Ready trait. And Roundup. And almost all (nine out of ten) soybeans today carry the Roundup Ready trait. Can you say M-m-m-m-monopoly?

So here's what happens:

Farmers have little choice but to use these seeds. Once they do, they have to come back to Monsanto for more because A) the powerful herbicide has basically killed everything in its path and B) it is illegal to save seeds and use them again. Not to mention Monsanto's Roundup Ready corn crops and herbicide resistant soybean crops have disrupted the agricultural system - causing soil erosion, nitrate leeching, and water contamination.

Why bring this up today, you ask? Because of a recent broadcast on NPR about how seed licensing continues to screw farmers. Read the transcript here or listen to it here. Very uncool, Monsanto (Dupont, Syngenta, and Groupe Limagrain).

Thursday, January 14, 2010


I can't decide whether I think this window display at Borders is a good thing or a bad thing. I suppose the good news is that people are interested in changing their diets, right? But on the other hand these books are taking the top spots among best sellers (over some incredible literature) yet obesity and related health consequences continue to be the number one cause of death in America. Not to mention diets are transient and only a temporary solution to a bigger problem. Ugh.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

U.S. Department of State Using Text Messaging for Haiti Donations

To help with relief efforts, text "HAITI" to "90999" and $10 will be given automatically to the Red Cross, charged to your cell phone bill. Learn more here.

Supporting Endangered Amphibians and Reptiles is the New Green

What's more fun than a barrel of monkeys? A bucket of frogs, of course! When searching the WWF website for gifts suitable for my neice's first birthday, the colorful amphibians stood out because... well... there is a decent amount of buzz about the plight of polar bears but perhaps not enough about vertebrates.

Lucky for us, JustSaying isn't the only spot spreading the word. Treehugger just put up a great post about seven unique "creepy-crawly" creatures worth protecting: Leaf-nosed Lizards, Round Island Boas, Komodo Dragons, Kemp's Ridley Sea Turtles, Yellow Blotched Map Turtles, San Francisco Garter Snakes, Bluetail Mole Skinks.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Help Whole Foods and Facebook Take Action

Check out the new Facebook Application that Whole Foods has introduced in order to raise awareness and bid for your vote on your favorite sustainable foods nonprofit. There are three nonprofits to choose from: Non-GMO Project, Mission Organic 2010, and Growing Power. The organization with the most votes by January 31st, 2010 will receive a $20,000 donation from Whole Foods. The other two will receive $10,000. So basically: download the application and vote and everybody wins. Here is a little information about each organization from Treehugger:

The Non-GMO Project: In Europe, all products containing more than .9 percent GMO are labeled as such. But in the US, there is no such standard. The Non-GMO Project scientifically tests all of the individual ingredients that make up a product using a third party testing facility. Products that have been certified are labeled with a Non-GMO Project Verified label. This is a good thing because today nearly 70 percent of our processed foods have been genetically modified. Many companies have already signed on to have their products tested and certified.

Mission Organic 2010: Mission Organic 2010 bids you to pledge to eat at least 10 percent organic in 2010. If you join the "mission" you can receive a free organic starter kit. Mission Organic 2010 has set an ambitious goal of increasing organic market share from 3 percent to 10 percent by 2010. "When we, as consumers, demand the organic supply, farmers and food companies will supply the organic demand," the Web site claims.

Growing Power: Growing Power is a Milwaukee based organization that has been training individuals from all walks of life to grow their own food. The organization takes the farm-to-fork mentality very seriously. Growing Power teaches replicable farming methods, runs youth education programs on the subject, and distributes sustainable produce, meats, and retail products from 300 local farms through the Rainbow Farmers Cooperative.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Apples to Apples, Pizza to Pollan

Last night, JustSaying had a delicious homemade pizza party in honor of an MP food rule that we found particularly fun: "Eat all of the junk food you want as long as you cook it yourself."

We made four fantastical pizzas (with a little help from Trader Joes dough). Four people. Four pizzas. Not kidding. Here's what we learned in the process:

- There is no such thing as too much olive oil or too much fresh buffalo mozzerella, but there is a chance it will get a little messy in the oven.
- If caramelized onions are involved, start that process right away because it takes at least 30 minutes (but it is totall worth it - particularly in combination with pears and gorgonzola).
- Don't put the fixins on the dough until the dough is on the pan or pizza stone.
- 99 cent dough from TJoes goes a long way.
- A little egg on the crust goes a long way.
- The "perfect pancake" maker tube makes a fine rolling pin in a pinch.
- You will burn some of those carbs and calories in the process: fanning smoke away from the detector, rolling dough, slicing, dicing, checking and double checking and triple checking the pizza you worked so hard on, clean up, etc.
- Apples to Apples = fun tiimes in a box.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Tara Parker-Pope catches up with Michael Pollan

I know JustSaying has plugged and praised MP's new book multiple times already (without even receiving it in the mail yet) but once again, I've got to point out this recent interview because.... he mentions the rule that YOURS TRULY submitted: “It’s not food if it’s called by the same name in every language.”

OMG OMG OMG!!! Yay!!! (Of course, there is a chance that this rule was submitted by more than one person but regardless, a girl can dream that her efforts have contributed to the success of a bigger movement, right?)

Anywho, some highlights from the interview:

"I came up with [Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.] when I was writing a piece for The New York Times Magazine called “Unhappy Meals,” which became my book. I was trying to simplify everything I learned as radically as possible. I thought that was a compromise. I really wanted to say just “Eat food,” but I realized that wasn’t enough. You had to sort of take a position on meat and vegetables, and you had to address the whole issue of quantity. I’ve learned that from Marion Nestle (the New York University nutrition professor and author), that in the end, so much of the discussion about nutrition is a way to avoid talking about how much people are eating. People would rather talk about anything else than quantity. Eat food was the main message, but I realized I needed to qualify it. I was hoping for two words. I compromised at seven... The adverb “mostly” has been the most controversial. It makes everybody unhappy. The meat people are really upset I’m taking a swipe at meat eating, and the vegetarians are saying, “What’s with the ‘mostly?’ Why not go all the way?” You can’t please everyone. In a way that little word is the most important. It’s not all or nothing. Mostly. It’s about degree. But in the whole food discussion, I’ve learned the most from that, that little “ly” and people’s reaction to it."

"Some of these rules require absolutely no explanation. “If it came from a plant, eat it. If it was made in a plant, don’t.” “It’s not food if it’s served through the window of your car.” “It’s not food if it’s called by the same name in every language.” Think Big Mac, Cheetos or Pringles. Another one I like, “The banquet is in the first bite.” Economists call this the law of diminishing marginal utility. When you realize the real pleasure in food comes in the first couple bites, and it diminishes thereafter, that’s a kind of reminder to focus on the experience, enjoy those first bites, and as you get into the 20th bite, you’re talking calories and not pleasure. I think there’s a lot of wisdom in that."

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Coca Cola: It's not just for cleaning toilets and fueling a childhood obesity epidemic anymore

Designer Daizi Zheng has found a new use for the carbonated sugar substance: Bio batteries. With the aid of a sugary serving or two, the battery has the potential to power the Nokia phone (pictured) for "three to four times longer on a single charge than conventional lithium batteries and it could be fully biodegradable." Learn more here.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Vitamyths indeed

I highly recommend taking a few minutes to read Emily Anthes' latest article for Slate: The Vita Myth: Do supplements really do any good? Anthes pulls together all the revealing studies from last year - finding only a few matters in which vitamin use is truly wise, points out the strong psychological hold the industry has over us, the power of placebo, and debunks the antioxidant promises. Her bottom line: We should treat vitamins like prescription medicine rather than health candy.

another perspective on invasive species

Bright Side

Because JustSaying dedicated a fair amount of posts to endangered and threatened species last year, I'm thinking it may be nice to highlight some uber-cool new and evolving species because, well, I'm remarkably optimistic about the staying power of the conservation efforts, awareness and activism surrounding all things environmental of late. And I'd like to think that the more wildlife we see and discuss, the more considerate we all become. So cheers to a few newly discovered critters!

New Strawberry Crab Species. Discovered off of Suther Taiwan by Marine biologist Professor Ho Ping-ho from the National Taiwan Ocean University. These little gals have clam-shaped shells about an inch wide and resemble a species called Neoliomera Pubescens, that lives in the areas around Hawaii, Polynesia and Mauritius. Read more here.
The Kuranda tree frog, discovered in tropical Queensland state in eastern Australia by WWF-Australia conservationists, has a distinctive tapping call that scientists call "fast talk." The fast-talkin' frog has unfortnately already placed on the critically endangered list. More here.

White Lizards in the White Sands of New Mexico. These little lizards aren't exactly a new species but they are a new color! Learn more from professor Erica Bree Rosenblum here and here.

Speaking of lizards, I should give a shout out to the Mwanza Flat Headed Agama (aka Spiderman) lizard too. Not because of newness, but because of newfound popularity thanks to photograher Roy Daines.

Little Limestone Leaf Warbler. Found in the rocky forests of Laos and Vietnam by a team of scientists from the Wildlife Conservation Society, Lao PDR Department of Forestry, Swedish University of Agricultural Science, Swedish Museum of Natural History, BirdLife International and other groups. More here.
The teen-tiny Barbados Threadsnake, leptotyphlops carlae. It is one of the world's smallest snakes (a total length of 104mm, or 4.1 inches). Discovered by  Professor of Biology from the Penn State Institutes of Energy and the Environment, S. Blair Hedges. So frickin' cool. More here.

Last - certainly not least but last because it is purely fictional fun i.e. not real - the Swiss Funk Squirrel (pictured). Possibly because he resembles a little dog we know and love that often smells like the other animal the Swiss Funk resembles.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Treecycle Time!

Turn your holiday tree into pine-scented mulch! All you have to do is take that Christmas tree to the curb right alongside your reycling and then poke around the internet and/or local papers to find out the next and nearest mulch-givaway.

Susan Reimer posted the following instructions from the Department of Public Works on her Baltimore Sun blog:

"Natural garland, wreaths, and Christmas trees are yard waste. They are chipped into mulch, a valuable soil covering. Please remove tree stand, tree bags, metal ornament hangers, and all decorations. Cut trees over four feet in half so that the tree will fit into the contractor's truck. Natural garland, wreaths, and Christmas trees will be collected on your regular recycling day. Put your natural garland, wreaths, and Christmas trees at the curb before 6:00 AM on your regular recycling day or bring your items to any one of our convenience centers. Yard waste is composed of leaves, grass clippings, garden waste, and brush (such as twigs, prunings, and small branches), and small trees (including Christmas trees and wreaths)."

MP on The Daily Show

In case you missed it...

"Eat food. Avoid edible food-like substances."

Monday, January 4, 2010

Don't have a cow

Ahhh... the first Monday morning in the new year. Everyone is getting to their desks, catching up on emails, yawning, considering the work involved in some of those resolutions you made, and realizing that it may be easier to stick to an environmental resolution than a workout regimin... and here you are: Visiting your favorite blog for some ideas.

Kudos. You've come to the right place.

While I beleive in quitting "cold turkey" is the most successful method in certain departments (drugs, cigarettes, alcohol), I realize it is a little idealistic in the meat department. But the meat department is a great place to start. Perhaps the biggest bang-for-your-enviro-buck-resolution is in fact to go vegetarian, but we here at JustSaying aren't pushing for the full switch. Our suggestion: How about you simply: Don't have a cow today? Or any other Monday this year?

It's called Meatless Monday. Learn more here.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Out with the old (carefully) and in with the new

I don't know about you guys, but I often do a thorough cleaning and inventory around the house just before holiday season - especially if there is a chance Santa (aka my parents) will be putting a few new pairs of socks in my stocking or gadgets in my pocket. And, year after year, I am faced with the dilema of how to discard the old without pangs of consumerist guilt. Clothes, kitchen stuff and fully functioning (perhaps outdated) electronics go to the Salvation Army. Cell phones - off to redistribution via the Verizon store. Other small electronics - mailed to recycle thanks to the free and easy service offered by the USPS. But what about those electronics that aren't functioning at all? The ones that can't be recirculated and new-to-the-next-owner? Busted phones with shot batteries, gadgetless power cords, burned-in monitors and burnt-out refrigerators?

E-cycle them. Lucky for us, Slate's Green Lantern just discussed this very topic! Check it out here and do your part by making safe arrangements for the disposal of e-waste. Visit e-cycling central to find a e-cycling drop-off location near you.

Food Rules

How better to ring in the new year here on JustSaying then with the news of MP's new book!?! Food Rules: An Eater's Manal is Michael Pollan's response to the question we were all left with at the end of In Defense of Food: What should I eat?

The compilation of simple, easy to remember rules - followed by concise explanations drawn from readers - is straightforward, thoughtful and just plain fun. For a taste of the book, revisit our previous post from March of 2009.