Saturday, October 30, 2010

Actually looking into where my food comes from... novel concept, right? (2nd post in food series)

I adapted an essay from my Local/Global Food and Farm Systems class, where we had to write a Food Diary:

I am a vegetarian, so I let some of my food habits slide because of the many ways that vegetarianism avoids environmental problems associated with factory farming. I have not yet admitted to myself that processed vegetarian foods also have negative environmental impacts and can also be part of the industrial animal-abusive food chain. I eat many unprocessed foods, like salads and vegetables, but they are rarely local, and often eaten with other processed foods like salad dressings.
Most of my food is organic or otherwise labelled as eco-friendly and targeted to concerned consumers like me. I have to look beyond the images of trees and the claims of "natural" and "green." For example, instead of butter, I use Smart Balance because it is labelled as healthier, yet its ingredient list is filled with names I cannot decipher, and one I wish I couldn't: “TBHQ for freshness,” a form of butane described by Pollan as  “the most alarming ingredient in a Chicken McNugget.”[i]

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Voting and Environmentalism

Last week, EcoAction was tabling in Red Square with a list of the candidates that the Sierra Club has endorsed for the upcoming midterm elections. Claire and I were “tabling” on Friday afternoon—we were actually table-less, but we managed to commandeer a bench. Because not too many students stopped to see the list, I thought I would post it here so that if you missed us last week, you can still check out the endorsements.

The overwhelming majority of the candidates are Democrats: for the House races, they are all Democrats, and for the Senate races the only exceptions are Charlie Crist (I-FL) and Tom Clemens (G-SC). The Sierra Club did not endorse any Republicans. Obviously, since the District has no seats in Congress, this list is really only relevant if you’re registered elsewhere and you have an absentee ballot.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Urban agriculture event on campus Oct 9 ~ First in a series about food

Last Saturday, EcoAction and Georgetown Community Garden (formerly called GUSGI) co-hosted an event with food from the Burleith Farmers Market and three amazing speakers.

First, Christopher (Director of Business Operations) and Christian (Farm Manager) from Engaged Community Offshoots spoke about their awesome farm in Edmonston, Maryland.
Their story is inspiring; the four-person staff recently got a grant and found park land in Maryland, where they now have hoophouses so they could grow vertically, partner with groups like Whole Foods to get waste for their compost and restaurants like Busboys and Poets to sell their food, and teach hands-on classes for immigrant workers and college students so they can replicate this model in their own communities.

This is their mission statement from their website: “ECO seeks to reverse the effects of systemic poverty, racism, and environmental destruction through establishing and promoting social venture community-based businesses.”

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Reusable Coffee Cups on Campus

Hi all! My name is Madeline, I’m a sophomore in the College (English major, Philosophy minor) and for my first post on the EcoAction blog, I thought I’d tackle an environmental issue that seems to be a huge issue here at Georgetown: the use of disposable coffee cups.

I often get coffee in the mornings at Uncommon Grounds in the Leavey Center, and almost every customer in line takes a disposable paper or plastic cup for their drink. Students, professors, staff, visitors—no one seems to carry a travel mug, a thermos, or even a ceramic mug with them for their drink. At the other Corp coffee shops, at Starbucks, and at Epicurean, it’s the same story.

We’ve all seen this across campus, and we’ve all been guilty of using a disposable paper cup at one time or another. I know I left my travel mug in my room all weekend even though I went out for coffee a number of times. It can be a burden to carry a mug around with you, especially if you’re also toting a reusable water bottle. Even if you do usually carry a mug, it’s easy to forget it from time to time; or you might find yourself with a serious caffeine craving when you don’t have it with you. These are all understandable situations.

But I think we can agree that even when wastefulness is due to normal human forgetfulness, it’s still a bad thing. Moreover, most of the wastefulness due to the use of paper cups is not the result of people forgetting their travel mugs at home; it’s due to complacency and, frankly, laziness at coffee shops throughout the country.