Whole Foods Puts a Halt to Sales of Unsustainable Fish

Picture by David Ooms

Studies have long confirmed the health benefits of fish. Fish is high in protein, low in saturated fat and rich in omega-3. Of course, there are occasional health scares associated with the consumption of fish, such as concerns over the mercury content found in some varieties. Even then, the rich nutritional content far outweighs any slim likelihood of there being any health risks.

If you are a fish lover, then you may be disturbed by some recent findings. A study by Greenpeace concluded that as high as 70 percent of the world’s fisheries are being over exploited. Commercial fishing vessels are catching fish faster than the population can replenish its numbers. This is causing a rapid decline in common fish varieties that most people enjoy, which includes swordfish, marlin, flounder and even the one fish that everyone enjoys right out of the can: tuna.

Whole Foods, one of the country’s premiere food manufacturing companies, recognized the problem and formed an alliance with the Monterey Bay Aquarium and the Blue Ocean Institute to release a new color coded system to determine the sustainability of different fish varieties. Fish listed under a green category, for instance, are in abundance and are caught in an environmentally sound way. By contrast, those listed in red are in danger from overfishing. Whole Foods have made the decision to put a halt to the sale of some of the seafood under the red category.

These are the categories:
Green (best choice): The species are abundant and caught in environmentally friendly ways.
Yellow (good alternative): Some concerns exist with the species’ status or catch methods.
Red (avoid): A species is suffering from overfishing or current fishing methods harm other marine life or habitats.

As a consumer, it is your free choice to consume whatever fish you like. However, you are encouraged to avoid fish listed in the red category. This will send a message to restaurants to remove them from their menu. By being more selective with the type of fish you order, you can contribute to the repopulation of fish that are on the brink of making it to the endangered species list.

African Tree Automatically Fertilizes Crops

Plant crops under this tree, and watch your crop yields increase dramatically. The tree has the potential to aid farmers throughout Africa, South America, and much of south and Southeast Asia.

African Tree Automatically Fertilizes CropsThe issue here is nitrogen. It’s a very important component of fertilizer, and is currently provided through man made manufactured fertilizer. It can get really expensive, especially in cash strapped continents like Africa. The tree’s name is Faidherbia albida. It’s one of several trees that can capture nitrogen from the air through its roots and incorporate it into its leaves.

The kicker is that it grows in the dry season and drops its leaves in the rainy season, when crops start growing. The leaves drop with the nitrogen in them, and fertilize the crops below. That is, if they’re planted below.
Three- to four-fold increases in corn yields were reported, as well as yields for millet and cotton.

Why wasn’t this reported before? Other potentials for this tree are that it makes mining for fertilizer less necessary, once you have a natural source that sucks it out of the air and puts it in its leaves. That clears up a lot of pollution and industrial activity that is invested in producing potash, and things of the like.

Buying Organic Won’t Force you to Default on your Mortgage

If you consider it important to eat organic food, they you should know a few tricks about getting the costs down. One thing you can be almost sure of is that costs will continue to drop as sustainable farming practices become a national and even worldwide priority. The more humanity begins to realize it can’t continue to squeeze the earth by the throat by flooding it with insecticides and chemical fertilizers, grow monstrously-sized vegetables and expect kids to enjoy them, organic food will become more mainstream, and therefore cheaper.

Organic Food SalesUnderstand that it’s not the material cost of organic food that makes it more expensive. If anything, the natural methods they employ require fewer materials and cheaper ones at that. What makes it more expensive these days is simply the fact that it’s not as mass produced. That will soon change, when the organic food industry hits a tipping point. You’ll help that happen faster by increasing demand.

For now, consider these cost-cutting measures.

Do it yourself organic. Take something like humus for example. It’s made out of chickpeas, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and water. You can either buy organic ready-made humus, eat it and it’s gone. Or you can buy organic chickpeas, which, if bought raw, last practically forever. Add some organic olive oil, lemon juice, and garlic. Then you have the material for many humus servings. Find a good recipe, follow it. Freeze the leftovers, thaw them out when you want them again. They don’t last long in the fridge, because there are no chemicals that prevent bacterial growth. This is a good thing. And you’re guaranteed to pay less than even ready made conventional humus.

Stock Up. Stock up on your favorite items when they go on sale. Ever notice how some items go on sale exactly when you don’t “need them right now?” If they don’t go bad, buy a whole bunch of them anyway. Back to the humus paradigm. If chickpeas are suddenly on sale because the grocery manager is clearing room for the chic Fall humus collection, consider buying a whole bunch even though you don’t need them. They’ll cut costs later. You’re making a good investment. Don’t do this with yogurt. It won’t work well, and you’ll have bad yogurt on your hands. If you like eating sour yogurt, you can go for it and let us know. Some people do that. Remember that yogurt is already milk gone bad, so what’s the difference if they yogurt itself turns?

farmer's marketEat the sour yogurt. HA! I kid, but if you’re alright with eating stuff past the expiration date, then buy all means, have a ball. Just don’t force it on your guests.

Buy in Bulk. Duh.

Cut Coupons. Even billionaires do this because they want to feel like they’re still getting a good deal. You should do it, too. It’s like a game.

Farmer’s Markets! These guys usually haven’t even spent the money to get government certified approval. But chances are, they’re even better, since government approval only requires 95% organic material. They’re cheaper, better, and tastier than packaged organic foods.

Be Selective. Find out what the most contaminated conventional foods are, and only buy organic for those. Not everything grown conventionally will contaminate your spleen, or other organs.

Eat Less Food. If you’re on a diet anyway, eat less. It’ll save

Get A Bucket, Reroute your Laundry Runoff, Water a Garden

organic vegtetable gardenDo you have an organic vegetable garden? After the stock market crash of ’08, chances are considerably higher that you do. The home and garden division of Target and other various megastores are reporting an unprecedented increase in the sale of gardening equipment, plants, and seeds, as people try to cut down on their food bills. Numbers have it that the cost/benefit analysis, once you get your garden turning on all cylinders, is about 15 to 1. So here’s a simple idea for those of you who want to do even more to organically cut corners and save even more for the environment: Get your hands on a giant bucket, reroute your laundry pipe to the bucket, cleverly acquire some biodegradable laundry detergent, do a load, and water your garden with the runoff.

This is also especially useful in drought-stricken areas like Israel, where watering your garden these days will cost you about $5 for every cubic meter you use beyond your quota. I hear things are getting bad in California as well.

biodegradable detergentBut why biodegradable? I found out why yesterday, when I absentmindedly suggested to my wife that we pull the laundry hose out of the drain in the floor and put it in my giant empty bucket which I normally use for the primary fermentation stage of home brewing beer. (More on that later.) “Why?” she asked me, as wives often do. “So we can water the garden with the runoff and all the neighbors can be in awe of our giant and firm vegetables,” I answered proudly. Granted, the only thing we have in the garden right now is a budding tomato plant we accidentally planted there after burying compost, most likely including a tomato, in a hole 3 months ago.

I figured the replumbing operation was a good idea, until she informed me that toxic heavily-chlorinated, non-biodegradable detergent doesn’t do well for plants, contaminating groundwater, or keeping DNA generally unmutated, and do you want our accidental tomato plant to die in a hell storm of detergent chemicals?

I said no. And that’s when I knew, somewhere deep inside me, that purchasing an organic biodegradable detergent would solve the entire problem. So pick one up. Do some plumbing. Save some water. Grow a garden. Laugh at your neighbors in contempt for not being as thrifty and environmentally conscious as you. Revel in your victory.


The tenderness of the delicate American buttock is causing more environmental devastation than the country’s love of gas-guzzling cars, fast food or McMansions, according to green campaigners. At fault, they say, is the US public’s insistence on extra-soft, quilted and multi-ply products when they use the bathroom.

Apparently, “assforestation“, which stands for ass-related deforestation, is a very serious problem!

More than 98% of the toilet roll sold in America comes from virgin wood, said Hershkowitz. In Europe and Latin America, up to 40% of toilet paper comes from recycled products. Greenpeace this week launched a cut-out-and-keep ecological ranking of toilet paper products.

“We have this myth in the US that recycled is just so low quality, it’s like cardboard and is impossible to use,” said Lindsey Allen, the forestry campaigner of Greenpeace.

Think twice before you wipe! Because it’s more than your ass you’re wiping; it’s the only rain forests we’ve got you’re wiping!

Luxury Toilet Paper

Naturally Clean

Electrolyzed water cleans, degreases — and treats athlete’s foot. The solution is replacing toxic chemicals. The stuff is a simple mixture of table salt and tap water whose ions have been scrambled with an electric current. Researchers have dubbed it electrolyzed water — hardly as catchy as Mr. Clean. Used as a sanitizer for decades in Russia and Japan, it’s slowly winning acceptance in the United States. A New York poultry processor uses it to kill salmonella on chicken carcasses. Minnesota grocery clerks spray sticky conveyors in the checkout lanes. Michigan jailers mop with electrolyzed water to keep potentially lethal cleaners out of the hands of inmates.

Electrolyzed Water

Thinking Outside the School Lunch Box

School lunches for kids in America these days need to be more creative as well as health oriented. Many public schools still serve their students lunches that are heavily loaded down with carbohydrates and saturated fats; with many foods being those that are simply available from USDA commodities warehouses. While this is probably better than turning all this surplus food into bio-fuels, it doesn’t do much to reduce overweight problems brought on by too much starches and fats.

While many schools have had salad bars available for their students, cafeterias also have lunch menus which closely resemble those found in fast food places like McDonalds or Burger King complete with processed French fries, onion rings, chicken nuggets, and other junk foods that are loaded with “CARBS”, “SATS” and heavy amounts of sodium and other food preservatives. For this reason, many parents are once again sending their children to school with lunch boxes containing salads and sandwiches made with whole grain breads and other healthier food items. These new “school foods” are much healthier than the school lunches brought from home a generation or two ago when a typical box or sack lunch consisted of a baloney sandwich or hot dog , a piece of fruit, and maybe some cookies.

Lunch Bag

Trying to convince most kids to eat some forms of exotic menus found in whole foods stores won’t really work, unless they already eat these kinds of food at home anyway. What is interesting is that European schools have much healthier school lunch menus, and some schools in countries like France and Belgium even hire chefs to prepare more interesting as well as healthy diets for school children.

It’s not likely that American schools will go this route. But more nutritious, as well as appetizing meals can be made, even it they prepared beforehand at a central kitchen and sent to schools and reheated there. Children who must have special menus, either for health or religious reasons, are more likely to bring their lunches from home. But one thing is for sure; a child’s success in school is either helped or hindered by the type of diet during the day. As U.S. President Harry Truman said back in 1946, “In the long view, no nation is healthier than its children”.

Using a bit of creativity for school meals is far better than serving “high-carb” fast foods or baloney sandwiches.