Tuesday, July 19, 2011

In Case You Miss Me

I've started writing in two other places, mainly because I had to learn how to use wordpress.  I'll stick to strictly environmental and social justice posts here.  But you can find posts on education in general (and technology in the classroom in particular) at Snyder's Symposium.  And you can find posts on human nature and life in general (philosophy, psychology) at A Puff of Absurdity.  Feel free to comment.
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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Reduce Weight Gain with This One Life-Changing Tip!

There's an article in the paper today about kids under five needing a 3-hour daily exercise regimen to prevent obesity.  I'm taken with the words "exercise regimen" as opposed to, say, "playtime."  Apparently parents are keeping children trapped in swings and strollers all day instead of actually interacting with the wee ones.

From my limited sample of people on my street, it's not the case at all.  But I live on a street uptown with big front porches - where I live all summer (to do my people-sampling) - and places to walk to, and I think that affects how often people are outside.  Generally, elsewhere, we're pushing technology over nature.

But I still think the biggest cause of rising obesity rates is how our food has changed.  The local grocery store has huge ads everywhere saying, "Ontario corn-fed beef coming soon!"  They make it sound like a really great thing.  I like that we can eat local beef, and I admit I naively thought we were all along.  But "corn-fed" is a huge problem.  Beef should be grass-fed to prevent e-coli, reduce methane emissions, and reduce potential obesity.  I won't get into details here, but watch Food Inc. for the bigger picture.  And I have to wonder, if the cows weren't eating grass or corn before, what were they eating?  I'm actually restraining myself from vandalizing the signs with "Watch Food Inc. to find out the problems with this ad!"

Okay, here's the one life-changing tip:  If you want to avoid obesity, avoid one food:  high-fructose corn syrup.    See this study for why.  The problem is it's in everything, so good luck with that.  If you eat low on the food chain, and entirely unprocessed foods, you'll have no problem with this - but you probably don't need to lose weight then either. It's labelled as fructose (the same name as sugar from fruit, but not the same thing), sucrose, glucose, dextrose, etc.  Essentially, if you're buying processed food, look for "sugar" and no "-ose" ingredients.  Give yourself twice as long to do groceries next time you go though.
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Monday, July 11, 2011

Questionable Economic Models Driving Policy

Tom Rand wrote in the Globe & Mail today that the climate-policy debate is using an economic model, DICE, that mistakenly views climate change as a slowly accelerating process rather than a non-linear model that recognizes the impact of sudden catastrophic changes in climate already happening (as explained in the Stern Review).  As such, we're doing precious little - pretty much ignoring the risks to our livelihood.

In Australia, on the other hand, the PM, Julia Gillard, is making industry pay $23 a tonne for carbon emissions which is expected to lead to reductions in emissions on par with taking 45 million cars off the road.  The article also notes that "Ms. Gillard's government is the most unpopular in 40 years."

This is exactly what we need: elected officials who aren't afraid to be hated in their quest to do what's right for their country and the world.

Here's more from Rand:

That's it!
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Sunday, July 3, 2011

The Energy Glut

Philobiblon wrote a post the way I like to - an annotated summary with page references.  The book's called:  The Energy Glut: The Politics of Fatness in an Overheating World, and it's driving home what I've been saying for years.  If you want to save the environment and lose weight, ditch your car.  You can also save scads and scads of cash.  

I'm creeping up on 50, and I still haven't bought a car yet.  I think I can go the distance on this one.   I almost succumbed to teenager-pressure, but I re-did the math and assured myself that taking the occasional taxi when necessary is a very cost-effective way to travel.

That's it.
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