March 2007 Archives
Organic vending entrepenuer Larry Macera thought outside the box and now has a company devoted to offering organic vending machines to schools, corporations and now some Y.M.C.A. health clubs. According to Macera the demand for organic snacks is high and his machines are hard to keep stocked. His criteria for the snacks placed in those machines is that "they have to be all natural -- no preservatives, no artificial food coloring. They can't have high fructose corn syrup in them."
Sugar-water seller Coke, and cosmetics giant L'Oreal, are reportedly working on a new beverage currently called Lumaé, which they will sell as a soft drink that promotes healthy skin via some yet-undisclosed ingredient. The beverage may be sold in department stores, rather than convenience and grocery outlets. Both soft drink and cosmetics companies in general want to cash in on what they see as a coming boom in "nutraceutical" beverages. "Pretty soon there will be a drink for every part of the body and every mood you're in," said Larry Trachtenbroit, head of Brain-Twist, New York. My view: If you want healthy looking skin, then be healthy all over, inside and out. And that means eating a healthy diet -- and drinking plenty of water.
A Hong Kong health club chain called California Fitness is retrofitting exercise machines, such as stationery bikes, so they generate power to keep the gym lights on as people use them. The excess power is stored in batteries. California Fitness plans to press equipment makers to build power-generating fitness machines, so they don't have to build that capability themselves. (via Engadget)
With pancreatic cancer having high mortality rates and patients surviving only an average of one year, this discovery may play a significant role in future cancer treatments. Researchers were able to identify the process of how normal stem cells in the pancreas become cancerous. When a person smokes, chemicals called plycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are released, which in turn prevent communication between the cells in the body. For the first time, this research pinpoints how these toxic PAH chemicals cause cancer not by initiating it but by promoting it. In other words, these carcinogenic PAH compounds don't mutate healthy cells but rather trigger existing mutated cells to grow and multiply.
It is estimated that 37,000 Americans will be diagonosed with pancreatic cancer in 2007 making these findings important for the discovery of treatments, including dietary changes, to effectively fight and even reverse cancer of the pancreas.
It's also important to note that harmful PAHs can form when substances with certain proteins, including food, are burned. This is especially relevant when cooking foods that contain proteins and even more relevant when grilling or frying meat.
Some 75% of all Americans use their doctors as health counselors, seeking advice on diet and other lifestyle choices that affect health -- but doctors underestimate their role in this capacity and don't always suggest lifestyle changes that might control high cholesterol, blood pressure, obesity and other health problems, according to a report in the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine (AJLM). Although not covered in the report, it is my belief that, although very well trained in the drug and other interventions that can control lifestyle diseases like cardiovascular illness, obesity and others, doctors do not have training in the food-related and other lifestyle choices that cure and prevent such diseases. This is the sickness that afflicts our healthcare system. Our choices make us sick, and our medical system offers drugs instead of help with our choices.
With daylight savings beginning this Sunday, we'll enjoy longer daytime hours a whole three weeks earlier than usual. Lowe's recommends homeowners use the 21 hours of additional daylight wisely doing green projects that will "make Mother Nature smile." Although Lowe's is out to drive sales, there is no question that their green project ideas really are good for the environment. Studies show that American homes are the huge energy wasters. Simple changes in the home can make enormous differences not only in the conservation of energy but also your bank account.
I certainly appreciate a company with innovative marketing technique that is not just about greenwashing, but green advocacy. Check out Lowe's "affordable" green projects "that every homeowner can tackle in one hour or less:"
- "Install a dimmer switch -- the bathroom is a great place in the home that many people forget about when it comes to installing dimmer switches. Who likes bright light in the morning, anyway? Dimming lights can save big on electricity bills."
- "Prep the lawn and garden beds for spring with all-organic products, such as Miracle Gro(R) Organic Choice Lawn Fertilizer (#40582, $17.97).
- "Install solar powered landscape lights such as the Malibu 6-Light Tier Solar Light Kit (#100229, $19.98)."
- "Attack unsightly weeds Old Man Winter left behind with Woodstream's organic Weed Prevention Plus (#193811, $9.97).
- "Install an ENERGY STAR approved ceiling fan, which uses up to 75 percent less energy."
- "Replace the thermostat with a programmable one and enjoy up to 33 percent year-round energy cost savings."
- "Design a new outdoor living space using Trex(R) decking available now at Lowe's, which is made out of post-consumer recycled materials and does not require preservative treatments or sealing. Visit http://www.lowes.com/decks to begin designing your deck today".
- "Replace standard light bulbs with compact florescent ones -- it's an easy way the entire family can help save energy."
- "Add a fresh coat of Olympic Premium Interior Paint (Latex Flat, #52839, $16.92 a gallon). It has no VOCs (volatile organic compounds), which can be harmful to both your health and the environment's. Or, try Valspar's line of Signature Interior Paint which is has low VOCs ($28.98 a gallon) and features Martha Stewart's all-new color palette available this spring exclusively at Lowe's."
- "Get a jump start on spring cleaning. Spend an hour each day cleaning and organizing the garage. Mop the floor with Simple Green(R) All Purpose Cleaner (#214388, $9.46), which is non-toxic and biodegradable or Method cleaning products, which are also eco-friendly and now available at Lowe's."
- "Tackle mowing and save on CO2 emissions by purchasing an electric mower for trimming the lawn this year. Check out Black & Decker's(R) 12-Amp Lawn Hog Electric Push Mower (#147398, $229)."
- "Replace single-pane windows with ENERGY STAR qualified models to keep cooling costs down this spring and summer."
Coca-Cola and PepsiCo reach new levels of absurdity in a new, misleading greenwashing campaign to sell sodas as healthy. Pepsi and Coke have come up with new diet sodas, "Tava" and "Diet Coke Plus," which are fortified with vitamins and minerals and will be sold as healthy "sparkling beverages."
Coke and Pepsi realize that people accurately associate soda with poor health and obesity. Their solution? Change the association, without making sodas significantly healthier. Although soda sales declined in 2005 for the first time in history, it's still a good money-making industry with a $68 billion market share.
Vice President Al Gore told some 1 billion TV viewers of the Oscars of the need to stop global warming. "We have everything we need to get started, with the possible exception of the will to act." Right you are, says PETA. Gore received a letter from the animal rights organization suggesting that if he really wanted to help the environment, he would become a vegetarian. PETA points out that, according to a recent United Nation's report on global warming, "raising animals for food generates more greenhouse gases than all the cars and trucks in the world combined."
Gore has also been slammed in the press recently for wasting energy on his enormous house and swimming pool. Gore uses more electricity in a month than the average American does in a year -- 20 times more than the average American, and Americans are the biggest consumers of electricity in the world. Gore paid in 2006 some $30,000 in electricity bills for using 221,000 kilowatt-hours to power his 20-room house -- a 10% jump over the previous year. (Contrast this with President Bush's ranch, which recycles its water for irrigation and uses solar power for its energy-efficient geothermal system for heating and cooling.) In his own defense, Gore says he purchases "carbon offsets." Is that what Gore means when he says we can all do our part? We can burn greenhouse gases like crazy, then buy carbon offsets?
Gore has also been criticized for traveling constantly all over the world to promote the cause of global warming, and burning millions of gallons of jet fuel in the process.
Gore's PR blitz might be good enough for Hollywood. But for the rest of the world, Gore is a global poster child for a lifestyle that causes global warming, a serial waster of electricity and a massive producer of green-house gases.
He's right about one thing, though. We do have everything we need to stop global warming. But we, especially, need people like Al Gore to develop the will to act.