Archive for the 'Environment' Category


Old Man and The Sea

One of my favorite stories of all time is “Old Man and the Sea” by Ernest Hemingway. Today I read a very similar story with a couple of differences: 1) it is true, and 2) there is a happy ending for the fisherman.


this will ruin your holloween

The problem with reading is sometimes it changes the way you think and then the way you live. We have already purchased our Halloween candy and are making plans for trick-or-treating. Then I read this article. Now I’m a little disturbed about Halloween.

The tasty treats we enjoy on Halloween are a product of child slavery. You can read more about child and forced labor here. Much of this child labor is reinforced by over-consumption of products like coffee and chocolate. Personally, I pay attention to the coffee I drink. Ever since I saw Blood Diamond I have told my wife I will never buy here any more diamonds (and not just for financial reasons because I can be cheap). But, didn’t consider whether or not the chocolate I eat was harvested by little kids like mine. This is heartbreaking to a dad of three boys. I am learning to make more responsible choices with my purchases, but it is difficult. Sometimes it means paying a lot more. Sometimes it means doing without. But I cannot ignore the FACT that what I buy with my money either helps or hurts. I’m taking steps, even if they are baby steps. It doesn’t have to mean we do without, but consume responsibly, let Fair-Trade influence your purchases.

My friend Mike offers some more insight on the same article I read here. He includes a disturbing picture.

Here is a solution to possibly salvage your Halloween? “Halloween candy that doesn’t suck.”


Fresh, local, organic vegetables (part 2)

Last week I posted a blog to see if I could find enough interest in buying crop shares from a local organic vegetable farm to convince him to deliver to the town I live in, Berlin, MD. I was a little overwhelmed with the response and I am still having people email me.  So, here are the next steps in the process.

1. Because of the demand here in Berlin, Bobby emailed me and said that they will have a delivery site here in Berlin. They have not determined the day or time yet, but I’ll post it here when he tells me. I am assuming that if you sign up for a crop share, you will be notified of that as well. 

2. If you would like to purchase a crop share or a half, go here and sign up for it.  The deadline is March 1!

3. When you sign up, please mention that I referred you (Kyle McDaniel). I would appreciate it!

4. Taylor’s farm will follow up with you from this point on. Thanks!


Fresh, local, Organic Vegetables

I recently found the website of a local, organic vegetable farm. They sell shares of crops to individuals. A share is an amount of vegetables they estimate will feed a family of 4 for a week. It includes deliveries for 20 weeks. The cost of a share is $400, but I think that’s a pretty good deal with food costs expected to rise and the fact that these are fresh and organically grown. You can buy a half-share for $225. You can see the list of expected crops here. I called the number on the website and spoke to Bobby who runs the place.  He said if I could find a few people, he would deliver to our town, Berlin.  If you are interested let me know on the form below.


my love for coffee

I worked for Starbucks coffee for almost 6 years of my life. That’s 1/5 of my life span.  Thus, I have a deep love for coffee that is great than mere addiction. I enjoy a good cup of coffee like some enjoy a painting, a sculpture, a wine, a novel, or anything else that combines creativity and beauty. I know it sounds over the top or possibly even ridiculous to some. But coffee is much more than a beverage. I combines elements of environment, community, care, ability, and other things.

Coffee is the second most widely traded commodity in the world. More people use coffee than anything besides petroleum on any given day.  It has been the cause of conflict, but also the has served as a point of reconciliation.

Coffee has facilitated reconciliation in the nation of Rwanda. It has allowed persons who previously were murderous enemies to now work together for their livelihood.


diet, exercise, and…climate change?

I am no small lad, at birth I was over ten pounds.  Since October I’ve been hitting the gym pretty consistently and intermittently eating right.  I have lost a few pounds, but it’s a long and slow process. I’m committed though. Then I read a couple articles(here and here) about a scientific report from across the pond. It basically says that I am responsible for global warming because I am fat.  Here is my understanding of what the studies say:

Fat people = More food consumption = the need for more food production = more energy needed and greenhouse gases produced

Also, fat people drive cars more often = more fuel being burned

I would add to this:

More weight in a car = worse gas mileage = more fuel being burned

In one article it was noted: “We are not just pointing the finger at fat people. All populations are getting fatter and it has an impact on the environment.” This causes me to ask several other questions. Is it not simply the amount, but what is in our food that is making people worldwide fatter? Why does research seem to prove stuff “other” people are doing. Do the researchers and media pushers not eat, use electricity, and drive cars? Of course they do.

Also, although I am a proponent of environmental stewardship and preservation, I am interested in studies that continually show the ubiquitous nature of climate change. It seems to touch every issue; economics, health, certainly science. Something as pervasive as climate change seems suspicious to me, does that make me a conspiracy theorist? Perhaps it simply makes me an idiot because anyone who questions the status quo is usually deemed as such.


diapers, finances, and the environment

We are nine weeks into using cloth diapers for Zak.  We have some kind of system that Tara found so we don’t have to use safety pins, which is great for me because there would be nothing safe about it.  They also have a cover than goes over the diaper. It resembles the bladder system Kramer  invented to put inside of oil tankers in case of a spill.

We have a two-fold purpose in using cloth diapers. First, cloth diapers are so much cheaper in the long run. Initially, you have to shell out some cash, but, you don’t have to buy diapers again for a long time.  Secondly, we are trying to become more environmentally conscious and this is a way we can contribute. You go through alot of diapers with kids, so by using cloth, we minimize our trash.

One thing these do not do, that I wish they did, was mask the smell. If someone can invent a way to keep a diaper from smelling, they will make a million, no doubt.

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