Since the 1990’s genetically engineered foods have been on the market, mostly unbeknown to the consumer. The vegetables, fruits, and packaged goods you purchase could contain scientifically modified ingredients. On top of being a little Frankenstein-ish, GMO foods are terrifying because there have been no long term studies done on them, there is a possible genetic effect on humans which is unknown, and doctors have cited it as possible causes of some food allergies and diseases.   Is there a way to know whether you are purchasing a GMO food? Not currently. It’s always a risk, even for items labeled “natural” on the shelves.

 

 

Next week, all of that may change in California. This election, Proposition 37 proposes GMO food be labeled as such for the benefit of the consumers. The law would require any food from plant or animal that contains GMO ingredients to be labeled with a few exemptions. Farm animals fed GMO grain, restaurants, and alcohol are all exempt from this current law as they are regulated differently  It also bars GMO products from labeling themselves as “natural,” which unfortunately is an unregulated marketing word.

Living in California and a huge organic supporter, we are excited for the possibility of this law. Consumers have a right to know what is going in their bodies and it seems the populace agrees. The latest polls are showing over 60% of California voters are in favor of the proposition. Plus one look at who is against it, will make up your mind quickly, Monsanto has been a huge critic, pouring gobs of money into the opposition campaign. They are quite possibly the largest GMO farming corporation that has come under fire for labor violations recently. Would you trust those guys? 

Other than knowing what we are putting into our bodies, passing such a law is so important is that it will set a precedent for other states to follow suit. Organic advocates, parents, and pretty much everyone who buys food will win in the long run if this law is passed. Well, you know that slogan: you are what you eat, and we certainly don’t want to be something made in a lab. Please Vote YES on Prop 37!

 

Now that both the Democratic and Republican National Conventions have been completed and we are headed into a heated 90 day battle between the big choice of two candidates, it’s time to start comparing them. Unfortunately, when it comes to the environment, neither are looking so hot (unlike our planet….but that’s another story).  Sure, one is  lesser of the two evils when it comes to energy policy, but it would be nice if we had a few more people to choose from (once again…that’s another story).  And since there are no third-party candidates who are likely to take any votes from these two, let’s just look at them!

Let’s start with the newcomer, Mitt Romney. AP and Romney share an interesting history, as he was once the governor of our founding state: Massachusetts.  Now you might wonder how such a progressive state would vote in a conservative, well he ran on a different platform back then (yet again…that’s another story). If we were talking about Romney from 6 years ago, this would be a different story. In fact, some of his environmental moves have inspired some of Obama’s.

However, let’s talk Romney running today. He does have some interesting ties to Big Oil and has accepted campaign donations from them. In return, he has stated that he will expand drilling for both gas and oil in the United States. He also plans on extending the Big Oil tax cuts and subsidies, yet at the same time, opposes any tax incentives to alternative energy production within the US. And on that note, he is also against raising standards for energy efficiency in general. He seems to oppose any environmental technology advances, even making the statements: “You can’t drive a car with a windmill on it,” and “[fuel efficiency standards are] disadvantageous for domestic manufacturers.” Even further frustrating is his stance on public lands. He has supported the Paul Ryan budget that calls for the selling of 3.3 million acres of public lands to private industry. And don’t even get me started on Global Warming, although once stating that humans were speeding up the production of carbon emissions, he now mocks that idea.

If this future seems a little bleak, we do have a little better news coming from the blue camp. During the 2008 election, Obama spoke a LOT about the environment, clean energy, and green jobs. However, his track record as President hasn’t actually put these ideas into motion. He has mentioned in State of the Union addresses and taken a pledge  that the Federal government should cut oil subsidies and use them to invest in alternative energy.  Unfortunately, it hasn’t happened in the last four years. Perhaps it something for the future four years? He has also mentioned  investing Federal funds in alternative energies, however, he lists “clean” coal and nuclear as sources of renewable energy. In a bit of good news, he has put into place some energy efficiency standards that will bring commercial facilities to be more efficient by 2025, initiated new rules on emissions from coal power plants that will save lives, and set a goal of 1 million electric vehicles on the road by 2025.

We are pleased with some of these initiatives, but disappointed in his track record. He does support green jobs and promised 5 million, however, we haven’t really seen that plan come to fruition. He’s also increased offshore drilling and done little in the way of ending fracking. He also has spoken for fighting Global Warming in the past, but has failed to mention it in this campaign or done little to work on this issue over the past four years. However, it should be noted the State Department under his administration is working on international pollution regulations. That being said, he has a pretty inconsistent record on environmental policy. 

So there you have it, a quick rundown of both main candidates views on the environment. It’s looking like we have a choice of a C or F student. So take your pick! Personally, we will have to go with the lesser of two evils on the environmental front. Here’s to hoping over the next few months the campaign focuses on these environmental issue a little more!

Let the games begin! The nation and world have been captivated by the Olympic spirit for the past few weeks. Like most, we have been glued to our devices trying to catch all the games, especially soccer. While watching, we started to wonder, are there any Olympic athletes who stick to a plant-based diet? Turns out there are plenty!  Some might balk at a vegetarian athlete and feel they wouldn’t be able to keep up due to lack of protein and such, but many have proven that wrong, becoming elite athletes and Olympic winners.  In case you aren’t sure who to root for or just want to copy their awesome healthy diet, we thought we’d discuss some of the best of the best.

Since the Olympics are being hosted by the Brits, we thought we’d start there. Early in the games you may have heard the name Lizzie Armistead, as she won Britain’s first medal of the games in women’s cycling. She was the apple of Britain’s eye for bringing in their very first medal of the London games, but her diet was also being highly publicized. The 23-year-old athlete has been living a vegetarian lifestyle since the age of 10, when she decided to hold the meat.

But it isn’t just our friends across the pond who are going plant-based. A month or so before the games began, veteran Olympic swimmer, Natalie Coughlin discussed her mostly plant-based diet in an interview with Fitness magazine. She said she needs to be in tip-top shape while competing and for her that means following a vegetarian diet. Coughlin talks of how she grows her own veggies, sticks to a lot of greens, and loves to make smoothies with “coconut water, kale, spinach and romaine lettuce mixed with apples, celery, or pineapple.” She finished the London games by winning a Bronze along with her US swimming teammates.

Our neighbors to the North also have a plant-based athlete to boast of.  Dylan Wykes, a champion marathon runner who will be competing in the London Olympics this weekend, first went vegetarian based on personal ethics. Preparing for the 2012 Olympics, his diet garnered some press. He discussed how protein intake is highly important for distance runners, but he eats protein rich foods such as quinoa, beans, and leafy greens while training. Wykes is one of the best runners hailing from Canada in decades and veggie fueled performance is highly anticipated.

London will not only be hosting vegetarian athletes on the field, but off as well. Former US soccer Olympian Kara Lang, whose career was cut short due to a knee injury, is a women’s soccer analyst this summer. She went vegan while she was still playing soccer and received plenty of flack for it. Her coaches and trainers were worried it would affect her performance, but she pushed on and proved them wrong. She eats mostly whole foods and limits her intake of faux meats. Of her experience with the vegan diet, she stated My body was just more efficient…If you become a vegan and you do it properly, you’re not eating processed food anymore. Instead of spending all this energy clearing out toxins and metabolizing food we’re not meant to eat, your body can focus on recovery.”

It is definitely inspiring to see these top of the line Olympians thriving on a plant-based diet and receiving publicity for it. It’s not only current athletes, there are plenty of famous historic veggie Olympians including Carl Lewis, Murray “Seaweed Streak” Rose, and Charlene Wong to name a few. Check out Ecorazzi’s great article on the Top 10 Historic Vegetarian and Vegan Olympians for more information. We salute all the awesome veg top athletes competing in the London Olympics!

Awww there is nothing quite like a refreshing cocktail to cool down on those warm midsummer evenings. Even better, when that cocktail is made with Fair Trade and organic ingredients. One of our favorite drinks of all time are mojitos, however in the summer heat, the classic minty flavor just ins’t enough to cool down. In order to solve this we have added one of the newest in Fair Trade certified products and a delicious, refreshing fruit: mangoes!

Midsummer Mango Mojitos 

Peel the mango and cut into slices. Mush the mango in a bowl an set aside. In a sturdy cup, drop the mint leaves in and add 1 ounce of rum. Let the leaves soak for about a minute and muddle with a muddler or handle of a wooden spoon. Add in 1/4 cup of mushed mango and mix. Add in ice and pour the lemon lime soda. Mix and garnish with a sprig of mint or lime wedge.

The popsicles are melting and the temperature gage continues to rise. The kids have taken to the streets to cool off under the stream of the fire hydrant and even the dogs are hiding under the shade of the trees. It’s a bonafide heat wave! If this sounds familiar, it’s because the US has been under a nationwide heat wave for the past few weeks. Yes, it is the middle of July, but is there something more sinister at work? With temperatures rising steadily, a lack of winter, and crazy, unpredictable weather, it’s hard not to pose the question. In fact, last week the entire country suffered temperatures well into the 100’s.

In a new study from the American Meterological Society they answer that very question. It states that heat waves are directly related to global warming and  they are on the rise!  The study points out that several heat waves have been connected to human-made global warming. These heat waves include last year’s brutal heat in Texas which was considered 20 times more likely to occur due to global warming and November’s warmer than normal temperature in England was 62 times more likely.   This study marks a new feature in climate science, where it has usually taken years to compile weather studies, this one was able to be analyzed and published within several months. This is groundbreaking science that is sure to help shed some light on the issues we are to face.

If you thought that was bad news, it only gets worse. In another study published by Stanford last year stated that the US is “likely to undergo extreme summer temperature shifts within 60 years.  Yup, expect more droughts, heat waves, hurricanes, tornados, fires, floods and any other weather extreme that will terrify and complicate our modern lives. But not all disasters have been directly connected to global warming including recent floods in Thailand. Monsoons are common in Thailand and researches have related these particular floods to rapid development, meaning more people in more vulnerable areas.

And as the temperature continues to rise, we lose more and more of our polar ice. In 2011, the Artic warmed as a whole and was at it’s second lowest level since we humans started keeping track. In case you haven’t heard, this is causing the sea levels to rise at a steady pace.  Higher sea levels means less land for humans and animals alike and with our population reaching 7 billion, major social issues are headed our way.

Basically all this news is bleak and a bit scary. Is there anything we can do? It’s unlikely we will be able to slow the affects already set in motion. However, we need to get serious about changing our ways. What we have done to the Earth over the last Century needs to stop now. We need to figure out more sustainable energy and stop using gasoline like it’s water running from a tap. We also need to start planning for the future. Rather than deny the Earth is warming, we, as a society, must plan for the future. Acting now, could save countless lives and resources. You and I need to start pressuring our leaders to pay attention to these issues and we need to change our everyday actions. The heat is on, as the say, so let’s cool it down.

With the heat waves rolling in and the summer solstice behind us, it is officially BBQ season! And there couldn’t be a more BBQ friendly holiday than the 4th of July, because there is no better way to celebrate America’s birthday than with smoked food. As well as BBQs, summer calls for strawberries and lot’s of them! So how can you honor the US of A, summer strawberries, and BBQ season? A one of a kind dessert by the name of Strawberry Rhubarb Pie. So celebrate the country and the season with this traditional summer treat.

Vegan Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Prep Time: 30 Minutes    Bake Time: 45 Minutes

Pie Crust (x 2)

  • 2 Cups Organic Unbleached Flour
  • 1 Tsp Salt
  • 2/3 Cup, plus 1 Tbsp Earth Balance
  • 1/4 Cup Ice Water (more may be needed)
 Filling:
  • 1 1/4 lbs Organic Rhubarb
  • 1/3 lbs Organic Strawberries
  • 3/4 Cup Evaporated Cane Juice
  • 1/3 Cup Organic Unbleached Flour
  • 1/4 Tsp Salt

Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees. You will need to double to recipe for the pie crust to make crusts, one for the top. Prepare the pie crust by combining the flour and salt. Blend in 2/3 cup soy margarine until the mixture is crumbly. Add in the water until mixture starts to hold together (you may not need all the water or you may need more-play it by ear!). Next roll out the crust with a rolling pin (or in times of need a washed wine bottle can substitute). Place the first crust in a 9 inch pan and use your fingers to make even patterns in the dough. Repeat the above instructions and after the dough is rolled out, set aside.

To prepare the filling, cut the rhubarb into one inch pieces and cut the greens off the strawberries and slice them. In a large mixing bowl combine the rhubarb, strawberries, evaporated cane juice, salt, and flour until mixed. Pour the filling inside the first crust. Depending on how you want the pie to look, either put the other crust over the filling and cut vents in, or cut the second crust in strips and make a checkered pattern across the pie. For a special 4th of July treat, you could cut stars or stripes into the pie!

Here at Autonomie Project, we are gearing up for a really exciting festival. The GreenLife Eco-Fest is a two-day weekend festival nestled in the beautiful Sierra Nevada Foothills in Northern California (about 2.5 hours from San Francisco).  We are especially excited about this one, as a lot of big names are attached to speak and one of our founders, Gina, hails from the foothills.  Having this big of a festival in the small, but quaint town of Grass Valley is really great, especially since it is a zero waste celebration of all things green! 

As we mentioned, there are some big name speakers coming that we can’t wait to hear. Some we are most looking forward to include John Robbins, author of Diet for a New America and The Food Revolution, Michael A Bedar  producer of the film, Simply Raw: Reversing Diabetes in 30 Days, Allison Cook of the Story of Stuff, and Dr. Kevin Danaher co-founder of Global Exchange/Green Festivals and writer of Building the Green Economy : Success Stories From the Grassroots. And on top of these lovely speakers and more, there is some absolutely great workshops, such as: Growing Mushrooms, Biodynamic Gardening, Natural Building, Green Energy, and Reading GMO Labels.

If that wasn’t enough of a reason to hike up to the foothills, there will also be FREE bike tune-ups given by People Powered Alliance, a clothing swap, and the Haute Trash Fashion Show which is fashion made out of “trash.”  If you love shopping there will also be about 120 green and eco vendors, including yours truly.  And don’t forget about awesome healthy food vendors and music. Really, this festival sounds like one big green party, but not the political kind.

If you are in the area or would like to take a beautiful drive/train ride through the California foothills, come stop by! If you come to our booth, you can check out our NEW products such as eco-friendly, Fair Trade dog toys and leashes! We promise you won’t regret it. Hope to see you there!

When: Saturday and Sunday, June 23rd & 24th. 10am-7pm with music until 9pm on Saturday

Where: North Star House, Old Auburn Road, Grass Valley, CA

Cost: Free! $5.00 for workshops and $20 for all day speaker pass

Why: Because it’s going to rock!

  • Twitter: @autonomie

    Error: Twitter did not respond. Please wait a few minutes and refresh this page.

  • Facebook

  • Topics

  • Recent Posts

  • September 2014
    M T W T F S S
    « Oct    
    1234567
    891011121314
    15161718192021
    22232425262728
    2930  
  • Archives

  • Follow

    Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

    Join 45 other followers