Monday, August 22, 2016

Mammal Monday -- So stinkin' cute

It's a busy Mammal Monday at the greenmomster household, so I'm sharing this great skunk video.  Kudos to the biker for staying so calm!  More details on skunks to come....

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Athletes doing green stuff -- "Seeds of Hope"

Opening Ceremony, Rio 2016, Olympics, Rings

Every one of the over 10,000 athletes who entered the 2016 Olympic opening ceremonies was given a seed to plant -- the little trees will eventually be part of the Athletes Forest in Rio.  If you watched the opening ceremonies, you saw children carrying larger trees of the 207 species that will be found in the forest.  This gesture was one of the activities that Rio organizers used to try to shine a light on sustainability and climate change.  Granted, Rio has plenty of problems with deforestation, solid waste mismanagement, and water pollution, but it was good to see the organizers trying to bring climate change to the world stage.  (photo credit: AP Photo, Tim Donnelly) 

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Celebrities doing green stuff -- Olympics edition!

David Rudisha of Kenya has successfully defended his gold medal in the 800 meter race from London -- way to go!  But did you know he's also defending lions in his home country?  He now encourages fellow Maasai warriors to compete in the Maasai Olympics (now in its 3rd year), rather than killing lions as a rite of passage into adulthood.  A great example of looking at your own lifestyle and figuring out ways to make it more sustainable!

Friday, August 12, 2016

Pull that peach!

Peaches are in season, so be sure to try this delicious cold soup from the September 2005 Gourmet magazine!Sammy Thompson
Yield: Makes 4 first-course servings


  • 1 1/2 lb tomatoes, chopped (4 cups)
  • 1 lb peaches, pitted and chopped (2 cups)
  • 1/4 cup crushed ice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped shallot (1 medium)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons white-wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup water
1)  Purée two thirds of tomatoes and half of peaches with ice, shallot, 1 tablespoon oil, 1 tablespoon vinegar, 2 teaspoons tarragon, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a blender until very smooth, about 1 minute. Force through a medium-mesh sieve into a large glass measure, discarding solids. Stir in water to desired consistency.
2)  Toss together remaining tomatoes and peaches with remaining tablespoon oil, remaining 1/2 tablespoon vinegar, remaining teaspoon tarragon, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper in a bowl.
3)  Serve soup in bowls topped with tomato peach salsa.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Palm oil update

(photo credit: © Shah / WWF )

I've posted in the past about the link between palm oil plantations and orangutan habitat, the nutritional issues associated with palm oil, and a global day of action against conflict palm oil.  Now Conservation magazine has a new article summarizing two very interesting studies on the sustainability of palm oil production.  With palm oil in many of the products we buy at the grocery store, the issue of sustainable production is an important one.  

What can you do to encourage sustainability?

Monday, August 8, 2016

Mammal Monday -- the candy bars of the prairie!

Today's Washington Post included an article about prairie conservation on U.S. farmlands, so I thought it might be interesting to take a look at prairie dogs for  Mammal Monday.  Earlier this year, I wrote about black footed ferrets and bison and their roles in the North American prairie habitat   The prairie dog is the species upon which the bison and ferrets depend.  It holds things together on the prairie, because it is the "keystone species" for this habitat.  A keystone species is a species that, in spite of its biomass, plays a pivotal role in its ecosystem.  The prairie dog definitely fills that bill on the prairie.  It's the key prey species for black footed ferrets.  Its burrowing lifestyle provides shelter for many other species.  And its "grooming" of the grass around the tunnel openings affects plant species that other animals depend on.

And they're just so darn cute!

Friday, August 5, 2016

Why Eat Low on the Food Chain?

It's #MeatFreeWeek, so everyday I'm reposting some of my favorite meat-free Friday recipes.  For #MeatFreeFriday, we'll talk about why we want to go meat free -- enjoy!  And be sure to "like" greenmomster on Facebook and Twitter for more recipes and environmental news!

Have you heard the latest announcement from the World Health Organization (WHO), stating that processed and red meats increase your risk of cancer?  Not really new news, but now WHO is making the info a little more well-known.
But if you don’t want to eat less meat for your health, how about eating less meat for the environment?  Here’s a repost on that topic:
Why Eat Low on the Food Chain?
A great environmental goal is to “eat lower on the food chain.” What exactly does this mean? Well, let’s start at the beginning. When we talk about a food chain, we’re talking about a series of plants and animals that are related to one another through predation. Food chains always start with a plant (an autotroph, in ecological terms) which converts sunlight energy into energy that can be used by plants and animals. Plants are the source of energy and nutrients for all animals. As we move up the food chain, we’re looking at animals (heterotrophs) that eat certain plants. Moving further up the food chain, we’d see animals that eat the animals that ate the plants. A sample food chain would be:

Grass ---> grasshopper ---> bird ---> hawk 

So why do we want to “eat lower on the food chain”, that is, eat more plants and less meat? The way that our food is produced in our industrialized society, much energy goes into the production of food. The higher one eats on the food chain (meat, that is), the more energy that must go into producing that meat. So, if you eat a 2,000 calorie per day diet, a diet of vegetables will require much less energy input, than a 2,000 calorie diet that contains substantial amounts of meat. Another way of thinking about it -- for the same energy input, much more plant-based food can be produced. Eating lower on the food chain can also help to reduce greenhouse gases – the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization estimated that meat production is responsible for 1/5 of global greenhouse gases! 

Unless you live in an area with a very short growing season, a plant-based diet is a realistic goal. But many folks say they can’t or don’t want to go totally vegetarian. How about 1 night per week? The Utah State University Cooperative Extension website states that if “1000 people replaced one meat meal per week with a vegetarian option, it would save 70,000 lbs of grain per year!” That amount of grain would really feed a lot of people, with much lower environmental impact. Our family eats meat-free in our home.  Outside of the house, the kids and my husband eat whatever they want. Why not give it a try? Once a week, I will post a recipe that has been a success at our house. I’ll also include meatless products that I like, because people often ask me which products I like best, but you can substitute any brand that you like. Good luck, and I hope you enjoy “Meat-free Friday!”