Real Food Challenge update

It has been an active semester for the Real Food Challenge Team (RFCT) at Fort Lewis College (FLC). Attempting to move the Real Food Challenge (RFC) forward at FLC has been the team’s top priority since last fall when they began working on the initiative. Specifically, the RFC is a nation-wide campaign that aims to provide students with particular resources to gain the interest of their respective college toward purchasing 20 percent of their annual food budget of “real food”. Real food refers to food that meets particular sets of criteria found in four categories: fair, local, humane and ecologically-sound.

Real Food Challenge Team members promote Real Food Day, a meal which provided local foods to students made possible by the partnership of the school's food vendor, Sodexo, and the EC.

Real Food Challenge Team members promote Real Food Day, a meal which provided local foods to students made possible by the partnership of the school’s food vendor, Sodexo, and the EC.

Thus far, the team has set their agenda to achieve this goal by continuously meeting to form projects, goals and education around the challenge, in conjunction with staff from the Environmental Center (EC), FLC and Sodexo (the college’s dining hall food service. Preceding the current semester, the team was fortunate enough to have FLC Environmental Studies intern Laura Owens evaluate a semester’s worth of Sodexo’s food purchases for FLC using what is known as the real food calculator. With the systematic methodology and rigorous research of the calculator, she revealed that, currently, Sodexo purchases about 4.6 percent of real food per semester.

With a bit over 15 percent more real food needed to be bought annually to reach the overall goal of the challenge, the team is continuing to seek innovation and progress. This is a two-fold process: they’ll look to expand on educational type events for students, faculty, community and other college staff members, while doing additional research and analysis aimed at better efficiency in general and enhancing the processes by which they measure their results. The former of these has been somewhat more practically-driven as of recently. For example, on October 24, 2013, the RFCT, EC and Sodexo, put together a real food meal event at FLC. Essentially, the lunch showcased mostly a small variety of local meats and vegetables, as well as some foods which met the other four criterion of the RFC. From the staff of Sodexo to the students of FLC, the day made important connections, and illuminated the progress the RFC is making at the FLC campus. The latter of these tasks has involved reaching out to leaders within the RFC and student leaders from other campuses across the country, which the RFCT can utilize in terms of their successes and failures, etc.

Currently, the RFCT is work on planning more real meal days, including one more this

Sodexo sourced ingredients for the Food Day meal from local Durango farmers, meeting at least one of the four criterion of the Real Food Challenge.

Sodexo sourced ingredients for the Food Day meal from local Durango farmers, meeting at least one of the four criterion of the Real Food Challenge.

semester in December. They are also working on creating a press kit and a webpage. In doing so, they will open a new wave of media outreach which should help spread the word about the RFC here at FLC. Furthermore, a few team members have shifted their focus upon contacting other schools committed to the RFC to learn from their experiences. So far, what they have found is that is that the RFCT and EC may want to consider working on further analyzing the calculator results to highlight the campaign and raise its awareness. Similarly, it has been found that more education and learning opportunities need to be provided to the Sodexo staff in order to foster a stronger relationship with the FLC food vendor. Needless to say, the following weeks and semester ought to be full of busy and important work for this team.

By C.J. Clayton, RFCT member

Community comes together to help local farms

September’s destructive weather greatly devastated many of Durango’s local farmers but has also brought the community together to salvage Durango’s local food supply.

On Wednesday, September 18, heavy hail destroyed many of Durango farmers’ crops, including Adobe House Farm and Linnaea Farms. A lot of these local farms supply the farmer’s market and local restaurants. Linda Illsley of Linda’s Local Food Café, whose mission on their webpage is to use mainly local and Colorado grown organic food, stepped up to help her local farmers. Illsley got a call from Linley Dixon of Adobe House Farm, that their main crash crop, tomatoes, that Illsley was going to buy from Linley, was hit by the hail.

“We didn’t assess the damage until about Thursday

Linda Illsley (right) from Linda’s Local Foods working with Linley Dixon (left) of Adobe House, at the Durango Farmer’s Market. - The Independent

Linda Illsley (right) from Linda’s Local Foods working with Linley Dixon (left) of Adobe House, at the Durango Farmer’s Market. – The Independent

morning, and it was about 9:30 when I called Linda and said it’s all gone,” said Dixon.

It was not all gone and there was still some hope. Illsely contacted Beth LaShell, coordinator of the Old Fort, to spread the word that at least a 1,000 pounds of tomatoes needed to be harvested, and they needed urgent help. LaShell sent out an e-mail to Fort Lewis Students and that e-mail was forwarded by Rachel Landis, coordinator of the Fort Lewis Environmental Center. The e-mail recruited students to help both Adobe House Farm and Linnaea Farms.

“Adobe House Farm’s crops were destroyed by hail and they are gleaning as much produce as possible today.  Linley Dixon (owner) estimates at least 1,000 pounds of tomatoes need to be harvested today,” said LaShell’s e-mail.

About 50 people came out that Thursday to help harvest tomatoes at Adobe House Farms, and about 25 people came on Friday to help some more. They got all of the tomatoes out of the field before they would have started rotting and saved about 5,000 pounds of tomatoes. A majority of the tomatoes were green with holes in them and would have begun to ripen in the next couple of weeks. A buyer of Adobe House’s tomatoes and the restaurant Zia Taqueria helped support the farm and lent out their walk-in cooler to help preserve the tomatoes.

They then had three or four days to run the tomatoes from the cooler and into the freezer before the tomatoes would begin to rot. Illsley lent out her restaurant to be used as a place to chop up the tomatoes and save them in her freezer. Each day about 10 people, who Illsley had contacted on Facebook and through LaShell, helped out in the kitchen chopping tomatoes for that whole weekend.

“It was amazing. I think the take home lesson for me was to ask for help more often. I think a lot of people, even when the farm was ripped to shreds when they got there, were blown away at how pretty it still was. I think people still want access to farms. I think finding a way to give them access is a goal for the future,” said Dixon.

Daniel Amermam, a Fort Lewis Student, was one of the volunteers that responded to the call for help. He volunteered for two hours with other students and volunteers, picking tomatoes and other leafy crops at Adobe House Farms. Amermam did not personally receive the e-mail but was told by a friend what had happened, so he decided to lend a helping hand.

“I wish I would have known about it sooner. I probably would have gone earlier,” said Amermam.

He plans to do what he can to help again in the future.

“It was great to see the smiles on their faces and the gratitude they were giving us. I got a free meal at Linda’s afterwards,” said Amermam.

Fellow students had similar experiences and students of the Fort Lewis Environmental Center have decided to form a response team that will keep helping local farms and communities in a crisis.

“Based off some of the folks’ experiences going to help clean up the farms that were destroyed by our last hail and mudslide event, they saw how necessary it is to be able to mobilize a large amount of people quickly to help support our community. So they want to get a whole group of folks together at the click of an e-mail,” said Landis.

The experience of the community coming out to help their local farms shows that people want local foods and want to support their farmers and keep them in business. Local restaurants collaborating with the farms and the relationship between Linda’s Local Foods and Adobe House Farm, demonstrates how the community can work together to recover from a devastating event.

Adobe House Farm didn’t know what to do with their unripened tomatoes they gleaned.

“We will make chutneys. We will make salsas. We will figure something out,” said Illsley.

With the help of volunteers and local restaurants, none of the damaged tomatoes of Adobe House Farm was gone to waste.

“It was just one of those magical moments, when the community came together to support somebody that needed the help. It also triggered a conversation about food waste and lack of access by certain populations, like students at the Fort Lewis College. And, how we really did have the capacity to create abundance if we just organized,” said Illsley.

An example of an organization that tries to provide free food is the Grub Hub, a food bank that gets donations to give free food to Fort Lewis College students. They get most of their donations from Manna Soup Kitchen. Colin Clausen, volunteer at the Grub Hub, said that their amount of fresh produce has decreased compared to last year. This may be accounted for by the weather and the farms hit by the weather.

“Last year we were still getting produce into November, and we’ve already stopped, and it’s October,” said Clausen.

Even with the devastating weather that hit Durango, it was shown that food could be salvaged and supplied to the community. With more organization and help from volunteers to local farms, abundance could be created to provide for the town of Durango and the Fort Lewis College community. Farmers struggle to stay in business in Durango, and with the community’s help and the farmers willing to ask for help, more local food can be provided to the whole town.

“Financially it is a struggle. You are lucky to make a couple thousand at the end of the summer of really hard work. We had some savings also, but we all worked a couple jobs in the winter just so we could farm and do what we love,” said Dixon.

 

By Madison Chamberlain, Reporter at “The Independent,” Fort Lewis College’s student newspaper

Sodexo supplies students with a local food meal

Students of Fort Lewis College enjoyed a lunch that was fresh, delicious, and in sync with their ideals last Thursday, October 24, 2013. Together, Sodexo Dining Services and students from the Environmental Center compiled and promoted a meal made with “real” food to celebrate Food Day. In total, approximately 300 people were served.

So what is real food? Real food is something that you eat— it comes from your community (Local). It ensures that the producers or farmers who grew it got paid a fair price (Ethical).  If what you eat includes animal products, then these animals are kept content and healthy (Humane). Finally, this food is something you put in your mouth that is not produced in ways harmful for the planet (Environmentally Sound).

If reading about those types of foods makes your stomach grumble, don’t worry, there will be more real food on campus very soon. These meals are part of a larger project called the Real Food Challenge. The goal of the challenge is to serve 20% real food in the dining hall on a regular basis. Over a hundred other colleges around the United States have adopted the Real Food Challenge, and we want Fort Lewis to join their ranks.

Are you someone who gets excited about real food, but you know it is out of your price range? Perhaps one of the most exciting things about The Real Food Challenge is that colleges investing a large chunk of money into the real food market will drive the cost down for the individual eater. The Real Food Challenge is pushing for access for healthy food for everyone.

How can you get your hands on some real food and support permanent change on campus? Stay tuned for more meals like this one! These meals are a great way to show the administration your support of the Real Food Challenge. There are also items that are sold on a regular basis that are real: James Ranch burgers, Dessert Sun Coffee, and beets and carrots grown by Fields to Plate at the salad bar! By choosing these items, you can “vote with your dollar” and see more real food on campus. Happy eating!

By Melanie Weber-Sauer, member of the Real Food Challenge team

First-ever “Bike, Walk, Bus” event a success, saving 452 lbs. of carbon

 

On Tuesday, October 15, the Climate Action team had their “Bike,

Photo by: Environmental Center

Walk, Bus” event on campus, where we had prizes for people that commuted to school cleanly. The goal for this whole event was to encourage people to take advantage of all of the alternative means of transportation that can be found in the Durango area. Through informally questioning people on campus, we found some didn’t have a Durango Transit sticker on the back of their Skycard, which inhibits them from taking the transit and is making them lose money. As a transit bus pass is purchased through student fees, by not using it, one is in turn losing money. We registered students at our table with Durango Transit, furthering clean commuting practices and helping students to take advantage of the transit service available to them.

The big attraction for our Climate Action table was the “Bike Blender,” provided to us by Turtle Lake Refuge.  This seemed to be a main attractor and good selling point to people in passing. We peaked the passerby’s interest in our Bike, Walk, Bus event by offering free samples of smoothie, trying to get across the message that self-powered pedaling reaped large rewards.  One of the pitches we used to get people to participate was, “Burn calories to make your food!”

We tried to demonstrate how the energy of self-powering the blender was a simple investment of one’s energy, which is the same with choosing to clean commute.  A raffle included clean commuters who signed up at the table; those picked were able to receive giveaways such as helmets for skateboarding, snowboarding and bike riding, all thanks to the organization, Gray Matters.  This was another hook in order for us to relay educational information of the need to commute sustainably, emphasizing it can be an easy process.  We also explained that even if no other option is available to get to school but driving one’s own car to campus, at least find ways to carpool.

Throughout the day of tracking, we saved 452 pounds of carbon based on those who clean commuted and participated in the event. We had 120 bikers, 72 bus goers, 88 walkers, 132 carpoolers and 40 that were classified as other means, such as skate and long boarders, and those who just enjoy rollerblading. Considering this was the first occurrence of this event, the amount of people that participated were a great turnout.

 

By Dylan Malewska, Climate Action Team member

The consequences of commodity consumption

Many aspects of our daily lives include the use of a disposable material, whether it is made of plastic, paper or metals. All of these items come from a resource somewhere on earth, and while a zero waste standard is undoubtedly unachievable, reducing their use to attain a higher level of efficiency is crucial. In regards to paper coffee cups, it may be easy to imagine the consequences of using them, like millions of trees cut down and the emission of greenhouse gases. The word “paper” may make seem like less of an impact, but most coffee cups are coated with polyethylene, making composting very uncommon. In a report done by the Alliance for Environmental Innovation (April 2000), they stated, “…the majority of customers take their hot beverages in disposable paper cups lined with polyethylene and topped with a polystyrene lid. In the past, two paper cups were frequently nested together for better insulation”. The fundamental design of the paper coffee cup and Styrofoam cups is the main contributor to these negative impacts, as they’re one-time-use materials.

Single-use products waste the environment, symbolized by this coffee cup disposed of improperly and only after one use.
Photo by: Environmental Action Association

The number of coffee cups used by Americans on a daily basis is very staggering, and with the majority of Americans drinking coffee regularly, the waste adds up at a very tremendous rate. “Over 50 percent of Americans over 18 years of age drink coffee every day. This represents over 150 million daily drinkers. It means that Americans consume 400 million cups of coffee per day or equivalent to 146 billion cups of coffee per year, making the United States the leading consumer of coffee in the world” (Environmental Action Association). On top of using 400 million cups for coffee a day, the amount of waste this produces is remarkable, and disposable containers, like coffee cups, make up a significant segment of American trash output. “These disposable containers make up 18 percent of America’s garbage, and beverage cups made of virgin paper or Styrofoam make up a large chunk of that waste”  (Environmental Action Association). That is a very high rate of waste output for a one-time-use disposable commodity. Not only is it unnecessary, but in this country, it has become way too easy to be wasteful.  This rate of consumption is having serious effects on our environment: “Each paper cup manufactured is responsible for 0.24 lbs. of CO2 emissions” (Environmental Action Association). That means that if we throw away just half of the cups we currently consume, there is still going to be 48 million pounds of CO2 emissions delivered by Americans straight into the atmosphere every day. Paper cups also play a small part in deforestation: “…more than 6.5 million trees were cut down in 2006 to create the 16 billion paper cups thrown away” (Tabakin). With this in mind, the solution does not just call for more biodegradable and compost-able containers, but for an elimination of our overall output of waste itself.

Using reusable cups or mugs is the best way to make a difference, and while there still are environmental impacts in their production, over time it is much less wasteful, and can even be cost effective. “A study done by sustainability engineer Pablo Päster found that one stainless steel mug is equivalent to 24 paper cups in terms of material intensity” (Carry Your Cup). The long run is what counts when searching for more efficient material use, and reusing is the most maintainable way to reduce the negative characteristics of using paper cups. Choose to re-use!

Works Cited

“A Report of the Starbucks Coffee Company.” Alliance for Environmental Innovation Joint Task Force.  15 April. 2000. Web. 19 Feb. 2013

“Carry Your Cup.” Get the Facts. 2010. Web. 19 Feb. 2013.

“Save a Cup, Save the Earth.” Environmental Action Association. 2011. Web. 19 Feb. 2013.

Tabakin, Dudley. “Deforestation and Coffee Cups.” Blogspot.com. 1 Feb 2009. Web. 19 Feb. 2013.

Image from: http://www.environmentaa.org/images/image24.jpg

 

By Russell Penasa, Zero Waste Team member

Colorado flooding – exposing the risks of riverside oil wells

Photo by: John Wark, AP

In the past month, it seems that environmental cataclysms are moving closer to home. The recent catastrophic floods in northern Colorado have done quite a bit of damage. Ten people died in the flooding, and about 18,000 houses were impacted by the floods. The residents are still attempting to clear up the damage from the floods, and it will continue to be a lot of work. However, besides these apparent damages, oil and gas wells were also affected. Weld County is the center of oil and gas drilling in Colorado, and it was unfortunately heavily affected by the flooding. The county contains about 20,000 oil and gas wells, many of which sit along the southern floodplains of the Platte River. The wells are supposed to be very sturdy, but the intense flooding swept debris down the river, breaking pipes and spilling about 37,000 gallons of oil (as currently estimated). The Colorado Oil and Gas Association argues that compared to all of the other damage, this amount of oil spilled should not be of concern.

Environmentalists take a different stance on this matter. They worry that water sources are now contaminated from this spillage, small as it may seem. Because most of the damaged oil and gas wells are on the floodplains of the river, the oil wouldn’t have to travel very far to seep into the water sources. In addition, any spilled oil could easily leak into groundwater no matter where it was. Environmentalists are taking this chance to point out the risks of riverside oil wells. They wanted all drilling to be stopped to take a look at damage, but currently only the 1,900 damaged wells have been shut down, while the rest continue to run to fuel our addiction to fossil fuels.

This fall, there are several towns in Colorado that are going to be voting on banning fracking, following suit of Longmont’s decision to ban it last year. It will be interesting to see whether this oil spill will have any effect on these ballot decisions. Unfortunately, I think it is these disastrous events that make people take action against climate change. When the dangers are close to home people tend to take more of an interest in doing something to make their homes safer. In this case, the potential contamination of water sources may make Colorado residents reconsider our system of continuously taking a nonrenewable resource out of our earth.

Information from: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/27/us/after-the-floods-a-deluge-of-worry-about-oil.html?ref=earth&_r=0

For more information visit:

Fracking: http://www.what-is-fracking.com/

Colorado Flooding: http://www.usatoday.com/story/weather/2013/09/25/colorado-flood-report/2870191/

Here are some crazy pictures of the flooding: http://www.theatlantic.com/infocus/2013/09/historic-flooding-across-colorado/100591/

By Jessica Smyke, Zero Waste Team member

My Obsession With Human Dwellings

I recently became obsessed with human dwellings. I’m not sure why or when this happened exactly; I just know that the housing crisis had something to do with it. My mom and my dad (despite being born and growing up in completely different countries—US and Brazil, respectively) both grew up in humble blue collar households and their parents instilled in them the value of honest hard work as a means to make a living.

As an American, I have been exposed to the foundational values of the “American Dream” of freedom, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. This freedom in pursuing happiness offered anyone, even those born in lower social classes, the possibility of attempting to “climb the social ladder” and attain means higher than those with which they grew up. This is the basis of the so-called “American Dream” and this dream was, and still is, shared by Americans and people from other nations alike. It seems, however, that at some point in our history, this dream became synonymous with having the commodities that we have become so exposed to through advertisements and the media in general. From my perspective, this distortion of peoples’ priorities has created a lifestyle of excess where the average American is gearing away from the promised “happiness” and moving towards personal economical burden and a general reduction of quality of life. This lifestyle, in turn, is also contributing to the environmental degradation of an already very depleted planet.

However, “how does this relate to my obsession with human dwellings?” you might ask.Well, somewhere along the line I found out that one of the areas of our society that has experienced this increasing trend of “more is better” has been the size of homes. The median size of the new average American home has doubled since 1950, while the amount of people per household has decreased by over 25%, making our houses the biggest in the world—four times larger than the international average. This increase of size standards, however, has brought more of a burden to the average American than it has a sense of comfort, especially in light of the economic crisis we are barely coming out of, in which many people lost or nearly lost their homes.

This latter part, I’m afraid I cannot relate to. I grew up mostly in Brazil and my parents had a motto “don’t spend it unless you actually have it,” and it carried them through saving enough money to pay for our house in cash. My parents built our home slowly (I can still remember living for years in a house with only a few rooms actually finished), but they never had a mortgage.

In addition to the economic burden caused partially by the current size of our homes, there are many environmental consequences related to their construction and energy consumption. Around 40% of all of the raw materials consumed by humans are used in construction (around three quarters of an acre of forest are needed to build the average American home and it adds seven tons of waste to the landfill). At its current average size of 2,349 square feet, an American house emits more carbon dioxide than the average American car.

In light of our current energy crisis, dwindling natural resources and climate change, these numbers are especially startling. Despite all of the advancements in building techniques to improve insulation and design, houses still consume the same amount of energy as those built in the 1960s. The culprit, apparently, is the size of the homes.

While the majority of the population continues to partake in this culture of “excess”, others, in search for a happier and more sustainable way of living, have chosen to reconsider their lifestyles and take steps towards downscaling and simplifying their lives.

Some of these “others” are a part of what has been called the “Tiny House Movement.” This movement started out with people who advocate simple living through small dwellings for sustainability and financial freedom.

tiny houses

Some Americans choose to live in small houses to avoid going into debt and live more simply with the Tiny House Movement. Photo courtesy of Portland Alternative Dwellings (www.padtinyhouses.com).

Since I stumbled upon tiny houses, I became avidly interested in ways that people can live that don’t fit the status quo. As young people, we are in the perfect position to explore and discover new ways to solve the problems of our current times. So, if you are interested in ways to live more frugally, I’d recommend checking out the following documentary:

By Hari Baumbach

Dave Foreman of Earth First! Visits FLC

Without knowing what to expect when attending the Dave Foreman talk hosted by Fort Lewis College on April 5th, I would have to say I look at the state of the world from an entirely new perspective. Dave Foreman considers himself a conservationist and is co-founder of “Earth First!, an environmental advocacy group based in the Southwest. Earth First! was established by Foreman, Mike Roselle and Howie Wolke in response to an increased awareness of corporate influence on many large environmental advocacy groups. On earthfirst.org, you can find a more complete outline of their movement’s overall goals and their continuing mission to make people aware of the challenges we face as beings on this earth.

For the most part, a lot of the knowledge Dave Foreman shared was nothing new to the audience such as, earth being in its sixth mass extinction, the extinction of passenger pigeons and the human overpopulation conflict. However, if there was one thing I took away from Foreman’s talk, it would have to be his emphasis on human being’s desire to control everything in the natural world. “We are all earthlings,” Foreman said. The best analogy he used was to “think of earth as a 550 page story.” Complex life has only been around for as long as 550 million years and if you put humans in this story of our earth’s history we would be the last sentence of the last page. Yet, within that last sentence we have caused change that should have taken at least a couple chapters. Through our desire to control the nature that we have feared for so long, we consequently have blinded ourselves from what the earth itself needs to survive.

In order for us to have a world in the future that is similar to the one we know at the moment, “we must all become part of the neighborhood,” Foreman said. The heart and soul of the conservation movement, Foreman believes, is “to treat your neighbor as you would want to be treated.” All earthlings are part of this world—our neighbors. It is time for us to treat other living things as such.

By Hunter Mallinger

Algae: Fuel of the Future?

algae blooms in Finland

Algae blooms along the coast. Photo used by Fair Use.

The global population of humans has seen alarming exponential growth in the past century, which can be largely attributed to the exploitation of our most prized resource: fossil fuels. Fossil fuels are utilized in most facets of human society including agriculture, transportation, clothing and technology. However, with our increasing reliance and use of these non-renewable resources, comes the concern of oil reserve depletion. Peak oil indicates the point in time in which maximum petroleum extraction is reached and, within our modern population, is a concern that this may also be the limiting resource for our species.  In other words, as peak oil is reached and our oil supplies decline, our population numbers will shortly follow. This highlights the importance of exploring alternative petroleum sources that are socially, ecologically and economically sound. In this article, I will address one of the possible alternatives and with that several issues concerning this potential global solution to peak oil.

There has been much research and many publications regarding algal fuels as a potential solution to peak oil concerns, due to their direct petroleum replacement capabilities. However, the economic efficiency and social feasibility continue to be a topic of chief concern. Currently, if produced on a large scale, algal fuels are estimated upwards of $10 per gallon, which, compared to fossil fuels, are not as economically feasible. However, continued research will only decrease these economic figures and with the potential positive ecological and social results, this may be an ideal future prospect.

With regards to the ecological benefits of algal fuels, several are most prominent.  Algal fuels are autotrophic microorganisms that provide a carbon neutral fuel source, which may address concerns of global warming. In a basic sense, algae utilizes CO2 as the carbon building block for hydrocarbon chains (fuel), which takes as much CO2 out of the atmosphere as is released by burning the refined fuels. In comparison to burning fossil fuels, this may result in a more stable atmosphere, which in turn will decrease the amount of abnormal temperature fluctuations globally. These current abnormal temperature fluctuations are a causative agent of global population crashes and more recently have been hypothesized to be a primary reason for the current global extinction epidemic.

It has been observed that, in some locations, oil-drilling sites cause significant negative effects on the surrounding environment. Chemicals released throughout the drilling process as well as anthropogenic fragmentation are concerns for many conservation biologists. Another ecological benefit of algal fuels involves the ability to use sewage water, which is high in nitrogen and phosphorus and used as “fertilizer” for the growing algae. This would decrease the issue of oceanic dead zones caused by sewage disposal along coastal regions and allow those habitats to begin the process of recovery.

Since humans first began to mass-extract fossil fuels, there has been much conflict throughout regions where large oil reserves are present. A shift to algal fuels may reduce social problems currently seen due to fossil fuel extraction. Since algae grow in nearly every region of the earth, in theory, algal fields could be placed in all regions and territories. Furthermore, the highest production would be in regions that have the largest amounts of solar radiation, such as arid desert regions. These arid climates commonly struggle with social conflicts and depressions due to low amounts of fertile land and limited access to clean water. While the amount of water sources for these regions is of concern for algal fields, further research may be able to utilize algal fields as purification ducts, providing economic stability from fuel production and increase water sanitation. After the fuels are extracted, the remaining algae may be used for agricultural purposes, providing a more stable food source.

So while there is much more research that must be completed in order to provide an economically, ecologically and socially sound alternative fuel source, algal fuels appear to be a promising option for the future.

By Drew Walters

Different Cultures’ Perspectives on Human-Animal Relationships

As a human, are you always thinking about animals? I believe humans cannot live without animals because we depend on them to eat and survive. However, the animals humans eat differ. Each person has his or her symbol animals, which are determined by the environment around the person. Japanese people live on an island, so they mainly eat fish. As many people know, the famous Japanese cuisine is sushi. Native American people live in the middle of a continent, so they eat animals, which live in the continent. Depending on the tribe, the animals they eat are different.

Buffalo and Lakota People:

I chose to write about the relationship between buffalo and Native Americans because I went to a Buffalo Harvest with the Native American Center. Before I went there, I have never seen the killing of animals except killing fish. When people eat the buffalo, they pray for him and express their appreciation for him. I felt how important buffalos are for Native people. “As the buffalo roamed the Plains, so did the Lakota. The entire existence of the people centered around the buffalo’s epic migration across the vast plains of North America – from Canada to Mexico; the Pacific Northwest to the Appalachian Mountains” (Prairie Edge June 16 2011).

http://www.prairieedge.com/tribe-scribe/the-heart-soul-of-the-lakota-the-buffalo/

Grazing buffalo

Photo used by Fair Use.

Fish and Japanese People:

Japanese people cannot separate from fish. For me, fish plays an important part in my food. I grew up in the countryside of Japan. When I went to my grandparents’ or relatives’ house, I always ate fresh raw fish with my family. I learned how to gut fish on a school field trip. I was always told by my mother to eat fish and not eat too much beef or pork for my health.

Since the past animals have supported the lives of humans. In the past, people knew how important the animals were. However, I think people have forgotten this and many people choose to eat unhealthy junk food. They are not eating “real food”. Real food is defined by the as local/community-based, fair trade, ecologically sound and humane. There is an organization, “Real Food Challenge”, which requires 20 % real food in our campus by 2020. Our sustainability team started working to educate students in Fort Lewis College. I want to teach students in Fort Lewis College how important the real food is.

http://www.realfoodchallenge.org/

By Hanae Miyabo