Consilience Productions
Essays

A New American Dream
Ideas on living in world of sustainable consumption and dealing with a small planet that is out of balance with our big appetites.

Buy Green Power - Now!
This essay, by the energy officer of SUNY Buffalo, details how easy it is to purchase alternative energy - wind, solar, biomass (energy from trees and plants), geothermal, and low-impact hydro. It's super-easy to sign up with your current utility and only costs a few dollars more per month. Only by demanding Green Energy will we, as consumers, bring forth the new Green Revolution. (Note: although the article is specific to New York State, Green Energy is being offered all across the United States right now).

Why is "Certified Organic" Important?
This page lays out a compelling argument why we need to support this industry. And although it's not perfect, it's a heck-of-a-lot better than the subsidized corporate farming community that rules the roost right now.

Farm Subsidies from the 2002 Farm Bill
The best way to spend $180 billion? Big Corn, Big Pig, and Big Cotton all scamming our tax payer's money - how did this happen and what can we do about it?

Nondairy Milk - healthy for us, healthy for the environment
Ever wonder why so many consumers are changing their milk consumption from cows to plants? This terrific essay speaks about many of the issues in the debate: to drink from a cow or not to drink from a cow?

A Consumption Manifesto - There's no need to swap pleasure for guilt. With thoughtfulness and commitment, consumption can be a force for good. Too long have we consumers been a blushing bride overwhelmed by business suitors. It's time for the bride to assert herself! We've got the dowry; we have the purchasing power. We can require our suitors to comply with our vision of environmental stewardship—or we can close the door behind them on their way out. Through buying what we need, produced the way we want, we can create the world we'd like to live in.

A Consumption Glossary - Eco-labeling, Extended Producer Responsibility, Fair Trade are all terms new to the 21st century world of capitalism in which we live. Read on for other important issues in our world of sustainable living.

Clean S.U.V.'s - Are compressed natural gas- powered S.U.V.'s the wave of the future? Some in California think so. Read this article featuring Kevin Richardson of the Backstreet Boys.

Solutions to Conservation - The consequences of what we are doing to the environment are not difficult to understand, and yet we continue business as usual. This essay gives many ideas to saving energy, from meat to light bulbs.

Capital Pollution Solutions? - The trading of greenhouse gas allowances, also known as carbon trading, may be capitalism’s best answer to the problem of global warming. To avoid a dangerous degree of climate change, many scientists say, greenhouse gas emissions worldwide will have to be cut by 50 to 70 percent over the next 50 years. The only hope of achieving that, short of an unforeseen technological breakthrough or the passage of draconian environmental laws, is to inspire radical change in the economic system.

The Last Days of The Oceans - A special report by Mother Jones magazine, one of the most insightful investigative publications out there.

Unhappy Meals - In this seminal article by Michael Pollan, the ideology of "nutritionism" is dissected and shown how it has led us down the wrong path to illness, away from the goodness of all that Mother Nature can provide us.

Know Your Plastics - Keeping track of the seven different types of plastics on the market can be dizzying. Yet with all the leaching from plastics into our bodies, it's important to know which ones to avoid (i.e. PVCs). It's also necessary to support the budding Bio-Plastics industry - plastic made from corn that's bio-degradable in less than 3 months!

It's Not Just Climate Change - that's killing the earth and your children's future. It's over-population and over-development, just to get started.

The Hidden Life of Cut Flowers - Flying 44 tons of flowers from southern Africa to western Europe consumes 60 tons of jet fuel. Adding the energy consumption of trucking the flowers from the farm to the airport and from the airport to the customer, it is safe to say that a vase holding a bunch of ten imported flowers contains well over half a liter of oil.

Bloomin' Hazard (Pesticide use in the flower industry) - "It's very possible that there are significant levels of pesticides on commercial flowers since the main criteria for marketability is appearance, with no restrictions on allowable residues," explains Dr. Susan Kegley, a staff scientist and program coordinator for the Pesticide Action Network (PANNA). "This leads growers to apply pesticides for `insurance' rather than just the minimum required for pest control."

Killer Cow Emissions - It's a silent but deadly source of greenhouse gases that contributes more to global warming than the entire world transportation sector, yet politicians almost never discuss it, and environmental lobbyists and other green activist groups seem unaware of its existence. That's right. We're talking about...cow flatulence.

Why Bother? - A great essay by Michael Pollan that dares to refute the current malaise by some towards Global Warming.

Boyz Under The Hood - It's amazing what inner-city kids can do if they channel their energy and smarts. In this case, West Philadelphia high school kids have built award-winning electric cars. Check out this article from Rolling Stone Magazine.

Green Countries - A global report card on nations doing the most, and least, to clean up the environment. From Newsweek, July 2008.

What a load of manure! - End the environmental subsidy for factory farms now.

Bacon as a weapon of mass destruction - The crisis of factory farming becomes its own solution through the use of the industrially produced bacon. We know our industrial food system is killing the planet and killing us with heart disease, diabetes and cancer, but how can we resist when it tastes oh-so-good?

Globalization and the Downsizing of the American Dream - "Many of us have a gut feeling that the global economy has gone awry. We would do well to trust our feelings. This essay addresses this crucial issue: how the globalization of the economy undermines the quality of life in the United States."

One Tuna Sandwich, Hold the Mercury!
The humble tuna fish sandwich. Food writer Marian Burros once called it "the mainstay of almost everyone's childhood." Tuna is the second most popular seafood in the United States, after shrimp, and teh aaverage Ameridcan eats more than 2.5 pouts of it per year. But parents who regularly pack tuna sandwiches into their kids' lunch boxes may also pack an unhealthy helping of toxic mercury.

A few things you can do:

Recycle Beverage Cans
Recycling just one aluminum beverage can saves enough energy to run your television for three hours or your laptop computer for 11 hours. Each year 100 billion beverage cans are used in the U.S., but only about half are recycled, except for in bottle bill states like New York, where the rate is much higher.
(source: Sierra Club)

Recycle old computers and electronic devices
Go to Earth911.org, MyGreenElectronics.com, or the EPA.gov eCycling page and search by zip code for a recycling program near you!

Compact Fluorescent Bulbs
If every American household used just one compact fluorescent light bulb, it would prevent enough pollution to equal removing one million cars from the road.
(source: Sierra Club)

Read this test-drive of the top CFLs by Popular Mechanics. It'll surprise you!

Take Yourself Off the Junk Mail Lists
New American Dream & GreenDimes have made it as easy as 1-2-3 to remove yourself from all of those junk mail lists. The facts are depressing, indeed:

* The typical American household receives about 100 pounds of junk mail a year.
* 100 million trees are chopped down every year for junk mail sent to American homes.
* The amount of junk mail sent grows by 3 billion pieces per year.

What are you waiting for? Go get yourself off of those lists!

The Global Warming Survival Guide
Time Magazine has compiled 51ways you can help in our drive to alleviate Climate Change. For instance:

#22: Become a vegetarian. It's better for the environment than switching to a hybrid. [Do both for a double do-good whammy!]

#35: Use recycled paper. It uses 60% less energy than virgin paper.

#51: Small is Beautiful. Consume less. It's that's simple. The amount of energy it takes to make something is 100 times greater than the amount we save by recycling.

Let's do our part to Save the Planet!

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