Thursday, January 26, 2012
"From our friends at NASA comes this amazing 26-second video, depicting how temperatures around the globe have warmed since 1880. That year is what scientists call the beginning of the “modern record.” You’ll note an acceleration of those temperatures in the late 1970s as greenhouse gas emissions from energy production increased worldwide and clean air laws reduced emissions of pollutants that had a cooling effect on the climate, and thus were masking some of the global warming signal. The data comes from NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, which monitors global surface temperatures. As NASA notes, “in this animation, reds indicate temperatures higher than the average during a baseline period of 1951-1980, while blues indicate lower temperatures than the baseline average.”
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
The fennel added a subtle extra flavor to the asparagus risotto. Nice.
Desperately I looked through the larder for ingredients to make a salad dressing. How about 1 tsp of dijon mustard, equal parts (about 2-3 Tbs) of mirin and rice vinegar and about 1Tbs of ponzu. Dressed on an organic spinach and tomato salad. Yum.
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
However, to take a different perspective getting less oil from a stable neighbor does make us rely more (in the short term) for overseas oil which can be quite volatile and has (arguably) led to wars over oil. I believe that we must wean ourselves from oil (and other fossil fuels) much sooner rather than later to try to reduce the magnitude of catastrophic climate change.
How will we bridge the gap and work towards true energy security where much of energy comes from clean and sustainable sources? What changes will you need to make in your life to facilitate this? What are the benefits of doing it sooner rather than later?
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
I had the pleasure of dining with a number of our undergraduate majors this evening. While waiting to get in, there were signs talking about meatless Thursdays and WHY they were having meatless Thursdays (now to get them to eliminate cheese on Thursdays!). There were signs all over the place about not using a tray and by doing so saving water and energy required to clean them. And, the portions were 'reasonable' and food choices healthy. I had a grilled Tilapia served with polenta, tomato sauce, and spinach (it was really nice) and two helpings of a really nice fresh salad.
I have to say that the campus dining halls are doing such a better job than the campus faculty club! There are no meatless days there, unsustainable fish are regularly served, and there's apparently no thought about educating faculty about sustainability issues. Of course by identifying problems this opens the door to solve them. I guess I have a conversation lined up in my near future.
Is your school, campus, work place engaging in sustainable food practices? What would it take to get them to do so?
Sunday, January 15, 2012
In a very interesting passage of “Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance”, Robert Pirsig uses a metaphor to describe how the rigidity of our values sometimes can put us in danger:
“All kinds of examples from motorcycle maintenance could be given, but the most striking example of value rigidity I can think of is the old South Indian Monkey Trap, which depends on value rigidity for its effectiveness. The trap consists of a hollowed-out coconut chained to a stake. The coconut has some rice inside which can be grabbed through a small hole. The hole is big enough so that the monkey’s hand can go in, but too small for his fist with rice in it to come out. The monkey reaches in and is suddenly trapped – by nothing more than his own value rigidity. He can’t revalue the rice. He cannot see that freedom without rice is more valuable than capture with it. The villagers are coming to get him and take him away. They’re coming closer… closer!... now! What general advice – not specific advice – but what general advice would you give the poor monkey in circumstances like this?”
Pirsig would tell the monkey to reconsider his values (in this case, as fast as possible), removing the value rigidity that rates rice above freedom. Perhaps the monkey could get released from the trap with a small amount of rice among his fingers, if he weren’t too greedy and tried to get all the food inside the coconut.
The metaphor of the monkey trap can teach us interesting aspects of many things, including about the exploration of resources in our planet. Instead of a coconut, a monkey and some rice, the real situation is composed by seven billion people “trapped” in the same planet, sharing common resources and having lives that are linked in a certain way. All of us are trying to take some rice, but the amount of food is limited, and we must be intelligent in using it. If we get stuck, worried about taking the biggest quantity of rice we can, we run the risk of dying in the trap.
If we know that the things we do and the way we consume things can be harmful to other people and to the environment, the question is: are we able to reconsider some of our values? If not, why?
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
Half bulb of fennel, sliced super thin
1 lb spinach
2 Tbs olive oil
2 Tbs rice vinegar
2 Tbs ponzu
Place all ingredients in a large frying pan; saute over medium heat. When the spinach is wilted, it's done. 5 min for a delicious warm salad!
Monday, January 9, 2012
I think I've just discovered the first thing that they don't enhance. Pizza. Just don't try it, I figured that buffalo mozzarella might, just might be enhanced with the lemons--I was wrong. Upon baking, the lemons were simply too bitter with the cheese. Oh well. Gota try some strange pairings in order to find the ones that work.
The steak was preceded by an herloom tomato pizza, and pan seared scallops. The steak was served with mushrooms (2 lbs of mushrooms that I sliced and cooked slowly in a large frying pan in about 1/8th cup of olive oil with half an onion (thinly sliced) and cooked down for about 45 min over low heat). This was followed by a palate cleaning Meyer lemon sorbet and finished with a pear salad (bosque pairs, mixed with organic greens, and a walnut, wine vinegar and jam dressing).