Here's a collection of some of the information that's been shaping my world lately. It runs the gamut, so be prepared (and some of the titles have changed to suit my mood - so there!)
"Old" SIGG reusable water bottles contain BPA [AlterNet]
Time to trade in for a Klean Kanteen! Even though SIGG has a trade-in program where you can return your old BPA-containing bottle for a new, improved BPA-free bottle, I'd rather support a company that was "klean" from the beginning (and didn't cover up the truth).
What's so bad about BPA (bisphenol A)?
*Unless it was made after 2008. Check the article for a visual reference.
Getting Real About the High Price of Cheap Food [Time]
If you haven't had a chance to read Omnivore's Dilemma or see Food, Inc., here's a relatively brief, yet in-depth look at the problems plaguing our industrialized food system.
"Organic": Is It Healthier? [by Susun Weed]
Oh man, this article – part of my permaculture reading this week – made me laugh out loud. Susun has a great way of explaining the finer mechanisms of the world around us. She can make anything hysterical or completely logical just by the way she describes them. Here's a taste:
I live on an old quarry. When I went to the extension and said, "I'm looking to buy this piece of property," they pulled out the soil maps and they said, "Ah, there's no soil on your property, did you realize that?" I said, "Yeah, it's an old quarry." They said, "This place is useless. The only thing that you could possibly do there is raise goats or grow weeds. So I went to the people selling it, and I said, "It's a worthless piece of property, it will only grow weeds." I got it for a very good price.She goes on to tell us that, yes, she grows a lot of weeds. Weeds that feed her rabbits and goats. Those rabbits and goats feed her. There are some other, more 'adult' things that made me laugh in this article, too. But I'll let you read those yourself!
Why are we still using atrazine when 7 European countries have banned it? [Daily Kos]
The health and healthy presence of frogs are a good indicator of the health of an ecosystem, and therefore, the health of us. Well, hate to break it to y'all, but we're up sh*t's creek without a paddle, 'cause frogs are mutating and disappearing at alarming rates. Their permeable skin leaves them vulnerable to chemical contaminants like pesticides and herbicides – chemicals used in agriculture and on lawns like atrazine, methyl bromide, and chloropicrin (a nerve gas!) which end up in our drinking water, and in our bodies.
And just in case that wasn't enough to cheer you up, here's a related article [NY Times] about the legal allowable limits of atrazine in drinking water, and the detrimental effects of atrazine on women and children.
Out of the Earth: Civilization and the Life of the Soil [by Daniel Hillel]
Soil is the skin of the earth. Yet we literally treat it like dirt. Some say it's our nation's biggest export (meaning it erodes away at a disturbingly steady rate). I've been really hot for this topic lately, and there's a chapter out of this book that made me melt. An excerpt:
Soil and water have a physical affinity. Dry soil is "thirsty," sucking up water the way an old-fashioned blotter sucked up ink. When the soil surface is wetted by rain, the suction force of the deeper soil layers, augmented by the force of gravity, draws the water downward. The soil drinks the rain in a process called "infiltration." The maximum rate at which the soil is able to absorb water applied to its surface is called the soil's infiltrability. It is greatest when the soil is dry, and diminishes gradually as the soil is wetted to progressively greater depth. Since the water permeating and seeping in the soil must make its way through the intricate labyrinthine passages between the irregularly shaped and oriented soil grains, it is obvious that a soil's infiltrability depends on the widths and tortuosities of these interstices, called pores...Wow!
See also: i enjoyed a dirty movie today (my post about the film "Dirt")