Tascosa Feedyard, Texas (detail) source: Mishka Henner
Those little black and whitish specks that look like ants on the left? Cows. That enormous acid green pool of slime to the right? No idea. But I know this: there is something terrible going on with our food production in this country. It’s poisoning us and it’s poisoning the environment. I can’t imagine any of those poor cows are too psyched about it either.
But wait, there are many more horrifyingly fascinating aerial views of America’s heartland shot by photographer Mishka Henner at his website. Take a look here. I dare you. When you’re done please join me at the paragraph below.
Done? Ok. I’m sure we can all agree that no kid (or cow) should ever have to spend the day on any of those farms. And I consider myself a kind of casual, quasi-expert on this farm thing after having lived on a beautiful New Zealand farm where happy cows grazed in wide open pastures with no slime in sight.
So me, myself and everybody else, let’s choose to rethink our purchases. Let’s choose to rethink our family’s diet. Let’s choose to buy grass fed beef, locally farmed if at all possible. It’s usually less convenient and definitely more expensive so let’s just buy less of it. Or none at all. If ever we could collectively be inspired to become organic farmers, vegetarians or vegans it should be right now… as we sit here staring at all those little American cow-ants imprisoned on the shores of Lake Slime.
What day is February 14th? It’s International Book Giving Day, silly!
Actually, this was news to me and probably is to you, too, but hey, what better way to honor your little Valentine than to give them a book?
“International Book Giving Day is a day dedicated to getting new, used and borrowed books in the hands of as many children as possible.”
Roses are red, violets are blue, chocolate makes you hyper but this book is for you!
Three simple ways to celebrate International Book Giving Day:
3. Donate a Book. Wrap up a box of children’s books that your kids have outgrown and get them in the hands of children who could really use a book or two. Donate your books to your local second hand store, library, children’s hospital, or shelter. Alternatively, donate your books to an organization working internationally to get books in the hands of kids, such as Books for Africa.
Over the years I have had some very good neighbors and, like most of us, some not so good ones. Where I live now I have only trees for neighbors. Simultaneously quiet and entertaining they are, I think, the best variety. I took this photo of them while standing at my bedroom window this morning. Stoic and unadorned, it’s hard to imagine that in just a few short months they’ll be covered in tiny chartruese explosions.
Is there anything more wondrous than spring?
While scientists and environmentalists are well intentioned with their daily projections of our not so distant future dystopian world order and subsequent extinction it can put a real damper on the day. The struggles of our grandparents can seem downright quaint in today’s post climate change world… the age old mantra “life goes on” a phrase twenty somethings of today might wear ironically on their t-shirts.
Can you blame them? The daily challenge of survival is no longer limited to ourselves as individuals, our individual communities or even entire populations but now encompasses every last one of us, including all future generations and/or the lack thereof. It’s enough to make you throw your recycling bin in the trash can.
The answer? I have no idea. But I am inclined to think that a very good start would be for all of us to run to the bookstore or the internet and grab a copy of The World We Made, an imaginary memoir written in the year 2050 by history teacher Alex McKay. The author, Jonathon Porritt, who just returned from the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi is a founding member of The Forum for The Future, an environmentalist and no lightweight in the scientific and technology community. This green futurist believes that we already have the technology to create a sustainable, progressive world in which environmental, economic and social advances are shared, maintained and enjoyed by all. The catch? We must also believe that this is doable. It’s fundamental. If we don’t collectively believe that it is doable it simply won’t get done.
I’m in. I’m gonna get the book. And I’m gonna believe. How about you?
“The World We Made presents a credible vision of the world in 2050 – a world that is connected, collaborative and genuinely sustainable. This is the biggest thing I’m working on at the moment. We simply have to change the ‘mood music’ in terms of the way people feel about sustainability, and that means that everything we do in Forum for the Future is about positive solutions to today’s converging sustainability challenges.” Jonathon Porritt, Author of The World We Made
“In a world where doom and gloom surrounds us everywhere, Jonathon Porritt shows us that another future is possible. . . Jonathon is arguably more responsible for helping to create that positive future than anyone I know.” Jeffrey Hollender, Co-founder of Seventh Generation and Co-chair of Greenpeace US