Women in Sustainable Design with Kira Gould – show 31

Studies show that women are more likely then men to support environmental causes through voting, activism and consumer choices. I am going to sound like a broken record here but we buy 85% of the consumer products on the planet. We hold in our hands the economic power to change the world. My guest, Kira Gould, is doing just that. She is the co-author of “Women in Green: Voices of Sustainable Design” and her book is a poignant collection of stories and voices of women creating system-wide change in this movement.

In this show, we talk about the special qualities women have that make us prime candidates for carrying out what is needed on the planet today. Qualities such as consensus building and inclusiveness. Kira’s clear voice and grounded manner give me hope that what is needed now will be accomplished if we rally the forces of both women and men. How do we do that? According to Kira, “Keep communicating as frequent and effectively as possible about all the opportunities for ways to make change.”

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Green Recipe of the Week: Chickpea Crabcakes


True story: Less than two weeks before the manuscript for my book, The Meatlover’s Meatless Cookbook was due, with most recipes edited and determined fit for public consumption, I pan-fried a batch of my falafel patties for me and my husband, Russ. He took one bite into his falafel-on-a-bun and looked at me with all seriousness. “This falafel looks and eats likes a crab cake.”

He was right. With thirty combined years of living in Washington, D.C.—crab cake central—we could both see that this chickpea patty had Chesapeake potential.

With the wild eyes of a mad scientist, I immediately went to work, replacing Middle Eastern falafel spices with Old Bay, the iconic Maryland seafood seasoning that’s had a cult following for three generations. Out with the tahini, in with a yogurt remoulade and horseradishy cocktail sauce that transport you from the Mid-East to the Mid-Atlantic.

The result: Downright crab-shacky.

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Meatless Mondays with Chef Kim O’Donnel

This post is the first in a series which will be followed for the next three weeks with recipes posted every Saturday from Kim’s new book The Meatlover’s Meatless Cookbook. If you have any questions for Kim about green cooking, recipes, or the Meatless Monday campaign please add them below and we’ll include them in a follow-up interview to be posted at the end of the series. Let’s get cooking!

Kim O’Donnel is a pioneer, one of first writers to regularly feature vegetarian dishes when she began her career as a writer for the Washington Post years ago. She embraced the Meatless Mondays movement begun in 2003 and has been promoting the movement through her writing ever since. Kim has given talks everywhere from Politics and Prose to The American Culinary Institute. She’s even helping launch the first Meatless Mondays program in Seattle (where she currently resides) on November 29th of this year. Most recently, Kim has been tapped to write a new bimonthly health column for USA Today.

What exactly is the Meatless Monday Campaign?

Meatless Monday is a New York-based nonprofit initiative in partnership with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. It started back in 2003 as a way to encourage Americans to reduce their saturated fat intake by 15 percent. The gist: Take one day off from meat for your health – and more recently, for the environment.

Seven years later, this fledgling nonprofit has become a movement of major proportions, with supporters that include Mario Batali, Baltimore City Public Schools, Gwyneth Paltrow and Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

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Ladies, the World Needs You To Be Less Plastic, by Mary Clare Hunt

Is this India? Mexico? No, it’s Long Beach, California after a rain. It’s what happens when the 51 miles of LA river channel washes whatever is in it into the Queensway Bay in Long Beach. We don’t have to travel to one of the five ocean gyres where plastic swirls and chokes the life out of our marine animals; we can walk on water right here and spend millions cleaning it up. It gives new meaning to, “What a waste…” The screen shot above came via the live stream of the  TEDxGreatPacificGarbagePatch conference held in Long Beach, CA organized by the Plastic Pollution Coalition. The actual event had limited seating but anyone could attend virtually via house parties. Hopefully they’ll post the presentations for later replay. As shocking as the above is to look at, the statistics on what we are doing to our oceans and LAND by using single use plastics and then throwing it away are scary. You don’t have to believe in climate change to see that we drastically need to change the way we relate to this pervasive pollutant. A few of the not-so-fun facts from the conference: •               Over 2.4 million pounds of plastic are being dumped into our […]

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Awakening to Cancer’s Environmental Roots, by Sandra Steingraber

Three decades ago, my adoptive mother and I both became cancer patients. The way we each reacted to our new identities was a study in contrasts, but growing public awareness of cancer’s environmental roots has now brought us, unexpectedly, back together. “The history of cancer is long, but our recognition of the agents that produce it has been slow to mature.”– Rachel Carson, Silent Spring, 1962 When I was diagnosed with bladder cancer in 1979, at the age 20, I drafted a list of goals. The first thing I would do, once I was sprung from the hospital, would be to pay a visit to Claire’s Boutique in the mall. There I would get my ears pierced. Next, I would hit the university library. There I would answer the question, Why me? Neither task was difficult to accomplish, but one had a more predictable outcome than the other. The ear-piercing achieved exactly what I thought it would: it upset my mother. Her reaction – arising from the particular religious practices of her German-American family – allowed me to be angry with her. And anger allowed me to rebuff her attempts to bond with me over what she saw as a shared medical […]

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Ring the Bell with Mallika Dutt – show 30

For 30 years, Mallika Dutt has dedicated her life to human rights. What you will witness here are the fruits of her labor. Her organization’s current campaign to end domestic violence in India and the United States has reached over 130 million people so far. It’s message: Ring the Bell. A simple yet profound act of courage and compassion that everyone can do. And they are. Watch this video interview with Mallika and you’ll get sip of the great humility and devotion she exudes, and you will also see one of the video spots in this global campaign that is inspiring people to take bold action for dignity, equality, and justice — by ringing the bell.

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Greening In Grim Times, by Phila Hoopes

With the economy in upheaval, Congress reeling, and the environment under continuing assault from Big Oil, Big Coal, and Big Agro, it’s sometimes tempting to question – how much good can living green really do The luxuries of enviro-heedless daily American living surround us on all sides…high-tech petro-based cosmetics…sweatshop-manufactured designer clothing…toxin-emitting furniture, carpets, cabinets… mountaintops being exploded into rubble to keep our lights on and our computers running. Even if you’re committed to a green lifestyle, the relentless din of this consumerist world view can get wearing. In the midst of a hectic day, does it really matter that much to the planet if you drive to the 7-11 to pick up a pack of Clorox wipes instead of cycling to the health food store for white vinegar to use with your reusable cloth towels? But there’s a deeper question here – it’s not a matter of harshly enforcing green discipline. Somewhere over the last sixty years or so, our culture has lost the skills…and joy…and value…of living simply, lightly, in balance with the natural world. I took my 86-year-old father to a local Fair Trade coffeehouse and housewares shop awhile back. He browsed through the reclaimed-wood furniture, clay-based paints, […]

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The Unsilent Spring, by Jensine Larson

Growing up my playgrounds were the fields and streams surrounding our old farmhouse in the hills of rural Wisconsin. I learned the rhythms of insects and birds, the song of the frogs lining our creek… Year by year, though, my family and I began to detect unsettling changes. Our breathtaking constellation of stars faded as lights from the suburban sprawl encroached, and birdcalls no longer lulled me to sleep on summer nights. One day I found our stream stagnant and rotten, choked with yellow foam. It had become contaminated from chemical run-off from the neighboring farms. When I began reporting around the world, I recognized a mourning similar to my own in the eyes of women in the Amazon whose sacred lands had been coated in oil spills. The animals they relied on for nourishment had vanished, and their children had become sick with unexplainable rashes, boils, and stomach cancers. In Burma and neighboring Thailand, I met families who had been forced from their homes by military troops to make way for a natural gas pipeline. Many had been forced into slave labor for oil companies. They had been gang-raped and tortured into submission. Everywhere women are on the frontlines […]

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When Elizabeth Lindsey Speaks, People Quiet- Show 29

Two thousand people in the theatre and you could hear a pin drop when Elizabeth Lindsey floated onto the stage. When she spoke, the stillness deepened. I was so moved by her presence and message, I reached during my interview with her and held her hand. It was as natural as could be. When I think of her now as I write this, I take a deep breath and know we’re not alone. The ancestors are with us.

Elizabeth Kapu’uwailani Lindsey, Ph.D., is the first female National Geographic Fellow. An award-winning filmmaker and anthropologist, she is also the first Polynesian explorer for the National Geographic Society. Lindsey’s commitment to the conservation of vanishing indigenous knowledge and tradition not only provides a cultural record for present and future generations, but also serves as the foundation for a global, digital repository, an initiative which she spearheads at the National Geographic Society.

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Bubble, Bubble, Toil and Trouble: How Moms Create Their Own Tipping Point For Change, by Mary Clare Hunt

When you start asking moms to promote products that other moms and organizations find troubling and maybe even toxic, you can expect a backlash of conversation. That’s what happened when Johnson and Johnson launched a contest called Big Bubblin Stars, in which the winning video of kids having fun in a bubble bath garners $10,000 in prize money.  You didn’t have to buy the J&J products and yet, wouldn’t you? It’s $10,000 after all, and it seems fun and safe enough. But is it? The troubling part for many moms was that the contest promoted the use of products that contained dubious chemistry, shown over time to build up in the little bodies soaking in it. The launch of Bubblin Stars also coincided with a report from the Safe Cosmetics Organization titled No More Toxic Tub. In the bubble bath case, the moms were specifically questioning the use of products containing 1,4-dioxane and formaldehyde, included in some J&J products. What’s the big deal? Well, according to areport on a site focused on reducing breast cancer, it’s not just in J&J products. As stated in the report: Laboratory tests released today revealed the presence of 1,4-Dioxane in products such as Hello Kitty Bubble Bath, Huggies Baby Wash, Johnson’s Baby Wash, Scooby-Doo Bubble Bath […]

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