Saturday, March 31, 2012

earth hour 2012

it's that time of year again: earth hour 2012.

as part of the social-conscious (or conscience) portion of this blog, i make it a point to promote and engage causes that i think deserve support. one of them is the annual earth hour event.

earth hour began in Australia in 2007 as a positive way of raising awareness for climate change in a way that involved hope as opposed to fear. it involves everyone turning off all power for 1 hour at the same time on the same day of the year as a way of thinking about how to reduce consumption of energy, with the ostensible message of trying to reduce carbon footprint but with an ulterior message of being mindful about the environment. since 2007, the event has spread around the world, and in 2011 encompassed 5,200 cities in 135 countries.

for earth hour 2012, the selected hour is 8:30-9:30pm, and the selected day is Saturday, March 31st. obviously, this means that earth hour will vary by timezone--in fact, as i write this, people on the other side of the international date line will already be finishing the day. but the idea is to create what an observer in space would see as a rolling hour of consciousness coinciding with the rotation of the earth.

of course, most Americans don't know about this event, since only a handful of cities in the U.S. observed the event. which is the reason why i'm taking some time to promote it in this blog. i'm hoping more American cities, and more Americans, take some note of's becoming embarrassing to see the rest of the world exercise a conscience as we seem to insist on thuggishness.

you can learn more about earth hour at the organization's website: 

there's also a promotional video of earth hour 2012 that i think is very well done:

you can read my posts from earth hour of the past few years:
remember everyone: 8:30-9:30pm, Saturday, March 31st, turn off the power wherever you are. if you feel alone, you can visit the earth hour website before and after to get a sense of community. you're not alone.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

red meat: good or bad?

just when i thought it was time for a post on nutrition, lo and behold a nutrition topic comes up in the news and makes all the headlines.  i'm referencing a slate of media reports referencing a recent Harvard study, all of which allege that the study shows that any amount of red meat in your diet is bad for your health, even to the extent that it shortens your lifespan.

you can check out a sample of the media reports:
i'm not going to post text from any of these articles, since my perspective here is actually in disagreement with these news reports.  it's not that i disagree with the science. it's rather that i disagree with the media commentary and interpretation of the science.

i'll put it this way: i believe in the body of medical science that finds that red meat is a driver of cholesterol, bad fats, and various assorted factors harmful to health. i do not, however, believe that this makes red meat a sole source of harm (which is what i think these media reports are doing). there's issues with many other sources of nutrition, particularly sources of protein. the issue is not red meat alone, but more about the larger composition of your nutrition overall.

i found some useful sources that i think respond directly to the media reports above:
what's interesting is that these articles also reference Harvard studies regarding red meat.  which to me just goes to show that it's not the science or the scientists that are the issue, but instead the commentary by news media that are misinterpreting research.

my personal position in light of the opposing viewpoints on red meat?  i monitor my red meat intake, but i also monitor all of my protein intake regardless of source, just like i monitor all of my nutritional intake in general.

here's an example that i think illustrates my motivation: red meat is high in cholesterol. but so is shrimp. and eggs. and some forms of vegetables and fruit. so treating red meat as the sole culprit won't solve all your problems.  if cholesterol is the concern then it's necessary to watch out for it in all foods.

and that's the principle i think that we really need to remember: we have to be mindful about all of our nutrition, not just a little.