Factory farms produce a majority of our nation’s meat. Over two-thirds of the beef consumed in this country comes from farms with at least 5,000 head of cattle; more than 90 percent of the chicken we eat comes from only ten companies; and over the last 30 years the number of hog farms has dropped to a tenth of what it was, while pork sales have remained steady.
With these mammoth farms come appalling conditions and animal overcrowding. The factory farm solution: hormones and antibiotics, which boost meat production and reduce animal disease. Pharmaceuticals are being used at an unprecedented rate. And if you think you can avoid the drug exposure by limiting or eliminating meat from your diet, the scientific community has some bad news for you – studies have recently shown that this use of pharmaceuticals on livestock is having devastating effects on our groundwater.
With the climate crisis staring us right in the face, the need to transform our daily routines has become increasingly apparent. A part of the solution may be a new twist on the very old concept of sharing things, it’s called collaborative consumption. We’ve seen how peer-to-peer networks allow us to share and buy goods and services from each other, and now that same concept is being applied by communities all over the world as a more efficient way to get around.
This week’s guest on Sea Change Radio, Amanda Eaken, the Deputy Director of Sustainable Communities at the Natural Resources Defense Council will walk us through these new modes of shared transportation – from bike-sharing to carpooling to taxi and car sharing – and show how emerging smart phone technology is playing a vital role in their rising popularity.
Here’s a link to Rachel Botsman’s TED talk about collaborative consumption that Ms. Eaken refers to in the interview.
In a 2006 Rolling Stone interview, Al Gore infamously likened the practice of extracting oil from tar sands to “junkies find[ing] veins in their toes” to inject heroin. Gore’s image simply extends to its logical conclusion George Bush’s 2006 State of the Union “addicted to oil” metaphor. Clean, renewable energy represents a healthy cure for petro-addiction. Tar sands, which increase the carbon intensity of petroleum extraction, represent an exacerbation of the climate-changing addiction–kind of like trying to cure heroin addiction by injecting arsenic. CWR co-host Bill Baue speaks with Shelley Alpern, director of social research and advocacy at Trillium Asset Management, about her shareholder activism asking oil companies such as ConocoPhillips and BP to assess and disclose the social, environmental, and financial risks of tar sands exploitation. We also hear from the Environmental Integrity Project and Environmental Defence Canada about their brand new report, Tar Sands: Feeding U.S. Refinery Expansions With Dirty Fuel.