Monday, April 10, 2006

Bird Flu & You

BIRD FLU: Meat Eaters Put the Entire World at Risk

Eating Meat Threatens Millions With Bird Flu

Bird Flu and Chicken Factory Farms: Profit Bonanza for US Agribusiness

Avian Flu: Natures Wake-Up Call for Humanity

Avian Flu: It's Your Fault (in Chinese:

Go vegetarian to avoid bird flu

Concerned About Bird Flu? Doctors Offer "Vegetarian Starter Kit"

Eco-Eating: Eating as if the Earth Matters

The Vegetarian Mitzvah

No Smoking?

CyberBrook's ThinkLinks

Saturday, March 11, 2006

IT’S ECO-LOGICAL! Nutrition Awareness Month & Great American Meatout

IT’S ECO-LOGICAL! March is Nutrition Awareness Month. Fast food tends to be unhealthy for people and unhealthy for the environment. Fast food usually has very high levels of salt, sugar, saturated fat, and cholesterol, all of which are associated with various serious diseases, including heart disease, cancer, stroke, obesity, and diabetes; further, fast food usually contains too few vitamins and minerals and little or no fiber, essential for good health. Additionally, the fast food industry significantly contributes, directly and indirectly, to tremendous resource use and waste, the suffering and deaths of millions of animals, unsustainable and dangerous farming practices, the decline of species diversity, the overproduction of non-recyclable products and packaging, polluted waterways, destruction of rainforests, and many other eco-bads. Eating better, instead of eating junk fast food, leads to healthier lives, healthier families, healthier communities, healthier attitudes, healthier brains, and a healthier planet. For related info, please see Eco-Eating at

IT’S ECO-LOGICAL! The annual Great American Meatout is on Sunday, March 20th this year. Eating less meat can really help you, the animals, and the planet. Eating meat simultaneously contributes to the suffering and death of animals, the ill-health of people, the overuse of oil, water, and other natural resources, the destruction of the environment, the legitimacy of violence, inefficiency in the economy, inequality in the world, and moral failure in a so-called advanced society. Vegetarianism is an antidote to all of these unnecessary tragedies. Try eating less meat, or cutting it out altogether, to help the animals, your health, and the environment! For more information, see

Monday, May 23, 2005


War is not only dangerous for people, it is also an eco-crisis for the entire environment and all its inhabitants. Everything gets polluted—air, water, soil, gardens, farms, plants, animals, rivers, lakes, homes, schools, zoos, etc.—from the weapons and wastefulness of war. Further, as President Eisenhower once suggested, any money that goes to the military doesn’t go toward education, health, social security, and environmental protection. There are many reasons to oppose war and environmental protection is one more.

IT’S ECO-LOGICAL! Margaret Mead

Margaret Mead was always curious. She was an anthropologist, as well as an author and activist, who studied people and their culture on the Pacific island of Samoa. Mead realized that social problems such as environmental destruction, war, racism, and sexism were learned behaviors, not human nature. "Unless we take care" of the Earth, she said, "unless we protect our rivers and our lakes, our oceans and our skies, we are endangering the future of our children and children’s children". One way to "take care", according to Mead, was to take action. She famously declared: "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."

Friday, April 15, 2005

Nike Lists Abuses at Asian Factories

Published on Thursday, April 14, 2005 by the Guardian/UK
Nike Lists Abuses at Asian Factories
by David Teather in New York

Nike, long the subject of sweatshop allegations, yesterday
produced the most comprehensive picture yet of the 700
factories that produce its footwear and clothing, detailing
admissions of abuses, including forced overtime and
restricted access to water.

The company has published a 108-page report, available on
its website, the first since it paid $1.5m to settle
allegations that it had made false claims about how well
its workers were treated.

For years activists have been pressing Nike and other
companies to reveal where their factories are in order to
allow independent monitoring.

Nike lists 124 plants in China contracted to make its
products, 73 in Thailand, 35 in South Korea, 34 in Vietnam
and others in Asia.

It also produces goods in South America, Australia, Canada,
Italy, Mexico, Turkey and the US. It employs 650,000
contract workers worldwide.

The report admits to widespread problems, particularly in
Nike's Asian factories. The company said it audited
hundreds of factories in 2003 and 2004 and found cases of
"abusive treatment", physical and verbal, in more than a
quarter of its south Asian plants.

Between 25% and 50% of the factories in the region restrict
access to toilets and drinking water during the workday.
The same percentage deny workers at least one day off in

In more than half of Nike's factories, the report said,
employees worked more than 60 hours a day. In up to 25%,
workers refusing to do overtime were punished.
Wages were also below the legal minimum at up to 25% of

Michael Posner, the executive director of the organisation
Human Rights First, described the report as "an important
step forward" and praised Nike for its transparency.
But he added: "The facts on the ground suggest there are
still enormous problems with these supply chains and
factories - what is Nike doing to change the picture and
give workers more rights?"

Nike has joined the Fair Labor Association, a group that
includes other footwear and clothing makers, as well as
NGOs and universities, which conducts independent audits
designed to improve standards across the industry.
The company said it needed further cooperation with other
members of the industry.

"We do not believe Nike has the power to single-handedly
solve the issues at stake," the company said in the report.
Mr Posner said retailers such as Wal-Mart bore huge
responsibility for keeping prices low and consequently
compounding poor working conditions in factories overseas.
He said that the likes of Nike and Adidas needed to work
together to gain some kind of counterweight.

Debora Spar, the author of a case study on Nike, said the
report "shows the company has turned a corner, although I
am not sure that I would describe it as a very sharp

Guardian Unlimited © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2005

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

[ Poem Squares: Remembering Rwanda / The Gettysburg Address ]

This is a type of poem that, to the best of my knowledge, I invented.

[A Poem Square, this one called Remembering Rwanda, is where each line has the same number of syllables as the number of lines in the poem; in this case, seven.]

Remembering Rwanda
Inconceivable actions
Enormity of horror
So easily death can come
And so easily it goes
Priceless people worth nothing
Remembering Rwanda

[The Gettysburg Address,
another 7x7 Poem Square]

Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address
One hundred forty years ago
Words spoken, yet then broken
At Civil War battlefields
Abraham Lincoln in charge
Leading one House, divided
Lincoln killed, we try to heal


I remember listening to NPR, I think All Things Considered, 11 years ago during the Rwandan genocide. The host was speaking with a woman in Rwanda named Monique. She talked about what was going on, then saying that men were approaching her house. It was a sickening and helpless feeling. The host said for her to tell the men that President Clinton was on the phone, hoping to be able to say something and spare her life. She responded that she didn't want him to hear what was about to happen and she hung up.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Machete Season

For 100 days during 1994, about three-quarters of a million to one million Tutsis and their defenders were killed by the Hutus, mostly using machetes, in a bloody genocide in Rwanda. The recent movie, Hotel Rwanda, brought this event back into focus. Some of the reasons for the mass slaughter included the ethnic tensions created by the Belgian colonialists, high population density, scarce arable land, few resources, and people willing to exploit these societal problems. Experts believe that if even a small army force had been sent in, the genocide could have been prevented, or at least stopped. Instead, again, the world looked the other way.

The following book includes long interviews with ten Hutu men imprisoned for killing Tutsis durig the 1994 Rwandan genocide. Here are several samples, excerpted from a reprint in Harper's Magazine, April 2005. Note, in particular, the references to animals and meat, to gender, to religion, and to banality.---DB

Jean Hatzfeld, Machete Season (2005),trans. from the French by Linda Coverdale.

Pancrace: During that killing season we rose earlier than usual, to eat lots of meat, and we went up to the soccer field at around nine or ten o'clock. The leaders would grumble about latecomers, and we would go off on the attack. Rule number one was to kill. There was no rule number two. It was an organization without complications. Elie: The Rwandan is accustomed to the machete from childhood. Grab a machete---that is what we do every morning. We cut sorghum, we prune banana trees, we hack vines, we kill chickens. even women and little girls borrow the machete for small tasks, like chopping firewood. Whatever the job, the same gesture always comes smoothly to our hands. The blade, when you use it to cut branch, animal, or man, it has nothing to say

In the end, a man is like an animal: you give a whack on the head or the neck, down he goes. In the first days someone who had already slaughtered chickens---and especially goats---had an advantage, understandably. Later, everybody grew accustomed to the new activity, and the laggards caught up.

Ignace: Some hunted like grazing goats, other like wild beasts. Some hunted slowly because they were afraid, some because they were lazy. Some struck slowly from wickedness, some struck quickly so as to finish up and go home early. it was each to his own technique and personality.Leopord: We began the day by killing, we ended the day by looting. It was the rule to kill going out and to loot coming back. We killed in teams, but we looted alone or in small groups of friends. Except for drinks and cows, which we enjoyed sharing...

Pancrace: In the marshes, pious Christians became ferocious killers. In prison very ferocious killers became very pious Christians. Each person satisfied his faith in his own way without any particular instructions, since the priests were gone or were up to their necks in it. In any case, religion adapted to these changes in belief.

Elie: God and Satan seem quite contrasting in the Biblea and the priest's sermons. The first one blazes with white and gold, the second with red and black. But in the marshes, the vcolors were those of muddy swamps and rotting leaves. It was as if God and Satan had agreed to cloud our eyes. We did not give a damn for either of them.

All the important people turned their backs on our killings. The blue helmets, the Belgians, the white directors, the black presidents, the humanitarian people and the international cameramen, the prists and the bishops, and finally even God. ...

Alphonse: Some offenders claim that we changed into wild animals, that we were blinded by ferocity, that we buried our civilization under branches...

That is a trick to sidetrack the truth. I can say this: outside the marshes, our lives seemed quite ordinary. We sang on the paths, we downed some beer, we had our choice amid abundance. We chatted about our good fortune, we soaped off our bloodstains in the basin, and our noses enjoyed the aromas of full cooking pots. We rejoiced in the new life about to begin by feasting on leg of veal. We were hot at night atop our wives, and we scolded our rowdy children. Although no longer willing to feel pity, we were still greedy for good feelings.

The days all seemed much alike. We put on our field clothes. We swapped gossip, we made bets on our victims, spoke mockingly of cut girls, squabbled foolishly over looted grain. We sharpened our tools on whetting stones....

We went about all sorts of human business without a care in the world---provided we concentrated on killing during the day, naturally. ...

Monday, March 28, 2005

IT’S ECO-LOGICAL! ( Global Warming )

Global warming may be the biggest social problem facing global society, threatening humans, animals, and their habitats with rising temperatures, rising sea levels, and more weather volatility. To help fight global warming, the Kyoto Protocol went into effect on 16 February 2005 in over 140 countries, though unfortunately without the US and Australia. Regardless, we need do our part: we can use less gas, reduce or eliminate meat consumption, quit smoking, recycle, plant gardens and trees, and encourage governments and corporations to be more socially responsible and environmentally sustainable.