Tag Archives: environment

Cowspiracy: Methane-Hoofprint and Personal Choice

Cowspiracy: Methane-Hoofprint and Personal Choice

by RM Allen, author of NH Goddess Chronicles series

I watched Cowspiracy the other day and was disturbed on many levels. But not in the way you may think. Cowspiracy is a documentary about how the current methods of producing meat and dairy for the world are unsustainable, not to mention the very poor treatment of the animals. These things I knew. What I did not know was the extent to which it is an unfair use of resources, especially regarding water and land, and the tremendous impact of methane. The film gives many excellent statistics and easy to understand graphics.

Too many! They came at me like hard spray from a garden hose, I could not keep up. I had to watch the movie again another day, and still came away with the same overwhelmed-by-stats feeling. This was disturbing to me, as a woman who likes to think she is fairly knowledgeable about global warming. (The stats are on their website www.cowspiracy.com/facts  Whew! Glad for that!)

What was most disturbing to me was the conspiracy part of the movie. As Kip, the co-producer/star (environmentalist Leonardo DiCaprio is executive producer), tries to do good for the earth by informing the public about the many adverse impacts of the meat industry (too many to list here) he keeps drilling away on Green Peace, Sierra Club, 350.org and the like for ignoring this subject. As a supporter of these hard-working non-profits I take exception to that. I find that almost as divisive and offensive as the incendiary Trump presidential campaign. The drama is not needed, we are intelligent people capable of collaboration. It may be, though, that those environmental groups are reluctant to tackle the methane issue for fear of being accused of dictating our personal food choices.

Overall it is a great film and very informative, please watch it on Netflix at your next chance. Kip really put the Methane-Hoofprint on my radar. I was astonished that I did not understand how powerful a greenhouse gas methane is. Unlike the film, I do not blame anyone for my lack of knowledge on this matter. I thank Kip for having the courage to buck the cattle lobby and spread the word about a topic that is still taboo, but rapidly losing that status. Surely methane needs to be addressed as a major contributor to reducing global warming. I am all for that.

The second time I watched the film I had my chemist husband watch with me to explain. In a nutshell: methane is significantly more powerful in trapping heat than carbon dioxide. Wow! The good news is that while carbon dioxide stays in the atmosphere for generations, methane dissipates comparatively quickly and flies off into outer space. So, actions to reduce atmospheric methane will have a relatively rapid impact on global warming. However we need to be aware that any attempt to diminish the meat industry must take into account the inter-relationship of population, water supplies, energy needs and emerging economies. Not to mention that family size and food choices are extremely personal decisions.

All that being said, Kip has convinced me that the Methane-Hoofprint is just as important as the Carbon-Footprint when it comes to environments and eco-systems. Will I become a vegetarian? No. Will I reduce my already low-ish meat consumption by 50% or more? You bet. Thomas Jefferson used meat as a condiment, and that sounds about right to me. In addition to being kinder to Mother Earth, I can save money at the market… and fit back in to my high school jeans.

every day is earth day goddess

Advertisements

Green Goddess recommends “The Island President”

The Island President, a new movie about the Maldive islands off the coast of India, is a movie that you don’t want to miss this summer. The otherworldly blue-green scenery is so fantastic it made me want to weep with joy. Heaven is located on the Maldives, I am pretty sure.  However, this island nation is “sinking” due to climate change/sea level rise. Why does that matter to us way over here? Because Manhattan, and our very own Plum Island, are on a similar plane. In fact, the Newburyport MA library will be hosting a series of discussions this June about the sinking of Plum Island, and what to do.

What to do? The sea IS going to rise, the land will erode, in the case of the Maldives, their entire nation will be lost.

What to do? The polar caps ARE melting, the polar bears are drowning, the low-laying islands are going under, and several homes on Plum Island have already dropped into the sea  -with more to go.

What to do??

Right now- here is what to do: Watch this movie and you will see them speak of a number, and that number is 350.

Learn what 350 is from Maldives President Anni Nasheed; then think about what 350 means to you. (I will give you a hint: it means more local food, less meat, more walking, less driving, more recycling, less purchasing,…. more reverence for Mother Earth, less for Wall Street.)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bf3hTDdKR9s

This film is showing at the Screening Room in Newburyport June 1-7, and then at the Portsmouth Music Hall on Wednesday, June 20 with a post-film discussion.  http://theislandpresident.com/

If a Tree Falls in the Forest, Does a Goddess Hear It?

By RM Allen www.nhgoddess.com

Green Goddess Greetings!

I was recently walking in the woods around my favorite trail. I came upon something dismaying to me. How book-shaka-lucky for me that I had my fancy new smartphone with me so I could take a video. Visit my new YouTube channel to see what I saw, by clicking the link below.

Let’s sit for a while on this old, broken log together and ponder: Trees, metaphors for life…?.

http://www.youtube.com/user/NHgoddessDotCom?feature=mhsn

*****

Hello sister goddeses! If you enjoyed this blog please sign up for my monthly (small & simple) Green Goddess Orgasmagical eNewsletter by sending me a note to say hi   info@nhgoddess.com  Thanks! ~RM Allen

…and it rained nearly every day in May 2011, why?

Report From the First Annual Regional UCC Green Conference in CT

By RM Allen, author of New Hampshire Goddess Chronicles

(as printed in the Exeter TOWER Newsletter, June 2011)

Alex Simpson & I attended the first annual UCC green conference last month. At the kick off of the event, the UCC Conference minister from Massachusetts, a Prius driving man,  advised the clergy in attendance: “ If you are not touching upon Climate Change and Transition  in every third sermon now, you will be dealing with a lot of hopelessness and despair ten years from now.” Hmm, what is this all about?

The keynote speaker was climate change specialist Bill McKibbon, a man who has written climate books for decades, like Deep Economy and Eaarth. You may know of his global website www.350.org. Our first annual Locavore church supper was inspired by, and held on, Bill’s first 350 day!

Bill’s message, in an nutshell, is this. The globe is now warmed by 1 degree, and ramping up. This measly 1’ is causing the ice caps to melt. This is causing sea level rise. In addition, there is an over-saturation of carbon in the air, such that has not been since man has walked the Earth. This saturation causes the air to retain moisture.  This moist air causes violent storms, floods, droughts, etc. Since this 1’, we can no longer count on a benign climate, thus we can now expect more sudden interruptions in services like power, transportation, food, and more. Combine this with Peak Oil (decreasing supply/increasing demand), and we are on the path to trouble. So, it behooves us try to move towards using localized goods and services -this will keep you resilient.

My first workshop was given by a senior scientist from Woods Hole Research Center. He spoke on climate concerns specific to New England. He states that since 1970 we have experienced a 1.5 degree increase, and that winters have been warming faster than summers. He is concerned that we may lose the maple sugar industry, and he also predicts greater frequency of excessive rainfall and flooding, as well as sea level rise and coastal erosion. Actually, his Power Point showed a graph of the new New England, shifted south by 100 miles. That puts our current climate more like that of Cape Cod!

What to do? Where is the good news in all of this? Alex and I (and the majority of attendees) went to the afternoon’s double session “Transition Towns”. TransitionNetwork.org aims to create stronger, healthier, and happier communities. Transition strives to move communities from oil dependency to local resilience. What does local resilience look like?

The closest officially designated community is Newburyport, MA.  They are working to grow their own food, make (and conserve) their own energy, make public transportation more viable, support local businesses, encourage green businesses, and impose sustainable business practices. In short, residents are trying to gain a competitive advantage through Transition, and in the (grassroots) process, they are creating one happy and healthy town!

*****

Hello sister goddeses! If you enjoyed this blog please sign up for my monthly (small & simple) Green Goddess Orgasmagical eNewsletter by sending me a note to say hi   info@nhgoddess.com  Thanks! ~RM Allen, author (www.nhgoddess.com)

OTHER LINKS:

www.transitionus.org

http://www.waymarking.com/waymarks/WM79Q9_Wind_Turbine_Newburyport_MA

Did She Say “A-(wo)men”?

Hi bloggers,

Here is the text of a recent testimonial I gave at church…

Testimonial for the UU Haverhill Church, Earth Day Service (run by the Green Sanctuary Cmte) April 2011

Hello,

I am RM, and many of you know me from my work on the green committee here. Rev. Frank gave a call from this pulpit, back in January, for some of us to give testimonials on the subject of some advice by Frederick Beuchner.

(Paraphrased quote: You can find out your purpose in this world by doing two things. 1. what is the thing you like to do most? 2 what is the thing the world needs most?  The place spirit calls you to is the intersection of these two places: “the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”)

When Frank asked this, I thought of the Artist’s Way classes I had taken that past summer here at the church. It was lead by Megan Shea and Tom Ellis. The class follows a 12-chapter book by Julia Cameron, which claims to be a “spiritual path to higher creativity.” This class can be used to enhance any type of creative work that you do: painting, beading, weaving, singing, cooking, or even if you just want to get more creative in your job or life.  Turns out that the Artists Way was another important step on my personal journey of the past five years -weeding out useless drama, examining limiting beliefs, and really focusing in on the seed of who I am. It encouraged me to use a spiritual writing project I was working on, and get “audacious” with it, something the class empowers you to do. I am sure this class will run again next year if it is something you are interested in on your journey.

Classes like this are part of a new and ongoing focus of this church to provide more varied types of spiritual adult education. Many of you have recently been watching videos here on Sunday mornings, or participating in other types of small group ministries that may excite you and touch you deeply. As part of this new and dynamic spiritual forum Rev. Frank has created, there will be another type of group offered soon. This one is a UU curriculum, which ran here once several years ago I am told, entitled: “Cakes for the Queen of Heaven” and is a study group on female divinity in the form of The Goddess. It will run for five weeks on Monday nights at 7pm, starting on April 25.

This makes me very excited, and even more appreciative of the UU tradition, and this church in particular, because this is the intersection of my deep gladness with the deep hunger of many women. And here is why:

As a woman I very often feel left out of traditional patriarchal religion, and that makes me have a hard time relating, or even believing. I pick and choose what I resonates with me. And sometime I modify to make it fit. When Frank speaks of God, my head automatically says Goddess, when Frank ends with Amen, I say Awomen.

As you can see, I relate much more profoundly with the ancient earth-based spirituality that was in place for eons before the bible. And I know that many, many women feel the same way. There is a “deep hunger.” So, happily, here is where Beuchner’s quote takes root for me. I experience a profound “deep gladness” when I lose myself in exploring the kind of spirituality that is kept track of in the natural rhythms of Farmer’s Almanac.  It makes me come alive. And I like to share that energy.

I love to dig around in Mother Earth, and shop at Farmer’s Markets. I love to live by the guidelines of Voluntary Simplicity and not participate in the man-made cycle of want and consumerism. And I love to write about these things in a funny way.

And I love to learn about ancient goddesses and their alleged powers – no matter what continent they originated from. In each tradition, Native American, Greek, Hindu, Asian they shared similar qualities. Some were goddesses of fertility and crops, others of home and hearth, celebration, the Arts, sacred spaces, wisdom or compassion, and many more. And some were warriors. They had the power. Well, by today’s standards anyway…

But speaking from a modern perspective of balance, is there not also a power in all of the other types of qualities mentioned?  Undeniably, there is great power in fertility. There is also great power in compassion. There is great power in celebration and the Arts.  These more “female” powers have been pushed to the background in today’s societal and family units. And this has created a problem: the Earth is unbalanced on many levels.  Now, I am not trying to blame all of this on men. I love men, oh yes, but yet, there remains something unbalanced. Most of today’s women have given away the power that the ancient women once held. I can tell you that once-upon-a-time I certainly did.

That deep hunger women feel for something more than patriarchal religion crosses over where my deep gladness about moon cycles, the warmth of sisterhood, and the smell of freshly turned soil meets. Through my work being a steward of Mother Earth, and my work of writing to empower other women, I like to think that I am bringing about a more balanced Earth. And I am convinced that the Cakes class is another step on our journey. Quite a fun step actually!

If attending this Cakes class interests you, I invite you to join the fun and sign up on the green paper on the back table at coffee hour. It is open to women only.

**author’s note: 25 women signed up for the class, and it was quite fun! Here is an old postcard of the church, and the website is www.uuhaverhill.org

*****

Hello sister goddeses! If you enjoyed this blog please sign up for my monthly (small & simple) Green Goddess Orgasmagical eNewsletter by sending me a note to say hi   info@nhgoddess.com  Thanks! ~RM Allen, author (www.nhgoddess.com)

Carbon-Climate Zombie or How Will Your Life look at $10/gallon?

Carbon-Climate Zombies
By RM Allen, www.nhgoddess.com

Bill McKibbon stood head and shoulders above me. Literally. He is a tall man, and I am a short woman. I stood on my tiptoes for this photo! But Bill also stands head and shoulders above most people in terms of climate change knowledge. In terms of climate change knowledge and dissemination, he is a global giant. He has written many books on the subject, and has mobilized many to heed his call to action via his website www.350.org
In May 2011, I went to the first annual New England regional UCC “Green” Conference in CT, in which Bill was the keynote speaker. Here is Bill’s message, in a nutshell:
There is 390ppm Carbon in the atmosphere now, rising 2ppm annually. The recommended level is 350.
Carbon is saturating the air from our poor industrial habits (food, transportation, waste, etc), combined with deforestation (trees absorb Carbon)
The extra Carbon in the air makes it moister; this destabilizes the 350ppm climate as we have known it for the past 10K years, and results in frequent extreme weather incidents (droughts. floods, winds, hail, etc)
The Carbon air also makes the planet hotter; we are now 1 degree hotter than the past 10K years. This measly 1 degree makes polar caps melt, which makes it way to you in increased sea levels. Meaning that houses and even entire island countries will be underwater in 10 years or less (see Maldives)
Because of the big problems with violent weather and rising waters, we are seeing the beginning of interruptions in services like power, food, and goods & services. Nothing like a drought/flood/hurricane/ tornado/tsunami to wipe out your crop or throw your nuke plant offline or crush your house and highway.
Hmmm, this all sound dire, and it is. But as you sit there reading this, you personally are thinking you are still OK and everything seems fine to you -well unless you live near devastations like Fukushima, or Katrina’s New Orleans, or in a recent Southern tornado zone. But it is coming closer to you. Yes, like a crazy zombie from a bad horror film it will just keep coming no matter what you shoot at it. Big Oil and their paid puppet, the US (not your local) Chamber of Commerce, will keep the carbon-climate-zombie coming so they can make record profits.
I think about myself. I haven’t been affected, have I? Well, the hundred year flood did come twice to Exeter in the past few years. I had to dig a swale to divert the river that suddenly appeared in my backyard. My car did suffer $7K damage during a freak hailstorm in Exeter, NH a few years ago. I saw the hail. They were the size of softballs. They sounded like a freight train, and then I also heard glass breaking everywhere in the house.  It sent me running into a closet in the basement, where a nervously farting Boston Terrier joined me.
That was a small local disaster in NH, but what about global disasters? Have they affected me? Now that I come to think of it, yes. The earthquake/tsunami in Japan has reached me in the form of delays, as various messages on my computer tell me. How odd. I didn’t even know I had a Japanese connection. I am more global than I thought.
What else do I not realize about where I get everyday items? Can you say Big Agra? What would happen if there were a carbon-climate-zombie induced drought in the middle of this country? Interruptions in my food supply. There would still be food, but the price would skyrocket. What would happen if the carbon-climate-zombie ate up the big electricity grid which powers my condo? Again, there would still be power eventually, but the price would skyrocket. What about Peak Oil? (Peak Oil is the notion that the glory days of finding/using oil are over and we are on the decline of supply- but the producers will not tell you, they will only jack up the price. What will your life look like at $7, or $10 a gallon?) Combine oil interruptions with Peak Oil, and you have gone Mad Max. And this math only works with a planet that is 1 measly degree hotter. Double all of it when we reach 2 degrees: at 3 degrees it is Planet of the Apes vs. Mad Max!
So, what to do in the face of this carbon-climate-zombie that won’t stop coming until he has eaten you up? The answer is simple. Very simple. And healthy for you on many levels: physically, emotionally, spiritually, and economically. And actually kinda fun!
The answer is to go local. Be green, which is the same thing as going local. Support local food, local power, local communities, and local businesses. Work and shop where you live. Save gas. Slow way down on your beef & pork consumption: buy from local farmers. Meet your neighbors and make friends. In this way both you and your community become resilient when the carbon-climate-zombie comes banging on your door. And being green & local, and transitioning to a more self-supporting economy will actually keep us from heating up the planet further. That’s a win-win that sounds good to a green goddess like me!
I don’t’ really know what to do more than I am doing right now, but I am going to look on this website that Bill and his Massachusetts Transition trainer friend Tina Clarke suggested www.TransitionUS.org  I suggest you look too, or even buy the book “The Transition Handbook” which shows you how to go from oil dependency to local resilience. A book that shows us how to use our own creativity to swim through a big bowl of ugly and get to the boom shaka-lucky side!

Stay tuned…

*****

Hello sister goddeses! If you enjoyed this blog please sign up for my monthly (small & simple) Green Goddess Orgasmagical eNewsletter by sending me a note to say hi   info@nhgoddess.com  Thanks! ~RM Allen, author (www.nhgoddess.com)