Bosh e-bike

bosch e-bike
CC BY 2.0 Lloyd Alter

I saw one of these bikes recently as I drove up a particularly challenging hill in our neighborhood.  My son and I marveled at what an efficient biker the young woman was, as she pedaled past us on the hill. I was driving rather slowly in response to a cyclist.

Turns out, she had an electric assist bike that recognizes when a hill is challenging and offers some assistance.  The biker must still pedal.

It looked awesome. I hope that some day this will be a more affordable option. Currently it runs about $3,500.00, making it more of  a novelty than a reality.

It will be nice when a cyclist can simply buy an electric adapter to add to his or her current bike.  Check out the link to learn more:

http://www.treehugger.com/bikes/bosch-e-bike-drive-coming-north-america.html

CC BY 2.0 Lloyd Alter

The Human Microbiome- Friend Not Foe!

Taken from the Museum of Science in Boston http://www.mos.org/public-events/friends-with-benefits
Taken from the Museum of Science in Boston http://www.mos.org/public-events/friends-with-benefits

Humans are part of a much larger (and smaller) picture than was suspected. It turns out, we’re part of an finely woven network of smaller organisms that live on us and in us. When they thrive, we thrive. So what are they? Bacteria!

Alas, we do not exist in isolation. Nor can we study the human body in isolation. Science has begun to demonstrate the enormity of the role that bacteria play in our lives- helping us to absorb vitamins and minerals, to protect us against unsavory “bad” bacteria and to possibly prevent illnesses like cancers and even obesity.

Recently, there has been much research into the relationship between human health and the health of the human microbiome. Whether this relationship is causal, in terms of health or disease, is to be determined. It seems to be pointing that way.

Amazingly, the bacteria in our gut, nasal passages, oral cavities and the skin make up between 2-6 pounds of an adult human’s weight. Wow. The National Institute for Health reports, “Within the body of a healthy adult, microbial cells are estimated to outnumber human cells ten to one.” Bigger Wow!

There is much to take away from this. There is much still to learn. Let’s think. How can we create a welcoming host to these beneficial bacteria? How will this new research help us to live better lives?

To learn more about the human biome and to learn what research is taking place visit:

http://commonfund.nih.gov/hmp/overview

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_microbiome

http://www.mos.org/public-events/friends-with-benefits

Get Your Greens….. and reds, and browns, and oranges, and yellows….

A friend reminded me to eat more salad. I know, it seems silly that I need reminding. But in the middle of winter, I’m thinking of heavy food… cheese, bread, the usual naughty suspects. Any you know how you get cheese belly after a while of this. jar

She mentioned chard and kale and I remembered years ago when I used to make a winter salad with kale and cabbage. I eat lots of steamed greens in the winter, but it’s nice to have fresh too!

A musician friend had turned me onto this uncooked kale salad because he was living on the road and didn’t have refrigeration. In other words, this salad can keep for at least a few days (a week in the fridge). I’ve been making it again and I just can’t get over how delicious it is!

Now I chop the greens on Sunday and mix the ingredients every 2-3 days in a jar. You can use almost any veggie that will keep for a bit, add those that don’t keep well on the day of eating, but the base will be ready.

Roll the greens and chop finely. I like to chop the chard and kale and cabbage on Sunday. I also toast a bunch of pecans in a dry cast iron skillet. Every few days I grate carrots, beets and add chick peas. After I’ve layered the ingredients in a jar, I add raw apple cider vinegar,toasted sesame oil and salt and pepper. You can add olive oil or lemon, but the vinegar is important. If you like tomatoes, onions or any more perishable veggies, add them that morning. Let the veggies hang out there in the vinegar and before opening, shake it just a little to move the vinegar around. I find that one big mason jar last me 2-3 days.

Enjoy!

The Fish We Eat

A sperm whale entangled in a drift net. A report says commercial fisheries around the world kill or injure 650,000 mammals a year. Alberto Romero/Marine Photobank
A sperm whale entangled in a drift net. A report says commercial fisheries around the world kill or injure 650,000 mammals a year.
Alberto Romero/Marine Photobank

 

Last night on NPR I listened to a report on the destruction caused to marine life by most foreign fishing practices. Apparently about 600,000 dolphin and whales are  still killed each year as collateral damage. I had been told to buy local shrimp and fish when possible. I understood that much of the world’s farming practices of fish are destructive to our landscape but  but I didn’t realize the toll taken on other species, even large whales.

It wasn’t that long ago that the US was guilty of massive collateral damage of ocean wildlife in its fishing industry, but through strict regulation we have cut down on most of this unnecessary killing. (One more reason to believe in government, folks.) Let’s hope that we can do the same for the rest of our oceans. So much is at stake.

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2014/01/07/260555381/thousands-of-whales-dolphins-killed-to-satisfy-our-seafood-appetite

http://www.slowfood.com/slowfish/pagine/eng/pagina.lasso?-id_pg=43

On Global Warming

Hazy and polluted day in Beijing brings traffic to a halt. The 1997 Kyoto protocol placed no obligations on developing countries such as China, now the world’s biggest emitter of greenhouse gases. Photograph Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images
Hazy and polluted day in Beijing brings traffic to a halt. The 1997 Kyoto protocol placed no obligations on developing countries such as China, now the world’s biggest emitter of greenhouse gases. Photograph Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images

I’ve noticed that recently there has been a sea change, no pun intended, when it comes to the term, “Global Warming.” Suddenly, it would seem, without fanfare or comment, those two words have taken hold in the US  lexicon, no longer as “green buzz words,” but as basic fact. I suppose the radical storms, changing sea levels, water and land temperatures and various aggravated patterns of migration in animals has tipped off the naysayers, hopefully once and for all, so we can actually do something productive about this problem.

Ah, but big business, big money. It’s hard to change (even in light of the evermore present natural repercussions of human damage) when you’ve got a good money thing going.   But, just like big tobacco, it doesn’t look good to keep denying something that’s obviously true and publicly regarded as such. One difference between environmentally negligent business and big tobacco was the eventual financial consequences regarding the sale of tobacco under false pretense.

We need to begin holding big business financially accountable for lies it sells to the public regarding the safety of its practices. This is bigger than a cancerous lung. Perhaps we could begin to penalize these lying companies with a colorful product label, for example, a picture of a now extinct bird and a quote that says, “through the use of this product you will have contributed to the extinction of this bird whose habitat was destroyed when this product was produced.”

http://www.theguardian.com/science/2013/sep/20/big-business-funding-climate-change-sceptics