Missouri Adventures: 171 Miles to Awesome

By Tina Casagrand

There are 171 miles between Columbia, Mo., and Ironton, Mo.

If you take the cool route, the “back route,” you pass through approximately nine small towns. Most have at least one roadside ice cream shop.

During this drive, you could listen to Old Crow Medicine Show’s Big Iron World 5.75 times for a total of 3 hours and 20 mintues.  If you wanted.

Upon arrival, you would get to choose among three of the most distinctive Missouri state parks to visit in the area, as well as one historic site.

Continue reading Missouri Adventures: 171 Miles to Awesome

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Recipe Corner: Chinese Tea Leaf Eggs

We picked this up from our friends over at the Columbia Center for Urban Agriculture. It’s a quirky and new way to make some really tasty eggs.

Chinese tea leaf eggs

Directions

  1. In a large saucepan, combine eggs and 1 teaspoon salt; cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat, drain, and cool. When cool, tap eggs with the back of a spoon to crack shells (do not remove shells).
  2. In a large saucepan, combine 3 cups water, soy sauce, black soy sauce, salt, tea leaves, star anise, cinnamon stick, and tangerine zest. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 3 hours. Remove from heat, add eggs, and let steep for at least 8 hours.

Want to learn more from the Center for Urban Agriculture? Visit their website at http://columbiaurbanag.org/ or stop by their urban farm and production site and do some farming all your own. Volunteer hours are from 3:30 p.m. till dusk on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 1209 E. Smith Street.

Age of the Very Bad Things

ERM discussed two articles that address the cultural and physical impacts of our consumption culture. Here are a few key quotes, but they’re both worth the full read.

“Age of the Anthropocene”

By Elizabeth Kolbert, National Geographic

Dubai, Nat Geo

“It’s a new name for a new geologic epoch—one defined by our own massive impact on the planet. That mark will endure in the geologic record long after our cities have crumbled.”

“Crutzen, who started the debate, thinks its real value won’t lie in revisions to geology textbooks. His purpose is broader: He wants to focus our attention on the consequences of our collective action—and on how we might still avert the worst. ‘What I hope,’ he says, ‘is that the term ‘Anthropocene’ will be a warning to the world.'”

“1 Million Workers. 90 Million iPhones. 17 Suicides. Who’s to Blame?”

By Joel Johnson, Wired Magazine

“The nets went up in May, after the 11th jumper in less than a year died here. They carried a message: You can throw yourself off any building you like, as long as it isn’t one of these.”

“To be soaked in materialism, to directly and indirectly champion it, has also brought guilt. I don’t know if I have a right to the vast quantities of materials and energy I consume in my daily life. Even if I thought I did, I know the planet cannot bear my lifestyle multiplied by 7 billion individuals.”

The Reading and Media Group meets on Thursdays at 6 p.m. in the MU Student Center. Check the Sustain Mizzou calendar for details.

Tell Your Friends: Sustainable Farming CAN Feed the World

A powerful piece published by Mark Bittman of the New York Times.

“Yet there is good news: increasing numbers of scientists, policy panels and experts (not hippies!) are suggesting that agricultural practices pretty close to organic — perhaps best called “sustainable” — can feed more poor people sooner, begin to repair the damage caused by industrial production and, in the long term, become the norm.”

His primary point is that smaller scale farming is actually more efficient than the industrial methods that we currently use to get our food.

1) It’s less susceptible to natural disasters and other environmental factors that can destroy massive amounts of  crops if they are centralized in one place.

2) Industrial agriculture requires inordinate amounts of water as well as the fossil fuel necessary to make most chemical fertilizers as well as mechanically till the land, run irrigation systems etc. etc.  Essentially, Bittman says, the current way the United States and most other industrialized nations farm uses more resources than the earth has.

“(Fun/depressing fact: It takes the earth 18 months to replenish the amount of resources we use each year. Looked at another way, we’d need 1.5 earths to be sustainable at our current rate of consumption.)”

Bittman makes a lot of interesting points and lays out a plan for transition that could be very easily adhered to.

Check out his piece here.

-Andrea Kszystyniak

Meet Your Meat

By Lauren Looney

On the days when my family decides to go to Outback Steakhouse, I have to watch this video to – mainly stop pouting that I could only order a sweet potato- and to remind myself why I became a vegetarian.

This video explores the wretched conditions that animals are subjected to in order to become the food many of us expect on our plates. I find this clip to be extremely hard to watch, especially if you belong to the select group of people who cried when the dog died in I Am Legend or at the end of movies like Fox and the Hound (true on both accounts for me,unfortunately). Luckily, narrator Alec Baldwin’s voice is like smooth jazz and, hopefully, can get you through it.

Bug Snacks: would you eat them?

In the Environmental Reading and Media Group tonight, we watched a TED talk by Marcel Dicke titled, “Why not eat insects?” Mr. Dicke suggests that for humans to sustain our growing population, we need  to switch from traditional meat to insect-based proteins.

Yes, he believes that we need to all start eating bugs.

As crazy as it sounds, he makes a very compelling argument. One eye-opening fact Dicke shares is that 10 kg of feed produces only 1 kg of beef but 9 kg of locust. It’s hard to imagine, but likely one day, insects as food will be an everyday part of our lives, so you better get used to the idea now. The brave at heart can start with these Crickettes!

…or if you’re too squeamish to eat crickets, locust, larva, and scorpions you could just become a vegetarian!

The Reading and Media Group meets on Thursdays at 6 p.m. in the MU Student Center. Check the Sustain Mizzou calendar for details.

“Alien Species:” a perspective on conservation science

Nick
Nicholas Mustoe

Former Sustain Mizzou member and current Student Conservation Association intern Nicholas Mustoe offers his opinion in response to the recent Yale E360 report, “Alien Species Reconsidered: Finding a Value in Non-Natives.” The original article discusses “research that demonstrates that some non-native plants and animals can have beneficial impacts.”

I feel the article almost willfully blurs the line between two different terms we use in conservation science. Alien species are those that are not where they would be without humans. Examples include honey bees and corn. Invasive species are those that often exclude large numbers of other species. Invasives can be alien but rarely are native. Examples of these include Japanese honeysuckle and kudzu.

Now, not all alien species are bad. In fact, MDC often plants food plots which are often rows of corn in a conservation area. These feed deer and please deer hunters. Few conservationists are going to argue that honey bees or corn do not have a place in non-native ecosystems. The deciding factor on an alien species is if it can be controlled.

The focus on alien species being bad comes from several examples of when conservationists were the ones doing the introduction of what ended up being invasive species. The lesson was to be extremely careful about introductions not get rid of every alien species. Follow the first rule of clockmaking, keep track of all the parts.

My concern about this article is that it does not explain that alien species can, but aren’t always, invasive. My fear is that people may be less careful about preventing introductions of alien species that can often be impossible or costly to eradicate.

Methane in our drinking water, fire in our cups

Sustain Mizzou member Ellen Thommesen arranged this striking photograph illustrating possible effects of hydraulic fracking. Check out her blog to learn more about the photography and idea behind it:

Metal/Glass assignment “Recently throughout the US there have been major problems with methane in drinking water. Residents that have depended on well water for many years are now finding their water murky and flammable. A new method of natural gas drilling called hydraulic fracturing is causing the contamination of drinking water around the country. Some residents can light matches under their kitchen f … Read More

via Ellen Marie

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