All posts by sustainablooney

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.

A Schurz Exposé: Do these Brats Recycle?

By Lauren Looney

Recycling is one of the most elementary attempts at sustainable living. Seriously, toddlers and gorillas can sort their own refuse (though at the moment, I have no research to back the latter up).  So as I lose faith daily in our campus’ ability to do the simplest things for the environment, I wondered how my residence hall, Schurz, was doing in the recycling department. After doing a little investigating/snooping/breaking-and-entering, I was shocked at what I found. This post is for mature audiences only, so the young don’t lose faith in humanity.

In the recycling room: the lights were on! Despite the plastic recycling bin being centimeters away, the regular bins were full of plastic bottles. Cardboard and a creepy leg lamp was in the aluminum bin. Filthy napkins were in paper bin.

What I found in dorms was not any more comforting. The people on my floor were not reluctant at all to show me how they were improperly recycling. They found my horrified expressions quite amusing.

Note to self- no more investigative reporting unless I plan on paying for expensive stomach ulcer surgery. Note to Schurz residents- stop devolving, gorillas are one-upping you.

Gulf Sounds Success

By Lauren Looney

Here are some highlights from the Gulf Sounds benefit concert for oil spill relief. It was amazing, y’all should have been there. (Y’ALL? I’m from Missouri…). Ahem, anyway- Davis Dunavin, Kyle McDonald, The High Street Nephews and The Nacho Brothers all played a great show at the Blue Fugue.  There were Neutral Milk hotel covers, a crazy brass band- all the ingredients for a great night. Shout-out to Sustain Mizzou and Tiger Credit Union who made it possible.

Beyond 10/10/10

Along with everyone who has a firm grasp on the obvious, I have realized the momentous date of October 10, 2010 has come and gone.  Celebrities (such as Ellen Page), organizations, and just plain old regular bums much like ourselves pledged earlier in the month to work towards climate change on 10/10/10… but did the expectations intersect with reality?

188 countries participated in over 7,000 sustainable events through, a global campaign striving to unite people under the quest to address the climate crisis.  Common success stories of the “global work day” include installing solar panels, tree planting, and litter pick-up. founder Bill McKibben stated, “People are discouraged [by the lack of progress] but they are taking out their frustrations in action. They have decided that we are going to have to show our leaders what leadership looks like.” Activists hope to create awareness for the impending United Nations summit on climate change on Nov. 29 in Cancun, Mexico.

Check out photos of 10/10/10 actions here

“Clean” Coal?

It only took the coal utility Ameren $786,000 in political donations to be on the receiving end of almost $1 billon from the Department of Energy for the development of the ultimate oxymoron–a clean coal plant. According to industry claims, FutureGen will develop technology allowing for carbon dioxide capture and underground storage, making it the first near-zero emissions power plant.

However, there are many reasons to question the safety and efficacy of FutureGen. Successful carbon dioxide capture and sequestration has never been achieved on a large scale and has been dubbed the absolute least efficient way to reduce emissions. In fact, compared to conventional power plants, carbon capture plants require 25% more energy to operate, even without taking into consideration the energy cost of transporting and burying the CO-2.

Greenpeace International published an exhaustive report titled “False Hope; why carbon capture and sequestration won’t save the planet,” illustrating the myths of Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS). Furthermore, according to scientists’ estimates, CCS technology will not be widely available until 2050. Clearly, $1 Billion could have been better spent on existing and more promising technologies such as wind and solar power.

Despite all the evidence, Illinois Senator Dick Durbin (fondly nicknamed Dirty Dick), has been a passionate proponent of FutureGen, lauding the many jobs it will bring to the area. His praise is understandable, considering he has received almost $135000 in political donations from Ameren and other Big Coal interests