All posts by Sustain Mizzou

Sustain Mizzou is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to education, cooperation and local action regarding the environment at the University of Missouri.

New class: “Readings 

The Readings:

  1. Michael 

  2. Richard

  3. John 

  4. Tracy

The Particulars

  • Science and Agriculture Journalism 4301 (section 2), Journalism 4301 (section 5) or Journalism 7050
  • Tuesday and Thursday 
11:00­ to12:15 

21 – ­Sept.
  • Prerequisites:
  • Learn about journalistic book-lenght storytelling by prizewinning authors. Analyze and write about these books, their writers and the issues raised by content and technique.
  • For more information or to get the permission number, contact Bill Allen, Asst. Professor of Science Journalism at

Recycling for the “Randos”

Sign at Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu, India. From Wikimedia Commons by user John Hill.

By Sheridan Brown

Recycling is the last thing on college student’s minds.  Trying to juggle class, extra curricular activities, work and a social life is usually overwhelming in itself. What most people do not realize is that recycling takes no time at all.  So for those individuals who are not as concerned about the environment as others, you can still do your part and have plenty of time for other activities.

Remember coming home at 3 a.m. last weekend and reaching straight for the box of oreo’s, mac and cheese, or even a box of left over’s from the night before?  How about this morning when you finished off the rest of the cereal?  It takes the same amount of time to throw those empty boxes in a recycling bin rather than a trashcan.  How about beer or soda cans?  We all know how quickly those build up!  Set out a box or trash bag and have your guests throw all their cans in it.  Plastics, however, can be a bit trickier.  Unfortunately, Columbia only accepts 1 and 2 plastics.  However, that still allows us to recycle shampoo bottles, milk jugs, detergent containers and plenty of more items that take up a lot of room in the trashcan anyway! The City of Columbia Public Works Department and other city recycling programs pick up recyclables on the curb once a week. Places such as Target and Hyvee subtract money from your total if you bring in your own bags.  This can be a way of “self-recycling”.  Cloth bags usually hold more than the cheap plastic sacks-which helps if you live on the fourth floor of your building!

Want to know more on what and where to recycle? Check out the Columbia Recycling homepage!

Sustain Mizzou founder Jared Cole poses with his students holding special-ordered Sustain Mizzou notebooks.

Luckily, Sustain Mizzou offers a fun and easy way to get rid of the boxes for you through a recycled notebook project.  They gladly accept boxes and paper donations and make fun, crafty notebooks out of them! Interested in taking part in this?  Check out our link!

And here’s an odd one: mercury. Working with fire departments and county health offices throughout the state, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources is providing mercury drop-off locations in communities statewide. Any private citizen or nonprofit agency can leave mercury-containing instruments, such as thermometers, blood pressure cuffs, thermostats or switches, at any of these sites. The nearest site is at the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, 2710 W. Main St., Jefferson City.

Even if you are not a recycling guru, you can still help benefit the environment by recycling. ‘Rando’ or not, your participation matters!

Guest post: child labor standards and agriculture

This article comes from the local blog as part of a 3-part series on issues related to the Department of Labor’s proposed child labor rules. We offer it up simply for information and discussion, and the views of the article do not necessarily reflect the views of Sustain Mizzou or its members. You can read Part Two here. It is co-authored by Jake Davis and Bryce Oates. Jake and Bryce are both farmers and are co-owners of the Root Cellar Grocery in Downtown Columbia, MO. They are also co-founders of the Missouri Bounty Box, a weekly produce subscription program that links Missouri farmers with local folks seeking good food.

Wynne Oates, son of one of the co-authors of this post, feeding milk to baby meat goats on the family farm in West Missouri. Despite fiery rhetoric to the contrary, this type of activity is 100% legal and allowable under proposed updates to the Child Labor Laws governing agriculture.

As farmers and local food entrepreneurs who have launched this blog to tell stories about our interesting lives in building local food systems in Missouri, we wanted to spend some time explaining our general disgust at Big Agriculture and the institutions that prop it up. We’re talking about you Farm Bureau. You too Commodity Groups (National Cattlemens Beef Association, National Corn Growers Association, etc.). Even you, Land Grant University System. And, yes, you too Farm Press. While there are exceptions to the rule within each group, the take-home lessons of their message, policies and politics have gotten us into this mess of a food system that:

  • Produces cheap food with low nutritional content and quality causing huge problems with diabetes, obesity and heart disease
  • Enriches a small handful of farmers and food processors (the Big Ag Elite) while dismantling opportunities and the safety net of support for low-income and middle class rural people
  • Does serious damage to the water, air and soil of rural environments while being a major source of global greenhouse gas pollution and wildlife habitat destruction.

Through constant and disciplined messaging, this fairly small club has accomplished much of its goals in life and is generally having its way with respect to policies, regulations and market power. They have not rested on their laurels, though. They are willing to drag out the bloody carcass of the straw man any time they have a beef with the progressive responses to their lens (be it from President Obama, Congressional Democrats or anyone else standing in the way of their circular logic narrative).

Take the recent scuffle over the Department of Labor’s proposed rules to change child labor standards in agriculture. The proposed standards make a few very small changes to current law and contain exemptions you could drive a gigantic combine through to get around even those changes. But you would never know the truth about these child labor laws if you read the Farm Press and political hay that is being made.Instead, you’d find a a steady stream of ads, talk radio shows, sign-on letters, social media forwards, etc. that discuss these proposed rules as “the end of rural culture.” To hear their (false) version of the rules, 4H and FFA programs will be shut down. Farm kids won’t be allowed to help with the chores. Farm country will be de-populated by an armed group of thuggish cops that put farmers behind bars for having their children collect eggs in the henhouse like they have for generations.

And while we fully expect to hear the constant drumbeat of this “regulation is just killing agriculture” narrative from the Big Ag Elite (despite the fact that the act of farming itself is virtually regulation-free), we are continually surprised about the fury and venom with which this same message comes out of many within the local food world. Joel Salatin is often put out there in the spotlight as a champion of all things local and natural. But Salatin himself continually speaks and writes that regulation and big government are his greatest enemy (he even wrote a book called, Everything I Want to Do Is Illegal.) The so-called “Food Freedom” movement is aghast at the Food and Drug Administration for trying regulate raw and cultured food products.

These folks are the Tea Party of the agriculture scene, many of them writing glowing endorsements of Ron Paul in his bid for the Presidency. And also like the Tea Party, their notions about politics and policies are informed more by sentiment than fact. They cast their lot with mostly failed individualism as a solution to broad-based social challenges rather than attempting to address the root of the problem (increasing concentration of wealth and power, money-based politics and a lack of adequate safety nets and resources to improve quality-of-life for all people).

This is the context as we see it for the great battle being drawn over child labor standards and agriculture in this election year. We are exploring why many farmers and rural people should re-think their knee-jerk response to the proposed rules (We definitely support the rules). Our next post in the series will explain the realities of the proposed changes and explore the 4H and FFA implications of the rules, as well as documenting many of the facts about the real dangers facing farmers and farmworkers. The final post will contain additional political analysis of the issue from our Progressive Small Town perspective.

Keep the conversation going at

From dustbin to Mexico: a True/False sustainability story

The bin near the True/False office has many cardboard boxes that could be reused.

By Echo Zhang

The day after the legendary True/False film festival, I stood in front of the recycle bin and found my treasure: cardboard boxes for shipping the documentary files to another festival in Mexico. It was my big mission volunteering as Errand Runner that day to help T/F shipping go green!  The idea came from charge staff Sarah Haas and Steve Witzig: instead of ordering new shipping boxes, they decided to use old ones. By receiving these reused packages, the recipients also get to be exposed to the sustainable recycling idea, which then will build up the entire green circle.

Besides this tiny but smart green effort, the 2012 True/False festival undertook a broad strategy to maintain sustainability.

“The major sustain efforts were to encourage bike usage during the Fest and to provide filmmakers and other guests with carpooling transportation options,” Sarah says.

One transportation volunteer told me that she was so excited to see some film directors and musicians, once she even got a “generous tip” for her late night pick up. Besides being an anecdote, I also read it as a token to show the friendly, casual atmosphere the fest had set up resulting from green trial.

Volunteers setting up Forrest theater, putting up curtains made from reused material.

Moreover, being the fest’s creative and stylish part, the art design and stage sets were greatly made of reused material, for instance, the trees and curtains in the new venue Forrest theater. So is the “influencing machine”.

In the future, Sarah suggests more recycling containers at every venue and clearly marking them for things such as paper coffee cups. Most importantly, True/False will always welcome creative sustainers to contribute more advice to make the festival more sustainable and delightful.

Environmental events happening soon in Columbia

April will be the busy month for sustainability on campus (look for upcoming Sustainability Week posts soon!) but have no fear!  Between now and Spring Break, Columbia, Mo., has a wealth of environmental events.  Find one that fits and give a new group a chance this spring!

MU CAMPUS MASTER PLAN FORUM, WEDNESDAY, MARCH 14: MU has committed to sustainable guidelines for managing the environmental impacts of its activities, operations and services. MU is one of the most forward-thinking institutions for energy efficiency and building-space efficiency, and is working to further its positive impact in both directions. The university has chosen a strategy of renovating and re-purposing existing campus buildings because it makes sense both fiscally and environmentally.

Join the conversation about the 2012 MU Campus Master Plan and Climate Action Plan at the Open Forum. Find out more about Mizzou’s Master Plan or download the publication!

FOOD SENSE SYMPOSIUM, MARCH 16-18: Can sensible eating be reconciled with the sensory gratification of taste? And where does our sense of a normal or a healthy diet come from? The eigth annual Life Sciences & Society Symposium symposium will investigate how our taste for food is shaped by biological triggers, cultural norms, economic activity, and social surroundings.

The keynote speech will be gven by Brian Wansink, best-selling author of Mindless Eating and Marketing Nutrition. Other speakers include Shirly Corriher (Good Eats Mad Scientist from the Food Network), Leigh Lockhart (Owner of Main Squeeze Natural Foods Cafe and Juice Bar) and William Ian Miller (Author of award-winning The Anatomy of Disgust).

“DEEP GREEN” & “EVERYTHING’S COOL,” WEDNESDAY, MARCH 21:  Missourians for Safe Energy joins our friends in CCCC in screening these two excellent films at the Boone Gov’t Center, starting at 5:30 p.m. From Mid-Missouri Peaceworks

“KILOWATT OURS” TUESDAY, MARCH 27:  The public is invited to view a free Award-Winning Documentary “Kilowatt Ours: A Plan For Re-Energizing America” and to hear Tom O’Connor PE H2O’C Engineering, Owner: “How I Cut My Electric Bill 80%”.  Tuesday, March 27, 7:00 p.m. Refreshments 6:30 p.m. Columbia Public Library Friends Room.  Sponsors: League of Women Voters of Columbia-Boone County, Osage Group of the Sierra Club & Columbia Climate Change Coalition.  Earth Hour information at:

other events to add to your calendar:

EARTH DAY, SUNDAY, APRIL 22:  The Columbia Area Earth Day Festival will be held on Sunday, April 22, with a rain date of April 29. Details TBA. Booth registration going on now at the Peace Nook. For details on this, please see

EDIBLE COLUMBIA TOUR, SUNDAY, MAY 6: Peaceworks’ Center for Sustainable Living will be holding a tour of gardens, farms and other relevant local food venues from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on this date. Details TBA.

Survey investigates energy efficiency in Columbia rental properties

A screenshot from the survey. It includes just under 25 questions.

Guest post by Dustin Dunstedter. This survey is an effort by a team of MU graduate students in cooperation with the City of Columbia, and the results will be used to inform important work in the community.

We are group of MPA (Masters of Public Affairs) students working on our capstone project. We are fortunate enough to have partnered with the City of Columbia to help them assess the driving forces behind residents’ rental property decisions. We hope to empower the City with detailed information about what renters find important when choosing property in Columbia.

We are actively seeking sponsorship for our prize drawing that participants can opt into at the end of taking our anonymous survey. We currently have a $250.00 voucher from Socket ( for High Speed Internet as a grand prize.

You can find the survey here, and it will soon be on the City’s website as well. For more information, contact Dustin at

Full URL to the Survey:

The doughnut of justice: A new way to think about growth

Donuts are delicious and inclusive. This article frames the basis of why Sustain Mizzou does all its projects. We need to stay within a safe and just space for humanity. Check it out! The video lasts about as long as eating one donut.


Of all the subjects that haunt the climate conversation, none is so vexed as growth.

The details are complex, but the dilemma is simple: Growth seems to improve humanity’s quality of life and drive ecological overshoot at the same time.

On one hand, economic growth leads to poverty reduction, better health, technological innovation, and (local) environmental improvement. On the other hand, it has pushed us into the red zone on climate and a number of other global ecological indicators. Humanity’s lot steadily improves while biophysical systems are pushed closer to the edge. It’s a sticky wicket. Pro-growth and anti-growth types often seem involved in entirely separate conversations, passing like ships in the night. How can we reconcile their perspectives?

Last week, researcher Kate Raworth of Oxfam International proposed a new framework for understanding how human development and ecological boundaries fit together. Happily, it’s a doughnut. Here’s what it…

View original post 614 more words

True / False Film Highlights President’s Battle to Keep Maldives Above Water.

Guest post by Britt Hultgren, a member of the True/False Film Festival’s “get the word out” dream team.

The documentaries are nearly upon us!  For it’s ninth consecutive year, the True/False Film Fest returns to Columbia. From March 1-4, 2012, T/F will rock this town with entertaining and enlightening documentary films, great music, fun parties, and fantastic people from all around the world.

Come one, come all–but don’t expect droll; these documentaries are the bees knees, my friends.

What Should I See?

There is a hugely excellent list of films to see, though one film that may be of particular interest to readers of Footprint Magazine is The Island President.

For most of us, “getting your feet wet” is pithy turn of phrase. But for recently deposed President of the Maldives, Mohamed Nasheed, it’s no quip–it’s literally sink or swim for his island chain. The reality of a changing global climate has threatened the existence of his nation, and he is bound and determined to do what he can to prevent that from happening.

The film’s description from the T/F website:

The Maldives, a tropical paradise for tourists in the Indian Ocean, faces a big problem. Global warming has led to rising ocean levels, leaving the hundreds of tiny islands that make up the country at risk of disappearing. President Mohamed Nasheed is on a mission to stop this from happening. With extraordinary access, filmmaker Jon Shenk documents the challenges of Nasheed’s first year in office, which also include the struggles to build democratic government after years of brutal military rule. A former political prisoner himself, the charismatic Nasheed knows how to get attention, holding a cabinet meeting underwater for the press. Yet he is no show pony, as his game changing, impassioned speech at the Copenhagen Climate Summit makes clear. As he puts it, “It won’t be any good to have a democracy if we don’t have a country.” Beautiful cinematography and a haunting soundtrack by Radiohead deepen this urgent real-life drama.

(While at COP15 in Copenhagen, I recall hearing President Nasheed speak a couple of times throughout the conference. He was driven, eloquent, and cogent–the guy seemed to be the real deal. I am very excited to see this film and see how well they captured his back story and continuing struggle against climate change.)

When and Where?

True / False showtimes and locations for The Island President:

  • Friday, Mar 2 / 7:00PM / Forrest Theater
  • Saturday, Mar 3 / 10:30AM / Jesse
  • Sunday, Mar 4 / 12:30PM / Missouri Theatre

How can I see the film?

You can see the film by way of getting a pass or a ticket. Basically, a pass will give you a better opportunity to participate in a whole lot more than a single film (eg multiple films, parties, special events), but if you’d like to just see the movie, you can get an individual ticket starting 1 March at 12pm.

Complete pass and ticket information are found here, on the True/False Website.


Send a line to

Get the word out to get the people in to witness the reality climate change, and one man’s struggle to ameliorate the situation.

I look forward to seeing you all there.


Editor’s Note: I’d like to point out that Radiohead is providing the soundtrack for this film. Yay! -Tina

Pasteurized Milk vs. Raw Milk

By Laura Ebone

Drinking milk fresh from the cow, Dalwood Home, 1929 / Sam Hood from the State Library of New South Wales

The process of pasteurization was first discovered in the 1800s by Louis Pasteur, a French scientist. Pasteurized milk is heating milk to a certain high temperature in order to kill any bacteria within the milk possibly passed on through the dairy cow it came from. Most milk and milk products sold in the United States in commercial grocery stores contain pasteurized milk or cream. Pasteurization kills many bacteria such as ones that cause diseases.

Milk and milk based products naturally contain both good and bad bacteria. Some of the good bacteria is found in yogurt and promote gastrointestinal health. Harmful bacteria may get into milk due to cross contamination with feces or other byproducts. These bad bacteria flourish in milk since it is a prime growing spot due to all of its natural nutrients. These pathogens cause complications especially in persons with compromised immune systems including diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and dehydration. Due to this nature of milk to harbor bad bacteria, milk is pasteurized to kill it and maintain human health. After pasteurization, milk should be kept in cold temperatures to help prevent spoilage and keep milk safe to drink.

The FDA recommends against the consumption of unpasteurized or raw milk or milk products. There have been several instances of endemics where a small number of people have gotten sick and has been linked to the consumption of raw milk. Therefore, laws have been past banning the sale of raw milk in some states but in most, a ban of transporting raw milk across state lines. There have been many scientific studies conducted concluding that raw milk does not have specific health benefits over pasteurized milk.

Raw milk has its own advocates which generally does not include anyone with significant power. Most advocates are farmers and small local farmer markets. Proponents of raw milk claim that the process of pasteurization destroys naturally occurring nutrients, good bacteria, and useful enzymes for calcium absorption.

A recent documentary titled Farmageddon investigates the issue. Across the country, small independent raw milk producers have been shut down and had their entirety of their products seized, thereby halting their ability to make money. These farmers have been blamed for e.coli and salmonella outbreaks without strong evidence. The belief put forth in the documentary is that it is the FDA’s way of showing the population that it is acting against food-borne illnesses. These farmers probably have the best treated dairy cows in the nation by allowing them to eat grass (their natural food) and kept in the most sanitary conditions. In comparison to the large farms that are subsidized by the government who keep their cows in overcrowded barn factories where animals are kept in less than sanitary conditions and force fed corn because it is abundant, cheap, and more efficient.

As mentioned before, most of the dangerous illnesses contracted come from milk (or meat) that has come in contact with fecal matter. This scenario is much more likely to occur on the large farm rather than the small family farm. Consumers who have made the switch from pasteurized milk to raw milk have contended that it has great health benefits including eliminating allergies and lactose intolerance. There are no formal studies confirming these beliefs. Raw milk advocates contend that due to returning the cow to the pastures nature intended it to feed off of, the cows and their byproducts contain a much more complex system of good bacteria and nutrients helpful for the cow to grow happier and the persons it feeds to cope better with the complex sugars contained within. Most raw milk supporters do not support raw milk from corn fed cows however due to the natural turn to organic and natural.


“The Dangers of Raw Milk: Unpasteurized Milk Can Pose a Serious Health Risk.” U S Food and Drug Administration Home Page. FDA, 28 Oct. 2011. Web. 01 Feb. 2012. <;.

“Raw Milk Misconceptions and the Danger of Raw Milk Consumption.” U S Food and Drug Administration Home Page. FDA, 1 Nov. 2011. Web. 01 Feb. 2012. <;.

Wallner, Stephanie, Mary Schroeder, and Pat Kendall. “Raw Milk: Why Pasteurize?” Colorado State University Extension. Colorado State, 2006. Web. 01 Feb. 2012. <;.

Farmageddon: Documentary. Released 8 July 2011.

Environmental Summit this weekend!

As DNR director, Sara leads the department’s efforts to protect, preserve and enhance Missouri’s natural, cultural and energy resources. Photo from the DNR's website.

Want to see how Missouri is working to protect the environment? Come to the Missouri Votes Conservation (MVC) Environmental Summit January 28th right here at Mizzou!

Missouri Votes Conservation Education Fund is a non-partisan, common-ground organization that strives to unify the many diverse environmental and conservation interests in Missouri in order to strengthen the state’s environmental movement. Its mission is to educate voters and decision-makers about the importance of protecting the environment through sound public policy.

Join us as we discuss how to re-energize our movement and help our issues become top priorities throughout the state. Highlights include: Morning keynote address by Sara Parker Pauley, Director of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, Breakout sessions on key issue areas, including energy, sustainable agriculture, water quality and habitat protection, and a Special new Poster Session, providing  nonprofits with the opportunity to showcase literature and network with event attendees.

Registration costs $25 for students and $35 for others. Sign up for the conference or learn more on the MVC website [HERE].