Plus Letters to Good Times...
About Those Cows ...
Earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and an ominous thick cloud of ash blanketing Europe—say what you will about April, 2010, but boring, it’s not. Fortunately, the only things shaking in Santa Cruz County lately are a wide array of creative ideas. This week’s cover story (page 14) illuminates one of them. It’s the new Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Exploration Center that’s set to begin construction in July near the Santa Cruz Municipal Wharf. Think of it as a portal to learn more about our monstrous bay and as a destination spot for visitors, too. But the story tackles more than that. In it, Tom Honig informs readers about the mystique of the project, what it can mean for Santa Cruz and, of course, the bay itself. Dive in.
Another creative venture is a collaboration between the City of Santa Cruz and UC Santa Cruz designed to place dynamic and motivated students into high-tech and green-tech startups. The goal is to bring some of that energy right back into the city in the form of local jobs. A great idea, indeed.
There’s plenty more in between—from several innovative music acts heading into town to a new production of “RENT.” Take note of Sista Monica’s event at The Rio on Sunday. (Powerful!) Turn to the A&E section for all the news.
So, with less than two weeks left in the month, and the weather changing, what new, exciting things are you going to be engaged in? I propose creating something brand new in your life. It’s spring, after all. There has to be be something waiting to bloom inside of you? Let it out.
More soon ...
Greg Archer | Editor-in-Chief
Letters to Good Times Editor
Thank you for printing “Santa Cruz Innovation Pays Off Again” by Ryan Coonerty (GT 4/15). I appreciated learning the information and especially appreciated that the article contained, alongside, none of the bemoaning or fear-inciting rhetoric that is so common even in many so-called positive writings.
Because of a relentless focus on the bad news in most media presentations—reporting on any possible thing that can be anger/sadness/or fear producing—it's easy to be fooled into thinking the world is in a hopeless mess. However, these are also "the best of times" and not just "the worst of times." Many wonderful things are happening, and many people are serving tirelessly in ways that benefit us all. Most people are good. Some politicians are honest. If the good news were presented with the same devotion as the bad news currently is, we'd all feel better and that would affect our world for the better. I believe that how we feel affects the realities of our world in subtle (quantum) ways. So again, congratulations and thanks.
Regarding your cover story, “Meat is Not Green” (GT 4/15)—nice piece. I urge everyone to read our local author John Robbins' books, particularly "The Food Revolution."(See also foodrevolution.org.) And then kindly ask our “natural foods” stores to
stop selling meat. The reason they keep carrying it is because You buy it, folks. Anybody can kick the meat diet. I climb 14,000-foot peaks, am an avid biker (10 miles a day) and have been a vegetarian for years. It’s a cleaner, healthier, leaner and lighter lifestyle—you'll love it.
About Those Cows ...
While there are many valid points in the GT cover article “Meat is Not Green/Eating for the Environment” by Elizabeth Limbach, it misses the target as to the real problems of our food system. Unfortunately, misleading statistics, discredited information and inflammatory, nonfactual quotes included in the article only lead to more polarization and confusion on this important topic rather than building a consensus for appropriate change.
I found it ironic the picture that accompanied the article shows a group of cattle on a diverse pasture
area with mixed species of grasses and herbs. This is exactly where cows should be and, if managed properly, are actually an aid to the land. Instead, we have a food system that encourages confinement feed operations (CFO's) where, for example, cattle are fed soy and corn products that are often genetically modified. Huge amounts of manure are produced in these facilities which send methane, an even worse greenhouse gas than C02, into the atmosphere. It needn't be this way.
Cows are ruminants and have a digestive system meant to digest grass; not large amounts of grains. They are incredibly efficient at converting one of the lowest nutritive plants, grass, that grows on marginal lands, into highly nutritive products (meat and dairy). Not only that, their manure is of supreme value in helping to produce fertile soils for other crops. Managed correctly, cows and other animals can be an asset to the environment; managed incorrectly, a detriment.
The article also fails to question what exactly billions of people would eat if somehow everyone did all become vegetarians or drastically reduce their meat intake, and fertility produced by animals was not included in a farming system. Perhaps it would be the genetically altered corn and soy, now taken to the CFO's, that are grown in mono-crops, sprayed and fertilized with copious petrochemicals and watered with the water coming from shrinking aquifers?
Few could argue that there are not huge problems with our food system and environment. But blaming meat eating for those problems is akin to blaming clothes for dirty laundry. While whether to eat meat or not is an intensely personal decision, the eating of meat, in and of itself, is not the real problem of our food system and environment. It is how animals are raised, fed, and managed that is.
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