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Saturday, November 26, 2011

No Turkeys Here

I hope everyones' Thanksgivings were lovely. In honor of the holiday, here is a blog entry (that's right, blogging a blog) by New York Times Food Columnist Mark Bittman. He manages to mention nearly every player in the world of awesome sustainable food; and give thanks. Check it-

There are days when it seems — both in and out of the food world — that Everything Is Going Wrong. That makes it easy enough to complain, and I’m not alone in doing so routinely. Nothing tastes the way it used to. Even pricey restaurants have lost their glow. Quality is shot. People die from eating melons. The dominance of hyper-processed, industrialized food (and, more to the point, food-like products) is spreading globally, and we’re all gaining weight faster than ever, while wrecking the planet.

Nevertheless, it’s nearly as easy to find signs of hope — lots of them — as well as people and organizations who’ve been prodding American food back on a natural, sustainable, beautiful track. Then, of course, there are the things that just plain make you glad to be alive. Aside from the smell of garlic simmering in olive oil, what and whom am I thankful for? In no particular order:

1. Start — as many of those involved in the food movement did — with Marion Nestle, the nutrition and policy guru and an all-around heroine. (Her daily blog, Food Politics, is always worth a look.) Put simply: eat per Marion’s advice and you’ll be eating better. (You’ll probably live longer, too, but as Marion might say, “the studies are incomplete.”)

2. For low-income people, better eating often starts with WIC and SNAP. It’s a shame we need these food assistance programs, but it’s great that we have them, and we must fight to preserve and improve them.

3. There are more than half as many farmers’ markets as there are McDonald’s. The markets are gaining ground, and fantastic groups like Wholesome Wave are making them more affordable.

4. You gotta love food markets like Oakland’s People’s Grocery and the Park Slope Food Co-op, for their daily demonstration that corporate supermarkets aren’t the only way to shop.

5. Hooray for the Environmental Working Group, our best watchdog on misallocated subsidies, ethanol policies and a variety of conservation issues.

6. Let’s thank Europe. I agree, Europe is wholly un-American. But food-wise, we have more to learn from them than the other way around. Examples of how to move forward on food policy and agriculture while clinging (if by a carrot paring) to worthwhile traditional ways abound.

7. While we’re over there, let’s thank H.R.H. Prince Charles, who’s smart and outspoken enough to make you reconsider the notion of royalty. A couple of other admirable non-Americans are the United Nations’ Olivier De Schutter, a key figure in recognizing and promoting agro-ecological agriculture, and Vandana Shiva, who fights for food as nourishment, not commodity.

8. Back home: Will Allen and the Milwaukee-based Growing Power, Malik Yakini and the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network, and Nevin Cohen of the Five Borough Farm are, along with the other pioneers of the urban food movement, making a difference.
9. Journalists. Especially Barry Estabrook (of the blog Politics of the Plate), Tom Philpott (Mother Jones) and Tom Laskawy (Grist), old-school guys who dig up the food stories you need to read. In her blog and her book (both called “Superbug”), Maryn McKenna routinely scares me half to death. Then there’s Raj Patel, a social justice writer who focuses on food; his “Stuffed and Starved” is a classic critique of the world food “system.” (Raj is also, by some accounts, the Messiah. But I know him and he’s not that great.)

10. Can’t mention Estabrook (or his book “Tomatoland”) without a shout out to the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, who showed that farmworkers could fight for and win better working conditions.

11. Speaking of fighting, Just Label It and others are involved in the much-needed struggle for better food labeling.

12. If Michael Pollan had done nothing other than say, “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants,” we’d still owe him a great debt. But his new edition of rules (“An Eater’s Manual”) features the typically gorgeous art of the great Maira Kalman.

13. We also owe the Humane Society of the United States, Mercy for Animals and PETA (they can be extreme and, I think, even silly, but still…). All decry animal abuse on a daily basis, sometimes at physical risk to their employees. It’s tough work; it isn’t pretty; but as awareness increases so will the cry for change.

14. For his long-range view and persistence, you have to love Wes Jackson, whose Land Institute is advancing perennial agriculture as an alternative to input-heavy annual monoculture.

15. Few views are as long-range as those of Wendell Berry, who’s pushing 80. The farmer, poet, novelist and essayist is a leading voice for sustainability and common sense, and perhaps the first scribe of the food movement.

16. Serious thanks to Bill McKibben, who’s trying to keep the earth in good enough shape to grow things on it, and Tim DeChristopher, who put his freedom on the line (and lost it) protesting oil and gas leases on public land.

17. And to Bill Marler, who, as the leading food safety attorney in the country, is trying to keep the things we grow from killing us. Check out Michele Simon on Marler’s Food Safety News, too.
18. The Rudd Center has spearheaded the movement for a much-needed soda tax. When that happens … well, woo-hoo: we’ll know that serious and lasting change has come.

19. For better and still improving school lunches, let’s thank Ann Cooper (the Renegade Lunch Lady), Kate Adamick, the Child Nutrition Reauthorization Act and (why not? it’s Thanksgiving) Michelle Obama. (At this point, a nod to the world’s most famous walking advertisement for a plant-based diet: Bill “Mr. Slim” Clinton.)

20. With Washington on the agenda, a shout out to Ezra Klein, the hardworking economics and politics writer whose daily WonkBlog is indispensable. (The food link: I met Ezra when he criticized my mah-po tofu. No one’s perfect.)

21. Four D.C. lawmakers with the guts to fight Big Ag: Senators Bernie Sanders (a national treasure), Jon Tester, an organic farmer, and Representatives Rosa DeLauro and Chellie Pingree. There are others, but not enough; next year there should be more.

22. Let’s acknowledge all real farmers, stewards of the earth, as well as those fishers and ranchers who get it: there are plenty, and their numbers are increasing

23. Much movement in the right direction is thanks to groups like Food and Water Watch and American Farmland Trust (“No Farms, No Food”).
24. But you don’t need to be a farmer to grow food: check out Roger Doiron and his plan for “subversive plots” that will not only lead to greater individual self-sufficiency but will also point to a better way of growing and eating.
25. Finally: Thanks to anyone who’s started a small farm in the last five years, and anyone who’s supported one; anyone who cooks, and especially anyone who teaches others to cook. In these realms, let’s thank FoodCorps, SlowFood USA and Cooking Matters, all doing great work. As are millions of individuals. Bless you.

In case you wanted, here's the link:
I would sincerely like to apologize for the lack of recent blogs, we will post our recent activities and some more interesting tidbits very soon.

Keep it earthy

¡Recent Acitivities!

Green Club has been extremely busy this semester...

BOSS has cooked some awesome foods: hummus, pita, peanut butter, pasta... just to name a few!

Waste & Recycling has created educational fliers that will soon be posted in dorms and academic buildings to increase campus awareness. W&R has also worked with Ecoreps to educate basketball game attendants about recycling.

Outings has organized and taken part in some incredible events - kayaking on Bayou St. John, Friday Fly days, volunteering with Green Light New Orleans, Bike Easy's bicycle second line...and more to come soon!

Sustainability & Efficiency is working hard at figuring out the logistics behind energy auditing on campus, and trying to get reusable/eco-friendly containers for Bruff-to-go and/or the LBC. 

The committees are all working together to host a Clothing Swap at the very end of November/beginning of December.  (stay tuned for details!)

Saturday, November 5th, Green Club went kayaking on Bayou St. John near City Park. 

We had a blast bonding and enjoying the sunny weather. Shout out to Bayou Kayaks for enabling us to have such a unique canoeing experience! We didn't see any alligators but we saw and heard lots of birds (including pelicans!). 
On November 20th, several Green Club members helped Bike Easy valet at PoBoy fest.

We got to meet a ton of interesting characters while encouraging and facilitating biking in New Orleans!

Some po-boy fest attendants really went all out...

E-board members with a gracious patron... (and her owner)

Some Green Club valets and a job well done! Hundreds of bikes parked!

We are so thankful for Bike Easy's dedication to enhancing this pollution-free, eco-friendly method of transportation!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

350 in the 504, We Are NOLA, Hear Us Roar!

Have you ever stopped traffic on St. Charles to dance in the middle of the street?
We have!


Special thanks to everyone who chalked, posted fliers, and helped make signs for the event.
Also, Tulane Brass Band, you were awesome. We're so excited that some members of Loyola's Association of Students for Sustainability joined us!
Most importantly, thanks thanks to for its activism and dedication!

We had so much fun dancing around uptown, stopping traffic, and getting the word out about the need to lower Carbon emissions ASAP to 350 ppm!

It was a great way to start off the school year and show all the enthusiasm of Green Club, and what we're capable of doing with some hard work!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

2nd General Meeting: BUSINESS & FUN

Tulane Green Club will be meeting for the second time this Tuesday, September 20th, 2011. We will open up by discussing the awesome organization 350, and its event, Moving Planet, a little more in depth. We will be holding our own Moving Planet event at 1 pm on September 24th, gathering at Willow St. and Mcalister Dr. 

Below are the five existing committees of the Green Club. We will spend the rest of the meeting breaking up into these groups, and taking the first steps to having a powerful, productive year within each committee.  

Environmental Justice Committee

Environmental justice is defined as the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, gender, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies. The Tulane University Green Club Environmental Justice Committee, as a group of proponents of environmental justice, seeks to ameliorate the inequitable distribution of environmental burdens, such as pollution and hazardous waste. Environmental justice is hindered by endemic racism, unresponsive government policies and regulation as well as a lack of resources and power in affected communities. We aim to hold local, national, and international governments accountable for their actions to ensure they adhere to their respective environmental policies. In addition, we will strive to communicate the environmental issues and concerns of those impacted by environmental injustice. The Tulane University Green Club Environmental Justice Committee believes in both equality and good stewardship. All people regardless of race, color, gender, national origin, or income have an equal right to enjoy the environment in which they live, work, and play; as such, everyone should be held responsible for taking care of the environment. We are merely temporary possessors of this Earth and our actions, no matter how minute they may seem, are perpetually creating a legacy for future generations.

Outings Committee

The outings committee's goal to plan and organize trips and events that promote an attitude that seeks to conserve our environment, to educate attendees on the matter at hand, help people appreciate nature, and to make them fun!

Sustainability & Efficiency Committee

To improve the energy efficiency and overall sustainability of Tulane University’s infrastructure, buildings, grounds, food, and other services, through energy efficiency audits, the implementation of a ‘green tax,’ and other innovative programs aimed at reducing waste and maximizing efficiency.  (Work with waste and recycling on programs such as composting, eco clam shell containers)

Waste & Recycling Committee

Our mission is to reduce the amount of waste by changing the consumptive attitude of the average Tulane student. We'll work towards acquiring more recycling bins and making their placement more convenient and user-friendly. We'll also educate students and staff about easy ways to "go green." The committee will focus on the LBC and Sodexo as well.


The mission of BOSS is to spread an appreciation of self-sufficiency and localization. Through making products that are in alignment with a healthy, natural lifestyle, we reduce our carbon footprint in a multitude of ways. And lastly, in making these products, we shall reverse the desensitization that is a result of our consumer society.

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Energy Equation

The Tulane Law School hosts the Summit on Environmental Law and Policy every year, with free registration for students.  This year the summit focuses on Energy, and panel discussion topics include biofuels, nuclear energy, fracking, peak oil, and alternative energy.  For more information, and to sign up, please visit their website.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

"Get Wasted"

At the beginning of February the Green Club helped to organize "Get Wasted", an event centered around reducing on campus waste.  It was a very successful event - we sold over 100 reusable coffee mugs, gave out reusable grocery bags, and got tons of signatures for a petition to use ceramic plates and real silverware as the default option in our food court.  To see some more pictures of the event click here.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Will Allen Coming to Tulane

The Green Club is proud to announce that Will Allen, of Milwaukee's Growing Power will be coming to campus to give a lecture on Sunday, February 20th at 7pm in the Qatar Ballroom on the second floor of the Lavin-Bernick Center.

Mr. Allen was a 2008 recipient of the MacArthur Foundation's Genius Award, which has allowed him to expand Growing Power's reach. Here in the New Orleans Community, Our School at Blair Grocery is becoming a Regional Outreach Training Center for Growing Power. February 20-22, Blair Grocery is hosting a workshop with Mr. Allen. Anyone can sign up for this workshop here. The featured workshops include Composting, Hoop House Building, Project Planning, Cheese Making, Youth Empowerment, City Tour, Sprouts and Microgreens, Growing Mushrooms and more.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Join us to watch "The Idiot Cycle"

The Tulane Green Club presents a screening of the film "The Idiot Cycle" on Wednesday, February 16th at 7pm in Goldring/Woldengberg Hall II, room 1111.

What is "The Idiot Cycle"? It's an exposée on the links between the world's six largest chemical companies, cancer, and cancer treatment drugs (produced by, you guessed it!, those same six chemical companies). Check out the trailer below, and see the film's website or the facebook event for more information. Come to the screening, made possible by JPS films, to explore these topics further!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Spring 2011 Plans

At our Monday meeting we came up with some committees for this semester.

BOSS - Back to Old School Sustainability
BOSS gets together every Sunday afternoon in the Patterson lounge to learn to make things such as salve, granola, body scrub, fruit leather, etc. Hopefully this semester, they will begin selling products on campus and become a truly sustainable committee. If you are interested in getting on the email list contact Jake Winkelman (

This committee will be in charge of environmental education, both on campus and off. Some suggestions at the meeting were chalk facts around campus, coordinating with Green Light to volunteer in schools, etc. Someone also suggested a bike rally to promote awareness both on and off campus, which we could perhaps coordinate with the New Orleans Metro Bicycle Coalition. It was also suggested that we compile a list of green businesses in New Orleans, which I think should be a task for this committee.

The Green Club would like to get some fundraising both to help Green Light, as well as be able to do more things like T shirt making and movie/pizza nights for the club.

Waste Action Committee
This committee will encompass recycling, composting, and perhaps a campaign to reduce styrofoam and plastic use on campus. Our goals will be to increase easily accessible recycling bins on campus, expand composting into Leadership Village, and try to promote reusable cups, water bottles, etc.

This committee is only for those who would like to help plan Green Club volunteering. Many people were interested in helping out at Hollygrove, Green Light, and around campus. Anything that we plan, we will advertise through the listserv, so you don't have to be a part of this committee to participate.

Other Suggestions: (not under any committee so far)

Coordinating competitions (similar to Recyclemania) to get people involved. If anyone has ideas for contests, please let us know.

Create a "1 Green Thing a Day" to students: easy changes that can make a big difference.

Host a "Green Week" when people commit to do something environmental for one week, that might seem intimidating to make as a complete lifestyle change, but can help to create incremental change. For example, going vegetarian - a really big change, but doable for a week, and it might inspire you to eat more vegetarian meals.

The last thing that was very clear in everyone's "5 Things" was getting to know other members of the Green Club and creating a "green community" on campus, which we will do by hosting more things like T Shirt making and movie nights.