Showing posts from August, 2015

Do Happier Cows Lead to Safer, More Sustainable Food?

Following up on my last post about antibiotic resistant bacteria--I read an eye-opening article in the October 2015 issue of Consumer Reports . The article, "How Safe is Your Beef?" examines the issue of food poisoning associated with ground beef. According to the article, in July of this year, 13.5 tons of ground beef and steaks were contaminated with dangerous E. coli O157:H7 that can cause intestinal illness and  death. The meat was recalled before any food poisoning was reported. And contaminated beef caused 80 outbreaks of E. coli between 2003 and 2012. Beef is also responsible for salmonella outbreaks.   Consumer Reports conducted their own tests on 458 pounds of ground beef. The beef was categorized by type--conventional, without antibiotics, organic, and grass-fed. They tested the meat for common bacteria found on beef. Conventional beef is the most common, coming from cattle that are penned in feedlots, fed with soy and corn, and given antibiotics to boost g

Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria

A couple months ago we adopted a sweet 8-year old dog, Axe, to be a buddy for our 11-year old dog, Toni. Axe had a lump on his side that turned out to be an abscess. After two different antibiotics didn't resolve the problem, he had surgery, where the vet found his microchip had migrated and become infected. He removed the microchip and cleaned the site, but Axe is now on 3 antibiotics trying to resolve the infection. Our veterinarian mentioned a similar problem he personally had, where a tiny rose thorn pricked his thumb and it became severely infected. It took 3 different antibiotics to get it under control. And when I got pneumonia a couple years ago--again 3 antibiotics and no success. Finally after taking two different antibiotics at once I got better. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) calls this Antimicrobial Resistance --"the ability of microbes to resist the effect of drugs." According to the CDC, it's impossible to avoid the

Nature Journaling

Back in March, I took a nature journaling course from the University of North Florida. Kelly Johnson, author of Wings, Worms and Wonder taught the class. Kelly is a wonderful leader and great at "sparking wonder!" Our small class visited a variety of locations--the Jacksonville Arboretum , the Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens , and Dutton Island Preserve in Atlantic Beach, Florida. The great thing about nature journaling is that you can use your own style and method. Some people draw and write notes, some look up the scientific names and information on what they observe and note it in their journal, others write poetry or prose inspired by nature. You see my poor attempt at drawing in the photo above. Being a photographer, I prefer to take lots of photos, and write observations. I found a great online venue called iNaturalist . is a place to "record what you see in nature, meet other nature lovers and learn about the natural world." Wha

Cleaning Up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch

The Ocean Cleanup crew just returned from a successful Mega Expedition to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. While the media often refers to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), debris items actually collect in several areas of the ocean . The Ocean Cleanup expedition was a massive effort to collect data and map the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre, also called the Eastern Garbage Patch. After the Transpacific Yacht Race (Transpac 2015) finished, dozens of the yachts returned to assist The Ocean Cleanup with the effort, led by the 171-foot research vessel, Ocean Starr . A detailed database showing vertical distribution of plastics during various weather conditions has also been completed. The technology centers on attaching a scalable array of long, floating barriers to the sea floor and letting the ocean currents help to capture the plastic debris within the barriers. The current flows under the barrier, preve