Plants Are Dope Link Roundup 12/6/19

plants are dope

In the early 1970s, Rogers stopped eating turkey — and meat, fish and other fowl — altogether. It was right around the time that Frances Moore Lappé penned “Diet for a Small Planet,” a vigorous argument for vegetarianism. But unlike Lappé, Rogers was an ordained Presbyterian minister who used spiritual language to explain his commitment to a plant-based diet.

“I want to be a vehicle for God, to spread his message of love and peace,” Rogers said in a 1983 interview with Vegetarian Times. For Rogers, that could never mean beheading turkeys, breaking their wishbones or biting their legs. At the very least, it meant treating turkeys and all God’s creatures as worthy of care and compassion.

Thank you, Michael G. Long and the LA Times for bringing to my attention that Mr. Rogers was a vegetarian! I’m going to see the film about him tonight–can’t wait!

I’m not comfortable using a scary story to persuade people to change their beliefs or lifestyles, even if I believe that scary story is true. Like religion, food is culture. As a white middle-class American woman, I don’t believe I should tell anyone that the way they eat is wrong, just as I wish I hadn’t ever told anyone their religious beliefs were wrong.

Speaking of the connection between not eating animals and religious beliefs…I had an article published in Tenderly this week! Check out “I Don’t Feel Comfortable as a Vegan Activist Because of My Evangelical Upbringing.”

Neil Tyson often conjectures that maybe aliens have concluded humans aren’t intelligent enough to contact. He’s probably referring to our capacity for war, but lawns may display our talent for fruitless carnage even better.

Americans devote 70 hours, annually, to pushing petrol-powered spinning death blades over aggressively pointless green carpets to meet an embarrassingly destructive beauty standard based on specious homogeneity. We marvel at how verdant we manage to make our overwatered, chemical-soaked, ecologically-sterile backyards. That’s just biblically, nay, God-of-War-ishly violent.

To understand the sheer inanity of devoting 40 million acres, nearly half as much land as we set aside for our biggest crops, to an inedible carpet, we need to back up—beyond the modern lawn’s origins with a real estate family peddling the “American Dream” as Whites-only cookie-cutter suburbs—to the evolution of grass.

Grass lawns are mostly stupid. Ian Graber-Stiehl reminds us of why in Gizmodo.

In a new report published by the Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic, researchers write that, on average, students in medical schools across the country spend less than 1 percent of lecture time learning about diet, falling short of the National Research Council’s recommendation for baseline nutrition curriculum. Neither the federal government, which provides a significant chunk of funding to medical schools, nor accreditation groups—which validate them—enforce any minimum level of diet instruction.

And it shows: While you and I might show up for our annual physicals expecting feedback on our what and how much we should be eating, just 14 percent of doctors feel qualified to offer that nutrition advice.

Yes, yes, yes to “If Food Is Medicine, Why Isn’t It Taught at Medical Schools?” in The New Food Economy. I’m sharing this because 1) it’s so true and it resonates with me so much, and 2) plant-based food is medicine.

There’s something special about moderately paced movement through nature that leaves one feeling refreshed, renewed, and satisfied. Because of that, hiking is rarely considered a sport in the same way as trail running or mountain biking, both of which are more acutely painful and taxing on the body. And yet recent studies show that a walk in the woods—especially at the right tempo—is a superb way to build endurance and strength.

For starters, participants pushed themselves harder during the outdoor hike, as evidenced by heart rates that were, on average, six beats per minute higher. Given this, you’d think the participants would have experienced the outdoor hike as more tiring and perhaps less enjoyable. But the opposite occurred: They reported increased feelings of pleasure both during and immediately following the outdoor hike, and they said they felt less fatigued afterward. Put differently, going hard while hiking in nature feels easier than going hard indoors.

I already knew that hiking is great because I trust my body, but it’s nice to see that research confirms it. Article by Brad Stulberg for Outside.

Tea drinkers have been urged to avoid plastic tea bags after tests found that a single bag sheds billions of particles of microplastic into each cup.

A Canadian team found that steeping a plastic tea bag at a brewing temperature of 95°C releases around 11.6 billion microplastics – tiny pieces of plastic between 100 nanometres and 5 millimetres in size – into a single cup. That is several orders of magnitude higher than other foods and drinks.

Okay, bummer! I limit my tea intake because I have chronic illness that sometimes causes me to react to caffeine and tea, but I still love tea and like having a bunch on hand for the moments when I crave it. I didn’t know that tea bags contained plastic at all until I read this article in New Scientist. Guess it’s time to switch to loose leaf once and for all.

A man caught driving with more than a thousand marijuana plants in his vehicle told police they were “peppermint,” according to reports.

Spanish police arrested the unnamed 34-year old on Sunday in the Arganzuela district of the capital Madrid after pulling the man over for a traffic offense.

Lol, in humorous plant news… At least he tried! But really it’s not that funny because plants shouldn’t be illegal unless they are causing harm.

It’s no secret that organic farmers believe in compost, but just what role compost plays in soil’s ability to store carbon—and keep it out of the atmosphere, where it contributes to climate change—has been less clear. A recent study out of the University of California, Davis suggests that compost plays a larger role than once thought in building soil carbon. It also found that carbon levels fluctuate more in deeper soil than most evaluation methodologies tend to account for. In practical terms, the findings could mean compost has been undervalued by agricultural incentive programs, and that we’ve been measuring carbon levels in soil all wrong.

Researchers found that systems using cover crops alone not only failed to store more carbon, they actually lost significant amounts of carbon in the soil below about a foot deep. The system that used both cover crops and compost, however, had significantly increased soil carbon content over the length of the study—about .7 percent annually. That may sound like a small number, but it’s enormous in the context of soil, where change is slow and gradual. The “4 per 1,000” initiative has called for a 0.4 percent increase in soil carbon annually around the globe as a way to combat climate change.

I so badly want us to fix our food and agriculture systems, but I feel so removed from them and helpless at times. Reading about new studies helps me feel informed. Also, I know this article in Civil Eats is about big agriculture, but it’s also a good reminder to me to get composting again! Adding that to the list of 2020 intentions.

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