Category Archives: Politics, or the lack thereof

Chatfield State Park to be destroyed by greed

An insipid, half-baked plan to destroy Chatfield State Park is now going full-steam ahead. Today The Denver Post has weighed in on the side of the “greed” faction. The opportunity to speak out is closing fast – comments are due by September 3.  For what you can do, go to the Save Chatfield web site.

I have some news for the Post.  Water is quite scarce out here, and no one’s making any more of it! We can only take it away from a place where it already exists. People need to think about this whenever yet another scatter-brained water project that destroys natural habitat is proposed. We need to be able to say “no” to the developers. Continue reading

Why Does Whole Foods Sell Meat?

(Hint: It has something to do with the economic system)

James McWilliams recently (September 4) wrote an open letter to Whole Foods asking them to close their meat counters.  This is noteworthy because John Mackey, their CEO, is himself a vegan, even though Whole Foods sells a lot of animal products.  Continue reading

The Fire Blog

Waldo Canyon Fire (NASA)

Politicians fiddle while Colorado burns.  We need to change our lifestyle if we want to avoid this fate or one like it. You can’t “grow the economy” without increasing fossil fuel use and without making climate change worse, not to mention the other serious problems which economic growth will make worse — resource depletion, soil erosion, species extinctions, and world hunger.  People need to understand this and learn to live with less. Continue reading

Rules and Regulations Governing Food Producing Animals

Hens

The ordinance on “food producing animals” (chickens, ducks, and goats) in Denver was passed last June.  What follows below is the statement I submitted to the Board of Environmental Health on the proposed rules and regulations.  You can read the proposed rules here (PDF). Continue reading

Next Door to Livestock — Another Neighbor’s Reaction

Hens

Hens

Sundari Kraft is the most visible proponent of the proposed “Food Producing Animals” ordinance which would drastically reduce the limitations on backyard chickens, ducks, and goats.  Earlier I reported that one of her neighbors, Roseanne Jelacic, has written to City Council objecting to the ordinance based on her own experience with Sundari as a neighbor.  Now, it turns out, another of Sundari’s neighbors, Lynn Herwick, has done the same thing some days ago.  Continue reading

Casualties of Backyard Livestock Agriculture

Hens

Figuring out how to live with a pet can be a challenging experience, just because animals are different from humans. Even in the case of dogs and cats, which are common enough in our society so that knowledge of their care is very widespread, figuring out their proper care is not trivial. But dealing with a new kind of animal, like chickens and goats, can be a major challenge. If you try to spread the acceptance and adoption of this kind of animal, a lot of people are going to get it wrong. Continue reading

Seattle’s Experience with Backyard Chickens

Hens

Backyard livestock supporters often tout the success of other cities who have allowed backyard chickens or goats. Seattle is often held up as just such a success. But is it?

If you just talked to city officials, that might be the impression you get. So I talked to Tiffany Young, a member of the Duck Rescue Network and backyard fowl rescuer. Continue reading

Feral Chickens: another problem with backyard chickens

Hens

Somehow, amidst all the glorious success stories that supporters tell about cities who have promoted backyard chickens, feral chickens never get mentioned. The problem of feral chickens represents another problem for supporters of the proposed “food producing animals” (FPA) ordinance. Continue reading

Next Door to Livestock — One Denver resident’s experience

Hens

If the ordinance currently before the Denver City Council to allow virtually anyone to keep chickens and goats passes, what would this mean for Denver?

Denver currently allows chickens and goats in residential areas but only under highly restrictive conditions, and probably fewer than a dozen households have the permits to do so.  Roseanne Jelacic is therefore one of the few people in Denver to live next door to someone legally keeping chickens and goats.  Last Monday she sent an e-mail letter to all the members of the Denver City Council concerning her experiences.  After receiving her permission, I have reprinted it below (deleting only contact information). Continue reading

Is the Weston Price Foundation an Astroturf Site?

Easter Island status symbol

Easter Island status symbol

Is the Weston Price Foundation an astroturf site? I can’t prove it, but I suspect that it may be, and here’s why.

I recently came across an alarming series of articles by George Monbiot on “astroturf” campaigns on the internet.  “Astroturf” is a name for the synthetic grass that football games are often played on; but it is also a derisive term referring to organized support for a government or corporation which mimics a spontaneous grassroots movement. Continue reading

Things that Bother Me about Denver’s Proposed Livestock Ordinance

Hens

Denver is poised to pass an ordinance allowing livestock in people’s backyards, specifically, up to eight chickens and two goats. Keeping backyard chickens as pets isn’t necessarily a bad idea, if you did it right, and I wouldn’t have a fundamental problem with that. We have even toyed with the idea of adopting chickens ourselves. But this is something very different.  It would create a new class of backyard animals, animals that are valued for their meat, milk, or eggs. Continue reading

Priestly Pedophilia: A Systemic Evil

By Clem De Wall

Except for the Catholic hierarchy, few have been satisfied with Vatican excuses for priestly pedophilia. Instead, there are outcries for reparations, admissions of guilt and swift punishment. Some advocate reforming the celibacy rule. I would go further, judging clerical pedophilia to be a systemic evil, curable only by abolishing the system.

Illnesses are not cured by masking symptoms, but by attacking their cause. What is it about priesthood that allows, or even encourages pedophilia? Let’s look at the belief system supporting it. Continue reading

Bill McKibben on Grass-Fed Beef

A key cause of climate change

A key cause of climate change

It hardly seems fair to attack an article in which Bill McKibben, a tireless and effective advocate for much needed action on climate change, issues “a call for America to divest its heart and stomach from feedlot beef.” McKibben, like Michael Pollan, is attempting to define grass-fed beef as good, and factory farmed (corn-fed) beef as bad. From a political and ethical point of view, this isn’t a bad approach. In Colorado some years ago a ballot initiative restricting hog farms found the vegetarians and the cattle ranchers on the same side.

But does this make sense scientifically?  Continue reading

Peak Animals

A key cause of climate changeA lot of the questions people have about the WorldWatch article “Livestock and Climate Change” (Robert Goodland and Jeff Anhang, in the November / December 2009 WorldWatch) comes down to a simple problem: it’s difficult for many people to wrap their brains around what the authors are saying. All they see is something about livestock and a jumble of data. Maybe this is the way we should leave it, so that only the serious scientists will consider the idea. But the spread of an idea depends on its making intuitive sense. Here’s how I would pitch their thesis: you’ve heard of peak oil, the time of maximum production of oil on the planet. This is peak animals. We have an unprecedented (and unsustainable) amount of animal biomass on the planet, and climate change is just one of the symptoms. Continue reading

Michael Pollan and the Inuit Diet

Michael Pollan

While promoting the excellent DVD Food, Inc. on Oprah on January 24, Michael Pollan made the following statement: “The Inuit in Greenland you were referring to [have a] 75% fat diet — no type II diabetes, no heart disease.”

The implication that the Inuit’s high-meat diet is healthful is almost certainly wrong. Continue reading