55 Bottle Bags, Marshmallow Ghosts & New Laws

October 14, 2009

55bottles

Check this gorgeous “Kenner” bag from Matt & Nat, made from 100% recycled materials. Get it now at mattandnat.com for $255

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Sweet & Sara is Perfect for Halloween! The scariest thing about most marshmallows is that they are made of the boiled hooves, cartlige, skin and tendons from animals. Boo!

But guess what? These fluffy spirits from Sweet & Sara are made of their 100% vegan vanilla marshmallow, with chocolate detailing. We can’t wait to see what else they come up with. I heard a rumor about vegan peeps!

Progress Made: Two New Laws to Protect Farm Animals

Thanks to Farm Sanctuary, The Michigan Humane Society, and The Humane Society of the United States Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed a bill which will ban tail docking by the California dairy industry and Governor Jennifer Granholm of Michigan has just signed legislation to ban cruel battery cages, gestation crates and veal crates in her state. California is the first state to ban the tail docking of dairy cows. Michigan is now the second state to ban battery cages, following the example set by California last year with the passage of Proposition 2. It is also the fifth state to ban veal crates and the seventh to ban gestation crates.


Nau There’s Recycled Jackets

October 8, 2009

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Nau offers up recycled weather-protection in some great cuts. Created from post-consumer and post-industrial polyester waste, these jackets employ cradle-to-cradle ECOCIRCLE® technology, so that at the end of a long life it can be sent back to Nau and recycled once again into polyester fibers for reuse. Unfortunately, some Nau products contain cruel and exploitative down and merino wool, so stick to these cruelty-free choices:


Sonic Neckties, Land O’ Aches, The Conscious Cook & Green Porn

October 6, 2009

http://www.harpercollins.com/harperimages/isbn/large/8/9780061874338.jpg Tal Ronnen, the notorious chef that got Oprah to go vegan, shares his enticing, unexpected vegan dishes with everyone who relishes eating beautiful, flavorful, and filling food. In the Conscious CookEvery recipe delivers on his promise to omnivores and foodies: “You won’t miss the meat.”

It’s so cool that the Girlie Girl Army crew pointed out these Limited Edition “Sonic Neckties” made from recycled audio cassette tape! Get them in skinny or wide at Supermarket for 90$recycled cassette tape thin necktie from improbable projects

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• Where simple goodness begins? The picturesque, historically inaccurate and greenwashed imagery on the cover of Land O’ Lakes products can not hide the cruelty under the wrapping. A new PETA undercover investigation inside a Land O’Lakes supplier facility in Pennsylvania has revealed routine neglect and cruelty to cows who are milked for the Fortune 250 company’s products.

• The only porno I’d ever recommend to you guys is the amazingly clever Green Porno by Isabella Rosellini on the Sundance Channel. Hilarious, hot, and the best biology and ecology lesson you’ve ever had.

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Back To School Shopping: Paul Iacono Goes Eco with Joshua Katcher

August 28, 2009

I went back-to-school shopping with actor Paul Iacono of the reinvention of Fame! Teen.com TV asked me to take Paul on an eco-friendly shopping spree, where we went thrifting at Buffalo Exchange, checked out some organic cotton at Kaight, explored some cruelty-free accessories at MooShoes, and finished off the day with some vegan ice cream banana splits at Lula’s Sweet Apothecary!


Savory Summer Roll with Cuke Salad

August 24, 2009

SavorySummerRollCukeSalad

This meal was easy to prepare and combines a refreshing, crisp salad of cukes, carrots, cilantro and onion with a savory, warm roll stuffed with sauteed onions, kale, rice-burger and roasted cashews. Best of all, it’s gluten-free and soy-free!

WHAT YOU’LL NEED (serves 4):

Salad:

  • 1 large cucumber
  • 2 large carrots
  • 1/2 bunch of cilantro
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 red onion
  • 2 tbs spicy mustard
  • 4 tbs apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 tbs agave (or preferred sweetener)

Roll:

  • 4 sheets of rice paper
  • 1 bunch of lacinato kale (aka Dinosaur Kale)
  • 1 large spanish onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 rice burger patties
  • 1/4 cup raw cashews
  • 1 tbs vegetable oil, for sauteing
  • 1tbs Italian dressing
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp nutritional yeast

DIRECTIONS:

Salad:

  1. Cut the cucumber in half, longways -  and then slice into half-coins about 1/2-in. thick.
  2. Dice the cilantro, red onion and garlic.
  3. Slice the carrots into think coins.
  4. Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl, and add the vinegar, agave, salt, pepper and mustard.
  5. Mix well and set aside to marinade while you prepare the rolls.

Rolls:

  1. Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil.
  2. Bring a skillet to medium heat, and add the veg oil.
  3. Cut very ends of the kale off (just 1 inch) and then cut the bunch in half. Place it in the hot water.
  4. Boil the kale only for 1 minute, because we still want it to be slightly crisp. remove the kale from the water but SAVE THE WARM WATER and set both aside.
  5. Chop the Spanish onion into rounds about 1/4-in. thick and add place in the skillet.
  6. Dice the garlic, and burger patties and place in the skillet. Add the cashews, but set a few aside for garnish.
  7. Pour over the Italian dressing, and let everything cook over medium heat until golden brown.
  8. While step 7 is sauteing, dip your rice paper in he warm water. It will quickly become soft and elastic.
  9. On a cutting board or working surface, lay out the rice papers and evenly divide the kale and the sauteed combo onto them.
  10. Roll them up, plate and sprinkle nutritional yeast and the remaining cashews on top. Scoop some Cucumber salad for each plate and serve side-by-side.

AUGUST CONTEST: Win a $150 Gift Certificate at the Turk + Taylor online store!

August 3, 2009

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Turk + Taylor creatively use organic and sustainable materials and processes to design gorgeous garments for both Picture 7men and women. Their mastery of reinventing classics and capturing nostalgia makes them one of our favorite lines. All goods are manufactured locally in the San Francisco Bay Area.

The Turk+Taylor Pop-Up Shop is located at 1529 Fillmore Street in San Francisco. Their phone number is 415-336-5364. They’re open Thursday through Sunday, Noon – 7pm through the end of August.

Their Online store is: http://tnt.bigcartel.com/

You can win this $150 Turk + Taylor Gift Certificate in a few simple steps:

  1. Cities need trees! Friends of the Urban Forest http://www.fuf.net is one of Turk + Taylor’s favorite organizations! Check out their website and then send us anything that inspires you about greening our urban spaces! A letter about what you do, a photo of your rooftop garden, a poem about a tree on your block, a video. Anything goes as long as it’s about the urban forest. Don’t forget to send along an explanation if it’s a visual.
  2. Send to TheDiscerningbrute@gmail.com. The Subject line must read: AUGUST CONTEST: TURK+TAYLOR (otherwise it may get trashed)
  3. The best, most moving and creative submission wins!
  4. Deadline is AUGUST 31st.
  5. The winner will be announced SEPTEMBER 1st.

Leather Jacket: The Rebel Icon That Lost Its Gall

July 30, 2009

by Joshua Katcher

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Since the first Harley Davidson Motorcycle Jacket appeared in the United States in 1919, there might not be a symbol that resonates more clearly in almost every subculture than the leather jacket. From rock stars, punks, bikers, to hipsters, fashionistas, greasers, goths, metal-heads, and even the not-so-subcultured like military aviators and the police – the leather jacket has largely defined ‘cool’ since the word cool was made to mean something new by jazz legend, Lester Young, in 1933.  In addition, many fashion experts regard leather as having unsurpassed sex-appeal – so much that it has one of the most http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/ideas/brainiac/ramones.jpgpopular fetish followings. Originally made for its functionality of durability and protective properties, it has come to suggest masculinity, and strength – and more recently as high-end designers cash in our desires to look cool and strong, wealth.

Sid Vicious’ suicide note instructed: “Bury me in my leather jacket…” Images of James Dean, Elvis, Marlon Brando, The Ramones, The Sex Pistols, Michael Jackson, The Fonz, Cathy Gale, Indiana Jones, and even the Black Panthers and the Russian Bolsheviks come to mind when we think of leather jackets.  Hollywood helped launch the leather jacket as a symbol of intimidation and rebelliousness early on with Jimmy Stewart and John Wayne in Leather Bomber Jackets, and films like The Wild One, Easy Rider, Grease and Mad Max .

What is a leather jacket? Well, to be simple, it’s the preserved skin-organ of an animal, torn from its body, treated with chemicals, dyed, and cut up into pieces to be used as a “fabric”.  Like all flesh, without the toxic tanning process, leather would rot and decompose. Horses, goats, cows, calves, lamb, sheep, pigs and “exotic” animals like crocodiles, ostrich, and many kinds of snakes are all used for their skins. Other species are hunted and killed specifically for their skins, including zebras, bison, water buffaloes, boars, kangaroos, elephants, eels, sharks, dolphins, seals, walruses, frogs, turtles, and lizards. Dairy cows are also turned into leather once they are “spent” and their calves become expensive calfskin once slaughtered for veal. According to the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the global leather industry slaughters more that a billion animals and tans their skins each year, globally.

tannery pollution in Bangladesh

The tanning is especially problematic. If a billion animals are killed for their skins per year, you do the math on how many gallons of toxic chemicals are used to turn that into leather jackets. Communities surrounding tanneries in India, Kentucky, and Sweden report high instances of leukemia and cancer, and the chemicals used to tan leather, including heavy metals like chromium, find their way into water supplies and river systems. Animals on factory farms in the U.S. produce 130 times as much excrement as the entire human population, without the benefit of waste treatment plants. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has even acknowledged that livestock pollution is the greatest threat to our waterways. Turning skin into leather also requires mineral salts, formaldehyde, coal-tar derivatives, and various oils, dyes, and finishes, some of them cyanide-based.

Eco-friendly leather is a myth and a travesty. Based simply on the amount of resources it takes to raise animals – from feed crops, pastureland, water, and fossil fuels, to the record-breaking amounts of greenhouse gasses emitted by cattle (livestock production is the #1 cause of greenouse gas emissions), even if, at the very final stage of this environmentally devastating process, a “vegetable-based” tanning process is used, it does not erase the colossal leather boot-print that raising livestock has on ecosystems . What also becomes clear is the myth that synthetics are environmentally inferior to so-called “natural” materials like leather.

Many people see leather as by-product of the meat and dairy industry, and justify wearing it with the rationalization “ The animal is dead already, so we may as well make use of the skin”. But would the animal be dead if there weren’t a demand for it’s flesh and skin in the first place? According to the USDA,  the skin of the animal represents “the most economically important byproduct of the meat packing industry.” So it isn’t just someone making use of scraps – it is a profitable industry in itself.

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It’s clear that the leather jacket is a force to be reckoned with, but as our relationships to animals and ecosystems evolve, what does the leather jacket really mean, now? It all boils down to power – like Keanu Reeves in the Matrix, the leather trench represents his potentially intimidating and powerful appearance. Much like the meaning of fur, which has come to represent arrogant indifference towards animals, leather is headed down that same path, towards being a symbol of ignorance and indifference.

“The image of leather no longer defines outcasts, rebels, and counter-culture; instead, it is the epitome of mainstream, problematic relationships with ecosystems and violent and exploitative relationships with animals.”

The gorgeous illusions spun by the Goliath fashion industry are, indeed, spellbinding. And it’s no wonder the leather industry, with its orthodox relationship to the oldest, largest and most powerful http://www.truelegends.com/images/pce15.jpgfashion houses, has seen such consistent success. We hear writers, journalists and experts avow the nature of leather – how this “material” molds to our shape, breathes, and can withstand extreme punishment. But, it is not a “material” per se (any more than the Jewish hair used to stuff mattresses and pillows from the Nazi death-camps was a “material”). It was someone’s very skin. How can anyone be taken seriously as a compassionate, conscientious, and ecologically responsible individual, while boasting such a powerful symbol of both ecological devastation and animal suffering?

We know better. This isn’t a leap of faith – the evidence is right there in front of us. Not only are there countless documented cases of animals being boiled and dismembered alive, but in India, one of the largest leather exporters, the cows have their tails broken and chili-peppers rubbed in their eyes to keep them moving on their exhaustive journey outside the boarders of India where they can legally be killed specifically for their skins. Snakes and lizards may be skinned alive because of the belief that live flaying makes leather more supple. Kangaroos are slaughtered by the millions every year; their skins are considered prime material for soccer shoes. The conditions and treatment these animals face are horrifying.

Losing its gall. The image of leather no longer defines outcasts, rebels, and counter-culture; instead, it is the epitome of mainstream, problematic realtionships with ecosystems and violent and exploitative relationships with animals. It is woefully ordinary, and painfully tired. When you wear leather, you are no longer saying “I am powerful, individual, and cool“, you are saying “I am environmentally irresponsible and I hate animals“.


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