Killer Bacon Bugs, Bid on Stars & Recycling Myths

March 18, 2009

1. An Op-Ed published by the New York Times last week has linked killer MRSA, also known as the  antibiotic-resistant “Flesh Eating Bacteria” to more than 18,000 deaths per year in the US. That’s more than AIDS. And what is the source of this superbug? You guessed it: cheap pig products. “Probably from the routine use — make that the insane overuse — of antibiotics in livestock feed. This is a system that may help breed virulent “superbugs” that pose a public health threat to us all.

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A small Dutch study found pig farmers there were 760 times more likely than the general population to carry MRSA (without necessarily showing symptoms), and Scientific American reports that this strain of MRSA has turned up in 12 percent of Dutch retail pork samples.

Now this same strain of MRSA has also been found in the United States. A new study by Tara Smith, a University of Iowa epidemiologist, found that 45 percent of pig farmers she sampled carried MRSA, as did 49 percent of the hogs tested.

Death on a Factory Farm

And now with the NYT review of the Documentary “Death on Factory Farm” which is taking HBO viewers by

storm, I can only wonder how these animals that are smarter than dogs (yet some dogs chew delightfully on their dried ears & limbs) will fare int he coming months? And au contraire Mike Hale and the Wiles’s community, we can all eat veggies and thrive.

2. Bid on me! Help Farm Sanctuary raise some funds, and get a private brunch for two prepared by yours truly! Also bid on items from Bill Mahr, Amy Smart, Joan Jett, Chloe Jo, Daniela Sea, Heather Mills, Matt & Nat, Wendy Kidd, Dan Piraro, Gloria Steinem, Joelle Katcher, Rachael Sage, 30 Seconds to Mars, Maureen Burke, Gabrielle Brick, Dr. Joel Fuhrman, Nigel Barker, and more!

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3. Is recycling really all that it claims to be? Have you ever been confronted by someone who is a total recycling skeptic and didn’t know what to say?

Read: “Recycling Is Too Difficult and 9 Other Obnoxious Myths

Read the Economist article: “The Truth About Recycling

Read: The Economics of Recycling

Watch: William McDonough on ‘Cradle to Cradle’

Recycling is a tricky issue because it’s really a problem of over-production and over-consumption. But one thing is certain. We do not have infinite resources on this planet, and people who are in the industries that use up these resources, and are in positions to do something about it have a responsibility to figure out how to not leave devastated ecosystems for future generations. Just because the recycling systems aren’t perfect does not justify throwing caution to the wind and continuing ‘business as usual’.

The real issue is that recycling is not enough. Reuse is better, and ‘green’ products with toxic by-products need to be more thoroughly sourced, because there are products that come from closed loop systems, also known as EIN Eco Industrial Networking or EIP- Environmental Industrial Parks. But again, the root problem is still there.

Bottler of an idea ... Crushed drink bottles at a recycling plant in Chullora

One major problem is that recycling systems are often based on dollars as opposed to ecological and personal well-being. Dollars are abstract and when you work towards achieving such an abstraction (as opposed to working towards sustainability, good health, community, friendship, etc) the consequences to the physical world become secondary, when in fact ecosystems are primary and without functioning, healthy ones, we’d all be gone. The reason recycling appears to be useless to some people is not because re-rendering products into new products is impossible – it’s because they are seeing the effects of basing a recycling system upon a system that in itself is not sustainable.

Does that mean we shouldn’t recycle? Of course not! It means we should do that, and much much more! It also means the problems haven’t been solved and we need to get some serious critical thinking done.


Faux Ever: Inder Bedi of Matt & Nat

July 20, 2008

Eight years ago, a designer with a penchant for architecture, subculture, and bold ethics launched MATT & NAT – a line of vegan accessories that is unabashedly tearing down any notion that you can’t be fashion-forward and an environmentalist. Anyone who is only one or the other might just be lazy.

Inder Bedhi (Matt & Nat)

Inder Bedhi (Matt & Nat)

Inder Bedi, the brain in which MATT & NAT both reside – and the 34 year old discerning brute whose headquarters are in Montreal, makes no apologies for his commitment to animal advocacy and environmentalism. His accessories are always totally vegan, and are increasingly made from recycled and sustainable materials.

Moz

Moz

The fact that the new fall 2008 lines are gorgeously-serious, structured, edgy, and modish is enough to make anyone do a triple-take as you walk by – but compound that with the fact that these accessories consist of treated cardboard, recycled soda bottles, and vintage faux-leather and it’s a recipe for handsome ethics.

Like Marshall McLuhan, MATT & NAT isn’t just the bag; it’s the message. Discreetly or proudly, to carry the bag is to carry the message. The Fall 08 collection takes its cues from menswear with a deep color palette, emphasis on heavy hardware, and a narrowed focus on larger all-use carryalls. Such a focused collection makes a bold statement. No other line says it quite as strongly as CARTON. With the success of spring 08’s experimentation in eco-fabrics, MATT & NAT is now exploring the world of paper. CARTON is fabricated from treated cardboard and retails for $150 – $295. Featuring vintage synthetic leather trims, bags are available in either black or natural, with the choice of mix-copper or antique silver hardware. The line is unique, powerful, and for those wanting to make a statement. There’s no question about it, CARTON is progressive, both in design & fabrication.

Andro Carton

Ando Carton

Perfect for those cold winter days, FEUTRE is a line of heather gray felt bags entirely void of animal by-products retailing for $225 – $295. A first for MATT & NAT, the felt is 100% recycled water bottles. Bags are available in a choice of two trims: coffee or cement gray Japanese paper with lead-free copper hardware and a dark tonal lining. Masculine, distinct, and bound to be a classic, FEUTRE is minimalism at its best. Another first this season, BELTS. Made from synthetic leather, the line is comprised of traditional unisex hip belts that retail for $100 – $135. What sets these belts apart are the buckles in varying metals. Industrial in look, with oversized screw accents, BELTS iterate the design elements of the collection, and reinforce MATT & NAT as an avant-garde.

Junk Feutre

Junk Feutre


I had a few moments to interview Inder, here is our conversation:

DB: What is your inspiration for the upcoming collections?
IB: Architecture, cinema and music

DB: How did Matt & Nat come to be?
IB: A desire to put out a vegan line that represents balance between the two voices in my head (matt & nat), the voices that we hear all day that inevitably lead to the decisions we make every second…matt & nat strives to balance us as people as well as the worlds of fashion and positivity.

DB: Who are some of your celebrity fans?
IB: Nathalie Portman, Woody Allen, Heather Mills, Eva Mendes, Charlize Theron.

Ando Feutre

Ando Feutre

DB: How has fashion affected the green movement, and vice versa?
IB: Fashion has placed pressure on green to be more sexy (Kelly Green?), the green movement has asked fashion to be more responsible….weird question for me…been doing this since 1997…

DB: Does Matt & Nat have an official position on using skins, feathers, and fur? If so, why?
IB: matt & nat doesn’t….but I do…which inevitably effects matt & nat, it’s a fashion forward line of accessories that will always be vegan…

Rohe

Rohe

DB: What is your biggest concern with the fashion industry right now?
IB: The extremes of ethical fashion and unethical fashion and the lack of lines in between.

DB: Are there any accessories you want to make that you haven’t been able to include in a collection yet?
IB: Belts, soon!

Matt and Nat Mens Bags

Kahn Carton

DB: Why should every fashionisto & fashionista care where their accessories come from, what they’re made of, and who makes them?
IB: Because we vote with our dollars, whether we like it or not.

DB: What’s the worst thing that’s happened to you as a designer? And the best?
IB: Took many years before matt & nat got noticed – best and worst thing.
DB: Fill in the blanks: Every single person should make a dramatic change in their life at least once a year. Cool is doing it before it’s done, Chic is not in my vocabulary.

Bulleri

Bueller


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