Category Archives: Food

Call to Young Artists: Design the 2013 Renewable Energy Roundup Poster!


Seeking young Texans ages 9 to 18 to submit renewable energy poster designs

Deadine July 1, 2013

The Renewable Energy Roundup and Green Living Fair Art Contest was created to draw upon young people’s artistic expression to convey the importance of renewable energy and living sustainably in Texas. Pieces will be judged on creativity and inclusion of renewable energy (solar and wind), Texas, farming and green living practices.

The purpose is to enhance public awareness of the importance of renewable energy and sustainability in the artists’ and viewers’ lives and to convey how personal actions affect the world.

  •   Rules: The contest is open to all students in Texas ages 9 thru 18.
  •   Entry Requirements: Poster design must be original, and may be computer or electronically generated, hand- drawn or photographed. It must not violate any copyrights, intellectual property rights or contain other infringements. Electronic submissions must be 300 DPI (JPEG or PDF preferred).
  •  Size: Any size between 8.5 x 11 inches and up to 28 x 22 inches.
  •   Deadline: All entries must be postmarked or delivered no later than: July 1, 2013.

  •  Mailed entrees:
    The Roundup Art Contest P O Box 2735; Fredericksburg TX 78624
    Emailed entrees:
  •  Hand-delivered entrees:
    Laura Rice; 604 N Bowie; Fredericksburg, TX 78624
    Call 830-456-1341 to arrange
  •   Required: Submitted artwork must have clearly printed on the back: Artist’s name and contact information, parents name, school or facilitator name, including mailing address, phone, email.

The winner will be determined by a vote of the Roundup Planning Committee. All decisions are within the discretion of the committee and those decisions are final.

The winner will be announced and their artwork will be displayed in the art exhibit area during the fair weekend, in addition to being the official t-shirt art for 2013. First Prize $200 Cash + event tickets, 2nd – 5th place gift cards + event tickets.

All entries become the sole property of The Roundup. The Roundup will own all personal, intellectual and other property rights and interests in each submission, including all copyrights, moral rights and publicity rights. The submissions will not be returned to the artist. The artist will not create derivative works of their submissions, nor use their submissions in any other way outside of this contest. A submission may be used to promote any Renewable Energy Roundup & Green Living Fair, and/or for any other Renewable Energy Roundup & Green Living Fair commercial or promotional purposes, regardless of media. The Roundup reserves the right to make modifications to size, and content display. By sending in a poster design, you agree that the Renewable Energy Roundup & Green Living Fair may use, without compensation, artwork and the winner’s name, age, town and likeness for promotional purposes in Renewable Energy Roundup & Green Living Fair’s 2013 campaign.

Limited to one entry per person.

Renewable Energy Roundup & Green Living Fair
P.O. Box 2735 | Fredericksburg, Texas 78624 | 830-997-2350

The Renewable Energy Roundup & Green Living Fair is organized by: The Center for Policy Studies and Texas Renewable Energy Industries Assoc.

Bison: A Delicious Solution

American Bison

‘Meat is murder’ sang Morrissey. But, lets accept the facts, no matter how lovely that crotchety vegetarian might croon, American’s are a carnivorous bunch, consuming an average of 183 pounds per person annually.  And while that might be an excessive quantity, being an omnivore doesn’t have to leave one with an unresolvable sense of guilt. Eating meat can actually be good for the species, the environment, and our bodies. That is, if we adopt some changes to our diet, one delicious change–eat more bison.

 The American Bison, or American Buffalo, once blanketed the US landscape.  Ranging from Washington to New York, Florida to Montana, bison were considered to be the most numerous single species of large wild mammal on the Earth.  But the 19th century was a horrific one for bison as Americans began slaughtering them in staggering numbers.  As frivolously shot carcasses lay rotting, as boastful men erected mountains of skulls, the American bison’s population, historically exceeding 60,000,000 dwindled to less than 300 by 1893.  An emblem of American bravado and strength was nearly rendered extinct.


Couple of Bison Skulls

As the population of bison diminished, so too did their native grassland habitat. No longer roamed by the largest heard in the world, millions of acres of healthy grasslands, which once covered more than 45% of the US, were divided, fenced, and reclaimed for human habitation, cattle ranching and large scale farming. Ironically, the diverse and balanced grassland ecosystems–which hold the world’s highest potential for carbon sequestration–were replaced by staples of the vegetarian diet, notably soy and corn, which require huge quantities of water, chemical fertilizers and toxic pesticides.

But thanks to the efforts of a few who saw both a responsibility to preserve the breed as well as its value as a food source, bison have made a steady return. Lower in fat and cholesterol, yet higher in protein, bison is a fantastic replacement to cattle and require far less human intervention. Raised on open ranges for most of their lives (some are grain fed in the last 90-120 days), bison are a vital component in the grasslands ecosystem, and do humans a serviceable job of digesting those grasses that our stomachs cannot.

Just over a hundred years after bison were nearly eradicated at the hands of man, it is their brains and stomachs that have given the American bison a second chance, with annual consumption over 20,000 and the species climbing up the Conservation Status’s registry, one step away from reaching the highest label of ‘Least Concern’.

Now if that’s not a reason to celebrate with a bison steak, I don’t know what is.

Bison is sold at numerous food retailers around Austin,  including…

Written by Avery Thompson

Seafood Watch

For special occasions, we turn to a nice sushi dinner or some good salmon. When we’re on the beach in Hawaii or sightseeing in San Francisco, we like to finish off the day with shrimp cocktails and fresh crab. Sometimes when we’re visiting exotic places, we’re introduced to enormous Tiger Prawns, shark fins, and conch. Admit it, seafood is usually an interesting and delicious twist to our everyday lives. For some people, avoiding things like shark fin, dolphin, and sea turtle is obvious. But it’s not just the exotic seafood choices that are the most harmful. In fact, it’s often the things we eat every day.

Bluefin Tuna

Seafood can be considered unsustainable for many different reasons. Some species, sea turtles included, are already endangered, often due to environmental strains other than fishing such as habitat loss and climate change. However, many other species such as the prized Bluefin Tuna (shown above) are on their way to endangerment simply because of unsustainable fishing practices and overfishing in the wild. This often makes fish farming seem like the most sustainable way to produce seafood, but unfortunately, this practice can also have downsides, such as drinking water pollution and natural habitat destruction. This makes eating seafood in general look grim. So should you be eating seafood and if so, how do you know?

The Bad News…

Location is everything with a lot of seafood out there, so it isn’t always as easy as saying yes or no to a certain type of fish. In some cases, sardines for instance, regulations or safe practices from one source make them a great option, where another source without safe practice should be avoided at all costs. The good part is, even though this is a tiny bit of effort on your part, you can always ask a restaurant or grocery store where that fish is from, and they’ll usually have an answer for you. If not, it’s up to you whether or not you want to buy it.

The Good News…

Seafood is great! And you can absolutely still eat a ton of it. You can still eat the following delicious seafood treats (and more) without worrying about sustainability:

  • Mussels
  • Clams
  • Mackerel
  • Catfish
  • Oysters
  • Scallops
  • Squid
  • Tilapia
  • And more!

Sometimes being sustainable isn’t the easiest choice, but the Monterey Bay Aquarium in Monterey, California has an easy to use Seafood Watch List that you can look up online or through a phone app. The best thing you can do in this case and in any environmental matter is to keep yourself informed and inform others, so please visit the links to learn more.

-Morgan, Sierra Club Intern

Finding Out What the Term “Organic” Really Means

A typical day of grocery shopping is more complicated than one may think. When looking for peanut butter, for instance, one has to consider several things. Is the brand affordable? Does it have a lot of fat and sugar? If it’s healthy, will it still taste good? Is it natural? And most importantly, is it organic?


Too many people walk into grocery stores and associate anything labeled organic with the sometimes expensive price tag attached to it. Some people just buy organic either way simply because they’ve heard that it’s better. I mean, if it’s more expensive, that must make it good for you right? The sad part is, most people don’t really fully understand what the term organic means or why it is beneficial in our foods. So welcome to your crash course on organic shopping 101.

  1. Organic and all natural are not the same thing. “All Natural” is a term used on labels that is not regulated by the government in any way (other than some meat products) and could mean something as simple as just not using synthetic sugar. Organic, however, is a heavily regulated term that cannot be used on labels without official USDA certification. Also, while “All Natural” refers more to what is in the food, organic is referring to what is in the product and how it was made.
  2. A lot goes in to being USDA Organic Certified. USDA agents are in charge of visiting farms, etc. to see how the product is produced and how it affects the environment. Organically labeled products may not use genetically modified organisms (GMOs) or chemicals as fertilizer or pesticides. Antibiotics are also not allowed to be given to animals. They have to constantly maintain separation between organic and non-organic foods (sometimes from nearby farmers) and have to be inspected spontaneously. This is a problem especially now with the controversy of patents on GMOs by companies like Monsanto.
  3. Organic food is better for the environment. DDT, a pesticide used in the 50’s and 60’s, became banned because led to a rapid decrease in nearby species where it was used, particularly in birds. Pesticides today have a similar effect, but span out over longer periods of time. Chemicals used in those pesticides and in fertilizers also have a negative effect on water quality, which effect ecosystems nearby as well as people who use that water source for drinking.
  4. Organic food is better for you. Every time a person takes in antibiotics, bacteria becomes more immune to them. This means that every time you eat meat that has had antibiotics, you ingest some too, and become more resistant to them when you need them most. Similarly, eating produce that has been sprayed with pesticides can lead to a build up of toxins that can prove harmful for pregnant women, children, and the elderly.

Overall, organic food is a worthwhile payoff. A few cents extra on the price tag is much less than the medical bills or taxes to fix the environmental or personal harm that often occurs.

For more information, visit the following links:

Tips for Shopping for Organic Foods on a Budget

Organic Labeling Fact Sheet

Organic Certification Process Fact Sheet 

-Morgan Faulkner, Sierra Club Intern

Austin’s Whole Planet

I recently discovered a foundation that, living in Austin, I wish I had known about sooner!  Created and sponsored by Whole Foods Market, the Whole Planet Foundation devotes itself mainly to alleviating poverty and hunger through microcredit.

Whole Planet Foundation reaches out to Africa, Asia, and Latin America providing grants to microfinance institutions which then provide credit to self-employed people living in poverty.  This foundation is works with many entrepreneurship and microfinance institutions, and is supported by many different organizations.  They do work in over 50 countries, distributing resources, and through their work have developed the theory that eliminating poverty would be made easier by three key economic statuses:

  • “A free, or mostly free economy”
  • “A democratic, honest government including judiciary” and
  • “Relative ease of doing business”

And these are the things they work to achieve.  There are many ways of getting involved, including donations and raising loans.  All the information can be found on their website along with info about the foundation, their blog, and even videos of program participants! Check it out here.

SAVE THE DATE: September 29th-30th The 12th Annual Renewable Roundup is Back!

Renewable Roundup 2012!

At a Glance…

WHAT?!?!: The 12th Annual Renewable Roundup is a sustainability symposium centered around green living, alternative energy education, family festivities, and sustainable lifestyle practices for our future. This event wouldn’t be complete without it’s A-list of Guest Speakers, Hands-on Workshops, Eco-friendly Vendors, Progressive Exhibitors, Tasty Food Demonstrators, and Supportive Sponsors.

WHERE?!?!: Fredricksburg, Texas

WHEN?!?!: The last weekend in September. Saturday September 29th 9:00am – 6:00pm and Sunday September 30th 9:00am- 5:00pm

HOW?!?!: For more information on how to get involved with the Roundup as a either a participant or patron, visit

WHO?!?!: Everyone and anyone is invited! We encourage all individuals and families to come out to this great event looking to learn about sustainable living practices. This event is proudly brought to you by a joint effort from TREIA, Texas Center for Policy Studies, and The Texas Sierra Club Lone Star Chapter.

Learn How, Here!

In Depth…


Great News!  The annual Renewable Energy Roundup and Green Living Fair will be taking place again this year in the beautiful and historical town Fredericksburg, Texas! Organized by the Texas Renewable Energy Industry Association, in collaboration with the Texas Center for Policy Studies and the Lone Star Chapter, Sierra Club, Renewable Roundup is a collaborative event centered around individuals, organizations, and companies passionate about sustainable living.  The event planning committee is working hard on making this year’s show the best ever. The underlining theme of this weekend event strives to promote cleaner and smarter ways of using our resources while educating the public about “Greener” lifestyles and options. This event serves as both a conference and festival, as it enlightens, entertains, and publicizes those interested in a brighter greener future. We would love to have you at this extraordinary event the 4th weekend in September (Sept. 29 &30). Please check out our website to find out more or contact Event Coordinator Laura Rice at


  • Attend!
  • Apply to be a Guest Speaker
  • Host a workshop the Friday before the gates open on Saturday morning
  • Reserve a booth or exhibit space to advertise and or promote a sustainable idea or product
  • Advertise
  • Sponsor the event
  • Volunteer at the event
  • Come to the VIP kick-off party Friday evening

Can’t Wait to See Everyone There! 🙂

-Danya Gorel Sierra Club Intern

~Special Thanks to Mentor and Conservation Director Cyrus Reed~

Make History on Earth Day

Less than a month away is everyone’s favorite holiday, Earth Day! And we at Sierra Club thought, what better way to celebrate than to get together with all of our friends, allies and supporters?! That’s why we are going to be launching a festival on Sunday, April 22nd from Noon til 6pm at the Mueller Park. Join us that day, along with the City of Austin and the Texas Green Network as we celebrate what brightens all of our days, The Earth!

Not only are we going to be having a blast, but we’ll be making history as well. The Austin Beyond Coal campaign will be shooting a gigantic group, aerial photo that day where our volunteers help us spell out the words “Beyond Coal”! This will mark the largest project nationwide for the Beyond Coal campaign and we need your help! If you want  to be a part of this monumental occasion, be at the park by 3:30 so we can get you into formation for the letters.

We will also have an A-list of excellent speakers throughout the day, including Mayor of Austin Lee Leffingwell, and Native Texan/activist/populist/columnist/cowboy-hat-enthusiast Jim Hightower. Hightower has been fighting for the Earth and the people who inhabit it for over 40 years.

The Festival will also include:

After the aerial photo, Za Boom Ba will be kicking the evening off with a huge interactive drum circle with room for 500 drummers!

This is certainly an event you won’t want to miss. And definitely make sure to bring all your friends and family at 3:30 to be apart of our history-making Beyond Coal photo! We’ll see you on Earth Day!