Tag Archives: Sustainability

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.

Bison_skull_pile_edit

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…

http://www.thunderheartbison.com/

Written by Avery Thompson

The Annual Renewable Energy Roundup

If you’re looking for something fun to do this weekend look no further! The Annual Renewable Energy Roundup and Green Living Fair is this Saturday and Sunday, September 29th and 30th in Fredericksburg. The festival highlights the latest eco-friendly technologies, green energy sources, and environmentally conscious products for our daily lives. It’s two full days of great speakers, demonstrations, and exhibits.

The event is completely family friendly. There is even a build-your-own RC solar car race for all ages, so bring the whole family for a weekend of fun!

The Roundup is being held at The Market Square, 101 West Main Street in Fredericksburg. Gates open at 9 AM and stay open until 6 PM on Saturday and 5 PM on Sunday. Please visit the Renewable Roundup Ticket Page for advanced tickets. For your convenience, you can also get them at the gate day-of.

For more information visit The Roundup Website. We hope to see you there!

Map of The Event Location- 101 W. Main Street

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 http://theroundup.org/.

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…

DETAILS/ARTICLE: 

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 http://www.theroundup.org/ to find out more or contact Event Coordinator Laura Rice at info@theroundup.org.

INVOLVEMENT:

  • 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~

How to Really “Eat Local” in Austin

So we’ve all heard the term “local” being tossed around recently. We’ve all been told that eating locally grown food is better for the environment. But what exactly does this term mean? How local is local?

In fact, there are no true regulations pertaining to what is allowed to be labeled local in terms of food.  Many large grocery chains get away with labeling food from as far away as California and Southern Mexico local in Texan stores, places that the majority of Texans would not consider to be close neighbors.  Most of us seem to think that by purchasing a product at the grocery store emblazoned with the “L” word, we are automatically doing good for Mother Earth. Sadly, this is too often not the case.

Thankfully, the city of Austin and community groups are doing a lot to bring local food back to its roots. Community gardens seem to be popping up everywhere in our city, providing residents with a place to interact with nature and others while creating a pleasant space for all who wish to visit. These plots are open for residents, young and old, who have an interest in growing their own food. The gardens encourage self sufficiency and reduce the need for transportation, the most climate burdening process involved in commercial farming.

Homewood Heights Community Garden

Another excellent way Austin promotes truly local food is through the community farmers’ markets. If you live in or near the city you can’t call yourself a true Austinite until you  venture out on a Saturday morning to experience the joy and excitement  of The Austin Farmers’ Market. Each week brings fresh, new varieties of produce and goods produced by family-owned farms from within Central Texas.

Restaurants in the Austin area make it even easier to live a local lifestyle. Many eateries we know and love use locally grown produce in their menus. 24 Diner, Kerbey Lane Cafe, and Walton’s all rely on local farms to supply their customers with fresh, seasonal food.

Eating locally is essential to reducing our impact on our environment. Eliminating reliance on mass transportation and reducing/eliminating use of pesticides and other chemicals makes all the difference when it comes to sustainable living. The city of Austin offers many different ways in which one can become involved in their local food community. Hope to see you at a community garden or market soon!

Helpful Links:

Coalition of Austin Community Gardens– A full list of the community gardens around Austin and surrounding areas

Edible Austin – Publication that informs readers of local food advancements and opportunities in Austin and Central Texas

Real Time Farms– Online food guide to local farms and restaurants that serve local produce

Slow Food Austin– Providing activities and education for a more sustainable Austin food community

Sustainable Food Center Farmers Markets– Full information on the local farmers markets and the opportunities they hold

– Tansy Stobart, Sierra Club Beyond Coal Intern

Jars of Joy: Zero Waste Grocery Store Coming to Texas

Source: in.grediants.com

America’s  first zero waste and package free grocery store, called in.grediants,  will soon be making it’s debut in Austin, Texas this fall. Their plan is simple. They will be selling natural and locally grown food in bulk, while you, the consumer bring your own reusable packaging to take your groceries home in (or you can opt to use their compostable containers). Through this method of “precycling”, creating new waste is entirely avoided, which is quite significant owing to the fact that 40% of all waste in America is from packaging that is only used once.

Want to learn more? Visit their website. If you are interested in helping this store become a reality, you can help them by either investing or donating money.

Reduce! Reuse! Recycle! (and Precycle!)

-Jessica Olson, Sierra Club Beyond Coal/ Communications Intern