How Green Is Your Body? Part I

Posted by organicneedle in health, plastic, politics

This winter, as most winters, I put on my little winter cushion.  I fluctuate 3-5 lbs between the cold and warm seasons. Usually not a big whoop. This year however, my natural flux seems to be having a slightly harder time hitting the summer zone. Now 3 or 4 lbs isn’t a health crisis…but it does make my spring/summer wardrobe a bit snugger than I prefer. So rather than go out and buy looser clothes to accommodate my winter butt…I will be working a bit harder to get back to summer size. By doing so I will definitely feel better…but also will be saving a ton of $ and resources by NOT BUYING a pile of new clothes in the next size up.

gumbyWhy do I bring my widening rear up other than its pure entertainment value? Well…it got me thinking of the whole connection between one’s physical health and the issue of greenness.  The truth is I am saving more than money and resources on new clothes, I am preventing a step in a direction towards potential future health issues.  Now I am NOT implying that keeping a healthy weight is a sole indicator of one’s physical health. But it is one crucial part of it…along with not smoking, moderation in the naughty stuff, regular exercise, balanced diet, etc.  While reading No Impact Man’s  great guest post focusing on personal responsibility in our actions…I got seriously thinking about where personal health issues within our control come into the picture of greenness and social responsibility.  There is no denying that medical issues require a great deal of energy, resources, time, plastic, and cost the health care system a fortune, making it harder on tax payers and those on the economic gray zone between middle class and poverty.

Smoking: Let’s tackle smoking first…since there are few if any health justifications for its use.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention smokers cost the country $96 billion a year in direct health care costs, and an additional $97 billion a year in lost productivity.  Considering the state of our economy and our health care system, this is no small public matter. In addition, second hand smoke leads to air pollution and potential health issues for anyone exposed, often children of smokers.  Fortunately, this is a fight we seem to be slowly winning.  How?

Research & Public Information: According to the American Lung Association smoking has dropped from 43% to 23% in the past 40 years primarily due to increased knowledge about the dangers involved.

Policy: Congress just passed another set of laws restricting even further how cigarettes can be marketed and stricter rules for getting those products on the shelf. Cities like San Fransisco & NYC have banned smoking in bars and restaurants….much to the delight of nonsmokers. Does it work? Oh yeah…NYC is down 350,000 smokers since 2002 when the ban took place.

Taxes: Cigarettes are a popular tax because it is the easiest to justify. In NYC the tax is $4.25 a pack…yep..that’s $4.25 just in tax. Of those who still smoke, the # of heavy smokers has dropped by a third citing the high cost.

What else could be done? Should cigarettes be banned all together? (My son asks me all the time why smoking is legal at all. He considers it a crime for someone to blow smoke in his and his brother’s faces on the street. He makes a beautiful puffer fish-like face holding his breath dramatically and covering his baby brother’s mouth while walking by the offender.) Should smokers have higher premiums considering they are statistically likely to need more health care than a nonsmoker? Most importantly, should people who throw their cigarette butts on my street be forced to eat them? All important and valid questions to consider in the fight for public health.

*Tomorrow we will talk more about my widening butt, don’t worry.



Too Busy Being Proud of My Country to Write Today

Posted by organicneedle in politics




NYC Will Stay Smog Heaven

Posted by organicneedle in energy, politics

Setting a new greener standard for NYC cabs in an effort to cut fuel consumption AND clean up our air appears to be the Sisyphean feat of the year. In 2007 a brilliant challenge was made to the automakers of the world to offer up their replacement for the traditionally used Crown Victorias which get a depressing 10MPG. You would think this would be a golden ticket for US automakers whose sales have been severely lagging in the past decade or two. NYC Yellow Cab Taxi fleet is comprised of about 13,000 cars + there are an estimated 40,000 private car service autos! That is no small order. Plus, chances are if the new greener cars could make it here they could make it…well you know how the song goes. Only Kia offered up a modified Rondo…coming in at about 18MPG. Not great…but almost double the Crown’s. It is estimated that if Rondo’s replaced the 13,000 it would mean a savings of 22,285,714 gallons of gas a year! That’s right…22,285,714 gallons a year. One city…one service…22,285,714. So how many of these cars have I seen? 1. Yep…in over a year since they were designed I have seen 1. Strike one for cleaner NYC air.


Bloomberg then tried the ever-popular Congestion Pricing, modeled after London’s traffic volume reduction plan, to clear some smog. That went over like a lead balloon. Strike two for NYC air.

Then as part of Bloomberg’s 127 initiatives to reduce our carbon load by 30% he created the 25/30 rule. All new taxis would have to get 25MPG this year, and 30MPG by next. 1,500 hybrids were voluntarily introduced to the roadways. The NYC Taxi commission, however, fought back saying that the size of the cars available in the new gas range weren’t suitable for a large percentage of their passengers. Cabs often have to pick up multiple passengers and their luggage. They claim they have tested out this fleet of hybrids and the cars that meet that the mayor’s standard can’t hold up to the wear and tear of city traffic. They stated that the cars were constantly in need of repair and some were rendered unsafe within a year of taxi service. They filed a lawsuit against the city and a judge decided that the mayor does not have the right to set any type of gas limit. Only the state can set such limits. Therefore, he doesn’t have the right to combat smog. Doesn’t have a right to keep our asthma rates from constantly increasing. Doesn’t have the right to try and start a new greener path for New Yorkers. Doesn’t have the right to move us one step closer to energy independence. They won. Strike three for the breathers. We all lost big.

Utter frustration. Who’s to blame? A deactivist judge? The taxi commission? The car industry for the inability to produce a car that can meet the qualifications necessary? The state for not setting this standard across the board for all of our cities? Very frustrated. Very disappointed. Please let me get happier news tomorrow night. Otherwise I may be shopping for a nice cave to curl up in for awhile. Hey…Gollum did it and look how well he turned out!gollum
What? Palin 2012! Noooooo….back to the cave!



Obama Mama

Posted by organicneedle in Etsy, organics, politics


I had this very long…and, quite frankly, very boring post all planned out about why everyone should be voting for Obama. After reading it and passing out on my own keyboard I realized a few things. One…highly unlikely any McCain/Palin voters are reading little ol’ Needles crunchfest of a blog. Two…what more can be said. Unless you own a large corporation and are currently enjoying huge tax loopholes that prevent you from paying your fair share and are looking forward to the huge financial profits of shifting your jobs to poor countries where there are no pesky human rights or environmental regulations, or are a staunch…and I mean staunch ..not even in the case of rape or incest Right-to-Lifer, or you are simply a blatant out and out racist, there are really NO justifications for voting for McCain.

So what could little ol’ me possibly SAY that would change the minds of the previously listed? Well…what I can DO, besides voting and contributing to his campaign, is put the girls to work. My message is going on my boobs. That’s right. How many times have you tried to have a quasi serious political discussion with a guy just to realize he is playing “guess the cup size” in his little brain? You’ve got something important to say…a message worth hearing and remembering…boob it up sister! Found the above number on Etsy. Says it all…and its 100% organic cotton of course.

*I in no way am connected to the creator of the T-shirts and will not benefit from any sales except perhaps in getting a president who is NOT evil this time around. A girl can dream can’t she?*