Cows Being Fed Candy- Coming Soon to a Burger Near You

English: Candy corn, specifically Brach's cand...

The heatwave and drought of 2012 is already effecting the food supply. With the skyrocketing price of corn,  at least one rancher has turned to a different source of food for his cattle.

In Mayfield, KY, Rancher Joseph Watson of Mayfield’s United Livestock Commodities, can no longer afford to feed corn to his 1,400 cattle.

“Just to be able to survive, we have to look for other sources of nutrition,” he said. Watson mixes the candy with an ethanol by-product and a mineral nutrient.

It’s creative at least, but nothing close to natural. I’m sure at least Joel Salatin is saying “Folks, This Ain’t Normal.” Hey, if you pass candy under a mass spectrometer, it still looks like corn, doesn’t it? After all, the candy is just high fructose corn syrup.

But, wait a minute…Cows are herbivores and meant to eat grass, so this just kicks our out- of-balance industrial farm system to a whole new level. Doesn’t it look like those cows are eating the expired candy in the wrappers? Bon Appetit.

 

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H2lOw Flow: Saving Water Via a Low-Flow Showerhead

With the drought affecting over 60% of the US this year, lots of people are paying attention to water scarcity issues. In a warming world, there will be higher levels of evaporation. That means some places will encounter more arid conditions that will lead to drought.

Since water is a greenhouse gas, more water in the atmosphere means more warming. This is called a positive feedback loop.

Since the water can’t stay in the atmosphere, it comes down in the form of precipitation, often times a deluge, and many places will encounter an increase in flooding. When water comes down too fast, as with a flood, it’s hard to hold on to. So places that encounter flooding can still have water scarcity issues along with the devastation floods bring. Drought and flood are twin sisters in a climate changing planet.

Living in the high desert, I find people are hyper-aware of water scarcity issues but we don’t always do all we can to decrease our water usage. By lowering your water footprint, you save yourself money and become better prepared for the changes that the future will bring.

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A standard shower head delivers 5 gallons per minute of water (gpm) or more. Today’s low-flow showerheads have flow rates of less than 2.5 gpm. That means switching to a low-flow showerhead will save you 25 gallons of water for each 10-minute shower. So, for a family of four, showering once a day, you can save 100 gallons of water per day just by installing a new showerhead. This also saves on your water heating as it uses more energy to refill the tank and re-heat rather than just keeping the water at a constant temperature.

The filter I chose was the Rainshow’r Bernoulli Polished Chrome Shower Head. Made in America, the Bernoulli Showerhead incorporates the scientifically recognized Bernoulli principle of pressure changes in fluids at increasing flow rates. So in using half the amount of water, the Bernoulli gives you a full stream spray. What I really like about the Bernoulli showerhead was that you can connect it to a shower filter. For me this was the Rainshow’r CQ-1000-NH Dechlorinating Shower Filter.  So, I have the advantages of water savings as well as chlorine filtration-win/win. Price was about $25 each. Now you don’t have to feel guilty about finishing that song in the shower-just make it a short one.


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2012: The Year of the Heat Not Just in Miami

US Drought Monitor August 2, 2012

US Drought Monitor August 2, 2012 (Photo credit: CraneStation)

2012 has so far established itself as the year that broke all US extreme weather records. First came the warmest March followed by the warmest spring on record. Then came the second warmest May on record.

That was followed by the hot dry June. Dry conditions, high temperatures and high winds exacerbated fires burning in New Mexico, the largest fire in the state’s history, and in Colorado. Across the US in June, records were set for the warmest nighttime lows and the highest daytime highs, thousands of them.

Next to the plate was the hottest July. The average temperature of 77.6 degrees Fahrenheit in July was 0.2 of a degree higher than the standard set in 1936, in the heart of the Dust Bowl era. The 12-month period ending in July was also the warmest period on record since record-keeping began in 1895.

According to NOAA, the drought expanded to cover 63% of the lower 48 states and over 2 million acres were consumed by wildfires. This concurrence of drought and heat have taken a toll on crop yields. Corn is at it’s lowest yield in 15 years. The Department of Agriculture predicts soybeans will also be hard hit, lowering exports and driving up the prices of beef, pork, poultry, and eggs.

Well, at least we don’t have to worry about tying a single weather event to larger climactic changes. Is it time yet to put down our remotes and to get off the couches?

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June Brings More Record Breaking Heat Across USA

Once again, we see record-breaking heat across the US. The triple-digit heat intensifies the drought conditions effecting much of the country. Dry conditions, high temperatures and high winds have been a major obstacle to firefighters battling fires in Colorado.

During June 2012:

  • 1,913 records were set or tied for the warmest nighttime low temperature at a weather station.
  • 818 records were set or tied for the coldest nightime low temperature at a weather station.
  • 3,163 records were set or tied for the warmest daytime high temperature at a weather station.
  • 993 records were set or tied for the coldest daytime high temperature at a weather station.

Night time cooling temperatures are important to human health as well as healthy crops. When temperatures remain above 80 degrees at night, the risk of heat-related illness, particularly in the elderly, increases greatly, according to public health experts.

And it’s all coming out of a spring that was the warmest on record in the US.

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Dry Season Returns & Broward Commission Considers 2-day-a-Week Watering Restrictions

Update: January 12, 2010 Broward Commission Unanimously Pass 2-Day Week Water Restrictions with an Eye Toward Enforcement http://bit.ly/7PA6iB

Most residents in South Florida realize we have two seasons; rainy and dry. Yet, how many realize what a precarious water dance we do?

According to the South Florida Water Management District, Florida receives an average annual rainfall of 53 inches, making it one of the wettest states in the US. Except, in the central and southern part of the state, most of this rain falls during just four summer months with much of it lost to evaporation. Because of this, the region is prone to extreme weather conditions of flood and drought.

Global warming is likely to exacerbate those extremes. During the rainy season, increases in temperatures caused by climate change will lead to higher evaporation rates and more intense rainfall events. We are also likely to see more record drought years. The 2008-2009 South Florida dry season became the third driest on record dating back to 1932. 2006 and 2007 were the driest back-to-back calendar years.

Amazingly, the latest US Geological Survey water use report shows South Floridians average per capita water use of 179 gallons per day! This exceeds that of any other part of Florida, and is twice the national average.  In Broward County, this could equate to as much as 322 million gallons of water per day. It is estimated that half of that goes to water our lawns (with more than 50 percent of irrigation water lost to evaporation and runoff due to overwatering).

In a recent email to residents, Commissioner Kristin Jacobs said, “Continuing to use water in this way will undoubtedly lead to seriously adverse consequences for not only our residents, but also the Everglades – which occupy two thirds of Broward County – and our sole source of potable water, the Biscayne Aquifer.”

At the Tuesday, December 8, 2009 County Commission meeting, the Broward Commission will be considering enactment of a permanent, year-round, two day per week landscape irrigation water conservation ordinance. Nearby, Miami-Dade and Lee counties have already implemented permanent two day a week year-round watering restrictions.

You are key to passing this ordinance. If you live in Broward County, tell your Commissioner that you want them to protect our water resources.

Commissioner Telephone Number Email Address
Commissioner Ilene Lieberman, District 1 (954) 357-7001 ilieberman@broward.org
Commissioner Kristin D. Jacobs, District 2 (954) 357-7002 kjacobs@broward.org
County Mayor Stacy Ritter, District 3 (954) 357-7003 sritter@broward.org
County Vice Mayor Ken Keechl, District 4 (954) 357-7004 kkeechl@broward.org
Commissioner Lois Wexler, District 5 (954) 357-7005 lwexler@broward.org
Commissioner Sue Gunzburger, District 6 (954) 357-7006 sgunzburger@broward.org
Commissioner John E. Rodstrom, Jr., District 7 (954) 357-7007 jrodstrom@broward.org
Commissioner Diana Wasserman-Rubin, District 8 (954) 357-7008 dwassermanrubin@broward.org
District 9 (954) 357-7009 cymartin@broward.org
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