Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Saving civilization – free book

Thumbs up: “Entering a New World,” in Lester R. Brown, Plan B 3.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2008), available for free download at Get it, read it, do something good each day.

Manon Cleary's amazing pastels on view

An art show not to be missed if you're in DC. Here's what artist Anne Marchand says about Manon Cleary's amazing exhibition. On view Tues.-Sat. through Aug. 22 at Addison/Ripley in Georgetown at 1670 Wisconsin Ave. NW.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Meat of the problem

Meat production is harder on the planet than is driving gas-guzzlers. Excellent report on the effect of diet on the climate, land, civilizationin the Washington Post. Read it here.

If your pet could talk

Check out "If Your Pet Could Talk" at Dr. Suzanne Hetts, who has commented in some of Robin's Dog Tips, helped PETsMART create this interactive guide consisting of a quiz, videos, and interactive exercises to help pet parents interpret behavior and better understand what our furkids.

Monday, July 27, 2009

"Skin Trade" film event; Circus cruelty caught on tape

The Open the Cages Alliance will screen “Skin Trade," a new documentary about the fur industry on Saturday, August 8, from 1 to 9 pm, at St. Stephens Church in Washington, D.C. 1525 Newton Street, NW. Mobius Strip and Ryan Harvey will perform at the benefit; admission's on a sliding scale starting at $10 Details here.

The doc exposes the scope of the global fur trade and cruelties occurring at fur farms, seal hunts and Asian animal markets. Fur industry advocates get their say – and so do people of conscience including clothing designers, models, and rock stars who know that skinning animals is not a cool concept.

On a related note, more proof of the cruel treatment of elephants in circuses: new vid from Ringling Bros.


Sunday, July 26, 2009

Tullio sculptures: Sensual meets spiritual

Check out Robin's review of the amazing new exhibition of Renaissance sculpture on view at the National Gallery of Art. It's in the Monday editions of the Examiner newspapers; click here. Also on the online editions.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Green Beer and Food: Eco lessons from the brewpub

Robin's Eco Simple column in this Sunday's Examiner newspapers looks at an Ann Arbor brewpub that has greened its operation from beer-making to food sourcing. Results include local, healthy and tastier food and award-winning beer. In the Washington DC and San Francisco/Oakland regional print editions of the Examiner and in the paper's online and e-dition.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Red meat and poultry boost body burden

People who eat meat and poultry have significantly higher levels of common flame retardants compared to vegetarians. The findings (from a 2009 studyreported in the latest Environmental Health Perspectives) indicate that food may be a more important source of the contaminants, known as PBDEs, than previously thought. PBDEs are omnipresent in the environment This is the first large-scale study to examine the contribution of red meat and poultry to dietary PBDE body burden in the US.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Beer/peer pressure

B/peer pressure. When college students think other undergrads drink a lot of alcohol, they drink more themselves. New research suggests that peers exaggerated about how much they drink, students drink less. Reviewers evaluated 22 studies that involved 7,275 students. The review appears in the current issue of The Cochrane Library

Friday, July 17, 2009

Whale of a story

Fantastic piece of feature-writing in the New York Times Magazine this week from great journalist Charles Siebert. Treat yourself and be sure to read it. He also has a new book out called The Wauchula Woods Accord: Toward a New Understanding of Animals.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Curry and vitamin D may help ward off Alzheimer's

New research involving humans suggests a form of vitamin D, together with a chemical found in turmeric spice called curcumin, may help stimulate the immune system to clear the brain of amyloid beta, which forms the plaques considered the hallmark of Alzheimer's disease.

New Humane Food database and locator

The World Society for Protection of Animals has set up the first searchable humane food database, making it easier to find animal-friendly food products at local grocery stores across the U.S. Visit and bookmark

Think about it: the food you buy has a profound impact on the lives of animals. More and more people are trying to choose humanely when they visit restaurants or shop in stores. To help relieve the confusion, WSPA has ranked humane food labels, such as "cage free," "free range," "grass fed" and "organic."

Storefront Churches

Robin reviews the new Storefront Churches exhibition at the National Building Museum. In the July 16 print and online editions of the Washington Examiner.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Cool beans: ADA endorses veg diet

Vegetarians knew it, vegans knew it, nutritionists are now speaking up in praise of plant-based diets. A carnivore discusses the endorsement and her thoughts on changing eating habits

Cats domesticated themselves

"They had the wits to notice that the first human settlements were full of uncleared garbage strewn about by their slovenly inhabitants and so were overrun with rats, mice and sparrows. The full story here. And in other cat research today: "Researchers found that purrs of hungry cats included a higher-pitched sound, somewhat like a cry or meow. They played recordings of these purrs from 10 cats to 50 human volunteers. Even people who'd never owned a cat found them to be more urgent and less pleasant than contented purrs from the same animals." The full scoop here.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

New mobile tool to find alt fuel stations

If your vehicle uses any kind of alternative fuel, you can now find stations nationwide with a new tool that works with mobile phones, PDAs and computers. Robin's Sunday Eco Simple column in the Examiner newspapers has the scoop. NOTE: the paper chopped off the end of the mobile device URL. It is:

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Amazon watch

As many as 4,550 of the more than 50,000 plant species in the Amazon will likely disappear because of land-use changes and habitat loss within the next 40 years, according to a new Wake Forest University study appearing in the current issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Altitude adjusting for high-elevation exercise

How to adjust to higher elevations and avoid altitude sickness...Robin's new piece from Albuquerque's Sandia Mountains in various editions of the Examiner - in print and online.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Meat preservatives linked to dementia

Report appears here.

Cussing reduces pain

Why do people swear? “Swearing has been around for centuries and is an almost universal human linguistic phenomenon” says Dr Richard Stephens, proposing that swearing can increase pain tolerance. His UK-based Keele University team asked volunteers to submerge hands in ice water for as long as possible while repeating a swear word of their choice. Then they repeated the experiment using a more commonplace, non-swear word. The volunteers were able to keep hands submerged in the ice water significantly longer when saying the swear word. Researchers believes a pain-lessening effect occurs because swearing triggers our natural ‘fight-or-flight’ response. The accelerated heart rates of the volunteers repeating the swear word may indicate an increase in aggression, in a classic fight-or-flight response of "downplaying feebleness in favor of a more pain-tolerant machismo." Illustration courtesy of the talented Surfdoggie

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Painterly Visions

Some of our art commentary is being picked up on Twitter feeds and on other respected online publications such as Painterly Visions, which is edited by Anne Marchand. Anne is one of the brightest shining lights on the Washington, DC artscape – check out her work here and her Cityscapes here. And she was instrumental in the window murals project that kept the spiritual embers glowing at Eastern Market (a Capitol Hill D.C. icon) between its destruction by fire in 2007 and its reopening last week.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Robin's in Bark mag

Robin has a Florida panhandle travel story in the July/Aug. issue of Bark. It's listed in the online edition, but for the content, get a print issue at a newsstand near you.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Artful Animals - new family exhibit

Just opened at the African Art Museum on the mall (10th and Independence Ave SW) in D.C. Aimed at children but also interesting for adults, the exhibition includes 130 objects that give you a cross-section of art from various African cultures and a variety of perceptions of nonhuman animals’ roles, from symbols of power to embodiments of deities to earthly neighbors welcomed, feared or exploited. Includes free activities for kids and a clever lesson involving a mirror. Runs through February 21, 2010. Shown here: a helmet mask of wood from the Loma peoples of Liberia and Guinea, and an oil painting from appx 1950 by Republic of Congo article Kaballa depicting mother crocodiles protecting their eggs. For racier fare, the Mami Watts water spirit goddess exhibit is worth a visit...the last room's full of surprising, stunning finds.

This plant waters itself

University of Haifa-Oranim researchers have identified the "self-irrigating" mechanism of the desert rhubarb, which enables it to harvest 16 times the water expected for a plant in this region. It's the first example of a self-irrigating plant worldwide.

Check dog food labels: fluoride alert

A new Environmental Working Group report reminds us to look at the ingredient lists for packaged foods. Read it here.