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Archive for September, 2012

Saw this great ad on the tube on Saturday, made me smile!

P.S. You can now follow my blog via email, where you can receive notifications of new posts by email. Look on the left hand side of my blog, scroll down, past ‘Twitter Updates’ (I tweet ethical articles that I find, mostly from the Guardian), ‘Categories’, ‘Archives’ until you reach ‘Follow Blog Via Email’ – simply click on the follow button.

Have a great week!

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Gases produced by animal agriculture are leading contributors to global warming

Most people I come across understand why people chose to be vegetarian, but don’t know why anyone would want to give up dairy (milk, cheese, cream, yoghurts etc). One of the reasons that I don’t eat dairy is because the vast majority of dairy is produced in farms that are not slaughter-free. In other words, once the cow stops producing enough milk to be economically viable, she is sent to the slaughterhouse. In addition, in order for cows to produce milk, they must give birth to calves. Male calves are not considered economically viable, and thus are slaughtered days after birth. This is the reality of dairy farms, whether they are organic and/or free-range, and I personally do not agree with it.

I came across a website that produces slaughter-free milk in the UK. I have a tremendous amount of respect for this company/charity, because they guarantee that ‘no cow, calf or bull is ever slaughtered as part of production’ and that cows ‘graze freely on open pasture’. However, the milk is expensive (at £2.25 per litre + 50p delivery), compared to conventional milk (which is heavily subsidised by the taxpayer), and even compared to plant milks (such as oat milk, almond milk, hazelnut milk, hemp milk, soy milk etc which range in price from £1-1.69 in UK supermarkets). As such, I do not think slaughter-free milk is economically viable. Additionally, I consider that particular slaughter-free milk to have ethical limitations (as recognised by the company), such as the fact that new born calves spend just their first 4-5 days with their mother (separation causes distress for both calf and mother) and are milked by machines instead of by hand.

Supposing… that you gave me some milk that was truly ethical i.e. the cow and its offspring was never slaughtered, the cow and calf spent enough time together, the cow was milked by hand and spent its retirement in a field with all of its friends etc, I would still not drink it, due to the health concerns associated with dairy and its impact on the environment (which is something I hope to elaborate on in a future post).

Giving up or even reducing dairy may seem daunting. My advice is to give up/reduce something that is easy for you personally. For example, I found it easy to give up cow’s milk by swapping it for non-dairy milk. However, I found it much harder to give up milk chocolate – it took me over a year to switch to dark chocolate.

Do you think the dairy industry could ever be ethical & economically viable? Could you envision a future where people drink non-dairy milk instead of cow’s milk? Have you ever tried non-dairy milks? If so, which is your favourite? 

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Food for Thought

I Love Animals

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Vegan London

‘Vegan Forever’ – Wholefood’s Shop Window, High Street Kensington

I took this photo of the Wholefood’s shop window on Kensington High Street, it made me smile!

London can be vegan-friendly, if you know where to look! Today I had lunch at an Indian vegetarian restaurant, Sagar  in Hammersmith. I immediately liked the place because they have a special vegan-only menu, which is very handy. On the other hand, I had so much choice (a rarity when dining out as a vegan) that it took me a while to decide what to get. In the end I got a Masala dosa, which is a rice and lentil golden pancake filled with potato, onions and carrots, served with coconut curry and sambar. I thought it was delicious, and I would definitely eat there again to try all of their vegan dishes.

I also bought an older version of this book from a charity shop today. Right up my street!

Other great places to eat in London are Chipotle (they do a great burrito with guacamole, black beans, roasted veg, coriander brown rice, and salsa), Loving Hut in Camden (I love the Eco burger and the Ocean burger – you can buy the burgers frozen from this place too) and Inspiral in Camden (they do great cakes and make delicious kale chips).

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We are lucky enough to be fostering two kittens from the cat shelter! Above, Scout (female). The kittens are four weeks old and are incredibly sweet. But they do have to be fed milk from a bottle every four hours! I have been feeling lethargic these past two days because I have been getting up at 6am to feed them. Hopefully they will be able to move onto solid foods soon. The cat shelter is inundated with kittens at the moment; fostering lightens their burden. The kitten’s mum caught mastitis (inflammation of the breast tissue, which is incidentally what many female cows suffer from when producing milk for humans) and as such could not feed her kittens any more.

In other news I donated blood for the first time today – took me long enough! I felt a little woozy afterwards, but nothing a glass of orange squash at the centre couldn’t fix.

 

Above, Bandit (male) and Scout (female) sleeping!  Have a great weekend all!

 

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We’ve all heard of wind and solar renewable energies, but what about harnessing the kinetic power of the sea? Tidal currents and waves are predictable, making them ideal sources of energy. Tidal stream renewable devices harness the energy from the tidal flow to generate electricity, whereas wave renewable devices harness the movement of waves to generate electricity. The electricity is transmitted via underwater cables to the mainland. These devices need to be able to survive in the hostile marine environment, where they are likely to be subjected to storms, chemical corrosion and encrustation from creatures like barnacles. Unlike wind power, tidal stream and wave renewable devices show a wide range of promising structures. The majority of the renewable devices have been deployed in British waters (Scotland mainly), and the rest are planned to be deployed.

Tidal Stream Renewable Devices 
Tidal stream devices rely on turbines, which resemble wind turbines though with smaller blades. This is because water has a higher density than air, which means that the blades can be smaller and rotate more slowly, but still generate a significant amount of power.

Below, horizontal turbine devices, whose underwater turbines are driven by the tidal flow.

Horizontal Turbine Device

Below, enclosed tips devices, where the turbine is enclosed in a funnel-like duct that is fixed to the seabed.

Enclosed Tips Device

Below, an oscillating hydrofoil device, whose ‘flap’ (or hydrofoil) is made to move up and down by the tidal flow.

Oscillating Hydrofoil Device 

Below, a tidal kite device, which is tethered to the seabed. The tidal kite has a turbine under its wing, and it swoops in a figure-of-eight path when moved by the tidal flow.

Tidal Kite Device

 

Wave Renewable Devices 

Below, attenuator devices. These floating devices are made to bob up and down by the movement of the waves.

Attenuator Device

Below, surface point absorber devices, which absorb wave energy from all directions.

Surface Point Absorber Devices

Below, oscillating wave surge converters, whose flap moves forward and backwards due to wave movement.

Oscillating Wave Surge Converters

Below, an oscillating water column. These devices are shore-based, and enclose a hollow chamber that is partially submerged in the sea. A column of air is enclosed in the chamber, just above the water level. Wave movement causes the water level in the chamber to rise and fall, which compresses and decompresses the air column directly above it respectively. The air in the air column flows to and from the atmosphere via a rotating turbine.

Oscillating Water Column

Below, an overtopping device, which channels waves up a ramp into an enclosed resevoir. The water is released back to the sea via a turbine.

Overtopping Device

Below, a rotating mass device, which is a floating asymmetrical vessel containing an eccentric rotating mass which is moved by waves.

Rotating Mass Device

So there you have it – a summary of tidal stream and wave devices that are currently deployed in the marine environment.

 

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