Happy Earth Day!

Hope everyone is having a beautiful Earth Week and has something enviro-friendly planned for the weekend to celebrate Earth Day. In case not, here are some local happenings:

The Science Center’s Earth Day celebration on Saturday: There will be container-garden making with Baltimore Contained, herb cooking with Carrie Murray Nature Center, experiments with the American Chemical Society and plenty more eco-awesomeness with local green groups.More info can be found on the Science Center’s site here: http://mdsci.org/events-calendar/events/EarthDay.html

Severna Park Earth Day on Saturday: http://severnapark.patch.com/articles/9th-annual-earth-day-expo-at-spms#pdf-9379365 Where the Eco-Goats will be!

Localize It: Baltimore Free Farm Block Party on Sunday: The second annual block party celebrating the value of local artists, musicians, food and social movements at its flagship project, the Ash Street Garden in Hampden. The event will include local craft and food vendors, street performers, live music and family activities. The block party’s special attraction is ChiliBrew V, a home-brew competition and chili cook-off organized by BaltiBrew. More info can be found on their website http://www.baltimorefreefarm.org/2012/03/11/localize-it-ii/

If you aren’t local, check out the Earth Day Network for information about events near you!

Environmental Film Festival in DC

180 Documentary, narrative, animated, archival, experimental, and children’s films selected to provide fresh perspectives on environmental issues facing our planet. This year, the festival selections examine the critical relationship between health and the environment with 75 film makers, 115 special guests, and extraordinary cinematic work from 42 countries. Download the full schedule here. Don’t you wish you could see them all?!

Disappointed in Paula Deen?

Me too.

In case you haven’t heard, Paula Deen, Food Network star and Southern cook, has now confirmed reports that she was diagnosed with type-2 diabetes nearly three years ago. I have to admit that I know very little about Paula Deen apart from the fact that she has been criticized for promoting the type of high-fat and high-sugar diet that leads to weight gain and other ‘western diseases’ and that she chose to keep her diagnosis a secret for years. What I do know is that during her appearance on the Today Show yesterday, she announced her spokesman-ship deal with Victoza, a pharmaceutical company and dodged discussion about diet. Here’s the footage:

Her announcement happened to correspond with Michael Pollan’s talk last night at the Baltimore Speaker Series in which he addressed Paula Deen’s decision to partner with the Victoza. He pointed out the larger “fork in the road” this exemplifies. We could go one direction towards a nation of acceptance and complacency regarding the epidemic of diet-related health problems (Deen’s direction), or another – more active and change-effecting direction – towards reformation of the food system, our understanding of it, roles within, and conscious involvement in its evolution towards something healthier.

Can you imagine the positive impact Paula Deen could have on the American diet if she were to re-frame this?  As disappointed as I am, I’m not going to give up hope. Turn it around, Paula. Sacrifice a little pride for the greater good of your fans and followers.

This Should Be Illegal

Somehow, a hospital-themed restaurant advertising free meals for patrons who weigh more than 350 lbs, milkshakes with the “highest butter content in the world,” and selling 8,000 calorie cheeseburgers with four patties (listed as a “Quadruple Bypass” on the menu) has opened up in Las Vegas, Nevada, despite the fact that the flagship Arizona location closed in May following the death of the grill’s spokesperson, 29-year-old Blair River, pictured in the video above. The owner, Jon Basso, who is also featured in the video above – as “Dr. Jon” – spoke to the Las Vegas Sun last month:

“You’re intelligent if you don’t eat our food,” he said Thursday. “If people pondered what I’m doing, they’d realize I’m creating a mockery of this. When you hop on that scale and you’re 350 pounds and we give you a free burger and people cheer, what’s really going on? We’re singling you out as a freak. On the one hand, I could try to defend myself ethically and call myself a crusader that’s trying to wake up America and conduct an intervention on obesity. That’s half true. The other half is I’m an entrepreneur trying to make a buck, plain and simple.”
Basso stopped, thought for a minute, then added: “The only thing I can say in my defense is: If you compare me to Burger King and McDonald’s, I’m honest and they aren’t. It says right on my door: ‘Caution, bad for your health.’” 

Read more here and here. This can’t possibly be what our country’s founding fathers had in mind. Ugh.