Thursday, June 21, 2012

Furniture for Schools by Margie McNally

We don't often think about how indoor air quality is affected by furniture and furnishings however this is something to consider. With the rise in asthma in school children and more people being affected by chemical sensitivity testing of materials has become commonplace. Certification standards and transparency in manufacturing processes are on the horizon. Greenguard Children and Schools addresses these environmental issues with third party certification for product emissions. Third-party certification refers to certification programs in which all aspects of the certification program, from claims verification and standard design to administration of the program, are conducted and run by an independent body whose only ties to manufacturer or industry are fees for assessment services. ( Here is a recent news article that gives some excellent information and resources for selecting furniture for healthy indoor environments....

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Factory Farming Awareness by Margie McNally

It is so good to see our schools encouraging students to find a cause and take action. I just love it when our children feel passionate about something and take action. 13 year old Samantha Livermore is doing something about a real world issue and has written the letter below....

To Whom It May Concern,

My name is Samantha Livermore. I am 13 years old, and attend Marblehead Veterans Middle School. In Social Studies class, we have been asked to complete a ‘Do Something’ project, where we choose an issue in our world and find a way to do something about it. My partner, Molly, and I chose to raise awareness about factory farming. Factory farming is a fast, cruel way to grow diseased, bruised meat to sell to everyone. Animals live short, painful lives in these “farms” in cramped spaces with toxic fumes and harmful drugs. There is a disgusting total of 2,204,782 factory farms in the United States alone, not to mention the ones in the rest of the world. Everyone, besides vegetarians and vegans, is affected by this problem. Factory farmed meat is sold everywhere, except for organic, natural food stores. This meat is easily available to you, and cheap. This meat is pumped with antibiotics and other drugs to speed their growth and make them immune to disease. But truly, all this does is cause mutations and antibiotic resistant bacteria. This problem has existed since 1920s, when people found ways to harness vitamins A and D so that they could grow animals without spending time and money on exercise and outdoor activity. When antibiotics were discovered in the 1940s, it made factory farming even easier. Animals in factory farms are sick, deformed, mutilated, crowded and slaughtered at a young age. We cannot allow this to go on any longer.

Factory farms are dangerous to your health. The average American consumes twice their body weight in factory meat, thus taking in the drugs the animal had in its system when it was slaughtered. Antibiotic resistant bacteria reside in these poor animals and their farms, evolving to find a way around antibiotics. 76 million food related illnesses occur each year. Do you want to be eating this contaminated meat? Do you want to spend loads of money on health care when you could spend it on organic farming instead? Factory farms are not only harmful to your body, but to your environment as well. 61 million tons of factory farm waste are produced each year, and are usually disposed of incorrectly. This causes it to pollute nearby rivers and soil. In North Carolina, in 2009, 1 billion fish were poisoned in a river because of run-off waste. Also hurting the environment, 260 million acres have been cleared to make space for factory farms. I am passionate about this topic because I feel that people should know what exactly they are putting into their body. Chemical infested meat is not what people assume they’re buying when they shop at their local supermarket. Also, I believe these animals are abused extremely unfairly. Animal abuse is overlooked when it comes to feeding the population. The average factory farm chicken has 6/10 of a square foot to move around in, and since this crowded space causes violence in the animals, many birds are painfully debeaked to stop them from mutilating each other. Another disturbing fact is that a cow’s natural lifespan is  20 to 25 years, but in factory farms, they rarely live to be 4. Often times animals are too sick or deformed to walk when they arrive at the slaughterhouse, so they are tied to trucks, still alive, and dragged to be slaughtered. Would you treat your pet this way? Would you treat any living, breathing intelligent creature this way? The way these animals are treated before they are killed is agonizing and wrong. I can’t stand to think that in farms near my home, animals are treated this way. Can you? Can you live with the fact that the meat you eat each night at dinner lived a short, torturous life full of violence and drugs?

Molly and I plan to create a website, posters and a promotional video to spread information about factory farming. On the website, we will be posting informative posts about facts, things you can do for yourself, and ways you can help. You can click here to be redirected to this website. Posters will be posted around our town and school. The video will be posted to YouTube by June 7th by the name of ‘Stop Factory Farms: Do Something’. All of these things will be available and functioning by June 7th. We plan to raise enough awareness so that the people in our community can decide for themselves whether they are going to submit themselves to this danger or if they are going to take action.
Now, you can go home and with a few simple changes, do something to help yourself and this cause. Here is a short list of things you can do:
o    Shop at organic stores or markets such as Whole Foods or the Farmers Market.
§  This helps because you are not supporting factory farms.
o    Shop locally - don’t buy foreign meat products!
§  You don’t know what they were treated with and the specific conditions they were in.
o     Vote against factory farming whenever you have the chance!
§  Now that you know about it, make a change in your community.
o    Find out more!
§  The more you know, the more you can do!
        Samantha Livermore

Again, here is the link to the website:

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