Up to grow good
Ecology, this weekend on Vashon Island, gets personal. The fledgling Social Ecology Education & Demonstration School (SEEDS) runs its first weekend-long, interdisciplinary set of workshops and discussions from Aug. 3 to Aug. 5.
Social ecology, explains Bob Spivey, who planted SEEDS in Vashon Island, is rooting in praxis -- following a radical social and environmental critique with action.
Most of the workshops will be practical, including soil reclamation techniques and community art. Lectures include institutional racism, nonviolence, global warming, and social ecology which, says Spivey, combines elements of environmentalism, anarchism, Marxism, and feminism within a democratic framework. There is a suggested donation of $5.
More info: www.socialecologyvashon.org Impeachy keen
On July 31, Rep. Jay Inslee (D-Bainbridge Island) introduced a resolution in the House of Representatives calling for the Judiciary Committee to investigate whether Attorney General Alberto Gonzales should be impeached. Inslee and five co-sponsors want the committee to look into whether Gonzales lied to Congress in testimony about secret government wiretapping and about the firing of nine U.S. attorneys, including John McKay, the former US Attorney for Western Washington. "Our resolution follows the careful procedure of conducting a thorough investigation before the House would decide on articles of impeachment -- a fairness the attorney general did not afford to his fired U.S. attorneys," Inslee told the Seattle Times. Republicans trashed the resolution as politically-motivated.
The good, the ban, the ugly
Thanks to the King County Board of Health, Seattle is saying good-bye to trans fats. Seattle restaurants will no longer be allowed to use trans fats beginning in 2009. Trans fats exist basically to save a buck—-adding hydrogen to plant oils through hydrogenation increases shelf-life and is said to augment flavor.
The ban will also apply to soup kitchens and vocational training programs which charge a pittance for their meals and are, strictly speaking, restaurants. For quite a few, the ban’s financial consequences will be fairly minimal. Matt Gurney of Seattle’s FareStart, an organization that provides culinary training for Seattle’s homeless, said in email, “We use very few trans fats to begin with.” Of the in-kind donations FareStart receives, Gurney added: “[Restaurants] that donate processed food or baked items will, by the nature of their businesses, also be following the guidelines of the ban.”
But this raises the question of the treatment of in-kind donations from outside of King County. Sharon Thomas-Hearns, of Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission, says, “[The ban] could certainly be a hardship for us. It would take staff time to determine which donated foods did not contain trans fat.” She adds that not all donated food is labeled, citing homemade and baked goods as examples.
The impact in dollar amounts and the extent to which soup kitchens and other meal services will be punished remains to be seen—- what’s clear is that an absolute ban on trans fats could do more than just combat the so-called obesity epidemic.