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The PristinePlanet.com Newsletter
10 July 2006 — Issue #21
Editor: Michael J. Ross
Publisher's Message

Welcome to the 21st issue of our newsletter! The PristinePlanet.com team would like to thank you, our loyal readers, for taking the time to enjoy the information that we provide. As always, if you like what you are reading, please let your family and friends know, so we can help to increase the public's awareness of key environmental topics. Also, we would like to remind everyone that the PristinePlanet.com Forum is always available for people to post messages, as well as reply to those posted by others. In addition, there is a built-in calendar system that makes it possible for anyone to tell others about upcoming events in the United States, Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom. Enjoy!

Environmental News
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Al Gore's Global Warning

At any point in a person's life, he or she may radically change the course of that life — oftentimes prompted by a major setback, such as a life-threatening illness, or a spiritual epiphany. In the case of former Senator Al Gore, his interest in environmental activism and policy has been a central theme of his political career, spanning many years. But it was his defeat as the Democratic contender in the 2000 U.S. Presidential election that apparently proved to be a clear turning point, prompting him to dedicate his time and energies to a subject that has strongly interested him since his days as an idealistic college student: saving the planet — and thus humanity — from ecological disaster.

Gore's studies and opinions in this area have now culminated in a book and a movie, both entitled "An Inconvenient Truth", and released in May of 2006. They together contend that mankind is sowing the seeds of its own destruction in the form of global warming, caused by our increasing levels of carbon dioxide emissions, which allegedly produce a greenhouse effect, trapping unnaturally high levels of heat within our atmosphere. In turn, these excessively high temperatures are expected to accelerate the melting of snow and ice worldwide, reduce the salinity of our oceans and waterways, and dramatically disrupt sensitive ecosystems on every continent. In addition, swelling oceans and seas would flood low-lying coastal cities, as well as destroying countless acres of wetlands and other ecological sanctuaries.

In fact, a large number of the world's climatologists and other researchers are warning that, if current trends continue, sometime within the next 10 years the planet will begin experiencing an environmental disaster, as the Earth's interrelated climatic systems are pushed past a key tipping point, beyond which global catastrophe is unavoidable and unstoppable. They point to the mounting number of anomalies in our weather systems, such as the recent spate of hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico, as well as bizarre changes in flora and fauna worldwide, such as flowers blooming much earlier than in the past. Supporters of the movie point to a study done by the Associated Press (AP) that indicates that America's leading climate scientists, even those opposed to the theory of global warming, applaud the documentary for its accuracy.

At the same time, dissenting voices assert that the current global warming trend began long before humans were generating atmospheric emissions of any significance, and is to be expected as the Earth transitions out of its last mini Ice Age. Detractors further argue that environmentalists are conveniently ignoring data that supposedly show how warmer spells — such as our current one — were much more extreme in the past, and to be expected in the future, despite any human industrial activity or curtailments thereof.

Yet regardless of which viewpoint is the most accurate, a growing number of Americans are reading Al Gore's book and attending screenings of his movie. Premiering at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival, "An Inconvenient Truth" is expected to garner a tremendous amount of attention from the public and the media, and possibly prod U.S. politicians, at all levels of government, to take a closer look at the carbon dioxide levels allowed for American industry, and our possible participation in international agreements along those lines. If anything, Al Gore's efforts will bolster Americans' sagging interest in environmental stewardship and sustainable living on our only Mother Earth.

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Butanol, an Alternative to Ethanol

As petroleum-based oils and their refined byproducts become increasingly expensive — financially, geologically, and environmentally — many countries are looking for new energy sources to replace them. In the United States, ethanol may be the current political darling, but that does not mean that it is the most promising option, nor the most efficient in terms of energy output for required input.

One alternative, butanol, which is made from sugar beets, may be receiving little attention or political support. But that may change, especially as more industry players learn of its advantages over ethanol, and Americans learn of the ecological disadvantages to corn-based ethanol. For instance, butanol does not attract water the way ethanol does, as a result of its more complex molecular structure, namely, four carbon atoms instead of two. As a result, butanol can be transported through pipelines, as is done for crude oil and gasoline. This is a huge advantage over ethanol, which must be transported on trucks and barges, which is much more expensive and risky, particularly for such a volatile fuel.

Much of the push for butanol is coming from Great Britain, and not the United States, where we have a firmly entrenched and politically aggressive agricultural industry that is investing heavily in promoting corn-based ethanol. BP, formally known as British Petroleum, is teaming up with American chemical powerhouse DuPont, to manufacture and distribute butanol, as a viable and more efficient form of energy.

In the years ahead, it will be interesting to see if the "sugar beets" can beat the "cornhuskers" — not just in the alternative power research labs of the world, but also in the power corridors of Washington, DC.

Member Profiles
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Baugher Ranch Almonds

An increasing number of Americans are looking for convenient ways to improve the healthfulness of their diets, such as increasing their consumption of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, as well as increasing their levels of quality proteins, minerals, and fiber. At the same time, more people are taking an interest in the benefits to be found in selecting organically grown foods -- as opposed to the conventionally grown ones, which typically contain residues of herbicides and other carcinogenic chemicals.

One easy and delicious way to achieve these goals, is in the form of organic almonds, such as those offered by Baugher Ranch Almonds. Located in Orland, California, Baugher Ranch Almonds was founded in 1985 by Chris and Marcie Baugher, who are the owners and operators. As a result of growing customer demand for their delicious almonds, they have enlarged their staff, eventually including their children, some in-laws, and even a grandfather! Chris and Marcie were inspired to create this family business partly because, at the time of its founding, organic almonds were not readily available to the average consumer. In addition, they were concerned about the use of chemicals on a farm that was home to their children. This led them to researching and learning more about growing almonds organically, and organic foods in general. They note that it is especially rewarding to be farming naturally, and to help nurture the symbiotic relationships among the horses they have, and the ground cover of native and seeded plants, as well as the occasional wildlife, such as deer, wild turkeys, and birds of prey.

Over two decades later, as a result of earth-friendly stewardship and laudable farming practices, Baugher Ranch Organics is now one of the most well-respected sources of organic almonds in the world. Its products have been certified by International Certification Services, California Certified Organic Farmers, USDA Organic, BioSuisse, and Union Orthodox. Also, Baugher Ranch Organics is a proud member of the Organic Trade Association and International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM). By controlling both the farming and the processing of the almonds, it can eliminate the risk of co-mingling or contamination, which is not unknown for commercially sold nuts.

Readers are encouraged to visit the Web site of Baugher Ranch Almonds, and browse their product offerings, which include raw and dry roasted organic almonds, in various quantities. Such thoughtfully grown almonds can make a wonderful treat for yourself or a gift to a loved one. Experience the finest in eco-friendly almonds!

Member News
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Frontier Natural Products Co-op

Place an order online with Frontier Natural Products Co-op in July, and receive a FREE packet of organic French Onion Dip Mix from Simply Organic®. With recipes you prepare fresh in minutes, Simply Organic dip mixes are fresh, fast, and delicious!

Archived Newsletters

All material copyright © 2006 PristinePlanet.com™, except for Environmental News articles copyright © 2006 Michael J. Ross. All rights reserved. No portion of this newsletter can be copied without express written permission from its copyright holder.

Letters and guest articles posted in the Newsletter section of the Forum or sent to the publisher become the property of PristinePlanet.com, and may be edited for brevity or clarity prior to publication.