Texas Official Cries: 'Keep Meatless Mondays Out of Schools'
Apparently thinking they will never be able to have a steak or hamburger again, the "Meatless Monday" movement has caused wailing and gnashing of teeth among people whose eating habits haven't advanced into the 21st century.
Photo credit: Shutterstock
At a time when it's become known that the meat industry, especially raising cattle, sucks up resources and contributes to climate change and that a meat-dominated diet is unhealthy, encouraging people to eat less meat or cut out red meat has taken hold. Even in Cleveland, Ohio, a city whose cuisine was once heavy on schnitzel and kielbasa, the city council recently passed, and the mayor signed, a Meatless Monday resolution. And schools systems in Ann Arbor, Kansas City, Baltimore, Philadelphia, San Diego and Los Angeles all observe Meatless Monday.
But it's the end of the world as we know it for some. Texas agriculture commissioner Todd Staples wrote an op-ed in the Austin Statesman-American "Keep 'Meatless Mondays' Out of Schools." Claiming to be "very concerned" about the well-being of kids in schools districts that have adopted the program, he sees conspiracy lurking.
Thrown into a tizzy by the adoption of Meatless Mondays in the small district of Dripping Springs outside Austin, he claimed, "This activist movement called ‘Meatless Monday’ is a carefully orchestrated campaign that seeks to eliminate meat from Americans’ diets seven days a week—starting with Mondays."
He also said in the op-ed that not serving meat would deprive low-income children of "their only source of protein for the day," recycling the debunked idea that meat is an essential source of protein. He's also said in the past that it was "treasonous" for the U.S. Department of Agriculture to suggest its employees observe Meatless Mondays. (The same suggestion in 2012 provoked Senator John Cornyn of Texas and ex-Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa to protest by ordering a meaty Monday meal with Cornyn calling it "bone-headed.")
And no, no, NO! a spokesman for the Texas Department of Agriculture maintained, the $116,000 in campaign contributions Staples has received from the beef industry has NOTHING to do with his stance.
The reaction in Cleveland was a little less hysterical and more mocking in tone. Plain Dealer columnist Michael Heaton called it "school-marmish," while another PD columnist Mark Naymik said it was "a nod to the yoga and gourmet vegetarian crowd." He then unloaded a bunch of non sequiturs, saying Cleveland doesn't need the resolution because residents can't afford meat (he's apparently overlooking the McDonald's outlets on every corner), that city council should go after vendors who sell spoiled meat instead, that it's hypocritical because council is also promoting the city's fabled West Side Market which sells meat among other things, and oh by the way, shouldn't they be attacking Governor John Kasich's rules disqualifying some people from getting food stamps instead?
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Wisdom the mōlī, or Laysan albatross, is the oldest wild bird known to science at the age of at least 70. She is also, as of February 1, a new mother.
<div id="dadb2" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="aa2ad8cb566c9b4b6d2df2693669f6f9"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1357796504740761602" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">🚨Cute baby alert! Wisdom's chick has hatched!!! 🐣😍 Wisdom, a mōlī (Laysan albatross) and world’s oldest known, ban… https://t.co/Nco050ztBA</div> — USFWS Pacific Region (@USFWS Pacific Region)<a href="https://twitter.com/USFWSPacific/statuses/1357796504740761602">1612558888.0</a></blockquote></div>
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While traditional investment in the ocean technology sector has been tentative, growth in Israeli maritime innovations has been exponential in the last few years, and environmental concern has come to the forefront.
theDOCK aims to innovate the Israeli maritime sector. Pexels<p>The UN hopes that new investments in ocean science and technology will help turn the tide for the oceans. As such, this year kicked off the <a href="https://www.oceandecade.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030)</a> to galvanize massive support for the blue economy.</p><p>According to the World Bank, the blue economy is the "sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods, and jobs while preserving the health of ocean ecosystem," <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0160412019338255#b0245" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Science Direct</a> reported. It represents this new sector for investments and innovations that work in tandem with the oceans rather than in exploitation of them.</p><p>As recently as Aug. 2020, <a href="https://www.reutersevents.com/sustainability/esg-investors-slow-make-waves-25tn-ocean-economy" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Reuters</a> noted that ESG Investors, those looking to invest in opportunities that have a positive impact in environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues, have been interested in "blue finance" but slow to invest.</p><p>"It is a hugely under-invested economic opportunity that is crucial to the way we have to address living on one planet," Simon Dent, director of blue investments at Mirova Natural Capital, told Reuters.</p><p>Even with slow investment, the blue economy is still expected to expand at twice the rate of the mainstream economy by 2030, Reuters reported. It already contributes $2.5tn a year in economic output, the report noted.</p><p>Current, upward <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/-innovation-blue-economy-2646147405.html" target="_self">shifts in blue economy investments are being driven by innovation</a>, a trend the UN hopes will continue globally for the benefit of all oceans and people.</p><p>In Israel, this push has successfully translated into investment in and innovation of global ports, shipping, logistics and offshore sectors. The "Startup Nation," as Israel is often called, has seen its maritime tech ecosystem grow "significantly" in recent years and expects that growth to "accelerate dramatically," <a href="https://itrade.gov.il/belgium-english/how-israel-is-becoming-a-port-of-call-for-maritime-innovation/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">iTrade</a> reported.</p><p>Driving this wave of momentum has been rising Israeli venture capital hub <a href="https://www.thedockinnovation.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">theDOCK</a>. Founded by Israeli Navy veterans in 2017, theDOCK works with early-stage companies in the maritime space to bring their solutions to market. The hub's pioneering efforts ignited Israel's maritime technology sector, and now, with their new fund, theDOCK is motivating these high-tech solutions to also address ESG criteria.</p><p>"While ESG has always been on theDOCK's agenda, this theme has become even more of a priority," Nir Gartzman, theDOCK's managing partner, told EcoWatch. "80 percent of the startups in our portfolio (for theDOCK's Navigator II fund) will have a primary or secondary contribution to environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria."</p><p>In a company presentation, theDOCK called contribution to the ESG agenda a "hot discussion topic" for traditional players in the space and their boards, many of whom are looking to adopt new technologies with a positive impact on the planet. The focus is on reducing carbon emissions and protecting the environment, the presentation outlines. As such, theDOCK also explicitly screens candidate investments by ESG criteria as well.</p><p>Within the maritime space, environmental innovations could include measures like increased fuel and energy efficiency, better monitoring of potential pollution sources, improved waste and air emissions management and processing of marine debris/trash into reusable materials, theDOCK's presentation noted.</p>
theDOCK team includes (left to right) Michal Hendel-Sufa, Head of Alliances, Noa Schuman, CMO, Nir Gartzman, Co-Founder & Managing Partner, and Hannan Carmeli, Co-Founder & Managing Partner. Dudu Koren<p>theDOCK's own portfolio includes companies like Orca AI, which uses an intelligent collision avoidance system to reduce the probability of oil or fuel spills, AiDock, which eliminates the use of paper by automating the customs clearance process, and DockTech, which uses depth "crowdsourcing" data to map riverbeds in real-time and optimize cargo loading, thereby reducing trips and fuel usage while also avoiding groundings.</p><p>"Oceans are a big opportunity primarily because they are just that – big!" theDOCK's Chief Marketing Officer Noa Schuman summarized. "As such, the magnitude of their criticality to the global ecosystem, the magnitude of pollution risk and the steps needed to overcome those challenges – are all huge."</p><p>There is hope that this wave of interest and investment in environmentally-positive maritime technologies will accelerate the blue economy and ESG investing even further, in Israel and beyond.</p>
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