Gulf Disaster Update 2: One Year Later

Photo from uctv

It’s been a year and a month since the Deep Horizon oil spill. While some have pushed it into the backs of their minds, others still worry about the long term damage the spill has caused. It may seem on the surface the water is clear, but it’s possible problems still lie beneath.

The Gulf ‘s health wasn’t in great shape before the spill either, it is a victim of human greed. There are other oil rigs and natural seepage, overfishing, and American farms and urban run-off cause massive dead zones because  it’s absorbed from the Mississippi river. Louisiana State University professor and oil spill veteran, Ed Overton, now gives the Gulf the same grade as before the spill, but surprises keep coming and the long term effects are still worrisome.

Wildlife Update:

(Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Initially wildlife was thought to be ok, but in recent months the amount of dead animals washing on shore would say otherwise. Many dolphins, mostly young and even fetal, have washed up on the beaches. Nearly 300 of them, which makes it four times more than the “normal” amount. Sea turtles and young whales have also been seen washed up dead on  beaches in Mississippi and Alabama. The sea turtles are endangered, and the amount washing up dead is seven times more than  “normal.”

In these two photos you can see oil smeared pelican eggs in the same place on May 22nd 2010 and on April 8th 2011. You can also see the erosion of shore line and loss of marsh grass and mangrove trees. (Gerald Herbert/AP)

Though the clumps of oil and huge rainbow-colored slicks are not there anymore, scientists are still worried about what’s under the water. Georgia researcher Samantha Joye, found dead patches on the sea bottom near the well that are covered in oil. This will probably mean bottom dwelling animals will be most vulnerable to long-term effects. She has taken photos of crabs suffocated from oil and brittle starfish, which are usually bright orange, now pale and dead.

Photo from AP

The Gulf still needs volunteers and wildlife help. It’s time to transition from rescue to restoration. Eco- system restoration is huge part, because the animals need clean and safe habitats to recuperate and thrive. Here is how you can help:


Volunteer in the Gulf

Raise Awareness

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Mini Veggie Pot Pie Recipe

This is a vegan version of the classic American comfort food served with mashed potatoes. Perfect on a cold winter night or…well…anytime!


You’ll need a cupcake pan and food processor for this recipe.


  • 1 cup of flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 of vegan margarine
  • 2 tbsp of rice milk


  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, chopped
  • 1/3 cup of frozen peas
  • 1/4 cup of frozen corn
  • 1 cup of veggie stock
  • 1/4 tsp sage
  • 1/4 tsp thyme
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1/2 cup of rice milk

Step 1: (crust) Put the flour and salt in a food processor, blend them together. Add the margarine and pulse until it’s like a course meal. Add the rice milk and blend until the dough forms. Remove the dough and roll it into a ball, wrap it and put it in the fridge for at least one hour before use.

Step 2: (filling) Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly oil the cupcake pan and set aside. In a large sauce pan, on medium heat, saute the onions in olive oil until translucent. Add the celery and carrots and saute for about 5 more minutes. Add the corn, peas, stock, sage, thyme, and cayenne pepper. Bring to a boil then reduce heat; cover with a lid and simmer for 4-6 minutes. Stir in flour and rice milk and continue to simmer until the sauce begins to thicken.

Step 3: Roll out the dough and cut circles (I use the top of a cup) to line your cupcake pan. Make sure you cut enough to line and enough to put on top. Line each cupcake dish with your cut circles of dough. Fill your cupcake dish with the vegetables. (careful not to overfill)  Take the leftover circles of dough and place them on top. Pinch the bottom and top dough together all the way around to seal. Do this for all of them.

Serve with a side of vegan mashed potatoes and you’ll have em’ asking for seconds!

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Vegan No Bake Cookie Recipe

    I used to make and eat these with my mother when I was little. They are easy, yummy and cruelty free!


  • 3/4 – 1 cup of sugar
  • 1/2 cup of coconut milk
  • 1/2 of margarine or dairy free butter
  • 4 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 of crunchy peanut butter
  • 3 cups of quick cooking oats
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract


Step 1: In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, coconut milk, margarine, and cocoa powder. Bring to a boil, and cook for 1 1/2 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in peanut butter, oats, and vanilla. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto wax paper. Let cool until hardened.


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Make Your Own Braided Belt: Eco Friendly and Fashionable

    Do you despise throwing away those old and outdated t-shirts? I know I do…so it’s time to recycle them! Braided belts are easy to make and fun to wear. Below are the instructions for you to make your own!

Things you’ll Need:

  • An old t-shirt
  • A pair of scissors
  • miscellaneous items (buttons, beads, charms, etc.)optional

Step 1: Lay the shirt down on a flat surface. Smooth out the wrinkles as much as possible. Cut three strips (about 1″ 1/2) from the bottom of the shirt to the shoulder. (Make sure you cut in between the shoulder seam and the neck seam. It will give you the maximum amount of fabric.)Don’t worry it doesn’t have to be perfect.

Step2: Open the three strips of fabric, they should be twice the length with a seam in the middle. Take the three pieces and tie them into a single knot. Secure the end with a knot to a surface so you can have both hands to braid. Braid the pieces all the way to end and tie a single knot to finish.

Step 3: (optional) Now you can decorate your belt. I used some extra beads and charms  I had. I made fabric flowers with the scraps and put a button in the middle.

Use the rest of the shirt to make braided headbands. Make a few different kinds and give to friends. Get creative and bring out the fashionista in you!


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Deep Dish Vegan Pizza Recipe

This is a quick and tasty vegan version of a deep dish pizza.


  • Cast Iron skillet or deep dish pizza pan
  • 1 package of pizza dough (I used Trader Joe’s wheat dough)
  • 1 jar of pizza sauce (vegan) or of course, homemade
  • Pizza toppings : onions, peppers, mushrooms, olives, roasted garlic, fresh herbs, red chili flakes, vegan pepperoni or sausage, etc.
  • Diaya vegan mozzarella shreds or any other dairy free cheese

1.) Add about 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil to your skillet or pan and spread around so it evenly coats the bottom and sides.  (You can also use a non- stick spray.) Form the dough into the pan and push it up onto the sides to make the crust.

2.) Now you can add your sauce, and then toppings. Use as much as you’d like! Add the mozzarella sheds.

3.) Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Once the oven is heated put the pizza in for about 20-25 mins or until crust is golden brown.

Serve with a side of fresh greens and ENJOY!

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10 Reasons Why You Should Never Go to The Circus.

Some us have been to the circus before, but little of us know the dark side under the big top tent. Most patrons would never attend the circus again if they knew of the abuse they were paying for. Here are 10 reasons you should avoid circuses that use animals.

1.) Most of the animals used in circuses were captured from the wild  and taken from their natural habitats. Some babies are born on breeding farms and stolen from their mothers.

2.) Baby elephants are tethered with ropes, they fight to break free, and then give up in exhaustion.  They are kept in isolation until they start to fear their trainer’s.

3.) Elephants are beaten with bullhooks from the time they enter the circus. Bullhooks are used to force the animal to do tricks.

4.) Most elephants live their entire lives in the circus and then die in the circus. Ringling has four elephants who have spent 43 miserable years in their possession.

5.) Elephants and Big Cats are chained inside unsanitary and poorly ventilated boxcars for up to 26 hours straight. When the circus is traveling they can be forced to stay in the boxcars for up to 60- 70 hours straight.

The circus is advertised as a family event, but there is nothing wholesome about it.

6.) Tigers are beaten and struck with  sticks so they will perform hard and confusing tricks.

7.) “At least 26 elephants, including four babies, have died since 1992, including an 8-month-old baby elephant named Riccardo who was destroyed after he fractured his hind legs when he fell from a circus pedestal. Elephants are not the only animals with Ringling to suffer tragic deaths. In 2004, a 2-year-old lion died of apparent heat stroke while the circus train crossed the Mojave Desert.” Source

8.) Most circuses like Barnum & Bailey and Ringling Bros. fail to meet the minimal federal standards for the care of animals used in exhibition as established in the Animal Welfare Act (AWA).

9.) When you buy  a ticket to the circus you are paying for captive animals to continue living a life of abuse.

10.) Attending the circus will only reinforce to others that it is ok to capture wild animals and force them into a life of human entertainment.

How you can help:

Write to the Secretary of Agriculture

Sign a Pledge

Start a Campaign

Contact your local and national legislators

Animal Free Circuses:

Cirque du Soleil

Cirque Eloize

The Bindlestiff Family Cirkus

Earth Circus

Fern Street Circus

New Shanghai Circus

Neil Goldberg’s Cirque

Mississippi Floods: Animals Seeking Higher Ground.

This spring has brought devastating floods to areas along the Mississippi river. Many families have been displaced and homes have been destroyed. , but the people are not the only ones feeling the effects of the rising waters. Wildlife and domesticated animals have also been displaced and sadly many have perished.

Photo from Reuters

       Here a snake swims through the flood waters in Holly Grove, Arkansas. Snakes can be a problem during flooding because they search for shelter in homes and sheds.  Most people who come in contact with snakes will just simply  destroy them, so the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency is advising anyone who encounters a snake to wait it out or call to have it rescued

Photo from Reuters

     These cows are looking for higher ground as they trudge through the flood waters near Turner, Arkansas.  Wildlife has also needed rescuing such as deer, coyotes, and other ground animals. The wild turkeys have particularly had it the worst because this time of year they are nesting.  Most of them will be displaced or lost meaning countless new birds may not survive.

      Hundreds of cats and dogs have also needed rescue assistance. The HSUS has announced it will have a temporary shelter for up to 300 displaced and lost animals.

Here is how you can help flood victims, both humans and animals:

Help People through Red Cross

Help Animals through HSUS

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Yummy Veggie Stock Recipe

This recipe comes from The Veganopolis Cookbook. The stock can be frozen and used when needed. It’s delicious and cruelty free!


  • 6 stalks of celery
  • 6 carrots
  • 4 tomatoes
  • 31/2 medium onions
  • 2 leeks
  • 1 bunch of fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup canola or olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, blackened over a flame or broiled
  • 3 Bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons of black pepper corns
  • I also added some mushrooms, shallots, and garlic

1. Rinse and chop the celery, carrots, tomatoes, onions, leeks, and parsley. Since this is a stock so they don’t need to be cut prefect.

2. Put the oil in a large pot and heat over medium-high until it is bubbling.

3. Add all the chopped veggies, blackened onion, bay leaves, and peppercorns. Cook over a medium heat, stir frequently for about 30 mins

4. Add water covering to the pot covering the vegetables by about 4 inches. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cook for 3 to four hours.

5. Once the stock is done it should look golden brown. Pour the stock through a fine mesh strainer and store for later.

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Handmade Eco Friendly Dog and Cat Toys

Ever purchased your dog a nice toy only to find in shreds minutes later on the living room floor?  Well I have…countless times. It can be frustrating because dog and cat toys are not cheap! It can be a waste of money and a waste of energy. One day as I was sorting through some scrap fabric, (and of course cleaning up my dogs latest stuffed victim) it came to me. Why not make my own and better yet, write a blog about it. So here are instructions for you to make your own eco friendly dog and cat toys!

Things you’ll need:

  • A sewing machine *if you don’t have a sewing machine try using a non toxic fabric glue
  • Scrap fabric ( use a heavier fabric for those extra “ruff” pups)
  • Upholstery thread
  •  A pen or chalk
  • Scissors
  • Used paper bags or organic batting
  • Used rope or twine

Step 1: Lay the scrap fabric out making sure there’s no wrinkles. Use your pen or chalk to draw the shapes you’d like. (cut two pieces for each toy) If you want to put a rope through it then draw a tab on the pattern. You can get creative with it and cut out contrasting fabric to make it more colorful. I did endangered animals on mine!

*Circles, squares, and basic shapes are the easiest to sew

Step 2: If you do cut out contrasting fabric to put on top then sew or glue it on first. Now it’s time to sew your two sides together. Sew about a 1/4 of an inch in all along the edges leaving an opening to put the stuffing in. Stuff the toy as much as you want with paper bag shreds or organic batting.  Once the toy is stuffed sew up the opening.

Step 3: If your put a tab on the toy, double stitch around it. (this will make it extra strong) Make a hole through the tab. I used metal grommets so the fabric wouldn’t fray. Now you can put the rope or twine through.


Christopher enjoying his new toy!

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