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Friday, April 7, 2017

The Truth Behind Our Food

By: Thalia Greenberg, EarthScope Intern (Tam High)
April 6, 2017

        Devouring the juicy hamburger, sipping cold milk with warm chocolate chip cookies, crunching on crispy bacon, and cracking eggs to bake a cake. All of the foods mentioned are from animals or are the animal itself, animal abuse is a big issue in America. You may not know it, but 99% of the animals in factory farms are abused, according to This way of farming domesticated animals is known as factory farming. In class, my classmates and I had the opportunity to interview the CEO and founder of Farm Sanctuary, Gene Bauer. Farm Sanctuary is a place where abused animals come to regain health and prosper. Sanctuary Farms works to investigate and expose the cruelty of animal agriculture. Bauer vividly explained the ways animals were treated in these factory farms and it was chilling.

        Egg laying chickens are kept in crates about ⅔ the size of a sheet of paper. Their wings scrape against the walls of the crates causing their feathers to come off and bruises to appear. These chickens are genetically modified to be smaller than normal so there is more space for larger quantities. When these hens are done laying eggs, they are called spent hens. These spent hens are in no use of the farm anymore and have barely any meat on their bones. No slaughter house wants them and the farmer doesn't either. In one case, a farmer put his spent hens in the wood chipper. His neighbors reported him and eventually he was found not guilty.

        In the case of chickens for meat, they are fattened up and killed at 3 weeks old. You may have heard of free range chickens, it is much better than it sounds. Chickens that are free range are not locked up in crates. They are roaming freely around a barn and have to have an outdoor space of some vicinity. The bad side to this, is that thousands of chickens are packed so tightly together indoors that there is no room to move. The barn is over it's capacity and the outdoor space is rarely in use because there are no regulation sizes and usually only a dozen or so chickens can fit there at one time.

        Remember the crunching into the crispy bacon? Pigs in factory farms are kept in gestation crates their entire life until slaughter. These crates are so small that they cannot turn around. Most female pigs live a cycle of impregnation, birth, and motherhood. When they give birth, the pigs are moved into a larger crate where their babies nurse between the bars of the crate. Male pigs are in no use of the farm because they cannot reproduce and are sent off to slaughter at the most profitable time. This time is usually around a couple months because they grow fast the first few months and keep growing later on but at a much slower pace.

        Cows are always what first comes to mind when I think of a farm. I picture them grazing on green grass and sleeping peacefully. What I didn't realize was the over production of the milking and birthing processes. Just like the pigs, female cows live a cycle of impregnation, birth, and motherhood. The babies are taken away from the mother cow within the first few hours of birth and this creates a lot of stress for the baby cows. They usually cry, deprive themselves of food, and become sick. Males are fattened up and slaughtered. Females are prepared for the cycle. These female cows can only produce milk when pregnant. In factory farms, the majority of cows spend their lives indoors. Nearly all cows are slaughtered for meat. At just three years old a female cow is considered “spent,” and is slaughtered. Normally, a cow can live a healthy life of twenty years.

This is why Gene Bauer, Founder of Farm Sanctuary, created a safe haven for farm animals. These same farm animals can live four times their age when they are at Sanctuary Farms rather than at the factory farms.

        There are thing stat you can do as a consumer. You can be informed and eat differently. For example, there have been many new vegan foods produced. These include dairy free ice creams, veggie burgers, etc. When you are at the grocery store looking for animal products or at a restaurant ordering, don't be fooled by the false labeling and advertising because factory farms and corporations make animal conditions sound much better than they are.
Is The Farming Industry Getting Carried Away By Their Profits? Animals Getting Harmed?

by Myla Dalia, EarthScope Intern (Tam High)

April 7, 2017

Myself, I have never eaten at a fast food restaurant, nor eaten any fast food. The meat and eggs I consume have always been pastured, and I will not eat meat or eggs without knowing exactly where they came from. I know a lot of the horrors that take place at factory farms, and wholly disagree with how they treat the animals.

I have ten chickens that I keep in my backyard, who are happy, content, and absolutely adorable. I've had them for almost five years. I know some people use their chickens as meat after they cease to lay, but mine I treat as my children. I gave up eating any bird at all, although I never really liked bird meat, because of them. Two of my chickens, Cocoa and Chickie, have died, from the original twelve. I could never imagine anything happening to my chickens as horrible as factory farms.

For those of you who do not know, the conditions for chickens in factory farms are brutal. At a young age, their beaks are burned off with a hot iron while they are awake and not drugged by any painkillers. The egg laying birds are then stuffed into tiny metal cages hanging off of a sort of conveyor belt in a dark, loud warehouse with millions of other chickens. These cages are called battery cages. This is a highly stressful situation for these birds, and many die of shock or fear, or even injuries. Often, they are bloody and bruised, and are given constant shots with steroids to make their eggs bigger. Meat is bathed and soaked in chlorine to clean it. This does not make the eggs better. If you have ever bought these eggs, you may have noticed how watery the white is, how thin the shell is, and how pale yellow the yolk is. From heathy chickens, the eggs should have a thick, calcium enriched shell, with a sturdy white that stays together with the yolk, and a dark yellow, even orange yolk. They are much, much healthier, containing more protein, and are much tastier. Raise chickens yourself, and treat them well, and you can even have your own good eggs for free.

Solution: Buy Pastured Meat and Eggs

There is another option for you if you still would like meat and eggs from the store. You can buy pastured meat and eggs, which means the animals were treated well, not given steroids and shots to make them or their eggs bigger, and they were not killed slowly and painfully like in factory farms. They have a lot of room to run and are happy. Sure, they may be rarer than factory farms, and produce less and cost more, but the eggs and meat is much, much better for you. Usually, they will only cost around a dollar or less more than the other eggs and meat, but it is a dollar extra you should spend, instead of supporting fast food and factory farming and animal abuse to the extreme. Even Cage Free and Free Range eggs are no better than factory farm eggs. 1000's of chickens could be stuffed in a tiny barn, living in horrible conditions, but the only difference is they are not in small wire cages. Spend an extra fifty cents and buy pastured eggs and meat.
How You Can Go Green and Save the Environment

By Samuel Schnee, EarthScope Intern (Tam High)

April 7, 2017

        We interviewed the CEO of SolEd Benefit Corp, David Kunhardt. He talked to us about solar energy and global warming. He told us about many ways that we could go green and help the environment.
        If you want to make a difference you can drive an electric car, try to get bills pass that force factories to cut down on their greenhouse gas emissions. Also, there are green energy organizations where you can pay to tap into their green power grid. A great option for people who live in Marin is Marin Clean Energy. This is what I mentioned earlier. You sign up and pay to be given clean, renewable energy. You can get 50% renewable energy or 100% renewable energy. It doesn’t cost too much, and doesn’t hurt the environment. You can find out the details at their website, . Many other communities are trying to follow MCE in their goal to help the environment.
Image result for florida global warming        The first topic he talked about was global warming. Global warming is a term for the greenhouse effect that is occurring in our atmosphere. Greenhouse gasses are getting trapped in the atmosphere. They let sunlight and heat in, however they don’t let as much out. Without any greenhouse gasses we would freeze to death, however we have too much. This is, like the name global warming implies, heating the earth. Some places have felt the repercussions of it, while others haven’t. Florida, for instance, has partially been flooded. The rise in temperature has caused glacial ice caps to melt. This raises the water level, causing flooding. Florida has been hit with massive storms, many of which have caused destructive flooding. Other parts of the world haven’t really seen the effects as obviously. However global warming is everywhere. You might see a tree somewhere near where you live. If it blooms sooner than it is supposed to, that is because of global warming. If the seasons seemed mixed up, with winter being too warm and summer too cold, that is also because of global warming.
        Farmers have also been feeling the effects of global warming. The growing seasons have been thrown out of their usual patterns due to the increases of temperature, and changes in the weather. Crops are sprouting, flowering, and dying at different times than usual. This has caused farmers to have to shift when they plant and pick their crops.
Image result for top world polluters        There are natural causes to global warming, however scientific studies show that we humans are mostly to blame. We are the main pollutants of the world. China and the US are the top polluters. One of the most common ways people pollute is by driving their cars. The gas used is escaping into the atmosphere as a greenhouse gas. Factories and animal slaughter houses are also big emitters. 
        Something we can do about this is get electric cars. Another is to switch to solar energy. David Kunhardt’s company manufactures solar panels. Once made, solar panels are completely green. They emit no CO2 and don’t cost anything once installed. Manufacturing a solar panel emits a lot of greenhouse gasses. But with the energy you save, it evens out in about a year and a half. After that whatever you are powering will use no bad energy, only clean solar energy.
David Kunhardt says the maximum amount of CO2 in the atmosphere should be 350 PPM. PPM means parts per million. That refers to how many parts out of a million are in a certain amount of air. He says, “we have blown right past that.” 

You can also find out more about solar panels from SolEd Benefit Corp’s website at

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Is Our Energy Killing the Earth?
Quinn Maynard, EarthScope Intern (Tam High)
April 6, 2017

Solar power systems get pure, clean energy from the sun and costs less annually than utility energy and reduces fossil fuel being produced. Also this little change can make the CO2 emissions on our earth go down. So why isn't anyone switching to solar? This little change could help our planet for the better.
“Is it a job killer? Is renewable energy a job killer? Sorry, but solar jobs have been growing 12x faster than the average workforce in the United States...and solar now employs, its actually closer to 4x as many people in the US as coal. 270,000 jobs across the US are at solar, another 150,000 in wind power.” This is David Kunhardt, the CEO of the Sol-Ed Benefit Corporation. He came to us to talk about the benefits of solar energy and how coal makes no sense and the health hazards of fossil fuels.
“It took the globe over 20 years to really come together and have an affected action on greenhouse gases. Scientists have known this problem for that full period of time,  but for the first time the UN is able to do something about it.” The time that Obama and the President of China came together to do something about this problem sparked a reaction. Other nations realized that if these people from some of the most polluted places on earth are doing something about it, them maybe we should too. Then the Paris Agreement was put in place and signed by 195 countries which is an agreement that is going to help try and stop global warming. They’re all doing serious things to help stop this like China said they were going to stop 100 coal plant plans and start focusing on solar and wind power.
David goes on about this issue and goes into detail on the greenhouse gas effect. The greenhouse gas effect is when greenhouse gases, like Carbon Dioxide, form a sort of blanket around our earth. This blanket absorbs IR radiation, preventing it from going back into outer space. That means this radiation and heat is being trapped here, on earth, and is gradually increasing. This is causing our home to slowly heat up. All these greenhouse gases that are being created by coal and other resources that create CO2 emissions. This is another reason why solar is the better choice. It doesn't create CO2. So if more people make the switch, we could save our home.
“We are pumping more and more Carbon Dioxide into the atmosphere, heating up the planet by the means of global warming. If this is to continue without the transition to clean energy, Earth will end up like Venus.” If we don't do something about this problem, our species and all the other species won't be able to live on earth for as long as we hoped. What can we do now to help? Well, we can switch to solar energy or just spread the word about this topic. You can also learn more at We can do more to help our dying planet and home.

The Hidden Truth About Factory Farming

By: Maittrella Rodriguez, EarthScope Intern (Tam High)

April 6, 2017

Have you ever thought of where our animal  products come from? Have you ever thought of the way the animals have been treated? This wasn’t something I really thought about until our class had an interview with Gene Bauer. He made me realize how badly the animals are mistreated, and how little factory farming companies actually tell us.
    Gene Baur is the co founder and president of farm sanctuary which helps “ protect farm animals from cruelty, inspire change in the way society views and treats farm animals, and promote compassionate vegan living.” Farm Sanctuary was founded in 1986 and “work to investigate and expose the cruelty of animal agriculture,” and also is currently “the nation’s largest and most effective farm animal rescue and protection organization.” once they come to farm sanctuary they are “friends not food.”   
    All the animals in factory farming are treated very badly. According to Baur he has seen piles of animals where they are still alive but left there to die. For example, pigs that are used for this industry, are first impregnated at seven months, and for the rest of their lives they follow the same cycle. This cycle includes: pregnancy, birth, and nursing and is repeated until they are sent to be slaughtered. The whole time when the pigs are pregnant they are put in a gestation crate, where they have no room to even be able to turn. These crates are made so that manure can fall through the cracks,this meaning that they live directly above their own waste which exposes them to high levels of ammonia, and respiratory diseases. Once they give birth they are moved onto crates that separate them from their babies but are still near so they can nurse. After about twenty days, the piglets are separated from their mothers and moved to a pen with no room where they go through a series of mutilations and are kept until they weigh enough to be slaughtered and sold for meat. The mother on the other hand is sent back to the crate where the cycle continues until she isn’t considered to be good for impregnating.
Another animal that is treated badly are chickens. Chickens are used for egg production and are one of the most abused animals. If male chickens are hatched they rarely get to see life because since they can’t lay eggs they are killed upon hatching. The female chickens are kept in battery cages which hold up to five to ten birds at once, where they also have no room. The females are most likely to be debeaked so that they can't peck their feathers, from the stress of being in battery cages. Being in these cages can also result in bruising and loosing feathers because the birds rub against the wire from being in such a tight space. A chicken's life span is usually up to five to eight years out with thus forced egg production they live from one to two years which means their average lifespan is cut more than half.
    By doing this class interview with Gene Bauer i have been informed on the unfair treatment of animals. They don't deserve this lifestyle and with farm sanctuary they can be rescued and protected and treated as friends not food. They can't help rescue all animals but they can help inform the public. The more people informed the less abused animals. Our thanks to Gene Baur for allowing us to conduct this interview with him, so we can inform more people on the hidden truths about factory farming.

For more information on farm sanctuary check out

The Future Of Our Planet Is Dependent On Today: Talking Climate Change & Clean Energy with David Kunhardt

By Ryan Maple, EarthScope Intern (Tam High)

April 6, 2017

Image result for david kunhardtEverything was green on the day we were able to meet solar and climate change expert, David Kunhardt. His presentation included many points, coming to the conclusion that clean energy ways provide more jobs, are better for the environment and the prices are dropping day by day. David was very involved in his case, as he acknowledged the lack of education regarding clean energy around the country, as “marin county is its own bubble, basically our own nation.” His views on the environment were clear, that we need to act now, before our problems get any worse.
David, CEO of SolEd in San Rafael, believes that with the rising knowledge of environmental risks and health issues with coal and gas power, we will be able to strive towards more healthy energy that is good for the environment and our people, such as solar, wind and hydropower (water). These different ways of clean energy are more expensive in some parts, “but solar in specific has nearly “dropped more half the cost as it used to, in everything from panel cost to installation,” a direct quote from David himself.
David has been working at this idea for a long time, finding ways to make clean energy an overall better option when it comes to reliability, installation and not taking too much from your wallet. David is a believer in this idea, and works extremely hard everyday so everybody can have eco-friendly and affordable energy.
David explains more on climate change and global warming, particularly when he explains the “greenhouse gas effect,” the cause of our fossil fuels, coal and gas energy, and what toll they are taking on our atmosphere and planet. As a planet, David says “We are pumping more and more Carbon Dioxide into the atmosphere, heating up the planet by the means of global warming. If this is to continue without the transition to clean energy, Earth will end up like Venus.” If you did not know, Venus’ atmosphere is all Carbon Dioxide, and what Earth’s atmosphere would look like as well if we do not act. Venus’ conditions include total cloud coverage and rain all the time, which is what we here in Northern California as of recent with the exponential amounts of rainfall compared to the little none we had during the dry years from 2013-2016. All of these greenhouse gas effect “symptoms” have caused a drastic climate change and what we are experiencing now. Extremes. Either too hot, or unbearably cold. This is the cause of climate change, caused by the greenhouse gas effect, and we will end up terribly if we do not stop now.
David Kunhardt really brought the ideas of climate change and acting on environmental issues in front of me. As he said, we could end up like Venus, which would be a catastrophe. He brought to my attention also how the fossil fuel industries are afraid of solar, and the government will only break their ties with said industries if solar is the clear choice, which is what David strives for. In this world, we need more people like David Kunhardt, who educate us and explain to us the truth of what is happening in the modern world, and how we can act upon that truth.

The Truth of What You Eat 

by Luna Sanchez, EarthScope Intern (Tam High)

April 6, 2017

Gene Baur is an inspiring person in the fight against factory farming. Not everyone knows the truth behind our food. “Factory farms dominate U.S. food production, employing abusive practices that maximize agribusiness profits at the expense of the environment, our communities, animal welfare, and even our health.”(Farm Sanctuary) Gene Baur is the founder of Farm Sanctuary. He has been advocating on the behalf of mistreated animals, because although they don’t speak our language Gene knows they need a voice. Gene is the founder of Farm Sanctuary, an organization that dedicates its to rescuing and rehabilitating cruelly treated farm animals.
So far three Gene has developed three sanctuaries in Los Angeles, New York and Orland, all home to the many hundreds of rescued pigs, cows, sheep, goats, ducks, chickens, and turkeys. These sanctuaries give badly treated animals a new and much healthier life, without cages or abuse. The sanctuaries help to not only help transform mistreated animals, but they give many humans a perseptive they never knew the could have. Gene shows that animals have personalities, stories and above all feelings. He helps people understand the freedom that all animals deserve.
Gene Baur is a strong believer in veganism, he believes that without they use of any animal products, not only will improve the lives of so many animals it will make humans and happier and healthier species. Although many may think the idea of using no products from animals intimidating, Gene says it's easy you just need to find a source of protein you enjoy. It is definitely important to at least cut back on the use of animals for food and farming, the overuse of steroids and the living conditions of the animals is unhealthy and can cause health related issues.
One thing Baur warns many about is “Cage Free”, “Free Range” or “Grass Fed” labels. He says that alough some may be selling what they’re advertising many are not. The “cage free” birds still suffer de-beaking and while the they might not be in battery cages there is still a good chance they are packed in a poorly ventilated, windowless warehouse with almost no room for the animals to eve move their wigs. “Grass Fed” indicates that the animals may get most of their nutrients from grass, but the USDA “grass fed” requirements does not limit the use of antibiotics, hormones, or pesticides, all of which can be extremely harmful to the environment, animal and human health.

Animals have been treated horribly for such a long time, but it was just recently that more people started to pay attention. Almost 260 million chickens are killed each year upon hatching. Calves are forced away from their mothers just hours after being born. Sheep are “tail docked” a couple weeks after birth. So many animals are treated so badly and almost no one attempts to do anything. That's why Gene is so important, not only does he give a voice to abused animals, but he helps give a voice to people who feel the need to speak out about the mistreatment of farm animals. Without the help of Gene and the support, donations and volunteers many animals would not have the healthier and happier life they now live.