What Kind of Milk to Drink?

It wasn’t that long ago that being a milkman was a career option. And only one kind of milk was in the truck. But today, there’s whole, skimmed, almond, rice, and soy and more. Dairy milk per capita dropped by 25% from 1975 – 2012. Since 1999, alternatives’ growth rates have been 10% annually. But now the drought. The plot thickens. Which is best for you? Which is milk is best for our society in time of drought?

It would appear that almond milk – at 1.1 gallons per almond – would be the worst, the most water-intensive milk produce. But further investigation finds that almond milk is made by blending soaked almonds with water and flavoring agents. Most of the milk-like product is water, not almonds. Most commercial products include a sweetener, be it honey or sugar. A pound of almonds is nearly 377 almonds. If the milk were 100% almonds, it would require over 400 gallons of water to produce. But commercial almond milk products are reportedly only 1 – 2% almonds.

Homemade almond milk recipes are “thicker” and call for ¼ – 1/3 of a cup of almonds for every cup of water. Homemade almond milk may require 50 – 60 almonds per pound product. In both of these scenarios, almond milk is preferable to dairy from a water standpoint. Dairy milk requires 90 – 120 gallons per pound in its production.

And there are other alternatives. Soymilk is made by blending re-hydrated soy beans with water. While its high protein is attractive, it does not have the robust health value as dairy or almond milk. Rice milk is another tasty option, high in carbohydrates and low in protein.

So… drink what appeals and what nourishes the body. A January 2015 Mother Jones article ripped on almond milk, telling “ignorant hipsters” to lay off. First, the article claimed, almond milk lacks the nutrition of dairy milk. Second, it’s mostly water with flavors and sugars.

There are trade offs in each case. Dairy is especially good for bone development in younger years. Later, lower cholesterol alternatives may be desirable. There are strong lactose-intolerant alternatives. While difficult to calculate, and others’ results conflict, it does not appear that one’s choice of milk will impact California’s drought in any significant way. We’ve got bigger fish to fry!

Americans Believe in Climate Change

logo-nyt-stanford-rff-392x30

An overwhelming majority of the American public, including nearly half of Republicans, support government action to curb global warming, according to a poll conducted by The New York Times, Stanford University, and the nonpartisan environmental research group Resources for the Future. While the deniers are still out there, this poll finds that the vast majority of Americans believe that climate change is real.

In a finding that could have implications for the 2016 presidential campaign, the poll also found that two-thirds of Americans say they are more likely to vote for political candidates who campaign on fighting climate change. They are less likely to vote for candidates who question or deny the science of human-caused global warming.

2013 New England SAVE A TON Campus Tour

For Earth Week 2013, EcoMotion took its SAVE A TON campaign on the road to New England and to some of the nation’s most prestigious universities. At each stop, the Emissions Ton was displayed, a giant representation of a ton of carbon dioxide gas. Every American is responsible for approximately 20 tons a year. By saving a ton, we each cut our emissions by 5% and save energy, money and the environment.

The tour began in Boulder at the University of Colorado. Then through the night to Worcester, Massachusetts and Clark University. Then Millbrook School in New York, Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, Middlesex Community College, and Yale.

At each stop, the EcoMotion team engages students, faculty, and administrators. Tips are swapped, pledges signed.