Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Only Michelle Obama can save us now

OBAMA/OBAMA 2012? Barack could be a very cool and dignified vice president, delivering inspiring speeches at funerals and the like, and Michelle Obama could be in the Office, you know, getting things done.

Only Michelle Obama can save us now

Obama for president!
Obama for president!

I realize the 2012 presidential race is a ways off, but here's a thought for the 'green' agenda... how about an OBAMA/OBAMA ticket? Barack could be a very cool and dignified vice president, delivering inspiring speeches at funerals and the like, and Michelle Obama could be in the Office, you know, getting things done.

OK, maybe that's a little far-fetched, but since President Obama's "shellacking" last week and his promise to compromise further with a party that has made  head-in-sand climate denial its watchword, it almost seems like there's exactly one Obama who knows how to get results by getting her hands dirty.

Of course, Michelle Obama did just that in planting, promoting and overseeing the White House garden and farmer's market, a "symbolic" activity that made an important point about reconnecting with our food and eating healthily - but that also created and distributed  real-world food in the process. Then she followed up with a push for programs to get kids to eat more fruits and vegetables, which wayyyy too few are doing now.

The Obamas have just wrapped up their tour of India, and while Barack got a polite reception in his call for greater ties between our nations, Michelle just blew them away. As the New York Times put it, "First Lady’s Dance Moves Woo Indian Crowds." One India News went further: "Michelle's dance speaks louder than Obama's words." You said it! Let Michelle dance the US back to glory - or at least, global credibility!

In all seriousness, even in a secondary role, Michelle Obama can still make powerful strides for Americans' health - whether or not President Obama chooses to push on this front.

Sure, she may not be able to single-handedly purge the USDA of its conflict of interest (a weekend NYT expose shoed the agency was helping Domino's forumlate double- and triple-cheese pizzas to aid dairy conglomerates while advising ordinary consumers to eat healthier by ordering pizza with "half the cheese") or repair everything that's broken about our public health system, but she can be a powerful spokeswoman for common sense, which in the case of nutrition means fruits and vegetables.

As The Hill notes,

Poor nutrition is costing $56 billion a year to treat just three diet-related chronic diseases — coronary heart disease, stroke, and cancer — according to a new report from the [Produce for Better Health] foundation. The nonprofit blames the federal government's relegating of fruits and vegetables to a "low funding priority status" for part of the problem.

That same report (PDF) details that Americans are only eating roughly half the fruits and vegetables stipulated in the USDA's dietary guidelines, and fewer than 10% meet the recommendations for fruit consumption - hey, gotta make room for cheese, right?

As Congress takes up a long-stalled childhood nutrition bill, here's hoping that whether or not she seeks higher office, Michelle brings her great positive energy, her style and savvy - and sure, her husband as well  - to push common sense, sustainable farming and good eating over the top.

About this blog
Earth to Philly is a weblog focusing on earth-conscious technology, trends and ideas, from a Daily News perspective. We look at the "green" aspects of your home, business, food, transportation, style, policy, gadgets and artwork. If you have a Philly-related story, Click here to let us know about it!

The experts at Philadelphia's Energy Coordinating Agency answer your energy questions in our regular feature Stay Warm, Stay Green. Send in your question or questions to energy@phillynews.com.


Look for Jenice Armstrong to supply tips on green living as well as occasional columns on the subject of Green. She also blogs at Hey Jen.


Becky Batcha stays tuned for the here-and-now practical side of conservation, alternative energy, organic foods, etc. - stuff you can do at home now. Plus odds and ends.


Laurie Conrad recycles from her ever-growing e-mailbag to pass along the latest travel deals, fashion statements, household strategies, gadgets, cool local events and other nuggets of interest to those who appreciate a clean, green world.


Vance Lehmkuhl looks at topics like eco-conscious eating, public transportation and fuel-efficient driving from his perspective as a vegetarian, a daily SEPTA bus rider and a hybrid driver, as well as noting the occasional wacky trend or product. Contact Vance with your 'green' news.


Ronnie Polaneczky sees the green movement through the eyes of her 12-year-old daughter, who calls her on every scrap of paper or glass bottle that Ronnie neglects to toss into the house recycling bins. Ronnie will blog about new or unexpected ways to go green. She also blogs at So, What Happened Was...


Sandra Shea and the DN editorial board opine on any green-related legislation or policy. And we'll pass along some of the opeds on the subject that people send us.


Jonathan Takiff will be blogging mainly about consumer electronics - those things that we love to use and that suck too much energy. He'll spotlight green-conscious gizmos made in a responsible fashion, both in terms of materials used and the energy it takes to run them.


Signe Wilkinson draws the comic strip Family Tree, which follows the Tree family as they try to live green in the face of nattering neighbors, plastic-wrapped consumer products, and the primal teenage urge to spend vast quantities of money on hair care products of dubious organic quality.


In addition to these updates from our newsroom bloggers, watch for an occasional feature, Dumpster Diver Dispatches, from Philadelphia's original "green" community of artists, the Dumpster Divers. You'll learn about creative ways to reuse and recycle while you reduce, and about the artists who are making little masterpieces from what others throw out.

  • Dispatch #1: Margaret Giancola's rugs from plastic bags
  • Dispatch #2: Dumpster Divers in City Hall (Art in City Hall series)
  • Dispatch #3: Wild wood, New Jersey
  • Dispatch #4: Dumpster Divers award winners announced
  • Dispatch #5: From sweaters to colorful cuddling
  • Dispatch #6: Green artists retake South Street Sunday
  • Dispatch #7: Isaiah Zagar: He's a Magic (Gardens) Man





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