Posts Tagged ‘selle’

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Extraction Has A Human Face

Written by Caroline Selle, the Zero Waste Girl

At Power Shift 2013, thousands of young people gathered to talk and learn about justice in the environmental movement. Held Oct. 18-21, the latest edition of the biannual conference focused on the the intersection of race, class, gender, and sexuality with fossil fuel extraction and climate change. And as the problems with racism and environmental justice issues continue to be prevalent in Washington, D.C., this conference couldn’t have come sooner.

As an environmental reporter focusing on justice and as a past Power Shift organizer, I was eager to attend the conference’s newest iteration. It’s no secret the environmental movement is deeply divided. Environmental justice (EJ) advocates have long said mainstream environmental activists focus on politics and policy at the expense of people. Mainstream environmentalists argue some sacrifice is necessary for progress. But sacrifice for whom?

“We don’t think of the people who are sacrificed to make our lives easier,” said Yudith Nieto, one of the conference’s keynote speakers. “I am one of them.”

With panels such as “A Cage or a Classroom?: The School-to-Prison Pipeline Affecting EJ Communities,” and “Economic Justice and Empowerment: Challenging Classism in Our Communities,” attendees were introduced to the impacts felt by frontline communities by people from those communities. “People, not policies,” is an uncomfortable reality, but one that needs to be faced.

Nieto lives in the Manchester neighborhood of Houston, Texas, one of the most polluted neighborhoods in the U.S. The community is surrounded by the Valero, Lyondell Basell, and Texas Petro-Chemicals oil refineries, and residents suffer from elevated incidence of cancer and asthma, among other disease. Now, the community is preparing for an onslaught of tar sands from the Southern half of the Keystone XL.

In addition to Nieto, activists traveled from frontline communities in states ranging from Louisiana to California, and Indiana to Utah. The keynote speakers included Kimberly Wasserman of Little Village, Chicago, Josh Fox, director of Gasland, and twelve-year-old Ta’Kaiya, singer-songwriter of the Sliammon Nation who performed to thunderous applause.

Power Shift 2013 wasn’t without its controversies, including a counter protest and pamphlet handed out criticizing organizers for using empty words. “I wasn’t sure if this was the right space for my voice, my community,” Wasserman told the crowd at her keynote, explaining she her tough decision. She decided to attend Power Shift, she said, because, “…the reality of our movement calls for tough conversations.”

If the conference had a theme this year, it was a simple one: Extraction has a human face.

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The dinners I remember best are the ones I threw together with odds and ends of ingredients.

There was the lentil barley salad made with twelve almonds and one and a half bruised peaches, the pizza whose toppings included roasted cauliflower and eggplant, and the “Great Depression” dinner where some college friends managed to turn a handful of peas, a sweet potato, soy sauce, chickpeas, and leftover lentils (sensing a theme?) into Shepherd’s Pie.

During the summer growing season, my fridge and countertops are usually overflowing with vegetables, some of which I’ve never before seen. Google is my friend, but more often than not I rely on a handful of basic recipes to pull together a new version of a meal.

 

Pesto

Besides its standard use as pasta sauce, pesto makes a great topping sauce for pizza, a garnish for soups, and a sandwich ingredient (try it with sliced August tomatoes). You can make it with almost any green, leafy vegetable. Try using beet greens for a surprisingly pink sauce, or mustard greens for one that’s tangy and spicy. The traditional pesto is made with basil and pine nuts, but I like variety. My nut of choice – the almond – tends to be slightly sweeter, but walnuts also make a great substitute. Puree together four cups of greens, one or two cloves of minced garlic, a half cup of olive oil, and a quarter cup of nuts. Adjust and add salt and parmesan cheese to taste.

Freeze any extra pesto in an ice cube tray for meal-sized leftovers

Pizza

Vegan, vegetarian, or meat-lover, it’s surprisingly easy to elevate this simple dish into one worthy of a dinner party. Caramelize your leftover onions, slice up those tomatoes, and toss on some shredded raw kale. Throw caution to the wind and mix together fresh mozzarella, arugula, and sliced cherry tomatoes. Play around with the types of cheese and the sauce.

Fritters

An egg (or, if vegan, ground flaxseed), a couple tablespoons of flour, and shredded veggies make an easy and delicious breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Mix the ingredients with your hands, separate into golfball sized chunks, then flatten and fry on a skillet. Try shredded sweet potato and chipotle flour or zucchini and Old Bay seasoning, then add to sandwiches or eat alone.

Veggie Pie

My Mom makes spinach pie for special occasions, and when I went away to college I learned to make it with my own twist. I’ve used collards, kale, and beet greens in addition to – and instead of – spinach. To make the pie, I start with Tamar Adler’s olive oil tart dough.* Next, I mix together handfuls of cooked greens, about a sixth as much cheese, and (if there’s one laying around), an egg. As always, salt to taste.

Another twist: try mixing together pureed roasted veggies instead of greens. My favorite version includes roasted butternut squash, caramelized onions, and asiago cheese.

Salad

The best salads make full, hearty meals. Starting with a base of raw greens (spinach, kale, mesclun), try mixing together a grain (bulgur, barley, quinoa, brown rice), a protein (lentils! chickpeas, crumbled feta), something sweet (raisins, chopped apples, strawberries), and something salty (roasted almonds or sunflower seeds, croutons, crumbled pretzels). Experiment with texture: try chopped kohlrabi and blueberries, or roasted beets and goat cheese. Try cooked greens instead of raw, or omit them entirely and throw in a roasted vegetable instead. Anything bitter (turnips, I’m looking at you) will be sweeter when roasted and even tastier when drizzled in vinegar or oil. Serve with a slice of toast rubbed with raw garlic and herbs. Need to kick it up a notch? Drizzle olive oil and balsamic vinegar over your bowl.

*An Everlasting Meal is my favorite cookbook of all time, and that’s saying something. About a quarter of the books I own revolve around food.

Written by Caroline Selle, the Zero-Waste Girl