Julia Olmstead

Julia Olmstead is a graduate student in plant breeding and sustainable agriculture at Iowa State University and a graduate fellow with the Land Institute in Salina, Kan., and a freelance writer on agricultural and environmental issues.

More beef = fewer babies?

Growth promoters in beef may damage sperm

As reported by the BBC, a University of Rochester study found recently that men whose mothers ate lots of beef during their pregnancies had lower sperm counts than the sons of women who ate little or no beef while pregnant:

Corn on conservation land

‘Cause what else can we feed our cattle?

According to a recent story in the Corn and Soybean Digest, a group of 30 state and national agribusiness groups are asking the USDA to let farmers plant corn on land currently set aside for conservation through the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP).

The myth of grass-fed beef

It’s only natural

About twice a day, an email from a mystery man/unflagging anti-ethanol crusader named Ray Wallace appears in my inbox, chock full of excerpts from the latest ethanol slams and, on lucky days, choice quotes from politicos and the like sounding less-than-smart about the whole business. I'm not sure how I got on his listserv, and I can't quite say how you can (but if you'd really like to, let me know and we can probably work something out). Anyhow (I'm getting to my point), I mention Ray so as to credit him for alerting me to this quote, contained in today's edition:


Season Shot: Ammo with flavor

Here's something for Mr. Khosla to throw some money at: Season Shot, ammunition that dissolves upon baking, leaving behind only the delicious flavor of your choice -- Cajun, Lemon Pepper, Garlic, Teriyaki, or Honey Mustard. Think this doesn't belong on an environmental blog? Think again. According to Season Shot's creators:

'We just want our land back'

Carbon offsets and human rights

More evidence was released today demonstrating the complexity and oxymoronic nature of "ethical capitalism." This time it has to do with carbon offsets. According to "A funny place to store carbon," a report issued today by the World Rainforest Movement, villagers living along the edges of Mount Elgon National Park in east Uganda, the site of a Dutch-owned carbon offset project, have been beaten, shot at, and repeatedly denied access to their land by armed park rangers guarding the "carbon trees" inside the park.


Saving gas the non-hybrid way

A nice story from Mother Jones this month on "hypermilers," people who use all kinds of wacky techniques to maximize fuel economy:

You can't have your steak and transport it too

More from Lester Brown on ethanol and food costs

Worried that no one's going to post on ethanol today? Let me ease your troubled mind ... The world may soon be facing the highest food prices in history, according to Lester Brown of the Earth Policy Institute. The group released a missive today that says increased corn demand caused by the ethanol boom will dramatically raise food costs in the near future:

The greasing of Lake Victoria

Biodiesel means trouble for Uganda

As reported by Reuters yesterday: The president of Uganda asked the National Forest Authority boss to quit after he refused to license a palm oil company to destroy a pristine rainforest on an island in Lake Victoria, according to his resignation note.

Gay soy conspiracy revealed!

Finally, teh soy and teh gay, united

Looks like there's more to soy biodiesel than protecting the environment and energy independence -- it's also going to help keep down the homosexual population! Yes, it seems that medical "evidence" has finally shown homosexuality is not genetic at all. It is, in fact, your momma's fault for giving you soy-based formula. Let's keep that "devil's food" out of the mouths of babes and in our fuel tanks! Seriously, though, soy products (that aren't fermented) do contain high levels of phyto-estrogens, which are analogous to the female hormone estrogen. Studies are mixed as to the effects of soybeans' chemicals and metabolites on infants, as well as on adults. But none of them point to a link between soy and homosexuality. If you're leery of soy formula's possible effects on babies (and want to give your baby the best start all around), stick to breastfeeding.