Category Archives: The Environment

It’s Just Tuna…

It’s Just Tuna…that’s what I thought until I read the bottom of the can. IMG_20160831_143833

Eating is so complicated. The first thing I noticed was the invitation to not drain the tuna (no photo, but really, fish in a can is visually unappetizing, and the liquid may be the most unappealing part). But I left it in and mashed my way to a sandwich.

Then, the line: “we select smaller albacore which accumulates less mercury than larger albacore.”

I hadn’t thought much about mercury in fish (since the 80’s when it seemed a national epidemic) until I recently heard Tony Robbins interviewed by Tim Ferris. Apparently he had a huge problem with mercury in his body. Well, I am not a scientist, nutritionist, or other kind of expert but here is what seems to be the bottom line for your tuna (and other fish/seafood) intake.

  1. Mercury is present in all fish. Some fish have higher concentrations than others. You should consume less of the fish with higher concentrations. Tuna is one of those fish. Canned Salmon is a great alternative to canned Tuna. The lowest canned Tuna variety (light tuna) has 16 times more mercury in it than canned Salmon. Some canned Tuna has up to 45 times more mercury in it than canned Salmon. Check out this chart for comparisons.
  2. As a rule of thumb, the bigger the fish the more mercury. The reason for this is that a bigger fish, especially predator fish (shark, swordfish, tuna, orange roughy), has lived longer and eaten more other fish and food products in the ocean and has accumulated more mercury as a result.
  3. Bottom feeders have less mercury:  shrimp, scallops, oysters, clams, etc. have less mercury.
  4. The source of Mercury in the environment has both natural and anthropogenic sources, so it would be in our best interest to do as much as possible to reduce the amount of mercury we contribute to the atmosphere/ocean.

My favorite quote from the articles I read was this from Time Magazine online:

Still, the health benefits of canned tuna outweigh potential contaminant risks, says David Katz, MD, director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center. “All studies comparing the inclusion versus the exclusion of fish show better health associated with the inclusion of fish in the diet,” he says. “Those contaminants are unfortunate—but that’s the reality in a world we haven’t treated all that well. Perfectly ‘pure’ food no longer exists on this planet.”

Here are some resources:

Mercury Myth: A Fish Tale Of Epic Proportion

United Nations Report on Global Mercury
FDA: Mercury Levels in Commercial Fish and Shellfish


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Hearts Trained in Greed

Hearts trained in greed…some phrases you can’t get out of your head. Our men’s Bible Study is in 2 Peter and this phrase is used in chapter 2 verse 14 to describe false teachers. But there may not be a more apt phrase that would sum up and characterize American Chrisitianity’s biggest problem. Our hearts have been trained in greed.

Most statistics with regard to American consumption (as with many other statistics) would show very little difference between Christians and non-Christians. We are no different from anyone else in the USA when it comes to amassing stuff, consuming and throwing away massive amounts of…everything. Mostly we dismiss this sort of criticism of our lifestyle as irrelevant seeing that it is liberal political and social groups throwing the “criticism” our way. We uncritically join in the consumer mentality, not because it is a Biblical value, rather it is our preferred way of living.

Hearts trained in greed…

Let’s just look at our personal water usage compared to how much water is available to others around the world:

I took a 10 minute hot shower this morning. Let’s say I use 2 gallons per minute, I used 20 gallons of water to take a shower. Now I feel that a hot shower is a necessity, not an option nor a luxury. But in fact, it is a luxury and that luxury is not shared by many people in the world. But if my water heater goes out, replacing the water heater becomes the most important task in my day. Not having water mind you, having hot water.

(Fill out this questionairre by the US Geological Survey to figure your daily water consumption, mine was 59.36 gallons per day. That is personal usage, not what I use to water the lawn etc.)

1.1 billion people (18% of the world’s population) lack access to safe drinking water and almost 2 million children die each year due to a lack of clean water and inadequate sanitation.

Now maybe your answer to that is the pat American response: “I’ll just put my waste water in an envelope and send it to Africa.”…if it is you should be ashamed of yourself.

The phrase in 2 Peter is convicting. We have more, use more, waste more than any other nation in the world, and still have the gall to talk about suffering and complain about our circumstances. The reason we do this is that we have had our hearts trained in greed. The word greed is defined as “the state of desiring to have more than one’s due, greediness, insatiableness, avarice, covetousness” (BDAG Greek Lexicon). “Desiring to have more than one’s due…” Wow, if that doesn’t define us I don’t know what does. Maybe Christians should worry more about our own personal greed than other people’s sexual sins???  I would bet that proportionally sermons in our American churches mentioned homosexuality 1.000% more than they did greed this past Sunday when proportionately the reverse was more represented in the pews.

I am working on evaluating my addiction to greediness in just about every area of my life.

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Global Warming

Read this article from the London Times entitled: An experiment that hints we are wrong on climate change.

Another post I need to write is how conservative political philosophy in America has come to be regarded as Christian philosophy. The environment is one of those areas that we have given over, and given up on as Evangelicals. Now there is a discussion that needs to happen. Imagine, our first commandment in the Bible  (which arguably may be the only commandment in the Bible)  is being spurned by the modern Christian. Do you know any Christians who belong to environmental groups? Do you know of any Christian environmental groups? I would say you do not, mostly because you view environmental issues and environmentalists as “whackos” to quote you know who. Careful you don’t formulate your whole world view based on radio talk show hosts.

Regardless of what you “think” the cause of global warming is, there is no excuse for Christians not caring for the earth, whatever that might mean. We better start discussing it, not because of a doomsday fear, but because we fear God, the maker of heaven and earth.

Check out the following links to start your own investigation and discussion

My good friend Roy Goble and his wife D’aun started the Christian Environmental Association, and Gordon Aeschliman also a friend from college days was the President of CEA for a while.
ht: Planet Preterist, Virgil Vaduva

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