Grilling the Sustainable Way

— by Hannah Lee

At Sunday’s Greenfest sustainability fair, next to the Headhouse Square farmers’ market, I learned about a nifty new environmental product, the EcoGrill, made from old trees. It burns down completely to an environmentally safe ash, ready for fertilizing your garden. This product uses an ancient method of recycling dead trees that reduces the amount of greenhouse gases released in to the atmosphere.  

More after the jump.

Each EcoGrill looks slightly different, as they’re four-inch-high  rings cut from fallen black alder wood trees grown in the Baltics. (The center diameter is uniform, even if the outer perimeter varies.) The center is filled with alder charcoal–  not coal, oil, limestone, starch, sawdust, or petroleum products. Their use avoids two potentially carcinogenic compounds: PHAs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) and HCAs (heterocyclic amines). The alder wood charcoal and casing have been certified by the Rainforest Alliance Smartwood Program as sustainably harvested.  

No lighter fluid is needed– you ignite the 100% green resin wick with a match instead– so it’s great for hikers too. Then place a fire-safe grate directly on top of the EcoGrill. The air circulation holes ensure the EcoGrill ignites evenly and burns completely. The 10″ center diameter is large enough for use with a kettle or frying pan. In about 20 minutes, the grill is ready for cooking. It’s capable of sustained cooking for up to 2.5-to-4 hours of grilling, or about four chickens.

The owners, Egils K. Stemme and Yana Budkevics, are both first-generation Americans of Latvian decent. Yana’s husband, Janis Petersons, discovered the EcoGrill while visiting Latvia, where they’re manufactured. The sole U.S. distributor of the EcoGrill, their office is located in Southampton, PA. 215-364-5532.

The company’s reforestation program has planted 75,600 new saplings so far. Enough said, I was convinced and bought two EcoGrills that day, and I look forward to testing them for myself when I have a chance. In the meantime, do tell me how you like this product!

UN Commemorates Racist Durban Racism Conference

— Sharon Bender

B’nai B’rith International condemns the United Nations General Assembly’s adoption of a resolution commemorating the 10th anniversary of the 2001 World Conference Against Racism. That event, in Durban, South Africa, was a forum overshadowed by rabid anti-Israel sentiment and deserves to be remembered as embodying the worst aspects of the United Nations.

The vote results included 104 nations in favor of the resolution, 22 against, and 33 abstentions.

B’nai B’rith International commends those nations voting against the commemoration: Australia, Bulgaria, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Netherlands, Palau, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Sweden, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Particularly disappointing was the near unanimous bloc of Latin American nations voting in favor of the resolution.

More after the jump.
The proposal to celebrate the original Durban conference has been championed by Arab and other largely non-democratic states, many with records characterized by mistreatment of minorities that have used their collective numbers to push through many anti-Israel resolutions at the world body. Though it is now only in its early planning stages, the Durban commemoration has been scheduled for a time when world leaders are expected in New York in September 2011, and just after the 10th anniversary of 9/11.

“It is tragic that more nations don’t publicly recognize and condemn Durban as the anti-Israel, anti-Jewish free-for-all it truly was,” B’nai B’rith International President Dennis W. Glick said. “Our delegates joined other non-governmental organizations in walking out of the conference in 2000 and again during Ahmadinejad’s anti-Israel diatribe during the 2009 Durban Review Conference in Geneva. The prospects for anything positive to take place at a 10-year commemoration are no better.”

The 2001 World Conference Against Racism, with its Durban Declaration and Programme of Action (DDPA), implied that Israel alone is a racist nation. Even worse than the U.N. proceedings were the NGO forum and street scenes that saw horrific expressions of anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism.

“The original Durban conference attempted to validate the perverse theory that Zionism is racism,” B’nai B’rith International Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin said. “Durban’s legacy of hate, intolerance, and double standards should never be forgotten, and should certainly never be celebrated.”

Following the proposal to commemorate Durban, Canada was the first country to unequivocally state it would not attend such an event. B’nai B’rith is calling on all countries not to participate in “Durban III.”