Bits and Pieces: Appalachian Trail, Wasted Resources, Nuclear Weapons and More

Short tidbits of news on the environment, politics and social issues.

| November/December 1976

  • appalachian trail
    Millions of people hike the Appalachian Trail each year.
  • 033-015-01
    Millions of people hike the Appalachian Trail each year.

  • appalachian trail
  • 033-015-01

Who's giving whom a break today?  According to a report in Nutrition Action, a McDonald's Restaurants franchise owner has moved his entire operation right into the Benton High School cafeteria in Benton, Arkansas . . . and has managed to build a booming business by replacing fruits, vegetables, and "other unpopular foods" with Cokes, shakes, fries, and Big Macs. The owner is quoted as saying that "We've had no complaints from parents except for one mother, who said she wished we wouldn't serve McDonald's food at lunch because that's what she likes to feed her child at dinner."

Folks who raise rabbits, chickens, or other small livestock may be interested in a new 13-page booklet entitled "Accounting for the Homestead". The publication—which explains and illustrates a simple method for keeping accurate cost-versus-production records—is available for $2.00 from the Institute for Tomorrow, 4900 Vulcan Ave., El Paso, Tex. 79904.

The President's Council on Environmental Quality has reported that up to 90 percent of all cancer in humans is caused by environmental factors, many of which are man-made. Despite that fact, however, most of the $800 million doled out every year by the National Cancer Institute is spent in pursuit of a virus . . . the existence of which remains unconfirmed after decades of study. Critics of the so-called "war on cancer"-including Dr. James Watson, a Nobel prizewinning biochemist-charge that "the American public is being sold a nasty bill of goods", and that much of the money involved is used just to "perpetuate pre-existing programs". They're also quick to point out that the cancer cure rate has increased by "only about 1 percent" since the 1950's . . . .

Just exactly how much does "The Wasteful Society" waste? Well, according to the National Association of Recycling Industries' 1975 figures, the story goes something like this: enough aluminum to build 18,700 jumbo jets, enough paper to save 765 million trees, enough steel and iron to build 80 million cars . . . and tens of millions of tons of copper, lead, zinc, textiles, and other perfectly recyclable materials. And yet, municipal officials all across the country are scratching their heads and wondering what to do with all the "trash" that's filling their cities' landfills.

Mahegnay Souamin of Bombay, India has discovered a new—although somewhat questionable—technique fog recycling automobiles. According to the Zodiac News Service, the Indian fakir has managed to eat an entire Chevrolet by dismantling the car, cutting it into tiny pieces, and then swallowing a few tidbits each day.

The Appalachian Trail is being "loved to death" according to Paul C. Pritchard, executive director of the Appalachian Trail Conference. In 1968, approximately 600,000 men and women walked portions of the Maine-to-Georgiapathway, but—this year—the number is expected to jump to over 4 million. At some points, says Pritchard, hikers pass each other every 20 seconds. Meanwhile, other less "famous" trails go virtually unused,

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