Saturday, May 29, 2010


Saturday 29 May 2010
by: Dan Brook, t r u t h o u t | Op-Ed

All we need is LOVE.

There are many things and we can (and should) do to preserve and protect our environment if we want to preserve and protect life on Earth. Reducing consumption of resources, reusing products and materials, and recycling what can no longer be reused are all critical to being more sustainable. However, the most important personal thing we can each do for the environment is to fall in LOVE: Local, Organic, Vegetarian/Vegan Eating. (Vegetarians don't eat any animals; even better, vegans don't consume any animal products, including eggs and dairy.)

There is consensus amongst the overwhelming majority of the world's scientists, environmentalists, governments, major corporations, and many others that climate change in the form of global warming is, by far, the most important environmental problem facing life on Earth. Carrying reusable bags, changing to energy-efficient light bulbs, saving water, and driving less are all very good things to do, yet they all pale in comparison to the cool effects of LOVE.

None of these or other positive actions prevent us from doing others, and we should try to do everything we can to live more sustainable lives. However, eating has a much bigger personal impact on the environment - as well as our health and the health of animals - than anything else most of us ever do.

Here's some LOVE!


Think globally, eat locally!

The average item of food in the U.S. travels approximately 1500 miles from production to consumption. By eating locally and seasonally, you're reducing your food miles, the amount of distance your food has to travel from farm to table, thereby cutting down on the amount of oil consumed and greenhouse gases emitted. Being a locavore cuts down on traffic and the need for energy-hogging refrigeration, both of which contribute to global warming. These are all benefits for the environment. And any benefit for planetary health is also a benefit for our personal health.

Eating locally means eating fresher and healthier produce, eating fruits and vegetables that are in season and grown in your region. Fresher produce maintains more of its nutrients. That's not only healthier and tastier for you and your family, but also better for your region's economy and ecology, supporting local farm families and the local economy while preserving biodiversity and building community. The easiest and most fun way to eat more local is to shop at farmers' markets, where seasonal produce is abundant and, according to sociological studies, people tend to be more social. Packaging, plastic water bottles, and chemicals, for example, are not local. Specifically, pesticides are almost always not local, so eating organic is also vitally important.


Don't panic, just go organic!

Organic agriculture means farming without the hazards of synthetic pesticides. Quite simply, agricultural chemicals are toxic and deadly, as is their intention. Author Sandor Katz states that, "Agricultural chemicals kill - and not only plants and insects and worms and birds and fungi and the vast universe of soil organisms; they kill people as well." Claire Cricuolo, both nurse and chef, relates that, "When you buy organic, you help to promote biodiversity and cut down on the pesticides that pollute our soil, air, and water. You also support natural systems that will ensure the integrity of our farmlands for future generations."

Organic methods produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions, using only one-third the petroleum as chemicalized crops, while sequestering more carbon dioxide in the soil, thereby being another powerful way to help stem global warming. As with local produce, organic produce also tends to have a higher level of nutrients, studies show, and may be tastier as well. Eating organic is not only healthier for consumers, but is also healthier for farmers, neighbors, animals, insects, and the soil, as well as everyone and everything downstream. Many chefs and other foodies also believe that organic foods taste better.

Another big bonus to eating organic is knowing that you are not consuming any genetically engineered products with their unknown potential personal, public, and environmental consequences.

Alan Greene, M.D. affirms that, "Every little move towards organics is worthwhile." The most effective ways to become more organic is to (1) "Switch out foods you eat most often", (2) "Replace the worst offenders", and (3) "Shop locally, eat seasonally".

Vegetarian/Vegan Eating

Go vegetarian/vegan and no one gets hurt!

It is increasingly clear that eliminating, or at least sharply reducing, the production and consumption of meat and other animal products is the single best thing people can do for human health, animal suffering, worker safety, and environmental sustainability.

The editors of World Watch, an environmental magazine, concluded in the July/August 2004 edition that, "The human appetite for animal flesh is a driving force behind virtually every major category of environmental damage now threatening the human future - deforestation, erosion, fresh water scarcity, air and water pollution, climate change, biodiversity loss, social injustice, the destabilization of communities and the spread of disease." The November/December 2009 issue of World Watch stated that recent evidence and new calculations reveal that the livestock industry is responsible for 51% - a majority! - of greenhouse gases. Lee Hall, the legal director for Friends of Animals, is more succinct when she states that at the root of almost "every great environmental complaint there's milk and meat."

Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize laureate along with Al Gore, and head of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, states that the mass production of meat is a major factor contributing to global warming and that, "The single [most effective] action that a person can take to reduce carbon emissions is vegetarianism." We ignore or deny this critical yet simple information at our individual and collective peril. LOVE is the most powerful antidote, by far, against global warming!

We also need LOVE for our invironment, the environment inside of us. Vegetarians live six to ten years longer, on average, than those who eat meat. Vegetarians have much lower rates of heart disease, cancer, and stroke - the three leading causes of death in the U.S. - as well as more protection against diabetes, obesity, osteoporosis, hypertension, gout, kidney diseases, and even Alzheimer's.

What you eat on a daily basis is actually more important than what you buy, save, recycle, or even drive. Eating the Standard American Diet (SAD) is like packing old light bulbs, single-use plastics, styrofoam, hormones, antibiotics, tar, toxic chemicals, chainsaws, SUVs and other deadly clunkers into your pantry all the time. Get the junk out of your pantry and diet! Get the junk out of your community and environment! Get the junk out of your body! LOVE yourself and your family!

If you're not ready to fall madly in LOVE, it's OK to flirt with it. LOVE doesn't have to be all or nothing and it doesn't have to be all at once. You can play with your food, but make sure to have fun.

LOVE can also stand for Living Opposed to Violence against the Environment. We can stop the violence in the world by stopping the violence on our plates. More LOVE means more peace, inside each of us, within our families, and around the world, for this and future generations. Besides being more compassionate toward animals and much healthier for you and your family, as well as lifting your spirit and boosting your energy, LOVE can help save the world by preserving and protecting our precious planet.

As they say in the 12-step programs, it's about "Progress not perfection." What path are you on? In which direction is the Cupid's Arrow of your life pointed?

Spread the LOVE!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Dr. Mercola and Jeffrey Smith Talk GMOs (part 1 of 4)


Genetically Modified Foods Could Cause Long-Term Sterility
Warning: This Common Food Causes Devastating Offspring Defects in New Research Study
By Dr. Joseph Mercola, May 22, 2010
Straight to the Source

Editor's Note: Click here to see more on the results of the study, and pictures of some of the more bizarre outcomes.

In this interview, Jeffrey Smith, author of the bestseller Seeds of Deception, and Genetic Roulette, discusses the latest GMO research findings coming out of Russia, which adds fuel to previous concerns about long-term sterility and other highly bizarre physiological side effects.


Institute for Responsible Technology, "Genetically Modified Soy Linked to Sterility, Infant Mortality"

The Voice of Russia April 16, 2010

Grist April 20, 2010

Jeffrey Smith Interview Transcript (PDF)

Huffington Post April 20, 2010

Dr. Mercola's Comments:

I strongly believe that one of the most obvious clues about the danger of GMO foods are that just about EVERY species of animal that is offered a GMO food versus a non-GMO food will avoid the GMO one. Many times they will do this to the point of starvation, as they have an intuitive sense of the danger of this food.

Please listen to the interview as Jeffery expands on this point in great detail. It's one you can use to effectively share with your friends and family who are not yet convinced of the dangers of GMO foods.

If you have more time with them you can bring up the sterility argument that is expanded upon with these new research findings. You might have read this before that genetically modified foods may cause sterility in future generations but now the latest research from Russia provides shocking confirmation of this potential.

This study, which was conducted by the Russian equivalent of the US National Association for Gene Security, has not yet been published, but its findings were recently announced. It's anticipated that the details will be published later this summer.

Russian Scientists Find Third Generation of Hamsters Sterilized by GM Soy

The release of this new information provides yet another health risk, and confirmation on earlier problems related to fertility, birth weight of offspring, and infant mortality.

In this feeding study they used hamsters, an animal which has not been previously featured in GM safety studies.

One group of hamsters was fed a normal diet without any soy whatsoever, a second group was fed non-GMO soy, a third ate GM soy, and a fourth group ate an even higher amount of GM soy than the third.

Using the same genetically modified (GM) soy that is produced on over 90 percent of the soy acreage in the US, the hamsters and their offspring were fed their respective diets over a period of two years, during which time the researchers evaluated three generations of hamsters.

First they took five pairs of hamsters from each group, each of which produced about seven to eight litters each, totaling about 140 animals.

At first all went well, but serious problems became apparent when they selected new pairs from the offspring.

The first problem was that this second generation had a slower growth rate and reached their sexual maturity later than normal.

Monday, May 24, 2010

C'est Magnifique! Vive la France!!!!!

Published on Monday, May 24, 2010 by BBC News
French Farmers Turn Champs-Elysees Into Huge Farm
One of Paris's main thoroughfares, the Champs-Elysees, has been covered in earth and turned into a huge green space in an event staged by young French farmers.

Visitors stroll on the Champs-Elysees avenue in Paris. The road has been turned into a huge farm with plots of plants, trees and flowers laid out on Paris' most famous avenue to focus attention on France's crisis-hit agriculture. (AFP/Fred Dufour) They want to highlight their financial problems, caused by falling prices for agricultural produce.

Plants, trees and flowers were brought in by lorry overnight to transform the avenue into a long green strip.

More than a million people are expected to visit over the next two days.

The event, which cost 4.2m euros (£3.6m; $5.3m) to stage, has been organised by the French Young Farmers (Jeunes Agriculteurs) union over the holiday weekend in France.

It will serve as a showcase of farm production from sheep breeding to crop growing.

The union, which represents some 55,000 farmers under the age of 35, wants to impress on the public - and the government - the efforts required to produce what goes on the table.

"It's about re-establishing contact with the public about what our profession is and what they want from it," William Villeneuve, president of the Jeunes Agriculteurs, said on Friday.

"Do they want the cheapest products in the world or do they want products that pay producers?" he added.

Only in France are you ever likely to see such a monumental mobilisation of creativity and resources, all in the cause of that beloved but beleaguered figure: the French farmer, says the BBC's Hugh Schofield in Paris.

Overnight, 8,000 plots of earth have been brought into central Paris, and on Sunday morning, from the Arc de Triomphe down, the Champs-Elysees is one vast green space.

Some 150,000 plants have been installed - including 650 fully grown trees - representing agricultural produce from the marshes of the Camargue to the plains of Picardy, our correspondent adds.

Visitors will be able to buy boxes of the earth for their own gardens.


Sunday, May 23, 2010


Let Them Eat Twinkies
Published on Saturday, May 22, 2010 by

by Linh Dinh
The working class and peasants of Thailand were protesting a system that had repeatedly disenfranchised them, most notably in the ouster of populist Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. Streaming in from the provinces, these men, women and children set up camp in the heart of commercial Bangkok. Disrupting business as usual, they had specific demands. After two months, they were finally routed by troops and armored cars, but not before they could torch Central World, one of the biggest shopping malls on earth, and the Thai Stock Exchange. Through all this popular discontent then bloody crackdown, there was not a peep from Washington, but there's no surprise, really. Whatever its rhetoric, the U.S. has always backed business interests over human or worker's rights. Our labor history is proof enough of this.

When Washington does get into a tizzy over a protest overseas, one can assume that it has a hidden agenda, as in regime change, for example. One may also surmise shenanigans from our C.I.A. After the Iranian election of 2009, Washington was frothy with indignation, yet after the Mexican vote in 2009, it looked the other way, though that was right next door. Millions of Mexicans supported Lopez Obrador, including 100,000 who filled Zocalo Square for his unofficial swearing in. Our media, predictably, paid almost no attention. Lopez who? All you need to know about this dude is that he was anti-NAFTA, which meant that Obrador was against big business, apple pie, baseball and probably your grandma. A Commie scumbag, in short.

Washington doesn't dig small time Commies. It hangs with real Reds. That's why China is our biggest trading partner. Big business prefers a hard line regime, whether left or right, because it foregoes unions, ensuring cheap labor. Without worries about safety and environmental standards, profits will swell. A non-democratic government also can't be voted out, which translates into "stability" in empire linguistics.

What's so bad about NAFTA anyway? Isn't that "free trade"? It meant we got to dump our subsidized corn onto the Mexican market, bankrupting their farmers, forcing many to sweat inside American owned maquilladoras along the border, until these shut down, leading a bunch to cross into the U.S., where they became the main workforce of our housing bubble. This influx hurt working Americans, of course, including a schmuck like me who house painted for nine years, but it was great for business, and that's all that mattered from the perspective of Washington and Wall Street.

And why do we subsidize corn? Because it benefits Coke, Pepsi, McDonald's, Burger King, Taco Bell and Kentucky Fried Chicken, etc. Our livestock are stuffed with almost nothing but corn and corn syrup has become ubiquitous in this land of 30% obesity, highest in the known and probably unknown universe. Maize welfare also fattens Monsanto, maker of Agent Orange, PCBs and rBGH growth hormones, among other toxic goodies.

Current news item: Haitian farmers are threatening to burn 60,000 seed sacks donated by Monsanto. Haiti, one must remember, is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, where the most destitute sometimes resort to consuming mud pies. In 2008, Mexico returned a shipment of U.S. beef after too much copper was discovered in the meat, but this copper fortified beef was promptly sold to American shoppers. Isn't Mexico an increasingly lawless land where drug gangs run rampant? They still have enough sense, however, to respect what goes into their bodies, just like the Haitians, who would rather eat mud than Monsanto, apparently. Who could blame them?

It's no secret that food in very poor societies is often exceptional, at least to Americans, since we're so far removed from what's natural or even sane. We even feed our cattle chicken poop, for Gaia sake. The next time you're in a Third World country, boil an egg just to marvel at that bright orange yolk. Their secret? They don't resort to factory farming.

Sometimes I wonder if the relative complacency of our working class comes from the fact that most of us have ready access to cheap grub? I mean, just two hours of minimum wage grunting will earn me a tub of Frankenstein chicken, some green stuff and a gallon of fizz. After a dessert Twinkie or two, or maybe ten, I just don't feel like penning a protest poem or joining the local militia.

Unlike the Thai resistance, recent American protests are more about goofy display than power struggle. Our marches are parades that accomplish nothing. Tired of that, we heckle. In the last Thai election for their House of Representatives, seven different parties won seats. This is not at all unusual for any country other than America. With two parties that serve the same military industrial complex, our elections are more about style than substance, but of course you know that already. Like Jesse Ventura observed, our political establishment is no different than professional wrestling.

Failing to connect the dots, many working class Americans are venting their anger at illegal immigrants, when both groups are victims of the same power elites. Our borders have not been porous because of charity or ineptitude, but by design. All bosses, whether CEO or pimp, want the cheapest labor, wouldn't you? If they can't get it from down the street, they'll go to the end of the world, or let the world come in. This ruthless logic of capital has gone global thanks to the availability of cheap oil, but this pipeline is finally wheezing out, and in a horrific mess, too, as is clear. Minimize cost, maximize profit, squeeze, deceive, wreck entire societies at will or through negligence, and should things get too dicey, the cabana boys and girls inside the Beltway will bail you out. Cabinet is in session!

Linh Dinh is the author of two books of stories and five of poems, with a novel, Love Like Hate, scheduled for July. He's tracking our deteriorating socialscape through his frequently updated photo blog, State of the Union.