Food and Water Are the Precious Commodities of the 21st Century
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Jan. 13, 2010 Huffington Post Monsanto's GMO Corn Linked to Organ Failure Study Reveals In a study released by the International Journal of Biological Sciences, analyzing the effects of genetically modified foods on mammalian health, researchers found that agricultural giant Monsanto's GM corn is linked to organ damage in rats.Read more
Dec. 7, 2009 NY Times Millions in U.S. Drink Dirty Water, Records Show More than 20 percent of the nation’s water treatment systems have violated key provisions of the Safe Drinking Water Act over the last five years, according to a New York Times analysis of federal data. That law requires communities to deliver safe tap water to local residents. But since 2004, the water provided to more than 49 million people has contained illegal concentrations of chemicals like arsenic or radioactive substances like uranium, as well as dangerous bacteria often found in sewage. Read more
Oct 30, 2009 The Daily Green 2009 Worst Honey Crop on Record - If you like honey, you should buy it now...and buy a lot! Bee keepers are blaming weather changes for the worst honey harvest ever. Honey in the U.S. is scarce. And scarce seems to cause prices to rise ... the old supply and demand thing. But then there’s the exchange rate -- the U.S. dollar is weak. U. S. honey packers might actually have a better market overseas than at home, so that just might limit further any available product ... demand stays the same, supply becomes even shorter. Prices ... ? So ... in the short run, the price of honey this winter is probably going to go up some. Maybe a lot. And you may not be able to find local honey later this winter.Read more
Oct 17, 2009 Huffington Post 45 foods you can make at home for yourself (but never thought you could) There are many food items that people regularly buy that they could make at home; healthier, cheaper, and tastier. In days past people did not run to the store every time they needed catsup or baking powder, they made what they needed themselves from basic materials. You can do the same. How many of the following items have you made from scratch? Read more
Oct. 13, 2009 Chicago Business News Water Shortage Looms - 2015 is the Tipping Point The Chicago region faces a long-term water shortage that could hit some outlying suburbs by 2015, much sooner than previously anticipated, according to recently updated studies. Projections by the University of Illinois’ Illinois Water Survey show that water supplies that lie under Aurora, the state’s second-largest city, and Joliet soon won’t be able to keep up with population growth. The deep aquifers are “not going to go dry, but it will become cost-inefficient to pump water from them,” said Josh Ellis, a water policy expert at the Metropolitan Planning Council, a Chicago-based regional policy think tank. “2015 is the tipping point.”
Oct. 11, 2009 Fox News via YouTube.com Doctors Say H1N1 Vaccine is More Dangerous than Getting Flu
Oct. 9, 2009 Mercola.com The New Senior Advisor for the FDA is the Former VP of Monsanto! Michael Taylor, a former vice president of public policy and chief lobbyist at Monsanto Company, is the new senior advisor for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Who is Michael Taylor? He is the person who “oversaw the creation of GMO policy,” according to Jeffrey Smith, the leading spokesperson on the dangers of GM foods. Smith continues:
“If GMOs are indeed responsible for massive sickness and death, then the individual who oversaw the FDA policy that facilitated their introduction holds a uniquely infamous role in human history. That person is Michael Taylor. He had been Monsanto's attorney before becoming policy chief at the FDA. Soon after, he became Monsanto's vice president and chief lobbyist.”
The FDA policy being referred to is the 1992 GMO policy, which stated:
"The agency is not aware of any information showing that foods derived by these new methods [genetic engineering] differ from other foods in any meaningful or uniform way."
In reality, there was major concern among FDA scientists that GM foods were in fact different than natural foods, and that their creation could prompt unknown and unpredictable health problems. Along with being a key player in the initial pushing of GM foods onto Americans’ plates (without any required safety studies), Taylor also oversaw the policy regarding Monsanto’s genetically engineered bovine growth hormone (rbGH/rbST). This growth hormone, which has been banned in Canada, Europe, Japan, Australia and New Zealand because of cancer risks and other health concerns, was approved in the United States while Taylor was in charge at the FDA. Smith writes:
“Taylor also determined that milk from injected cows did not require any special labeling. And as a gift to his future employer Monsanto, he wrote a white paper suggesting that if companies ever had the audacity to label their products as not using rbGH, they should also include a disclaimer stating that according to the FDA, there is no difference between milk from treated and untreated cows.”
Taylor’s white paper, which again was untrue as even FDA scientists acknowledged differences in the rbGH milk, allowed Monsanto to sue dairies that labeled their products rbGH-free.
Sept. 18, 2009 Washington Post Just Say No to Antibacterial Burgers Food animal production accounts for 70 percent -- 70 percent! -- of the antibiotics used in the United States. That doesn't even include the antibiotics used for animals that actually get sick. That figure is for "non-therapeutic use" such as growth promotion and disease prevention. The heavy reliance on routine antibiotic use is a byproduct of the way we raise animals for food: packed into dim and dirty enclosures where they live amid their own filth, eat food that they haven't evolved to digest, and are pretty much stacked atop one another. Most human beings I know can hardly spend three hours on a plane without contracting a case of the sniffles. When you give antibiotics to animals meant to become food, however, you're ensuring that antibiotics end up in the food in low but constant doses. That means bacteria are getting more accustomed to the antibiotics. There's good reason to think that this background exposure to antibiotics is contributing to the startling rise in antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Everything from staph to strep to salmonella is exhibiting uncommon resilience in the face of our latest drugs. A 2003 World Health Organization study (PDF) put it pretty starkly: "There is clear evidence of the human health consequences [from agricultural use of antibiotics, including] infections that would not have otherwise occurred, increased frequency of treatment failures (in some cases death) and increased severity of infections." Even stronger was the title of a 2001 New England Journal of Medicine editorial: "Antimicrobial Use in Animal Feed -- Time to Stop." Read more
Sept. 18, 2009 NY Times Health Issues Abound as Farm Runoff Fouls Wells All it took was an early thaw for the drinking water here to become unsafe. There are 41,000 dairy cows in Brown County, which includes Morrison, and they produce more than 260 million gallons of manure each year, much of which is spread on nearby grain fields. Other farmers receive fees to cover their land with slaughterhouse waste and treated sewage .In measured amounts, that waste acts as fertilizer. But if the amounts are excessive, bacteria and chemicals can flow into the ground and contaminate residents’ tap water.Read more
Sept. 17, 2009 Popular Mechanics The New Homesteaders: Off the Grid and Self Reliant
The specters of financial crisis, climate change, uncertain energy reserves and a fragile food supply loom large for the new generation of survivalists. Lately, homesteaders of all political stripes have settled upon a common concern: globalization. The shock waves of any crisis—for instance, the subprime meltdown—now spread far, fast and wide. Many doubt that major institutions can be counted upon to save the day. “You’re on your own, your job is at risk, and a lot of the commodities you rely upon are vulnerable to disruption,”read more
Sept. 14, 2009 Huffington Post Are Shower Heads Dangerous to Your Health Shower filters may be the answer: In what may be the scariest shower news since Alfred Hitchcock's "Psycho," a study says showerheads can harbor tiny bacteria that come spraying into your face when you wash. People with normal immune systems have little to fear, but these microbes could be a concern for folks with cystic fibrosis or AIDS, people who are undergoing cancer treatment or those who have had a recent organ transplant. Researchers at the University of Colorado tested 45 showers in five states as part of a larger study of the microbiology of air and water in homes, schools and public buildings. They report their shower findings in Tuesday's edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. In general, is it dangerous to take showers? "Probably not, if your immune system is not compromised in some way," lead author Norman R. Pace says. "But it's like anything else – there is a risk associated with it." The researchers offer suggestions for the wary, such as getting all-metal showerheads, which microbes have a harder time clinging to. Still, showerheads are full of nooks and crannies, making them hard to clean, the researchers note, and the microbes come back even after treatment with bleach. Read more
Sept. 12, 2009 NY Times Toxic Well and Tap Water Threatening Health of Americans Across the nation, the system that Congress created to protect the nation’s waters under the Clean Water Act of 1972 today often fails to prevent pollution. The New York Times has compiled data on more than 200,000 facilities that have permits to discharge pollutants and collected responses from states regarding compliance. Information about facilities contained in this database comes from two sources: the Environmental Protection Agency and the California State Water Resources Control Board. The database does not contain information submitted by the states. Find polluters in your state.
August 26, 2009 Planet Green 25 Things You Might Not Know About Water The world is currently in a water crisis. One out of six people worldwide doesn't have access to clean water. Every year, 2 million people die of diseases caused by a lack of clean water.
August 9, 2009 Huffington Post Time Lapse Video of Extreme Ice Loss Show Vivid Evidence of Climate Change Photographer James Balog unveiled some amazing time-lapse videos of extreme ice loss during the recent TED conference. The images are from the Extreme Ice Survey: "a network of time-lapse cameras recording glaciers receding at an alarming rate, some of the most vivid evidence yet of climate change."
August 8, 2009 NY Times Climate Change Seen as Threat to US Security
WASHINGTON — The changing global climate will pose profound strategic challenges to the United States in coming decades, raising the prospect of military intervention to deal with the effects of violent storms, drought, mass migration and pandemics, military and intelligence analysts say. Such climate-induced crises could topple governments, feed terrorist movements or destabilize entire regions, say the analysts, experts at the Pentagon and intelligence agencies who for the first time are taking a serious look at the national security implications ofclimate change.
July 22, 2009 Civileats.com Former Bank Reborn into New Heirloom Seed Bank With the economy in shambles and banks closing across the country, a ray of light has appeared: a former bank in Petaluma, California has been reborn as a new heirloom seed bank. And the timing could not be better. From the White House garden to your garden, growth in the good food movement, coupled with a recession and concerns about food safety, has led to a resurgence in seed sales and revived interest in growing, canning and cooking your own. Imagine: out of the failing financial institutions languishing on the Main Streets of America, real economic stability and prosperity taking root and blooming. Empty banks across the country could be transformed into warehouses of independence and sustainability. Read more
July 20, 2009 Financial Times Drug Groups to Reap Billions from Swine-Flu
Some of the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies are reaping billions of dollars in extra revenue amid global concern about the spread of swine flu. Analysts expect to see a boost in sales from GlaxoSmithKline, Roche and Sanofi-Aventis when the companies report first-half earnings lifted by government contracts for flu vaccines and antiviral medicines. Read more
July 15, 2009 McClatchy California Tax Board: Legalizing Marijuana Could Generate $1.4 Billion California could see a nearly $1.4 billion per year increase in state revenues were it to legalize marijuana, the state Board of Equalization says in an analysis of pending legislation to to do that. The bill (Assembly Bill 390) by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco, is still awaiting its first committee hearing and is likely not to be considered until next year. It would impose not only sales taxes but a $50 per ounce fee on marijuana sales, which would be licensed by the state much as alcoholic beverages are regulated. Today, although considered illegal by federal authorities, California allows limited sales of marijuana for medicinal purposes, subject to local control, in accordance with a ballot measure approved by voters in 1996. And the state imposes sales taxes on those pot transactions. But wider sales would, under the Ammiano bill, be dependent on federal permission. California is considered by federal authorities to be the nation's top marijuana producing state with 8.6 million pounds a year, valued at $13.8 billion, making it one of the state's largest agricultural crops, much of which is exported to other locales.
July 14, 2009 Bloomberg.com Too Much Grain and Not Enough Chemicals, HUH? Siberian farmer Alexei Maslov has too much grain and not enough cash for next year’s weed-killer. The solution to both concerns may be good old-fashioned barter.“Half of the silos in the region are still filled with last year’s grain, so there is barely room for the new crop,” says the 56-year-old farmer in the Novosibirsk region. “It would solve part of the problem if some of this grain already had an owner.”Syngenta AG, the world’s biggest maker of agricultural chemicals, has a potential solution that takes a page from the past. The Swiss company and Germany’s Bayer AG and BASF SE are increasingly turning to barter, accepting crops instead of cash. They’ve used the tactic in South America to guard against payment risk from credit-starved farmers, and they’re considering the same approach in eastern Europe.
June 28, 2009 Washington Post Woman Now Run 1 Out of Every 10 American Farms; More Organic Farming Julie Stinar once worked with some of the top names in fashion: Donna Karan, Giorgio Armani, Tracy Reese. Now she works with some completely different brand names: Cornish and Poulet Rouge chickens and Red Devon cattle. Stinar is the owner of Evensong Farm in Sharpsburg, Md., and an example of the changing face of American farming. Women always played important roles on the family farm. They kept the books, milked the cows and fed the children, often juggling another part-time job while the men worked the fields. Sometimes, they ran the farm after their husbands or fathers died. But increasingly, women such as Stinar are turning to farming on their own. According to the 2007 U.S. Census of Agriculture released this year, more than one in every 10 U.S. farms is run by a woman. In Maryland, the number of farms in which a woman is the principal operator jumped 16 percent between 2002 and 2007. In Virginia, female-run farms also grew by 16 percent. Read more
June 13, 2009 The Business Insider How to Get Solar Power on Your Farm or Ranch for Cheap I’ve been working on a side project for one of the ranches I work with to install some form of renewable energy. Due to the ranch’s location, we have opted to install a photovoltaic (PV) solar energy production system. The ranch gets lots of sun every year, and less predictable wind.Many of you with livestock are probably familiar with small scale PV systems that charge the batteries that electrify your cattle/livestock fences. Some of you might also have small solar panels on metering and reporting systems for outlying wells, your RTK systems, or weather stations. In my case, we are looking at a much larger system for the entire ranch including 3 homes and a large implementation and equipment barn. Read more
June 2009 Scientific American Being Green: 11 Environmentally Friendly Habits Sending kids outside, household chemicals explained, promiscuous boaters, and more
May 25, 2009 Huffington Post Financial Crisis Spawns "Suburban Survivalists" Six months ago, Jim Wiseman didn't even have a spare nutrition bar in his kitchen cabinet. Now, the 54-year-old businessman and father of five has a backup generator, a water filter, a grain mill and a 4-foot-tall pile of emergency food tucked in his home in the expensive San Diego suburb of La Jolla. Wiseman isn't alone. Emergency supply retailers and military surplus stores nationwide have seen business boom in the past few months as an increasing number of Americans spooked by the economy rush to stock up on gear that was once the domain of hardcore survivalists. These people snapping up everything from water purification tablets to thermal blankets shatter the survivalist stereotype: they are mostly urban professionals with mortgages, SUVs, solid jobs and a twinge of embarrassment about their newfound hobby. From teachers to real estate agents, these budding emergency gurus say the dismal economy has made them prepare for financial collapse as if it were an oncoming Category 5 hurricane. They worry about rampant inflation, runs on banks, bare grocery shelves and widespread power failures that could make taps run dry. Read more
May 25, 2009 Planet Green How You Can Save 60 Gallons of Water Today!
I used to have this roommate who would take hour-long showers, and anything I can do to make her look bad is pleasing to me. My motives may not be pure, but at least I'm fighting for a good cause. Right? OK, kidding aside. Living in this dry Californian city fascinates me. There is no weather or rain here. Growing up in Iowa, all people ever did was talk about the weather and the rain. I miss talking about weather, so I'm talking about the Californian equivalent, water conservation.
May 18, 2009 Planet Green Divert, Preserve and Reserve Water with a Water Catchment System Water catchment helps divert water, conserve it and prevents runoff and erosion. The simplest and most common form of rainwater catchment is the rain barrel. Most domestic rain barrels are attached to the downspout. When it rains, water dribbles down your shingles and into your gutters. From there, it goes down the drainpipe and into the barrel. Other forms of water catchment include cisterns, artificial ponds and rain gardens. Water catchment systems have three major functions: To divert water, to conserve water and to prevent run-off. If you live in a place like Seattle, you are probably more concerned with diverting water and preventing run-off than you are with conserving it. (Of course, you are still concerned with water conservation.) Read more
2009 Food & Water Watch Take Action! Protect Your Right to Water. If you don't speak out, our access to clean, safe, affordable water is at risk. With two-thirds of the world’s population expected to run short of fresh drinking water by 2025, water is being referred to as “the oil of the 21st century.” Around the world, multinational corporations are parlaying the misery of our water-starved regions into profits for their stockholders and executives. Many public utilities are struggling financially to meet federal clean water standards and to maintain and modernize water systems. So when cash-strapped communities are unable to make necessary water upgrades, private companies persuade them to sell off their public water systems. Communities that have experimented with privatization have found that it does not solve their water woes. In fact, many private companies are providing worse service at a higher cost than most public utilities.
April 20, 2009 Huffington Post US Water Contaminated With Pharmaceuticals U.S. manufacturers, including major drugmakers, have legally released at least 271 million pounds of pharmaceuticals into waterways that often provide drinking water _ contamination the federal government has consistently overlooked, according to an Associated Press investigation. Hundreds of active pharmaceutical ingredients are used in a variety of manufacturing, including drugmaking: For example, lithium is used to make ceramics and treat bipolar disorder; nitroglycerin is a heart drug and also used in explosives; copper shows up in everything from pipes to contraceptives. Federal and industry officials say they don't know the extent to which pharmaceuticals are released by U.S. manufacturers because no one tracks them _ as drugs. But a close analysis of 20 years of federal records found that, in fact, the government unintentionally keeps data on a few, allowing a glimpse of the pharmaceuticals coming from factories. Read more
April 2009 Scientific American Solving the Mystery of the Vanishing Bees - Save the Honeybee! Millions of beehives worldwide have emptied out as honeybees mysteriously disappear, putting at risk nearly 100 crops that require pollination. Research is pointing to a complex disease in which combinations of factors, including farming practices, make bees vulnerable to viruses. Taking extra care with hive hygiene seems to aid prevention. And research into antiviral drugs could lead to pharmaceutical solutions. Read more
April 15, 2009 Planet Green Grow 100 lbs. of Potatoes in a 4 Ft. Box Who says you need a huge garden to grow a whole lot of potatoes? Nobody—at least not anymore. Turns out you can grow up to 100 lbs of potatoes, and all you need is a tiny 4 sq ft box. To build your very own high yield potato box, all you'll need is 4 ft worth of space, some lumber, seed potatoes, and some green TLC. Read more
July 25, 2008 World Net Daily Is The Government Secretly Stockpiling Food? 'These circumstances certainly raise red flags'. A Wall Street Journal columnist has advised people to "start stockpiling food" and an ABC News Report says "there are worrying signs appearing in the United States where some … locals are beginning to hoard supplies." Now there's concern that the U.S. government may be competing with consumers for stocks of storable food. Read more
2005 Chattooga Conservancy Monsanto Re-engineers Nature Percy Schmeiser and his wife saved seeds from their Canadian canola farm for forty years. They had effectively developed a strain of canola that was perfectly adapted to their locale, requiring less herbicides and pesticides than other conventional seeds would have needed. But in 1998 Schmeiser noticed something strange about his crop. He sprayed the popular herbicide Roundup on stray canola plants near a telephone pole, but the plants didn’t die. The huge biotech corporation Monsanto got wind of Schmeiser’s Roundup resistant crop and paid his farm an uninvited visit. Without consent Monsanto tested the canola and determined it contained patented genes. In August of that year Monsanto filed a statement of claim against Schmeiser demanding a $15,000 "technology fee." Monsanto is the same company that developed Roundup. They are also the world’s foremost producer of genetically modified grains. Among their patents is Roundup Ready canola. It was developed to allow farmers to spray Roundup in their fields without damaging the crop. Read more
Organic Consumers.org Millions Against Monsanto Campaign Join OCA's Campaign to Mobilize One Million Consumers to End Monsanto's Global Corporate Terrorism. Support Schmeiser, Nelson and hundreds of other farmers who are being forced to pay Monsanto to have their fields contaminated by genetically modified organisms.