You’ve probably heard of this guy already here or here, but if not, Daniel Suelo deserves a shout-out. He’s lived 9 years in a cave in Utah, surviving on dumpster diving, foraging and occasionally hunting, and he blogs about it here.
The BBC reports on the rising cost of basic staples, such as wheat, soy, rice and corn. Surprisingly, corn is the least affected of those mentioned. For the last few months, corn used for biofuel has been blamed for the violence and protests over the cost of food. It was said that the land cleared for the biofuel production was leaving less room to grow food, and while this is true, it is the least liable of the trifecta affecting food prices.
The main culprits?
Increased population (It is estimated to reach 9 Billion by mid-century)
Increased Wealth in China and India (The trade and technology booms have hugely increased the number of wealthy- even middle class- citizens. This means they are adding meat, dairy and grains to their diets that may not have been before)
The World According to Monsanto is a new French documentary by Marie- Monique Robin.
In the news yesterday was a related article at BBC about the resilience (read monstrosities) that are GM crops.
This is a long video, but it does a great job of digging deep and offering both sides of arguments. There are so scary realities facing the next generation. Will we have any control over our food? Will any food be free of GM? This video suggests the answer is no.
The company Monsanto, most famous for Roundup, entered the next phase in world domination of food sources when they introduced soybeans that were RoundUp resistant. So, farmers buy their seeds from them, then they buy their presticides from them. Eeek. RoundUp has been proven to be horribly toxic, causing cancer and skin lesions, and animals and people exposed to the GM foods have shown gentic deformities in their children and wide spread cancer.
but by far the biggest concern is how their GM crops are cross contaminating every crop on earth. In other words, soon there will be nothing but GM foods, even in countries that specifically banned them.
Here’s a clip:
A new study published by Tel Aviv University suggests that prolonged cellphone use, especially while next to the users head, has been linked with salivary gland and brain tumors. There have been reports of this nature before, but because of the dormant tendancy of brain cancers, the results of studies were often hard to track.
The researchers suggest always using your hands-free device or at least limiting the number and length of calls. It also suggests that people in rural areas, where reception is low are particularly at risk due to the amount of radiation emitted by the phone to maintain reception.
Here’s another site with the top ten emitters of radiation in the US phone market.
In true Bush fashion, the Washington Post reports how the administration is making it impossible to add species to the list.
Controversies have occasionally flared over Interior Department officials who regularly overruled rank-and-file agency scientists’ recommendations to list new species, but internal documents also suggest that pervasive bureaucratic obstacles were erected to limit the number of species protected under one of the nation’s best-known environmental laws.
The documents show that personnel were barred from using information in agency files that might support new listings, and that senior officials repeatedly dismissed the views of scientific advisers as President Bush’s appointees either rejected putting imperiled plants and animals on the list or sought to remove this federal protection.
What will the world look like with half of the species we see today? Will the rest of nature be able to counter balance the shift?
One consequence is that the current administration has the most emergency listings, which are issued when a species is on the very brink of extinction.
And some species have vanished. The Lake Sammamish kokanee, a landlocked sockeye salmon, went extinct in 2001 after being denied an emergency listing, and genetically pure Columbia Basin pygmy rabbits disappeared last year after Interior declined to protect critical habitat for the species.
I found a good little chart over at awesome.goodmagazine. It features which multinational corporations get your seemingly organic dollars. I had seen similar ones before, but this one is really easy to read.
From my home state, Green Mountain Cofee, “The Fair Trade, Organic and Signature Coffee.”
I really love coffee and I have tried a lot of brands and shops, but when it comes to making it at home, there is none better, in my book!
For over 25 years, we have been on a deliberate journey to create and sustain a values driven company that views profit as a means to achieve a higher purpose…Our vision is for all businesses, especially ours, to be agents for positive change in the world. Our long-term viability as a business is inextricably linked to the ecological and social viability of the communities where we work. We embrace our economic and moral obligation to do business that creates opportunity, stability and hope.
From their site:
Positive Community Impact
Empowered by the economic stability provided by Fair Trade, members of the COSURCA coffee cooperative in Colombia successfully prevented the cultivation of more than 1,600 acres of coca and poppy, used for the production of illicit drugs.
In Papua New Guinea, the AGOGA cooperative, is investing in a medical team to meet the healthcare needs of its isolated rural community.
In the highlands of Guatemala, indigenous Tzutuhil Mayans in the La Voz cooperative are sending local kids to college for the first time.
Near Lake Titicaca, in Peru, the CECOVASA cooperative is assisting members from Quechua and Aymara indigenous groups in raising coffee quality and transitioning to certified organic production.
We’ve talked alot about water and it’s relationship to us and our bodies, which only makes the issue of fresh water scarcity that much more terrifying. 70% of the earth is covered in water. Less than 1% of that is drinkable and of that 1%, much of that is poisoned or horded and diverted by corporations.
Here are some more interesting and insightful links and videos on the topic of water:
Slowly but surely, more people are becoming aware of the double-edge sword that is “organic” and “natural” shopping. While we may sleep better at night, assured of the lack of chemicals and “better” quality food and product we bought, the real problem lies in our consumption habits. Going green is great. Buying green is great, but we still need to re-think what we “NEED.”
Here is a funny spoof ad I found on youtube: