Archive for February, 2011

Stop Northern Pass: The Power of Peaceful Protest

February 12, 2011

Egyptians have given us a valuable lesson in the power of peaceful protest to promote public health and well being. All ages and walks were represented amidst that sea of young people, a strong expression of solidarity. Lots of homemade banners made their mission clear.

 As a nation, we have become increasingly caught up in what Philip Slater called The Pursuit of Loneliness. One in every 4 households now consists of one person only. Even in a family, we each have our own car, cell phone, TV; the list goes on. We all complain about Congress, no matter what party is in, and we worry about freedoms we’ve taken for granted for years that are now slipping away.

 For years, we’ve kept ourselves asleep at the switch re: our food, air and water supplies. We have a long list of conditions spawned by monkeying around with what makes money for corporations, including health facilities, while we groan through health challenges. Now, we risk taking on the health effects of electromagnetic pollution.

 However, the value of standing up to this potential loss of yet another freedom is two-fold. First, we can avoid the health problems generated by the Northern Pass and second, we can reclaim a sense of solidarity, of belonging as fellow citizens who need each other to reclaim freedom to live healthy lives.

 Freedom is not something we can claim alone. It is totally dependent on working together. Readers have asked, “Where can I sign a petition? How can I get involved?” The petition was drawn up by Peter Martin and can be found at martin003@gmail.com.

The website www.LIVEFREEORFRY.ORG  keeps us posted on peaceful gatherings and our homemade STOP NORTHERN PASS signs, placed in strategic locations, will strengthen our message (yes, “our”; it’s from all of us.)

 We need to recycle those building scraps of materials in our barns or garages into signs. We need to check with our neighbors and friends for materials, for orange and black paint to share, and to have sign painting parties. We need to attend the Environmental Impact meetings in our areas and bring our friends.

 This may well be the first big step we take to reclaim freedom for ourselves, our families and our neighbors to be able to enjoy great health. Remember: ‘As New Hampshire goes, so goes the nation.’ Think about that.

Accentuate the Positive

February 12, 2011

Food, Inc. continues to air its message since the film first stunned Americans in 2008 with a wide eyed look at the effect that chemical companies, especially Monsanto, are having on our food chain.

 The good news is that Americans are beginning to wake up, and the rest of the world in general also seems to be waking up when it comes to determining who controls the growing and managing of our food supply, even as our own government is slow to represent us.

 Today, there is more concern that workers have healthy conditions in which to do their jobs. Abattoirs are cleaning up their act. They’ve come a long way since Upton Sinclair, and later Jeremy Rifkin, wrote about abysmal conditions for man and beast, especially in the beef industry. Vegans are also concerned that the folks who harvest their fruits and veggies work under healthy conditions. The bottom line = healthier food choices for all of us.

 But Beware! Because our government subsidizes the corn sugar in them, ongoing sales for the food and drinks that keep us sick are priced cheaply. Some people think they cannot afford to buy foods that are free of chemicals and additives. Yet health care is not free and getting sick means paying for medication, losing work time, risking expensive hospital stays and having little energy for daily living– not exactly cheaper than eating fresh food, free of chemicals, that can keep us healthy from the get go.

 Can a can of soda really compete with an apple, a peach or some other piece of fruit? Yet the soda costs more! The soda not only lacks nutritional value; its can adds to the solid waste we generate, as do the prepackaged foods in endless layers of wrappers, and oversized containers. Sodas generate tooth decay, dental bills, diabetes, obesity, weak bones, and you name it. They don’t generate reliable energy.

 Here’s to making sure we continue to accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative, latch on to the affirmative, and don’t mess with Mister In-Between.

Northern Pass Reverberations

February 6, 2011

Northern Pass Reverberations

As I sat in a meeting organized by the Live Free or Fry group for people who oppose the Northern Pass Project, I realized that keeping each other well will be an even more challenging task if the Pass goes through. An important health factor has to do with our sense of belonging. We need to safeguard our health by joining our efforts together.

 It’s not just the physical/medical problems the Pass will stimulate. We also have to add in the emotional, occupational, recreational and real estate concerns that will affect our health and well being. 

The threat of the Pass is already impacting the building trades. People who have bought property near potential Pass sites, some after years of planning and saving, have put their building projects on hold. We’re already feeling the effects of a potential blight. 

Real estate values next to the power line, already threatened, would vanish. Anyone living near a line whose current job is transferred would be put in the situation of selling low ( if they are lucky enough to even sell), and buying high elsewhere, to find a home of comparable value. Would families be able to afford new opportunities, even within the state, if they could not transfer equal equity?

 What would be the emotional load of people having to deal with increased medical problems and financial inability to move? How many families would end up broken or destroyed? What will happen to the B&Bs and recreation businesses if vacationers would rather kayak, hike, swim, and ski in pristine areas away from power lines?

 How many recreation industry jobs would dry up as people take their business elsewhere? Would the AT, which draws thousands of section and thru hikers each year, need to be rerouted so people can hike in safety? How much would that project cost?

 The Northern Pass project will not bring more power to NH, nor will it decrease the current rates; in Northern NH we’re already paying through the nose on that one! It will put a serious dent in our vital tourist business while ballooning up health expenses. If the Northern Pass folks had our best interests at heart, they’d be putting the line underground or underwater through Lake Champlain and the Hudson.

 It’s time to join together and speak out. Each homemade sign declares our solidarity, our need to keep each other informed; so that we can stop the Pass and continue to Live Free, Healthy and Well.