Archive for March, 2011

Choices

March 24, 2011

 Americans have never been moderate in making choices. It’s either all one way or the other.

 Sugar – We decided to look the other way as food companies began loading everything from toothpaste to French fries with sugar to make it “taste good” and lulled us into a fierce dependence on things sweet. Sugar is no longer just the first or dominant ingredient in dessert.

 Antibiotics – When penicillin came in, it too was added to a toothpaste, called Dentocillin, until people began to worry that bacteria would become resistant to it. Researchers went on to develop other antibiotics. People demanded antibiotics for colds and flu, despite the fact that viruses resist them. Some physicians complied mainly to keep their business. Otherwise, clients would find a more “cooperative” doctor. Going overboard meant bacteria kept catching up and becoming immune. Today, people fear hospitalizations for fear they’ll pick up one of the virulent, antibiotic resistant bacterial infections in the hospital.

Diabetes – used to be something rare, has now become a common problem with our obesity epidemic, brought on by our appetite stimulating, sugar laced diet. People used to buy sodas in a liter bottle or a six pack. Now, check the cases moving through supermarket lines.

Shopping carts – were modest sized compared with today’s fare. At a recent trip to Market Basket, I was shocked to see huge carts piled high with boxes of foods guaranteed to not only stuff families with too many questionably nutritious foods, but also generate more trash for our overloaded dumps.

 In this land of plenty, we continue to choose more of everything rather than choose quality foods that actually nourish us and keep us healthy. 

With phones – in just the last fifty years, we’ve gone from party line phones that kept us reliably in touch with what was happening in the community to phones that keep us minutely in touch, connect with the internet, send text messages, and take pictures. We’ve generated a whole new set of health problems as we move onward. Our eyes, ears and brains are being challenged with new conditions from holding electronic gear close to our heads. Some people spend so much time text messaging, they require orthopedic surgery to wrists, hands, and arms as bodies yell for help. 

Daily, 20% off ads appear in my email, encouraging me to buy more of everything with 20% off the inflated prices of everything from office supplies to clothes, appliances and, of course, electronics.

 Our struggle to Stop the Northern Pass may well be the impetus we need for a major turning point in going all out to keep each other well. We’re certainly learning how to band together and encourage everyone’s efforts to claim our rights to good health and our pristine land. Who knows, we may just keep right on cleaning up other issues that threaten our health as well.

Advertisements

Do Legislators Care About Health?

March 20, 2011

On March 17, I was at the State House when the House voted to lower the tax on cigarettes to provide more money for education. Legislators were concerned that people weren’t buying their cigarettes in NH and our revenues were down.

 Part of the money generated by lowering the tax will be used to teach children that smoking is harmful to health. Does anyone see anything wrong with this equation? The vote was 236 to 93. Less than 25% of the legislators voted for health.

 This same legislature will vote on the Northern Pass Project. Every town that has had a scoping meeting so far has, in unison and with record turnouts, petitioned to Stop the Northern Pass Project. Yea for the remnant of legislators who are listening to and petitioning with the citizens!

What I don’t understand is: with 400 legislators, why aren’t the rest of them doing their homework to learn what the Pass will mean for the voters they represent? Why do people in this state have to mobilize to convince the legislators that the Pass is bad news all around? Isn’t this process supposed to happen the other way around?

 Do people in NH have to vote in a whole new slate of legislators in 2012 that will actually represent voters, who will look out for health and safety issues, forest protection, loss of real estate, and tourist industry businesses and jobs? What suggestions have legislators come up with, such as burying the Pass, or other alternatives? How many will say, “No! Not on my watch?”

 What does the state motto, “Live Free or Die,” mean to legislators? Does it mean selling out to Hydro-Quebec? Who gets to live free? And who has to live under the wire?

 As a health care person, I have cared for brave little children struggling with leukemia and folks dealing with cancer and I OPPOSE any project that threatens to bring such possibilities to people in NH, and whose sole motivation for an above ground power line is to make bucks for a Canadian company and its lackeys.

 It’s time to take stock of how willing we each are to Keep Each Other Well.

Statewide Support Needed to Stop Northern Pass

March 13, 2011

While it is heartening to see solidarity for stopping the Northern Pass Project among towns bordering the proposed Pass, in order to convince Gov. Lynch to veto the NP, people in towns all over NH need to send in their votes to Stop the Pass.

 While proponents claim it would be too costly to bury the Pass, this week I received the third expensive, (definitely not green) flyer from Northern Pass headquarters depicting happy people at work and play in NH, thanks to the Northern Pass. There certainly seems to be lots of money to spend on advertising, and nothing to spend on burying the line.

 If the Pass goes through, folks may not look so happy – not just because they are guaranteed to lose their job in 3 years, but because their health problems and expenses will stretch their already strained budgets and lifestyle. Please note: on the NP Myths and Facts page, the NP people cannot claim the Pass will not cause health problems.

 Also note the fine print on the glossy, highfalutin flyer. “Any potential reductions or increases in other property values as a result of the addition of NPT are not covered in this report.” My, what a lot of fuzzy areas!

 Then, there’s the picture of a couple of kids playing catch and another of an energetic classroom. For me, those pictures are reminders that the Pass plans to pass close by several schools, exposing lots of our children to electromagnetic radiation that can stimulate health problems for them.

 Here’s a fuzzy area that’s not noted: Requests for tax abatements for property already threatened, when granted, will raise taxes for other owners. 

Given that Gov. Lynch will veto the Pass ONLY If THE MAJORITY OF NH VOTERS SPEAK UP, it’s time to act. Our ability to keep each other well depends also on our efforts to convince friends and family in other parts of the state to let the governor know we ALL don’t want it in NH; we want to claim our health, not threaten it.

 Here’s how you can be part of this effort to claim health for all of us: Contact Gov.Lynch at 1-800-852-3456 or 271-2121.  Keep up to date with what’s happening and how we can each help at www.burynorthernpass.blogspot.com.

Stopping NP Is Just the First Step to Reclaiming Our Health

March 7, 2011

I attended what was billed as an informative presentation by PSNH promoting the Northern Pass Project, held at the Campton Elementary School. As it turned out, the only people who seemed to understand the potential impact of the NP on New Hampshire were sitting in the audience. Following their talk, the presenters prefaced their response to most questions with variations of, “I’m not qualified to answer that question; I’ll have to pass it on to one of our experts.” 

One astute homeowner, who uses no public utilities, was concerned that towers would go right through his property, ruining both his view and property value. The real irony here is that this homeowner uses solar energy and has no wires running to his house. His reward for his minimal impact on the environment would be to have as his view, huge, ugly towers that have nothing positive to do with New Hampshire, much less him. The PSNH presenters suggested to him that if he gave them a wider right of way, the towers wouldn’t have to be 135’ high!!! A long moan from the audience followed. 

On the www.burynorthernpass.blogspot.com  website, Campbell McLaren, MD has a series of articles on the potential health effects of the pass. He noted that “in the Myth & Fact section of the Northern Pass flyer, there is no mention of health risks. They cannot tell us that it is not harmful.” In addition, the projected NP is scheduled to pass within 600 feet of several schools. Is this what we want on our watch?

 Step two will be our efforts to figure out how we can actively pursue other ways of obtaining the energy we need that are in harmony with the environment. We know that above ground power lines are bad news as research continues to link them to more health problems for both humans and wildlife, as well as the storm dangers they bring.

 NH is a spunky state where pioneers like this homeowner continue to try new ways, have less interest in keeping up with the Joneses and more interest in living in harmony with other people and the critters.

 The Northern Pass may just be the pivotal point at which we recognize that we need to wake up and take a good look at the so-called amenities that are threatening our health and well being. The more we can all pitch in to this effort to Stop the Pass, and effectively speak up about our common concerns at our March Town Meetings, and Scoping Meetings, the better prepared we’ll be for whatever next steps we need to take.

A Sober Look At Pills

March 5, 2011

I’m old enough to remember a time when the only pill that lived in our house was aspirin. The little glass bottle easily lasted our family at least a year and was only used when we had a cold or flu (usually only once a year.) Then along came WWII and multivitamins and all of a sudden we were all taking vitamin pills daily. When my children came along, sodium fluoride was added, squirted in their orange juice daily.

 Gradually, more pills were added and I was shocked to visit older relatives who carried their plastic medi-minders with them everywhere. Each compartment looked like a little May basket full of different colored and shaped goodies. Today, whadayaknow, I’ve got a little one myself. 

Now, we seem to be coming full circle as these pills are being questioned, one by one. John Ioannidis, a prominent Greek medical researcher, concludes that most of today’s claims and studies are misleading or flat-out wrong, according to the Atlantic Magazine’s David Freedman (Nov. 2010). Not only that, Ioannidis’s research (pills, tests, procedures, etc.) is generally respected by the medical community. He claims that 90% of the published medical information doctors depend on is suspect. 

This puts our health providers in a double bind. Medicine and treatments they prescribe, based on the latest research, may or may not help us but it keeps them out of trouble with insurance and lawsuits.

 Maybe, it’s just time to step up to the plate and decide what we can do to hit a homer for health based on all that other stuff we haven’t told our providers, but which we can see for ourselves. Time to train with the simple stuff: walking or regularly moving whatever still moves in our bodies, drinking plenty of tap water, keeping up with friends and family, throwing ourselves wholeheartedly into a cause that helps us all (like Bury Northern Pass), and all the while, consciously eating foods that give us sustained energy and leave us well satisfied.

 It’s time to decomplicate and get on an even keel. Who knows, we might just wake up, shape up, need few pills, and confidently claim robust health.