Posts Tagged ‘Roundup’

Glyphosate Blues

June 12, 2014

Roundup is the most widely used herbicide/pesticide in the world. Glyphosate, the key ingredient in Roundup, is currently being reviewed by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) to determine whether to place new restrictions on glyphosate, or to take it off the market.

We know that Roundup depletes soils of rich microorganisms and plant diversity, gradually destroying soil nutrients. Proponents claim that Roundup will provide more food to feed the world. However, the world has survived to date through diversity. The reason we plant different varieties of vegetables is to ensure that most of them will survive to reproduce and feed us.

Roundup and GMO sterile seeds are setting us up for a double whammy. The Irish Potato famine was catastrophic because so few varieties of potatoes were planted, and one blight wiped them all out. In Peru, where potatoes are said to have originated, there are hundreds of varieties of potatoes that can stand up to any given blight. Whatever organism emerges to destroy glyphosate, stands to effectively starve the world.

In response to this obvious threat, organic farmers and people concerned with maintaining soil diversity continue to call for food labeling and taking glyphosate off the market.

Monsanto and other GMO corporations continue to focus on the harmlessness of altering genes, while the real culprit that threatens our health may well be glyphosate.

Two activist groups: Moms Across America, and Thinking Moms Revolution, want the EPA to recall Mosanto’s Roundup. They recently convinced the EPA to hear them out and brought lawyers, scientists and advocates from the Organic Consumers Association, Natural Resources Defense council, Consumers Union, Beyond Pesticides, and the Truth-In-Labeling Coalition as back-up. (Google: Moms to EPA: Recall Monsanto’s Roundup)

The Moms related many health problems in their children including autism, and numerous deteriorating conditions. The children’s urine was tested for glyphosate and found to have toxic levels. Nursing mothers were also found to have toxic amounts of glyphosate in their urine that generated infant problems. However, when put on organic diets, their symptoms began to disappear.

Most of the reports I read are anecdotal accounts of individual children and mothers. There is a reason that much larger studies are not happening. Universities, particularly state universities, began as great research institutions for the public. However, Monsanto and other GMO corporations began to muzzle university research several years ago. You will now find science laboratories and programs at universities that are funded by Monsanto and other GMO corps. There is always an important string attached to their funding. The donor, i.e. Monsanto, retains the right to review all research before publication. Guess what research never sees publication? Guess what projects never get funded? Guess which researchers tend to be fired? Hence, we have many citizen groups appealing for sane controls that protect health and promote diversity.

Unless food is labeled in grocery stores, it has probably been GMO seeded and sprayed with glyphosate. Glyphosate is absorbed through the plant roots and on to anyone who eats the plant.

If you want to avoid the problems generated by glyphosate, now is a perfect time to find an Organic or Non-GMO vegetable stand, and just observe the changes in your well- being in addition to enjoying deliciously flavorful foods raised in harmony with the environment while providing jobs for local residents.

 

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There is No Food Shortage!

December 17, 2013

The YouTube film, Genetic Roulette, about GMO Food Labeling, covered all the bases with research we’ll never hear about on television. Television is subsidized by GMO chemical companies like Monsanto and has silencers on any negative research reporting the health, seed, or soil problems generated by GMO food production.

Despite Monsanto’s claims to feed the world, researchers the world over report that there is NO Food Shortage. The world still produces enough food for everyone. The problem is that everyone can’t afford to buy the food. Here are some of the reasons why GMO adds to the food distribution problem.

1. GMO crops don’t stand the test of time. After 4-5 years, GMO seed becomes less resistant to attack, unlike seeds that have been naturally developed for centuries to acclimatize to their specific environment.

2. Roundup depletes the soil of beneficial as well as harmful organisms, leaving a dismal farming future of failed crops.

3. Several studies demonstrate that when livestock are given the choice of GMO or Non-GMO food, they choose the Non-GMO and won’t touch GMO products. The irony is that we humans have a less discriminating sense than livestock, especially when produce is all sugared up.

Most alarming is the long string of health problems aggravated by GMO food consumption: allergies, autism, cancers, skin problems, behavioral problems, gastro-intestinal problems and on and on. We have been consuming GMO food from our supermarkets for about 40 years. Small wonder that GMO foods are most prevalent in the US where we lead the world in sickness and health care costs. Our chemical companies have brought devastating consequences as well to countries on whom they have forced their seed and chemicals.

It is probably no accident that we started needing vitamin pills in the 1940s. Only ten years earlier, Congress was arguing over allowing chemical amendments to be added to our soil. The chemical companies won and have enjoyed producing a continual expansion of chemical fertilizers, pesticides and pills ever since. That combination is a surefire money maker for corporations.

The Indian Ayurvedic system considers the digestive tract the seat of all illness. Hippocrates advised us to “Let food be your medicine.” Time to shake ourselves out of this groggy sleep state and take the necessary steps to label GMO food right out of existence along with the health problems it has spawned. How? If the label doesn’t say Non-GMO or Organic, don’t buy it. Food companies want our business.

Milk companies got the message. When people discovered that growth hormones given to stimulate increased milk production in cows also stimulates the development of huge breasts in young men and women as well, many stopped buying milk products unless they were marked ‘hormone free’. Breast reduction surgery continues to be sought actively. The GMO version of natural bovine growth hormone (BGH), developed by Monsanto,  is called recombinant Bovine Somatotrophin. The next time you buy, milk, ice cream or other milk products, be sure the container says ‘no rbST’, ‘no rBST’, or ‘no BGH’. Several milk companies label their products today.

Now for the rest of the food industry…. It’s up to each of us to call the game.

Diversity, Dirt Quality, Health Quality: Same Thing

August 22, 2013

Civilizations come and go, come and go. The quality of dirt has always been a huge factor whether we’re talking about the Irish Potato Famine or the US Tobacco monoculture that led to soil depletion and the practice of constantly moving westward, buying up new lands to deplete, rather than amending soil with manure. Thomas Jefferson was quoted as saying, “We can buy an acre of new land cheaper than we can manure an old one.”

Today, there’s no west left to move to and what’s left is being steadily destroyed by Roundup Ready monoculture farming. Such farming not only depletes soil of enriching diversity but is developing and spreading Fusarium Blight in wheat and Sudden Death in soya. Soil borne pathogens are developing in response to glyphosate (Roundup). We now have the potential to experience a massive Roundup Famine the world over, not just in the US.

We either learn from past civilizations or just add ourselves to another geological layer to be studied in years to come. We can decide whether our species remains or is fossil fodder. Geologist, David Montgomery’s book, Dirt: The erosion of civilizations, gives us a detailed update.  Also see Brian Fagan’s book, The Great Warming: Climate change and the rise and fall of civilizations.

The Irish Potato Famine was the result of lack of diversity. Peru has thousands of varieties of potato. Ireland had only imported four of them so it was simply a matter of time for blight to develop.

Today, managing healthy dirt is even more crucial as we’ve reached the limit of arable land and cannot afford to turn any more of our forests into farmland if we want enough water to keep people and soil irrigated. In NH, we take our forests for granted. Only 37% of the forests that were here when the settlers arrived remain. We need to sit up and take notice if we want to assure our great-grandchildren’s survival.

Forests mean stored WATER which is predicted to be the subject of future wars unless we can conserve it so there is enough to go around. Corporations are already moving to strip towns of their water by setting up bottling companies, then brainwashing and deluding people into thinking that bottled is the only safe water to drink – and it’s pricey.

Today, wind farms, whose future in NH’s 6 mph winds assures us that the only people benefitting in the long run will be the corporations selling the towers and the power companies selling power at increasingly exorbitant future rates.

As land continues to be gutted to make way for towers of any kind, more of our forest land begins to erode and more of our forest diversity is being lost. More species become extinct. Those of us with farming roots know the value of well composted soil. As people become disconnected from those roots, Roundup and the use of herbicides and pesticides instead of manures will continue to replace healthy farming practices.

Civilization sagas have always been about money for a few people at the expense of the many. How many scenarios do we need to witness before we act? The earliest known agricultural people lived between Iraq and Iran around 1,000-9,000 BCE. Class distinctions arose once everyone no longer had to work the fields in order to eat.

As ever, we have a choice. We can throw up our hands and resign our futures to corporate takeovers. Or we can take an innovative leaf from our Nebraska neighbors who are raising a solar barn in the immediate path of the proposed pipeline that threatens both soil and water. Or a leaf from the Barnstead folks who stopped a bottling company from draining their aquifer. We can join the Sept. 3 Grafton Community Meeting (6:30 PM at the new church) to see what can be done to rein in the ever metastasizing wind farm towers. We can view the film, Northern Trespass, to update ourselves on the proposed NP current status and what it means for NH. (Theatre Schedule at northerntrespass.com.)

Closer to home, we can save and recycle our own compost around our homes and see for ourselves the diversity that develops in our soil. Caring for our own plot raises our consciousness and wakes up creative thoughts about how we can care for the rest of the environment. Fagan encourages us to “think of ourselves as partners with rather than potential masters of the changing natural world around us.”

The Myth of the Holy Cow and Cow Culture Health

September 18, 2011

Humans repeat patterns of cultures so predictably that it’s fascinating to study older cultures, with all their myths, and see where we are in the timeline of repetition. For example, India’s myth of the Holy Cow has nothing to do with the Veda texts. The Vedas contain contradictory passages of ritual slaughter and consumption taboos.

 Cow killing stopped gradually as castes developed in response to population explosion. India needed soil and draft animals for its agrarian society. To dissuade people from eating beef, leaders promoted the Vedic principle of  ‘ahimsa,’ which means non-violence or non-harming. Today, India’s oxen continue to be used 50/50 with tractors and much of the milk is provided by water buffalo, which has a higher fat content than cow’s milk.

The cow myth is currently being strongly debated in India. Historian, Dwijendra Narayan Jha documents the discrepancies in his controversial book,  Holy Cow: Beef  in Indian Dietary Conditions. He notes that by 300 B.C. “the forested Ganges Valley became a windswept semi-desert and signs of ecological collapse appeared; droughts and floods became commonplace, erosion took away rich topsoil.” 

There’s no denying the parallels between conditions that started the Holy Cow belief in India and what is happening in the US today. Our history demonstrates a variation on the same theme. However, it has only taken us a few hundred years to reach a similar state.

When the settlers arrived in 1620, or a few years later, they brought cows with them. Bison were the only bovines here. They were wild, west of the Appalachians, and never lent themselves to domestication. Native Americans valued their lean, high energy meat and used every part of the bison for food, clothes, tools, blankets, and more.

However, the settlers were accustomed to domesticated cows whose meat was marbled with fat due to being tethered, or otherwise restricted from roaming and finding wild grasses. Their meat was tender and the fat stimulated appetites.

The settlers learned to grow corn and fed it as silage to their cattle. Due to the high sugar content of corn, cows became even fatter and their marbled meat was prized; it made excellent gravies for roasted meat. For broiled steaks, the fat was spooned up as a delicacy at the table.

As more people came to America, and the population expanded west, ranchers needed grazing land for their cattle business. Since Native Americans were already there, ranchers decided that if they killed all the bison, the native people would head for Canada and they’d have unlimited land. Many native people who didn’t go to Canada remained and starved to death. Those who survived became customers for ranchers.

Step two was to grow the cattle business. When the herds pulled grass up by the roots, soil began to erode, draining topsoil of its nutrients. Ranchers continued to feed cattle corn, which was difficult for cattle to digest.

By 1960, we began to see sick beef, sick chicken and other sick foods in our markets. People were finding growths and demanded regulations. In 1960, rBGH (recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone) appeared. In cows, it increased their milk production and in steer, their bulk. The industry claimed that there was no interaction between rBGH and human growth hormones and that cooking the meat and pasteurizing the milk destroyed the hormones anyway. Research to the contrary was discounted.

Fifty years later, the evidence is clear as we look around and note that young women, raised on plenty of beef and milk, now struggle with huge breasts. Men are also developing large breasts and both men and women are electing to have breast reduction surgery.

Do we want this trend to continue? Are we headed for a time when our caste system invents a myth to reduce beef consumption for most of our people while continuing to be consumed by the few?

A pivotal time may be eminent as corn rootworm becomes resistant to Monsanto’s GMO seed and Roundup, as it is in Iowa, Illinois and Minnesota.

Currently, giving cattle growth hormones when they are 300 days old and then putting them in holding pens on a steady corn diet for several months, means they are big enough to slaughter at 15 months of age. Grass fed cattle mature in 2-3 years. If genetically engineered corn is allowed to wipe out heirloom strains of corn, and suddenly becomes vulnerable to root rot on a grand scale, we could repeat the same scenario India faced in 300 B.C.

It is time for us to check current research about our foods, and change what can be changed, to keep each other well. In this information age, we can no longer claim, “If we only knew.”

Is It Time to Round Up Roundup?

August 22, 2011

On 8/12/11, Carey Gillam (Reuters) quoted Bob Kremer, a microbiologist with the US Dept. of Agriculture. Kremer said that repeated use of the chemical glyphosate, which is the key ingredient of Roundup herbicide, effects plant roots and may be causing fungal root disease. He further noted that weed resistance is also evident and the genetically modified plants (GMOs) don’t yield more than conventional crops, likely due to root disease problems.

 Other researchers raise possible links between glyphosate and cancer, miscarriages, and other health problems in people and livestock. However, neither the USDA  nor the Environmental Protection Agency appear interested in researching areas of safety and health relative to Roundup use.

 It behooves us to pay attention to the cracks in the GMO approach for global food security.

 First, a little history of the use of our land-grant college system: Originally, state colleges were federally funded for  scientific research to aid farmers and feed millions of Americans. Researchers constructively criticized each other and shared ideas openly. What they learned remained in the public domain; it made the news.

 Then, federal funds were cut drastically to land-grant colleges. Here was an opening for corporations to step in and fund research, and they did. But their funds have strings attached. Corporations decide what topics scientists may research, when they can do it, and by whom the results are approved before publication.

 In 1980, the Supreme court decided that Terminator genes could be patented just as if they were a new machine or toy. This gave public universities the incentive to create marketable products. It also put an end to open sharing of ideas and keeping the public informed in the competition to come up with new gene patents.

 Corporations began donating buildings and faculty positions to universities. At Texas A&M, there is a DOW Chemical Prof. of Biological and Agricultural Engineering position. At Iowa State, Monsanto funded an auditorium that bears its name, as well as the Monsanto Graduate Fellowships. The fellowships focus special emphasis on seed policy for the protection of intellectual property rights. Hello private profit, goodbye public domain.

 In other words, there won’t be money to study non-GMOs. There won’t be money to study adverse health effects of GMO foods. Such results would never be approved by scientists paid by corporations to discredit negative findings. There won’t be money to compare crop yields and cost comparisons over time.

 The university funding list is long and alarming when you consider that Senators Lugar and Casey tried to promote a Global Food Security Act (S. 384) through congress that would provide billions of federal research funds ONLY for GMO research.

 Over 100 scientific organizations petitioned to oppose S. 384 until the bill is made technology-neutral. The bill was not passed but we all need to be on the alert for future strategies. Funding for agricultural research remains compromised.

 With Farmers Markets in full swing, now is a great time to check out how much GMO food we consume. Is it time to round up the Roundup before more problems are created?  The more we question, the sooner we’ll have more reliable choices to keep each other well.