Healing Wounds & Skin Conditions - A Natural Approach
by Craig Klawuhn
If you'd like to heal a wound or other skin condition, supporting your body's natural process can lead to powerful results. Ocean Aid is a patented, all natural wound and skin care product that does just this. It's an "Approved Product" of the American Podiatric Medical Association.
Why Some Popular Products Aren't So Effective
To create an effective wound care product requires more than mixing together natural ingredients. There are many "all natural" products that you'd never want to put near your skin; for example, crude oil is all natural! The trick is to blend natural ingredients that work in harmony with the body and its immune system.
Many of today's wound care products, including those with natural ingredients, are petroleum or ointment based. Such products cut off the air supply to the wound and slow the growth of healthy cells.
Additionally, many available wound care creams and ointments contain antiseptics and disinfectants. We've been taught that these ingredients are valuable; however, they kill all bacteria, including beneficial bacteria and regenerating cells, slowing down the healing process..... more
The Magic of Finding Our Perfect Mirror
How do we fall in love? Falling in love is first to have worked upon ourselves, honed in ourselves.
We cannot fall in love if we are begging illness, if we are begging death, if we are begging sickness, if we are begging poverty, if we are begging victimization. We donít fall in love; we only get relief, but that is not love. We have to work on ourself and we have to love what we are, like we would love us as children. We cannot look at our face in the mirror and say it is too fat or it is too old or it is ugly, my nose is too big or my eyes are too far apart or my eyes are black and blue is pretty, or blue is ugly and black is beautiful.
We canít take ourselves apart like that. We have to love us like we would love a child of ours that suckles at our breast or is protected in our great arms.
We have to learn that propaganda to the world is that the most beautiful people are already found ó they are already found ó and they just simply live up to an ideal of commercialism. As soon as they get one wrinkle in their face, they are out of here and they are no longer beautiful.
That is not your story. You wouldnít cast away your child because your child was not socially beautiful; at least my confidence in you is that you wouldnít do that and that your child is yours. Love is its own beauty. Body parts donít make beauty. Soul and Spirit make beauty. To have a child that comes from your loins, your semen, your eggs, a living, breathing incarnating Spirit that came from you, it is a miracle. Who would not love this child because they were not photogenic or they had big thighs or an oblong face or they didnít have hair or they had too much? If you did, shame on you. Accursed is you, and to these things you will be in your next lifetime. That is a fact. You know why?
Because what we resent and hold secret in this life builds the temple and the model of your next incarnation. I promise you, that is how it works.
What do we do when we fall in love? When we have worked on ourself, when we have rooted out our secrets, found the source of our anger, rooted out our self-guilt, told the truth, because you canít love someone when you are battling your own guilt. To make them be your redeemer is idiocy. You have to do it yourself. You have to clean the vessel. That means that you have put all your attention to you, and you take your life apart and you put it back together again.
Change the way you live, please. Please. Love is not what goes in your mouth. It isnít about how much food you can consume. It isnít about how much sex you have. It isnít about how cool you look. It isnít about how much money you have. It is all waste. It all turns to crap.
Now I will tell you the greatest love affair there ever was is God loving you into life and having the patience to allow you to be alive, you who have squandered it through pizza and beer, squandered it through all of your addictions. Your heart is still beating ó amazing, amazing. Amazing your heart is still beating.
So when we have cured ourself, we know the only reason we are sick is because of our attitude, and it stinks, and we change it. We start being active in our life. We start forgiving ourselves by telling the truth, that we can forgive. We do. We hold no secrets. We have no monkeys on our back. And, oh, yes, the cost of telling the truth is a good relationship, money in the bank, a new truck, a new car, a garden.
Telling the truth has consequences but they ainít nothing compared to what, in the quantum world, that which we hide and suppress we are doomed to become, and the next incarnation will be built exactly on that.
Did you know that all of the years that you have lived in this body that you have had great lives and you have had lousy lives, lousy, bloodsucking, leeching lives? So why is it if you were really great in one life you were such a louse in the next? Because being great in the one life was at the cost of suppressing a lot of things, just like a clever politician does. And in the next life you are that which is suppressed, and it doesnít look so good.
Do you understand?
Look at me. Mind does not die. Mind does not die. Flesh and blood will pass away, but the kingdom of heaven shall never pass away. Mind never passes away. All reincarnation is is the need to keep picking up lives that we can burn out, hoping to get to a conclusion of wisdom. Yes, you didnít hear that. Well, that is about right. And you probably wonít ever realize this till some years after I am gone, and you will go, ďMy God, why didnít I realize that then?Ē
Well, because you didnít want to realize that you are just an ongoing drama machine and you change more costumes than are in a Shakespearean play. You burn out bodies, but the mind goes on. And all we are looking for is that perfect marriage.
So to love, the greatest example is that we are the product of a great parent, not our partner, not our mate. You are the product of a great parent who has allowed you to be here stuffy, limited, ignorant, buffoonish, and on a bandstand preaching about your physical immortality, and all the while the wisdom of the ages is listening to this speech because it has heard it before. It ainít going to happen.
So what happens when we fall in love? Well, it is a lot different than sexual magnetism and it is a lot different than feeling sorry for somebody and it is a lot different than being drawn to a charismatic person. Falling in love is not this at all. I will tell you why.
When we find a person whose mind mirrors our own ó mirrors: their thoughts are our thoughts, our thoughts are theirs, not because they want to be, because they naturally are ó when you find a person who thinks as highly of you as you do of yourself and vice versa, the magnetic power of mind to mind is billions of years transcendent of sexual attraction. When we find our greatest mystery, our greatest hope ó which is ourself ó finally reflected in another one, we are confused; is it the other or is it myself?
It is the same. That is when we love.
Now is it true opposites attract? Well, absolutely. For mating purposes that is a necessity. People are attracted because they are different in the first seal. People are attracted in the second seal because there is a need and a demand. In the third seal people are attracted because someone controls your life so you donít have to. But in the mind we are attracted because we have found the perfect mirror of our own mind. We are turned on with profound respect, admiration ó listen to me ó respect, admiration, all divinity.
This is how we hold the great mind. We donít want to even tarnish this with having sex; we have to get down there in the basement to do it. What turns us on is something about this other person that allows us, as if somebody cleaned the mirror and finally we are seeing ourself, and they vice versa. That is where true love is.
So will you have that? It is my most utmost desire that you have that.
It is my utmost desire for you to find a woman in your life whose mind is like a steel trap, whose wonder is more beautiful in the far reaches and far corners and valleys of thought and concept, mixed in with dreams and will, or with a man ó a man, no matter what he looks like ó to find that man who is handsome and is noble and, as regal-looking as he is, does not fall to his lowest denominator and act like lions in heat, act like hyenas in heat, a pack of dogs doing it in the junkyard. This is a man that, unlike any other man, could easily be these things but is not, but understands them not with a force of control but simply that it is not important, but still that this man who has dreams, whose Spirit speaks through his mouth, whose passion vibrates the beating of his heart, whose concept of humanity, his place with humanity, his understanding, his love of God, his nobility of ó A man who loves truth more than deception is rare. A man who loves greater than his loins is rare. When we find such a man, a noble man ó I mean, they have been all through history. It doesnít mean they are gay.
Just because they donít have sex doesnít mean they are gay, just noble men. And to know their mind, I mean, you have to get your vibration up there to get into that mind. This is a man that is not a victim, a warrior, but a peacemaker at the same time. It is a man who tills his own field, brings in his own food, creates his own kingdom, and is responsible for joy in that kingdom and protecting that kingdom.
That is a great man.
And in that is a quality for all people. They are very rare to find. When you find that man and you recognize him, then maybe you are the lady who long has wanted to find such a man, and maybe you are the lady the man has longed to find, a truly polarized situation that really is a oneness in mind.
When we find out our greatest treasure ó to be in love with another person, to be in love with ourself ó when we are in love with that person, it is because we are in love with ourself. We expect nothing from them that we wouldnít expect of ourselves. We ask not of them anything that we wouldnít ask of ourselves. We expect from them what we expect from ourselves.
Loving yourself is living to your highest moral and spiritual aptitude. That is loving yourself. And to love another person is only equal to what you feel about yourself spiritually.
Copyright © 2003 JZ Knight
*For information on Ramtha and Ramthaís School of Enlightenment, please contact: Ramthaís School of Enlightenment, P.O.Box 1210, Yelm, WA 98597, or call 1.800.347.0439, 1.360.458.5201. http://www.ramtha.com
A Division of JZK, Inc.
P.O. Box 1210, Yelm, WA 98597, USA. Tel: Editor: firstname.lastname@example.org
Bringing Light to Those Without Electricity: The Solar Light Project of Naljor Prison
“We live like kings in the West, rich beyond the wildest dreams of many of the world's less fortunate. Not to give something back is a sign of spiritual and moral poverty.” - Jeffrey Swainhart
Naljor Prison Dharma Service is a nonprofit humanitarian organization founded in 2001. Through our
service, teachings of compassion and nonviolence and a 29-page self-help resource directory are provided to men and women in prison throughout the United States. We also offer the Personal Development Sponsorship Program, supporting the personal and spiritual development and continuing education of prisoners who have no family or friends on the outside. In addition, Naljor Prison Dharma Service combines its efforts with international organizations, implementing humanitarian projects to assist those in need throughout the world.
Through our most recent Solar Light Project, we have been providing high quality solar powered LED flashlights to villagers, living without electricity, in Tibet, Afghanistan and India. We have provided these solar lights free of charge to the Tibetan Children’s Village in India (www.tcv.org), the Shem Women’s Group in Tibet/China (www.shemgroup.org), and to Dr. Steven Boyer of Green Village Schools in Portland, OR for his work of building schools in the villages of Afghanistan (www.greenvillageschools.org). The solar flashlights we provide are a safe, clean, free, efficient, and environmentally responsible form of illumination that offer great benefit for those in developing countries without access to electricity for adequate lighting.
Two Billion People in the World Live Without Access to Adequate Light
There are approximately two billion people living in villages around the world who still rely on kerosene lanterns, candles, and single-use battery flashlights for light at night. These types of light are expensive, dangerous, and very harmful to the environment. They also have a negative impact upon people's health, education, and security. The fumes from kerosene lanterns are highly toxic, especially for children, and single use batteries are expensive and toxic to the environment. In addition, candles do not provide enough light for a child to study by. Fumes from kerosene lamps in poorly ventilated houses are a serious health problem in much of the world where electricity is unavailable. It is estimated that people who rely on kerosene inhale the equivalent of two packs of cigarette smoke per day! In addition, kerosene lamps are a serious fire hazard in the developing world, killing and maiming tens of thousands of people each year.
According to Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories (LBNL), the primary source of greenhouse gas emissions in the developing world comes from dirty, hazardous, and expensive fuel-based sources such as kerosene for lighting. LBNL states explicitly that the only real way to meet the increasing lighting energy demands is to replace fuel based lighting with solid state (LED) lighting systems.
Our Solar Light Project
The solar powered flashlights we provide to the poor are just a small offering of compassion and assistance to those in need. However, these solar torches provide wonderful assistance in many ways to people living in villages without electricity. Just a few important examples are that a light such as this provides an opportunity for children to read and study at night. This is crucial for education in developing countries where most children spend all day working to support their families and can only study at night. In addition, these solar lights benefit the elderly as well as farmers who must tend to their animals and crop irrigation at night. A rechargeable solar light of this nature, which never needs batteries, is a priceless tool in the hands of those who need it the most!
The Solar Lights We Provide
The solar powered flashlights we are providing to villages have a small solar panel embedded in the handle. These lights never need replacement batteries, they are highly durable and waterproof up to 80 feet, they provide 30 hours of light on a single 8 hour charge from sunlight, and can sit in a drawer or in the house for 3 years and still be ready to use with a full charge. These solar flashlights can be recharged by the sun over and again for years!
Compassion In Action: How You Can Assist the Solar Light Project
This is a very exciting and worthy humanitarian outreach project. If you will, please consider offering a tax deductible contribution to this Solar Light Project of Naljor Prison Dharma Service. At a cost of only $5.00 per solar flashlight, a small contribution of only $20 will provide solar lights for 4 families. A $100 contribution will provide solar lights for 20 families! With your assistance we will continue to provide solar powered flashlights to the Tibetan Children's Village in India, to Green Village Schools in Portland, OR who helps build schools in Afghanistan, and to Shem Women's Group in Tibet. With enough support, your compassion and generosity will enable us to locate additional organizations we can provide these solar lights to as well.
If you would like to assist the Solar Light Project with a tax deductible contribution, you may send a check or money order (made out to Naljor Prison Dharma Service - Solar Light Project) to the address below.
You may also call directly and use your credit card for a secure contribution, or go our website and use the secure Paypal donation link on our Solar Light Project page. All contributions are legally tax deductible. Naljor Prison Dharma Service is a 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization registered with the IRS.
Brief report from Tsomo Jyid of Shem Women's Group in Tibet from her journey to Erdi Village, Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Qinghai Province, to provide the villagers with the solar powered flashlights we sent to their organization:
“With the name list in my hand, I headed out visiting each family, interviewed each of them for a short time and taught them how to use the flashlight. I also demonstrated how solar flashlights are different from regular battery powered flashlights. By distributing the flashlights, I learned that flashlights are essential for Erdi villagers due to their inconvenient electricity supplement. I found it especially benefitted the old people and shepherds in Erdi village, because in this case whenever they want to go out the flashlight will come on handy for it doesn't need battery and can be powered by sunlight. In addition, these flashlights were also good for those farmers among the Erdi people. Sometimes if they want to go out irrigating their farmland during night the flashlight will definitely do a lot of help. Above all the villagers were very happy with it.”
Translation of a “thank you” letter to Naljor Prison Dharma Service from the Erdi Village government:
“Dear the donor, today through Tsomo Jyid we received the solar flashlights that are the same as the sun itself. Besides that it has many features as it is small, bright and will come in handy whenever we need them. Its quality is also reliable, and it is very easy for us to use. All in all, it benefits all the villagers, especially those elders who are not capable of moving around in the darkness. Here Erdi Village Government of Erdi Township will represent all the families to say thank you to all of you. Later we hope your concern, kindness and helps will still come to us. Thanks sincerely!”
Please visit our website for more information about Naljor Prison Dharma Service and our Solar Light Project.
Naljor Prison Dharma Service
Neil Steven Cohen / Executive Director
PO Box 1177, Mount Shasta CA 96067
(877) 2277-6075 / (530) 918-4200
NOBODY KNOWS HOW DRY WE ARE
By Tom Engelhardt
It turns out that you don't want to be a former city dweller in rural parts of southernmost Australia, a stalk of wheat in China or Iraq, a soybean in Argentina, an almond or grape in northern California, a cow in Texas, or almost anything in parts of east Africa right now. Let me explain.
As anyone who has turned on the prime-time TV news these last weeks knows, southeastern Australia has been burning up. It's already dry climate has been growing ever hotter. “The great drying,” Australian environmental scientist Tim Flannery calls it. At its epicenter, Melbourne recorded its hottest day ever this month at a sweltering 115.5 degrees, while temperatures soared even higher in the surrounding countryside. After more than a decade of drought, followed by the lowest rainfall on record, the eucalyptus forests are now burning. To be exact, they are now pouring vast quantities of stored carbon dioxide, the green house gas considered largely responsible for global warming, into the atmosphere. In fact, everything's been burning there. Huge sheets of flame, possibly aided and abetted by arsonists, tore through whole towns. More than 180 people are dead and thousands homeless. Flannery, who has written eloquently about global warming, drove through the fire belt, and reported:
“It was as if a great cremation had taken place” I was born in Victoria, and over five decades I've watched as the state has changed. The long, wet and cold winters that seemed insufferable to me as a boy vanished decades ago, and for the past 12 years a new, drier climate has established itself” I had not appreciated the difference a degree or two of extra heat and a dry soil can make to the ferocity of a fire. This fire was different from anything seen before.”
Australia, by the way, is a wheat-growing breadbasket for the world and its wheat crops have been hurt in recent years by continued drought.
Meanwhile, central China is experiencing the worst drought in half a century. Temperatures have been unseasonably high and rainfall, in some areas, 80% below normal; more than half the country's provinces have been affected by drought, leaving millions of Chinese and their livestock without adequate access to water. In the region which raises 95% of the country's winter wheat, crop production has already been impaired and is in further danger without imminent rain. All of this represents a potential financial catastrophe for Chinese farmers at a moment when about 20 million migrant workers are estimated to have lost their jobs in the global economic meltdown. Many of those workers, who left the countryside for China's booming cities (and remitted parts of their paychecks to rural areas), may now be headed home jobless to potential disaster. A Wall Street Journal report concludes, “Some scientists warn China could face more frequent droughts as a result of global warming and changes in farming patterns.”
Globe-jumping to the Middle East, Iraq, which makes the news these days mainly for spectacular suicide bombings or the politics of American withdrawal, turns out to be another country in severe drought. Americans may think of Iraq as largely desert, but (as we were all taught in high school)the lands between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, the “fertile crescent,”are considered the homeland of agriculture, not to speak of human civilization.
Well, not so fertile these days, it seems. The worst drought in at least a decade and possibly a farming lifetime is expected to reduce wheat production by at least half; while the country's vast marshlands, once believed to be the location of the Garden of Eden, have been turned into endless expanses of baked mud. That region, purposely drained by dictator Saddam Hussein to tame rebellious “Marsh Arabs,” is now experiencing the draining power of nature.
Nor is Iraq's drought a localized event. Serious drought conditions extend across the Middle East, threatening to exacerbate local conflicts from Cyprus and Lebanon to Gaza, the West Bank, and Israel where this January was reported to have been the hottest and driest in 60 years. “With less than 2 months of winter left,” Daniel Pedersen has written at the environmental website Green Prophet, “the region has received only 6%-50% of the annual average rainfall, with the desert areas getting 30% or less.”
Leaping continents, in Latin America, Argentina is experiencing “the most intense, prolonged and expensive drought in the past 50 years,” according to Hugo Luis Biolcati, the president of the Argentine Rural Society. One of the world's largest grain exporters, it has already lost five billion dollars to the drought. Its soybeans -- the country is the third largest producer of them -- are wilting in the fields; its corn -- Argentina is the world's second largest producer -- and wheat crops are in trouble; and its famed grass-fed herds of cattle are dying -- 1.5 million head of them since October with no end in sight.
Dust Bowl Economics
In our own backyard, much of the state of Texas -- 97.4% to be exact -- is now gripped by drought, and parts of it by the worst drought in almost a century. According to the New York Times, “Winter wheat crops have failed.Ponds have dried up. Ranchers are spending heavily on hay and feed pellets to get their cattle through the winter. Some wonder if they will have to slaughter their herds come summer. Farmers say the soil is too dry for seeds to germinate and are considering not planting.” Since 2004, in fact, the state has yoyo-ed between the extremities of flood and drought.
Meanwhile, scientists predict that, as global warming strengthens, the American southwest, parts of which have struggled with varying levels of drought conditions for years, could fall into “a possibly permanent state of drought.” We're talking potential future “dust bowl” here. A December 2008U.S. Geological Survey report warns: “In the Southwest, for example, the models project a permanent drying by the mid-21st century that reaches the level of aridity seen in historical droughts, and a quarter of the projections may reach this level of aridity much earlier.”
And talking about drought gripping breadbasket regions, don't forget northern California which “produces 50 percent of the nation's fruits, nuts and vegetables, and a majority of [U.S.] salad, strawberries and premium wine grapes.” Its agriculturally vital Central Valley, in particular, is in the third year of an already monumental drought in which the state has been forced to cut water deliveries to farms by up to 85%.
Observers are predicting that it may prove to be the worst drought in the history of a region “already reeling from housing foreclosures, the credit crisis, and a plunge in construction and manufacturing jobs.” January,normally California's wettest month, has been wretchedly dry and the snowpack in the northern Sierra Mountains, crucial to the state's water supplies and its agricultural health, is at less than half normal levels.
Northern California, in fact, offers a glimpse of the havoc that the extreme weather conditions scientists associate with climate change could cause,especially when combined with other crises. In a Los Angeles Times interview, new Secretary of Energy Steven Chu offered an eye-popping warning(of a sort top government officials simply don't give) about what a global-warming future might hold in store for California, his home state.Interviewer Jim Tankersley summed up Chu's thoughts this way:
“California's farms and vineyards could vanish by the end of the century, and its major cities could be in jeopardy, if Americans do not act to slow the advance of global warming... In a worst case... up to 90% of the Sierra snowpack could disappear, all but eliminating a natural storage system for water vital to agriculture. 'I don't think the American public has gripped in its gut what could happen,' [Chu] said. 'We're looking at a scenario where there's no more agriculture in California.' And, he added, 'I don't actually see how they can keep their cities going' either.”
As for East Africa and the Horn of Africa, under the pressure of rising temperatures, drought has become a tenacious long term visitor. For East Africa, the drought years of 2005-2006 were particularly horrific and now Kenya, with the region's biggest economy, a country recently wracked by political disorder and ethnic violence, is experiencing crop failures. An estimated 10 million Kenyans may face hunger, even starvation, this year in the wake of a poor harvest, lack of rainfall, and rising food prices; if you include the drought-plagued Horn of Africa, 20 million people may be endangered, according to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
Recently, climatologist David Battisti and Rosamond Naylor, director of Stanford University's Program on Food Security and the Environment, published a study in Science magazine on the effect of extreme heat on crops. They concluded, based on recent climate models and a study of past extreme heat waves, that there was “a 90% chance that, by the end of the century, the coolest temperatures in the tropics during the crop growing season would exceed the hottest temperatures recorded between 1900 and 2006.” According to the British Guardian, under such circumstances Battisti and Naylor believe “[h]alf of the world's population could face severe food shortages by the end of the century as rising temperatures take their toll on farmers' crops... Harvests of staple food crops such as rice and maize could fall by between 20% and 40% as a result of higher temperatures during the growing season in the tropics and subtropics.”
Not surprisingly, it's hard to imagine -- perhaps I mean swallow -- such an extreme world, and so most of us, the mainstream media included, don't bother to. That means certain potentially burning questions go not just unanswered but unasked.
The Grapes of Wrath (Updated)
Mind you, what you've read thus far represents an amateur's eye view of drought on our planet at this moment. It's hardly comprehensive. To give but one example, Afghanistan has only recently begun to emerge from an eight-year drought involving severe food shortages -- and, as journalist Christian Parenti writes, it would need another “five years worth of regular snowfall just to replenish its aquifers.” Parenti adds: “As snow packs in
the Himalayan and Hindu Kush ranges continue to recede, the rivers flowing from them will diminish and the economic situation in all of Central Asia will deteriorate badly.”
Nor is this piece meant to be authoritative, exactly because I know so relatively little. Think of it as a reflection of my own frustration with work not done elsewhere -- and, by the way, thank heavens for Google University. Yes, Googling leaves you on your own, can be time-consuming, and tends to lead to cul-de-sacs (“Nuggets end 17-year drought in Orlando”), but what would we do without it? Thanks to good ol' G.U., anyone can, for instance, check out the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration's Drought Information Center
<http://www.drought.noaa.gov/ <http://www.drought.noaa.gov/> or its U.S. Drought Monitor <http://www.drought.unl.edu/dm/monitor.html <http://www.drought.unl.edu/dm/monitor.html> >, or the National Weather Service's Climate Prediction Center<http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/expert_assessment/seasonal_drought.ht <http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/expert_assessment/seasonal_drought.ht> ml> and begin a self-education.
Now let me explain why I even bothered to write this piece. It's true that,if you're reading the mainstream press, each of the droughts mentioned above has gotten at least some attention, several of them a fair amount of attention (as well as some fine reporting), and the Australian firestorms have been headlines globally for weeks. The problem is that (the professional literature, the science magazines, and a few environmental websites and blogs aside) no one in the mainstream media seems to have thought to connect these dots or blots of aridity in any way. And yet it seems a no-brainer that mainstream reporters should be doing just that.
After all, cumulatively these drought hot spots, places now experiencing record or near-record aridity, could be thought of as representing so many burning questions for our planet. And yet you can search far and wide without stumbling across a mainstream American overview of drought in our world at this moment. This seems, politely put, puzzling, especially at a time when University College London's Global Drought Monitor claims that 104million people are now living under “exceptional drought conditions.”
Scientists generally agree that, as climate change accelerates throughout this century (and no matter what happens from here on in, nothing will evidently stop some form of acceleration), extreme weather of every sort,including drought, will become ever more the planetary norm. In fact,experts are suggesting that, as the Washington Post reported recently, “The pace of global warming is likely to be much faster than recent predictions,because industrial greenhouse gas emissions have increased more quickly than expected and higher temperatures are triggering self-reinforcing feedback mechanisms in global ecosystems.”
Now, no one can claim beyond all doubt that global warming is the cause of any specific drought, or certainly the only cause anyway. As with the Texas drought, a La Niña weather pattern in the Pacific is often mentioned as a key causal factor right now. But the crucial point is what the present can tell us about the impact of a global pattern of extreme weather, especially extreme drought, on what will surely be a more extreme planet in the relatively near future.
If global temperatures are on the rise and more heat means lower crop yields, then you're talking about more Kenyas, and not just in Africa either. You're probably also talking about desperation, upheaval, resource conflicts, and mass out-migrations of populations, even -- if scientists are right -- from the American Southwest. (And in case you don't think such a thing can happen here, remember Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath or think of any of Dorothea Lange's iconic photos of the “Okies” fleeing the American dust bowl of the 1930s.)
Right now, the global economic meltdown has massively depressed fuel prices(key to farming, processing, and transporting most crops to market) and commodity prices have generally fallen as well, including food prices.Whatever the future economic weather, however, that is not likely to last.
So here's a burning question on my mind: We're now experiencing the extreme effects of economic bad “weather” in the wake of the near collapse of the global financial system. Nonetheless, from the White House to the media, speculation about “the road to recovery” is already underway. The stimulus package, for instance, had been dubbed the”recovery bill,” aka the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and the question of when we'll hit bottom and when -- 2010, 2011, 2012 -- a real recovery will begin is certainly in the air.
Recently, in a speech in Singapore, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, head of the International Monetary Fund, suggested that the “world's advanced economies” -- the U.S., Western Europe, and Japan -- were “already in depression,” and the “worst cannot be ruled out.” This got little attention here, but
President Obama's comment at his first press conference that delay on his stimulus package could lead to a “lost decade,” as in Japan in the 1990s (or, though it went unmentioned, the U.S. in the 1930s), made the headlines..
If, indeed, this is “the big one,” and does result in a “lost decade” or more, here's what I wonder: Could the sort of “recovery” that everyone assumes lies just over a recessive or depressive horizon not be there? What if our lost decade lasts long enough to meet an environmental crisis involving extreme weather -- drought and flood, hurricanes, typhoons, and firestorms of unprecedented magnitude -- possibly in some of the breadbasket regions of the planet? What will happen if the rising fuel prices likely to come with the beginning of any economic “recovery” were to meet the soaring food prices of environmental disaster? What kind of human tsunami might that result in?
Once we start connecting some of today's drought dots, wouldn't it make sense to try to connect a few of the prospective dots as well? After all, if you begin to imagine what the worst might look like, you can also begin to think about what might be done to mitigate it. Isn't that more sensible than looking the other way?
If the kinds of hits regional agriculture is now taking from record-setting drought became the future norm, wouldn't we then be bereft of our most reassuring formulations in bad times? For example, the president spoke at that press conference of our present moment as “the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.” On an extreme planet, no such comforting “since the...” would be available, nor would there be any historical road map for what was coming at us, not if we had already run out of history.
Maybe the world we knew but scarce months ago is already, in some sense,long gone. What if, after a lost decade, we were to find ourselves living on another planet?
Feel free, of course, to ignore my burning questions. After all, I'm only an amateur with the flimsiest of credentials from Google U. Still, I do keep wondering when the media pros will finally pitch in, and what they'll tellus is on that distant horizon, the one with the red glow.
Tom Engelhardt, co-founder of the American Empire Project, runs the Nation Institute's TomDispatch.com. He is the author of The End of Victory Culture, a history of the American Age of Denial. He also edited The World According to TomDispatch: America in the New Age of Empire (Verso, 2008), a collection of some of the best pieces from his site and an alternative history of the mad Bush years.
Why Schools Should Remove Gene-Altered Foods from Their Cafeterias
By Jeffrey M. Smith
Before the Appleton Wisconsin high school replaced their cafeteria's processed foods with wholesome, nutritious food, the school was described as out-of-control. There were weapons violations, student disruptions, and a cop on duty full-time. After the change in school meals, the students were calm, focused, and orderly. There were no more weapons violations, and no suicides, expulsions, dropouts, or drug violations. The new diet and improved behavior has lasted for seven years, and now other schools are changing their meal programs with similar results.
Years ago, a science class at Appleton found support for their new diet by conducting a cruel and unusual experiment with three mice. They fed them the junk food that kids in other high schools eat everyday. The mice freaked out. Their behavior was totally different than the three mice in the neighboring cage. The neighboring mice had good karma; they were fed nutritious whole foods and behaved like mice. They slept during the day inside their cardboard tube, played with each other, and acted very mouse-like.
The junk food mice, on the other hand, destroyed their cardboard tube, were no longer nocturnal, stopped playing with each other, fought often, and two mice eventually killed the third and ate it. After the three month experiment, the students rehabilitated the two surviving junk food mice with a diet of whole foods. After about three weeks, the mice came around.
Sister Luigi Frigo repeats this experiment every year in her second grade class in Cudahy, Wisconsin, but mercifully, for only four days. Even on the first day of junk food, the mice's behavior "changes drastically." They become lazy, antisocial, and nervous. And it still takes the mice about two to three weeks on unprocessed foods to return to normal. One year, the second graders tried to do the experiment again a few months later with the same mice, but this time the animals refused to eat the junk food.
Across the ocean in Holland, a student fed one group of mice genetically modified (GM) corn and soy, and another group the non-GM variety. The GM mice stopped playing with each other and withdrew into their own parts of the cage. When the student tried to pick them up, unlike their well-behaved neighbors, the GM mice scampered around in apparent fear and tried to climb the walls. One mouse in the GM group was found dead at the end of the experiment.
It's interesting to note that the junk food fed to the mice in the Wisconsin experiments also contained genetically modified ingredients. And although the Appleton school lunch program did not specifically attempt to remove GM foods, it happened anyway. That's because GM foods such as soy and corn and their derivatives are largely found in processed foods. So when the school switched to unprocessed alternatives, almost all ingredients derived from GM crops were taken out automatically.
Does this mean that GM foods negatively affect the behavior of humans or animals? It would certainly be irresponsible to say so on the basis of a single student mice experiment and the results at Appleton. On the other hand, it is equally irresponsible to say that it doesn't.
We are just beginning to understand the influence of food on behavior. A study in Science in December 2002 concluded that "food molecules act like hormones, regulating body functioning and triggering cell division. The molecules can cause mental imbalances ranging from attention-deficit and hyperactivity disorder to serious mental illness." The problem is we do not know which food molecules have what effect.
The bigger problem is that the composition of GM foods can change radically without our knowledge. Genetically modified foods have genes inserted into their DNA. But genes are not Legos; they don't just snap into place. Gene insertion creates unpredicted, irreversible changes. In one study, for example, a gene chip monitored the DNA before and after a single foreign gene was inserted. As much as 5 percent of the DNA's genes changed the amount of protein they were producing. Not only is that huge in itself, but these changes can multiply through complex interactions down the line.
In spite of the potential for dramatic changes in the composition of GM foods, they are typically measured for only a small number of known nutrient levels. But even if we could identify all the changed compounds, at this point we wouldn't know which might be responsible for the antisocial nature of mice or humans. Likewise, we are only beginning to identify the medicinal compounds in food. We now know, for example, that the pigment in blueberries may revive the brain's neural communication system, and the antioxidant found in grape skins may fight cancer and reduce heart disease. But what about other valuable compounds we don't know about that might change or disappear in GM varieties?
Consider GM soy. In July 1999, years after it was on the market, independent researchers published a study showing that it contains 12-14 percent less cancer-fighting phytoestrogens. What else has changed that we don't know about? [Monsanto responded with its own study, which concluded that soy's phytoestrogen levels vary too much to even carry out a statistical analysis. They failed to disclose, however, that the laboratory that conducted Monsanto's experiment had been instructed to use an obsolete method to detect phytoestrogens results.]
In 1996, Monsanto published a paper in the Journal of Nutrition that concluded in the title, "The composition of glyphosate-tolerant soybean seeds is equivalent to that of conventional soybeans." The study only compared a small number of nutrients and a close look at their charts revealed significant differences in the fat, ash, and carbohydrate content. In addition, GM soy meal contained 27 percent more trypsin inhibitor, a well-known soy allergen. The study also used questionable methods. Nutrient comparisons are routinely conducted on plants grown in identical conditions so that variables such as weather and soil can be ruled out. Otherwise, differences in plant composition could be easily missed. In Monsanto's study, soybeans were planted in widely varying climates and geography.
Although one of their trials was a side-by-side comparison between GM and non-GM soy, for some reason the results were left out of the paper altogether. Years later, a medical writer found the missing data in the archives of the Journal of Nutrition and made them public. No wonder the scientists left them out. The GM soy showed significantly lower levels of protein, a fatty acid, and phenylalanine, an essential amino acid. Also, toasted GM soy meal contained nearly twice the amount of a lectin that may block the body's ability to assimilate other nutrients. Furthermore, the toasted GM soy contained as much as seven times the amount of trypsin inhibitor, indicating that the allergen may survive cooking more in the GM variety. (This might explain the 50 percent jump in soy allergies in the UK, just after GM soy was introduced.)
We don't know all the changes that occur with genetic engineering, but certainly GM crops are not the same. Ask the animals. Eyewitness reports from all over North America describe how several types of animals, when given a choice, avoided eating GM food. These included cows, pigs, elk, deer, raccoons, squirrels, rats, and mice. In fact, the Dutch student mentioned above first determined that his mice had a two-to-one preference for non-GM before forcing half of them to eat only the engineered variety.
Differences in GM food will likely have a much larger impact on children. They are three to four times more susceptible to allergies. Also, they convert more of the food into body-building material. Altered nutrients or added toxins can result in developmental problems. For this reason, animal nutrition studies are typically conducted on young, developing animals. After the feeding trial, organs are weighed and often studied under magnification. If scientists used mature animals instead of young ones, even severe nutritional problems might not be detected. The Monsanto study used mature animals instead of young ones.
They also diluted their GM soy with non-GM protein 10- or 12fold before feeding the animals. And they never weighed the organs or examined them under a microscope. The study, which is the only major animal feeding study on GM soy ever published, is dismissed by critics as rigged to avoid finding problems.
Unfortunately, there is a much bigger experiment going on one which we are all a part of. We're being fed GM foods daily, without knowing the impact of these foods on our health, our behavior, or our children. Thousands of schools around the world, particularly in Europe, have decided not to let their kids be used as guinea pigs. They have banned GM foods.
The impact of changes in the composition of GM foods is only one of several reasons why these foods may be dangerous. Other reasons may be far worse (see http://www.seedsofdeception.com).
With the epidemic of obesity and diabetes and with the results in Appleton, parents and schools are waking up to the critical role that diet plays. When making changes in what kids eat, removing GM foods should be a priority.
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