Category Archives: nature

Nutrient content found to be different in GMO soy; a link

Glyphosate tolerant GM soybeans were found to contain high residues of glyphosate and AMPA, a breakdown product of glyphosate. Nutrient content was also found to be different between the glyphosate tolerant GM soybeans and organically grown soybeans. The GM soybeans had less sugars, protein and zinc than the organically grown soybeans and had more omega-6, a less beneficial type of fatty acid.

Compositional differences in soybeans on the market: Glyphosate accumulates in Roundup Ready GM soybeans.

    /Disclaimer: This information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes./

    The herbicide Round-Up found more dangerous than glyphosate alone

    The herbicide Round-Up contains glyphosate which is considered the active ingredient but research suggests that the supposedly inert ingredients in the mixed product make Round-Up as much as 125 times more dangerous to health than glyphosate alone. An international society for science has assembled a review of literature on the topic within the following article:

    Round-Up ready crops have been found to require more water and do less well in drought situations than normal crops. Pigs fed GMO based foods were found to become significantly healthier when the farmer switched to non GMO based feed for them.

    Glyphosate residues have been found to drop after individuals switched to a diet based on non GMO, organic foods and autism symptoms were found to improve for individuals who were switched to a non GMO organic food diet. Single case studies may be considered anecdotal and not worth considered but each and every patient is a single case study for themselves.

    How many people need to get sick in the U.S. before we decide that we would rather not be experimented on by agribusiness and the processed food industry?

    Excerpts from the article:

    Glyphosate widespread in the environment and in our bodies

    “Due to the official ‘safe’ status of glyphosate, data on how much we are being exposed have been scarce, forcing citizen activists and civil society organizations to find out for themselves. Friends of the Earth Europe commissioned an analysis of 182 volunteers across 18 EU countries and found detectable levels in 44 % of urine samples [13] with concentrations ranging from 0.16 ug/L average in Switzerland, to 1.82ug/L in Latvia. Of the UK citizens tested, 7 out of 10 were positive. In the US, urine samples show concentrations 8 times those in Europe [13]. The analysis, commissioned by Moms Across America, also tested 10 mother’s breast milk, which came up positive for glyphosate with levels ranging from 76 µg/L to 166 µg/L (76-166 ppb) (see [14]). These levels are 760 to 1600 times higher than the European Drinking Water Directive allows for individual pesticides, and raise obvious concerns as they fall within the range of concentrations at which developmental toxicity has been observed in animal studies (see below). This analysis is the only study on breast milk to date, as no government or public health body has found it necessary to carry out any study on bioaccumulation in internal organs and tissues or in breast milk fed to infants.”

    Health of American citizens deteriorating

    “One argument for the safety of GM food and their associated pesticides is that the US has been consuming them for years without ill effect. However, in the absence of labelling GM foods, it is illegitimate to make such a claim. On the contrary, there has been a drastic deterioration of public health in the US since GM crops were introduced. A new publication by Swanson and colleagues plots the rise of 20 chronic diseases using available US government data, all correlating closely with increasing glyphosate application to corn and soy crops, especially over the past several years. The diseases included cancers, Parkinson’s, autism, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, digestive disease and kidney failure [62]. Correlation does not prove causation, but such strong association certainly cannot be dismissed, especially in combination with the plethora of other evidence from laboratory studies, and the experiences of doctors in their clinics and farmers in the fields. For a detailed analysis of the study please see [67] Marked Deterioration of Public Health Parallels Increase in GM Crops and Glyphosate Use, US Government Data Show ( SiS 65).”

    Read more: http://www.i-sis.org.uk/Roundup_of_Roundup.php

    /Disclaimer: This information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes./

    U.S. ranks 68th on health and wellness compared to 133 developed nations

    The U.S. ranked 68th for the category “Health and Wellness” in a comparison of 133 developed nations. That ranks in the lower half of the group. Economically the U.S. ranks within the top few nations and ranks in the top in many of the other categories that were assessed. However the Health and Wellness ranking or the U.S. is low in comparison not only to other nations but also to the U.S. ranking for many of the other 53 categories that were used to assess a nation’s ‘social progress,’ — suggesting that the healthcare strategies that have already been in use or were recently implemented in the U.S. in an effort to improve the health and wellness of U.S. citizens need to be reviewed and redesigned if we hope to achieve better results.

    https://hbr.org/2016/08/why-americans-are-so-angry-despite-americas-strong-economy?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=harvardbiz

    We may be able to afford ineffective health care over the short term of a few sickly generations but we can’t afford ineffective health care for ever. Somebody has to remain healthy enough to be able to take care of the increasing numbers of chronically ill people.

    The globalization of markets has helped some workers while it may have left other groups less well off than they had been. Globally incomes have improved for groups of people in some areas of the world but have held stable or dropped in other areas. https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/07/this-chart-reveals-the-most-dramatic-change-in-incomes-since-the-first-industrial-revolution?utm_content=bufferd61fe&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

    In some categories used to assess social progress the U.S. has been dropping in comparison to other developed nations and we are now on par or worse than some third world nations including the area of ‘Health and Wellness.’  http://usuncut.com/class-war/america-third-world-country/

    Male fertility in 1992 was estimated to be at a rate of 1710 births per 1000 males on average (or 1.7 children per male aged 15-44) and 1960 births per every 1000 females (or 1.9 children per female aged 15-44). https://www.census.gov/population/documentation/twps0014.pdf

    However either fertility has decreased or the desire to father children has decreased because the rate of children fathered by men aged 15-44 years in 2002 was at a rate of 1.0 children per male and the rate dropped yet more to 0.9 children per male aged 15-44 years between 2006-2010.  http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nhsr/nhsr051.pdf

    So in 1992 the average 15-44 year old male had 1.7 children while in 2002 the average 15-44 year old male in the U.S. had 1.0 children and between 2006-2010 the average male aged 15-44 years old only had 0.9 children.

    It might seem like everything is for sale in a capitalist nation but — you can’t buy health and while you might be able to buy fertility treatments and in vitro fertilization it turns out that nature has ways we are only beginning to discover. In vitro fertilization (egg meets sperm in a test tube) may leave the child with DNA from the male’s mitochondria which wouldn’t be as likely to occur during natural fertilization. Few of the male mitochondria enter the egg during normal fertilization and the egg has ways to destroy any male mitochondria that are able to enter. Normally only the maternal mitochondrial DNA is left in a newly fertilized zygote. (The first new life form is a single celled egg/sperm combo called the zygote.) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paternal_mtDNA_transmission

    Excess male mitochondria may be involved in some cases of male infertility.  http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.496.2503&rep=rep1&type=pdf

    The markers that help an egg identify male mitochondria for destruction may be species specific according to research performed with lab animals. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC41980/pdf/pnas01486-0478.pdf

    We don’t know what we don’t know — until we learn it — and we are learning that we can’t really pollute our environment and food supply with estrogen mimetics and other toxic additives, herbicides and pesticides, if we hope to have “Health and Wellness”. As U.S. citizens we are constitutionally supposed to have a right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Health and wellness – and the ability to have children naturally – seems like part of the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

    Should ‘corporate people’ have a right to profit off human citizen’s ability (or inability) to procreate or should ‘corporate people’ have a right to profit off a human citizen’s right to decide how they deliver their baby or how they feed their baby? Would it be fair to the non-corporate people (formerly known as humans) if the government ruled that all infants will be conceived in a test tube; and will be delivered by C-section; and will be fed exclusively with formula; or will be fed exclusively by breast milk whether the mother is able to or not?

    Part of “health and wellness” might be the freedom to make individual choices based on individual differences. Some regulations protect the corporate ‘right to access to the consumer’ more than they protect the consumer’s right to access safe products and services. Midwives have been harassed for centuries and even burned as witches while medical schools and medical associations are regulated as safe providers of maternal care. History has shown that men didn’t wash their hands even after being told that it was causing increased maternal deaths due to infections. The pioneering doctor that tried to get other doctors to wash their hands was harassed during his own career for his work — but his name lives on in textbooks though, at least, (Ignaz Semmelweis). Midwives knew about sanitation but it took a male doctor ruining his career to get other male doctors to eventually start washing their hands in between attending pregnant women.

    Hand washing helped promote improved “Health and Wellness” in the U.S. and elsewhere but it took a while to catch on. What other health practices are needed? We won’t know if we continue to not listen to pioneering scientists. Currently alternative information frequently is being dismissed as “debunked” or “Quack,” but history revealed that Ignaz Semmelweis was not the quack and likely the midwives who were burned as witches didn’t quack either. (A Monty Python reference is hiding there for Monty Python fans.)

    So if we want America to continue to be great than we need to review and redesign our nation’s strategies for promoting individual health and wellness because whatever we’re doing hasn’t been very effective while it has been costing us more than other developed nations — and health and wellness includes the ability to have healthy children.

    Disclaimer: Opinions are my own and the information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes.

    Glyphosate was created as an antibiotic and mineral chelator but is being used as an herbicide

    Every cell in our bodies depends on mitochondria to produce energy from stored sugar. Mitochondria are actually bacterial in origin. They are smaller than human cells and have their own DNA that is different from the the human cell DNA. Glyphosate is presumably safe for use in the human food supply because it only affects a metabolic pathway found in plants and bacteria however if every cell of our human bodies also depends on mitochondria which are bacterial in origin then is the antibiotic glyphosate truly safe for human use? Or for use in food for farm animals – which also depend on mitochondria to produce energy from sugar (glucose is the form of sugar that is broken down for energy within mitochondria).

    A concerned scientist has been studying the topic for years and has been writing about the topic, read more: http://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/roundup-the-nontoxic-chemical-that-may-be-destroying-our-health/   The topic is dangerous to write about however within the current business world which seems to be oriented to support corporate profit  over the long term viability of our ecosystem. The authors of that paper have been labeled ‘debunked’ or something similarly dismissive.

    Glyphosate is being sprayed on invasive plants in wild areas and within waterways that are overgrown with invasive plants. However the affects of the antibiotic and mineral chelator on the desirable plants and wildlife is not known. A mineral chelator generally has been thought of as helpful, the phrase refers to chemicals that can bind onto a mineral and help transport it into cells or into the body from the gut. A mineral chelator that binds onto toxic minerals and helps transport them into the body might be not helpful or a mineral chelator that binds onto nutrients in the soil and prevents them from being absorbed by the plant would also be not helpful to the plant or possible to the humans or animals eating the plant.

    Glyphosate was first patented as an antibiotic and as a mineral chelator before it was developed into an herbicide.

    Glyphosate has been found in all samples of California wine that was tested in one study and it was found in over 40% of organically grown honey that was tested in another study and in over 60% of the commercially produced samples of honey. The chemical can be difficult and expensive to screen for using many of the typical methods however another method was used for screening the samples of honey:

    The a1nalytical program included the extraction of glyphosate from the various matrices and the subsequent determination of glyphosate residues by enzyme linked immune sorbent assay (ELISA).” “(Figure 4) depicts the concentration of glyphosate in honey samples grouped by growing method of source pollen: organic (11 samples) and traditional (58 samples); 5 of the 11 organic samples had glyphosate concentrations above the method LOQ with a range of 26 to 93 ng/g and a mean of 50 ng /g. Of the fifty-eight non-organic honey samples, thirty-six samples, or sixty-two percent (62%), contained glyphosate concentrations above the method LOQ, with a range of 17 to 163 ppb and a mean of 66 ppb.

    Read more: http://www.omicsonline.org/open-access/survey-of-glyphosate-residues-in-honey-corn-and-soy-products-2161-0525.1000249.php?aid=36354

    Figure 5 includes data comparing samples of honey produced in countries that don’t allow GMO Round-Up Ready crops with samples from countries that do. Samples from countries that don’t allow GMO crops had an average of 31 ng /g of glyphosate compared to 71 ng/g of glyphosate found in the samples of honey produced in countries that do allow GMO crops.  “Although glyphosate is not acutely toxic to bees, it is chronically toxic to animals and is reported to disrupt the endocrine system [35,36] and a recent study indicates that honey bees exposed to increasing sub-lethal concentrations of glyphosate exhibit a decrease in acetyl cholinesterase (AChE) activity [37].” Further study is recommended in order to further assess whether glyphosate might be adding to the loss of bee hives that has been associated with use of neonicotinoid chemicals. Read more: http://www.omicsonline.org/open-access/survey-of-glyphosate-residues-in-honey-corn-and-soy-products-2161-0525.1000249.php?aid=36354

    Fewer samples of wine produced in California were tested but 100% of the samples (n=10) were found to have glyphosate contaminants. The wine produced from grapes grown organically  did have less of the contaminant than the commercially produced wine. That may not help the people living in the areas where grapes are grown for the California wine: “According to the CA Dept of Health, breast cancer rates in the Sonoma, Napa and Mendocino counties is 10 to 20 percent higher than the national average.” “German scientists have shown that 0.1 ppb of glyphosate, which is patented as an antibiotic, has been shown to destroy the beneficial gut bacteria and promote the proliferation of pathogenic gut bacteria.(2)” “0.1ppt of glyphosate has also been shown to stimulate the growth of breast cancer cells.(3)” “Glyphosate has also been shown to increase antibiotic resistance, which could be leading to superbugs (9)” Read more:  https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/yesmaam/pages/680/attachments/original/1458830087/GlyphosateContaminationinWinePressReport_(2).pdf?1458830087

    So how much glyphosate might be too much? — Not much if 0.1 ppb is enough to destroy our beneficial gut bacteria and 0.1 ppt is enough to stimulate growth of breast cancer cells. And if it’s presence in the environment is increasing the risk of more pathogens developing antibiotic resistance than any of it might already have been too much for people with antibiotic resistant pneumonia.

    And how much glyphosate might be deadly? — Twenty milliliters was not quite enough for at least one suicidal patient who did manage to make herself sick with a antibiotic resistant bacterial infection after ingesting the 20 ml of glyphosate in a suicide attempt (this is sad but is not uncommon – many people commit suicide by eating agricultural chemicals). (Twenty milliliters would be equal to about 4 teaspoons of glyphosate.) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4289481/

    How many ppb in one milliliter? –> search engine –>

    “This is the same as grams per 1,000 liters, which may be converted to milligrams per liter (mg/L). Therefore, 1 g/ m3 = 1 mg/L = 1 ppm. Likewise, one milligram per cubic meter (mg/m3) is the same concentration in water as one microgram per liter (ug/L), which is about 1 ppb.”

    So not much glyphosate is needed to cause negative health effects in humans and in the environment. It can break down quickly but may also take up to twenty years to completely break down. If excessive amounts of glyphosate are allowed to accumulate it may become difficult for normal seeds to be able to grow and genetic modification might be necessary for producing any viable crops in areas where glyphosate residue becomes prevalent (such as in any countries that allow GMO crops and use of glyphosate as a desiccant.)

    How much might be too much in nature? One part per million (1 ppm) equivalent to what might be found in the environment of countries that use glyphosate was found to be enough of a dose to produce deformities in 60% of the tadpoles of a tree frog. “Jayawardena et al. (2010) found nearly 60% malformations in tadpoles of the tree frog Polypedates cruciger treated with an environmentally relevant concentration of 1 ppm Roundup.” The formulated product (glyphosate plus surfactants or other additives) was found to be more harmful to offspring than the glyphosate alone. How much is too much in our food supply? We don’t know for sure but we are beginning to know more about how much may be present in our food supply: “Residues of up to 17 mg/kg of glyphosate have been found in harvested soybean crops [10].

    Back to the search engine –> “1 mg/kg = 1000 ppb” So –> “Residues of up to [17000 ppb or 17,000,000 ppm] of glyphosate have been found in harvested soybean crops.” Which seems like it would be enough to cause malformations in at least 60% of tree frog tadpoles if they were exposed to Round-Up Ready soy.

    Maybe it is completely safe for everyone — except the 2% who are developing autism and the 5.3 million people living with Alzheimer’s Disease.  North Dakota has the highest rate of mortality due to Alzheimer’s Disease and Nevada has the lowest rate.  http://www.alzheimers.net/resources/alzheimers-statistics/

    Most glyphosate used at harvest time is done on spring and durum wheat, and mostly in the northern tier States (North Dakota & Montana) and ...”  This article is debunking a different article about use of glyphosate as a desiccant – this article states that is actually a rare practice – except possibly in North Dakota and Montana. Read more:  http://weedcontrolfreaks.com/2014/11/glyphosate-use-in-wheat/

    The search engine suggests that glyphosate has been used for invasive plant control in Nevada but did not turn up agricultural references. A study on use of glyphosate for helping establish native plants in an area with invasive plants. The glyphosate use on the invasives did help with getting the native plantings established instead. http://sfc.smallfarmcentral.com/dynamic_content/uploadfiles/152/Nevada.pdf

    The search term results: https://www.google.com/search?q=use+of+glyphosate+in+Nevada&rlz=1C1CHWA_enUS600US600&oq=use+of+glyphosate+in+Nevada&aqs=chrome..69i57.4494j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

    The search turned up a paper that has since been retracted after it was published due to some delay in the peer review process but the paper can still be viewed. It suggests there is a correlation between glyphosate use which causes an increased need for nitrogen based fertilizers because the glyphosate can affect soil bacteria that normally would make nitrogen more available so more nitrogen based fertilizer is required and which can lead to more nitrogen dioxide being released into the air which can affect ADHD risk and is also a gas involved in global warming. the paper turned up in my search terms because Nevada didn’t have some data that other states had made available. States with data available regarding glyphosate use between 2006-2009 suggest that Arizona and Utah used less than in previous years,

    It took fifty years or so before corporate control of science regarding cancer risk and smoking was freely available to consumers and it has taken twenty or so years to reveal Exxon’s role in denying the impact of fossil fuel use on climate change. It may take a while to reveal that spraying an antibiotic and mineral chelator is bad for soil health and health of other life forms. In the mean time I will continue to try to avoid sources of Round-up. It may be the combination of the adjuvants/surfactants that are used with the glyphosate that makes it more of a risk for neurodegenerative harm such as autism or ADHD than studies with glyphosate alone have suggested or it may be the changes in nitrogen based fertilizer use as suggested by the (retracted) article on ADHD and Round-Up.

    /Disclosure: This information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes./

    More jobs pulling weeds instead of spraying chemicals

    Another loose end was the what’s next, what to do about using less glyphosate part. A tax structure that supported employees more than capital investment could help support more agricultural workers for pulling weeds instead of machines for spraying them.

    Or methods that use less spay in more targeted ways are already helping reduce the amounts of herbicides and pesticides that are being used. Providing easy to use directions in many foreign languages could also help share the best practices for protecting workers and for the proper dilution and the amounts to use which could help reduce costs for farmers too.

    Using a few products  rather than just using Round-up on Round-up ready GMOs exclusively is also recommended, in order to help reduce the risk of the superweeds from developing resistance to the Round-up.

    Mixing crops can also reduce the need for weed control. In traditional cultures a mound of tall corn stalks was interplanted with pole beans that climbed the corn stalks and squash that would send vines all over the open ground. The squash spreads so much that it would crowd out weedy plants. The biodiversity of plant life can be beneficial for the nutrient content of the soil and the plants because the beans can help fix nitrogen in the soil. This type of interplanting would need more hand labor and might suit small organic farms but some techniques might be useful within larger agribusinesses if modified or if more hand labor was incorporated into the business plan.

    A different type of job could be invasive plant control for pulling up the super-weeds and other non-beneficial or toxic invasive plants that are spreading in many places.

    A weed to watch out for in North Carolina, the yellow wildflower Wild Parsnip has an oil in the leaves that can burn the skin and continue to burn for days and which can leave a scar for years. Protective clothing should be worn when pulling Wild Parsnip weeds or lawn mow the area. The plant is also called Poison Parsnip.  http://www.11alive.com/news/poisonous-weed-that-eats-away-your-skin-found-in-nc/260914084

    The roots of Wild Parsnip are edible and similar but less symmetrical then commercially cultivated parsnips. As a root vegetable they are best harvested in the fall. http://blog.emergencyoutdoors.com/edible-wild-plants-wild-parsnip-pastinaca-sativa/ *This article doesn’t mention the burn risk from the leaves within the article but it is mentioned in the comments.

    Invasive fish species that are edible can be encouraged to be caught for individual use but there is a risk with commercializing their use. If they can be sold then people might start raising them on purpose instead of just trying to help catch them until the invasive species is under control or wiped out. A government run business could work to catch and process the edible invasive species for use without the risk of promoting raising more of the species on purpose. It could be viewed as more of a short term wild life management job rather than a job in the canned fish industry — it would be both but wild life management sounds better.

    We, as a country, need more jobs, even unpleasant ones. A job pulling invasive plants is a job and work can give the worker a sense of purpose and provides benefits for the community and the environment.

    Additional note, July 12, 2016: Glyphosate is being used in unknown but significant quantities to control invasive plants in wild areas and waterways within the U.S., Canada and Mexico. A program is being established to better track the control strategies that are being used for management of invasive species and their effectiveness for preserving the native species and the surrounding environment.  http://www.takepart.com/article/2016/07/08/monsantos-roundup-being-sprayed-willdlands-too?cmpid=organic-share-googleplus-influence

    /Disclaimer: Opinions are my own and  the information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes./

     

    River thoughts; and a nonprofit working to remove old dams, a link; and an agency for moms and children, WIC links

    Be like a river, go with the flow,

    It’s less stressful to ride out the turbulence of life.

    But maintenance of infrastructure or removal of obsolete structures can also help decrease the risk of turbulence occurring: A nonprofit organization has been successfully working to identify obsolete dams and safely remove them from rivers throughout America. Which opens the flowing river to wildlife like otters and also helps protect communities from the risk of flooding if the dam fails, as is likely when maintenance and repair is no longer occurring. [http://www.americanrivers.org/]

    Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers, grandmothers and great, greats, out there — and to Mother Nature too, we are all her children.

    “May what I do flow from me like a river, no forcing and no holding back, the way it is with children.”
    Rainer Maria Rilke .

    “I like geography best, he said, because your mountains & rivers know the secret. Pay no attention to boundaries.”
    Brian Andreas, Story People: Selected Stories & Drawings of Brian Andreas .

    “We must begin thinking like a river if we are to leave a legacy of beauty and life for future generations.”
    David Brower .

    [http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/river]

    “The natural state of motherhood is unselfishness. When you become a mother, you are no longer the center of your own universe. You relinquish that position to your children.”  – Jessica Lange
    To become a mother is not hard, to be a mother is.”  -from a magnet that I kept in my office at WIC.
    The Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) is an education, health screening and referral program for infants and children up to age five and for pregnant and early postpartum women. Monthly food vouchers are also provided to income eligible participants. The health screening and education is required for participation in addition to being income eligible. The program is for working class families, the income guidelines are 185% of the poverty line, which is also the guideline for eligibility for reduced price school lunches. Agencies are usually based in a county health department with smaller off site locations held in other community buildings or medical clinics.
    Call for more information. The goal is to reduce stress and improve health of young children and their caregivers. Fathers and other types of caregivers with custody of children under age five can check on their child’s eligibility for participation in the program also. Past research has found that each dollar spent on the WIC program saved three dollars in Medicaid spending. Go with the flow of life but advice and help is also helpful to reduce the risk of turbulence from occurring.

    /Disclaimer: Opinions are my own and  the information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes./

    The Friends of the Earth are also friends of bees

    Neonics are a group of pesticides that are used throughout the world. Evidence is collecting that the pesticides are contributing to the massive numbers of bees that are dying or disappearing from their colonies. Bee colonies have become a major industry in agribusiness for their ability to pollinate fruit and vegetable crops. Any honey that the beekeepers collect is secondary to their importance for helping businesses have abundant harvests. The pesticides do not break down readily and have been found to accumulate in the environment potentially affecting wild bees and other beneficial pollinators and soil microbes. Fertile soil is a living system of many types of microbes and the more familiar earthworms.

    Poisoning the bottom of the food chain ultimately poisons the entire food chain – of which we are a member – a top member as our natural predators have largely been controlled or conquered.

    The non-profit organization Friends of the Earth, BeeAction.org, provided a mailing with a list of the neonics and popular brands that may contain the pesticides.

    The ingredients to avoid include:

    Acetamiprid, Clothianidin, Dinotefuran, Imidacloprid, and Thiamethoxam. The pesticides are produced and marketed by companies such as Bayer and Sygenta.

    They may be found in products marketed to individual consumers by the brands:

    Aloft, Arena, Allectus, Atera, Bithor, Caravan, Coretect, Derby, Dino, Dominion, Equil Adonis, Flagship, Flower, Rose, & Shrub Care, Gaucho, Grub-No-More, Grubout, Hawk, Imaxxpro, Ima-Jet, Imi Insecticide, Imicide, Imid-Bifen, Imida-Teb Garden SC, Imidapro, Imigold, Lada, Malice, Mallet, Mantra, Marathon Meridian, Merit, Nuprid, Optigard Flex, Pasada, Pointer Insecticide, Premise, Pronto, Prothor, Safari, Sagacity, Sparkle: Bounty, Tandem, Temprid, Triple Crown Insecticide, Tristar, Turfthor, and Xytect.

    Avoiding those products and encouraging your lawn and garden center to stop carrying them may help commercial and wild bees to live their normal lifespans.

    Planting beneficial flowering plants and shrubs that haven’t been pre-treated with neonics may also support commercial and wild bees. Part of the problem for commercial bees is that their diet is too limited. Their colonies are trucked from crop to crop where the bees pollinate whatever single crop they were hired to pollinate and the bee keepers provide some nutritional supplements. However in the wild bees would have flitted from one type of flower to another and gathered many different types of pollen so individual gardeners and agribusiness owners could help feed the bees a more varied diet by planting beneficial wildflowers in flower beds and along the margins of agricultural fields.

    The Friends of the Earth mailing includes a list of beneficial flowering plants that might help provide the variety of pollen that bees need for a strong immune system. The neonics have been found harmful to bees in a few different ways. They act as a stimulant which can confuse the bees so that they can’t find their way back to their colony (which explains the colonies that simply disappear), and the pesticides weaken the bees immune system leaving them more susceptible to diseases and smaller infectious pests like mites. Providing bees healthier natural food sources that haven’t been contaminated with neonic pesticides could help boost their immune system and make them more resistant to disease and infectious pests.

    Beneficial flowering plants, shrubs, and trees for the home garden or agricultural waysides:

    Aster, Black-Eyed Susan, Blazing Star, Calstrop, Creosote Bush, Currant, Elder Flower, Goldenrod, Huckleberry, Joe Pye Weed, Lupine, Oregon Grape, Penstemon, Purple Coneflower, Rabbitbush, Rhododendron, Scorpion Weed, Snowberry, Stonecrop, Sunflower, Wild Buckwheat, Wild Lilac, Willow, Woodland Sage.

     – Information provided by the Friends of the Earth, BeeAction.org, non-profit organization. The organization works on a variety of issues that affect our environment and they collaborate internationally with partners from 74 countries around the world – the world’s largest network of environmental activists.

    The most widely used neonics were banned in the European Union in 2013 and within the nation of Italy more bees survived. In 2008 in Italy 37.% of bee colonies were lost and after the ban was enacted only 15% of bee colonies have been lost/died.

    Seeking organic plants for purchase from lawn and garden centers may also help bees because seeds and palnts that are pretreated with neonics can still end up spreading the poison to the plant’s pollen and into the surrounding soil and waterways.

    Friends of the Earth, 1101 15th Street, NW, 11th Floor, Washington, DC 20005, 1-866-217-8499, www.foe.org

    /Disclaimer: This information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes./

    The planet will survive, there’s no denying that

    Whether the planet is just over 6000 years old or is many millions of years old doesn’t seem as important as the fact that the planet will still be here 6000 years from now. So the question to debate is what the planet will look like in 6000 years and who will still be around to enjoy its beauty. The wooden temples and people of Nepal experienced the harshness of nature with a devastating earthquake recently but the survivors recover what they can and rebuild. [video]

    Every day on the planet is a win as we are one with nature. We and our planet are made of elements from stardust and incredible as it is life goes on even after devastation.

    Less severe earthquakes are happening in the state of Oklahoma as often as twice a day but that is something that has been brought on by the hydraulic fracturing industry rather than by a random act of nature. The large amounts of toxic waste water that is injected deep underground is believed to be the problem, how to stop the quakes now that they’ve started though is not known. [1] Not injecting more toxic waste water deep underground might be an easy way to help prevent the problem from getting worse though.

    Investing in windmills can result in energy for communities within just two to five years. Investing in fossil fuels for energy results in more carbon emissions that stay in the atmosphere for hundreds of years or are absorbed into the ocean to add to it’s acidification and loss of oceanic species. And fossil fuels will run out as we don’t have a dinosaur population and millions of years to wait. And deep sea drilling and tanker ships of fossil fuels endanger the lives of ocean species and the future and current food supply for humans.

    Fossil fuels are also useful for solvents and to make plastic and other products if we burn up all that we can extract in the next few decades or hundred years than what are generations living a thousand or 6000 years from now going to use for solvents or plastic? Possibly: Essential oils from sustainable crops could be a long term investment.

    Agribusiness uses fossil fuels and creates increased ocean acidification from runoff of the fertilizers and herbicides and pesticides. Investing in sustainable growing methods and crops is investing in the long term future of our oceans and also our farm soil. Agribusiness practices tend to deplete soil and that pesticides may be interfering with soil microbes that are essential for increasing nitrogen availability for the plants.

    I love soil microbes and ocean plankton and humans. Investing in herbicides and pesticides and acidic fertilizer is not healthy for any of us in the short or long term. The planet will survive however and I love it the most. I would prefer that it isn’t poisoned because life makes it more interesting and poison isn’t good for the longevity of most forms of life. But some forms of life do evolve to handle harsh climates and toxins.

    Chemoautotrophs, sulfur-loving bacteria, need CO2 for survival but they don’t produce oxygen and so may have inhibited other types of life in the oceans for early parts of the planet’s history. They oxidize H2S, HN4, or Fe+  for energy rather than utilize sunlight for energy. [2, 3] Microbes tend to adapt.

    Spraying sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere is a geoengineering idea proposed by some scientists as a possible way to reduce global temperature by mimicking the sun blocking effect that happens after a major volcanic eruption. “What could possibly go wrong?” is a question posed by the author Naomi Klein regarding geoengineering in her book “This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate,” (2014, page 265).

    Increased ocean acidity and possibly a shift back to sulfur-loving bacteria might be something that could go wrong with man made volcanic eruptions. As an oxygen breather, I do prefer having more oxygen producing microbes around even though I love variety of life.

    Who will be around in 6000 years? That is an interesting question. How we treat the land and air and water of the planet today may affect the answer for the species of the future.