Focus on a goal – okay

I do focus on a goal – the sustainability of the food-energy-water nexus (1) for supporting life on earth. (2)

That is a short sentence representing some very big topics and issues.

  • The production and distribution of high quality food requires energy and water and fair policies.
  • The production of and distribution of energy also requires water and in the case of biofuel also requires a portion of the crop yield which diverts both water and crops from people who might need it for sustenance.
  • The treatment of freshwater for various uses and treatment of wastewater for reuse or for safe return into surface and ground water sources requires energy and includes food and sewage within the wastewater. Some types of salts, other chemicals, and decomposition bacteria are also used. Fresh water needs to be produced and distributed fairly and wastewater transported back for safe treatment and reuse or return to surface or groundwater supplies.

All three areas of production and distribution use energy and all three are needed for sustaining human life on earth. Protecting the environment while producing the food, energy, and treated water in a sustainable manner helps sustain other types of life throughout the ecosystem, from the tiny microbes at the base of the food chain up to predator species at the top of the food chain. All are important for a sustainable and healthy ecosystem. Food, energy, and water are interconnected within industrial systems and societal needs and within our bodies. Life is complex, the goal is simple – sustain life.

What can I or anyone do in their daily life to help sustain life on Earth?

  • Use less energy intensive crops and buy food in bulk or with more biodegradable or recyclable forms of food packaging. 
  • For example – potatoes and sugar beets are less energy intensive to grow than sunflower seeds or wheat. Chickens and pigs, poultry and pork are less energy intensive meats to raise as farm animal products than to raise cows for beef. See Figures 2.3 and 2.4 (3).
  • Crops also vary in how water intensive they are to grow, wheat and sunflower seeds require more water than beans, peas, barley, millet, cabbage, tomatoes, potatoes, sugar beets, and melons for example. See Table 5 for seasonal total water needs for a number of crops: (4).

What can local government and industry do? or neighboring countries or states? – work together to devise more efficient use of the available water supplies for energy or food production and plan methods for treating and reusing wastewater from agriculture or urban areas. Urban areas use water and create wastewater within their local area but food and energy is generally produced elsewhere and is transported to the urban location. Currently some progress has been made to treat and recycle wastewater for fertilizer use and to produce some energy (methane is produced during decomposition of food and sewage treatment).

For the sustainable production of crops, within just 40 years, human civilization needs to shift to primarily using recycled fertilizer because there is a dwindling supply of phosphorus available in a form that is bioactive for use as a fertilizer. Recycling wastewater also retains nitrogen and both phosphorus and nitrogen can cause disruption of coastal waters when it enters the water supply within run-off from agricultural or lawn treatments.

Many example case studies from around the world describe ways that communities have worked together to make processes that maximize food and energy production and preserve water by planning the best use of resources for the region. See: Implementation and Case Studies, Nexus – The Water, Energy, and Food Security Platform, (water-energy-food.org).

Some of the ideas I have been working on focus on increasing use of foods or food waste that actually has significant health benefit but which might not seem as appealing as more familiar foods. Reducing food waste directly increases the nutritional value from the energy and water that was used to grow the crop and reduces the amount of food waste that would be entering the waste stream. 

Some foods with significant health benefits that are being under-utilized or currently are being thrown away:

  • Pomegranate peel is being discarded when it could be helping prevent or treat cancer and inflammatory disease and other conditions. (more about pomegranate peel extract)
  • Sassafras leaves were the second largest export from the American colonies in the 1700’s because they have healing benefits and are a natural food thickener and emulsifier when dried and powdered. (more about sassafras leaves/Gumbo File/Choctaw Spice)
  • Fennel seeds are used commonly in India as a crunchy snack or similar to an after dinner mint as a digestive aid/breath freshener/dessert. Fennel seed powder is less crunchy but has the health benefits and could be used in baked goods or as a thickener in sauces or soups. (more about Fennel seeds/Fennel powder in baking).

What can we do to sustain life? My answer: Everything we can think of, soon.

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.

For more information on water management and food-energy-water nexus implementation strategies check to see if another session becomes available of a United Nations free course on developing local water sources to help meet future water needs, Local Water Solutions for Global Challenges, (GaiaEducation.org).

  1. Leck, Hayley, Conway, Declan, Bradshaw, Michael J. and Rees, Judith. (2015) Tracing the water-energy-food nexus : description, theory and practice. Geography Compass, 9 (8). pp.
    445-460. gec3.12222.   http://wrap.warwick.ac.uk/79533/1/WRAP_Leck_et_al-2015-Geography_Compass.pdf
  2. Graham Turner, Cathy Alexander, Limits to Growth was right.New research shows we’re nearing collapse. Sept. 1, 2014, The Guardian, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/sep/02/limits-to-growth-was-right-new-research-shows-were-nearing-collapse
  3. F. Monforti-Ferrario and I. Pinedo Pascua editors & contributors, et al., Energy use in the EU food sector: State of play and opportunities for
    improvement, JRC Science and Policy Report, 2015, http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/bitstream/JRC96121/ldna27247enn.pdf
  4. C. Brouwer, M. Heibloem, Chapter 2: Crop Water Needs, from Irrigation Water Management: Irrigation Water Needs, Training Manual Number 3, (1986) FAO.org http://www.fao.org/docrep/s2022e/s2022e02.htm

Inspiring Words about Peace – Kaiser Permanente Memorial Park

A memorial sculpture park was created after 9/11 by Mario Chiodo to remind us of the words and vision of peace shared by 25 great healers, leaders, writers, artists, activists from around the world. The Henry J. Kaiser Memorial Park is a sculpture park in Oakland, California includes four large works that combine words and images of the 25 leaders with 14 additional local activists including Henry J. Kaiser, founder of Kaiser Institute and Kaiser Permanente, and a fireman is included to represent the workers and others who lost their lives on 9/11/2001. The 25 heroes are also portrayed individually with one of their quotes in two rows of smaller brass sculptures and plaques.

The tragic events of September 11, 2001, compelled Mario Chiodo to create the Remember Them monument. Embedded deep within the foundation is an original steel fragment from the New York World Trade Center. A sculpted replica of the fragment is shown above. It is Mario’s hope to inspire the world to work together to turn tragedy into peace.

Remember Them – by Mario Chiodo

Remember Them – by Mario Chiodo

Remember them when you walk with freedom.

Remember them when you think of liberty.

Remember them when your children get on the school bus.

Remember them while you sleep without fear.

 

Remember them when you are hungry or lonely.

Remember them when you thirst for knowledge.

Remember them when you cannot see the light or hear the birds sing.

Remember them when you are lost and need hope.

 

Remember them when others say “You cannot . . .”

Remember them when you know you can.

Remember them when it is difficult to see the good.

 

Remember them when those less fortunate come your way.

Remember them when someone is unkind.

Remember them – forgive and be compassionate.

 

Remember them when you see injustices.

Remember them and know your voice can be heard.

Remember them and stand up for what is right.

 

Remember them and know that we are all equal.

Remember them and know that our children become what they see.

Remember them and know that your actions determine history.

 

Remember them and know that obstacles are opportunities.

Remember them and know the greatest success often comes from failure.

Remember them and know you have so much to give.

 

Remember them and walk the path of peace.

Remember them and never give up.

Remember them and reach for the stars.

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 U.S. scores on the 2016 Social Progress Index have dropped

Compared to 133 other nations the U.S. ranked fifth for GDP per capita which would make the U.S. one of the richest nations however citizens may not be benefiting from the wealth as much as citizens in some other developed nations.

“Worse, the U.S. joins China, Russia, and Saudi Arabia in a group of countries that significantly underperform on social progress relative to their wealth. The U.S. is the only major industrial nation to significantly underperform in this way. By contrast, countries such as Costa Rica, Nepal, and Malawi have much lower levels of economic and social development than the U.S., but these countries are overperforming. They are doing a good job at turning their GDP into social progress; the U.S. is not.” [“Why Americans are So Angry Despite America’s Strong Economy,” Michael Green, Aug. 2, 2016, hbr.org]

The rankings for the 2016 Social Progress Index are based on the total group of 133 nations so fifth out of 133 for GDP per capita would be equivalent to 3.76 out of 100 or roughly 96% out of 100 which in the U.S. educational system would be graded as an ‘A’.

Other categories, reranked for grades based on percentage of a 100, would place the U.S.:

  • in the ‘A’ group for “Access to advanced education” (ranked 2/133 or 1.5/100) (2017 1/128) and “Shelter” (7/133 or 5.3/100) (2017 10/128)
  • and an ‘A-‘ for “Opportunity Total” (13/133 or 9.8/100). (2017 13/128)

The U.S. might get graded:

  • a ‘B+’ for “Personal Freedom and choice” (16/133 or 12.0/100) (2017 19/128)
  • and a ‘B’ for “Social Progress Overall” (19/133 or 14.3/100) (2017 18/128) and for “Access to info/communication” (19/133 or 14.3/100) (2017 27/128) and for “Basic Human Needs Total” (21/133 or 15.8/100) (2017 17/128) and for “Tolerance and inclusion” (21/133 or 15.8/100), (2017  23/128)
  • and a ‘B-‘ for “Personal Rights” (26/133 or 19.5/100). (2017 19/128)

And the U.S. might get graded:

  • a ‘C+’ for “Water and sanitation” (27/133 or 20.3/100) (2017 27/128) and for “Personal Safety” (27/133 or 20.3/100) (2017 21/128),
  • and a ‘C’ for “Foundations of Well-Being Total” (32/133 or 24.1/100), (2017 29/128)
  • and a ‘C-‘ for “Environmental Quality” (36/133 or 27.1/100) (2017 33/128) and for “Nutrition and basic medical care” (37/133 or 27.8/100). (2017 36/128)

And the U.S. might get graded:

  • a ‘D+’ for “Access to basic knowledge” (40/133 or 30.1/100). (2017 30/128)

And the U.S. might get graded:

  • an ‘E-‘ for “Health and Wellness” (69/133 or 51.9/100). (20177 34/128)

At some point the U.S.’s failing grade on Health and Wellness will make it difficult for the nation to continue to have enough healthy workers to pay for the care of the sick and disabled citizens let alone provide enough caregivers to continue to be able to take care of all of the people unable to care for themselves. Enforcing the purchase or provision of health insurance doesn’t automatically provide more health care professionals or provide more health care facilities — let alone assure that the care that is being provided is actually effective at resolving the underlying health issues rather than simply managing symptoms with treatments that might be exacerbating the underlying issues.

And what if the problem with the poor showing on “Health and wellness” isn’t just an ineffective or understaffed health care system but is actually a problem with excessive negative chemicals in our food supply and environment? It would be difficult to remain healthy in an environment that provides excessive amounts of toxins and insufficient nutrients to cope with the needs of detoxification adequately.

Or maybe U.S. citizens simply all started eating too much and exercising too little sometime around 1992 and the halving of male fertility is just a fluke (not quite halved – 1.7 children on average in 1992 dropped to 0.9 children on average between 2006-2010) *. Maybe. Coincidences do happen — and more and more often it seems in this modern era. But as I don’t believe in coincidences as much as I believe in evidence based science I’ll continue to avoid the toxins that I’ve become aware of and continue to work on sharing information about the underlying causes of health and wellness (the big secret is that functional bodies are made out of a balanced variety of all of the nutrients, {and a good night’s sleep and regular exercise and clean air and water}, rather than being made out of pharmaceuticals or toxins .)

*Excerpt from the last post:

  • 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

A different excerpt (that was not included in the last post) suggests that fertility rates for females as well as males born in the U.S. may also have been affected because fertility rates were greater for Hispanic men and women who had moved to the U.S. compared to Hispanic women who were born in the U.S.:

“Looking at nativity, higher percentages of foreign-born Hispanic men and women had a child compared with those born in the United States. For foreign-born Hispanic women, 78% had a biological child compared with 51% of U.S.-born Hispanic women. The percentage of U.S.-born Hispanic women with a biological child is similar to that of white women.”  http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nhsr/nhsr051.pdf

The birth rate for Hispanic women and men was greater than for white women and men:

“Hispanic women are more likely to have had a biological child (65%) than non-Hispanic white women (52%), but there were no differences between Hispanic and non-Hispanic black (62%) women. Meanwhile, a higher percentage of Hispanic men had a biological child (54%) compared with both white (41%) and black (49%) men.”   http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nhsr/nhsr051.pdf

If tradition is important to a person then it might be a good idea to start asking why our traditions are no longer working as they traditionally used to – maybe foreign born people have greater birth rates because their bodies are less full of toxins and less nutritionally depleted.

The primaries are finally over and I haven’t withdrawn from the 2016 presidential race – yet. I was waiting for the primary process before starting to campaign as an Independent candidate – but that was too long to wait. The current system favors the two main parties by spending so much time on the primaries. The timelines for ballot access are closing soon or have closed already in some states. [Utah] Write-in ballot access can be applied for in some areas within a month or two of the election. For a presidential candidate to apply for ballot access as a write-in candidate they need to file with the state and include a list of registered voters in the state who are willing to act as electoral representatives for the candidate and the name of the Vice Presidential candidate has to be given.

Writing in Bernie Sanders name on a ballot if he hasn’t filed with the state is most likely to get the whole ballot added to the ‘don’t count’ pile. Leaving a section blank and voting on other sections may reduce the risk of a ballot being added to the ‘don’t count’ pile.

My Presidential Platform is a plan to turn that “E” from a failing grade into an E for excellence.

  • Effective Health Care – a preventative healthcare, not-for profit single payer system.
  • Economy & more Green Jobs.
  • Environment & more Green Jobs.
  • End the War on Peace.
  • End Citizens United & reform campaign finance and voting transparency laws
  • Education — Repeal or rewrite the No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top policies to create a public education system that promotes helping the child to maximize their own potential – whatever it is. — Require all under graduate education providers to teach evolution and a science based curriculum. — Reduce college tuition loan rates and work towards restoring public education subsidies for in state college tuition.

Effective health care and more Green Jobs for the Economy and Environment are all goals that reinforce each other — we can’t be healthy or very productive over the long term if our environment and food supply are too toxic to support health for us or our wildlife and farm animals and crops.

I will add links for more information regarding each of the platform categories.

Here’s the website with the page of 2017 data for the U.S.. Any of the countries can be chosen from a menu and displayed.  https://www.socialprogressindex.com/?tab=2&code=USA 

More about the organization and the Social Progress Index is available on another website. Collaboration and encouragement to make local level or special interest Indexes is part of the goal and examples of a youth index and regional index are available on the site.  http://www.socialprogressimperative.org/about-us-what-we-do/

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.