There is a large amount of disturbing stuff going on today in the world and the U.S. I am particularly concerned about GMOs and Fracking and their impact on our environment and personal health. I probably don’t have to tell you that GMOs are nutritionally inferior, but studies are finding, even worse, they may be responsible for a variety of illnesses, such as leaky gut syndrome, Crohn’s, and IBS. The companies that make GMOs are allowed to claim that their products are “substantially equivalent” to natural foods, which is bull shit. Check out these links for a bit more education on this topic:
You can also read the book In Defense of Food and others by Michael Pollan, see the films “The Future of Food” by Deborah Koons Garcia, “Food Matters,” “Food, Inc.,” and others. Agri-business and Big Pharma are linked, in that, the sicker we get off the GMO and processed food we eat, the more money Big Pharma makes. As you will learn from these resources, agri-business is so intent on controlling the food supply that it takes farmers to court and sues them for tens of thousands of dollars or more for “patent infringement” for saving and replanting GMO seeds, or if GMO seeds enter their non-GMO crops by seed-dispersal by birds or wind, even cross-pollination. Monsanto has patents on over 11,000 seeds and if they “catch” you trying to save their seed and re-use it without paying them royalties, they will sue you for patent infringement. OCA’s Resource Center on Genetically Modified Wheat This is a blow from which most farmers it happens to can never recover. The number of non-corporate farms is already dangerously small, and seed diversity has been shrinking exponentially. The government’s policy of supporting Big Agra cuts down the small farmer deals a debilitating blow to local farming, small business, food integrity, and good nutritional practices in the United States and around the world. These seeds are shipped everywhere and will eventually contaminate the entire food supply. And then there’s the engineered tilapia, salmon, and other fish that can escape the farm and end up contaminating wild populations. Over a Million Comments Filed on GE Salmon as New Evidence Emerges of Deeply Flawed Review | PR Watch There is almost no end to it.
Another major problem we have today is the emphasis on natural gas as an “alternative energy source” and the new way of extracting it from the Marcellus and other shale regions: hydraulic fracturing. Big Oil and Gas likes to perpetuate fear and hope by telling us that we can be “energy independent” if we would only use this “clean fuel,” natural gas, instead of oil. Natural gas burns cleaner and will solve our energy needs for the immediate future, they say, while we slowly develop green energy. This last thing is just a concession to the environmentalists, but I don’t believe these industries really intend to give up the spot at the head of the line any time soon. And, as long as we are spending time and money developing natural gas, we are not spending time and money developing green energy technology.
The problems with fracking are many, but perhaps the biggest problem is the load on local water supplies. A huge amount of water is required for the process. This is taken from rivers and streams (often against the will of the local people). Once this water is laced with the endocrine-disrupting and carcinogenic chemicals they use, it is no longer useable. Much of what is shoved underground stays there, to possibly migrate later through the cracks in the shale that they make bigger by shooting in water, sand, and around 600 chemicals to make the drill bit slippery and open fissures in the rock. What comes back is gases and liquids from underground, including brine and radiation, along with some of the water they poisoned. The most common type of radiation to come to the surface is Radium 226, but there is also radium-228 and radon gas. A landfill in PA rejected a truckful of waste water from a fracking truck because the levels were 84 times higher than federal safe levels. Fracking debris considered too radioactive even for waste site — RT USA
Additionally, many aquifers have been contaminated beyond repair by a leaky drill hole. The industry will tell you they use concrete to seal the hole, but since they cannot see underground, there is no guarantee that this enclosure is 100% intact. This doesn’t touch what happens to the casing over time, with the changes in weather. We have seen what one winter does to our roads. Every well must pass through an aquifer, and even the initial passing of the drill will, at the very least, stir up dirt and rock into that aquifer. If the casing is not perfect it will fail immediately. Many of them that are perfect still fail over 30 years’ time. How could they not?
We only have so much fresh water on the planet, and it is a tiny fraction of the total water we have. Fracking uses around 5 million gallons per well, per frack. One well pad can have up to 12 well heads, and each well can be fracked more than once. (Watch Josh Fox’s “Gasland” and “Gasland 2” for more disturbing facts.) Currently, in the entire world, all the fresh water we have amounts to about 22,339 mi3 or about 23 trillion gallons. How much water is on Earth, from the USGS Water Science School The industry currently uses water at a rate of tens of billions of gallons per year. http://documents.foodandwaterwatch.org/doc/frackingReport.pdf This water is non-reclaimable. We must remember that water is a finite resource and cannot be created by us. We could desalinate water but this is an expensive process, uses a great deal of energy, and creates pollution of its own. Desalination – The Ecologist Why should we have to do this when we have enough water if we would only protect it?
Another problem with natural gas is the methane that escapes during the drilling process. Methane is 100 times as potent as CO2 as a greenhouse gas and climate disruptor in the short-term (20-year period). Also, the burning of methane releases more CO2. http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/blogs/greeninc/Howarth2011.pdf It is estimated that up to 9% of drilled wells leak, but it could be more. The industry is not known for its self-regulation.
The underlying problem in all this is how our government is controlled by the huge amounts of money given to the candidates by Super PACs, corporations, individuals with a personal interest in the success of corporations, and other “independent” groups. It is a fact that the more money spent on a campaign, the greater the candidate’s chances of success. Corporations have a huge influence on the laws that are being made today. The corrupt Citizens United ruling seeks to legitimize this power, but corporations are not people and do not deserve the same rights as people. More importantly, people are more important and more fragile than corporations, and need to be protected. Corporations operate on the profit motive. How does this equate them, rights wise, with people? The argument has been that free speech is expressable as money, as if everything comes down to dollars and cents. I disagree, and I hold that this position corrupts the issue, exaggerates the effect of money on our justice system, and puts the common people at a huge disadvantage. Congressman McGovern Introduces the People’s Rights Amendment | freespeechforpeople.org
If we are to keep power in the hands of the People, where it belings, we need to put limits on campaign contributions. Why? Think of when you were younger and your parents tried to control you. You hated it. You probably yelled at them and told them it wasn’t fair. What did they say? My house, my money, my rules. It’s the same with campaign donations. A candidate who takes large sums of money from an industry or group is bound to do favors for that group, isn’t it? Otherwise, they won’t donate again. Have a look at this website. It shows who is funding YOUR representatives. Search | Dirty Energy Money – Oil Change International
With this corporate influence comes all kinds of un-democratic changes to our society. John Whitehead of the Rutherford Institute, a legal defense group that pursues cases concerning violations of civil liberties, explains that 55 new crimes are created each year, and most Americans commit three felonies a day without knowing it. Many of these crimes are created by corporations (a good example of this is when Monsanto sues small farmers for patent infringement when their crops are infected with Monsanto seed by natural means) but a huge portion are created by the so-called “war on drugs.” Never mind that drug use, in many cases, is a victimless crime. In recent years, this problem has been compounded by privatized prisons, where criminalization becomes a necessary step to increasing profits. Making prisons into a private enterprise is a huge mistake, and a great imposition on human freedom. Private prisons get paid per bed occupied, which gives them incentive to put pressure on legislators to increase the number of crimes and the severity of penalties. We have more people in prison per capita than any other country in the world. That includes China and North Korea. Think about that. Click on the video: The Criminalization of America. The Rutherford Institute :: Welcome
Speaking of criminalization, and back to food, my home state, West Virginia, whose motto is Montani Semper Liberi (Mountaineers are always free) has passed laws that make it illegal to sell or even GIVE raw milk products to friends and family. Will this be extended to fruits and vegetables? Sounds like freedom has been curtailed yet again, and over something so silly. Yet, at the same time, the FDA is considering putting aspartame into milk and not labeling it, under intense pressure from the dairy lobby. Tell the FDA to Reject More Aspartame in Milk! | Food Democracy Now We deserve to know what is in our food.
Food is impossible without honeybees to pollinate plants. Yet, bees are dying in unprecedented numbers. Why? New studies are finding the cause to be fungicides sprayed on trees and crops that surround their hives. This fungicide lowers their immune system and makes them susceptible to a certain parasite that is thought to be responsible for CCD (colony collapse disorder). In addition, a pesticide was just approved that is known to be extremely toxic to bees. Ignoring Bee Crisis, EPA Greenlights New ‘Highly Toxic’ Pesticide | Common Dreams Without bees, we cannot have food. Where is the logic?
We must work tirelessly to correct these problems. The first thing we must do it be aware, educated citizens. Second, we need to organize, get together for discussion, and plan action. Third, we must write, call, and visit our legislators, write letters to the editor, and educate our friends both in person and through social media. Perhaps this will put us on the path to preventing and reversing some of the injustices we are seeing now.
Without good food and adequate water supplies, the human race, perhaps the entire planet, will die out sooner rather than later. Anyone who keeps even one eye on the media can see these things going on. The question is, are we going to do something about it, or will we let our greed destroy us?