Sunday, February 24, 2008
Monday, February 18, 2008
I wonder why so few of us, mothers ourselves, are deaf to her plea. Is it because we have been trained to ignore our own feminine wisdom? We birth our babies in hospitals while numbing ourselves, and them, to the experience of birth itself. Then we wonder why we have a detached self absorbed culture. Those of us who have things, and lots of them, are leading contributors to the changing climate.
We enjoy the benefits of modern conveniences to an excess - feeding our kids fast food because we have no time - rationalizing and justifying our behaviors to avoid feeling guilty. We know deep down that genetically modified foods and artificial flavorings aren’t healthy. We feel it in our bones and see the toxic residue in the bones of Mother Earth. If only we would listen to those inner voices -if only we could hear her pleas. Instead, we numb ourselves with caffeine, sugar, medications.
The overall numbing of our nation has created global devastation in a mere 100 years. What has the women rights movement gained during this past century if the resulting society is consumed with consuming, distracted by calculated marketing tactics and manipulated by distorted realities?
Have we simply chosen to minimize the power of the Feminine for the “idea” of something other than what it actually is? Not to say all women buy into this picture - some of us are rebels - birthing and schooling our babies at home, breastfeeding them to the age of four, refusing vaccinations, buying clean energy options and carbon offsets, running our vehicles on bio-fuels or driving a hybrid and eating organic food.
We know we have the ability to manifest our reality with just our thoughts. Yet, what reality are we buying into exactly? The emerging ”green” movement lacks a feminine voice. Many of the solutions being presented are reminiscent of the hidden agendas of days past. Nuclear energy and “clean” coal are being positioned as actual alternatives right next to wind power, solar and bio-fuels. Billions of dollars are being spent to develop these markets to support the false economy.
We are caught in a vicious cycle where corporations are dependent on consumers to keep buying. Thus they keep dreaming up new ways to convince us to buy on a quarterly basis. Green or not, we, as consumers need to use less! We can buy carbon offsets, switch to renewable energy, buy sustainable products and shop locally but it is no longer enough. We have to do all of these things and more.
We have to actually change the rate at which we consume. We have to use less stuff. We have to begin to think about where all of the stuff we consume comes from and the impact it has on the planet and the people all along the way. Harder yet, we have to teach our children to use less stuff.
If we don’t gain control over our spending habits then we are equally to blame for the mess we are headed for. There is no other choice but to look at what we are doing today if there is going to be a tomorrow. What happens when it all collapses and we aren’t prepared. How do we look into the eyes of our children and explain to them that we are sorry?
What will it take for each one of individually to realize the vastness of the crisis we are holding in our hands?
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
The realization that we could begin to shape the world through our purchases as a family began to infiltrate into other areas of our lives. From this place of awareness, we embarked on a journey that shaped our families success to “go green”.
I began to think about how we were so easily able to switch our lifestyle as other mothers inquired about our accomplishments. Exactly how do we unravel the webs we have found ourselves trapped in? Corporate America has led us down a destructive path that is hard to break away from.
Now I must admit, I have always lived a bit outside mainstream ideology. But recognizing the culminating devastation occurring on the planet right now during my lifetime challenged me to begin questioning my personal role in the big picture a little more deeply.
As mothers, when one of our children is not well, we instinctively react with a quickness that only a mother can muster. Our intuitive natures kick in and we assess the situation and immediately begin to find solutions. If we simply ignore or mask the problem, sooner or later it resurfaces until we get to the root of the problem.
Now imagine that the earth is one of our kids. Deep down, our innate feminine wisdom tells us that something is wrong – very, very wrong. It is essential that we not only trust this wise part of ourselves but also heed the warning call. Only when we acknowledge the truth can we begin moving towards living our lives in a new way.
I looked back over our evolution as a family going green and saw a pattern in the way we integrated each new initiative we embraced. In the next series of blogs I will outline the ten steps necessary to effectively alter our behaviors as families that are crucial to the survival of our species.
The first step for creating real change in our behaviors and in the world is to RECOGNIZE that there’s a problem. This requires lifting off the veils of illusion and seeing things for what they really are. And the truth is, our planet is in peril. The generations of the immediate past, including our own, have rapidly depleted the resources available on our planet at a rate faster than they can be replaced. There’s not much left for generations to come.
My intention here is not to motivate through scare tactics, but rather to tell it like it is. In this way, a foundation is established from which we can accurately base our decisions. Right now there is a lot of dishonesty in our world. Money hungry corporations are still trying to squeeze every possible dollar they can from the market before it crashes. And it’s not that they don’t know what I am telling you. It’s just that they are not telling you that they know so as not to cut into their profit margins.
When we begin to look closely, however, we can see them beginning to prepare. “Green” initiatives are sprouting up all over the place moving these ideas into the mainstream. A good number of companies are leading the way while others, such as Clorox with their new “green” cleaning line “greenwash” their products leading consumers to believe they actually care about the environment. Still others blissfully maintain business as usual.
The catch is that all of these good green changes are in some ways useless if we, as Americans, don’t take an honest look at the rate in which we consume things. As a country we make up about 4% of the world’s population yet produce 25% of the world’s carbon emissions, 6 times the global average. When we look at America in comparison to other countries, one can see the direct correlation between consumption and carbon emissions. Even with the talk of global warming our purchasing power continues to escalate and our energy consumption is off the charts.
The rest of the world is waking up, while America is in some kind of drugged stupor. Like an addict we won’t stop until we hit rock bottom. Only when we recognize and acknowledge the reality facing us at this critical point in history will we be able to affect change. By recognizing there is a problem we can move on to the next step, which is accept personal responsibility for the role we play in the big picture.
Tuesday, February 5, 2008
One way we are most powerful is with our vote. We vote every time we buy something. The way we spend our money dictates the world in which we live. Thus, it is essential to actively research the companies we buy from to know who and what we are actually supporting.... sometimes it can be quite surprising.
The same is true of our elected officials. For example, on the surface many women might feel a need to support Hillary in the upcoming election simply because they believe in the idea of having a woman in the White House. We assume that because she is female that she will somehow act differently than the male presidents (including her husband) that have got us into the mess we are in. This is where we are sadly mistaken.
As eco-feminists we recognize the parallel between the domination of women and the domination of nature. “In other words, violence against Mother Earth came to be intertwined with an emerging urge to subdue and control women. These twin oppressions were created and are perpetuated by an ideology called patriarchy.” http://eve.enviroweb.org/what_is/index.html
Armed with this knowledge, we recognize that supporting a woman in office that enables the “men” of the world to continue the destructive path we are on, is not really any different than what we have now.
Thus, if we look just a little deeper we can clearly see the bigger picture. Linn Cohen-Cole, a mother, grandmother and former supporter of Hillary (who even dormed with her in college) wrote a brilliant letter outlining some very important connections that we women need to know before we cast our votes this week.
A picture has been painted to portray Mrs. Clinton as a compassionate woman who can relate to the concerns of other women. But what sane woman would be able to support the deceptive unleashing of GM foods onto American grocery store shelves for the past decade without saying a word? What kind of woman is she who not only supports companies like Tyson and Wal-Mart that create the economy for GM products, but takes money from them too?
If one conspires with Monsanto lobbyists to create things like "Rural Americans for Hillary", what kind of values, if any, does she have? How could she stand by and watch her husband let slip by any mandatory labeling of rGBH milk, blatant dismissal of outraged American consumers and the convenient placement of Monsanto “people” at the FDA without saying a word?
How, in her right mind, could she sleep at night knowing that she has participated in the largest experiment of industrialized agriculture on American children in history that continues to be perpetuated to this day? She wants us to TRUST her? Whose side is she on anyways?
If any of this comes as a surprise to you, or even if it doesn't, read Linn’s letter (re-printed below) that outlines each and every point pertaining to what is the biggest and most critical issue of our times. This, my friends, is what is going on behind the scenes while we all scatter about attempting to piece together the fatalities facing our planet while caring for our families. These are only designed to confuse the issues even more.
We must stay clear and use our best judgment and most rational minds to determine the best candidate for office and get out and vote. As women, we have had to fight for this right and it is essential that we mobilize and use this power to our advantage! I urge you to go within and find the truth that lies there. What we need in office is a PERSON who will care about and protect the earth and all of her inhabitants.
By polling logic, I
should be your supporter - Democrat, older woman, white, liberal. I was even in
a dorm with you in college. I have pulled for you for years. But something this
past summer fundamentally changed my responsibility to my children and
grandchildren. In the time I have left in my life to protect them and others, I need to speak out.I saw a News Hour piece on Maharastra, India, about farmers committing suicide. Monsanto, a US agricultural giant, hired Bollywood actors for ads telling illiterate farmers they could get rich (by their standards) from big yields with Monsanto's Bt (genetically engineered) cotton seeds. The expensive seeds needed expensive fertilizer and pesticides (Monsanto, again) and irrigation. There is no irrigation there. Crops failed. Farmers had larger debt than they'd ever experienced And farmers couldn't collect seeds from their own fields to try again (true since time immemorial). Monsanto "patents" their DNA-altered seeds as "intellectual property." They have a $10 million budget and a staff of 75 devoted solely to prosecuting farmers. http://www.grist.org/comments/food/2008/01/17./).
Since the late 1990s (as industrial agriculture took hold in India?), 166,000
Indian farmers have committed suicide and 8 million have left the land, and it has increased since 2002 to an average of 1 every 20 minutes (P.Sainath, The Hindu). The reasons for suicides are always complex and Monsanto is not the only giant agribusiness now in India, but it is one of the largest, and the main one in Maharastra where the suicides are especially high. Farmers in Europe, Asia, Africa, Indonesia, South America, Central America and here, have all protested Monsanto and genetic engineering. What does this have to do with you? You have connections to Monsanto through the Rose Law Firm where you worked and through Bill who hired Monsanto people for central food-related roles. Your Orwellian-named "Rural Americans for Hillary" was planned withTroutman Sanders, Monsanto's lobbyists.Genetic engineering and industrialized food and animal production all come together at the Rose Law Firm, which represents the world's largest GE corporation (Monsanto), GE's most
controversial project (DP&L's - now Monsanto's - terminator genes), the
world's largest meat producer (Tyson), the world's largest retailer and a
dominant food retailer (Walmart). The inbred-ness of Rose's legal representation of corporations which own controlling interests in other corporations there and of corporate boards sharing members who are also shareholders of each other's corporations there, is so thorough that it is hard to capture. Jon Jacoby, senior executive of the Stephens Group - one of the largest institutional shareholders of Tyson Foods, Walmart, DP&L - is also Chairman of the Board of DP&L and arranged the Wal-Mart deal. Jackson Stephens' Stephens Group staked Sam Walton and financed Tyson Foods. Monsanto bought DP&L. All represented at Rose. You didn't just work there, you made friends. That shows in the flow of favors then and since. You were invited onto Walmart's board, you were helped by a Tyson executive to make commodity trades (3 days before Bill became governor), netting you $100,000, Jackson Stephens strongly backed Bill for Governor, and then for President (donating $100,000). http://www.financialsense.com/editorials/engdahl/2006/0828.html
Food and friends, in Clinton terms: Bill's appointed friend Mike Espy,
Secretary of Agriculture, who immediately significantly weakened federal chicken waste and contamination standards, opening the door to major expansion of Tyson's chicken factory farms (www.financialsense.com/
editorials/engdahl/2006/0828.html). Espy resigned, indicted for accepting bribes, illegal contributions, money laundering, illegal dispersal of USDA
subsidies, .... Tyson Foods was the largest corporate offender. http://www.engdahl.oilgeopolitics.net/GMO/Monsanto/monsanto.html But what Bill did for Monsanto "genetic engineering" goes beyond
inadequate concepts of giving corporate friends influence: He unleashed genetic engineering into the world. And then he helped close off people's escape from it. Genetic engineering is many orders of magnitude different from "normal" (even polluting) business in its potential biologic ramifications. The warning myth of Pandora'a Box - letting irretrievable things rush out into nature - has become real. The harrowing change to the world from nuclear fission and fusion is the closest parallel. What did Bill do?1. Bill's put Monsanto people in at the FDA, as US Agricultural Trade Representatives, on International Biotechnology Consultive Forums, and more ... (http://www.commondreams.org/headlines/072600-03.htm) or http://www.monitor.net/monitor/9904b/monsantofda.html or http://www.mindfully.org/GE/Revolving-Door.htm2.
Bill's FDA gave Monsanto permission to market rBGH (a GE bovine growth hormone), the first genetically engineered product let loose on us (or did tomatoes with fish DNA get there first?).3. Despite reports of bovine illness and death, Bill's FDA did not recall it or put warnings on it. Even "a very angry, very vocal nationwide consumer base" had no impact. " http://www.wafreepress.org/14/Envirowatch.html4.
Bill's FDA wouldn't even label rBGH as "present" in milk.5. When dairy farmers tried to label their own milk rBGH-free so the public could choose, Bill's USDA threatened all dairies that their products could be confiscated from stores. Michael Taylor, USFDA Deputy Commissioner, was formerly Monsanto's counsel. 6. How were consumers to protect their family, given Bill's FDA enforced public blindness, except to buy only organic? But Bill's FDA tried to close off that last escape, proposing to include in "organic" standards, "the dirty three" a : genetic engineering of plants and animals, use of irradiation in food processing and use of municipal sewage sludge as a fertilizer. (My emphasis.) The FDA backed down. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C0DEED91E31F933A1575AC0A96E958260
Had this gone through, Monsanto could have finally labeled rBGH milk ...
as "organic." And animal waste from factory farms, a pollution nightmare for Tyson and others, could have been sold as fertilizer. USDA head Dan Glickman: "This is probably the largest public response to an [Agriculture Department] rule in modern history." In fact the response was 20 times greater than anything ever before proposed by the USDA. http://www.orpheusweb.co.uk/john.rose/orglab.html
Personally, I resent years of effort to protect my children and now
grandchildren, from that crap. Politically, Bill sided against small farmers and against the public's right to know, and with Monsanto. A snap shot of our food:
Oils: Sheep died in India after feeding on Bt cotton fields (http://btcotton.blogspot.com/). We feed our
children Bt cotton, as cottonseed oil in peanut butter and cookies.
of US corn acreage was planted in Bt corn in 2007. A French study proved
Monsanto's GMO corn causes kidney and liver toxicity (http://www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_4790.cfm). Soft drinks and candy have highly concentrated Bt corn, in the form of
high fructose Bt corn syrup. The US food system depends most on two crops, soy (90% GMO, 90% of traits owned by Monsanto) and corn, the largest crop (60% GMO, nearly 100% Monsanto traits). "[E]ssentially our entire food supply is genetically modified, to the benefit of one company." The Grocery Manufacturers of America in 2000 estimated that 70 percent of US food contains GM traits. http://www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_9716.cfm
Meat: Steroids bulk up atheletes. Monsanto steroids bulk up animals -
more weight, more profit. We feed our children steroids in meats. Is this why our children are fattening, like Hansel and Gretel?
Poultry: Bill's USDA weakened chicken waste and contamination standards and attempted to allow sewage sludge as fertilize crops. I will say more about disease from industrialized poultry farms waste, at the end of this letter.Milk: Over 30 scientific publications have shown increased levels of IGF-1 in milk with rBGH increases risks of breast cancer by up to seven-fold, also increasing colon and prostate cancers risks. Canada, 29 European nations, Norway, Switzerland, Japan, New Zealand, Australia, and South Africa ban U.S. rBGH dairy products. Bill's USFDA put no restrictions, no warning labels (not allowing labels at all). (My emphasis.) http://www.sustdev.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2127&Itemid=35
American children eat that food and drink that milk, Hillary.
Coincidentally, American children are increasingly fat and sick. Here, Bill
ignored pleas for labeling. Abroad, Bill ignored intense international
objections over the same issue - unlabeled US food exports - badly straining trading relations. Monsanto's "good ole boy," he betrayed American families at the deepest levels conceivable - their family's health and their democratic right to know. He betrayed our rural life and American family farmers - backing corporation deceit and control, over honesty and clean farming.But, HIllary, it is one thing to not label a regular ole food product to sell it, and quite another to sell a suspected-dangerous food product (rBGH), but Bill's administration didn't label (or stop) a well-known, terrifying threat - Mad Cow Disease.Bill's FDA's August, 1997 regulation permitted "known TSE-positive [Transmissible spongiform encephalopathy] material to be used in pet food, pig, chicken and fish feed," only requiring the label to read "Do not feed to cattle and other ruminants" in the US. Monsanto added to the problem. "There is
evidence that rbST use [Monsanto's GE bovine growth hormone] reduces the useful lifespan of a dairy cow. ... Given that the incubation period for BSE is at least three to five years and perhaps longer, rbST-treated cows could harbor "hidden" BSE. That is, they might be infected but still asymptomatic when sent to slaughter." (My emphasis.) http://www.consumersunion.org/food/bgh-codex.htm
Bill let TSE into our entire food chain. And who owned the feed and
slaughter and genetic engineering corporations whch benefitted? Please, tell me, Hillary, what he could possibly have gotten in friendship or favors, that could ever justify his exposing millions of people to this? With genetic engineering itself, Bill did something to the whole world, which tried to object. Words are inadequate to express how astoundingly immoral, beyond human bounds and conceit and power, that was. "Even for the biggest "winners," it is like winning at poker on the Titanic." Jerry Mander: Facing the Rising TideHe had no right. Do you hear that? Bill had sex from Monica Lewinsky. That's "dinky immoral." That's chicken feed immoral - excuse the Tyson pun, excuse the TSE-laced pun. Bill let genetic engineering lose on NATURE itself. "Our way of life is likely to be more
fundamentally transformed in the next several decades than in the previous one thousand years…Tens of thousands of novel transgenic bacteria, viruses, plants and animals could be released into the Earth's ecosystems…Some of those releases, however, could wreak havoc with the planet's biospheres." Jeremy Rifkin, Biotech CenturyBill did this to us, like it was some nothing and he, some big dumb ass Southern boy, just smiling and getting in good with the Big Boys, thinking about as much about the consequences of something this immense and about us human beings out here, as he thought about you, when he was unfaithful with Monica. Just one big fool getting off on the power and used to getting away with things. Terminator genes, developed by DP&L, a Rose Firm client, prevent seeds from "working" after only one season. Farmers "must" repurchase (patents and suing not certain enough control, it seems). Those"killing" genes pose the apocalyptic risk of breaking out into nature. Natural seeds could fail, too. Nature could fail.Far-fetched? GMO fields are already contaminating normal species (http://www.foodfirst.org/pubs/backgrdrs/2002/sp02v8n2.html.
Berkeley Professor of Microbiology, Ignacio Chapela, wrote an open
letter, warning the Mexican government about just this breaking out phenomenon happening in maize (http://www.slogefree.org/newsletters/News_Item.2004-12-21.4353/).
And it has already happened with weeds - pesticide resistant GMO seeds
break lose and weeds become pesticide-resistant Superweeds (http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn1882-geneticallymodified-superweeds-not-uncommon.html).But Bill's USDA spokesman, Willard Phelps said the USDA wanted the technology to be `widely licensed and made expeditiously available to many seed companies.' http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=viewArticle&code=ENG20060827&articleId=3082
"Genetic Engineering is often justified as a human technology, one that
feeds more people with better food. Nothing could be further from the truth. With very few exceptions, the whole point of genetic engineering is to increase sales of chemicals and bio-engineered products to dependent farmers." David Ehrenfield: Professor of Biology, Rutgers UniversityHillary, one third of the world's bee colonies have collapsed. Gone. Farmers in India are killing themselves. Farmers and bees. Since organic farmers in India are fine and organic farmers report no colony collapse, what does these farming catatrophes say about "industrial agriculture"? Mad Cow Disease is another direct result of industrial agriculture. And now....... transnational poultry factories are implicated as the source of bird flu. ... Small scale poultry farms and wild birds seem not to be the problem [just as small farmers are not the issue in Mad Cow Disease], and yet "initiatives are multiplying to ban outdoor poultry, squeeze out small producers and restock farms with genetically modified
chickens. ... http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/feb2006/2006-02-27-01.asp "Of the few outbreaks that did occur in [Laos], more than 90% broke out in commercial poultry operations, not free-ranging flocks." http://www.birdflubook.com/a.php?id=75 Monsanto (and others) is currently working with the USDA (http://www.farmandranchguide.com/articles/2006/01/30/ag_news/updates/update01.txt)to force small farmers to tag every animal with a global tracking device
(NAIS - National Animal Identification System). Allegedly related to food
safety, Monsanto and others would be creating a vast corporate digital library on every move of small farmers's livestock. http://goexcelglobal.he.net/~natpropg/nonais.htmlBut small farmers do not create the contaminated environments, do not supply the feed, do not grind up diseased animals into feed (how Mad Cow began) and then sell it. In fact, their farming methods, free range and small scale, are significantly healthier and safer for animals and food than the massive concentration of animals by corporate industrial agriculture.Monsanto is also aggressively pushing for state laws to limit farmers' right to choose what to plant and the public's right exclude GE plants from their communities http://www.rense.com/general65/righto.htm
Cattle bloated by steroids, lapse and loss of 10,000 year old normal seeds, immense pollution from factory farms, deadly-disease-ridden feed, world-wide bee colony collapse, poisoned soil and depleted water supplies, Superweeds (http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn1882-geneticallymodified-superweeds-not-uncommon.html), lawsuits against farmers, loss of family farms, and ... India farmers killing themselves in what may be the largest mass suicide in recorded human history (on average ... one farmers' suicide every 30 minutes since 2002 - The
Hindu 1.30.08) - that is industrial agriculture. Monsanto and Tyson are two of the largest industrial agricultural corporations in the world. Industrial agriculture is represented by your Rose Law Firm. Your claim to care about food safety is terrifying double-speak given what Bill did and who you take donations from. Your idea of a Department of Food Safety would centralize control of food - in whose corporate connected hands? You talk tough about labeling food - ah, but "foreign" food - a sleight of hand tricking a public desperate for safe US food. You talk about food safety but Bill degraded food in every imaginable way and prevented minimally sane labeling.I am a person before I am a woman. Your gender means nothing. It is a media distraction. Your policies on health and
food and women and children, are meaningless in the face of connections that have threatened those groups profoundly, connections you have never denounced. Monsanto uses child labor in India, primarily very young girls, exposing them to a lethal pesticide 13-14 hours a day, for pennies in pay. http://www.indiaresource.org/issues/agbiotech/2003/monsantounilever.html But you take donations from their lobbyists. You say you care about
black people but as the poorest people in this country, they are least able to
buy organic and are forced to eat the contaminated foods Bill let into our food system. The National Black Farmers Association has a boycott out on all Monsanto products. Do you eat organic? So, who are you with, hapless black consumers and black farmers, or Monsanto? Mothers left to give their children rBGH milk, or Monsanto? Women exposed to 7 times greater risk of breast cancer, or Monsanto? Desperate farmers in India and young children forced into child labor in cottonseed factories there, or Monsanto? Animals suffering from lives in filthy cages and disgusting feedlots, shot up with steroids and hormones and antibiotics, or Monsanto? Our children who eat candy with high fructose Bt corn syrup associated with kidney and liver toxicity, or Monsanto? Edwards was right about your corporate connections. I just didn't understand until I saw that PBS show and read about Monsanto, how personally affected my children and grandchildren, and all people around the world, have been.I will not vote for you. I will vote for someone who will commit themselves to work on behalf of small farmers and real food and decent treatment of animals and to end this industrialized agricultural nightmare that is taking us off a cliff.
Linn Cohen-ColeAtlantaDisclaimer: I am not a scientist. I have read for months on this subject, and am including only a tiny portion of the horrifying things I have learned. I am expressing my opinion as person and may be wrong. Perhaps things are swell out there and rBGH is fabulous and TSE-laced feed is great, and genetic engineering is the best thing since manna. But I am scared for my family and I have not only a right to say so but an obligation to do so. I am angry that Monsanto was allowed the influence it had and has done the things it definitely seems to have. I am disgusted by industrialization of every tender and beautiful part of our world and hope, for all our children's sake, we are not too late to pull back.