GMOs, Health & Disease, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss — by I-SIS May 7, 2013
Genetically modified foods are a threat to our dwindling water supplies; they are less water-efficient and contaminate fresh water
Genetically Modified (GM) crops are widely recognised for their potential to damage both human health and the environment. Evidence is now accumulating of the contamination of streams, rivers, rain, as well as groundwater with GM-associated chemicals including Monsanto’s glyphosate-based herbicide, while genetic elements such as antibiotic resistant genes are emerging in water-borne microbes. Further, GM crops have been shown to be less water efficient, corroborating farmer’s reports of failing GM crops during droughts. Industrial farming in general has been shown to be ill-adapted to extreme weather events such as hurricanes as well as droughts; and GM crops are not expected to do any better.Comments (3)
Biodiversity, Economics, Health & Disease, Insects, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss — by George Monbiot May 2, 2013
Amazingly, the UK government has not defined the precautionary principle and appears to have no idea what it is.
Here’s something remarkable I stumbled across while researching my column on Monday, but did not have room to include. I hope you’ll agree that it is worth sharing.
I was trying to understand the context for the new chief scientist’s cavalier treatment of scientific evidence, in an article he wrote opposing a European ban on neonicotinoid pesticides. These are the toxins which, several studies suggest, could be partly responsible for the rapid decline in bees and other pollinators.Comments (1)
GMOs, Health & Disease — by I-SIS
Small double-stranded RNA (dsRNAs) that aim to interfere with specific gene expression are increasingly used to create GM crops; unfortunately they have many off-target effects and can also interfere with gene expression in all animals exposed to the crops.
Genetic modification by RNA interference
Most commercially grown genetically modified (GM) crops are engineered to produce foreign proteins, but new ones are increasingly engineered to produce RNA of a special kind – double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) – that aims to interfere with the expression of a specific gene, usually to silence the gene  (Table 1).
Table 1 GM crops with dsRNA commercially approved or in the approval pipeline
|Flav Savr tomato||Monsanto||Withdrawn from market|
|High oleic acid soybean lines G94-1, G94-19 and G168||Monsanto||FSANZ*
Withdrawn from market
|New Leaf Y and New Leaf Plus Potato||Dupont Pioneer||FSANZ* approved 2001
Withdrawn from market
|High oleic acid soybean lind DP-305423-1||Dupont Pioneer||FSAMZ* approved 2010|
|Herbicde tolerant, high oleic acid soybean Line MON87705||Monsanto||approved 2011|
|Golden mosaic virus resistant pinto bean||Embrapa*||Brazil
|Papaya ringspot virus resistant papaya||Hawaii University||USA
1996, Canada 2003, Japan
|Altered grain starch wheat||CSIRO*||Approved for field trials & feeding experiment|
*CSIRO Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization
*Embrapa Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation
*FSANZ Food Standards Australia New Zealand
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Biodiversity, Health & Disease, Insects, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss — by George Monbiot April 30, 2013
How government science advisers misrepresent science.
What happens to people when they become government science advisers? Are their children taken hostage? Is a dossier of compromising photographs kept, ready to send to the Sun if they step out of line?Comments (4)
Biodiversity, GMOs, Health & Disease — by Vandana Shiva April 25, 2013
Billionaires forgo iron-rich crops in push for GM bananas in India
Nature has given us a cornucopia of biodiversity rich in nutrients. Malnutrition and nutrient deficiency result from destroying biodiversity. The Green Revolution has spread monocultures of chemical rice and wheat, driving out biodiversity from our farms and diets. And what survived as spontaneous crops — like amaranth greens (chaulai) and chenopodium (bathua) that are rich in iron — were sprayed with poisons and herbicides. Instead of cherishing them as iron- and vitamin-rich gifts, these vegetables were treated as “weeds”.
The “monoculture of the mind” treats diversity as disease and creates coercive structures to remodel this biologically and culturally diverse world of ours on the concepts of one privileged class, one race and one gender of a single species. As “the monoculture of the mind” took over, biodiversity disappeared from our farms and food. It’s the destruction of biodiverse rich cultivation and diets that has led us to the malnutrition crisis.Comments (1)
GMOs, Health & Disease — by I-SIS April 22, 2013
A comparison of US Midwest non-GM with GM corn shows shockingly high levels of glyphosate as well as formaldehyde, and severely depleted of mineral nutrients in the GM corn.
The results of a comparison
of GM and non-GM corn from adjacent Midwest fields in the US that first
appeared on the Moms Across America March website  are reproduced in Table
Table 1 Comparison between GM and non-GM corn grown side by side*
|Parts per million (ppm)|
|Ingredient||GM corn||Non-GM corn|
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GMOs, Health & Disease — by Jeffrey M. Smith April 18, 2013
In the U.S., we pride ourselves on having choices and making informed decisions. Under current FDA policy, we don’t have that choice when it comes to genetically engineered (GE) ingredients in the foods we purchase and feed our families. But thanks to your tireless support, Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Congressman Peter DeFazio (D-OR) will introduce new Federal legislation next week that would require the labeling of all genetically engineered (GE) foods; the first labeling bill to be introduced in the Senate in over a decade!Comments (4)
General, Health & Disease, Urban Projects — by Jennifer Wadsworth March 20, 2013
House front — before
House front — after
We all encounter rough spots in our lives. Fortunately, we get to choose how we handle them. For me, permaculture provided the perfect lens for placing hard times into a healing, long term context.
So often today, we are taught to think of things in the short term: a week, a month, a season. Within this timeframe, rough spots can seem monumental and occur as a total breakdown in our way of life. However, by slipping on a permaculture telephoto lens, we can begin to see the solution in the problem.
In 2005, life dealt me a rough spot of a magnitude I had never encountered. After months of odd symptoms, I was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease, Wegener’s Granulomatosis. While Wegener’s can attack any bodily system, it affected my vision most severely, to the point where I could no longer perform my IT job. Now I live my life seeing the world around me as if it was an impressionist painting – a very blurry impressionist painting.Comments (13)
Aid Projects, Community Projects, Health & Disease, Urban Projects — by Kim Hayes March 11, 2013
In this inspiring TED talk, Ron Finley teaches us all how to be ‘Gangster Gardeners’ and how to let your shovel be the weapon of choice. In his own words, "Growing your own food is like printing your own money". Let that be our new battle cry across the land. Ron and his volunteer gang are showing us how to end the scourge of cities — ‘the food desert.’Comments (2)
Compost, Conservation, Health & Disease, Rehabilitation, Soil Conservation, Waste Systems & Recycling, Waste Water, Water Contaminaton & Loss — by Kris De Decker March 1, 2013
© Kris De Decker, low-tech magazine (edited by Shameez Joubert)
© Illustrations in red & black: Diego Marmolejo
Flushing the water closet is handy, but it wreaks ecological havoc, deprives agricultural soils of essential nutrients and makes food production dependent on fossil fuels.
For 4,000 years, human excrements and urine were considered extremely valuable trade products in China, Korea and Japan. Human dung was transported over specially designed canal networks by boats.
Thanks to the application of human "waste" products as fertilizers to agricultural fields, the East managed to feed a large population without polluting their drinking water. Meanwhile, cities in medieval Europe turned into open sewers. The concept was modernized in late 19th century Holland, with Charles Liernur’s sophisticated vacuum sewer system.Comments (5)
Biodiversity, Deforestation, Economics, Food Shortages, Health & Disease, Society, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss — by Rhamis Kent February 13, 2013
A student I had recently in my short course in California sent me a link to an award-winning NGO working in Haiti called SOIL (Sustainable Organic Integrated Livelihoods) — a nonprofit working within the country performing truly beneficial work, utilizing compost toilets to deal with the perennial problem of waste management.
In the following clip SOIL’s Co-Founder & Executive Director, Dr. Sasha Kramer, provides an excellent, well-contextualized explanation of her organization’s work as well as the legacy of ecological & environmental degradation (and its corresponding effects on impacted human populations) often missing from discussions about colonial history:
Further Reading:Comments (1)
Animal Housing, Consumerism, Economics, Health & Disease, Livestock — by Fraser Bliss February 8, 2013
These days organic food is a major trend and a multi billion dollar business. We find organic food in supermarkets in all shapes and forms. Advertising would have us believe that this organic food comes from idyllic small farms where farmers work the land by hand using traditional methods. It is a wonderful concept, but is it true? Is this the same high quality food that comes from home gardens and local farmers’ markets?
The TV advertisement below is from Ja Natürlich (translated: Yes Naturally), the organic brand of the German Rewe Group, which owns several supermarket chains in Austria such as Billa (Billiger Laden, translated: Cheap Store). This is how they describe their organic products:
What a cute ad. It starts off with the piglet saying, "Dear happy chickens, the farmer wants to take your picture." It goes on like this and certainly gives the impression that a decision for Ja Natürlich eggs is a choice that is healthy for us and supports small farmers still using traditional hand tools. The peaceful countryside setting is complete with chickens, an adorable talking piglet running freely around in an old barn yard, and even the farmer’s old-timer Nikon rangefinder camera is used to take their picture. The ad makes quite a bold claim: "Eggs from overly happy chickens." It would be wonderful if it was true, but is this really from where our precious store-bought organic eggs come from?Comments (10)
GMOs, Health & Disease — by I-SIS January 28, 2013
ISIS has warned against the CaMV 35S promoter and called for all affected GM crops to be withdrawn since 1999 while damning evidence on its safety continues to emerge
How to bury a bombshell
Cauliflower Mosaic Virus
A European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) scientist has just discovered that major GM crops and products the regulatory agency has been approving for commercial release over the past 20 years contain a potentially dangerous virus gene. The gene – Gene VI – overlaps with the cauliflower mosaic virus (CaMV) 35S promoter. The CaMV 35S promoter is the commonest, most widely used regulatory sequence for driving gene expression in GM crops. This momentous discovery was published in a little known journal during the holiday season at the end of 2012 , and would have passed unnoticed had it not caught the attention of Jonathan Latham and Alison Wilson of Independent Science News. They described the finding and carried out a proper retrospective risk assessment on the Gene VI fragment in a report posted on their website . This attracted so much public attention that EFSA and its counterpart Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) are said  to have jointly “shredded” the scientific paper on which Latham and Wilson’s report is based.Comments (1)
Biodiversity, Deforestation, Food Shortages, GMOs, Global Warming/Climate Change, Health & Disease — by Gerald Anderson January 25, 2013
This is a good summary of what Vandana Shiva talks about lately. Even if you think you’ve heard it all before, I think this is a excellent one to watch and share.
Forbes Magazine called Vandana Shiva one of the seven most influential women in the world. A noted philosopher, scientist and author, Dr. Shiva addressed a full house at Coady International Institute at StFX University on the theme of food justice. — YouTube
Further watching:Comments (3)
GMOs, Health & Disease — by Safe Food Foundation January 23, 2013
Cauliflower Mosaic Virus
Australian food regulators are being urged to investigate alarming reports from Europe that GM crops worldwide may contain a gene that is potentially poisonous to humans.
A study by the EU’s official food watchdog – the European Food Safety Authority – has revealed that the international approval process for GM crops failed to identify the gene when these food crops were being assessed for safety.
The discovery is the work of independent experts, the EFSA’s Nancy Podevin and Patrick du Jardin of the University of Liege in Belgium.
The findings will come as an embarrassment to pro-GM interests during their current PR blitz in Australia and overseas.Comments (0)