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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote a well wisher Replybullet Posted: 01 October 2014 at 5:24am

Why Your Health Is Bigger Than Your Body

New findings explain how politics, economics, and ecology can help or hurt our bodies.

Talking with Dr. Ted Schettler is probably unlike any conversation you have had with your physician. Raise the topic of breast cancer or diabetes or dementia, and Schettler starts talking about income disparities, industrial farming, and campaign finance reform.

The Harvard-educated physician, frustrated by the limitations of science in combating disease, believes that finding answers to the most persistent medical challenges of our time—conditions that now threaten to overwhelm our health care system—depends on understanding the human body as a system nested within a series of other, larger systems: one’s family and community, environment, culture, and socioeconomic class, all of which affect each other.

It is a complex, even daunting view—where does one begin when trying to solve problems this way?

Schettler, despite being steeped in traditional medicine, was unable to ignore these interrelationships: a degraded natural environment, a precarious local economy, and perennially sick people. “These things—the effect of the environment on peoples’ health—were never discussed at the medical conferences,” he said. “So it caused in me a major re-examination.”

Schettler went back to school, earned a master’s degree in public health, and began applying a scientist’s rigor to his wide-ranging pool of interests. Since then, he has researched connections between poverty, iron deficiency, and lead poisoning; insecticide use, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s disease; income disparities and asthma.

He calls this new approach to medicine “the ecological paradigm of health.”

“It sounds like tree-huggers or something,” Schettler said in an interview. “But I mean ‘ecological’ in the sense that there are these multiple systems, one within the other—a family within a community, within a society, within a culture—and that’s the way ecologists tend to talk about ecosystems. It’s accepting up front that humans do not stand apart from the environment. We’re a major species, along with the mosquitoes and fish and trees and bacteria. And there are all of these wonderful interrelationships.”


http://www.yesmagazine.org/issues/its-your-body/why-your-health-is-bigger-than-your-body



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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote a well wisher Replybullet Posted: 02 October 2014 at 2:23am

The 13-year-old who has the world planting trees

At the age of nine, Felix Finkbeiner hatched a plan to plant a million trees in his native Germany. Now he's a global eco-superhero

The answer to looming climate catastrophe: trees, lots of them.

What about the climate change skeptics?

'We children discussed this often,’ he told delegates at the UN in New York in January. 'We have an answer. If we follow the scientists that tell us there is a crisis and we act, and in 20 years we find out that they were wrong, we didn’t do any mistake. But if we follow the skeptics and in 20 years we find out that they were wrong, it will be too late to save our future.’

Adults, he cheekily told the assembled diplomats, are like monkeys. 'If you let a monkey choose if he wants one banana now or six bananas later, he always chooses the one banana now. We children [have] understood we cannot trust that adults alone will save our future. We have to take our future in our own hands.’

Felix is a gifted orator, unfettered by self-doubt, or by the complexity of the climate debate, and without the smug self-satisfaction that makes many overachieving children unbearable. He is all unaffected charm. Most of all, however, he has an ambition and instincts that are hard to characterize as anything other than political.

For example, 'we children’ is a phrase that he uses again and again, so often that it becomes clear that, as with Maathai, he is interested in achieving the political empowerment of a disenfranchised group through environmental work. Where she championed the rights of women, he is determined that children should have a voice. His reasoning is straightforward: 'For most adults the future seems to mean 20, 30 or even 40 years. But for us children 2100 could still be in our lifetime. For adults it is an academic question if sea levels rise three centimeters or seven meters by the end of this century. But for we children it is a question of survival.’


http://www.dailygood.org/more.php?n=5153

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Free Your (Eco)Mind

Gradually it’s dawned on me: We humans are creatures of the mind. We perceive the world according to our core, often unacknowledged, assumptions. They determine, literally, what we can see and what we cannot. Nothing so wrong with that, perhaps—except that, in this crucial do-or-die moment, we’re stuck with a mental map that is life-destroying.

And the premise of this map is lack—not enough of anything, from energy to food to parking spots; not enough goods and not enough goodness. In such a world, we come to believe, it’s compete or die. The popular British writer Philip Pullman says, “we evolved to suit a way of life which is acquisitive, territorial, and combative” and that “we have to overcome millions of years of evolution” to make the changes we need to avoid global catastrophe.

If I believed that, I’d feel utterly hopeless. How can we align with the needs of the natural world if we first have to change basic human nature?

Fortunately, we don’t have to. A new way of seeing that is opening up to us can form a more life-serving mental map. I call it “eco-mind”—looking at the world through the lens of ecology. This worldview recognizes that we, no less than any other organism, live in relation to everything else. As the visionary German physicist Hans-Peter Dürr puts it, “There are no parts, only participants.”

As part of this shift, breakthroughs in a range of disciplines are confirming what we already know about ourselves, if we stop and think about it: That humans are complex creatures and what we do—from raising children to caring for elders to sharing with our neighbors—exhibits at least as much natural tendency to cooperate as to compete.


An eco-mind thinks ...

Less about quantities and more about qualities.

Less about fixed things and more about the ever-changing relationships that form them.

Less about limits and more about alignment.

Less about what and more about why.

Less about loss and more about possibility.


http://www.yesmagazine.org/issues/9-strategies-to-end-corporate-rule/free-your-eco-mind


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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote a well wisher Replybullet Posted: 15 October 2014 at 6:55am

Spiritual Ecology: The Cry of the Earth

Book Trailer

Showing the deep connection between our present ecological crisis and our lack of awareness of the sacred nature of creation, this series of essays from spiritual and environmental leaders around the world shows how humanity can transform its relationship with the Earth. Combining the thoughts and beliefs from a diverse range of essayists, this collection highlights the current ecological crisis and articulates a much-needed spiritual response to it. Perspectives from Buddhism, Sufism, Christianity, and Native American beliefs as well as physics, deep psychology, and other environmental disciplines, make this a well-rounded contribution.




http://vimeo.com/69037737

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Wendell Berry: Forget about big solutions to ecological emergency

Berry counsels hope. Yet, he’s not naive about the challenge of protecting everything valuable from destruction at the hands of greed.

    No amount of fiddling with capitalism to regulate and humanize it … can for long disguise its failure [to conserve the wealth and health of nature]. Eroded, wasted, or degraded soils; damaged or destroyed ecosystems; extinction of biodiversity, species; whole landscapes defaced, gouged, flooded, or blown up … thoughtless squandering of fossil fuels and fossil waters, of mine able minerals and ores, natural health and beauty replaced by a heartless and sickening ugliness. Perhaps its greatest success is an astounding increase in the destructiveness and therefore the profitability of war.

So, given that industrial capitalism is driving us all over the cliff, what’s there to be hopeful about?

First, it really doesn’t matter that the rich and their lackey governments will block big solutions because big projects don’t provide the real answer. Instead, the answer will come from millions of people in thousands of places around the world learning to love and then starting to defend those local places — both their nature and their culture.

Second, we need to accept that lots of little solutions may solve big problems well but, like all high quality work, it won’t happen quickly.

“This is the dreadful situation that young people are in. I think of them and I say well, the situation you’re in now is a situation that’s going to call for a lot of patience. And to be patient in an emergency is a terrible trial,” Berry says.

    I say to the young people, don’t get into this with the idea that you’re going to save it and solve all the problems even in your lifetime. The important thing to do is to learn all you can about where you are and if you’re going to work there it becomes even more important to learn everything you can about that place to make common cause with that place and then resigning yourself, becoming patient enough to work with it over a long time. And then what you do is increase the possibility that you will make a good example and what we’re looking for in this is good examples.

Watch Berry’s interview with Moyers and then spread it around the Web as an antidote to both complacency and cynicism.



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Green School in Bali

John Hardy's dream of building a green school comes alive in Bali. With bamboo architecture, no walls and a diverse range of teachers, this school not only teaches reading writing and arithmetic but also teaches how to reconnect to nature thus building future green leaders.

And you just have to follow these simple, simple rules: be local, let the environment lead and think about how your grandchildren might build...


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The Futility of Global Thinking----Abbreviated version of a commencement address given by poet Wendell Berry
at College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, Maine


"All public movements of thought quickly produce a language that works as a code, useless to the extent that it is abstract. It is readily evident, for example, that you can't conduct a relationship with another person in terms of rhetoric of the civil rights movement or the women's movement - as useful as those rhetorics may initially have been to personal relationships.

The same is true of the environment movement. The favorite adjective of this movement now seems to be planetary. This word is used, properly enough, to refer to the interdependence of places, and to the recognition, which is desirable and growing, that no place on the earth can be completely healthy until all places are. But the word planetary also refers to an abstract anxiety or an abstract passion that is desperate and useless exactly to the extent that it is abstract. How, after all, can anybody - any particular body - do anything to heal a planet? Nobody can do anything to heal a planet. The suggestion that anybody could do so is preposterous

The heroes of abstraction keep galloping in on their white horses to save the planet -- and they keep falling off in front of the grandstand. What we need, obviously, is a more intelligent - which is to say, a more accurate - description of the problem.

The description of a problem as planetary arouses a motivation for which, of necessity, there is no employment. The adjective planetary describes a problem in such a way that it cannot be solved. In fact, though we now have serious problems nearly everywhere on the planet, we have no problem that can accurately be described as planetary.

And, short of the total annihilation of the human race, there is no planetary solution. There are also no national, state, or country problems, and no national, state, or county solutions. That will-o'-the-wisp, the large-scale solution to the large-scale problem, which is so dear to governments, universities, and corporations, serves mostly to distract people from the small, private problems that they may, in fact, have the power to solve.

The problems, if we describe them accurately, are all private and small. Or they are so initially.

The problems are our lives.

In the "developed" countries, at least, the large problems occur because all of us are living either partly wrong or almost entirely wrong.

It was not just the greed of corporate shareholders and the hubris of corporate executives that put the fate of Prince William Sound into one ship; it was also our demand that energy be cheap and plentiful. The economies of our communities and households are wrong.

The answers to the human problems of ecology are to be found in economy. And the answers to the problems of economy are to be found in culture and in character. To fail to see this is to go on dividing the world falsely between guilty producers and innocent consumers.

The planetary versions - the heroic versions - of our problems have attracted great intelligence. Our problems, as they are caused and suffered in our lives, our households, and our communities, have attracted very little intelligence. There are some notable exceptions. A few people have learned to do a few things better.

But it is discouraging to reflect that, though we have been talking about most of our problems for decades, we are still mainly talking about them. The civil rights movement has not given us better communities. The women's movement has not given us better marriages or better households. The environment movement has not changes our parasitic relationship to nature. We have failed to produce new examples of good home and community economies, and we have nearly completed the destruction of the examples we once had.

Without examples, we are left with theory and the bureaucracy and the meddling that come with theory. We change our principles, our thoughts, and our words, but these are changes made in the air. Our lives go on unchanged. For the most part, the subcultures, the countercultures, the dissenters, and the opponents continue mindlessly - or perhaps just helplessly - to follow the pattern of the dominant society in its extravagance, its wastefulness, its dependencies, and its addictions.

The old problem remains: How do you get intelligence out of an institution or an organization? The question that must be addressed, therefore, is not how to care for the planet but how to care for each of the planet's millions of human and natural neighborhoods, each of its millions of small pieces and parcels of land, each one of which is in some precious way different from all the others.

Our understandable wish to preserve the planet must somehow be reduced to the scale of our competence - that is, to the wish to preserve all of its humble households and neighborhoods.

The religion and the environmentalism of the highly industrialized countries are at bottom a sham, because they make it their business to fight against something that they do not really wish to destroy. We all live by robbing nature, but our standard of living demands that the robbery shall continue. We must achieve the character and acquire the skills to live much poorer than we do. We must waste less. We must do more for ourselves and each other.

It is either that or continue merely to think and talk about changes that we are inviting catastrophe to make. The great obstacle is the conviction that we cannot change because we are dependent upon what is wrong. But that is the addict's excuse, and we know that it will not do. I am trying not to mislead you, or myself, about our situation. I think that we have hardly begun to realize the gravity of the mess we are in.

Our most serious problem, perhaps, is that we have become a nation of fantasists. We believe, apparently, in the infinite availability of finite resources. We persist in land-use methods that reduce the potentially infinite power of soil fertility to a finite quantity, which we then proceed to waste as if it were an infinite quantity. We have an economy that depends not upon the quality and quantity of necessary goods and services but on the behavior of a few stockbrokers.

We believe that democratic freedom can be preserved by people ignorant of the history of democracy and indifferent to the responsibilities of freedom. Our leaders have been for many years as oblivious to the realities and dangers of their time as were George III and Lord North. They believe that the difference between war and peace is still the overriding political difference - when, in fact, the difference has diminished to the point of insignificance.

How would you describe the difference between modern war and modern industry- between, say, bombing and strip mining, or between chemical warfare and chemical manufacturing? The difference seems to be only that in war the victimization of humans is directly intentional and in industry it is "accepted" as a "trade-off." Were the catastrophes of Love Canal, Chernobyl, and the Exxon Valdez episodes of war or of peace?

They were, in fact, peacetime acts of aggression, intentional to the extent that the risks were known and ignored. We are involved unremittingly in a war not against "foreign enemies" but against the world, against our freedom, and indeed against our existence. Our so-called industrial accidents should be looked upon as revenges of Nature. We forgot that Nature is necessarily party to all our enterprises and that it imposes conditions of its own.

Now Nature is plainly saying to us : "If you put the fates of whole communities or cities or regions or ecosystems at risk in single ships or factories or power plants, then I will furnish the drunk or the fool or the imbecile who will make the necessary small mistake."

And so, graduates, my advice to you is simply my hope for us all: Beware the justice of Nature. Understand that there can be no successful human economy apart from Nature or in defiance of Nature.

Understand that no amount of education can overcome the innate limits of human intelligence and responsibility. We are not smart enough or conscious enough or alert enough to work responsibly on a gigantic scale. In making things always bigger and more centralized, we make them both more vulnerable in themselves and more dangerous to everything else.

Learn, therefore, to prefer small-scale elegance and generosity to large-scale greed, crudity, and glamour.

Make a home.

Help to make a community.

Be loyal to what you have made.

Put the interest of the community first.

Love you neighbors - not the neighbors you pick out, but the ones you have.

Love this miraculous world that we did not make, that is a gift to us.

As far as you are able make your lives dependent upon your local place, neighborhood, and household - which thrive by care and generosity - and independent of the industrial economy, which thrives by damage.

Find work, if you can, that does no damage.

Enjoy your work. Work well."


Edited by a well wisher - 10 November 2014 at 6:46am
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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote a well wisher Replybullet Posted: 30 October 2014 at 4:58pm
"We today are constantly greedy and we're encouraged to be greedy, particularly by advertising, which tries to persuade us to buy many things that we don't need. We're even encouraged to be greedy by government authorities, who want us to spend, spend, spend, because that is good for the economy, or so it is supposed.


But the world is flooded today in the West with all sorts of unnecessary goods, which we are encouraged to buy. In fact, one reason that we have people, particularly in England, working appalling long hours with little chance to be with their family, little energy to be with their children, working as they say to make ends meet, but working also because they need the money to buy a better television, a better this, a better that, to buy things that are not essential and are not really necessary. Now, Islam is very clear upon this point. Excess is condemned. And excessive greed is certainly and very powerfully condemned.


But very often we don't even recognize that we have become greedy people. . . . We don't need these things, but in demanding them, in wanting them, in buying them, we are in fact contributing, in the small way, individually, to the depletion of the resources of this planet. And this is something that is easy to forget because we shall not see immediate disaster as the result. It is our grandchildren and our great grandchildren who are likely to suffer.


It is a matter for the individual sometimes to sit back, particularly when they see a very tempting advertisement in the paper at morning, something reduced price, something they don't need, but all the same, you know, buying a bargain is saving money, or so we often feel, and it is a matter of thinking twice, of thinking three times, before rushing out to add to our possessions which we cannot take with us when we die, and which for the most part are not really necessary to our well-being in this life."   

~Charles le Gai Eaton (ra)~





Edited by a well wisher - 10 November 2014 at 6:47am
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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote a well wisher Replybullet Posted: 05 November 2014 at 3:01pm
How to Worry Less about Money


Troubles are urgent. They ask for direct action. … By contrast, worries often say more about the worrier than about the world.

So, addressing money worries should be quite different from dealing with money troubles. To address our worries we have to give attention to the pattern of thinking (ideology) and to the scheme of values (culture) as these are played out in our won individual, private existences.

This is a problem because the theme of money is so deep and pervasive in our lives. One’s relationship with money is lifelong, it colors one’s sense of identity, it shapes one’s attitude to other people, it connects and splits generations; money is the arena in which greed and generosity are played out, in which wisdom is exercised and folly committed. Freedom, desire, power, status, work, possession: these huge ideas that rule life are enacted, almost always, in and around money.


Our worries — when it comes to money — are about psychology as much as economics, the soul as much as the bank balance.


The crucial developmental step in the economic lives of individuals and societies is their ability to cross from the pursuit of middle-order goods to higher-order goods. Sometimes we need to lessen our attachment to the middle needs like status and glamor in order to concentrate on higher things. This doesn’t take more money; it takes more independence of mind.

There are quite profound reasons why we should care simultaneously about having and doing. Both are connected to flourishing.

What we do with our lives is obviously central to who we are. What we expend our mental energy on, what we put our emotional resources into, where we deploy courage or daring or prudence or commitment: these are major parts of existence and are inevitably much connected with work and earning money. And we need these parts of existence in order to find proper application in activities that deserve our best efforts. We don’t’ want to reserve our central capacities for the margins and weekends of life.

Money does not liberate people in the way that we assume it must.

There is a very imperfect relationship between desire and flourishing.
Desire aims at pleasure. Whereas the achievement of a good life depends upon the good we create. And the opportunity to follow whatever desire one might happen to have is the enemy of the effort, concentration, devotion, patience and self-sacrifice that are necessary if we are to achieve worthwhile ends.

       
-John Armstrong




Edited by a well wisher - 10 November 2014 at 6:49am
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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote a well wisher Replybullet Posted: 06 November 2014 at 2:19pm
Something quite serious has been lost. . . . This decline in general-interest science coverage comes at a time of divergent directions in the general public. At one level, there seems to be increasing ignorance. After all, it’s not just science news coverage that has suffered, but also the teaching of science in schools. And we just went through a political season that saw how all this can play out, with major political figures spouting off one silly statement after another, particularly about women’s health. . . .

But something else is going on, as well. Even as we have in some pockets what seems like increasing ignorance of science, we have at the same time, a growing interest of many. It’s easy to see, from where I sit, how high that interest is. Articles about anything scientific, from the current findings in human evolution to the latest rover landing on Mars, not to mention new genetic approaches to cancer — and yes, even the Higgs boson — zoom to the top of our newspaper’s most emailed list.

We know our readers love science and cannot get enough of it. And it’s not just our readers. As the rover Curiosity approached Mars, people of all ages in all parts of the country had “Curiosity parties” to watch news of the landing. Mars parties! Social media, too, has shown us how much interest there is across the board, with YouTube videos and tweets on science often becoming instant megahits.

So what we have is a high interest and a lot of misinformation floating around. And we have fewer and fewer places that provide real information to a general audience that is understandable, at least by those of us who do not yet have our doctorates in astrophysics. The disconnect is what we should all be worried about.


~Barbara Strauch, science editor of The New York Times ~





Edited by a well wisher - 10 November 2014 at 6:50am
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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote a well wisher Replybullet Posted: 07 November 2014 at 6:32am
Most of the smart people I know want nothing to do with politics. We avoid it like the plague — like Edge avoids it, in fact. Is this because we feel that politics isn’t where anything significant happens? Or because we’re too taken up with what we’re doing, be it Quantum Physics or Statistical Genomics or Generative Music? Or because we’re too polite to get into arguments with people? Or because we just think that things will work out fine if we let them be — that The Invisible Hand or The Technosphere will mysteriously sort them out?


Whatever the reasons for our quiescence, politics is still being done — just not by us. It’s politics that gave us Iraq and Afghanistan and a few hundred thousand casualties. It’s politics that’s bleeding the poorer nations for the debts of their former dictators. It’s politics that allows special interests to run the country. It’s politics that helped the banks wreck the economy.

But we don’t do politics. We expect other people to do it for us, and grumble when they get it wrong. We feel that our responsibility stops at the ballot box, if we even get that far. After that we’re as laissez-faire as we can get away with.

What worries me is that while we’re laissez-ing, someone else is faire-ing.


~Music Pioneer Brian Eno (Generative Music) ~


Edited by a well wisher - 10 November 2014 at 6:51am
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An Antidote for Paradoxical Times


When the student body of an elite private school in Silicon Valley was given the chance to vote on who would give their graduation address, their first pick was Nipun Mehta. An unexpected choice for these teenagers, who belong to what Time magazine called the "Me Me Me Generation." Mehta's journey is the antithesis of self-serving. More than a decade ago, he walked away from a lucrative career in high-tech, to explore the connection between inner change and external impact. ServiceSpace, the non-profit he founded has now drawn over 450,000 members across the globe. In this electrifying address that garnered a standing ovation, Nipun calls out the paradoxical crisis of disconnection in our hyper-connected world -- and offers up three powerful keys that hold the antidote.





Edited by a well wisher - 10 November 2014 at 6:52am
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Interview with James Seeba: Medicine Journey

Seeba: I would say the observation—the fact—that in the maintenance of health the most difficult issues are the most simple, most fundamental, and least emphasized. That is, the degradation of the food chain, our water, and our air, and conditions of our general social life. It’s absolutely the easiest thing in the world to leave out, the most difficult to address. Without addressing that in the vast majority of clinical situations, at best, your results are going to be limited, I think. I’m not speaking of crisis situations, but of general health and long term results. That I’ve verified for myself over and over again. Whether it’s arthritis, or chronic sinusitis, digestive problems, tumor formation, auto-immune illnesses, chronic fatigue, whatever it is, sooner or later you’ve got to back and look at what people are eating, how they’re eating, the type of water they’re drinking, and how they’re living. This is absolutely central. The way out of these problems are varied, and this is where the practice of medicine gets very interesting because there are a lot of different ways up the mountain. But without addressing these things the fundamental health problems are not getting addressed, in my opinion. These are probably the most important factors in the now epidemic degeneration of the health of our people in the industrialized world.

So you keep going back to the very basics of life which is the food you eat. All biochemical processes are tied to the food, and the air, and the water you drink. Common sense would have you go back to that. But it’s not taken with the kind of seriousness in the medical profession it should be, not even approaching what it should be. And frankly, there’s not a lot of money to be made from a type of medicine where you have to use substances that are non-patentable, for instance. So there’s no interest in trying to relate to this natural process involving the food and the air and how to deal with illnesses with therapies that are ecologically related to our own place in evolution, therapies that make use of botanicals naturally existing which have similar effects to those of analog medicines— because there’s no money in it. You can’t patent them and so there’s no impetus to use them.

Progesterone is a very good example. Progesterone is a product that many cultures, when you examine them, have used. For instance, among the Triaband people there isn’t even a word for menopause. There’s no concept of this passage, no breast cancer, endometriosis, ovarian tumors, etc. Of course, they have other health problems. But what we see is that on a daily basis they are eat a plant, the diascoria plant, which is where progesterone comes from. All progesterones have always come from the wild yam plant, but in order to sell it as a non-botanical, which means you can patent it, the molecule gets changed a little bit. It’s crazy. You have a molecule that’s more or less identical to the body’s naturally occuring one, and for economic reasons you change it a little and get "progestogen" which is given to women and has all kinds of side effects. You see that over and over again—the controversy between botanical, or planttract medicines and "artificial" or "man-made" medicines.

It comes back to this lack of appreciation of the very basics of health which goes back to agriculture and our attitudes toward natural products vs. "man-made" products, and to our attempts to manipulate processes that have been on the planet for a long, long time, without taking into account what the effects of that might be. As a result we end up with the situation we have in the world today which by anyone’s account has to be described as an epidemic of degenerative illnesses in the industrialized world. It even has some biologists contemplating the extinction of our species because the environmental estrogens are ubiquitous now. There has been about a 40% decrease in the sperm count in men since the introduction of these products into our environment. Taking that out on a straight line projection and you can see what could happen.

RW: I wonder if there’s a kind of direct analogy between the disorders of the body and the disorders of society? Perhaps so.

Seeba: Indeed. One of the chief complaints that I hear clinically, is fatigue. So, how do you address fatigue? If, in your whole world what’s of value is stimulation and activity, and you’ve got fatigue, my goodness sakes, what are you up against? You see the confrontation—between our world where activity is the value, and your own physical situation, which is lack of energy. You’ve got all these little short term solutions, sugar, coffee, alcohol, cigarettes, drugs that stimulate. Or, if the pain of it all is too much, there are the drugs that obliterate. It’s not a question of why I’m exhausted, but of finding strategies of getting enough energy to face the next day. And the very things being used to get to the next day eventually will cause a collapse somewhere.





Edited by a well wisher - 10 November 2014 at 6:53am
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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote a well wisher Replybullet Posted: 10 November 2014 at 4:29am
Why The Economist’s recent assault on “ethical food” missed the mark

The sustainable-food movement’s very DNA is shot through with a commitment to political engagement. “Eat responsibly,” declared Wendell Berry in his seminal 1990 essay “The Pleasures of Eating.” By that, he didn’t mean blithely hop into the SUV and head to a national supermarket chain to pick up a pricey bag of anonymously grown organic salad, as The Economist‘s caricature would have it.

Instead, Berry urged people to become active participants in food production. He hoped that by gaining knowledge about where food comes from, people would become more, not less, politically engaged. The feel-good consumerism skewered by The Economist has little to do with Berry’s influential ethos of knowing and active participation — an intellectual tradition that thrives today in the work of Michael Pollan and other writers.

If The Economist‘s overriding premise — that the sustainable-food movement has decayed into a sort of self-congratulating shopping club — is fundamentally ridiculous, it doesn’t do much better on the particulars.

To make the case that organic farming threatens tropical rainforests, the magazine trots out Nobel laureate Norman Borlaug, perhaps industrial agriculture’s greatest apologist. Borlaug, a sort of anti-Wendell Berry, spearheaded the Green Revolution movement, financed by U.S. foundations, to promote the use of hybrid seeds, pesticides, and fertilizers by farmers in the global south.



But is chemical-dependent farming really more productive than organic? Samuel Fromartz, author of Organic Inc., debunked that claim in a recent comment on Gristmill. Fromartz points out that chemical farming may churn out more food per acre under ideal conditions, but over the long term — including drought periods — the yield difference dwindles. Moreover, pummeling the soil with chemicals may eventually sap land of any productivity at all. As Fromartz points out, India — which bought Borlaug’s Green Revolution package wholesale, and is often cited as one of the effort’s great successes — is now experiencing a severe soil- and water-depletion crisis.

The magazine wants us to return to the chain supermarkets and spend our energy instead on pushing politicians toward action in the form of “a global carbon tax; reform of the world trade system; and the abolition of agricultural tariffs and subsidies.”

It’s bizarre advice, coming from a free-market magazine: severely limit your own options and ask the government to solve your problems. And while the political goals it supports are no doubt worthy, they in no way absolve citizens from the need to wrest control of their food decisions from corporations and actively create the food system they want.





Edited by a well wisher - 10 November 2014 at 6:54am
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