Saturday, June 29, 2013

Theoretically Speaking....Sometimes We Get Bruised

On the argument I've made many, many times, that our germ phobia is making us sicker, a doctor I know told a group at a Q&A session this week that in LDC's (Less Developed Countries) they don't get the bacteria H-Pylori, which sometimes causes ulcers in people who have it. But in MDC's (More Developed Countries) like the U.S., lots of people carry this germ and some people get sick from it. Hmmmmmmm.

Twice lately I have accidentally smashed the loaf of bread on the way home from the grocery store. And both of those loaves, within a few days, were covered with mold. Why do bruises on bread allow spores to multiply? And how is it that I've been shopping for food all these many years, and only now have smashed the loaves? Weird.

I realized something this week. For lo these many years I believed that someone can only hurt one if their actions are unexpected. This week, watching both the Supreme Court and the slug of a governor that my state has elected THREE TIMES, they did exactly what I thought they would do, based on their actions since I've been aware of their presence on earth. And I was sad. Is it my hippie idealism, thinking the world might someday become a better place, that sometimes a person might actually do the right thing, that leads to disappointment? Why does it continue to lead to disappointment instead of cynicism, and the belief that people will never do the right thing, even when they are being watched carefully?

I was saddened by something else this week. Proof that the standing of the United States in the world is still as diminished by the current president as it was by the previous one. I do not see Edward Snowden, "the NSA (National Security Administration) leaker" as a traitor. I'm glad he exposed the activities of the NSA, and the extent of it, to the press. I don't think he should need to be seeking asylum in another country because he is not a criminal. But it was sad to me that none of the countries where he has traveled since leaving home, would agree to extradite him. I remembered the welcome that candidate Obama got when he traveled the world, and now these places see a man who has continued spying on US citizens, used drones to kill thousands of innocent civilians and black sites. He has lost his credibility on the world stage, and has taken away the standing in the world that we were so proud to achieve after the arrogance of the previous administration.

And...a couple of environmental points. First, a few years back we were all told not to throw old medicines in the trash or flush them down the toilet, but to take them to a pharmacy for "proper disposal." I asked myself then what the pharmacy would do with them. Stay with me....when I was a grad student in Environmental Policy I wanted to do my research on landfills. I wasn't able to finish that program, but I am still fascinated by landfill science. Fortunately, my next-door neighbor and good friend was once an administrator for a waste company, and she has filled me in on what happens to the trash we put n our landfills. She told me that the thing that breakdown in landfills eventually breaks down to a pond so toxic that it can't break down anymore, and is a powerful, deadly toxin. When I interviewed some landfill operators in those grad school days, they told me all the ways a landfill owner has to protect the ground water from those toxins, and I promise you, the safest thing we can do with our used medicines is put them in a landfill. Flushing them is bad, bad, bad. And once drugs have lost their potency, I'm still not sure what a pharmacy is going to do differently...can anyone tell me?

Lastly, I've talked a lot about what I call ECG's (evil corporate giants) that try to sell us all their GMO (genetically modified organisms) crops. When the wind takes some of those seeds to an organic farmer's crops, he can no longer be certified organic, so the organic farmer is the big loser because he will always lose a lawsuit against an ECG that has very deep pockets and lots of political connections. Many Americans, and many European countries are passionately against GMO crops being used for food when we don't really know the long term effects of all this "messing" with nature. My husband once worked for one of the worst ECG's, and he takes a very different view of, at least that particular company. Now, in the south western US states there is a huge heat wave/drought happening. We were hearing this past week about the record temperatures predicted for this weekend, and talking about global warming. He made one excellent point for which I must give him credit. As the earth gets hotter, and fresh water becomes more and ore scarce, we will need crops modified for drought resistance. And warmer weather makes insect problems much worse. So it is possible that seeds that can handle insecticides will be necessary. I'm still not completely sold, but his point did give me pause. I know there are drought resistant versions of most of the plants that we use as food crops, and that monoculture farming makes bugs have to work harder for their meals. But can anyone looking at the very visible evidence of a warming climate dispute that we must find new ways to grow food? And soon!


Steve Bumgarner said...

Vonnie, my thoughts re GMOs is that we have no experience regarding what these foods do to us from a health or nutritional standpoint plus the absolute folly of putting our food supply in the hands of a truly ECG like Monsanto. It's true that science will come up with new strains of crops that can adapt to the changing environment, it just should not be one corporation in charge of doing that.

Rene' said...

I think we'd better start building the dome soon! The next ECG will be those who control the water. As Tank Girl said about the Dept of Water and Power... he who has the water has the power.

Anonymous said...

Copyrighted GMO's aren't the only way to select desirable traits. We can use Mendelian crossbreeding. And I think a study of the observations and historical practices of enslaved agriculturalists, indigenous people and plain old dirt farmers, especially on a regional scale, would show us what works well, and where. Heritage seed companies are doing this and it's fascinating looking at their sites and catalogues.

Vonnie Shallenberger said...

I agree, anonymous and Steve, and have a huge problem with an ECG "owning" the DNA of any organism. I also agree with you, Rene`, and Tank Girl...all wars through history can be broken down to being about resources, and those are about to become deadlier, as the most basic resources of life, such as water, become more and more scarce.