Wednesday, October 26, 2011

We are all gonna die!

Every so often, I get a bee up my butt about things. Generally, it has to do with the state of our government. Or the Economy. Or Big Agri. Or lobbyists. Or our elected officials. All of which are essentially the same thing, when you boil it down to the bare minimum.

Today, I am irritated by the fact that we are all going to die. Sounds silly, I know. We all have to die sometime, from some cause or another. But what is bothering me today is the absolute staggering numbers of ways to day that no one is telling you about.

Where to begin. Pesticides. That seems to be a given, right? If it can kill a bug, it can kill a person, right? Seems simple. So we all try to limit our pesticide use. Except for Big Agri. See the connection here? To get the increased yields that the GMO (again, see the previous rants about Big Agri) grains and seeds are supposed to supply us with, you have to keep the bugs out of it. So, pesticides are sprayed over the fields. Supposedly, they can't be used within so many days of harvest so that the effective half life of the chemical of choice is degraded enough to be safe for consumption. That all sounds lovely, doesn't it? In reality, only part of those chemicals have degraded enough for the arbitrary levels that the EPA sets to fall within the "safe" limits. The rest of it is still on the product. Well, we all wash our fruits and veggies to make sure we get rid of the rest of it. The problem is that if it has rained at all during the growing cycle, and we all know it has or the crop wouldn't grow, that pesticide gets washed into the soil where it is taken up by the root system and deposited into what ever the crop is. So that beautiful tomato that you wash so carefully, probably has pesticide residue inside it that can't be washed off. So all of that careful washing, while it will remove anything left on the surface, is irrelevant to the overall picture.

And another overlooked fact is the that when Big Agri first started it's boom in the 1950's and 60's, there wasn't a lot of research on the long term effects of some of the pesticides being used. DDT for instance. DDT was wonderful for vector control of insects, like mosquitoes, but had the disturbing side effect of hanging around long after it was sprayed. DDT has been linked to diabetes, cancers, hormonal changes in both men and women, miscarriage, developmental problems and hypothyroidism. And all of that isn't even counting the enviromental effects on wildlife. Thankfully, DDT was banned for use in agriculture in 1972 in the U.S. but it wasn't until 2004 that it was restricted to vector control worldwide. So most of use who are at least 40 years old probably have come in contact with it at some point in our lives.

These days, other less persistent insecticides are used yet the long term effects of these poisons are being overlooked or deliberately withheld from the general public. Even pesticides labeled for use in "organic" crops haven't been sufficiently tested because the companies that make them make billions of dollars from them and will not allow anyone to say they are bad.

OK, Enough on pesticides.

Another way we are all gonna die is from the food itself. Lets say you know about the pesticide issues so you grow all of your food organically, including grains, for your family. You have the 5-10 acres and the time needed to do that. First off, that makes you part of the extreme minority. But lets say you do it anyway. That is Great! You eat a lot of fresh fruits and veggies, eat a hot multigrain cereal for breakfast every day, bake all of your own bread, eat less than 4 ounces of lean meat a day if you eat meat at all. OK, lets look at what you are eating. Look at all the carbohydrates you are consuming every day. All of that cereal and bread. Every bit of those carbs turn into sugar in your body. If you are not a highly active person who actually uses all of those calories you are eating, all of that sugar will do one of two things. It either gets stored as fat or it gets burned as fuel. If you do not burn all of the calories, you will get fat. Seems simple right? Well, there is another problem. If you are constantly, consistently, eating too many carbs, you will run the risk of diabetes. And that is just from all the bread, grains, and starchy vegetables.

Most of us do not get the right mix of vitamins and minerals from our food. We just don't eat a varied enough diet. Even if you think you do, you probably don't. We have a tendency, as a society, to eat maybe 10 different vegetables on a regular basis. Peas, carrots, corn, green beans, potatoes, tomatoes, with a couple of more thrown in on the individual basis. And we have a tendency to load those few up with butter or other fats to make them tasty. Then we eat more of them than we actually need. There are micro-nutrients in things like squash and leafy greens (which most people won't eat) that we just won't get from our normal diet. And if you don't cook or use highly processed mixes and "kits" to save time, or eat fast food a lot, your diet is even more lacking in nutrients.

All of this boils down to high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, etc. and the associated diseases like heart disease, arthritis, gall bladder issues, constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, the list goes on and on.

So the food we eat will kill us even faster than the pesticides.

Then there are the environmental factors that we can't control. A little over 6 months ago, there was a devastating earthquake and tsunami to hit Japan. It severely damaged the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power plant and they lost containment. Radiation poured into the ocean because they were having to use ocean water to put out the fires. Radiation poured into the air through the smoke from those same fires. The land around the plant has been so thoroughly contaminated that the people who used to live there will probably never be able to go home. In the days after the accident, people in the U.S. were very concerned about airborne radiation being carried by the Jet Stream. The folks in California got down-right panicked about it. But after the first month or so, the media thought it was a non-story anymore so the coverage stopped. You have to really look to find any stories about it, even on the internet. But there are stories out there. Radioactive iodine 131 was found in milk collected in the South Central parts of the United States. Radioactive rainwater was collected in California that contaminated reservoirs used for drinking water. And again, the list goes on. But the government doesn't tell us these things because it would just cause panic and there is nothing we can really do about it anyway.

Then there is the fact that rice from the Fukushima Prefecture has been banned for export because of the high radiation levels found in the rice grown there. Has no one thought that maybe the world might need to know these things? What about all of the radiation that is falling in California as rain? What will that do to the crop land there? All of those strawberries we all gobbled up last spring probably came from California unless they were from a verified local source. But you know what? It rained here too. Hmmm, makes you wonder, doesn't it? There are places in Scotland that still cannot sell their sheep as meat because the grass they eat was contaminated from the Chernobyl accident back in the 1980's. Kind of a scary thought.

But the big concern here is that the Fukushima Daiichi plant is STILL releasing radiation. They hope to have it contained by the first of the year. So all of that radiation that made the news back in March and April is still floating around us, unseen and unreported. Pleasant thought, huh?

What this all boils down to is the fact that we are all going to die. Not necessarily because we are just old and worn out, but because the Powers that Be either don't want us to know they are poisoning us, don't want us to know what is going on around us, or they give us mis-information so we cannot make informed choices.

None of these things make me trust the media or the government.

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