March 13, 2012
By Anthony Gucciardi
“Here is one more example how Monsanto might just be the most corrupt and evil corporation on planet Earth.” –KTRN
Monsanto’s reckless disregard for public health and the agricultural stability of the planet may be even more significant than previously thought. A shocking new report reveals how Monsanto’s Roundup is actually threatening the crop-yielding potential of the entire biosphere. The report reveals that glyphosate, which was developed by Monsanto in the early 1970s and is the active ingredient in its patented herbicide Roundup, may be irreversibly devastating the microbiodiversity of the soil – compromising the health of the entire planet, as a result.
New research published in the journal Current Microbiology highlights the extent to which glyphosate is altering, and in some cases destroying, the very microorganisms upon which the health of the soil, and – amazingly – the benefits of raw and fermented foods as a whole, depend. Concerningly, certain beneficial strains of bacteria used as food-starters in cultures for raw yogurt, such as Lactobacillus cremoris, have entirely disappeared from certain geographic regions where traditionally they were found in plenty. The study reports that the death and growth inhibition of selected food microorganisms was observed in concentrations of Roundup that are lower than are recommended in agricultural practice.
This means that farmers who are increasingly using larger and larger concentrations of Roundup and similar glyphosate-based herbicide formulations to countermand the increasingly resistant super weeds GM agriculture has spawned, are not only damaging the immediate health of the soil, but subsequent yields of indispensable food-starter microorganisms, as well as the microbes that ensure the overall fertility of the soil for producing crops well into the future.
Monsanto’s Roundup assaults the planetary biosphere
Microorganisms are responsible for much more than just the health content of raw and fermented foods. The most numerous inhabitants in the web of life, microorganisms participate quite literally “at the root” of the nitrogen, phosphate, oxygen and carbon cycles, and are therefore indispensable for the health of the entire biosphere. Astoundingly, there are an estimated 6,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 (6 x 10 to the 30th power) bacterial cells on the planet, and these soil microrganisms represent about 50 percent of the the total biodiversity in terms of numbers of species.
As Roundup usage threatens these soil microrganisms, including fungi and the mycellium (technically the largest organism in the world), it could lead to devastating implications. Compromising the health of the mycellium, in particular, may cause serious harm to the planet. According to prominent mycologist Paul Stamets, mycellium may actually act as a ‘network’ within the biosphere, acting as the Earth’s ‘natural internet’ in which virtually all organisms may rely upon. It has been recognized throughout the ages that all life depends on the soil. Without healthy soil, the health of the entire planet is at risk.
Charles E. Kelogg was one individual who stated such in the USDA yearbook back in 1939. Kelogg said:
“Essentially, all life depends upon the soil … There can be no life without soil and no soil without life; they have evolved together.”
Franklin Delano Roosevelt also voiced similar concerns, warning:
“The nation that destroys its soil, destroys itself.”
Based on an ever-increasing body of scientific evidence showing glyphosate biodegrades slowly, sinks down through the topsoil where it accumulates in the groundwater (source for natural drinking water, e.g. aquifers, springs), and is found in nearly all air and rain samples tested in the US, it is safe to say that Monsanto’s best-selling Roundup is one of the greatest threats to human and environmental health ever created.
As the USDA continues to sit back and allow Monsanto to threaten the environmental stability of the planet, it becomes more apparent that the USDA and Monsanto are gladly willing to exchange the future of the planet and its inhabitants for short term gain. In fact, the USDA has even given Monsanto’s latest GMO crops speedier approval in order to secure the company’s profits, ignoring the numerous known harmful effects of Monsanto’s past creations, e.g. Agent Orange, Aspartame, DDT.
The known effects of Roundup
The negative effects of Monsanto’s Roundup on human health and the environment have been firmly established by numerous scientific studies and large-scale investigations, with scientists even linking the best-selling herbicide to conditions like infertility and cancer due to its genotoxic (DNA damaging) nature. Amazingly, even when diluted by 99.8 percent (450-fold lower dilutions than used in agricultural applications), Roundup still exhibits serious genotoxic characteristics and is harmful to the integrity of human DNA. Meanwhile, this carcinogenic herbicide product is used nationwide by unsuspecting homeowners and agricultural workers. According to the United States Geological Survey, 176 million lbs of glyphosate were used in the U.S. in 2007.
Outside of the public health realm, Roundup’s startling environmental havoc is perhaps an even greater cause for concern. Despite being created to fend off weeds, Roundup is actually spawning resistant superweeds across millions of hectares (one hectare is 10,000 square metres), bankrupting farmers and destroying crop land. These resistant weeds currently cover over 4.5 million hectares in the United States alone, though experts estimate the world-wide land coverage to have reached at least 120 million hectares by 2010. The onset of superweeds is being increasingly documented in Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Europe and South Africa.
The research is clear: Roundup is not only harming human health and damaging farmland, it is threatening the very biosphere itself by destroying microbial biodiversity, with the future agricultural stability of the planet, i.e. the ability to produce food through monoculturing, at serious risk of collapsing.
For The Full Report Go To Natural News
July 6th, 2011
Russian scientists expect humanity to encounter alien civilisations within the next two decades, a top Russian astronomer said on Monday.
“The genesis of life is as inevitable as the formation of atoms … Life exists on other planets and we will find it within 20 years,” said Andrei Finkelstein, director of the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Applied Astronomy Institute, according to the Interfax news agency.
Speaking at an international forum dedicated to the search for extraterrestrial life, Finkelstein said 10% of the known planets circling suns in the galaxy resemble Earth.
If water can be found there, then so can life, he said, adding that aliens would most likely resemble humans with two arms, two legs and a head.
“They may have different colour skin, but even we have that,” he said.
Finkelstein’s institute runs a programme launched in the 1960s at the height of the cold war space race to watch for and beam out radio signals to outer space.
“The whole time we have been searching for extraterrestrial civilisations, we have mainly been waiting for messages from space and not the other way,” he said.
In March a Nasa scientist caused controversy after claiming to have found tiny fossils of alien bugs inside meteorites that landed on Earth.
Richard Hoover, an astrobiologist at the US space agency’s Marshall space flight centre in Alabama, said filaments and other structures in rare meteorites appear to be microscopic fossils of extraterrestrial beings that resemble algae known as cyanobacteria.
Writing in the Journal of Cosmology, Hoover claimed that the lack of nitrogen in the samples, which is essential for life on Earth, indicated they are “the remains of extraterrestrial life forms that grew on the parent bodies of the meteorites when liquid water was present, long before the meteorites entered the Earth’s atmosphere.”
September 9, 2010
by S. L. Baker
Who hasn’t heard the argument that organic food isn’t better than produce grown with chemical fertilizers and pesticides — it’s just more expensive? Finally, scientists have come up with undeniable proof this isn’t so. After conducting side-by-side comparisons of organic and conventional strawberry farms and their fruit, the evidence is abundantly clear: organic farms produce more flavorful and nutritious berries and leave the soil far healthier and more genetically diverse.
“Our findings have global implications and advance what we know about the sustainability benefits of organic farming systems,” John Reganold, Washington State University Regents professor of soil science and lead author of the study, which was just published in the peer-reviewed journal PLoS ONE, said in a media statement. “We also show you can have high quality, healthy produce without resorting to an arsenal of pesticides.”
The comprehensive study involved the analysis of 31 chemical and biological soil properties and soil DNA, as well as the taste, nutrition and quality of three strawberry varieties on 13 conventional fields and 13 organic ones. All the farms in the study are in California, where about 90 percent of U.S. strawberries are grown. California is also the center of an ongoing controversy over whether the common use of soil fumigants on strawberries is safe.
Conventional farms in the study were found to be currently using methyl bromide, an ozone-depleting chemical which is due to be replaced by highly toxic methyl iodide. More than 50 Nobel laureates, members of the National Academy of Sciences and countless natural health advocates have protested the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) recent approval of the use of methyl iodide on crops, so far to no avail — despite the new evidence that organically grown crops are better for humans and the planet.
The research team, along with Dr. Reganold, included Preston Andrews, a WSU associate professor of horticulture, and seven other experts in scientific disciplines including agroecology, soil science, microbial ecology, genetics, pomology (the science of fruit breeding and production), food science, sensory science, and statistics. By virtually every major indicator, these scientists found the organic fields and fruit were equal to or better than their conventional counterparts.
Specifically, the scientists discovered that organic strawberries had significantly higher antioxidant activity including much higher concentrations of ascorbic acid and phenolic compounds (phytonutrients known to help protect and fight a host of disease). The organic strawberries also had a longer shelf life. What’s more, anonymous testers found organic strawberries looked and tasted better. The researchers also documented that organic soils excelled in important chemical and biological properties — including nitrogen, microbial biomass, enzyme activities, and micronutrients. Bottom line: organic farms produced more flavorful and nutritious berries while leaving the soil healthier and more genetically diverse.
September 7, 2010
by Ethan A. Huff
Efforts to develop alternative, renewable forms of energy have taken a whole new direction as researchers from the University of Edinburgh’s School of Engineering and Physical Sciences recently announced a strange, almost humorous, new way to develop energy. Shanwen Tao and Rong Lan, two postdoctoral chemists from the university, have developed fuel cell prototypes that they say run on urine, converting it to both electricity and clean water.
According to a Yahoo! India news report, the team’s fuel cells utilize a compound in urine called urea, which is an organic chemical waste product that results when the body metabolizes protein. And unlike current hydrogen gas and methanol fuel cell technologies, both of which can be problematic to the environment, urea is non-toxic, rich in useful nitrogen and readily available for use.
Also known as carbamide, urea does not require expensive catalysts like platinum to operate, either. The team was able to develop a simple and relatively inexpensive method with which to convert urea into water, nitrogen, carbon dioxide and electricity — all at the same time.
The “Carbamide Power System” prototype, as it is being called, has the potential to reduce waste water treatment costs as well because many municipal water systems already spend big bucks removing urea from waste water. So by integrating the technology into existing water systems for the purpose of extracting urea, the fuel cells are a win-win prospect because they have the potential to generate large amounts of electricity cheaply as well as reduce overall costs for utilities.
The project was made possible by a $203,000 grant from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, with the goal of one day utilizing urine fuel cells on remote islands and in deserts and submarines where energy can be difficult to generate. But the potential uses are limitless, if and when such technology is publicly unveiled.
July 13, 2010
By: David Gutierrez
Reckless overuse of synthetic fertilizers is creating an ecological catastrophe, warns a recent feature in Grist magazine.
In traditional farming, the nitrogen available in the soil imposes a strict limit on how much food can be grown. Organic methods of nitrogen supplementation include planting certain leguminous (“nitrogen fixing”) crops or manually applying nitrogen in the form of manure or compost.
Yet with the so-called “Green Revolution” after World War II, agronomists widely adopted the Haber-Bosch process for transforming chemically neutral atmospheric nitrogen into the much more volatile ammonia. Ammonia soon became the base for a wide array of fertilizers, allowing farmers to produce much greater yields than had been traditionally possible. This food boom directly fueled the global population explosion of the last 70 years.
Unfortunately, due to its intrinsically volatile nature, so-called reactive nitrogen does not stay where farmers put it — it reacts easily with the elements around it to spread into the air, water and soil. Researchers estimate that as much as 70 percent of applied nitrogen ends up outside of the crops being grown. To make matters worse, farmers typically apply far more fertilizer than they need to, as a sort of insurance to produce the largest yields possible.
Excess nitrogen can actually destroy valuable soil organisms, degrading the soil’s agricultural quantity. It is responsible for the proliferation of aquatic “dead zones,” where agricultural runoff has produced algal blooms that devour oxygen and choke out fish, as well as bacterial blooms that can produce human disease. Other ecological consequences of nitrogen pollution include lake acidification and general habitat degradation.
The effects do not stop there: ammonia production is such an energetically intensive process that fertilizer manufacture actually accounts for a full 1 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions. Yet all climate bills currently making their way through the U.S. Congress explicitly exempt agricultural emissions from regulation.
Mere climate regulation alone is not the answer, however, notes author Stephanie Ogburn. Only a widescale revisioning of the agricultural system and its emphasis on higher yields can shift the world off the path of nitrogen catastrophe.
May 21, 2010
By Mike Stobbe
ATLANTA — You might want to look before you leap into a public swimming pool this summer.
A new government report shows one in eight public swimming pools were shut down two years ago because of dirty water or other problems, like missing safety equipment.
Kiddie pools were most likely to be the germiest, from fecal matter and improper chlorination.
The report is based on more than 120,000 inspections of public swimming pools in 2008, including those in parks and hotels. It’s the largest study of the topic ever done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which released the report Thursday.
Each year, there are about 15 or 20 outbreaks from stomach bugs blamed on pools, the CDC said. Studies suggest a quarter of them are caused by bacteria, viruses or parasites that should have been killed by proper pool treatment and chlorination.
Fecal particles are a common factor, especially in kiddie pools and fountains where children frolic. But urine is also a problem: It contains nitrogen that eats up chlorine in pool water, depleting the supply. Sweat and suntan lotion have the same effect.
May 4, 2010
by Ethan A. Huff
A recent investigation into industrialized agriculture feeding practices has revealed some disturbing information of which many may not be aware. Commercial animal husbandry practices often involve feeding livestock mass amounts of animal waste, including chicken litter, which contains chicken feces, bedding, feathers, and other unknown residue.
Long before the days of industrialized agriculture, leftover table scraps and produce unfit to be sold were the type of waste products farmers fed to cows and other livestock, in addition to the grasses and other natural food they already ate. The waste of old was edible, nutritious and suitable for animals.
What passes for waste feed today is a far cry from what it once was, containing all sorts of inedible and often dangerous waste material. Besides the obvious vileness of feeding cows chicken excrement, chicken litter contains other dangerous materials like toxic heavy metals, antibiotics, the flesh and bones of dead cattle and even nails and small shards of glass.
According to the Consumers Union, the materials present in the chicken litter commonly fed to cows is responsible for helping to spread mad cow and other related human neurological diseases. It also encourages the growth of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and exposes cattle to environmental and bacterial toxins.
Chicken litter works great as a soil fertilizer because it adds nitrogen, nutrients and other organic matter to soil. It has long been common practice to recycle it on nearby land.
However, today’s massive chicken factories produce a glut of litter that these factory farms do not know what to do with. Their solution has been to sell it to cattle feedlots, where cows consume up to two million tons of it every year.
Chicken litter is not the only disgusting waste product being fed to cows that millions of Americans end up eating as beef. Feedlot operators are also feeding leftover waste products from corn-ethanol production. Such byproducts contain antibiotic residues and are implicated in prompting the proliferation of the E. coli virus.
The biodiesel industry has also jumped onboard, pedaling its primary waste product, glycerin, to feedlots. Glycerin is typically refined and purified for use in cosmetics, but the kind sold to feedlots has not been purified. To put it more simply, commercial beef cows are being fed a crude waste product from biodiesel production.
Industrial meat production has become a horrific nightmare of epic proportions. The conscious public will do itself a favor and seek out wholesome, nutritious, pasture-raised and grass-fed meat from animals that are treated humanely.
March 15, 2010
By David Gutierrez
The collapse of the ancient Nazca civilization, long attributed to the El Nino weather phenomenon, may have actually been caused by deforestation, according to research conducted by scientists from Cambridge University and the French Institute of Andean Studies, and published in the journal Latin American Antiquity.
“The landscape only became exposed to the catastrophic effects of that El Nino flood once people had inadvertently crossed an ecological threshold,” researcher David Beresford-Jones said.
The Nazca, who inhabited coastal desert areas in what is today Peru, are best known for constructing massive patterns in the desert sand that can only be seen from the air. Their civilization entered an abrupt decline roughly 1,500 years ago.
Researchers have now discovered that much of the Nazca environment was originally covered by a leguminous hardwood tree known as the huarango.
“It is the ecological keystone species in the desert zone, enhancing soil fertility and moisture and underpinning the floodplain with one of the deepest root systems of any tree known,” Beresford-Jones says. “This remarkable nitrogen-fixing tree was an important source of food, forage timber and fuel for the local people.”
By examining plant and pollen remains 1.5 meters (4.9 feet) down into the soil, the researchers were able to uncover how huarango forests gave way first to agricultural land and then to desert.
“At the bottom of the profile there is a lot of huarango pollen and little evidence of human impact,” researcher Alex Chepstow-Lusty said. “Then, at 80 cm deep, maize pollen becomes common [and huarango pollen declines]. Then suddenly corresponding with the El Nino event at AD500 or shortly afterwards … this landscape is now the desert seen today.”
The researchers believe that with the huarango forests in place, El Nino floods were actually beneficial, aquifer-replenishing events. Once the trees were gone, the floods washed away topsoil and destroyed agricultural land.
“Human induced gradual change is just as important to the full story of Nazca collapse as the major climatic impacts that eventually precipitated them,” Beresford-Jones said.