Under huge pressure from the usual suspects, social media and Internet giants Facebook, Twitter, Google’s Youtube and Microsoft last year agreed to a European Union code of conduct to tackle online “hate speech.” [See “Word Games: Thought Police Label Speech as Crime.”] E.U. ministers called for cooperation with tech companies to be stepped up after the staged Brussels attacks in March 2016.
“This is a historic agreement that could not arrive at a better time,” European Jewish Congress President Dr. Moshe Kantor said at the time.
And now we have police/surveillance-state censorship operative Sen. (((Al Franken))) this week calling on regulators and lawmakers of both parties to better police the market power of dominant online platforms. He loves to run off at the mouth about terrorists and hate speech. It never fails to amaze me just how devoted Tribe operatives are in pushing this narrative.
If you don’t get it by now you never will. The vast majority of these so-called terrorist incidents — used as rationales for stripping away freedom of speech, firearm ownership and privacy — ARE EITHER TOTALLY FRAUDULENT OR PROVOCATEURED. I have illustrated this at length on the pages of The New Nationalist (TNN).
Here is the kicker: These companies will also strengthen their cooperation with (((civil-society organizations))) to help flag hateful content when it goes online and promote “counter-narratives” to hate speech. They will end up paying someone in India $2 an hour — or worse, a bot — to scan comments, resulting in over-pruning, which will anger almost everybody.
They’re squeezing a balloon by clamping down on popular social media sites and do nothing except push all honest, thinking people to alternatives. The impact for TNN has been quite stark already. Here is an article dated June 13 that discusses the patsies of the Boston Bombing. This one was rich with some top-notch Youtube videos going into the particulars. Notice that after Youtube’s purges this year, six of the videos are gone, removed, and the accounts involved banned. Coverage of the evil false flags and nasty staged deceptions has been especially hard hit.
These tactics aren’t going to work. It will result in the Streisand or curiosity effect. For example, when Germany threw an 87-year-old German lady in prison for Holocaust revisionism, the very topic they were trying to squelch started to peak people’s interest — including me, and I am not a precocious teenager. I thought, what are they hiding now? [See “Free Speech Denied, the Case of Ursula Haverbeck” and “Thought Police Label Speech as Crime.”]
Another example is here. The Youtube video that you see is already blocked in Europe. It was essentially a historical review of the April 2, 1945, Allied air raid that killed 4,000 prisoners and staff at the Nordhausen concentration camp. To this day, images of those bodies have been used for atrocity propaganda and blamed on Germany. There isn’t even a controversy here about the cause of these deaths. It’s historical fact, and there is zero justification for removing a video truthfully examining this event. Another one that pissed me off to no end was blockage of many videos at the Faces of Europe art site, discussed here.
If this form of Social Justice Warrior censorship continues to be enforced as aggressively as we are seeing, then these companies should be shunned and put out of business. RIP mainstream social media. People don’t go to the Internet just to see cute kitten videos, degeneracy [Youtube Kids Channel Features Baby Butt Syringe Videos, Scat Skits — WTF?!] and to be lied to. Many people will go to different, better, freer platforms where the edgy, true stuff is. The youth especially will do so to justifiably rebel. Frankly, it makes an old man like me more rebellious as well. In fact, I might now be inclined to save edgier content that ordinarily I wouldn’t bother with just to ruffle certain feathers and deliver a big middle finger.
Ultimately, all this censorship does is drive dialog down channels that may be more difficult for enforcers to track and monitor. An example is this site called Censoredlist.com. It won’t save removed or banned videos, but sometimes Youtube videos go into what is called a “limited state.” In reality, they disappear, but the links are still good. In June, Google described their skullduggery policy on this category:
Google machine learning video detection has been hard at work and during the past month over 75 percent of videos taken down because of violent, extremist content were done so without the help of humans. This system has helped YouTube remove twice as many of these sorts of videos. The company has also started working with a number of non-governmental organizations including the Anti-Defamation League, the No Hate Speech Movement and the Institute for Strategic Dialogue. “These organizations bring expert knowledge of complex issues like hate speech, radicalization, and terrorism that will help us better identify content that is being used to radicalize and recruit extremists,” said YouTube in the blog post.
For videos that contain “controversial religious or supremacist content” but don’t violate any of YouTube’s policies, they’ll now be placed in a “limited state.” YouTube said. Along with this “limited state” for extremist videos, Google has also introduced a Redirect Method that sends users searching for certain keywords to videos that counter extremist content.
Look at the videos on the front page of Censoredlist and it gives one a very good idea what the Cheka doesn’t want you to see. Just to be difficult and out of curiosity, I have been viewing them — yes, the Streisand effect. Many are actually interesting and quite good. Who knew, LOL.
Update: Since posting this article, it appears Censoredlist may have been taken down.
On my list of Youtube videos I’ve liked, there must be several hundred that have been removed. I am going to go through them and see what I can salvage. Obviously, Youtube content makers subjected to this should do the same thing. What’s especially rewarding is that my liked videos will appear at the top of the censored page for a while. These videos are now getting more viewership than most would have received at Youtube, which is a very nice payback.
I checked the original article this morning and found these updates. More fascinating additions, some of which were noted in other Kp blog posts.
“MORE CLUES TO Q ANON’S IDENTITY… Other clues to the number code being alphanumeric… Anonymous ID:pGukiFmX Thu 02 Nov 2017 00:18:35 No.147588421 ViewReport 4,10,20
#22 Donna 2017-11-13 06:19… There was a picture that I ran across of Trump on AF1 with a group, all with their thumbs up, which made a perfect Q if you trace the thumbs. Interesting. I saw another post that ended with 4,10,20,10,18 which would be DJTJR… I can’t say this is a perfect Q, more of a flat one if you include both of Trump’s hands, but it is an interesting theory.
“UPDATE 10:28 AM: SUGGESTION OF EMP WEAPONS USED FOR MASS ARRESTS… TruthEarth had a very nice analysis of the 4Chan Q Anon disclosures that goes well beyond what I did here. Required reading… “VPU2 & VPU1 are satellete mounted EMP devices. They send EMP pulses at directed areas around the world. Anon, remember how today we were told about “Training” for EMP attack? That’s what this was for. In case of malfunction in the atmosphere. VPU-2 is being used to turn off electricity at the compounds the princes are in.
“High security. We are nabbing pedophiles by using targeted EMP.”
This again greatly substantiates the idea that whomever Q Anon is, he has access to high-level information before the rest of us do. UPDATE: The person who sent me this did not realize it was filed by the YouTuber and reporter George Webb. It is not a Federal case.
I have been following the Q post. There was a picture that I ran across of Trump on AF1 with a group, all with their thumbs up, which made a perfect Q if you trace the thumbs. Interesting.
I saw another post that ended with 4,10,20,10,18 which would be DJTJR.
This is all getting very exciting. Please help find that photo of the thumbs in the Q and we will put it in here.
FULFORD’S LATEST HAS ITEMS OF INTEREST AS WELL
Another well-timed event that just took place was a post from Ben Fulford, former East-West bureau chief for Forbes.
Ben has been leaking intel for about a decade now, and at least some of it has proven to be very accurate over time.
This particular quote mirrors certain things MegAnon was strongly alluding to, without actually saying it quite so specifically:
The great purge of Khazarian mobsters continues as hundreds of arrests of Saudi princes, generals, and politicians is now being followed up with the 842 sealed indictments against senior Khazarian gangsters in the U.S., confirmed by Pentagon, CIA, and other sources.
…These same NSA sources are now saying the mass shooting that took place in Las Vegas on October 1 was an attempt by mercenaries working for the G4S security company http://www.g4s.com/ hired by George Bush Sr. to create a distraction
in order to kill U.S. President Donald Trump and Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Sultan (MBS).
Trump and MBS were meeting in secret at the suites in the Mandalay Bay Hotel, owned by MBS, to discuss the mass arrest of the perpetrators of the 9/11 terror attacks, these sources say.
Both Trump and MBS were evacuated safely and the arrests have now begun in a way that can no longer be denied by the corporate propaganda media, multiple sources confirm….
In any case, the Saudi purge has now taken in former Saudi Arabian Ambassador to the U.S. and close Bush family ally Bandar Bin Sultan.
Bandar and Crown Prince MBS “may be star witnesses that Israel did 9/11,” the Pentagon sources say.
Of course, the trail to Israel will then lead to the Rothschilds hiding in their complex in Zug, Switzerland.
For now, it is their U.S. operations that are being shut down.
On that front, NSA sources are saying that top Clinton/Bush bagman (and satan-worshipping child torturer) John Podesta was stopped from fleeing the U.S. by U.S. fighter planes and arrested.
The meltdown of the Bush/Clinton cabal is now publicly visible in even the corporate media in the form of news that the Podesta’s companies have shut down.
THAT’S IT FOR NOW
I doubt I will have time to do any more updates for the next few hours, but check back later tonight or tomorrow just in case.
Who knows what will happen next? It is quite an adventure. Make sure you have your two weeks of food and water.
I also recommend carrying cash, as wherever you are when this happens, you might be stuck there for a while with your cards not working.
Immediately after writing the above, the previous article was at 313137 views. A nice 333 nestled in with an 11, and also 1313. Very cool:
I have had so many briefings on this that I know it far predates Trump’s election, and is not at all a “fascist coup,” as some comments suggest.
Again, they are going to get this done for the greater good either way. What we learn about the Cabal will be very shocking to say the least.
UPDATE, 8:41 AM: THE THUMBS-UP IMAGE
As requested, here is an image that one commenter, Donna, suggested might make “a perfect Q if you trace the thumbs.”
I can’t say this is a perfect Q, more of a flat one if you include both of Trump’s hands, but it is an interesting theory.
The newspaper headline they are obviously responding to underlines their support of the Saudi mass arrests for sure:
This next image, if proven authentic, appears to be of Trump monitoring a 4Chan discussion board:
Indeed, a Reverse Image Search could not find any source image that this would have been manufactured out of with image processing:
Remember with food storage, simple things like rice and beans, and a set of 5-gallon jugs of drinking water, should be sufficient.
LOL… and of course, more 2’s in the hit counter right after I posted the above — 32272:
Then as soon as I re-loaded it for review, we had 3’s popping up at 32533 — with a nice harmonic 25 (5×5) in the middle:
I must say that I am very excited about all of this after leaking intel on these Alliance efforts ever since 2009.
ONE MORE UPDATE, 9:24 AM: A LITTLE MORE DIGGING IN Q’S POSTS
Just before I have to leave here and end this for most of the day, I looked for new posts on the Reddit pages for Meg and Q .
This response to a particular question jumped out at me. I encourage you to look for others and let us know in the comments:
Before we discuss the recent tragic news about the organic certification standards, it is important to understand that most hydroponically grown food is vastly inferior to food grown in a healthy soil, where the fungi and microbes can optimize the plant in a way that is simply impossible to do in a hydroponic environment.
You see, the basis of organic food production starts with improving the soil. This has been understood for over a century, when you improve the soil you improve your health and protect the environment from the damages of factory farming.
A couple of months ago I discussed the fight to prevent hydroponically grown produce from being included in organic standards. According to section 7 CFR 205.2051,2 of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) organic regulations, an organic grower’s crop rotation plan must maintain or improve soil organic matter. Since hydroponics does not involve the use of soil, it stands to reason that it cannot qualify for organic certification.
Despite such seemingly clear-cut rules, a large number of hydroponic operators have still been able to obtain organic certification by USDA accredited certification agencies,3,4,5 and the hydroponics industry has been fighting for organic certification to be open to the industry at large. As noted by Cornucopia Institute, organic hydroponic production was “quietly approved” by Miles McEvoy, former deputy administrator of the USDA’s National Organic Program (NOP).6
McEvoy resigned from his post September 10, having held the position for the past eight years. In 2010, the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) had voted “no” on allowing hydroponics as the organic rules clearly did not support their inclusion. McEvoy, who disagreed with the panel’s decision, allowed hydroponic growers to apply for certification anyway. On November 1, the NOSB voted on whether these hydroponic growers would be allowed to remain part of the organic program or not.
Standards Board Accepts Hydroponics Into Organics
Many passionate growers and organic consumers have voiced their opinions on the matter. A petition created by Keep the Soil in Organic gathered 86,000 signatures, which were delivered to the NOSB in anticipation of its vote. Unfortunately, the NOSB, which acts as an advisory panel to the USDA on matters relating to organic standards, voted 8-to-7 to reject the proposal to ban hydroponics in organic production.7,8,9
To say it’s a major blow to the organic industry would be one of the most serious health understatements of the year. Many organic pioneers are now threatening to opt out of USDA organic certification altogether, and/or to “develop an alternative add-on label if the stewardship of nutrient-rich soil is eliminated as a foundational requirement,” Mark Kastel, cofounder and codirector of the Cornucopia Institute said in a recent post.10
Following the NOSB vote, organic tomato farmer Dave Chapman, who has lobbied to get hydroponics out of the organic program, told The Washington Post,11 “This was the Hail Mary pass to save the NOP, and they didn’t catch it. They did incalculable damage to the [USDA organic] seal tonight. It’s just going to take them a while to realize it.”
Labeling Hydroponic Products as Organic Is Illegal
Jim Riddle, steering committee chair of the Organic Farmers Association (OFA),12 who in the early ’90s co-wrote OTA’s organic standards, had this to say about hydroponics being allowed to be certified organic:
“The labeling of hydroponic products as ‘organic’ is illegal. The Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA), in section 6513(b)(1), states, ‘An organic plan shall contain provisions to foster soil fertility…’ Further, OFPA 6513(g) states, ‘An organic plan shall not include any production or handling practices that are inconsistent with this chapter.’ Soilless production systems are inconsistent with OFPA.
They do not comply with numerous sections of the NOP Final Rule, as enumerated in the Crops Subcommittee’s recommendation. There is one relevant rule provision that the Committee overlooked. Section 205.601(j)(6) allows the use of micronutrients, with the following annotation, ‘Soil deficiency must be documented by testing.’
This does not mean that micronutrients may be used if soil is deficient from the system. No, it links soil to the allowance for the use of micronutrients. The OFPA and rule sections mentioned above, and in the Committee’s recommendation, use the words ‘shall’ and ‘must,’ not ‘should’ or ‘may.’ These are mandatory provisions, and they cannot be ignored.
In addition, soilless, hydroponic systems do not comply with the NOSB Principles of Organic Production and Handling, the first sentence of which reads, ‘Organic agriculture is an ecological production management system that promotes and enhances biodiversity, biological cycles, and soil biological activity.’
Hydroponics Are Taking Over Certified Organics
Considering organic produce demands higher retail prices, the inclusion of hydroponics and aquaponics in organic production is by many seen as a “gift” to industrial powerhouses that are not actually producing food in a way that benefits the environment and the ecosystem as a whole.
Last year, organic food sales in the U.S. reached a record $47 billion,13 accounting for 5 percent of total food sales. But what good does burgeoning organic sales do if more and more growers are barely fulfilling the minimum requirements of organic production? The inclusion of hydroponics and aquaponics is really just part of an ongoing watering-down of organic standards — to the point that the label is becoming unreliable at best and useless at worst.
“The battle is over more than philosophy. It’s about market share. Hydroponic methods, deployed on an industrial scale, are taking over an increasing share of sales to supermarkets. [Organic farmer, Dave] Chapman says that most organic tomatoes sold in supermarkets today already are grown without touching the soil.
‘What will happen, very quickly, is that virtually all of the certified organic tomatoes in supermarkets will be hydroponic,’ Chapman says. ‘Virtually all of the peppers and cucumbers [will be hydroponically grown]. A great deal of the lettuce. And most of the berries.'”
The Rise of ‘Fauxganics’ and Loopholes that Decimate the Organic Standard
The failure to bar hydroponics and aquaponics from organic production is seen as a last straw for many in the organic movement, who have already become disenchanted with the rise of concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) getting organic certification. As noted by Cornucopia:15
“The practice of growing fruits and vegetables in inert mediums that depend on liquid fertilizers, rather than in rich organically managed soil, has been intensely controversial. The USDA has quietly allowed importers and major agribusinesses to skirt the legal requirements for careful soil stewardship and still qualify for use of the organic seal …
‘Some NOSB members, with good intentions, have tried to craft a compromise requiring some amount of soil in the containers that giant industrial complexes use to grow hydroponic crops,’ said Dr. Linley Dixon, Cornucopia’s senior scientist.
‘Unfortunately, the current regulations requiring soil are clear, and what is being proposed is unenforceable, ripe for abuse, and will lead to increased imports from European Union countries, and elsewhere, where hydroponics is clearly forbidden to be labeled as organic.'”
Recent history is already rife with examples of abuse as loopholes are being stretched to their absolute limits. As reported in a July article by The Washington Post,16 loopholes in the organic program even allow CAFOs to obtain organic certification, even though their operation is anything but animal and environmentally friendly. Describing the situation at Eggland’s Best, an organic egg producer, Peter Whoriskey writes:
“[A]ccording to people familiar with the operation, as well as a building plan, each of the nine long rectangular barns … holds about 180,000 birds, or more than three hens per square foot of floor space … None of the birds is allowed to set foot outside, sources said.
Under USDA requirements, organic livestock are supposed to have access to the “outdoors,” get “direct sunlight” and “fresh air.” The rules prohibit “continuous total confinement of any animal indoors.” Organic livestock are supposed to be able to engage in their “natural behavior,” and for chickens, that means foraging on the ground for food, dust-bathing and even short flights.
Katherine Paul of the Organic Consumers Association said the … operation betrays consumer expectations. ‘This is not at all what consumers expect of an organic farm … It’s damaging to the image of the entire industry. People will wonder, ‘Why the hell am I paying more for this?'”
Hydroponic Veggies Are on Par With Conventional Produce
It may be even easier to fool consumers with hydroponics, as many already mistakenly believe that hydroponically grown veggies are on par with organic regardless of the organic label, or at the very least, that they’re grown without pesticides and are therefore better for your health and the environment than conventionally grown vegetables. As it turns out, none of these ideas are necessarily true.17,18
Research shows that, nutritionally, hydroponic produce is typically on par with — and frequently lower than — conventionally grown produce. According to one study,19 hydroponically grown vegetables had lower levels of carotenoids such as beta-carotene and lutein than conventional vegetables. Research shows healthy “living” soils make for food with better nutrient content, so the finding that hydroponically grown produce falls short on nutrients is to be expected.
“Live” soils teem with microorganisms such as bacteria, fungi, protozoa and microscopic roundworms called nematodes. It’s the synergistic cooperation between these microorganisms, the soil’s biome and the plants’ roots (rhizosphere) that allows the plant to absorb nutrients from the soil in which it’s grown.
As noted in a previous Civil Eats article,20 organic farming, with its emphasis on improving soil quality, is “a ‘plant positive’ rather than ‘pest negative’ philosophy, focused on growing vigorous, healthy plants and animals imbued with all their natural powers of resistance.” Indeed, this is precisely what the NOSB stressed in its formal 2010 recommendation to the NOP on the issue of organic hydroponics:21
“The organic farming method derives its name from the practice of maintaining or improving the organic matter (carbon containing) content of farm soil through various methods and practices. The reason this is the central theme and foundation of organic farming is not inherent to the organic matter itself, but is based on the importance of the organic matter to the living organisms that inhabit soils …
These microscopic organisms, found in abundance in well maintained soils, interact in a symbiotic manner with plant roots, producing the effect of strengthening the plant to be able to better resist or avoid insect, disease and nematode attack, as well as assisting the plant in water and mineral uptake …
In practice, the organic farmer is … a steward of the soil ecology … Observing the framework of organic farming … it becomes clear that systems of crop production that eliminate soil from the system, such as hydroponics or aeroponics, cannot be considered as examples of acceptable organic farming practices.”
Biodynamic Farming — The New Platinum Standard for Real Food
Fast-forward seven years and the NOSB has now changed its tune, siding instead with the powerful hydroponics lobby and reneging on these basic principles of organic farming. With the watering down of organics, it seems clear we need to go beyond organic certification — hence the rise of biodynamic farming and stronger grass fed certification.
Last year, biodynamic farming in the U.S. increased by 16 percent.22 Biodynamic farming is organic plus focuses on regenerative practices for the soil. While an organic farmer can section off as little as 10 percent of the farm for the growing of certified organic goods, to be certified as a biodynamic farmer, your entire farm must be biodynamic.
Biodynamic certification also requires 10 percent of the land be dedicated to increasing biodiversity, such as forest, wetland or insectary. As explained by Elizabeth Candelario, managing director for the global Biodynamic certification agency Demeter, in a recent interview:
“Organic is really about what you don’t do. In organic, you don’t use synthetic fertilizers or pesticides. You don’t use genetically modified organism (GMO) seed. You do everything you can to avoid GMO contamination; no sewer sludge on the farm and no irradiation of products.
What’s happening with the burgeoning interest in organic … is there’s a lot of pressure on that standard, so you have products coming into the market that do the minimum of what is required, sitting right next to another product that’s also labeled organic that does much more.
Biodynamics fundamentally maintains the core principle that the farm is a living organism. We start by saying that the organic standard is the base to the Demeter standard. If a farm is Demeter certified, it means that it’s met the organic standard, even if it’s not certified organic. But then, the standard is much broader, maintaining that idea of the farm as a closed system. You look for solutions to disease, pest and weed control to come out of the farm system itself.”
Biodynamic Farming Is the Way Forward
In addition to producing food with higher nutrient content, biodynamic farming also addresses and corrects a wide array of environmental problems associated with conventional farming, including:
Soil erosion and degradation
Desertification (land turning into desert) and loss of biodiversity
The USDA Organic label simply does not represent regenerative agriculture, and it’s important to realize this. Many organic farms are not even using cover crops, let alone integrating holistic herd management. Biodynamic certification fills this need, and really surpasses even the most stringent organic standards ever devised.
I’ve fully embraced the Biodynamic concept and am currently in the process of converting some of my own products from organic to Biodynamic certified and locating sources of raw materials to do that. This is a long term commitment as I realize it will take time and investments with farmers to make this happen. I am confident farmers and our customers will embrace this attention to quality improvements.
You Are What You Eat
According to Rudolf Steiner, Ph.D., (1861-1925) who developed the biodynamic concept, man is a microcosm of the macrocosm. The biosphere that is the Earth is intricately connected — from the tiniest bacteria in the soil all the way up to the human body, which actually contains 10 times more bacteria and other microorganisms than human cells.
What separates us from the microbiome in the soil, you could say, is merely scale and perception. With that in mind, we cannot afford to ignore soil, plant and insect health, as our health depends on theirs.
Hydroponics and aquaponics certainly have their place. They each have certain benefits, especially when compared to conventional agriculture. But neither really belongs in the organic program. At least not if we view soil as being an integral part of the equation. The NOSB’s decision really strikes at the heart of what the organic movement has been all about; the idea that better soil equates to improved ecology and better health.
It is more important than every that everyone grow whatever food you can yourself – even if you don’t have a backyard, try growing sprouts near a window. You will be amazed what you can accomplish in just a little space. Next best is to know your local farmers and support them for growing quality, truly organic produce. You can make an adventure out of finding local farmers and farmers’ markets, visiting their farms and purchasing directly from them.
When convenience necessitates, I urge you to embrace the biodynamic standard when shopping at realize the organic label is becoming the ‘floor’ of edible foods. Organic foods will still allow you to avoid most pesticides found in conventional food, but nutrition is likely no better than conventionally grown crops. Look for, and ask for Demeter Biodynamic certified products.
As with the organic movement, the real power lies with consumers. Another alternative is to grow more of your own food. If you’re just starting out, consider growing some herbs or sprouts, which require little space and maintenance. You can also peruse the gardening section of Mercola.com, where articles on how to grow a wide variety of foods are added weekly.
Buying locally-grown foods is a third way you can help shape and influence the marketplace with your food dollars. Get to know your local producers; talk to them about their growing practices. Many are using organic and regenerative methods even if they’re not certified. If you live in the U.S., the following organizations can help you locate farm-fresh foods in your area:
The goal of the American Grassfed Association is to promote the grass fed industry through government relations, research, concept marketing and public education.
Their website also allows you to search for AGA approved producers certified according to strict standards that include being raised on a diet of 100 percent forage; raised on pasture and never confined to a feedlot; never treated with antibiotics or hormones; born and raised on American family farms.
EatWild.com provides lists of farmers known to produce raw dairy products as well as grass fed beef and other farm-fresh produce (although not all are certified organic). Here you can also find information about local farmers markets, as well as local stores and restaurants that sell grass fed products.
Weston A. Price has local chapters in most states, and many of them are connected with buying clubs in which you can easily purchase organic foods, including grass fed raw dairy products like milk and butter.
The FoodRoutes “Find Good Food” map can help you connect with local farmers to find the freshest, tastiest food possible. On their interactive map, you can find a listing for local farmers, CSAs and markets near you.
The Cornucopia Institute maintains web-based tools rating all certified organic brands of eggs, dairy products and other commodities, based on their ethical sourcing and authentic farming practices separating CAFO “organic” production from authentic organic practices.
If you’re still unsure of where to find raw milk, check out Raw-Milk-Facts.com and RealMilk.com. They can tell you what the status is for legality in your state, and provide a listing of raw dairy farms in your area. The Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund23 also provides a state-by-state review of raw milk laws.24 California residents can also find raw milk retailers using the store locator available at www.OrganicPastures.com.
In the scheme of your daily life, the straw you used for your iced tea at lunch probably doesn’t get much airtime. You might even have to think for a moment to remember how many straws you’ve used in the last few days. Straws are sneaky like that, because anytime you order a drink in a restaurant, or take one to-go, there’s a good chance you’ll receive a straw to go along with it.
It seems innocuous enough, unless you’ve seen the viral video of a sea turtle with a straw stuck up its bleeding nose. Or volunteered to help clean up a coastline, where hundreds of thousands of discarded straws are found annually.1 Or heard that, according to environmental advocacy group Ocean Conservancy, some plastic products persist for so long, even in salty ocean water, that they’ll still be recognizable after 400 years.2
Then it begins to sink in that every piece of plastic counts. Even one straw. Especially one straw, because, if you think about it, would you even miss it if it weren’t there?
How to Take Part in ‘No Straw November’
A campaign is growing to end the use of plastic straws, which are arguably one of the easiest pieces of plastic waste to eliminate from your life. Nonetheless, doing so could have a tremendous impact worldwide. According to the Be Straw Free campaign, Americans use 500 million straws daily, which doesn’t even account for all of the straws that come attached to juice and milk cartons (including those handed out in school cafeterias).3
Sustainability coordinator for Monterey, California, Ted Terrasas said in a press release, “That’s equivalent to 175 billion straws per year, which is enough straws to wrap around the Earth 2.5 times per day!”4 It’s a staggering number for something most people don’t even need. Slowly, cities around the U.S. have taken notice, with California’s Manhattan Beach enacting a city-wide disposable plastic ban.
Others, including Berkeley, California; Miami, Florida; and New York City, as well as 1,800 restaurants, are considering bans on straws or at least have pledged to only hand them out if customers request them.5 Carmel, California is among those cities that voted to ban straws, with restaurants only being allowed to hand out biodegradable straws starting in 2018.6
The City of Monterey, California is even heading up the No Straw November campaign, which was the brainchild of high school student Shelby O’Neil, who formed Jr Ocean Guardians for her 2017 Girl Scout of America Gold Award Project, with a mission of reducing usage of single-use plastics.7 To take part, the city of Monterey suggests:8
Tell wait staff you do not want a straw if they automatically provide one
If you do want a straw, keep the same one if you are refilling your drink
Help spread awareness of ways you are participating in the campaign on social media by following and sharing #NoStrawNovember
They’re also encouraging businesses and other groups who provide straws to stop doing so as a matter of course and instead hand them out only when they’re requested. Businesses are also encouraged to use compostable, biodegradable or reusable straws for those they do provide.
Increasing Realization That ‘Straws Suck’
Straws have been around for a long time, but the earliest versions were as environmentally friendly as things come, made from straw or hollow grass stalks. It wasn’t until the 1880s that a man, Marvin Stone, got the idea to make a paper straw in order to make drinking his mint julep easier. In 1937, the bendy straw was born, and this unnecessary novelty quickly became a veritable necessity. Author and environmental activist David Suzuki writes:9
“The explosion of plastic’s popularity in the 1960s and into the ’70s spelled the demise of the paper straw. After that, most drinking straw innovations were as much about marketing as function — including the twisty Krazy Straw and the wide straw-and-spoon combo used to drink slushy drinks.”
The Surfrider Foundation, an environmental nonprofit group started by a group of Malibu, California, surfers in 1984, is among those trying to get the word out about straws. In the past, Surfrider has led campaigns against discarded cigarette butts and plastic bags, and their new “Straws Suck” campaign has the same focus: clean water, healthy beaches and accessible coastlines.10
Like the “No Straw November” campaign, Surfrider’s Straws Suck is urging people to stop using straws and businesses to stop handing them out, especially without being asked.
Plastic Straws Are Not Recyclable
If you think you can justify your straw habit by throwing them in the recycling bin, think again. Most straws are not recyclable, and even if you toss it in the bin, it’s destined for the landfill — or the ocean. The Washington Post quipped that, from the recycling bin:11
“A truck will carry it [your straw] to a waste transfer station, and then another truck to a recycling facility, where it will land on a conveyor belt.
Machines will then pluck away the recyclables that surround it — first the cardboard, then the paper, the aluminum, the glass, the plastic bottles, and so on — until it ends up in a pile of items too small, too useless to be detected by the machines. This pile is known as ‘the debris,’ and you can probably guess where it’s headed. Not to some sustainability afterlife. To the landfills of America.”
It’s worth noting that more than 80 percent of the plastic debris in the ocean starts off on land. Once in the ocean, it’s known that nearly 700 species (and probably many more) are negatively impacted by such debris. Sadly, at least 17 percent of impacted species are listed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List as near threatened or worse, and at least 10 percent of the species had ingested microplastics.12
What are microplastics? They’re what remain after your straw ends up in the ocean, and eventually gets broken down into tiny pieces less than 5 millimeters long. There are now so many of them that they’re clouding the ocean in some spots. Carried along with the ocean’s currents, swirling gyres of “plastic smog”13 now cover about 40 percent of the world’s ocean surfaces.14
Disturbingly, when microplastics exist in the ocean, they form a biological covering made of algae and other materials that smell like food to fish which, in turn, are actively seeking them out as such.15 Ingestion of microplastics by fish has been linked to intestinal blockage, physical damage, alterations in the intestines, change in behavior, change in lipid metabolism, transfer to the liver and more.16 But it doesn’t end there.
Plastic fragments have been found in sea salt.17 In the U.S., 94 percent of tap water samples were found to contain — you guessed it — plastic.18 The toxic bits are also likely accumulating on land. According to research published in Science of the Total Environment, “Annual plastic release to land is estimated at four to 23 times that released to oceans.”19 So it’s not only fish and other marine life that are ingesting plastic — you probably are too — something to think about next time you’re offered a piece of plastic you don’t really need.
Time to Ditch Single-Use Plastics
Although straws are the focus of some campaigns, they’re far from the only problem. Case in point: plastic utensils. Plastic utensils and other food and beverage packaging were recently found to make up 67 percent of the litter found in the San Francisco Bay area.20 Like straws, oftentimes plastic utensils are added to carry-out orders even if customers don’t request them.
“Even just asking customers if they need napkins, straws, and utensils before loading up their take-out bags could make a difference. Many of the straws found on the street by Clean Water Action were still in their wrappers,” Fast Company reported.21 Alternatives to plastic utensils are also widely available, with washable metal utensils representing the most obvious choice.
It’s simple to pack a fork and knife with your lunch, and there are even pocket-sized sets with carrying cases available. Meanwhile, in India one company is making edible cutlery out of rice, wheat and sorghum flour, which it states degrade in the environment within 10 days if they’re not eaten first.22
Choose Reusable Over Single-Use Products
In the U.S., it’s also crucial that we rethink our throwaway culture and become more sustainably creative. Ideally, seek to purchase products that are not made from or packaged in plastic. Another important point is to choose reusable over single-use, which is possible in most instances. For instance, opting for the following will help you to inch closer to a minimal-waste lifestyle while reducing your share of plastics pollution:
Avoid plastic bags (including for snacks and food storage)
Avoid disposable straws (reusable straws made from stainless steel, bamboo and even glass are widely available)
Wash synthetic clothes less frequently and when you do use a gently cycle to reduce the number of fibers released; consider using products that catch laundry fibers in your washing machine
Choose a nonplastic toothbrush made from bamboo, flax or even recycled dollar bills
When washing out paint brushes, capture rinse water in a jar and dispose of it at your local landfill in designated spots for paint (don’t let it go down the drain). You can also make your own milk paint in lieu of plastic-based latex and acrylics — to do so “add lemon juice to skim milk and filter out the curd, add natural pigment to what is left.”23
Request no plastic wrap on your newspaper and dry cleaning
Avoid processed foods (which are stored in plastic bags with chemicals). Buy fresh produce instead, and forgo the plastic bags
Opt for non-disposable razors, washable feminine hygiene products for women, cloth diapers and infant toys made of wood rather than plastic
Store foods in glass containers or mason jars rather than plastic containers and plastic freezer bags
In 2000, genetically engineered (GE) Golden Rice made the cover of Time magazine, which used the compelling headline, “This rice could save a million kids a year.”1 In theory, it sounded like a promising idea: Create rice that contains beta-carotene, which would then be converted into vitamin A when eaten. Vitamin A deficiency is a public health problem in more than half of countries across the globe, particularly in Africa and Southeast Asia, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).2
Not only is vitamin A deficiency, which affects an estimated 250 million preschool children, the leading cause of preventable blindness in children, but it also increases the risk of severe infections and related deaths, WHO notes. Solving the problem of vitamin A deficiency could indeed prove to be lifesaving on a monumental level — on this, everyone agrees. But major controversy has arisen over tackling vitamin A deficiency with Golden Rice, as time has shown this GE product has failed miserably at living up to its promises.
Golden Rice Fails to Deliver
It’s been more than 20 years since Golden Rice has become a focus of research,3 but there’s still nothing to show for it. And there were problems from the beginning. The first Golden Rice (GR1) failed, as it contained too little beta-carotene to even make a dent in vitamin A deficiency.4 The next version (GR2), developed by biotech giant Syngenta, is still in field trials.
“The vast majority of scientists in the world will never see such comprehensively generous support for their research — yet they still deliver, and must deliver if they ever want to renew funding for their research. This is more than can be said for the golden rice project,” Independent Science News reported.5
Indeed, both common sense and science suggest the project was doomed to fail from the start. For starters, proponents often cite a 2009 study that found Golden Rice is an effective source of vitamin A, because it “is effectively converted to vitamin A” in healthy adult volunteers.6
The latter part is important, because the people who would be depending on Golden Rice are, for the most part, not healthy adults, nor would they have regular access to key nutrients needed to absorb vitamin A, like fat. So there are major questions of whether consuming Golden Rice, even if it contains high enough levels of beta-carotene, would alleviate vitamin A deficiency in people without adequate levels of dietary fat. Other key questions also remain to be answered, like:7
Does beta-carotene in Golden Rice degrade during storage?
Do the beta-carotene levels remain the same when seeds are saved year after year?
How much beta-carotene remains after cooking?
What are the environmental risks?
In addition, it’s overly simplistic to assume that engineering one part of a plant would occur in a bubble, without influencing other parts. As GM Watch explained, it’s even possible that the high levels of beta-carotene in the rice could end up backfiring in a way:8
“A study published in 20129 showed that beta-carotene (a precursor to Vitamin A that’s been engineered into Golden Rice) is processed into a number of compounds, not just Vitamin A. Some of these compounds actually block the action of Vitamin A. The authors of the study said this may have implications for Golden Rice: ‘A concern is that if you engineer these crops to have unusually high levels of beta-carotene, they might also have high levels of these [Vitamin A-blocking] compounds.’”
Golden Rice Leads to ‘Metabolic Meltdown,’ Poor Yields
On an agronomic level, Golden Rice is also extremely problematic. Indian researchers looking to create a form of Golden Rice that could be grown in India introduced the engineered DNA to a high-yielding variety called Swarna. The resulting “GR2-R1” crop was “dwarf with pale green leaves and drastically reduced panicle [flower cluster] size, grain number and yield as compared to the recurrent parent, Swarna.”10
Yields of the GE “Golden Rice Swarna” were just one-third that of the non-GE variety, and root and shoot defects were apparent. “The plants also flowered later, were half the height, and half as fertile,” The Cornucopia Institute reported, adding:11
“DNA analysis revealed a partial explanation for these defects. The GR2-R1 DNA had inserted into and disrupted a native rice gene called OsAux1. OsAux1 specifies a transporter for the important plant hormone auxin. The researchers suggested this disruption explains some of the root and shoot defects.”
In addition, some of the engineered genes were found to have enzyme products functioning in the leaves of the plants, even though they had been engineered to only function in the grains. Cornucopia continued:12
“Chemical analysis of leaves, stems and flowering parts showed GR2-R1 plants had altered levels of three other key plant hormones: abscisic acid (ABA), gibberellin (GA3), and cytokinin.
To explain this the researchers proposed that the presence of the genetically engineered … enzymes in leaves depletes a compound (GGDP) needed to make other plant biochemicals, in particular hormones and chlorophylls. Lack of chlorophyll would explain the pale leaves, while altered hormone levels would explain the other growth defects and the yield loss seen … ”
Problems Intrinsic to GMOS to Blame for Golden Rice Failings — Not Activists
Speaking to The Cornucopia Institute, Jonathan Latham, executive director of the Bioscience Resource Project, said Syngenta’s Golden Rice transgenes caused “metabolic meltdown” in the native rice plants and exemplifies to perfection the classic criticisms of genetic engineering that “introduced DNA will disrupt native gene sequences and, second, that unpredictable disruption of normal metabolism may result from introducing new functions.”13
On the contrary, proponents of Golden Rice have long blamed environmental groups, including Greenpeace, which has spoken out against the GE rice, for slowing its progress. Another scapegoat is a group of environmental activists who destroyed a test plot of Golden Rice in 2013 in a protest against the project.
But Glenn Stone, professor of anthropology and environmental studies in arts and sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, co-wrote an article that suggests activists are not to blame for Golden Rice’s failings.14 Stone said in a Washington University news release:15
“Destroying test plots is a dubious way to express opposition, but this was only one small plot out of many plots in multiple locations over many years.
Moreover, they have been calling Golden Rice critics ‘murderers’ for over a decade … if we are actually interested in the welfare of poor children — instead of just fighting over GMOs — then we have to make unbiased assessments of possible solutions. The simple fact is that after 24 years of research and breeding, Golden Rice is still years away from being ready for release.”
Replacing Just One Nutrient Is Shortsighted
The entire concept of Golden Rice is also overly simplistic and based on the flawed premise that you can bring good health to starving people by replacing one nutrient. So even if Golden Rice succeeded in delivering enough beta-carotene, in a crop form that was appealing to farmers (i.e., not producing poor yields), and the people were nourished enough to absorb it (all big ifs), the approach would still fall short of solving malnutrition. Independent Science News summed up the flaws in this approach well:16
“Combating hunger and malnutrition one vitamin and mineral at a time is a failed ideology, no matter which vitamin or mineral one starts with and which kind of delivery system one chooses. Malnourished people do not suffer from single-vitamin-deficiencies added up. They suffer from hunger, as in ‘lack of food’.
This is compounded by poverty and a myriad of contributing factors working simultaneously together. That means they lack regular access to real foods containing the necessary variety of ALL essential nutrients, which, in conjunction, make up a healthy diet.”
Further, if you did want to replace one nutrient at a time, including vitamin A, inexpensive vitamin A supplements are widely available and can be dispensed to the people who need them far more easily than Golden Rice.
In fact, they’re already being used, with promising results, according to WHO, which notes, “For deficient children, the periodic supply of high-dose vitamin A in swift, simple, low-cost, high-benefit interventions has … produced remarkable results, reducing mortality by 23 percent overall and by up to 50 percent for acute measles sufferers.”17
WHO Promotes Vegetable Gardens, Breastfeeding, to Alleviate Vitamin A Deficiency
While Syngenta continues to milk its hope of a future cash cow in Golden Rice, WHO has already implemented a campaign featuring a variety of non-GMO methods for combating vitamin A deficiency. This includes:18
Promoting breastfeeding as the best way to protect babies from vitamin A deficiency, since breastmilk is a natural source of vitamin A
Fortifying foods with vitamin A in certain areas, such as Guatemala, has helped to maintain vitamin A status for high-risk groups and needy families
Promoting home gardens for rural families, including in Africa and Southeast Asia. According to WHO, “[G]rowing fruits and vegetables in home gardens complements dietary diversification and fortification and contributes to better lifelong health.”
In the Philippines, vitamin A deficiency has been on the decline in children, without the need for Golden Rice. Among those aged 6 months to 5 years, 40 percent were deficient in 2003 compared to just over 15 percent in 2008,19 and the fact is, there are already vitamin A supplements and vitamin A-rich foods that could help save lives in areas suffering from malnourishment.
“Frequently, vitamin A-rich food exists in abundance and rots in storage or under trees not that far away from the places where people suffer from malnutrition. An alternative already in the field is, for example, a non-GMO orange sweet potato, a root crop compatible with improved crop rotations whose developers have been awarded the 2016 World Food Prize,” Independent Science News pointed out.20
There is, in essence, no reason to create a GE food that contains beta-carotene in order to relieve vitamin A deficiency. Such foods exist already in nature. The real solution would be to help the developing world improve access to real sources of beta-carotene and other nutrients, including animal products like eggs, cheese and meat, and vegetables such as dark leafy greens and sweet potatoes.
( Frances Bloomfield) Has the secret to halting the aging process been unveiled? That certainly seems to be the case with the work done by researchers from the University of Exeter and the University of Brighton. Together, the team of scientists has discovered a new method of rejuvenating inactive senescent cells, or cells that have lost the ability to reproduce themselves. Read more »