Environmental

 

Two years later: the oil is still here and so are we

Published on Apr 11, 2012 by

Two years ago the BP drilling disaster began, killing 11 workers and threatening an ecosystem and the unique communities which rely upon it. Musicians, GRN supporters and community members are reminding you that BP’s oil is still affecting the people and places of the Gulf. Despite this fact, neither BP nor DC have taken adequate steps to protect or restore this precious natural resource.

Take action today at http://healthygulf.org

Shot at and around Voodoo Experience 2011 by Greenhouse Collective. See their work at http://www.youtube.com/user/GreenHouseNOLA

Thanks to Portugal. the Man, Dr. John, Ani Difranco, Scott Fujita, Fishbone, Blind Pilot, Bonerama, Honey Island Swamp Band, Zack Smith, Fleur De Tease, Stanton Moore, Sheepdogs, Danny Phillips, John Taylor, Rosina Phillippe, John Michael Rouchel, Helen Gillet, Clint Maedgen, and all who took part.

 

 

The Folly of Big Agriculture:

Why Nature Always Wins

Large-scale industrial agriculture depends on engineering the land to ensure the absence of natural diversity. But as the recent emergence of herbicide-tolerant weeds on U.S. farms has shown, nature ultimately finds a way to subvert uniformity and assert itself.

 

by verlyn klinkenborg

 

In its short, shameless history, big agriculture has had only one big idea: uniformity. The obvious example is corn. The U.S. Department of Agriculture predicts that American farmers — big farmers — will plant 94 million acres of corn this year. That’s the equivalent of planting corn on every inch of Montana. To do that you’d have to make sure that every inch of Montana fell within corn-growing parameters. That would mean leveling the high spots, irrigating the dry spots, draining the wet spots, fertilizing the infertile spots, and so on. Corn is usually grown where the terrain is less rigorous than it is in Montana. But even in Iowa that has meant leveling, irrigating, draining, fertilizing, and, of course, spraying.

You can argue whether uniformity is the result of efficiency or vice versa. But let’s suppose that efficiency is merely the economic expression of uniformity. The point is this: When you see a Midwestern cornfield, you know you’re looking at nature with one idea superimposed upon it. This is far less confusing, less tangled in variation than the nature you find even in the roadside ditches beside a cornfield or in a last scrap of native prairie growing

Rather than change the earth to suit a crop, a reasonable agriculture would diversify crops to suit the earth.

in a graveyard or along an abandoned railroad right-of-way. Nature is puzzling. Corn is stupefying.

Humans have spent a lot of time trying to figure out what the big idea behind nature is. It’s hard to tell, because we live at nature’s pace and within the orb of human abstraction. We barely notice the large-scale differences from year to year, much less the minute ones. But if we could speed up time a little and become a lot more perceptive, we would see that nature’s big idea is to try out life wherever and however it can be tried, which means everywhere and anyhow. The result — over time and at this instant — is diversity, complexity, particularity, and inventiveness to an extent our minds are almost unfitted to conceive.

A reasonable agriculture would do its best to emulate nature. Rather than change the earth to suit a crop — which is what we do with corn and soybeans and a handful of other agricultural commodities — it would diversify its crops to suit the earth. This is not going to happen in big agriculture, because big agriculture is irrational. It’s where we expose — at unimaginable expense — our failure to grasp how nature works. It’s where uniformity is always defeated eventually by diversity and where big agriculture’s ideas of diversity are revealed to be as uniform as ever.

To a uniform crop like corn, farmers have been encouraged to apply a uniform herbicide to kill weeds. Modern corn is genetically engineered to not be killed by the herbicide in ubiquitous use. Mostly, that herbicide has been glyphosate, marketed under the Monsanto trade name Roundup. Farmers have sprayed and over-sprayed billions of gallons of Roundup thanks to an

To broad leaf weeds, Roundup is not the apocalypse. It is simply a modest, temporal challenge.

economic and moral premise: corn good, weeds bad. And yet you can’t help noticing that it has done nothing to stop the endless inventiveness of nature.

To broad leaf weeds and soil microorganisms, Roundup is not the apocalypse. It is simply a modest, temporal challenge, which is why, 15 years after genetically-engineered, Roundup-tolerant crops were widely introduced, it’s no longer working against spontaneous new generations of Roundup-tolerant weeds, especially in cotton fields. This is because research, in nature’s laboratory, never stops. It explores every possibility. It never lacks funding. It is never demoralized by failed experiments. It cannot be lobbied…..

 

 

Read Full Article Here

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Cyber Space

 

ACTA: The State of Play in the US

In the last few weeks, we’ve seen surprising and significant developments with the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) in both the US and the EU. As we’ve noted before, ACTA is a plurilateral agreement designed to broaden and extend existing intellectual property enforcement laws to the Internet. In both process and in substance, it is a deeply undemocratic initiative that has bypassed checks and balances of existing international IP norm-setting bodies, without any meaningful input from national parliaments, policymakers, or their citizens.

This is the first in a series of posts detailing the current state of play. Today, we’re reviewing recent U.S. developments and what we and others are doing to highlight the illegitimacy of this controversial agreement. In February, EFF submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the U.S. State Department, seeking a copy of the “Circular 175” memorandum for ACTA, and the accompanying Memorandum of Law – key documents regarding the constitutionality of ACTA.  The State Department is due to respond tomorrow.

The U.S. Trade Ambassador, Ronald Kirk, signed ACTA in October 2011 at a much-heralded ceremony in Tokyo. However, that does not necessarily mean that ACTA is a done deal in the U.S. Whether ACTA is now binding on the U.S. government, and whether Congress should have any role in reviewing ACTA, continue to be much-debated questions. Several U.S. Congressional representatives have recently taken action to highlight the unusually secretive process used to negotiate ACTA as compared to other IP agreements, and the particular efforts that were taken to evade normal Congressional review of the agreement.

Since 2008, the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office (USTR) has repeatedly stated that ACTA was negotiated as a “sole executive agreement” under the President’s power to conclude agreements regarding matters delegated to the President under Article II of the U.S. Constitution, and therefore does not need to be put before Congress for review and approval. That view has been criticized by leading U.S. Constitutional Law professors on several occasions (see here, here, and here, and our views).

As Senator Ron Wyden pointed out in his letter to the President last October, the question is not whether ACTA would or would not require changes to U.S. law (which is far from clear), but rather, whether the U.S. Executive Branch (of which the USTR is a part) has constitutional authority to negotiate and enter into an agreement dealing with issues  within the powers delegated exclusively to Congress under the Constitution, like the power to make new IP laws:

 “The statement by the USTR confuses the issue by conflating two separate stages of the process required for binding the U.S. to international agreements: entry and implementation. It may be possible for the U.S. to implement ACTA or any other trade agreement, once validly entered, without legislation if the agreement requires no change in U.S. law. But, regardless of whether the agreement requires changes in U.S. law, a point that is contested with respect to ACTA, the executive branch lacks constitutional authority to enter a binding international agreement covering issues delegated by the Constitution to Congress’ authority, absent congressional approval.”

This is more than just an academic question. If ACTA were characterized as a treaty, it would need approval of two-thirds of the Senate before it could be ratified. As Congressional Representative Darrell Issa stated on March 6, when he posted the text of ACTA on his KeepTheWebOpen platform for public comment, the decision to negotiate ACTA as a sole executive agreement can be seen as a power grab by the U.S. executive branch, to bypass Congress’ constitutional power over international commerce and intellectual property law.

Not satisfied with the response he received last year, in January, Senator Wyden asked the  State Department for its analysis of why the USTR’s negotiation of ACTA complies with US constitutional law. The Legal Advisor to the State Department, Howard Koh, responded to Senator Wyden on March 6. His letter implied that Congress had authorized the Executive to negotiate ACTA in response to the 2008 Prioritizing Resources and Organization for Intellectual Property Act. …

Read Full Article

 

 

Phone hacking scandal comes to U.S. as lawyer vows to take on Rupert Murdoch – but who were the celebrity targets?

Three lawsuits set to be filed on behalf of unidentified clients, but they are suspected to be David Beckham, a friend of Jude Law’s, and Princess Diana’s butler Paul Burrell

Three civil lawsuits are to be filed in the U.S. over alleged phone hacking by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, the first time the scandal has reached the American courts.

Though the individuals at the center of the lawsuits have not been named, there is speculation that they are Princess Diana’s butler Paul Burrell, football star David Beckham, and someone who is friends with or works with the actor Jude Law.

Mark Lewis, the lawyer for the unnamed trio, did give hints which seem to match up with the suggested names.

Mr Lewis said that one of the alleged victims was connected to Princess Diana and the Royal household whilst a second is linked to the England football team. The third is described as a ‘Hollywood case’ as the person was in touch with a well-known celebrity which made him a target….

Read Full Article Here

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Survival / Sustainability

 

Prepper List : 10 Things To Do Now!

 

by M.D. Creekmore

 

No matter how much I beg, some of you, no doubt haven’t done anything to prepare (you know who you are). I don’t know what else to do. All I can do is give you the information, it’s up to you to act. No one can do it for you.

No doubt some of you are intimidated by my repeated suggestions of storing and using whole grains. If it doesn’t come from the supermarket shelf it’s strange and unfamiliar and you want no part of it. Fair enough.

But you still need to prepare. Here are ten things that you can do right now  that will make you better prepared than probably 90% of the population.

And everything is available at your local shopping center – so it’s easy. You can do all ten steps at once or divide each into a separate week and shopping trip. But you need to get it done as soon as possible.

Keep in mind that this is only a starting point and isn’t presented here as a completed list…..

 

Read Full Article and  See  List  Here

 

 

Top 14 Survival Downloads You Should Have

 

by M.D. Creekmore

 

Here are fourteen free PDF downloads that you might find useful – If you know of others please share with us in the comments below…

  1. It’s the End of the World As We Know It – and I Feel Fine – My free e-book covering, food storage, water, weapons etc. I put this together a few years ago and it received some great reviews, but I will admit it is in need of editing and reformatting. The book was a quick first draft without a lot of thought given to  spelling or grammar. Any volunteer editors?
  2. FM 21-76 US Army Survival Manual – How to find water, food, shelter, build a fire, first aid, navigation and other survival skills necessary to survive on your own in the wild. A must for any survival library.
  3. FM 4-25-11 First Aid – While I suggest everyone take a dedicated first-aid class under qualified instructors, this manual by the U.S. Army is a good start for anyone wanting to learn life saving first aid skills…..

 

See Complete  List Here

 

 

Seeds: How many do you need?

Bloody Butcher Corn-BLOG

Bloody Butcher Corn

As you are planning your garden, what to grow would be the first thing that comes to mind.  Then, of course, the area you have available, which leads to making a garden map.  With the map done, you know how much space you have for each crop.  Next is figuring out how many seeds you need.  If you are just starting out in gardening, the number of seeds in a packet are probably more than you need for the year.  However, as your garden grows and you are more interested in really growing a substantial part of your diet, exactly what to expect from a seed packet is important.

You probably already know that not every seed you have is going to germinate.  There is a minimum legal germination rate that the seed companies have to abide by.  Their seeds can be over that rate, but not under.  You can find the minimum legal germination rate in the Master Charts of How To Grow More Vegetables (HTGMV) by John Jeavons.  If you buy from reputable sources, most often the seeds are well over that rate.  In fact, some companies label the packages with the tested germination rate and when they tested it.  On the other hand, I have heard of companies combining old seed with their new batch, getting rid of the old seed and lowering the germination rate.   All they are concerned about is making sure it meets the minimum legal rate.  Being aware of what the minimum rate is helps you plan.  You might be using seed leftover from a previous year or seed that you have saved yourself.  Since seed loses viability over time, you might want to test the germination rate.  Information on how to do that is available many places, including my video Develop a Sustainable Vegetable Garden Plan.

 

Read Full Article Here

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Activism

Explosive: Monsanto ‘Knowingly Poisoned Workers’ Causing Devastating Birth Defects

Anthony Gucciardi
NaturalSociety

In a developing news piece just unleashed by a courthouse news wire, Monsanto is being brought to court by dozens of  Argentinean tobacco farmers who say that the biotech giant knowingly poisoned them with herbicides and pesticides and subsequently caused ”devastating birth defects” in their children. The farmers are now suing not only Monsanto on behalf of their children, but many big tobacco giants as well. The birth defects that the farmers say occurred as a result are many, and include cerebral palsy, down syndrome, psycho motor retardation, missing fingers, and blindness.

The farmers come from small family-owned farms in Misiones Province and sell their tobacco to many United States distributors. The family farmers say that major tobacco companies like the Philip Morris company asked them to use Monsanto’s herbicides and pesticides, assuring them that the products were safe. Through asserting that the toxic chemicals were safe, the farmers state in their claim that the tobacco companies ”wrongfully caused the parental and infant plaintiffs to be exposed to those chemicals and substances which they both knew, or should have known, would cause the infant offspring of the parental plaintiffs to be born with devastating birth defects.”

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[In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit, for research and/or educational purposes. This constitutes ‘FAIR USE’ of any such copyrighted material.]

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