Saturday, December 22, 2012

NAFTA and TPP Have Failed Us

The NAFTA experiment has been a failure. Almost two decades after starting to implement NAFTA we have seen none of the benefits promised. We were all told there would be overall increases in gross domestic products for all. However, participating countries are seeing lower wages, greater income inequality, higher prices for food, medicine, housing, gas etc. Additionally these same countries are seeing increased environmental degradation and more and more regulating laws that are protecting big business and keeping small business and individuals from flourishing. Large corporations are taking over farm land around the world, including the United States, and displacing small farmers. The NAFTA legal framework has created a situation where it trumps local and national laws. (I am sure that was not a mistake in wording.) This legal framework favors large corporations.

There is current negotiation going on to expand these rules to include more countries via the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, is a secretive regional free trade/investor rights initiative led by the United States, Canada, Mexico, Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam, with an open-docking clause allowing for additional countries to join. In theory, the TPP seeks to increase trade in the region by opening up markets and reducing barriers to trade.  Participants aim to conclude negotiations by the end of 2013.
So far these negotiations have been behind close doors without citizen or congressional oversight but with 600 corporate advisors. There is concern this economic globalization is not going to be responsive and accountable to the people and the environment. To learn more go to the Fair World Project. You will see how NAFTA is allowing "Big Money" to call the shots all around the world.

Tell your representatives that you think NAFTA has failed. Tell them NAFTA and the TPP need to take citizens, small business including small farmers and environmental needs into account. You can locate your rep and or senator here. Let your voice be heard.

Organic Corn Seed That Resists Fertilization from GMO Corn

Usually I tend to shun most hybrid seed for heirloom seed or my own home grown seed. Once in awhile I will buy organic hybrid seed. I am curious about a hybrid corn seed that is now available. 

Blue River Hybrids is now offering a hybrid corn that resists GMO contamination. The corn is called PuraMaize®. 
It was developed through traditional selective breeding. The PuraMaize gene blocking system impedes GMO fertilization by strongly favoring its own PuraMaize pollen. They say it is highly effective in protecting corn from GMO field drift. 
PuraMaize has been thoroughly tested over multiple years. In side-by-side field tests with GMO corn, PuraMaize either eliminates or virtually eliminates contamination. Blue River Hybrids has conducted three years of replicated testing at 20 locations, with consistently positive and reliable results.
If this interests you, you can find more data at their website.

Things to mention: 
1) I don't know much about Blue River Hybrids other than what little data they provide. If you dig up interesting information on them, please share it. Good, bad or indifferent.
2) We really want to be able to grow non-hybrid (open pollination) seed without worrying about GMO contamination.  However, perhaps this fills a niche for certain farmers, while the rest of us continue with GMO labeling laws and ordinances to keep people from growing GM food in our community. 

For those who feel in a free country we should be allowed to grow anything we want: I would say that is true until it hurts and causes damage to others around you. If folks want to grow GM food, they need to do it in a manner that does not cause genetic contamination of their neighbors.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Inspiring, Interesting Information

For a rewarding experience watch this extraordinary movie (now free) called Thrive Here.  

If you like the movie, check out a nightly radio show called Coast to Coast on your local radio station. They keep folks updated on the same inspirational and educational information that you will view on the movie Thrive. 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Things to know About

Global Meditation: Millions of people all over the world to join in meditation & prayer this December 21st.  There are various reasons people are picking this date. However, the main thing to realize is that there are MILLIONS of people who will be praying and meditating on this date for peace and harmony. Depending on which website you visit you will be given a variety of times to join in meditation/prayer. Basically, people will be praying and meditating all day long. So if you want to join in and be that 100th monkey that propels us towards good will with all our sisters and brothers be they two legged or four legged or no legs at all, please consider spending some time in prayer or meditation that day. We are the ones who create our future. Here are a few of the various sites promoting it and each one has a focus, but all are focusing on peace and harmony.

 Are You a Do It Yourselfer?
Open Source Ecology: A Network of Farmers, Engineers, and Supporters Building the Global Village Construction Set  If you don't know about this website and you are a do it yourselfer, it will amaze you. The Global Village Construction Set is a modular, DIY, low-cost, high-performance platform that allows for the easy fabrication of the 50 different Industrial Machines that it takes to build a small, sustainable civilization with modern comforts.

Dr Oz Going to the Dark Side: You may not watch Dr. Oz, but he has been leading millions of people to a healthier life and telling them to eat organic. He was changing a lot of peoples lives for the better.  I was saddened by his recent change of heart. It makes me wonder if he might have been bought out. Less than two months after telling millions of TV viewers that organic food is “worth the investment,” America’s most popular TV doctor is singing a different tune. In the December issue of Time magazine, Dr. Oz described organic foodies as “elitist” – part of the 1% - and claimed that conventional foods are nutritionally equivalent to organic foods. Read more here. If you do watch Dr. Oz and you are unhappy with his telling us organic eaters we are the 1%, don't bother emailing or calling his show, email and call his advertisers and tell them you are unhappy with what he has said and ask them to quit advertising with him. This is what will get the shows attention.

GMO Salmon Still Not approved by FDA: Yipee! Aquabounty is the only U.S. company publicly seeking approval for a genetically modified animal that's raised to be eaten by humans. So far the FDA has not approved their application. This is great. It has worried other companies that have either applied or were going to apply for applications on genetically modified animals they want to sell in the United States.
Already, biotech scientists are changing their plans to avoid getting stuck in FDA-related regulatory limbo. Researchers at the University of California, Davis have transferred an experimental herd of genetically engineered goats that produce protein-enriched milk to Brazil, due to concerns about delays at the FDA. And after investors raised concerns about the slow pace of the FDA's Aquabounty review, Canadian researchers in April pulled their FDA application for a biotech pig that would produce environmentally friendly waste. You can read more here.

Sign Petition to Stop Agent Orange Corn: 

If you want to know more about this GMO corn, go here.

To sign the petition, go here.

Smart Grid Not So Smart

The Smart Grid: Have you been keeping up with the "smart meter" fiasco? These electrical meters our utility companies have been putting on many houses read more than your electrical usage. Billions of tax payer and rate payer dollars have been used so far to put these meters on our houses.  They claim they are to benefit the public but they are primarily to benefit the utility companies by reducing their operating costs and increasing profits by firing meter readers. (This was done with federal stimulus funds that were supposed to create more jobs.) 

The public is starting to stand up and say they will not accept these meters. They are an invasion of peoples privacy, security and have potential health risks. The utility companies claim these meters are an answer to our energy problems, but they do not address the need for renewable, sustainable electricity that could create a cleaner and healthier future for all of us. They simply increase the bottom line for the utility companies.

Nationwide, some 3 million homes have smart meters, digital electricity gauges equipped with wireless communications, according to the federal Department of Energy (DOE). According to the utility industry's Institute for Electric Efficiency, about 65 million smart meters will be working in U.S. homes by 2020.

•Accuracy: In both California and Texas, higher bills led to independent audits of smart meters and lawsuits by utility customers.

•Security and privacy. Smart meters can communicate when power demands go up or down at individual houses, leading to  people being rightly concerned about a burglar knowing when the house is empty or occupied. For this reason, the Energy Department and most states require rules that prohibit sharing such data in smart-grid designs. However,  firms such as Google and Microsoft are marketing software to manage home power that will rely on smart-meter signals. This makes folks  worry about private data leaking to the open market. Many of us perceive these meters as a surveillance tool. They invade our personal space only to benefit a third party such as information miners, intrusive law enforcement and commercial interests. These meters can reveal data such as what and when you use appliances and how many people are in a household at any given time.

•Health & Safety: These smart meters are radio-frequency-equipped boxes that are installed on your house and emit electromagnetic fields. The biological effects of EMFs are little understood. The potential for damage is high while the public receives little benefit. The utilities are receiving all the economic benefit from this boondoggle. Scientists, physicians groups and citizens are voicing their concerns about the possible negative health effects of these meters.

There have been reports of smart meters exploding and starting fires. You can read more about it here.

Some people have had unexplained symptoms start after their new meter was installed by their utility. Read about this here where they are collecting data on health problems due to smart meters.

I suggest you  watch these videos "Getting Smarter About the Smart Grid" here.
You can also read the report called Getting Smarter About the Smart Grid"  here.