Saturday, July 30, 2011

Cabinet gives nod to intl pact on air pollution from ships

NEW DELHI: The government today gave its nod for accepting international regulations for the prevention of air pollution emanating from ships, as proposed under a 1997 protocol of the International Maritime Organisation.
"The Cabinet today gave its approval for accession to the 1997 Protocol adding Annex VI (Regulations for the Prevention of Air Pollution) to the Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships 1973/78 (MARPOL 73/78) of the International Maritime Organisation," an official statement said.
The regulations, also known as MARPOL Annex VI 'Regulations for the Prevention of Air Pollution from ships', deals with air pollution emanating from ships, the statement further said.

According to the regulations, limits have been set on sulphur oxide and nitrogen oxide emissions from ship exhausts and deliberate emissions of ozone depleting substances have been prohibited.
Moreover, annex-VI includes a global cap of 4.5% m/m on the sulphur content of fuel oil and calls on the IMO to monitor the worldwide average sulphur content of fuel, the statement further said.
The convention, was revised in July, 2005, and it entered into force on July 1, 2010.
"India proposes to ratify the convention now," the statement said, adding that it is a party to MARPOL 73/78 and has ratified Annexes I to V.
So far, the convention has been ratified by 53 countries, representing approximately 81.88 per cent of the gross tonnage of the world's merchant shipping fleet, the statement said.

Gowanus: Big Development Can Wait

Dave Sanders for The New York Times
The Gowanus neighborhood of Brooklyn, divided by the Gowanus Canal, lies between Carroll Gardens and Park Slope.
WHEN a baby whale lost its way and wandered into the mouth of the Gowanus Canal in 2007, it was christened Sludgie the Whale.

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The name stuck. When Sludgie died after two days of rescue attempts, there was sadness but little surprise. Something from the natural world had found itself in one of the most unnatural places in the country.
Over the years, pollution and neglect have turned the canal into a fetid stew of dangerous chemicals and toxins, an embodiment of the worst excesses of the industrial age. As if that were not enough, every heavy rain washes in fresh tides of raw sewage.
This is hardly the kind of image one would expect to draw homeowners to the neighborhood.
But developers came, envisioning Brooklyn’s next big thing. Nothing, it seemed, could slow the rush, not even the sputtering housing market.
The city moved aggressively to rezone much of the area for residential development and spent millions of dollars on new infrastructure — even as it planned major environmental cleanup efforts. One of the nation’s largest developers, Toll Brothers, planned a luxury condo complex with the canal as a central feature. Another developer planned to transform a six-acre contaminated site into a complex with more than 700 units, including a large number of affordable apartments.
Cutting through two of Brooklyn’s most expensive neighborhoods, Park Slope and Carroll Gardens, the 50 blocks around the 1.8-mile-long canal are dotted with forlorn industrial buildings, warehouses and empty lots, meaning plenty of room for large construction projects, a rarity in this crowded city. With prices soaring for homes only a block from the canal, the potential value of the land outweighed the negatives.
That is, until the canal was designated a federal Superfund site last spring. 
Property owners around the canal who had been holding out for the highest price suddenly had no takers.
“We had hundreds of developers knocking at our door,” said Danny Tinneny, who owns several blocks along the canal. “Now, no one.”
With a decade of remediation on the horizon, building on the banks of the canal suddenly had the appeal of building on the hills of Vesuvius.
It has been a year since the developers stopped calling. But something interesting has happened in the interim. A different kind of development, which had been slowly but surely transforming the neighborhood before developers got interested, is now taking advantage of the halt in large-scale building.
Artists and small businesses priced out of other neighborhoods have been taking up residence in the old warehouses. Nightclubs have popped up on streets that taxi repair shops and truck depots once dominated. Restaurants, bars and bakeries have all moved in, creating a scene that longtime Brooklyn residents compare to Dumbo before the multimillion-dollar lofts and Williamsburg before Bedford Avenue became a destination.
The Gowanus neighborhood finds itself at a crossroads, with an opportunity to think afresh about the best way to develop postindustrial land.
“Superfund provided a much-needed pause in the headlong rush to develop the area,” said David Briggs, an architect and a founder of Gowanus by Design, a group created, according to its mission statement, in “reaction to significant community concerns with the planning process in the Brooklyn neighborhoods around the Gowanus Canal.”
“There is a place here, a special place that died and was left a terrible mess,” Mr. Briggs said. “It is now going to go through a long-term rebirth. It needs to be developed as a divergent, rich, textured community.”
The Proteus Gowanus gallery at Nevins and Union Streets on the canal is part art space, part museum and part performance space — and an example of a grass-roots business. Other newcomers include the Gowanus Studio Space, the Brooklyn Artists Gym and Pace Prints. Then there are the designers, light manufacturers and publishers setting up shop at the Old American Can Factory. And the Gowanus Dredgers have long organized canoe and kayak trips along the canal, offering a bankside glimpse at the city’s industrial past — and at a handful of houseboats.

With Sewage in Hudson, a Big Blow to Business

Ty Cacek/The New York Times
Jon Hart restocking the New York Kayak Company's shop at Pier 40. After a sewage plant fire in Harlem discharged wastewater into the Hudson last week, many river activities were suspended until late Thursday.
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The frontiersmen of the Hudson River, as some like to call themselves, arrived over two decades ago determined to transform the filthy industrial waterway slicked with oily rainbows into an aquatic playground fit for a 21st-century city.
Marcus Yam for The New York Times
Eric Stiller, founder of Manhattan Kayak Company, on a stand-up paddleboard on Wednesday. He said his business had lost as much as $10,000 on what might otherwise have been the busiest week of the year.
But after a sewage plant fire in Harlem discharged hundreds of millions of gallons of wastewater into the river last week, New Yorkers may have found a new reason to doubt their long-derided rivers — at the expense of the businesses built on their revival.
“I came to New York in 1985, and I remember what people used to say,” said Randall Henriksen, the owner of New York Kayak Company, at Pier 40. “To have raw sewage in the water now, that can put people off for some time to come. Who knows what the long-term consequences will be?”
Until late Thursday, the city had prohibited or strongly discouraged recreational activity on the Hudson, the Harlem River and parts of the East River and the Kill Van Kull.
For those who make their living on the water, the sewage discharge has been devastating, landing squarely on one of the hottest weeks of the summer, in the middle of peak business season.
Mr. Henriksen was forced to refund several thousand dollars after event and lesson cancellations, he said, and calls for reservations have dropped 80 percent to 90 percent this week.
Eric Stiller, founder of Manhattan Kayak Company, lost as much as $10,000 on what might otherwise have been the busiest week of the year. “That may not be a lot to Goldman Sachs,” he said. “But it could not have been a more direct shot into the heart of our season.”
Even nonprofit groups lost income. At the Village Community Boathouse, which hosts free rows three times a week but relies on contributions, a donation barrel stood empty.
Customers also fled from businesses that barely dip a toe into the water. The Classic Harbor Line, which charters vintage boats for up to $1,200 an hour, fielded cancellations from clients including patients recovering from heart surgery, who worried about exposure, and groups that thought the Hudson no longer seemed classy.
“If you’re going out for a sunset sail and do something all elegant and sexy,” said Sarah Greer, the general manager, “you don’t want to hear ‘Watch out for the poop.’ ”
For businesses that helped shape the Hudson’s sunnier image, one question looms larger than lost dollars: Will the latest setback resuscitate old feelings?
Over 30 years ago, the Hudson was less a river than a landing spot where companies pumped sludge and the city discarded its sewage. Manna Jo Greene, of the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, said onlookers knew what colors General Motors was painting its cars from the solvents swirling in the water in the upper Hudson. Dick DeBartolo, 66, said boaters back then could not see the bottom of their motors through the dark plumes. And as recently as 1997, an episode of “Seinfeld” lampooned the absurdity of a dip in a city river. (Kramer decided to dive in the East River when his local pool became too crowded.)
“Frankly the water was challenged back then; it was compromised,” said Morty Berger, founder of NYC Swim, which plans to host a swim below the Brooklyn Bridge on Saturday. “Those experiences have to be overcome.”
Spurred by long-term initiatives, like Gov. Nelson A. Rockefeller’s $1 billion Pure Waters Bond Act of 1965 and the federal Clean Water Act of 1972, the river’s reputation has improved in recent years. Kayak and canoe businesses have sprouted along Manhattan’s West Side. Renderings of future developments, like Brooklyn Bridge Park, often show boat slips and kayakers just off shore. Children’s camps include river adventures in many of their summer itineraries. More than 200 species of fish thrive in the Hudson. Turtles sun on rocks near the piers. Even seals have been spotted, some paddlers insist.
For residents old enough to remember the era of sludge, businesses fear that much of this progress may be discounted.


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Food, water now radioactive in Japan; sales halted while governments play the radiation doublespeak game

(NaturalNews) As the situation in Fukushima continues to deteriorate, radiation levels keep rising. Now the food and water near (and inside) Tokyo is becoming irradiated. Reuters reports that the water inTokyois now contaminated with radioactive iodine (

AP is also reporting that bothspinachandmilkfrom Fukushima is radioactive, and a few officials are slowly admitting that the level of radioactivity is "beyond safe levels" for human consumption.

The IAEA is also confirming now thatJapanhas halted the sale offoodproducts from the Fukushima area (, although official seem to be saying that the food will be safe to eat if you just "wait a little while" for theradiationlevels to fall. Sounds scrumptious.

The radiation game

What we're seeing now with the food reports, the radioactivewaterand even news from theFukushimanuclear plant itself isa desperate attempt to downplay the dangersfrom radiation.

The Japanesegovernment, for starters, has maintained a complete blackout on reporting accurate radiation levels from Fukushima. Those levels are obviously too high for the public to see, and that alone should be worrisome. (

As radiation recently started falling onCalifornia, U.S. authorities practically stampeded over each other to see who could say "Nodanger!" the quickest.

It's a line straight out of the Mad Max films: "What's a little fallout, eh?"

Now in Japan, they've been playing the radiation game with their descriptions of danger there, too. At first, when the early radiation became detectable, it was described as the same amount as "a chest X-ray." Don't worry! It's just like going to the doctor's office.

Now, in a charming quote published this morning, chief cabinet secretary Yukio Edano is upping the ante from chest X-rays toCT scans, saying:

"Even though you continue to consume these [foods] for a year, a total radiation level that will be taken inside thebodywill be comparable to one run of CT scan."

What he's not saying, of course, is thata CT scan can deliver from 100 - 600 times the radiation of a chest X-ray. And CT scans actually cause29,000 cancers a year(

To now say that Japan's radioactive food is "as safe as a CT scan" isn't exactly comforting.

I can't wait to see what they're going to compare the radiation to next. "Don't worry, eating this food is as safe as getting twentymammograms!"

Or better yet, when the radiation levels get really high, they might say, "It's as safe as a radiation treatment forcancer!" You know, the kind that makes your hair fall out and leaves burn marks across your skull.

The radiation all adds up

The truth is, anybody comparing the radiation in Japan to the "safety" of medical radiation is being intentionally deceptive. Evenmedical imagingprocedures are extremely dangerous to your health(

And thanks to modern (western)medicine,most people are already over-irradiatedeven before they're exposed to radioactive food, water or dust particles in the air. You see,radiation is cumulative. You get some from the mammograms, some more from the CT scan, a little more from the TSA naked body scanners, a little more from background radiation, and so on... and pretty soon you've gotDNA mutationsfrom the total cumulative load.

They don't tell you that. It makes no difference if "the food is as safe as a CT scan" because now we're talking about the foodradiation exposureon top ofall your other medical imaging exposures.

And that's on top of all theEMFexposureand otherelectropollutionin our modern world, which has been proven to cause type-3diabetes, by the way ( Yes, type-3. That's not a typo. It's the new designation for diabetes caused by electromagneticpollution. Type-1 is autoimmune, type-2 is mostly related to diet and exercise, and type-3 is caused by electropollution.

The complete lack of intellectual honesty from governments on all this is just astonishing. Governments never seem to take thehealthand safety of their own citizens seriously. Heck,Obamadoesn't even want Americans to prepare! (

And Japan's government is blatantly lying to the people there, endangering the lives of tens of millions (

For all we know, a huge radiation explosion might have already occurred in Fukushima andwe're just not being told about it. When the Geiger counters start going red hot in California, the government will say something like, "Oh, that's just a solar flare, no need to worry."

One thing that has become apparent in all this is that both the Japanese and American governments really don't think radiation exposure is a problem for you. So why would they warn you about it anyway? Only a massive, Chernobyl-scale event that's impossible to cover-up will be admitted by either of these governments, it seems. And that's why so many people are turning toalternative media sourcesto stay informed on this issue.

It's the only place where you can get honest analysis of the availableinformation. And by the way, we also urge people totake basic precautionsand be prepared with your spare food, water, emergency medicine,radio, flashlight, duct tape, camping knife and whatever else you might need in an emergency evacuation situation.

It's an age-old bit of wisdom that still rings true today, even if Presidents have abandoned the idea:It's better to be safe than sorry

Local and organic food, farming: Here's the gold standard

(NaturalNews) More and more consumers and corporations are touting the benefits of "local" foods, often described as "sustainable," "healthy," or "natural." According to the trade publication, Sustainable Food News, "local" as a marketing claim, has grown by 15 percent from 2009 to 2010, and it's likely that number will increase in the coming year. (1) Even supermarket giant and junk food purveyor Wal-Mart, with total sales in 2009 of $405 billion, has jumped on the bandwagon. It has pledged to reduce food miles and increase its purchase of "local" fruits and vegetables to include 9 percent of its produce by 2015. (2)

Those who espouse local food are now called "locavores." But, beyond the greenwashing and co-opting of the term by Wal-Mart, the supermarket chains, and factory farms and feedlots, what does "local" food and farming really mean? What is the impact of non-organic local food and farming on public health, nutrition, soil, water, marine life, biodiversity, and climate?

Jessica Prentice coined the term "locavore" for World Environment Day in 2005 to promote local eating, and local consumption in general. Her goal was to challenge people to obtain as much food as possible from within a one hundred mile radius. Her success was more than she imagined. In 2007 the New Oxford American Dictionary selected "locavore" as its word of the year. Local had arrived!

Then, highly respected author Barbara Kingsolver published Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, emphasizing the value of eating locally, and the concept spread like wildfire. (3) While the eat local/buy local concept is increasingly popular, looking beyond the label or the marketing claims, it is obvious that "local" is a rather fuzzy concept, lacking in most cases a concrete definition or a set of principles and guidelines.

By contrast, the organic system of food production has legal definitions, a handbook of rules, permitted and prohibited substances, acceptable practices, an inspection process, and labels to guide consumers. Local has none of these guidelines, rules, inspections or protections. It has the cachet of popularity without any guarantee of safety or sustainability.

Some chemical farmers, and even poultry, egg, pork, dairy, or beef operators feeding their animals genetically modified (GMO) grains, claim that local is better than organic, because it stimulates the local economy and reduces the distance (food miles) that food travels between the farm or feedlot and your table. But does so-called local farming, utilizing toxic pesticides, GMO seeds and feed, chemical fertilizers, and animal drugs mean that the food is safe and sustainable? Obviously not. We believe that there shouldn't have to be a choice between local and safe organic; but rather that consumers should look for food that is not only local or regionally produced, but food that is also organic and therefore safe and sustainable. Local and chemical, or local using GMO seeds and feed, is nothing more than greenwashing. Organic and local is the new gold standard!

The locavore phenomenon brings up several important concerns including: food miles, chemically grown food, greenhouse gas emissions, factory farming, genetically engineered animal feed, and the value of organic labeling. All of these crucial issues relate to the central question: what should be in your market basket?

Does Local Mean Safe?

Despite the increasing popularity of the eat-local movement, many people do not understand that "local" does not necessarily mean that food is organic or even safe. Chemically grown foods produced locally may be cheaper than organic and may aid the local economy, but they pollute the ground water, kill the soil food web, decrease the soil's ability to sequester climate-destabilizing greenhouse gases, broadcast pesticides into the air, poison farmworkers, and incrementally poison consumers with toxic residues on their foods. "Local" pesticides, GMOs, and chemical fertilizers are just as poisonous as those used in California, Mexico, Chile, or China.

Frequently, local chemical farmers claim that they only use "less toxic" pesticides or herbicides such as Monsanto's Roundup. Unfortunately, "less toxic" is a dangerously relative term! Roundup is a powerful weed-killer, and is now sprayed so heavily on the nation's 150 million acres of genetically engineered crops that it is poisoning our water supplies, killing the soil, and creating superweeds that can only be killed with super-toxic herbicides such as 2,4 D, arsenic and paraquat. Farmers in the U.S. have used everything from arsenic, lead, cyanide, fluorine, DDT, and nerve poisons since the 1860s, and they still use massive amounts. More than 80 percent of all the pesticides currently used in vegetable, fruit, and flower production are nerve poisons that were used on insects and also on concentration camp victims during the first and second World Wars.

Organophosphate pesticides or nerve poisons have been linked to Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in children. Organophosphate nerve poisons were found in the urine and saliva of Seattle preschool children who were eating conventional (chemical) and local food. When the kids stopped eating chemical food and ate organic food the organophosphates disappeared from their saliva and urine. When the children returned to the chemical diet, the nerve poisons showed up in their urine and saliva again. (4) Nerve poisons, whether they are used on foods that are locally, nationally, or internationally produced and distributed, are dangerous hazards, especially for growing children and at-risk populations. They need to be driven off the market as soon as possible.

Does "Pesticide Free" Mean Safe or Sustainable?

Often, growers at farmers markets will say, "I don't use pesticides, I only use chemical fertilizers." Sadly, what many people do not realize is that chemical fertilizers are extremely hazardous. A high percentage of these fertilizers seep into our wells and municipal drinking water, or else run off into our streams, rivers, and finally end up in the ocean. Two-thirds of the nation's drinking water is contaminated with hazardous levels of nitrogen fertilizer. Non-organic farmers and feedlot operators are literally poisoning us and our children with the collateral damage of chemical fertilizers. High nitrogen and phosphorous levels in rivers and oceans kill fish and other marine wildlife. When this enormous amount of excess nitrogen enters the ocean it causes dead zones and oceanic acidification.

Some "pesticide free" growers will argue that since they only use chemical fertilizers, their produce is cleaner. Their food may not have high pesticide residues. But, remind them that "cleaner" isn't clean! And inform your local chemical farmer that their toxic fertilizer is polluting our drinking water, trashing the oceans, killing the soil's ability to sequester greenhouse gases, destabilizing the nitrogen cycle of plants, and emitting billions of pounds of deadly greenhouse gases every year.

Synthetic nitrogen fertilizer is perhaps the most potent greenhouse gas emitter in the U.S. To produce each pound of fertilizer, 6.6 pounds of nitrous oxide (N2O) are emitted. Nitrous oxide accounts for a full ten percent of all climate-destabilizing greenhouse gases.

Nitrous oxide is extremely hazardous. It depletes the ozone layer in the upper atmosphere (thereby increasing skin cancer for humans). It increases ozone pollution levels at the ground level (fueling the current epidemic of asthma and respiratory diseases). Poisonous nitrate fertilizers leaching into our rural wells and municipal drinking water supplies (where it combines into a super-toxic brew with pesticides) are a biological time bomb, a major cause of cancer, infertility, hormone disruption, and birth defects.

Perhaps most deadly of all, nitrate fertilizer kills our living soils and soil microorganisms, decreasing their ability to sequester (through plant photosynthesis) excess greenhouse gases in the soil. Even after a century of industrial farmers dumping hundreds of billions of pounds of chemical fertilizers on farmlands, our living soils still contain two to three times as much carbon as the atmosphere, with the practical capacity to clean and safely sequester a considerable amount of greenhouse gases over the next 40 years. In other words, our living soils can save us - but only if we stop the widespread use of nitrate fertilizers, GMO crops, and pesticides, and replace these deadly chemicals and mutant organisms with organic compost, compost tea, and cover crops, augmented by the biological power and fertility generated by organic, carefully planned, high-density rotational grazing of animals.

The energy-intensive manufacturing of nitrate fertilizers requires the use of massive amounts of natural gas, a resource in short supply, that will increasingly be needed to take us through the transition from fossil fuels to alternative energy. We can no longer afford to waste natural gas in order to uphold the profits of Cargill, Monsanto, and Food Inc. We can no longer afford to have chemical-intensive food and farming greenwashed as "local."

U.S. non-organic farmers used an average of 24 billion, 661 million pounds of synthetic nitrogen fertilizer per year from 1998 to 2007. That means that more than 162 billion, 762 million pounds of nitrous oxide (N2O) are released each year in the process of manufacturing that fertilizer. ( 5) Also released is the CO2 from transporting the fertilizer. Since 70% of synthetic nitrogen is imported, the transportation cost is increasingly higher each year. Beyond production and transportation emissions, enormous quantities of N2O get released when the 24.66 billion pounds of synthetic nitrogen is applied to farmland every year. Nitrous oxide is 310 times more damaging as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. Every year, U.S. farmers use enough synthetic nitrogen to fill more than 12,330 railroad boxcars with a capacity of 200,000 pounds each.

Consequently, farmers and supermarkets that tout their products as local and pesticide-free while still using synthetic fertilizers are engaged in greenwashing. Non-organic farms poisoning the environment with chemical fertilizers are a far cry from safe or environmentally friendly, even though they promote themselves as pesticide-free and local.

"Local" Factory Farms and CAFOs: Destroying Public Health and Climate Stability

According to Wal-Mart and Food Inc.'s definition of local (anything produced within a 400-mile radius), meat, dairy, and eggs, reared on a diet of GMO grains, slaughterhouse waste and antibiotics, qualify as "local." According to the USDA, the majority of the nation's non-organic meat, dairy and eggs are now produced on massive factory farms, euphemistically called Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs). (6) CAFOs are typically overcrowded, filthy, disease-ridden, and inhumane, not only for the hapless animals imprisoned inside their walls, but also for the typically non-union exploited immigrant workers who toil in these hellish facilities. According to the EPA, the legal definition of a CAFO is a farm or a feedlot where large numbers of animals are confined and reared: beef - 1000 head; dairy - 700 head; swine - 2500 pigs weighing more than 55 lbs; poultry - 125,000 broilers or 82,000 laying hens or pullets. (7)

Unfortunately, meat, dairy, or eggs coming from CAFOs in North America are not required by law to be labeled as such. Greenwashing CAFO products as "natural" or "local" is a major source of profits for Wal-Mart, Cargill, Conagra, Perdue, Land O' Lakes, Kraft, McDonalds, KFC, Monsanto and chemical/GMO farmers and ranchers. Organic consumers, farmers, and retailers need to educate the public about the hazards of factory farms and CAFOs. These animal factories, where GMO feed and drugs are force-fed to most of the nation's livestock and poultry, are not only poisoning consumers, but are also generating massive amounts of climate-destabilizing greenhouse gases, especially methane, which is 72 times more destructive per ton than CO2. Methane (CH4) pollution is responsible for approximately 14 percent of human-induced global warming.

Where does methane pollution come from? Methane pollution mainly comes from factory farms and the overproduction of non-organic meat, dairy, and eggs; from throwing hundreds of millions of tons of rotting food, paper, and lawn wastes into landfills (instead of composting them for use on farms, ranches, and gardens); and the destruction of wetlands for shrimp and fish farms, industrial agriculture, chemical-intensive rice farming, and urban development or sprawl.

How do we get rid of excess, climate-destabilizing methane? By purchasing organic foods, especially those produced by family farmers and ranchers in our regions, and by increasing consumer awareness that it is unhealthy and inhumane to purchase factory farm foods. It is becoming increasingly clear that buying or consuming meat, dairy, or eggs that come from a factory farm or CAFO is an ethical abomination and a climate crime. While calling for a boycott of factory-farmed products, we must deliver the positive message that the organic, humane, healthy, food-producing small farms and ranches of North America are actually greenhouse gas sequestration centers, arguably our most important allies in cooling off the planet.

Millions of consumers are still in the dark about how "conventional" foods - especially the cheaper brands of animal products, processed, fast, and fake foods - are produced. We must educate the public about the need to fight for Truth-in-Labeling so that CAFO products, derived in great measure from Monsanto's GMO crops, are no longer greenwashed as "local" or "natural."

Food Miles and Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Food miles are the average miles that food travels from the farm to the consumer. Since more than 80 percent of the U.S. grocery purchases are now processed foods, a huge percentage of the carbon or fossil fuel footprint of industrial agriculture comes from transporting factory farm crops or animals to the processing plant or slaughterhouse and then transporting these processed foods from the processing plant to the dinner table via the supermarket. By reducing the processed foods in our diet we can greatly reduce the food miles or carbon footprint for which our households are responsible, since the shorter the distance food travels, the lower the greenhouse gas emissions.

Part of the locavore ethic is to get people to eat from their own foodshed, to save energy, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and stimulate the local economy. But real "local" is also about stimulating a return to in-home food preparation, an appreciation for taste, and the joy in cooking - and eating. As folks begin to appreciate the taste of locally grown fresh organic foods, their dependence on processed foods from afar usually dwindles.

The 20 percent of the U.S. diet that is not processed food includes fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy products, farm raised meats, eggs, whole grains, cold pressed oils, raw honey, syrup, natural sugars, etc. Though only 20 percent of the total food budget, the sales of non-processed food are huge! Unfortunately, production of non-processed foods is largely regional with production concentrated on the southern half of both coasts and the southwest. So, even a majority of the fresh foods come from afar. This requires lots of trucking and refrigeration to get the food to local markets the across the country.

"Fresh food miles" indeed contribute to the high CO2 emissions from the U.S. food system, but these whole foods are certainly not the major greenhouse gas contributor in our food system. That dubious honor belongs to factory-farmed meat, eggs, and milk, which generate 30 to 50 percent of all of the U.S. greenhouse gases, more than industry and fossil fuels combined. (8)

Fortunately, locally and nationally, farmers have worked out strategies of how to grow fresh foods in the middle of the winter with better technology and a minimum of heat, even in extremely cold places like Maine, Vermont, Minnesota, and Montana. Consequently, farmers and consumers are growing and storing food throughout the year so that they are not responsible for so many food miles on their tables.

Our thesis is that a majority of our food miles could be chopped off if we prepare more of our food from local ingredients. But, that begs another question. What kind of local ingredients?

Chemical and Local versus Organic and Local

Some growers and brokers argue that local, chemically grown is better than fresh organic, because so much that is organic travels long distances from the two coasts. If they are talking about comparing supermarket fresh organic with fresh chemically grown local, we should still choose supermarket organic, because, whether they are used locally or nationally, pesticides and fertilizers are more dangerous and deadly to your health and the health of the environment than chemically-free organic foods transported from outside your local region.

Chemical farmers are not inspected or reprimanded by the federal or state governments as to their use or abuse of pesticides or fertilizers unless there is an accident, whether they are local farmers or factory farmers from California, Florida, or China. The only way the abusers are caught is when there is a fish kill, a labor poisoning, a recall after multiple poisonings, or some other notable injury as a result of a spill, overuse, or carelessness.

By contrast, organic growers are inspected every year and can be inspected at any time the certifying agency or the federal government (USDA) deems it appropriate. These are the rules in California, Vermont, Chile, and all countries that grow and market certified organic products. Because organic farms are inspected (at least once a year), and their soil and water checked for toxins, consumers can be secure that organic products are the safest on the market. Consumers can be confident that organic food does not contain poisonous pesticide residues, did not poison farmworkers, and was not grown with a fertilizer that trashed the soil, the water, the atmosphere, and the oceans.

Organic farming is a set of techniques and strategies that encourage life to come back into the soil and into our food. Chemical fertilizers kill soil life and inhibit the accumulation of organic matter (plant residues in the soil). Organic matter is critical to organic farmers because nutrients cling to organic matter, so the plant roots can efficiently find and mine nutrients and water at those spots.

Organic farmers add nutrients such as lime, rock phosphate, potash, and sulfur in an effort to get the soil balanced so that the maximum amount of all nutrients and water are available to foraging plant roots. This soil-balancing act is a constant process. On light and sandy soils, organic matter must be replaced every year by growing a fertilizer crop and by adding small amounts of compost, which has billions of soil microorganisms. These critters go to work breaking down organic matter and making it available to plant roots while constantly adding to the fertility by defecating the digested organic matter (and they work 24-7, not 9 to 5).

To control pests, organic farmers rotate their crops, so that pests do not build up from continuous monocropping. Instead of toxic pesticides, organic growers use beneficial insects as predators and parasites on pests. They use bacterial sprays for certain worms and beetles. They spray clay on their apples and other fruits. They use insect traps and lures. And they use trap crops that the insects like better than the main crop. They use disease resistant crops that are immune or less prone to disease. And they monitor their fields often so that they can spot problems early.

The Gold Standard: Local and Organic

Local organic food and farming are the gold standard. Organic farmers gladly adhere to a set of regulations, use non-toxic products, and accept the need to be scrutinized by an independent third party inspector. Why? Because regulation of food safety is essential to guaranteeing consumers that the farmer has their health and well being at the center of his or her business plan. The organic regulatory process is neither easy nor happily anticipated by the farmer. But it is necessary! It is our covenant with our customers.

There are no regulations governing "local" chemically grown or GMO-derived food. Anything goes! Nobody is inspecting the farm! Nobody is watching the store! As a customer, you must also be the regulator of non-organic food. Instead of depending on a regulator, you as a customer should ask the "local" growers what they used as a fertilizer source, how they controlled pests and diseases, and what chemicals they used to stimulate yield.

When the local chemical grower tells you that local is better than organic, tell them that they should switch to organic so that you can trust their food to be safe, clean, inspected, and environmentally friendly. Local food is not the gold standard, and may not even be safe. Local-organic is the gold standard.

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Buy Local Campaign page, our Resource Center on Organics, and our Millions Against Monsanto Campaign page.


1. Sustainable Food News, November 12, 2010

2. Hightower, Jim, Other Words, Dec. 8, 2010, "Meet Your New Neighborhood Food Market"

3. Kingsolver, Barbara, et. al 2007 Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life. Harper-Collins, May 2007

4. Curl, Cynthia L., Fenske, Richard A., Elgethun, Kai. 2010 Organophosphorus Pesticide Exposure of Urban and Suburban Preschool Children with Organic and Conventional Diets. Department of Environmental Health, School of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington.

5. Fertilizer Use Statistics, 1998-2007 . National Agricultural Statistical Service, United States Department of Agriculture.

6. "Factory Farm Nation," Food and Water Watch, 2010,


8. Goodland, Robert and Anhang, Jeffery, 2009 Livestock and Climate Change. World Watch Magazine. November 1

USDA deregulates GE alfalfa; opens door to new era of widespread genetic pollution of crops

(NaturalNews) After months of pretending to review public feedback on the issue of GE alfalfa, the USDA has announced a surprise lifting of all restrictions on the genetically engineered crop, effectively allowing anyone to plant GE alfalfa anywhere, without any restriction. This is the USDA's surrender to Monsanto, and it signifies the beginning of a new era of widespreadgenetic pollutionof North America's crops and ranch animals (which eat those crops).

Even though the USDA recently admitted in itsFinal Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS)that GE alfalfa may pose a risk to both organic farmers and conventional farmers (, the agency suddenly and without scientific justification decided toremove all restrictionsand allow Monsanto to regulate itself!

This is the work of USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, Monsanto lobbyists and certain members of Congress who have been influenced to write extremely dishonest letters to the USDA which characters GE restrictions as "unscientific." NaturalNews previously exposed the twisted logic and manipulative linguistic games used by biotech supporters in an article called,"Unscientific" is secret code for anyone who opposes GMOs or pesticides(

The dishonest tactics used by the biotech industry have apparently been successful, and it is widely believed that this precedent will now be used to lift all regulation of other GE crops, unleashing what can only be calledthe era of genetic pollutionacross North America, courtesy of the USDA.

Confirmed: USDA is in the business of death

It was only a few days ago that NaturalNews shockingly revealed how the USDA is engaged in thedeliberate murder of tens of millions of birds, cougars, beavers, foxes, ducksand other animals as part of its taxpayer-funded "Bye Bye Blackbird" program ( and (

Under these programs, the USDA useschemical poisonsto murder literally millions of birds each year, including an occasionalendangered speciesanimal by accident. This is all part of the USDA's insaneprogram of deathto protect the financial interests of conventional agriculture giants.

Today's USDA decision to unleash genetically engineered alfalfa on the nation seems entirely consistent with the agency's reliance on mass animal murder to achieve its goals ofreducing biodiversityand suppressing whatever forms of life it does not want to succeed. (I hope humans are not on the USDA's list of species to "manage," but after today's decision, I'm starting to think we might be...)

The USDA, as a rule, supports primarilycorporate monocultureefforts such as genetically engineered crops, corn-fed cattle, and conventional crops being heavily sprayed with pesticides. With this decision on GE alfalfa, the USDA has squarely positioned itself as the enemy of organic food production, biodynamic farming methods and the use of heirloom seeds by farmers.

In fact, today's decision to unleash GE alfalfa on America now meansthe DNA pollution of non-GMO alfalfa is a certainty. Farmers trying to grow honest, non-GMO alfalfa, in other words, are about to suffer what can only be called anenvironmental catastrophecaused by GE alfalfa cross-contamination.

Alfalfa is fed to the cows used to produce meat

The chain of toxicity goes way beyond mere GE alfalfa, of course. Alfalfa is largely used tofeed cowswho tend to collect and concentrate toxins in their fat tissues, raising them to much higher concentrations than what was originally found in the plants.

Additionally, there is evidence (but not yet conclusive proof) to suggest that GE alfalfa may release pesticide chemicals into the bodies of cows during digestion. Cows eat a tremendous amount of alfalfa each day, further concentrating potential toxins that may be present in their feed. When those cows are then slaughtered and turned into hamburgers in fast food restaurants, they may theoretically be delivering extremely high concentrations of pesticide toxins that were originally found in their feed grasses (or corn, for that matter).

In other words, GE alfalfa may turn out to be a mechanism by whichconsumers are ultimately poisoned with herbicidesbecause those herbicides were concentrated in the bodies of cows first.

Again, NaturalNews does not yet have conclusive proof that this is the case. But neither does the USDA have conclusive proof that GE alfalfa is safe, and this is precisely the point: Rather than relying onthe Precautionary Principle, the USDA is haphazardly unleashing GE alfalfa into the wild and crossing their fingers (behind their backs, probably) in the hope that nothing will go wrong.

GE alfalfa is a grand genetic experiment with an unknown outcome. Importantly, this is an experiment which can never be put back in the box! Once you've unleashed GE alfalfa into the wild, you have engaged inan irreversible chain of eventsimpacting the one of the most sacred things on our planet: The DNA of crop seeds.

If the USDA has miscalculated, and if we've been lied to by Monsanto (and gee, why would a corporation ever lie to us just to make a profit?), then we may, in time, find ourselves the victims of an unthinkable genetic pollution catastrophe combined with a possiblefood wipeout scenariothat can all be traced back to genetic pollution caused by GMOs.

Again, I cannot say for certain that this outcome will occur, but neither can the USDA (nor Monsanto) say with any honesty that they know such an outcome won't happen. And given what's at stake -- the very future of sustainable life on our planet -- only a fool would choose to roll the dice and risk everything just for the sake of quarterly profits for a few more bucks on the corporate bottom line.

The USDA, it seems, is now doing to humans what it has been doing to the birds: Poisoning us all and hoping no one will notice.

But people are noticing... and this action has igniteda grassroots firestorm of protestacross the internet (see below).

Here come the superweeds

We don't yet know whether GMOs will lead our world into a DNA catastrophe ending in global starvation and widespread death, but we do know something else that's similarly frightening:GE crops result in the creation of "superweeds"that are highly resistant to even today's strongest herbicides.

This is natural selection at work: When GE crops are sprayed with Roundup and other chemical pesticides -- and that's how GE crops are "managed" in the field -- they inevitably give rise to weeds that, through natural genetic variation, develop a genetic resistance to those herbicide chemicals. Those weeds survive and go to seed, reproducing and spreading their own "superweed DNA" across not just the GMO fields, but through conventional farming fields, too. This forces even conventional farmers (and organic farmers) to now deal withmutant superweedsthat were created by GMO farming methods! (

This is a mirror image of the situation with MRSA and antibiotics in humans: When physicians overprescribe antibiotics (which is happening in virtually every hospital in the western world today), this practice gives rise to antibiotic-resistant bacteria -- so-called "superbugs." These superbugs areimmune to antibioticsand become the real killers that are claiming the lives of innocent victims in hospitals across America right now.

In some hospitals, entire floors of patients become infected with these superbugs, and many simply die. According to a study published in theArchives of Internal Medicine, these superbugs kill48,000 patients a yearin America alone ( In case you're keeping track, that's roughly16 times the number of Americans killed on 9/11, and it's happening every year!

This is one of the greatest epidemics of infectious disease in America today, and it's being caused entirely by the abusive practice of using chemicals to eliminate undesirable forms of life in the bodies of human patients. Now the USDA wants to adopt this same disastrously failed method on a much larger scale, allowing chemicals to be used in combination with GE alfalfa in a way that isabsolutely guaranteed to create superweedswhich are resistant to standard herbicides.

Do you see where this is heading? Fast forward 25 years and we may see our fertile croplands overrun byaggressive, invasive superweedsthat are resistant to everything -- weeds which are "Monsanto's Mutants" because they are the causal offshoots of insanely poor foresight and atrociously huge risk-taking by USDA officials who blatantly betray the American people at every opportunity. In making this decision,the USDA has squarely positioned itself as an enemy of sustainable life on our planet. It has made a deal with the Devil, and the price may ultimately be borne by the innocent victims who perish under a future crop failure or superweed explosion that extremely diminishes crop production potential across America.

America's great Bread Basket, in other words, may soon become a Dead Basket.

Center for Food Safety to file lawsuit

The Center for Food Safety ( has announced its intention to immediately file a lawsuit challenging the USDA's lack of scientific integrity in lifting GE alfalfa regulations:

"We’re disappointed with USDA’s decision and we will be back in court representing the interest of farmers, preservation of the environment, and consumer choice" said Andrew Kimbrell, Executive Director for the Center for Food Safety. "USDA has become a rogue agency in its regulation of biotech crops and its decision to appease the few companies who seek to benefit from this technology comes despite increasing evidence that GE alfalfa will threaten the rights of farmers and consumers, as well as damage the environment."

Read the full announcement from the Center for Food Safety at:

Organic Consumers Association continues its fight against GMOs

The Organic Consumers Association (, led by grassroots organizer Ronnie Cummins, is also at the forefront of this fight with itsMillions Against Monsantocampaign (

I strongly urge you to get involved in the OCA, join their email list, read their website and stay informed about this issue. Watch for some very important announcements from the OCA in the coming weeks.

Jeffrey Smith and the IRT

Of course, Jeffrey Smith and the Institute for Responsible Technology ( are working tirelessly to oppose GE crops and protect the interests of consumers. NaturalNews is a cooperative supporter of the IRT and their mission, and I personally urge you to help contribute financially to the IRT at your earliest opportunity, as they are working on what promises to be a breakthrough documentary exposing GMOs. This project requires additional funding (and you can bet the large corporations won't be funding this, huh?)

About today's decision by the USDA, Jeffrey Smith told NaturalNews:

"The USDA's approval of Roundup Ready alfalfa is a travesty. It will simultaneously harm the health of humans, animals, plants, and soil life, and threaten the livelihood and purity of organic agriculture. I understand our friends at the Center for Food Safety are going ahead with immediate legal action. And others of us are considering how else we might prevent this catastrophe from going ahead."

Alliance for Natural Health

Please also stay in touch with the Alliance for Natural Health (, which has launched an effort to halt the use of GMOs in school lunches.

They have launched a petition that I urge you to sign:

The ANH is a tremendously effective non-profit group fighting to protect the rights of natural health consumers. They deserve your support, and they're part of an ever-expandingcoalition of health freedom groupswho are all working to protect consumers interests. The Natural Solutions Foundation (, similarly, was hugely effective in the fight to halt the S.510 Food Safety Bill. That fight was not successful, of course, but the massive public protests organized by groups like the NSF, ANH, NaturalNews and others was effective in forcingamendmentsto the Food Safety Bill, such as the Tester Amendment.

I'm not saying it was a victory or anything, but it could have been a whole lot worse. Grassroots action prevented it from being worse.

Urgent action needed to fight back against GMOs and genetic pollution

Pleasetake action todayin whatever way suits you best.

Join our Facebook group to get hourly updates (

SHARE our anti-GMO music video:

SUPPORT the OCA, the IRT, the CFS and other non-profit groups that are working their tails off (I know, because I know these people, and they work long hours like I do) to protect your interests.

Get involved nowand we have a chance to beat back food tyranny, GMO pollution and the corporate takeover of the entire food supply. If we all stand back and do nothing,we will be enslavedby the corporations who will very, very quickly seize control over the world's seeds and crops, putting us all in the position of being meresharecropperswho have to buy our food from the company store.

We are dangerously close to full-on food enslavement right now. Help us fight back and you help save our collective future. And don't mistakenly think that we can do all this for you while you sit back and just watch what happens. The OCA, the IRT, NaturalNews and other groups are powerless without your direct participation in this battle. Your financial support, your petition signings, your campaigning and everything else you can do makes all the difference. We are here to serve you, but we are nothing without your participation and grassroots action. We are a team, and we need your teamwork to be effective.

Help us put an end to GMOs and protect the future of life on our planet

Diesel fumes pose cancer risk

(NaturalNews) On February 4th International Union Against Cancer Day, the World Health Organisation reported that cancer will kill 84 million people by 2015. Of the deadly cancers lung cancer is the leading killer, and smoking is known to be the single most important factor in the development of this disease. Environmental pollution also plays a role in the development of cancers, particularly ordinary traffic pollution largely made up of carbon dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter from diesel fumes.

One of the first studies to link traffic pollution with lung cancer and heart diseases was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2002, based on a 16 year study of 500,000 individuals. This study, headed by the environmental science expert C. Arden Pope, was just one in a long line proving the link between cancer risk and traffic pollution, and this prompted the Environmental Protection agency to limit the fine particulate matter in the air (soot measuring 2.5 microns) to 15 micrograms- per -cubic meter.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer declared diesel fumes to be a class 2A carcinogen in 1989, which means they probably are carcinogenic to humans. In 2005 the Clean Air Task Force (CATF) estimated that diesel fumes are responsible for the death of approximately 21,000 U.S. citizens each year. Diesel fumes are made up of a complex mix of chemicals in the form of soot and gas. How these chemicals interact with one another during combustion can turn them into potentially cancerous agents.

Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are formed when burning diesel fuel, and it is these which are classed as probable carcinogens. When the nitrogen dioxide fumes mix with the PAHs they can become highly carcinogenic nitro-PAHs.

Diesel fuel is not the only source of PAHs; they are also formed in char-grilling or barbecuing meat, smoking tobacco, burning garbage and burning coal, oil and gas.

A study out of Spain in July 2007 concluded that living in a city of more than 100,000 for more than 40 years was associated with an increased risk in the development of bladder cancer .

Another study out of Canada in 2008 found an increased risk of developing Non Hodgkin's lymphoma in people who work regularly with diesel combustion engines, namely farmers and machinists. Non Hodgkin's lymphoma is one of the blood cancers which is on the rise.

One natural food that can help the body eliminate pollution is chlorella. Chlorella is a powerful antioxidant and detoxifier, and it is particularly helpful for smokers or those subjected to chronic pollution, such as city dwellers. Zeolite is another powerful detoxifier but one should be careful to only choose the cliniptilolite form, which can be taken in odorless drops.

How does air pollution affect our heart and brain?

How does air pollution affect our heart and brain?

The air pollution does not only damage our lungs, it also damages our hearts and brain.At first many people believed that air pollution primarily affects our lungs but now the scientists discovered that air pollution is quite as damaging for our heart and brain.

Air pollution has very negative toxic effect on human heart and people who already suffer from cardiovascular disease are particularly vulnerable to an increased level of pollutants in the air. The scientists have proved that air pollution can seriously injure the heart and blood vessels which can in some cases even lead to death.

It all starts once air pollutants are inhaled in our body. Once getting in our body these pollutants damage cells, cause inflammation in the lungs, and create a variety of harmful effects in the heart and cardiovascular system. Some air pollutants (ultrafine air pollutants) are even capable to directly enter into the blood stream and directly damage the heart by developing arrhythmias or by disrupting the heart's pumping function.

High exposure to air pollution was linked in many cases to emergency hospital admissions for heart attack, chest pain and congestive heart failure, and in some cases even to death from heart disease, arrhythmias, heart failure and cardiac arrest.

Air pollution also has negative effect on our brain. According to the recent study, the long term exposure to high levels of air pollution can lead to physical changes in the brain, memory and learning problems, and can even lead to depression. Our brain is vulnerable to air pollution because the hippocampus is extremely sensitive to damage caused by inflammation.

Many people around the globe are still not aware of the fact that air pollution is not only serious environmental but also a serious health issue that deserves lot more attention than it currently receives. Millions of people around the globe live and work in polluted urban areas not realizing that there are plenty of reasons for them to be concerned not only from environmental but even more importantly from the health point of view.

Air pollution is one of those silent killers which take many people's lives by hiding its true identity behind many lung, heart and brain diseases.

Ground level ozone pollution facts

Ground level ozone pollution facts

Ozone pollution is the term that refers to air pollution caused by ground-formed ozone. This is usually the result of interaction between the car exhaust fumes and sunlight.

This kind of pollution is harmful to humans and even more harmful to plants because they are much more sensitive to ozone. The bigger concentration of ozone in the air means bigger damage to plants. The researchers have recently concluded that the ozone damage to plants is the highest in Central Europe because of very high ozone concentrations.

This negative effect that ozone pollution has on plants is causing significant reduction in agricultural yields in many parts of the world and could even lead to serious food shortages.

The U.S. city most affected with ozone pollution is Houston with the ozone readings at of around 41 nmol/mol.

The rise of ozone pollution is adding to climate change and global warming because it disrupts plant's ability to soak up carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

The scientists have discovered that the concentration of ground-level ozone has doubled since 1850 mostly because of the increased amount of chemical emissions coming from vehicles, industrial processes, and the burning of forests.

Ground level ozone is an air pollutant only at ground level. In atmosphere at a height of 10-40 kilometers above Earth's surface ozone plays major role in protecting our planet from dangerous sun's ultraviolet rays without which there wouldn't be life on Earth.