(UR) It’s no secret: trees are an integral part of how we live on this planet. From their well-known and vital role in the oxygen cycle, and their importance to their ecosystems — they are also central to the human food system. But trees also have other, less obviously integral benefits that manifest in our lives. Sure, without trees it would definitely be harder to breathe — but it might also be harder to just relax. Their aesthetic value in urban areas aside, there are many reasons to love trees planted in cities. For one, trees reduce stress. According to research, spending time among trees and other vegetation reduces stress while easing brain fatigue. Populations living near trees have a lower amount of cortisol, a stress-related hormone, meaning they experience stress less acutely than people who don’t live near trees. Trees and urban green spaces have also been shown to help children with attention deficit disorder. By simply wandering through a green space before testing, children experienced positive cognitive effects that helped them focus on tasks in ways other settings did not. But reduced stress and increased attention span aren’t the only ways trees help humans cope. Read
Many environmentalists are falling for this glib marketing pitch. Here is why it’s false. Action Alert! At the federal and local levels, stopping invasive plants with pesticides like glyphosate is being seen as a conservation priority. But what is it doing to our soil and our food? For many years, the federal government has been devoting large sums of money to combating “invasive plants”—plants which are not native to a particular location and which can cause damage to the environment, like crowding out native species and reducing crop yields. This has also been happening at the local level, with community conservation groups increasingly seeing the fight against invasive species as the primary means by which the environment can be restored to its natural state. To those looking to rid the land of invasive species, only one solution, essentially, is being offered—toxic pesticides. This trend has, of course, been exploited by Monsanto, which uses its significant influence with government officials to sell more Roundup. For much of the 1990s until recent years, Monsanto’s Roundup profits were growing steadily. One Monsanto executive has been quoted as saying, “Roundup was God at Monsanto.” Read
We have two guests on the show. The first talks about food, water and how environmental change is playing a major role in the negative effects our food is having on us and the world in which we live. The second guest discusses overcoming alcohol addiction and living a healthy, "Soulfully Aware" life. Our first guest is Kari Hamerschlag, senior program manager for "Friends of the Earth". www.FOE.org She speaks about the harmful affects our current food and water supply are having on us and our environment. Furthermore, she discusses Food, Water, Agriculture, Climate Change and Biodiversity. Our second guest, Natalie Rountree, is an advocate for bringing awareness to the pain and struggles of women, mothers and others facing addiction to alcohol or in recovery. She is the founder of "Sober Living Soulful Living" www.SoberLivingSoulfulLiving.com which focuses on inspiring and encouraging those in recovery from alcoholism. Natalie has aided hundreds of people in their recovery since 2008 and continues to inspire thousands more daily with her story, her blogs, public speaking events, Facebook page, podcasts and more.
As if it weren’t already enough of a headache to find non-toxic, safe and healthy food to eat, a recent study published in the journal Environmental Health Perspective reveals that the packaging used to contain certain food products can impact your hormones. Researchers for the study found that people who eat more fast food have significantly increased rates of phthalates—industrial chemicals used to make plastics—in their systems. The study authors attribute the trend to those chemicals seeping from plastic packaging into foods. The study asked 8,877 participants in the National Health and Nutrition Examinations Surveys between 2003 and 2010 to report all the food they had eaten within last 24 hours. Participants also donated a urine sample to the study. Researchers tested each urine sample for the industrial chemicals di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), diisononyl phthalate (DiNP) and bisphenol A (BPA)—all of which are suspected to impact health and hormones. The results showed people for whom fast food made up 35% or more of their daily food consumption had higher rates of DEHP (24%) and DiNP (40%), compared to those who did not eat fast food. There was no significant correlation between BPA and fast food. Read
John Fox is an outspoken leader of Friends of the Earth and talks about many issues affecting us in the environment and the world around us. John's group, Friends of the Earth, is coming off a major demonstration attended by 1,000's on Saturday April 16th, 2016. In protest and confrontation with the police over 200 demonstrated were arrested including our guest John Fox. Several hundred activist groups of all types attended in support of the rally including the leading group Friends of the Earth.
John's group is not a traditional environmental group. Instead they are an activist group that is fighting for the rights of the planet for all us and this beautiful earth of ours. John seeks to change the perception of the public, media and policy makers -- and effect policy change -- with hard-hitting, well-reasoned policy analysis and advocacy campaigns that describe what needs to be done, rather than what is seen as politically feasible or politically correct.
Topics discussed include climate Change, food, water, the air we breathe, demonstration of the devastation going on with forests and oceans and more.
Friends of the Earth:
Organic food demand is so booming that multiple efforts are underway to support the acquisition of organic farmland. Even Cost-Co is getting in on the action by offering to help farmers buy land and farm equipment. People’s huge appetite for organics has been ignored by Big Ag for so long that land to grow food organically in the U.S. is rather scarce. Currently, organic farming acres make up less than one percent of total U.S. farmland. Instead of growing our own, we’re importing a bunch of organic corn, soy, and other products every year. This trend of people wanting organic products seems to be growing, too. U.S. Department of Agriculture statistics show that in 2014, certified organic operations in the U.S. had reached an astonishing number of 19,474, while a total of 27,814 certified organic operations exist around the world. Other studies report that another 3,000 farms are transitioning to organic. The word is out – individuals everywhere are quickly switching to organic. Read
“We must… build our own local food systems that create new rural-urban links, based on truly agroecological food production… We cannot allow Agroecology to be a tool of the industrial food production model: we see it as the essential alternative to that model, and as the means of transforming how we produce and consume food into something better for humanity and our Mother Earth… Agroecology is political; it requires us to challenge and transform structures of power in society. We need to put the control of seeds, biodiversity, land and territories, waters, knowledge, culture and the commons in the hands of the peoples who feed the world.” – Extract from The Declaration of the International Forum for Agroecology, Nyeleni, Mali, 27 February 2015 The above extract is something that the US government and the agribusiness interests it serves do not want to hear. It represents a grass-root challenge to their intertwined commercial and geopolitical interests. Rather than wanting to transform society and food and agriculture, these state-corporate interests require business as usual. Read
As virtues go, patience is a quiet one. It’s often exhibited behind closed doors, not on a public stage: A father telling a third bedtime story to his son, a dancer waiting for her injury to heal. In public, it’s the impatient ones who grab all our attention: drivers honking in traffic, grumbling customers in slow-moving lines. We have epic movies exalting the virtues of courage and compassion, but a movie about patience might be a bit of a snoozer. Yet patience is essential to daily life—and might be key to a happy one. Having patience means being able to wait calmly in the face of frustration or adversity, so anywhere there is frustration or adversity—i.e., nearly everywhere—we have the opportunity to practice it. At home with our kids, at work with our colleagues, at the grocery store with half our city’s population, patience can make the difference between annoyance and equanimity, between worry and tranquility. Read
From mercury in tuna and wood pulp in parmesan cheese to ground beef treated with ammonia to retard E. coli (“pink slime”), the press does a good job exposing the dangerous and deceptive practices of Big Food. The problem is, the public forgets about the food risk or contamination, assuming that reform is in the works and that is just fine with Big Food. Often nothing changes. For example, many thought the problem of mercury in tuna had been solved since it has been so widely reported. But Time  recently wrote “the latest analysis shows that eating fish the way the government recommends is exposing people, especially pregnant women, to unsafe levels of mercury.” And two years after the nation’s stomach was turned by pink slime, its manufacturer Beef Products, Inc. had reopened  plants and even filed  a defamation lawsuit against ABC and Diane Sawyer. Who are you calling pink slime? Here are some hidden-in-plain-sight facts Big Food doesn’t want you to know. 1. Meat preservatives cause cancer. Read
For that last 15 years, numerous organizations and legislators have been battling to require the labeling of genetically engineered foods. During that time 64 other countries have mandated this labeling, but not the U.S. Many of us in the food movement have said that it was not a matter of if we would join with these countries and have GE labeling, but when. Well, it looks like when may have finally arrived. Over the course of just a few days, several major companies have announced they will label GE products, including Kellogg’s , ConAgra, Mars and General Mills . Earlier this year, Campbell’s  announced it would label. What caused this wave of GE labeling? It certainly hasn’t been a sudden realization that more than 90 percent of Americans want labeling, which polls have shown for many years. And these companies have never been pro-labeling. Just the opposite. Each has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to fund massive PR campaigns opposing various state GE labeling initiatives. This sudden turnaround was actually triggered by a remarkable triumph of democracy over corporate power that took place last week in the U.S. Senate. That vote involved an attempt to pass what many call The Deny Americans the Right to