Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Not For Sale

Not For Sale

 How many people know what air is supposed to smell like? How many would consider drinking from a stream? How many people know, or care, whether or not they are eating genetically modified food? How many people go about their lives trusting that they are safe because we have water treatment plants, evironmental laws and safety testing for food?

The funny thing about smell is a person can become desensitized. Smell an odor for long enough or in high enough concentrations and you won't be able to smell it any more even though it's still there. Sensory overload. Most airborne toxins can't be smelled anyway. You can't trust your nose to keep you safe. Industrial toxins and agriculural toxins are in every breath we take. Water treatment can only remove certain inpurities. Bacteria and other microorganisms are removed or killed in the process of treatment. There are many toxins, however, that aren't even tested for let alone removed. Toxins are in the food we eat at what are considered acceptable levels by the EPA and FDA. Seperately, this may not be a problem. What's missing from this safety equation, however, is the effect of the combined toxins.

Safety tests are done seperately; not as combinations. Much of the safety testing is done by the manufacturers of the the various pesticides and herbicides in use, with only a cursory review by the agencies whose puropse is to protect our safety. These same agencies have decided we don't need to know if we are consuming genetically modified foods even though GMO's haven't been fully tested for consumer or environmental safety. We are expected to trust corporations like Monsanto with our health and safety. Are 'Round-up Ready' humans on their to do list? Tens of thousands of farmers in India have lost everything, including their livestock, after planting Monsanto's GMO cotton. The livestock, for generations, have been allowed to graze the fields after harvest. When they grazed on the GMO cotton, they died. Over a hundred thousand Indian farmers comitted suicide when their farms and livelihoods were devestated by the GMO cotton. Funny thing about Monsanto; farmers who buy and plant their seeds are locked into a contract to buy more and must assume all liability. Monsanto profits regardless of the consequences of growing their GMO's.

The agencies responsible for protecting our safety allow our water to be polluted by mining and energy corporations through mountain top removal mining and hydrofracking. They allow our food to be tainted by seed and chemical coporations with pesticides, herbicides and GMO's. You don't have to be a smoker to get lung cancer. You don't have to be a sunworshipper to get skin cancer. The toxins prevail because corporations have bought the 'right' to pollute. By buying the right to pollute they bought something else; they bought our right to breathable air, to drinkable water, to healthy food. I don't remember anyone asking me if these rights were for sale.

There are people who are taking action to change this. One of these is Tim DeChristopher. When he disrupted the auction of public land for drilling by bidding on parcels that never should have been available for auction, he was acting for all of us. In his own words: "At this point of unimaginable threats on the horizon, this is what hope looks like. In these times of a morally bankrupt government that has sold out its principles, this is what patriotism looks like. With countless lives on the line, this is what love looks like, and it will only grow. The choice you are making today is what side are you on."

Such people as he, willing to speak truth to power and stand for the consequences, are heroes. We are in need of more such heroes. Thank you, Tim DeChristopher, for speaking for me.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


After a day of protests in every state I check the news and find nothing. Even in the online media most of the stories are about celebrities, the oscars and other irrelevancies while thousands take to the street in protest. While people act together to bring change to our sick society, consumers sit in front of their televisions and numb their minds with delusions. Consumers want things. They watch commercials and drool over the latest gadets and gizmos and dream about being rich enough to afford it all. They measure success, as they have been brainwashed to do, by how much they can buy, how big their television is and how big their house is. The greatest measure of success, they have been taught, is how much money and stuff they can accumulate. They strive to emulate the shallow facade of wealth yet never realize they won't be allowed into that inner circle. They believe the soothing lies that are told to them; they can be like the celebrities, they can be wealthy and control their own destiny, this is the land of opportunity where, if you work hard enough, you can be successful too. In their quest for success they give up their time, their weekends, even their lives, never realizing what they are really giving up is success.
So what, then, is success?
Success is working together to solve problems. Success is revisiting kindergarten and finally understanding the childhood lessons taught by Seame Street. Success is realizing that love of family, friends and community are the greatest gift we can give or receive. Success is knowing you are a part of all that is both as an individual and as part of the greater whole.Success can not be bought, sold or traded. We each have within us the tools we need to succeed. We each can help those less fortunate than ourselves. We can work together to make a better life for all. We can feed the hungry, we can help the elderly, we can educate our children. We can be a nation of people who care about each other and the world we live in or we can be a nation of consumers always looking for more until there is no more to be had by anyone. It seems like a simple choice