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life science
Posts

  • Sometimes Being Eco is Annoying

    I really don’t want to live in a trashcan of a world, but being eco can be annoying.  To exclusively support organic fair trade local products that you also happened to grow in your back yard, had harvested by virgins, and processed by leprechauns is a fucking challenge.  The other day I thought I would buy some organic cotton t-shirts for The Munch, and one shirt was $40?! When I saw the price I threw up in my hand and then had to eat it because my dinner was from the organic store and my tofu kale wheat-free sandwich was not cheap.

    I know the responsibility is on me to be the change I want to see in the world, but I already changed my underwear today -isn’t that enough?  It is a lot of pressure for me to always make the right decision when there is so much crappy crap out there that is way crappy, but easier to get.  My main question is, why is there so much temptation to poison ourselves with toxic shit?  We have so much access to such a vast variety of products, but the majority of them are actually semi dangerous.  Major corporations are exposing us to some sort of poison, subjecting employees to horrific working conditions, and sometimes secretly feeding people rats they think is lamb.

    So there is plenty of incentive to be conscious consumer.  In fact I consider myself to be a PROsumer with all the positive shit I buy.  Get it? PROsumer rather than CONsumer? Am I lyrical genius or what?  But sometimes I want to be just like ahhh fuck it! I mean I got The Munch this hippy sunscreen because I read that sunscreen, although may protect you from getting skin cancer from the sun, actually just gives you another kind of cancer.  So I slapped the eco stuff on her, and it worked in the sense that she didn’t get burned, but it wouldn’t absorb into her skin.  She was walking around looking like Casper the Ghost the entire day.  I mean that is fine for a kid and all, but there is no way as a self-respecting woman, I can go out in public like a member of the Adams Family.

    Of course when we are talking about green products, food is the one I am most committed to.  But sometimes I get sick of being healthy.  Over the summer I am part of CSA (community supported agriculture) and get all my organic vegetables delivered to me.  They are grown in the most fertile soil and picked by a bearded farming angel.  Yet by time September rolls around all I want is to eat cheeseburgers and doughnuts.  I get so sick of vegetables I want to throw them against the wall, and then waterboard them.

    I know I should probably find a balance and feel peace knowing I am doing what I can and all that…. But what the fuck world?  Why can’t eco shit just be the only shit we can buy so I wouldn’t have to compare it to the other shit?

    (Here I am…. saving a spider and bringing her outside so I don’t murder her…. because I am environmentally responsible!)

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  • Don’t Cry Over Spilled Oil

    Exxon Mobile keeps spilling oil everywhere.  I would say don’t cry over spilled oil you big baby, but then again – oil is leaking all over the place!!  It is not like we can grab some bounty paper towels and soak it all up with one sheet.

    When an environmental catastrophe happens, like an oil pipeline bursting in your back yard, it will be in the news for sometime – and people will care about the cause.  But after the initial devastation is reported, it is easy to forget about.  Yet even though it is no longer in the public dialogue, the consequences of these horrific acts and the long-term damage should be the real news story.

    When I read about Exxon Mobile bursting their pipe over the weekend, I first had a weird pornographic image flash through my mind, and then remembered the Exxon Valdez oil spill.  I was only 9 at the time, but could recall this being the first “news” story that infiltrated my imagination.  My child mind kept picturing these poor animals choking on oil as they struggled for their last breaths.  And I couldn’t understand how they were going to help these suffering beings, or clean up the mess.  I had a hard enough time picking the glue off my hands in woodworking class and did not get how people could fix the destruction that millions of gallons of crude oil could make on an eco system.

    So it got me wondering… “what ever happened with that? Is everything all good now? I never hear about it?”  Yeah, well it turns out.  No.  Not at all.  There are still a lot of issues because of that oil spill.  According to this article, “delayed population loss from sub lethal doses of oil that affect growth and reproduction, and indirect effects of changes in the food web of the region.  Concerns also still persist about the effects of lingering oil on shellfish in the area, particularly for subsistence harvesters.”  Also, residual oil can still be found over 450 miles from the original sin, and over 13 species are still “recovering” from the tragedy.

    And wasn’t there that BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico too?  Yeah… pretty sure that shit is fucked too.  The spill happened during breeding season so all the eggs and larvae were destroyed – wiping out an entire generation.  It was like the BP spill was a giant forced abortion for all the wild life living there.  And don’t forget about the effect on our fisheries and food system… no big deal right? To eat toxic fish…

    So here we go again, another spill from the inevitably leaky pipelines.  We will hear about it for a while, but soon the conversation will disappear into the ether, and the only ones who will be talking about it will be those directly affected.  That is, if their mouths aren’t full oil.

    “Okay… fine…. its cookie in my mouth, but I am going to cry about it.”

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  • Hey, That’s MY Message!

    Information is social currency.  When I send someone a link, or post something illuminating, it contributes to my public value. The Internet allows us not only to spread information but also to become associated with it. It’s almost as if we can brand ourselves alongside the messages we are spreading.

    So last week when everyone was talking about the Monsanto Protection Act I was really involved in the discussion. This is an issue that I am very passionate about and have been researching for over a decade. I wanted to be an active part of the discussion – to help spread the message of why I think Monsanto should be a major part of the public dialogue and we should all have a clear understanding of not only its power but its product.  Our food system.

    I had first learned about Monsanto and genetically engineered food over 10 years ago when I was in college. Before understanding the science behind food, the only thing that concerned me was calories and fat grams. Then one fateful night, while smoking joints with my friend Marisa she told me,

    “You know, the reason why Americans are so overweight and unhealthy is because of partially hydrogenated oil.”

    “Wait, what is that?”

    “They, like, add hydrogen to the oil, so it is fluffier and takes up more space. They can then use less of it and save money, but the human body can’t digest it. That is what makes you fat.”

    “Why do they do that? How do they do that? And who is they?”

    “You know… they!  I don’t know Toni, I am not a scientist… look it up. But I am telling you. That is why Europeans are all skinny, because they don’t put crap in their food.”

    This really blew my mind into a thousand pieces. Before that moment, I had never considered that highly processed food wasn’t actually food. And I did not want to get fat because I was unconsciously consuming a science experiment. Forget that we were scarfing down ice cream at that moment…. We were high – remember? I am perfectly okay getting pudgy eating delicious treats, but there is no way hydrogenated oils were going to give me a muffin top.

    After that fateful conversation I started looking at ingredients rather than the silly numbers on a side of a box of processed food. Initially my rejection of GMO food may have been for my own vanity or health, but the more I learned, the more committed I became.

    I then read The Age of Access by Jeremy Rifkin, and started to comprehend the environmental consequences of genetic engineering. The massive destruction of natural resources, the farmers that it oppressed, the annihilation of biodiversity, the subsidies that forced an economic stranglehold on the entire food industry, and – perhaps most demented – gene patenting. Rifkin hypothesized that the future held forth a new economy based on owning and patenting genes. The thought of corporations and life-science companies owning the building blocks of life and leasing out the rights to it seemed like an apocalyptic nightmare.

    After understanding the full scope, I became outraged. I was so committed to this cause that I spent three years of my life trying to open an organic fast food restaurant so more people could have access to clean food, but in a format they were accustomed to. I wanted to bring organic food to as many people as I could. Even though my vision did not work out the way I wanted it to – I didn’t get to open my restaurant – I could still do my best to continue promoting the idea.

    So when everyone was talking about Monsanto last week, I made a little cartoon with The Munch and me and posted it on Facebook. It started making the rounds and people started sharing it. But I didn’t put my logo on the picture. So then I started seeing other friends post the pic, and other groups, but it wasn’t associated to me any more. I mean it was my picture, but it didn’t link back to me in any way.

    At first I was so mad at myself.  I felt like a missed a major opportunity to drive traffic back to me! So more people would see me… like me… care about me! I wanted to be the giver of the information!  Me! Me! Me! The more I saw it floating around, and not attached to me, the more I freaked out.  Of course the original picture I shared had 1,700 shares thanks to my friend reposting it on her popular page… but that had a spelling mistake in it because that is my fucking karma! (Hey! I know I am using the concept of Karma wrong here, but I am being emphatic so forgive me).

    Okay… pause….

    I found this to be a really interesting example of how the ego gets tied into things that are essentially ego-less. In reality, I should have been happy that people thought the image had value and wanted to share it. That it took a small part in spreading awareness about an issue that I cared about. But as much as my rational mind knew this, my emotional-self wanted to be credited with that message. WHICH IS ABSURD!!  It was beyond ironic that I had the audacity to feel used by people sharing my picture without crediting me, when the message could easily say I was using it to promote myself.

    That is the thing about activism. It has to come from a pure place, and not from wanting to somehow have ownership over the message. Because to feel personal attachment to the information you are trying to spread, is the very same paradigm that we are trying to change with activism.

    “Mamma you are being silly!

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  • 4 Reasons Why Monsanto Can Go Screw Itself

    The Monsanto Protection Act passed through congress, and came out as a wet stinky fart on the other end.  This means that GMO seeds are protected from any litigation involving health risks.  That is strange right? If you were confident in the product you are forcing down the throats of billions of people world wide, then why would you be concerned about lawsuits involving health risks?

    Monsanto and the government have been in bed for many administrations, doing very naughty things- probably involving butt plugs and choking.  There has been a revolving door between Monsanto, the FDA, and the court system (including Clarence Thomas of The Supreme Court) that has helped allow Monsanto to have a monopoly on our entire food system.  Monsanto’s contribution to countless campaigns has solidified their position, and time and time again the government will protect them over the welfare of the people and the planet.

    As a parent, not only would I rather feed my kid organic bear barf than GMOs, I genuinely fear a future that continues to allow one company to have unregulated endless control over such a vital resource.

    So Monsanto, as far as I am concerned, you can go fuck yourself – and here are my reasons why.

    1)  Seed patenting:  Monsanto patents all its seeds, and genetically engineers the suicide gene so every year the crop dies and the seeds are rendered useless.  Where for thousands of years farmers would save seeds and cultivate a variety of strands to help maintain bio diversity, Monsanto now forces farmers to use their one “terminator seed” that they have to purchase annually.  Buy patenting’s seeds, Monsanto owns life, and makes millions in profit.  If I had known I could have owned and patented seeds, I wouldn’t have spit all those times.  Man… so many blowjobs for nothing.

    Because of this seed patenting, 250,000 Indian farmers have killed themselves because of inflated prices of seeds and faulty crops that force them into bankruptcy.  (As a result of Monsanto’s intrusion on India’s traditional and sustainable farming practices, 60% of the population, 1 billion people, are dependent on their GMO agriculture).

    2)  The strategy of Monsanto is to create one seed that can be mass produced in one location, which has created mono-crop agriculture.  So when you drive cross-country, 1/3 of the time you will be staring at corn and soy fields – making you wish the Children of the Corn will emerge and eat your eyeballs.  Because there are these massive fields with one crop created from one seed, they are very susceptible to pests, hence the creation of pesticides.

    Hey! You want to know something fun about pesticides?  A lot of them are made from Agent Orange.  Yeah! That stuff we used as chemical warfare in the Vietnam War.  Monsanto created Agent Orange, had a bunch left over after the war, then discovered the perfect market for it.  Our food!  (PS… it is also contaminating the world’s water supply… but who needs non-poisionous food and water right?)

    3) Lets say you have an organic farm next to a farm that has Monsanto GMO seeds.  There is something called wind right?  If the wind blows, and some of the GMO pollen contaminates your crops, Monsanto can sue you for using their seeds without paying for it.  So not only would your food be polluted with GMO dust, but you are going to have to pay for it as well!  And if you were to try and sue Monsanto for infecting your crops, you will lose!

    4)  I almost forgot about soil erosion.  This basically means that after a few years of GMO farming and the aggressive use of pesticides, the soil is FUCKED.  And because nature is crafty, super weeds then form that are resistant pesticides!   That is kind of awesome nature, but at the same time, thousands of acres have been abandoned in the south because they became impossible to farm on.

    I know the Monsanto propaganda says that we NEED GMO’s to feed the world, but that is not true.  Governments create artificial shortages by throwing food away.  Kind of like how the diamond industry keeps diamonds in storage out of the public market so the demand is greater than the supply.  But in the case, when the demand for food is greater than the supply people die of starvation.  Starvation and extreme poverty is not an environmental necessity, but a political choice.  It is about access to food, resources, and land.  Who ever controls the food source controls the world.

    I don’t know about you guys, but I eat food every day.  I know buying organic is annoyingly expensive, but think of it this way – until the 1940’s the whole world ate organic all the time.  Because that was all there was.  Just regular food.  But since Agribusiness dominates the market, small organic farms can’t compete.  The reason why actual organically farmed food is so expensive is because what most people are eating isn’t really food.  It is a science experiment – and we are the guinea pigs.

    So take that Monsanto!

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