Monthly Archives: June 2010

One Hell of a Beauty

Have any of you environmentalists been wondering who the culprits are who are using rhino horn powder and driving the poor creatures to extinction?

I understood it was the Chinese who created the demand for the rhino horn to put in their medicines.

However, there is another person who has the big bucks necessary for the purchase – Elle Macpherson.

To quote a recent article in Woman’s Day Magazine (28th June, 2010) –

Elle Macpherson, 47, is on the hunt for a new youth elixer after ditching her favourite treatment – rhino horn powder, which she describes as tasting “like crushed bone and fungus”. Her change of heart came after learning rhinos are endangered.

I thought my eyes must be deceiving me!  How amazing!

As opposed to jet setting Elle, I am just an ordinary person with no celebrity network, but even I know that rhinos are on the brink of extinction because of the insane demand for their horn.
Since this has been the case for decades, I have to ask what planet Elle has been living on – guess it’s Planet Elle. I wonder if she pondered on why the price was so high?

Trade in rhino-horn powder has been banned since 1995.

To quote Richard Kay of the Daily Mail: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1286313/Alan-Bennett-1-500-pickpockets.html#ixzz0rYDrJD6W

Veteran ­environmentalist Tony Fitzjohn, from the George ­Adamson Wildlife ­Preservation Trust, tells me: ‘This is incredibly irresponsible. I have never been so disgusted in my 40 years of trying to save wildlife.

‘Her remarks mean that people will come after these scarce and ancient animals with guns.

‘Men die protecting them, and the well-being of countries that rely on tourism and wildlife are diminished.

I certainly now have a very negative view of a beautiful woman who is so insecure about her looks that she would be instrumental in killing such a magnificent creature so that she can erase a couple of wrinkles.

I just hope that someone tells her that tigers are endangered and so are most exotic animals these days just in case she hears that they can prolong her beauty too.

It’s rather sad when a wealthy and beautiful woman starts to panic about aging.  Besides the fact that I doubt that rhino horn makes one iota of difference to her face, I really wonder if the good her beauty does for the world is worth the lives of the many rhinosauruses that have been killed for it! If she can’t age gracefully why not do what everyone else seems to be doing and have botox or a facelift?

 I think Elle was the genius who said that she wouldn’t have a book in her house unless she’d written it. What a shame, if she had read a couple of other people’s books she might know that rhinos are endangered. However, she is quite a canny business woman and I think she might have worked out that there was a reason that she was paying thousands of dollars for an ounce of the powder.

Sadly, the beauty and fashion industries are two of the major reasons that so many magnificent creatures are in demise.

Every time I see snake skin boots, belts, shoes and handbags I wince. How many boas have been killed to service that fashion?

The musk deer has been driven to the point of extinction by the perfume industry for their musk.

Watch any old movie and you’ll see tiger skins as rugs and leopard skin and jaguar hats and coats on the actresses.

I have always thought that the only fair thing would be if animals were issued with guns to protect themselves.  Now that would be interesting.

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Two interesting stories about our health

Last week I read two articles about health.

One revealed that there has been a big spike in bowel cancer amongst young people. Where traditionally the majority of people who developed bowel cancer have been in the over 50s age group, there is now an unusually high incidence of people in their 20s and 30s with it. As no one is 100% sure of what causes bowel cancer, there was no explanation offered. http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/06/06/2919534.htm

 The other article discussed how children as young as nine have been entering puberty. This was a Danish study but from my understanding, the same is happening in Australia. My friend tells me that her daughter and her daughter’s friends all entered puberty at the age of ten. So why might all the above be occurring? Dr Anders Juul , head of the Department of Growth and Reproduction at the University hospital in Copenhagen, which carried out the research, and which is a world leader in the study of hormones and growth told the Sunday Times, “’It’s a clear sign that something is affecting our children; whether it’s junk food, environmental chemicals or lack of physical activity.’ Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1286253/More-girls-starting-puberty-age-nine.html#ixzz0r9jfcbYo

Well my view is that we are all part of a cruel and unusual experiment and these are just two of the outcomes. I believe we all have reason to be very concerned about the future of mankind. Firstly and most importantly, the food we eat is for the most part, a big concern. Our fruit and vegetables are sprayed endless times before they are picked – when they are still green, and then gassed to ripen.

 Supermarkets instruct the consumer to wash fruit and vegetables before eating them, but there is no way in the world that the poisons which have by now been incorporated deep into the tissues of the produce can ever be washed away. Most commercial breads, biscuits, muffins and cakes contain preservatives and anti fungicides. Since breads all seem to contain soy products, there is a fair bet that these are genetically modified if they are sourced from overseas as 90% of the soy crop in the United States is owned by Monsanto Chemicals.

I have often wondered about the saying, ‘the best thing since sliced bread’. When I was young my mother used to make her own bread. I used to love the smell of freshly baked bread and the flavour was awesome, but she stopped making it when my father told her he preferred the taste of packaged bread. How packaged white bread can be seriously called ‘bread’ is beyond me. If it is wet is becomes a gluey white paste. My brother swears that one of the major ingredients in white bread is powdered hens’ feathers from China. Certainly, sliced white bread contains something not quite from this earth!

 Poultry used to be fed hormones to make them grow faster. The poultry industry swears that this is no longer the case. They do admit to routinely feeding poultry antibiotics but they say that the enormous size of chickens is due to selective breeding. I have kept hens for years and they eat very well. However, there is no way they are anything like the size of the ginormous hens in the frozen section of the supermarket.

Our eggs for the most part come from caged hens which are kept in deplorable conditions, forced to lay eggs 24/7 and forced to stay forever in a little cage with no room to move. They never walk and they die young. The sadness they must feel would surely cross over to their eggs and then into our bodies.

Processed meats such as salamis, hams and commercially smoked salmon and fish (other than traditionally cured products) contain carcinogenic chemicals. Pigs are routinely fed antibiotics which are therefore deep in their flesh (the meat we later eat). They are kept in little pens and have their teeth yanked out. Their sadness is also in their flesh. Another additive give to pigs is PST [porcine somatatropin]. PST is a copy of a natural hormone produced in the pig. One wonders why pigs have to be given a copy of a hormone they already have. And why are we supposed to believe that a man made hormone is the same thing as the natural hormone?

And guess what? Beef from northern Australia are given oestrogen-based hormones. A common implant that’s used in northern Australia contains 43 milligrams of oestrogen. Lucky us, especially since the use of hormones in beef production has been banned in Europe since 1989.

This is possibly why a lot of men now suffer from gynecomastia or ‘man boobs’. This is a condition where a man’s body starts producing more oestrogen than testosterone.

The best chance you have is to buy organic food. This will not be sprayed. Ask your butcher for organic meat. If you can’t grind your own flour then at least buy unbleached flour. My friend Joe makes his own sour dough bread. He derides commercial breads as he says that they contain yeast which is a man made product.

This is the problem. We have moved so far from nature that we rarely eat natural foods. The concept of wholefood is a thing of the past. For example, go to the supermarket and see what has happened to milk. I defy the average person to understand the differences between all the milks on the shelf. But the bottom line is that they are no longer the whole milk from the cow. The fat and who knows what else, has been removed, and calcium and vitamins and who knows what else, have been added

! I am very keen on quince paste and I purchased a tin of the paste at a delicatessen this week. When I got home I looked at the ingredients and I certainly wished I’d checked them before I’d bought it. I promptly took it back and asked for a refund. It had been artificially coloured with Allura Red. This colouring has been banned in Denmark, Belgium, France, Switzerland and Sweden due to its carcinogenic effects, but it is still allowed in the US and Australia. At least the Danish children can’t blame Allura Red for their puberty blues! But what is it doing to children in other countries?

 To further quote Dr Anders Juul from the article on premature puberty – “We were very surprised that there had been such a change. If girls mature early, they run into teenage problems at an early age and they’re more prone to diseases later on. We should be worried about this regardless of what we think the underlying reasons might be.”

This blog has just been about the dangers in the food we eat. I have not even touched on the dangers in our toothpaste, soap, bath gels, shampoos and hair conditioners. These invariably contain Sodium Laureth Sulfate.

To quote Wikepedia – Sodium laureth sulfate, or sodium lauryl ether sulfate (SLES), is a detergent and surfactant found in many personal care products (soaps, shampoos, toothpaste etc.). SLES is an inexpensive and very effective foaming agent.[1] SLES has been shown to produce eye or skin irritation in experimental animals and in some human test subjects.[2] Some products containing SLES have been found to contain low levels of the carcinogen 1,4-dioxane.[3]

In garages, it is used to clean engine oil from the floor because of its powerful degreasing action. However, we have glands in our skin and hair which secrete natural oils to give skin and hair its lovely soft and supple texture and keep it waterproof. So by using Sodium Laureth Sulphate in your hair care products you are stripping your hair of all its natural oils.

Furthermore, it can lead to direct damage to the hair follicle, and if it gets into the eyes, can lead to permanent eye damage. Sodium Laureth Sulphate can cause cataracts in adult eyes and cause significant damage to children’s eyes.

 It can pass through the skin where it enters the blood stream. From here it will travel all over the body. It can build up in the liver, kidneys and brain. The body tries to tuck dangerous toxins as far as possible away from internal organs as it can. Hence the body stores toxins in your feet, joints and even testicles. If Sodium Laureth Sulphate is such a great garage degreaser, what damage could it be doing inside our bodies?

 Dr Anders Juul also mentions lack of activity as a possible reason for premature puberty. Children don’t walk anywhere anymore. Their parents drive them to and from school and at home children prefer to play with their computer games rather than with their friends in the park. So, perhaps these are not the causes of the spike in reported bowel cancer or premature puberty, but whatever the cause, the above factors can hardly be beneficial for the long term health of mankind.

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Trashing the Planet

Photo of earth as we know it from freefoto.com

The most important philosophy of any indigenous tribe of people is to leave the earth in the same state as they found it. The Australian Aborigines for example (until of course white people mucked them up) left behind nothing when they died, not even a gravestone – no constructions of any kind, plastic bags, books, clothes or machines. The American Indians did the same and Amazonian Aborigines.

When they killed an animal for food they thanked their gods for the catch and for the life of the animal. They didn’t kill for pleasure. They valued the lives of every animal because they realized that their fate was linked with that of the animals.

They had no greed for land as they believed that they were the guardians of the land, not the owners. They were easy to dupe as they didn’t understand the white man’s lust for land ownership.  

We gave them Christianity and a plethora of diseases and stole their lands. The proud peoples who had been guardians of the land for all those years and who had never plundered the natural resources, were herded into reservations and kept silent with an endless supply of alcohol.

 And once we got our hands on their land, what a fine mess we made!

Fishing boats from http://www.freefoto.com

Next week Australian television is going to show a program on how there will soon be no fish left in the sea. Such is the state of over fishing that the seas will soon be empty.

I have written a number of times about the recent incident in Siberia where normally peaceful bears attacked miners because their salmon had been taken by poachers. Bears do eat roots of plants but their bulk can only be sustained by eating protein and this they achieve by eating huge amounts of salmon.  If they don’t bulk up by the time winter arrives and they go into hibernation, they are in big trouble. Well, such has been the state of overfishing of salmon in Siberian waters that there have been no fish left to breed. There is no fish left as food for the bears or for that matter, to reproduce to create new stocks of salmon.

Illegal poaching of the Russian sturgeon for prized caviar is fast putting the sturgeon on the endangered list. And Asian countries have been warned that their appetite for bluefin tuna and Shark Fin Soup have pushed bluefin tuna and many species of shark perilously close to extinction. 

Industrial-scale fishing and harvesting on the high seas has caused stocks to plunge by up to 80 per cent in the Mediterranean and eastern Atlantic, where tuna come to spawn in the warmer waters. Just this week Greenpeace activists clashed violently with French tuna fishermen. One activist was harpooned in retaliation.

 In March this year, a proposal to totally ban the trade in the critically endangered Atlantic bluefin tuna failed at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). Despite the fact that the Atlantic bluefin population has plummeted 80 percent since 1970, only 20 nations voted for a ban. Sixty eight countries voted against a ban—including Japan and Canada—while 30 abstained.  A total ban on bluefin tuna fishing has repeatedly received the support of international scientists.

Indigenous peoples were never cruel to animals, but our treatment of animals, fish and birds is appauling. Shark fins are hacked off live sharks and the still alive shark is tossed back in the ocean to drown.

These days whaling is almost universally frowned upon. The largest mammal in the ocean, we see the whale as an intelligent and majestic creature. However, various countries still hunt them and although Australia screams and stamps their little feet about it, we had fully operational whaling stations here until the 1960s.  We did a fine job killing whales and that is one of the major reasons that the world wide whale population is severely depleted.

As for the abominations in the sea oil fields, I wonder how much sea life is being destroyed by the hundreds of annual oil spills around the world?  The current BP oil spill is of course a massive disaster and will kill animals and sealife in marshlands in Mississippi and wherever else it goes. However, this oil spill is only one of many. Our lust for oil is to blame and if you’d like to read more about the evil side of oil, read my recent blog, Something Oily is Going on Here. https://roslynmotter.com/2010/05/17/something-oily…-going-on-here/

I wonder what our plan B is for what to do when we have wiped out all the sea life?

Meanwhile, on land we’re doing a fine job draining marshes and hacking and burning down jungles, forests and bushland all over the world so that we can build ever more houses; grow more soy bean and palm oil plantations; or create more land for cattle. A huge percentage of wild animals are now endangered if not already on the way to extinction e.g. tigers, elephants, rhinosauruses, Moon Bears, Grisley Bears, Black Bears, King Cobras, orangutans, gorillas, Tasmanian Devils, koalas, the New Zealand Tuatara, wedge-tail eagles and an endless number of other animals and birds. The principal reason is loss of habitat leading to loss of prey, starvation, stress and deadly run ins with humans. Indigenous peoples living in jungles in the Amazon, Malaysia and elsewhere, are driven out of their homes and forced into poverty in city ghettos. We want their land.

And the rubbish we create in the cities! The technology revolution has created a senario whereby a computer becomes obsolete virtually weeks after you’ve bought it.  Suburban streets are littered with computer screens and keyboards that no one wants. And the situation is not getting better. The release of the new Ipad is going to create a computer revolution which will have a far reaching impact on many industries.  On the positive side it just might save a few trees as books become outmoded.

Two years ago I visited Hawaii and I was disturbed by the number of plastic bags that were clinging to trees on the cliff faces overlooking the oceans on both sides of the island of Oahu.  The bags billowed in the winds like ghostly flags and I wondered how many had made it into the oceans.

Well now I know. I have copied the following from the website http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/the-worlds-rubbish-dump-a-garbage-tip-that-stretches-from-hawaii-to-japan-778016.html . The article is titled, The World’s Rubbish Dump: A tip that stretches from Hawaii to Japan by Kathy Marks and Daniel Howden.

A “plastic soup” of waste floating in the Pacific Ocean is growing at an alarming rate and now covers an area twice the size of the continental United States, scientists have said.

  The vast expanse of debris – in effect the world’s largest rubbish dump – is held in place by swirling underwater currents. This drifting “soup” stretches from about 500 nautical miles off the Californian coast, across the northern Pacific, past Hawaii and almost as far as Japan. 

Charles Moore, an American oceanographer who discovered the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch” or “trash vortex”, believes that about 100 million tons of flotsam are circulating in the region. Marcus Eriksen, a research director of the US-based Algalita Marine Research Foundation, which Mr Moore founded, said yesterday: “The original idea that people had was that it was an island of plastic garbage that you could almost walk on. It is not quite like that. It is almost like a plastic soup. It is endless for an area that is maybe twice the size as continental United States.”

Certainly when I was recently in Patagonia, at the furthest area south of Argentina, I saw plastic bags floating in the harbour. These would be heading south to Antarctica. Most sea life now apparently contains plastic in their tissues.

As for nuclear waste, where is that all disposed? We live in hope that all countries using nuclear materials will dispose of them correctly. But we know that’s not going to happen, don’t we? In April this year some poor fellow ferreting around a rubbish dump looking for scrap metals  in Delhi, India died of radioactive poisoning when he pulled apart a machine once used by the chemistry class of a major Indian university.  This certainly raises concerns about India’s ability to safely dispose of hazardous waste.

But how does anyone dispose of radioactive waste?

You don’t, once it is created it exists forever (or close to forever depending on the amount of radioactive material involved). There is a process called the “half life’, some isotopes degrade rapidly, others last for thousand of years. All you can do is isolate it, entomb it, and hope that it remains undistrubed for the next zillion years, just like the pharohs thought when they were entombed. (http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_do_you_dispose_of_nuclear_waste)

Comforting, isn’t it?

Of course, there is always the hope that we could find another habitable planet out there. Now wouldn’t that be wonderful?  The senario (not too far fetched methinks) in the movie, Avatar, would be a possible conclusion.  I bet that soon giant garbage space ships will be taking earth’s rubbish and dumping it on other planets. Or perhaps we’ll just write off earth as a lost cause and all the politicians and important and super rich people will wave goodbye and fly off to inhabit another solar system where they can start the trashing anew.
 

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