Friday, 28 June 2013

Words Of Wisdom From The Dalai Lama

If anything sums up the state of the world and of life for so many today, the Dalai Lama's observational wisdom does. 

Thursday, 20 June 2013

So why did UK Minister Owen Paterson push GM food?

What do we know about Owen Paterson? Married to Rose Ridley, sister of Matt Ridley (son of Viscount Ridley) who is a genetic scientist - and also sits in the House of Lords. He's visiting professor at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory where they study plant genetics.
Cold Spring Lab are the main protagonists in the iPlant collaborative. Possible conflict of interest for Paterson?

Who fund the Cold Spring Harbor Lab? Amongst others, Dupont, whose subsidiary Pioneer Hi-bred International specialise in GMO corn.

Defends the use of pesticides that kill bees

Paterson's letter to Syngenta published in The Guardian...

One of the two chief lobbying organisations paying Paterson to push GMO...

Another UK lobbying group operating on behalf of Conservative party donors;

UK research council, funded by Monsanto, Bayer, Syngenta, Dupont et al...

Cropgen - another powerful GM lobbying group, paid for by Monsanto, Bayer, Syngenta, Dupont et al...

AND the research institute funded by the UK government and the GMO food companies quoted in this mornings BBC report;

So, is GM safe? There’s the research that’s being paid for by the biotech industry. And then there’s the independent research being done in foreign countries, mostly in Europe, and foreign universities. Most, if not all the research sponsored by the biotech industry says genetic engineering is innocuous and safe. But most of the research done elsewhere concludes otherwise. So says Thierry Vrain, retired former pro-GMO scientist for Agriculture Canada, now campaigning against GMOs.


Monday, 10 June 2013


Killer whales so contaminated that they were classified as toxic waste. A once-beautiful Lebanese beach that’s now a towering mound of garbage, bleeding contaminants into the Mediterranean Sea. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, an area the size of Quebec that has six times as much plastic as plankton, the foundation of the food chain.
We all know that trash is a serious environmental problem, but it’s hard to grasp the full extent of the global predicament, and even if you are well-informed, it’s good to be reminded that waste is perhaps the most dire environmental crisis today. So often I hear people say that they are going to throw something 'away'. There is no such place as 'away'.
In this documentary Trashed tells the story of the world’s waste disposal problems through the eyes of Jeremy Irons. The actor-turned-environmental activist takes the audience around the world, showing first some of the most gory garbage patches, before presenting the challenges of getting rid of such trash.
Jeremy Irons, who narrated the film, noted, “We’re making more garbage now than at any time in history.” At the beginning of the film, Irons travelled to Sidon, Lebanon where he found a large, uncontrolled waste dump on the beach. He interviewed a Palestinian refugee who had come to Lebanon 30 years earlier, when the trash mound was non-existent. “When I first worked here it wasn't here,” the refugee said.
In Britain, Irons found that the waste problem was not quite as obvious as in Lebanon but was still significant. Paul Dainton, a British activist who tries to promote regulation of landfill sites said, “We have the most landfill sites in Europe.” Dainton added that breaches occur in the lining of the landfills with “notorious regularity.”
The waste problem is no less serious in the United States. “Over the past decade, 14 dumps around New York have reached capacity,” Irons said. A major problem with these landfills is that the lining used to prevent seepage of materials to the surrounding soil is not always reliable. As a result, landfills can threaten the environment for hundreds of years.
An alternative to landfills used in some parts of the world is incineration of waste. This method has its advantages, but in many ways is not much better than using landfills.
“It’s a very, very challenging environment inside an incinerator,” Professor of Bio-imaging at the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland Vyvyan Howard said in the film. Incinerators produce man-made halogenated dioxins, which cause health concerns and can be extremely toxic.
In one small French town, 24 out of 80 residents on a street near an incinerator got cancer. There is no conclusive proof that their cancer came from toxins released from their incinerator, but such a high rate of the disease is unusual. “Governments have to be prepared to act with caution,” Howard said, referring to the danger created by toxins from incinerators.
No area of the planet has been safe from the toxins and waste spread by incinerators, factories and other means. “The Arctic has become one of the most contaminated places on Earth,” Irons said. Charles Moore, an oceanographer and boat captain who has done research on the Great Pacific Garbage, noted, “It’s rare to find a trawl that has no plastic in it.” As Moore says, waste is a problem both on land and sea, with no areas immune to the effects of pollution.
“This is not about what might happen in some distant future,” Irons warned. Howard added, “What we have to do is to stop making that amount of waste.”
Irons ends the film by saying that the status quo in terms of waste management must change. “We are trashing the planet and it’s time to stop,” he said. If waste management practices do not change, Irons and other environmentalists believe the waste problem will continue to damage the planet.