Sunday, May 25, 2014

What are YOU eating???

This weekend, I participated in my second March Against Monsanto event, this time on Vancouver Island. According to the founder of MAM, on Saturday, at least 366 official events took place in 43 countries around the globe. Wow. The people are not happy, Monsanto. 

In case you aren't familiar, Monsanto is the chemical company that developed DDT (the insecticidal chemical that was used to kill mosquitoes during WWII and then sprayed freely as an agricultural insecticide in the 60's and 70's and caused massive environmental devastation), PCB's (toxic, organic chemical compounds used in electrical equipment and in coolants until the 1970's), RGBH (bovine growth hormone), Agent Orange, a carcinogenic defoliant used in the Vietnam War, and Roundup, the readily-available friendly,  neighborhood herbicide that has been highly controversial over the last number of years. (Info confirmation Resources: Wikipedia)

Over the last few decades, these clever folks have mostly sold off their chemical side to multiple outsiders, and have now focused on seeds and animals, playing around with the genetic material of various plants and animals to great new species of living organisms that look prettier, decompose more slowly, glow in the dark, are more convenient to slaughter, survive despite heavy pesticide/herbicide application, look like a tomato but taste and smell like a lemon (Why??!) etc, etc, etc.  Voila! GMO's

Back to the march...
The event was exhilarating, and it was uplifting to shout out loud how I feel about a global corporation playing "GOD" with nature's creations that feed our world. I also felt deep sadness and anger that our fellow desensitized and money-hungry human beings are behind this madness. I have a really hard time wrapping my mind around the idea that profit and "economic growth" can seem more important to some than human lives and the health of our only home!!!

Monsanto isn't the only problem that humanity faces, but they are at the mast of the corporate ship that is headed straight for a massive iceberg, of which the destruction of the global food system is just the tip

It was heartwarming to see the variety of people who spent their Saturday marching the city streets, waving their lovely homemade signs and trying to wake up those who are not yet aware of the frankenfoods that they are consuming on a daily basis. It's pretty safe to say that if you purchased it from a run-of-the-mill restarant/fast food joint, it's full of GMO's. If it's not labeled as Organic certified or GMO FREE, and you bought it in a regular grocery store, it likely contains GMO's. YES. IT is TRUE. They are in pretty much everything that contains a (non-organic) corn product and many more ingredients. 

Here is a list of the most common GMO ingredients you will find in your food:

10. Sugar beets
  9. Potatoes
  8. Corn
  7. Tomatoes
  6. Squash
  5. Golden rice
  4. Soybeans
  3. Cooking oils
  2. Animal feeds
  1. Salmon

And the list goes on and on...and keeps growing. So. Think twice before you eat that stuff we used to think was food. Read food labels and ingredient lists. 

What's the solution? The same as most solutions that I suggest: educate yourself. Grow a garden using organic seeds and heirloom varieties that have not been messed with by greedy corporate hands. Shop at farmers' markets or join an organic CSA. Buy organic food. "But it's soooo expensive!", you might argue. 

And here is my rebuttal:

Our food is our nourishment, Our lifeblood. Without it we perish. Without our health, we truly have nothing. Our bodies need clean, fresh food to thrive. I can't think of anything that trumps healthy eating on my list of basic needs. Think you need that daily latte, new outfit, car or fancy phone? Think again.

Personal challenge: Track all of your spending for one month. You might be surprised at how much you spend on frivolous things. Instead of having the latest and greatest STUFF, shift your focus to cutting unnecessary costs and making healthy (NON-GMO/organic) food your top priority. Your body and the planet will thank you.

To close, this awesome poem was written a few years ago by actor, Woody Harrelson and I couldn't have said it any better myself:

Whoever painted this, it's awesome. Nice work

Sunday, May 11, 2014

It Starts with ONE

A revolution begins when one person stands up for what they believe is right and true, then others join in to stand up together for change.  There has been a major revolution happening over the last few decades and it's growing exponentially.  It's called....permaculture

"Permaculture is a philosophy of working with, rather than against nature; of protracted and thoughtful observation rather than protracted and thoughtless labor; and of looking at plants and animals in all their functions, rather than treating any area as a single production system." - Bill Mollison

The green thumbs are joining forces to save the world, one garden at a time. I took my permaculture design course (PDC) in 2009, on Orcas Island, Washington, when some good friends were more or less reborn after learning the permaculture ways. I wanted to know what all the excitement was about. For a whole month, I was immersed in permaculture living, breathing, speaking and eating. My way of existing in everyday life was changed forever. In a very good way.

I recently completed the book The One Straw Revolution by Masanobu Fukuoka. It was written in the 1970's in Japan. This man was way ahead (some might arguably say behind) of the times. I believe that Mr. Fukuoka was the father of the permaculture movement, before it was even called permaculture.  His philosophy was simpleDo less to nature and it will take care of itself. He believed that once humans disturb nature to try to control its functions, it starts a cycle of destruction that is very difficult to repair. 

My favorite parts of this book were the philosophies that he had on life in general, not just the parts about growing food. I closed the book feeling refreshed and inspired and more aware. I want to share a few of my favorite excerpts instead of trying to reinvent the wheel, so to speak.
"The path that leads to right awareness involves living each day straightforwardly and growing and eating wholesome, natural food."

"Produce grown in an unnatural way satisfies people's fleeting desires but weakens the human body and alters the body chemistry so that it is dependant upon such foods. When this happens, vitamin supplements and medicines become necessary. This situation only creates hardships for the farmer and suffering for the consumer."
"Human life is not sustained by its own power. Nature gives birth to human beings and keeps them alive. This is the relation in which people stand to nature. Food is a gift from Heaven. People do not create foods from nature; Heaven bestows them."

"When it is understood that one loses joy and happiness in the attempt to possess them, the essence of natural farming will be realized. The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings."
"If economic growth rises from 5% to 10%, is happiness going to double? What's wrong with a growth rate of 0%? Isn't this a rather stable kind of economics? Could there be anything better than living simply and taking it easy?"

"Originally human beings had no purpose. Now, dreaming up some purpose or other, they struggle away trying to find the meaning of life. It is a one-man wrestling match....From the time they enter nursery school, people's sorrows begin. The human being was a happy creature, but he created a hard world and now struggles trying to break out of it."
"Other animals fight but do not make war. If you say that making war, which depends upon ideas of strong and weak, is humanity's special "privilege," then life is a farce. Not knowing this farce to be a farce- there lies the human tragedy."

"Let us say that the key to peace lies close to the earth." - Masanobu Fukuoka 1913-2008

Saturday, May 03, 2014

Let's. Get. Real. (Please.)

I don't know if other people think about this or not because no one really talks about I will take the liberty of doing so, boldly and openly. As I often do. 
I will also prelude this blog post with saying: please don't assume that I dwell on negative things. Because I don't. There is a big difference between being a pessimist and being a realist. I mostly write about the positive side of things to help others (and myself) to feel uplifted and optimistic. Sometimes, however, I have to mix it up and talk about what deeply concerns me.

Tonight, after another week of work and "life stuff", we sat down on our sofa and pondered and analyzed life and our world. 
Why has humanity agreed to continue to perpetuate the old cyclical patterns of past generations? These old ways are clearly failing us as a species. Wars, famine, destruction, disease, environmental disasters, racism, class separation, toxic food...and the list keeps going.

We asked ourselves how many other people were sitting down on this fine Friday evening asking themselves the same questions. Surely we can't be the only two people on earth who feel like slaves to a completely mad global system?! 

We tallied our expenses for the month of April and were amazed at where our hard-earned dollars went. We had quite a few extraneous expenses for various things, including vehicle repairs, and various wellness expenses. But still, wow! It's amazing what the cost of life is. Why do we all play along with "the financial system"? How did we get to the point where we all agree to inherit the debts of our parents and grandparents and generations before them? The average (but not all) North American's life looks like this model: Birth, Schooling, Debt, Slavery (aka "a job"), "Retirement", End Scene. Repeat. Sound familiar?

Is there anyone reading this who wants to see us all paint a different collective picture? I find it sooo interesting that this blog has over 400 views each month, yet virtually no one is brave enough to engage in conversation about the topics that I write about. (To the very few who do engage, kudos for stepping outside of your cozy box.) Why the complacency, readers? What are you afraid will happen? Will your friends or family think you are weird for thinking outside the box? Oh no. Not that! If it makes others uncomfortable, then that's their choice. Sheesh! I have lost touch with a few friends/acquaintances who thought my blogging was too crazy or weird or extreme. And yet, here I am. Still writing. It's what feels right for me.

One of the reasons that I severely limited my browsing of social media sites was because so many people are engaging in meaningless, mind-numbing, time-wasting nonsense. (I know, I know. There's also a lot of positive stuff going around too.) As a society, we think that when we post tidbits about stuff, that it's productive in some trivial way.  It's the new TV of the 21st century. It sucks you in so that reality is a distant memory. Even if just for 10 minutes.

Funny but true. 
Here's another thing that is so bizarre to me:
Someone gets a shiny new car or a new funky hairstyle and their fabbed-up photo gets 65 likes and 22 comments. Soooo awesome!!! On the other hand, when someone (like me) shakes things up and says "hello world! This stuff is all just created to keep the carefully designed financial (and global government) systems flowing smoothly. Wake up everyone! Let's all change our reality!"…............................................. No likes. No comments. So uncomfortable for people. Let's pretend she didn't just say that thing that I know in my heart to be true. Phew. It's so much easier to pretend everything is just fine. Insert head in sand. Business as usual. Back to the grind.

I would like you to ask yourself a few questions and I would also like you to be 150% honest with yourself when you answer them. You don't have to share your answers with anyone. So don't worry what anyone else might think.

1.  Are you currently fulfilling your personal legend? My what? Exactly. Read The Alchemist for more info.

2. Do you wake up every morning feeling excited about the day ahead of you? If you do, I would like to hear about how you have achieved this! Maybe you could blog about it!

3. Do you work more than you want to and feel like you don't have enough time to enjoy your passions, friends and family?

4. Why are you reading this blog? No, really. What are you getting out of these posts? I would like to know.

5. Are you willing to step into your highest calling as a human being at this moment in time and help shift yourself and others toward a more loving and conscious planet?

Sounds pretty big, doesn't it? Yeah, well it is. If you are perfectly happy with your life then ignore all of this...and probably all of my other blog posts. 

If you aren't content with the state of your existence, then change it. No one else is going to hold your hand and help you to live your truth. That, my friends, is your mission. And that, my friends, is also my mission. Let's compare notes. 
That's what this blog is for!

The bottom left is one of my favorites. :)