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    The Price of Our Comfortable Lives

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    mudra

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    Re: The Price of Our Comfortable Lives

    Post  mudra on Wed Nov 27, 2013 4:33 pm

    Benefiting From The Indignity Of Others
    This blog is a comment on the passage “A Slave World” by Charles Eisenstein.

    I read this passage entitled “Slave World” from Charles Eisenstein’s book “Sacred Economics” a few days ago. By the time I read the final paragraph, I was in tears. When I read the last line, I was literally crying my eyes out. Tears of shame and guilt flowed down my face as though it were raining. Why must it be that so many people must abandon, or even worse, never get a chance to discover their innate dreams due to the need to work for life-sustaining resources?

    I put the book down and reflected. I recalled the day my “sustainability journey” began in 2007. I was working at Accenture Consulting flying back and forth across the country each week. On my way out the door one week, my brother handed me a book entitled “Confessions of an Economic Hitman” by John Perkins.

    Having exhausted the movie options on my regular flight, I decided to give the book a chance. It will turn out to be the first book I had read since I graduated from college five years ago. I read it cover to cover and exited the plane a different person than the one that boarded six hours earlier. John Perkins lived a life “developing” the “developing world”, a practice I felt at the time was noble work. After all, economic growth was the engine that promoted prosperity, happiness, and well-being.

    My beliefs couldn’t have been farther from the truth. John Perkins used to work for the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank creating “development aid” packages at interest rates (up to 20% annually) that they knew would be impossible to pay back. Many countries would never see the money as it would flow directly to the transnational corporations who would use ex-patriots for the construction work. Inevitably, the interest could not be repaid forcing these countries to renegotiate their debts in a way that lowered protective trade barriers, flooded local markets with cheap imports that destroyed local economies, and created a group of desperate people willing to work for subsistence wages in factories to survive.

    What other choice did they have? Their businesses can’t compete with the cheap goods from multi-national corporations operating with large government subsidies. The people have one offer and it is of the “take it or leave it” variety. And when that job is the only means to meet the basic needs of their family, people have no choice but to take it.

    It is, in effect, the same as slavery and, in some cases, even worse. Under a slave system, slave “masters” were responsible for the well-being of their slaves and had to provide food, shelter, and health care. Under the “free market” system, if a worker became sick or maimed, they could be easily replaced. The employer is under no obligation to make sure their workers can afford basic necessities. There is little help for anyone unable to work. This is hardly a choice

    And why is it that this system exists? It is due to market competition to provide the lowest possible prices. Consumers do not have a choice. They cannot choose to pay more and have those extra dollars flow to people whose lives could be dramatically improved by relatively small amounts of money.

    Nor should they have to. Last week, Apple, Inc. became the wealthiest corporation in the world when its market capitalization passed Exxon Mobil. It has $98 billion in cash reserves. Yet the company uses sub-contractors like Foxconn that enforce “long hours and paltry wages” driving many workers to suicide. What is the purpose of hoarding all that money? Just to give an even greater return to the owners of money, also known as investors?

    Is this how we want our world to function? Can’t we do better? How does it make you feel to use a product embedded with the tears and blood of so many people?

    - See more at: http://sustainableman.org/benefiting-from-the-indignity-of-others/#sthash.HdrboOnw.dpuf


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    Re: The Price of Our Comfortable Lives

    Post  getlikeme on Wed Nov 27, 2013 5:02 pm

    Its really terrible the thing I hate most is that we are raised to believe that we need all of these comforts and most of the time they turn out to be wants rather than needs. Few people in america and perhaps most of the "civilized" nations of the world really understand the concept of a need.
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    Re: The Price of Our Comfortable Lives

    Post  burgundia on Thu Nov 28, 2013 12:27 pm

    getlikeme wrote:I do but right now we must focus on ourselves I'm really not trying to be selfish just find it odd that we don't even have well established or rather well enacted human rights how do we expect to save the planet if we can't even save ourselves? I love nature and animals especially and plan to go back to school for biology but if we continue along this path we will destroy ourselves before we destroy the planet. The earth has given rise to all of the great species without our help and millions of species have come and gone before  we had anything to do with it, the earth has its ways of coping. Were really not that great of a species on average and we have a terrible track record but we try to act as if we are civilized when we are far from it.
    The way things are going now, what we are doing to the planet, animals and plants, has made me arrive at a conclusion that the fewer people on earth the better.
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    Re: The Price of Our Comfortable Lives

    Post  mudra on Thu Nov 28, 2013 3:54 pm

    getlikeme wrote:Its really terrible the thing I hate most is that we are raised to believe that we need all of these comforts and most of the time they turn out to be wants rather than needs. Few people in america and perhaps most of the "civilized" nations of the world really understand the concept of a need.
    This in a way summarizes it all Drew...



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    Re: The Price of Our Comfortable Lives

    Post  getlikeme on Thu Nov 28, 2013 7:11 pm

    @burgundia true when you keep a species alive longermthan it has evolved to live, it really starts to muck stuff up. We are so hopelessly obsessed with living longer lives that we don't really live while were here
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    Re: The Price of Our Comfortable Lives

    Post  mudra on Tue Dec 03, 2013 6:18 am

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    Re: The Price of Our Comfortable Lives

    Post  mudra on Thu Dec 05, 2013 3:12 pm

    Forest-friendly fashion
    Nicole Rycroft

    3rd December 2013


    Could your fashion style be destroying forests and driving orang-utans towards extinction? Nicole Rycroft shows how cellulose fibres used in textiles are a major cause of biodiversity loss worldwide. But your choices can make all the difference ...

    As many as 100 million trees a year are going into the manufacture of pulp for fabric and that number is on the rise.
    "Do you have these pants in black?" is the type of question that you'd generally hear coming from the change rooms of clothing retailers. However over the coming months more of the queries that you'll hear echoing in boutiques and malls will be "Is this shirt made from Orangutan or Caribou habitat?"

    My organization, Canopy, recently launched a campaign to ensure endangered forests do not end up in clothing. Rayon, viscose and modal fabrics are made from pulped trees. So Canopy is raising awareness that much of today's fast fashion and haute couture comes at a cost to the forests we love.

    Fashionistas are watching to see which designers and apparel brands join EILEEN FISHER, Quiksilver, lululemon athletica and the other CanopyStyle early champions that have committed to eliminate endangered forests from their fabrics.

    In addition to phasing out controversial forest-fibre, these companies are looking to shift to alternatives like recycled rayon, organic and socially sustainable cottons and, where tree fibre is used, eco-certified Forest Stewardship Council forests. They've got class.

    In the national language of Indonesia, "orang" means person, "hutan" means forest. One of humanity's closest relatives, Orangutans are literally "the people of the forest".

    These beautiful orange creatures with soulful eyes share 97 percent of their DNA with humans. They spend their lives in the forest canopy, travelling through the tree tops, nurturing their young and sleeping in the embrace of the branches.

    They are listed by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature as critically endangered and may be the first of the great apes to go extinct within our lifetimes. And one of the major causes of their demise is likely hanging in your closet ...

    read on : http://www.theecologist.org/campaigning/2183821/forestfriendly_fashion.html

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    Re: The Price of Our Comfortable Lives

    Post  mudra on Thu Dec 05, 2013 5:31 pm

    Heavy metals

    Heavy metal detox is very important in solving the mystery of many health problems. Heavy metal poisoning can be the cause of, or a contributor to, many conditions such as chronic fatigue syndrome, autism, cancer, immune system dysfunction, damage to the central nervous system, damaged adrenals, depression, anxiety, multiple chemical sensitivities, and more.


    A list of some heavy metals, their sources and symptoms of toxicity:


    Aluminum -- Is found in aluminum foil, cans, baking powder, cosmetics, cheese, fireworks, dental amalgams, deodorants, drugs, toothpaste, pesticides, pollution, table salt (you can substitute with natural sea salt), nasal spray, cookware, vehicle exhaust, aspirin and more.

    Aluminum can cause learning disabilities, Alzheimer's, dementia, dry skin, anemia, headaches, liver dysfunction, memory loss, Parkinson's, heartburn, peptic ulcer, psychosis, Aluminum tends to accumulate in the kidneys, liver, brain, reproductive organs, muscles, stomach. Some of the common symptoms of aluminum are headaches, abnormal heart rhythm, depression, blurred vision, numbness in hands and feet.

    One of the most well known health problems caused by aluminum is Alzheimer's and dementia. The use of aluminum in many products used on a daily basis may be the reason there is such an increase in the number of people who have these health problems.

    Arsenic -- Is found in some seafood, is used in galvanizing and power plants, is found in pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, desiccants and wood preservatives and riot control gas. There is arsenic in the air due to the burning of wood coal, metal alloys and arsenic waste.

    It can cause anemia, malaise, fatigue, spontaneous abortions, dermatitis, skin lesions, peripheral neuropathy, encephalopathy, cardiovascular distress, Raynaud's phenomenon, hypertension, myocardial infarction, hearing loss, cardiovascular disease, cancer of the skin, liver or respiratory tract.

    Beryllium -- Is found in household products, coal, spark plugs, microwave tubes, photographic equipment, etc.

    The lungs are the target organ of beryllium toxicity and may be a cause of lung cancer. It may also cause contact dermatitis, ulcers, magnesium depletion, organ dysfunction and disturbance of calcium and vitamin D metabolism.

    Lead -- Is in auto exhaust, batteries, cigarette smoke, inks, cosmetics, household dust, hair dyes, lead pipes, pottery, liver, canned fruit, pesticides, pencils, paint, newsprint, toothpaste, putty, PVC containers, tin cans and water.

    It can cause adrenal insufficiency, behavioral disorders, cardiovascular disease, loss of coordination, depression, constipation, fatigue, anxiety, anemia, allergies, immune suppression, decreased IQ, insomnia, joint pain, kidney disorders, liver dysfunction, memory loss, menstrual problems, muscle aches and weakness, multiple sclerosis, myelopathy, Parkinson's disease, restlessness, seizures, stillbirths, sudden infant death syndrome, and lots more.

    Lead also affects cognitive development in children such as retardation, learning difficulties and behavioral problems.

    Mercury -- Is found primarily in dental amalgams. It is also found in air conditioner filters, batteries, body powders, newspapers, laxatives, medications, vaccines, fungicides, grains, insecticides, paints, Preparation H, tattoos, diuretics, thermometers, paper, fluorescent light bulbs, skin creams and ointments.

    Mercury tends to concentrate in the kidneys and brain. It can cause dementia, colitis and renal failure in people who have used laxatives containing mercury. Other health problems include bronchitis, fatigue, insomnia, loss of memory, chest pains, gingivitis, anxiety, adrenal dysfunction, brain damage, dizziness, eczema, immune dysfunction, migraines, pain in limbs, vision loss, hyperactivity, hypothyroidism, kidney damage, memory loss, joint pain, depression, mental retardation, anorexia, nerve impairment and chronic viral, bacterial and fungal illnesses.

    Mercury And Its Use In Fillings

    It has been recently discovered that mercury may be the cause of the rise in the number autistic children. Mercury has been present in the vaccinations given to children. Here's an article about the connection of mercury to autism.

    Autism: A Unique Type of Mercury Poisoning

    Nickel -- Is found in fertilizers, food processing, kelp, oysters, batteries, fuel oil, imitation whipped cream, margarine, stainless steel cookware, tea, tobacco, vegetable shortening.

    It may cause kidney problems, hormonal problems, headaches, intestinal or respiratory cancer, low blood pressure, skin problems and asthma and sinus problems.

    How to remove heavy metals from your body --

    read on: Arrow http://www.natural-cure-remedy.com/heavy-metal-detox.html

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    Re: The Price of Our Comfortable Lives

    Post  burgundia on Sat Dec 07, 2013 10:05 am

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    Re: The Price of Our Comfortable Lives

    Post  mudra on Sat Dec 07, 2013 2:53 pm

    World's biggest palm oil company makes zero deforestation commitment
    Rhett A. Butler, mongabay.com
    December 05, 2013



    Deforestation for an oil palm plantation in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo. Photos by Rhett A. Butler.

    Wilmar, the world's largest palm oil trader and a long-time target of environmentalists, has signed a landmark policy that commits the company to eliminate deforestation from its supply chain. The deal, if fully implemented, has the potential to transform the palm oil industry, which has emerged over the past decade as one of the world's most important drivers of tropical forest destruction.

    Wilmar's policy, posted on its web site today, comes after months of discussions between The Forest Trust (TFT), an NGO that helps companies clean up their supply chains; Unilever, the world's largest corporate consumer of palm oil; and Climate Advisers, a consultancy focused on climate change. The policy also follows years of campaigns by activists and human rights groups that have targeted Wilmar for both the damage caused by the plantations it owns as well as the palm oil it buys from third party suppliers.

    The new policy addresses both of those areas of concern, committing the company to a policy that applies to "all Wilmar operations worldwide, including those of its subsidiaries, any refinery, mill or plantation that we own, manage, or invest in, regardless of stake" as well as "all third-party suppliers from whom we purchase or with whom we have a trading relationship," according to the company. It also applies to Wilmar's non-palm oil holdings and trading, including sugar and soy.

    Read more at http://news.mongabay.com/2013/1205-wilmar-zero-deforestation.html#PTrdJvWdTGLCTXRz.99

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    Re: The Price of Our Comfortable Lives

    Post  mudra on Sat Dec 07, 2013 3:07 pm



    The Impact of Using Live Christmas Trees on the Environment

    You’ve probably heard some people suggest using live Christmas trees as the centerpiece of your holiday decorations is bad for the environment. After all, you are cutting down a living part of the environment, bringing it into your home, and decorating it for a few weeks before discarding it then repeating the whole process again next year. What may surprise you, however, is that going real is actually the best way to “go green” this holiday.

    Farm Raised Firs
    One of the misconceptions about the living Christmas trees is they are chopped down from naturally occurring growth areas leaving behind only stumps and a few needles. The reality is that almost all of the trees available for purchase today were raised in Christmas tree farms. As the name suggests, these are designated areas were the trees are grown, cut down, and re-grown repeatedly. That means you’re not robbing nature of one of its trees when you choose a living fir for your home.

    Of course, some might complain that these farms harm the environment but that also does not seem to be the case. Concern about the impact of these farms on surface water in North Carolina where many are located prompted several studies by the EPA. The conclusions were that macroinvertebrates – living creatures which are an indication of stream health – showed no reduction in the quality of the water in those areas.


    Plus, Christmas tree farms help the environment because they provide much needed refuge for wild animals whose natural habitats are being destroyed by developers. The farms, therefore, are able to serve both commercial and environmental needs.

    While the above points already seemed to make a strong argument for using live Christmas trees, there are a few others to consider as well. For one, these farms actually help reduce the amount of carbon dioxide being emitted into the environment by polluters. They absorb the chemical to assist in the photosynthesis process and because of the large number of trees in each farm they absorb a lot.

    What about Fake Trees?

    One reason why people believe fake Christmas trees are a “greener” choice is because they can be reused. However, most people only reuse the same tree for a few years before choosing a new one. What happens to the old one? While they could be donated to families who can’t afford their own trees, most people toss them in the garbage. They end up sitting in landfills for decades. Even if you would want to recycle them, you couldn’t because they are not made from recyclable products.

    Furthermore, most of these fake trees are made from a chemical known as polyvinyl chloride (PVC). The chemical is made from petroleum so if you don’t like the oil industry this is not a product you’d want to purchase. Also, the factories making the trees and using this PVC are polluting the environment with several types of well-known carcinogens. Plus, more of the trees are now being made in China where environmental restrictions are reduced. Some of these trees may even be contaminated by lead which could be dangerous to your children.

    http://www.brighthub.com/environment/science-environmental/articles/19438.aspx

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    Re: The Price of Our Comfortable Lives

    Post  Sanicle on Sat Dec 07, 2013 11:53 pm

    mudra wrote:World's biggest palm oil company makes zero deforestation commitment
    Rhett A. Butler, mongabay.com
    December 05, 2013



    Deforestation for an oil palm plantation in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo. Photos by Rhett A. Butler.

    Wilmar, the world's largest palm oil trader and a long-time target of environmentalists, has signed a landmark policy that commits the company to eliminate deforestation from its supply chain. The deal, if fully implemented, has the potential to transform the palm oil industry, which has emerged over the past decade as one of the world's most important drivers of tropical forest destruction.

    Wilmar's policy, posted on its web site today, comes after months of discussions between The Forest Trust (TFT), an NGO that helps companies clean up their supply chains; Unilever, the world's largest corporate consumer of palm oil; and Climate Advisers, a consultancy focused on climate change. The policy also follows years of campaigns by activists and human rights groups that have targeted Wilmar for both the damage caused by the plantations it owns as well as the palm oil it buys from third party suppliers.

    The new policy addresses both of those areas of concern, committing the company to a policy that applies to "all Wilmar operations worldwide, including those of its subsidiaries, any refinery, mill or plantation that we own, manage, or invest in, regardless of stake" as well as "all third-party suppliers from whom we purchase or with whom we have a trading relationship," according to the company. It also applies to Wilmar's non-palm oil holdings and trading, including sugar and soy.

    Read more at http://news.mongabay.com/2013/1205-wilmar-zero-deforestation.html#PTrdJvWdTGLCTXRz.99

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    mudra
    That is brilliant news!! Oooyeah 1 cheers Beer 
    Thank you Mudra
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    Re: The Price of Our Comfortable Lives

    Post  mudra on Sun Dec 08, 2013 2:48 pm

    Sanicle wrote:
    That is brilliant news!!  Oooyeah 1 cheers Beer 
    Thank you Mudra
    Spiritual 
    Indeed Sanicle .
    I am on the look out for these kind of " miracles " to pop up more and more as balance comes into play

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    Re: The Price of Our Comfortable Lives

    Post  mudra on Sun Dec 08, 2013 2:51 pm

    Midway
    a Message from the Gyre
    by Chris Jordan


    MIDWAY, a Message from the Gyre is a short film. It is a powerful visual journey into the heart of an astonishingly symbolic environmental tragedy. On one of the remotest islands on our planet, tens of thousands of baby albatrosses lie dead on the ground, their bodies filled with plastic from the Pacific Garbage Patch. Returning to the island over several years, our team is witnessing the cycles of life and death of these birds as a multi-layered metaphor for our times. With photographer Chris Jordan as our guide, we walk through the fire of horror and grief, facing the immensity of this tragedy—and our own complicity—head on. And in this process, we find an unexpected route to a transformational experience of beauty, acceptance, and understanding.

    MIDWAY - a film by Chris Jordan

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ozBE-ZPw18c


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    Re: The Price of Our Comfortable Lives

    Post  mudra on Mon Dec 09, 2013 1:44 pm



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    Re: The Price of Our Comfortable Lives

    Post  mudra on Tue Dec 10, 2013 7:37 pm


    "We are still accepting a cultural value that annihilates the Earth. If we don’t change, we are going to our own extinction...I think we have to open our hearts and feel our collective wound. That’s where we learn love. Through our own suffering, our hearts are broken open in love for one another. Love in our culture is such a sentimental chocolate-syrup word. So often it means compulsive need. But love is an energy. It moves through our bodies; it moves between people, a force that holds atoms together. That’s how I understand love." —Marion Woodman

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    Re: The Price of Our Comfortable Lives

    Post  mudra on Wed Dec 11, 2013 12:54 pm



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    Re: The Price of Our Comfortable Lives

    Post  mudra on Thu Dec 12, 2013 3:59 pm

    The True Source Of Greed




    Have you ever had an experience of true connection to another living being or with nature? Maybe you were taking a road trip on a beautiful road with your best friend, you had that perfect tune on the radio, and you shared your dreams together. Or maybe you were drifting through the forest alone but not really feeling alone at all – you felt “oneness” with the environment.

    Think back to one of these moments in your life. Tell me, in that moment, did you want to go shopping? Did you have an appetite for junk food? Did you feel like “getting wasted?” Were you missing your favorite soap opera or sporting program? Did you feel like you were lacking any material possession whatsoever?
    When I think back to these moments in my life, the only thing I wanted was for the moment to continue. I felt calm and content, full of gratitude simply for the experience of being alive. I had everything I needed in that moment – the loving attention of my friend, the gentle grounding of the sand between my toes, or the embrace of my dog after a long walk through the park. I was content and happy with all that I had, even if I didn’t have any money in my pocket. What I had was invaluable.

    Let us pause for a moment now and think back to a different time in our lives – a time when we felt that we needed something – a new iPhone, those amazing $700 pair of shoes at Bloomingdales, maybe just “to get away.” How do you feel in these moments? Do you feel anything remotely resembling the feeling of true connection? If you are like me, you might feel like something is missing in your life, like there is a void within longing to be filled.
    Modern consumer culture tells us the answer to that void is to buy something – anything. Advertisers know you are feeling that void because they promote that void. For decades, the Mad Men have been telling you that you aren’t good or happy enough and all you need to be happy is to buy their product. Perhaps one of these situations sounds familiar:
    It is Friday night and you have a hot date. You are looking through your closet to find that perfect outfit except none of the two hundred different articles of clothing you own will suffice. It is either last year’s fashion, too big or small, the wrong color, whatever. So you head out to buy something new. You arrive at the store and feel excited because you know a safe connection will be made to a new object and you will feel good again.

    Or maybe you’ve had a long day at work putting out fire after fire, dealing with all of your annoying co-workers, wishing you could escape it all. You get home and you are exhausted. Your spouse asks you about your day which, at this point, sounds way too much like your loud cubicle mate chatting with his girlfriend about their vacation plans on the phone all day. You just can’t take it anymore so you throw a fit, get in your car, and head to the nearest watering hole. There, you know, a connection with the whiskey will be made and you will feel good again.

    Here, the root source of greed reveals itself. Whenever we feel disconnected from the world, we have a hunger for a connection – to anything. If this hunger is not satiated, it creates an emotional wound that festers. To protect that wound, we develop walls to keep people out because we are so fragile from years of not being heard that we don’t think we can survive another disappointment. “At least the material good won’t betray us,” we think. We don’t realize that the material goods do betray us by failing to deliver the intimate connection to another being we all long for. This is why you can have a hundred pairs of shoes and still feel like you need more. No material acquisition can substitute for the experience of true intimacy and connection. But they can provide moments of feeling connected. If one has enough financial means, it may even be possible to string enough of those moments together to be completely unaware of the true need for connection underneath.

    You see, it may not seem like it to those on the outside but many wealthy people are suffering. Because they pay for everything, they have few people in their lives that are there because of a true connection. Their connections are bought and so they are never real.

    Wealthy people also are not given permission to complain about anything. Society expects them to be perfectly happy and if they aren’t, they are judged harshly. You may even be judging me right now for offering empathy to them. This judgment makes finding experiences of true connection nearly impossible. Instead of connection, they are offered only conditional approval based upon acting or performing a certain way. They never get to live their authentic lives. In this circumstance, greed is nothing more than a futile attempt to relieve the very real pain of caused by a lack of real, authentic connection to the world.

    read on: http://sustainableman.org/the-true-source-of-greed/


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    Re: The Price of Our Comfortable Lives

    Post  mudra on Sun Dec 15, 2013 4:17 pm

    Gray whale dies bringing us a message



    July 29, 2013, a sperm whale was stranded on Tershelling, a northern island in the Netherlands. A rescue attempt was attempted, but unfortunately the whale died. A young adult at 13.5 meters was taken for a necropsy at the port of Harlington. The sperm whale had plastic in its stomach, an increasing common phenomenon say researchers at the Biodiversity Centre Naturalis. In March of this year, a 10 meter long sperm whale washed up on Spain’s South Coast. This whale had swallowed 59 different plastic items totaling over 37 pounds. Most of this plastic consisted of transparent sheeting used to build greenhouses in Almeria and Grenada for the purpose of tomatoes for the European market. The rest was plastic bags, nine meters of rope, two stretches of hosepipe, two small flower pots, and a plastic spray canister. Cause of death was intestinal blockage.

    These are not uncommon incidents. In 1989, a stranded sperm whale in the Lavezzi Islands in the Tyrrhenian Sea died of a stomach obstruction after accidentally ingesting plastic bags and 100 feet of plastic sheeting. In 1990, a sperm whale examined for pathology in Iceland died of an obstruction of the gut with plastic marine debris. In August of 2008, a sperm whale washed up in Point Reyes, California with 450 pounds of fishing net, rope, and plastic bags in its stomach. The California Marine Mammal Stranding Database tells of another sperm whale stranded in 2008 with stomach contents that included an extensive amount of netting from discarded fishing gear.

    The sperm whale that stranded in the Netherlands had a large part of its lower jaw missing. Among hundreds of thousands of sperm whales that whalers harpoon, regularly encountered are sperm whales with broken or deformed lower jaws. Most of these whales have full stomachs and are healthy right before being slaughtered. This, and the fact squids are found in their stomachs whole and seldom show bite marks, lead to a theory that the lower jaw plays no significant role in catching of prey and that these sperm whales instead suck their food in. If this theory is true, sperm whales are just as vulnerable as baleen whales to the ingestion of marine debris.


    Read more http://www.trueactivist.com/gray-whale-dies-bringing-us-a-message-with-stomach-full-of-plastic-trash/Read more http://www.trueactivist.com/gray-whale-dies-bringing-us-a-message-with-stomach-full-of-plastic-trash/

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    Re: The Price of Our Comfortable Lives

    Post  mudra on Sun Dec 15, 2013 4:36 pm



    How the Western Black Rhino Went Extinct


    Oh what a difference a century makes. At the beginning of the 20th century, an estimated one million black rhinoceroses from four different subspecies roamed the savannas of Africa. By 2001 that number had dropped to about 2,300 black rhinos and just three subspecies. This is the tale of how we lost one of those subspecies, the western black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis longipes). It is a story of greed, indifference, hope and despair.

    Historically, the western black rhino had a fairly large range across central and western Africa, with populations in modern-day Cameroon, Chad, the Central African Republic, Sudan and South Sudan, making it the northernmost African rhino subspecies. Although it had lived in these countries for centuries, the western black—like most rhinos—found itself to be incompatible with the 20th century. Widespread sports hunting in the first decades of the century quickly decimated rhino populations. Industrial agriculture came next, clearing many historic rhino habitats for fields and settlements. Farmers and ranchers at the time viewed large herbivores such as rhinos as pests and dangers to their crops. The slaughter continued.

    The final nail in the rhinos’ coffin began in the early 1950s, when Mao Zedong promoted so-called traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) as a tool for unifying the country he had recently come to lead. Even though Chairman Mao himself did not believe in TCM, he called for its use over Western medicine. Among the many “cures” touted by China’s “New Medicine” was powdered rhino horn, which was said to cure everything from fevers to cancer. (This last claim is a fairly recent development.)

    That’s when poachers descended on Africa. Between 1960 and 1995 an astonishing 98 percent of black rhinos were killed by poachers, either to feed the new and voracious demand for TCM or, to a lesser extent, for horns to be used as ceremonial knife handles in the Middle East. All rhinos suffered; the western black rhino, already weakened by decades of overhunting, was the hardest hit.

    read on: http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/extinction-countdown/2013/11/13/western-black-rhino-extinct/

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    Re: The Price of Our Comfortable Lives

    Post  mudra on Sun Dec 15, 2013 4:50 pm



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    Re: The Price of Our Comfortable Lives

    Post  mudra on Mon Dec 16, 2013 5:11 pm

    Tin Trouble

    The nightmare mining conditions behind our electronic goods

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5dRaoqiYo9g


    Tin is an essential element in consumer electronics and Indonesia is now its biggest exporter. But its poverty stricken miners work in horrendous conditions and the human and environmental toll is proving costly.

    "The most dangerous is when we are buried. I was traumatized", says 25-year-old Yuri, who risks his life illegally diving for tin off the coast. In addition to a steadily rising death toll, local ecosystems are being ravaged by massive deforestation, water pollution, soil depletion and the collapse of fish stocks. "It will take centuries, thousands of years before everything can return to normal", says biologist Eddy Nurtjahya. The Islands of Bangka and Belitung are experiencing a tin rush and with a laissez-faire government and rampant corruption, many are now seeking international pressure to help curb this illegal trade. "If the government doesn't take immediate action Bangka and Belitung will get poorer and poorer."

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    Re: The Price of Our Comfortable Lives

    Post  mudra on Tue Dec 17, 2013 8:36 am

    12/16/2013 -- Rare 4.2M Fracking Earthquake -- Kansas -- 0.3 miles from nearest well

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uLp94UaFKrY


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    Re: The Price of Our Comfortable Lives

    Post  mudra on Tue Dec 17, 2013 12:50 pm

    Pesticides - the Government must protect us!

    Georgina Downs


    Pesticides campaigner Georgina Downs has scored a significant victory in her 12 year battle against the UK Government. But DEFRA Ministers have still failed to secure adequate protection for people in the countryside.

    In a rather low key announcement, the Government finally agreed to changes to its policy for assessing the risks to people from agricultural pesticides. This followed a long drawn out battle between myself and the Government often dubbed "Georgina v Goliath".

    In 2001, I identified astonishing failings in the Government's existing policy and approvals system for protecting people who live near sprayed fields, from the health risks of pesticide use. So I started to present a case to the Government regarding its policy failings, and campaigning for urgent action to protect the health of people in the countryside.

    To date, the official method in the UK of assessing the risks to people from crop spraying and under which pesticides are approved, is based on the model of a 'bystander' - which assumes that there will only be occasional short-term exposure of just a few minutes. It is also based on the assumption that exposure will only be to one individual pesticide at any time.

    But this 'bystander model' clearly does not address the realities of of pesticide exposure to people who are actually living in these sprayed areas.

    Exposure for rural residents is long-term, chronic, cumulative, and is to innumerable mixtures ('cocktails') of pesticides used on crops. There are approximately 2,000 products currently approved for agricultural use in the UK!

    Denial of the problem

    Until now the Government and its main advisors, the Advisory Committee on Pesticides (ACP), have denied the inadequacies of the existing approach in the UK. So much so, that I was left with no choice but to challenge the Government's policy in the courts.

    As a direct result of that legal case, (in particular the landmark ruling in the High Court that rural residents are not protected from pesticides), DEFRA Ministers requested a review of the policy in March 2009. As part of that review the ACP set up a joint working group with the Committee on Toxicity (COT) known as BRAWG.

    The new body was supposed to be only 'short-life', lasting a matter of months. But it only reported to Ministers nearly 4 years later, in December 2012. BRAWG recommended changes to the approach for assessing the risks to people from pesticides.

    It agreed with a number of my long-standing arguments, including that: there needs to be separate exposure and risk assessments for residents and bystanders; and both acute (short-term) and longer-term exposure assessments are required for residents.

    Despite vindicating the crux of my critical campaign arguments (that residents are not covered by the existing bystander model), overall BRAWG's recommendations were still woefully inadequate. It has inexplicably taken nearly another year for the Government to announce that it has accepted all of BRAWG's recommendations.

    In doing so the Government is finally acknowledging that the risk assessment approach relied upon to date has been inadequate. This is what I have always argued, as there has been no risk assessment whatsoever to cover the exposure of residents living near sprayed fields.

    But which pesticides?

    The changes in approach will apply to any new pesticide products to be considered for approval, but it also raises serious questions as to what happens to all the pesticides that have been approved under the inadequate approach? Will all those pesticides now be reassessed?

    According to reports a DEFRA spokesman has now confirmed that pesticides currently approved could ultimately be affected, as well as new ones coming through the system.

    Yet there has never been any assessment in the UK to date of the risks to health for residents and others exposed over the long term. This means that under EU law pesticides should never have been approved for use in the first place for spraying near homes, schools and children's playgrounds.

    It also means that there has never been any evidence to support the Government position of safety to residents, or children attending schools near sprayed fields - just the Government's unfounded assertions.

    Rural residents still at risk

    The existing UK policy has put rural citizens in a guinea pig-style experiment. Many of us residents have had to suffer the serious and devastating, and even fatal, consequences.

    The Government's decision to change its approach for assessing pesticide risks is a significant victory in my 12 year battle against the Government. But Ministers have still failed to secure the protection of people in the countryside from these harmful chemicals.

    It is now beyond dispute that pesticides can cause a wide range of both acute, and chronic, adverse effects on human health. The European Commission has previously clearly acknowledged that:

    "Long term exposure to pesticides can lead to serious disturbances to the immune system, sexual disorders, cancers, sterility, birth defects, damage to the nervous system and genetic damage."

    A catalogue of health effects:

    Throughout my 12 year campaign I have continued to receive reports of both acute health effects, as well as chronic long-term effects, illnesses and diseases, from residents in rural communities. The reports cover all different age groups from the babies and young children to the elderly.

    The acute effects reported are the same as those recorded in the Government's own monitoring system. They include sore throats, chemical burns to eyes and skin, blisters, burnt vocal chords, respiratory irritation, breathing problems, difficulty swallowing, headaches, dizziness, vomiting, stomach pains, and flu-type illnesses.

    The most common chronic long-term illnesses reported to the campaign include neurological damage, Parkinson's disease, and Multiple Sclerosis; and cancers, especially those of the breast, prostate, stomach, and brain, leukaemia, and non-Hodgkins lymphoma.

    The economic costs of the health conditions that pesticides can cause are massive. Obviously it goes without saying that the personal and human costs to those suffering chronic diseases and damage, and the impacts on all those around them, cannot be calculated in financial terms.

    Further, a number of residents have tragically lost their lives as a result of suffering such conditions, and many more will inevitably do so if the Government continues to fail to stop the spraying of these toxic chemicals in the locality of residents' homes and gardens.


    read on: http://www.theecologist.org/blogs_and_comments/commentators/2200835/pesticides_the_government_must_protect_us.html

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    Re: The Price of Our Comfortable Lives

    Post  mudra on Tue Dec 17, 2013 1:02 pm

    India - buried under stinking rubbish heaps

    Almudena Serpis

    17th December 2013



    Under the 'Incredible India' brand lurk millions of fast-growing piles of decomposing waste, reports Almudena Serpis. As they await removal, polluting waters and stinking under the tropical sun, India is rapidy becoming the world's biggest rubbish dump.

       About 70 per cent of water effluents are not treated and disposed off into the environmental media untreated.

    As the train approached the city of Mumbai I could smell the river of putrid sludge flowing through the slums which border the train tracks. Mountains of rubbish from daily waste accumulated behind every household whilst children played on top of them barefoot.

    I finished my lunch and searched for a bin to throw the water bottles and food packaging left over from a 21 hour train journey. The Indian family sitting opposite me were observing my moves with astonished eyes. Since I could not find one, I looked at them and tried to ask for a plastic bag.

    To my surprise, the mother collected all my rubbish and, without hesitation, she threw it out of the window.

    Absence of proper sanitation

    Most trains in India lack sanitation facilities such as rubbish bins and it is commonly accepted that all garbage is disposed outside, onto the rails. One of the young workers who serves food in the train asked:

    "That is just how it is done. If we throw it outside someone will eventually pick it up or burn the rubbish. I have seen people do it. What do we do with it if not?"

    Indian railways consist of 64,000 route km which handles 20 million passengers a day, which is almost 2% of the Indian population, according to a 2012 Indian government panel report.

    Some journeys may take one or several days non-stop, in which every passenger generates waste from at least three meals and one plastic bottle daily.


    Train toilets are also a matter of great concern. In these open toilets human waste falls directly onto the tracks deteriorating them. As the Report points out:

    "Apart from the issue of hygiene, this has several serious safety implications arising out of corrosion of rails and related hardware."

    In the year 2000 the Indian government set up plans to change train toilets and improve sanitation, as well as put in place various laws in relation to the development of solid waste management systems, landfills, recollection and other solid waste management measures.

    But the results of these laws and regulations are not easily perceived. An example of this is the ban on plastic bags which was introduced in India in 2011.

    In Delhi the violation of the ban is punishable with up to five years of imprisonment or with a fine of up to 100,000 rupees (1,200 Euros). Despite this, plastic bags are seen everywhere.

    "We have to continue doing business and with no other alternative in place, distributing plastic bags to our clients is and will continue to be part of it", says the owner of a clothes shop in Delhi. "Either way, who will come and check?"

    Read on:  Arrow http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_analysis/2201996/india_buried_under_stinking_rubbish_heaps.html

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