Tag Archives: Natural Living

Seeds of Deception Part II

Continuing from my last post here


Why is there HUNGER in the world? Why do people still die because of Hunger? The days when the world did not produce enough food has been gone for years now, yet we have over a billion people who suffer from Hunger in 2010! There are children dying because of hunger world over, why is it?

No one really knows exactly how many people are malnourished. The statistic most frequently cited is that of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, which measures ‘under-nutrition’. The most recent estimate, released on October 14, 2009 by FAO,  says that 1.02 billion people are undernourished, a sizable increase from its 2006 estimate of  854 million people.

Lack of food is not the problem. Enough food is produced in the world today for everyone to be properly nourished and lead a healthy and productive life. Hunger exists because of poverty. In a Developing country like India where the GDP is growing by 6-8% every year the agrarian way of life still supports more than 50% of her 1billion plus people and forms less than 18% of the GDP. Indian Government estimates say around 30% of the population lives below the poverty line. In 1995 India became and agri-exporter because Green Revolution had succeeded and she was producing surplus food! Add to that the fact that India is ranked second in Agricultural out put! Yet her farmers are killing themselves in the 1000’s because of hunger and debt!! Isn’t that a huge disconnect?

Agriculture the First Revolution for Human kind


One common thread that binds all the species on our earth is the fact that we all at the end of day work for food, every thing else is secondary.  Agriculture for all practical purposes can be considered the first revolution for human kind. We discovered agriculture some 10,000 years back which lead to man settling down creating cities and civilizations.

Today half of human kind depend on agriculture for survival.  Almost 3/4 of this population still use their hands and do traditional farming. Agriculture was passed down from generation to generation and the agrarian way of life could be called almost ritualistic. The farmer toiled on his farm every year, depending on his hard work and nature for his yield. Industrialization and the discovery of coal and crude oil changed agriculture too. The unbridled power of oil changed agriculture in ways we would not imagine 50 years back. Machines replaced men; a liter of oil produced enough energy to run machines which replaced almost 50 people working 24hours!

In the US with a population of approximately 300million,  there are only 3 million farmers left and they produce enough food to feed 2 Billion people! Most of this feed is not used as food but transformed into bio fuels and cattle feed.

Agriculture uses 70% of all water we use in the world! Crops adapted to the weather patterns and the soil where they grew gave way to the high-yielding Transgenic varieties which produced more and were easier to cultivate. In the last century we have lost over 3/4th of all native seeds developed by farmers world over by cultivation over 1000 years…

An example for a modern Agricultural “marvel” would be Almeria in Spain- Europe’s vegetable garden. As far as the eye can see it is plastic roof tops with controlled artificial environments below. The home project film describes it like this “As far as the eye can see plastic above and fertilizer below. A city of uniformly sized vegetables wait everyday to be transported to Europe’s super markets”.

This is modern day Agriculture, where hybrids are the name of the game. We get inbuilt pesticides, herbicides and viruses so that the vegetable crop survives. The producers “guarantee” there has been no case of transference of genes from plants to humans noted. The only study done has been with soy and it has been seen it does transfer to our colon. More about it in the next post as am still reading Jeffrey M Smith’s book Genetic Roulette (see the link at the bottom of the page, I got it from there)

Development in the Developing World

India, China, Brazil etc are all part of the world referred to as the developing world. Today over half of the 7 Billion people in the world live in cities. I pick India as an e.g. because it is the largest democracy in the world and has the second largest population in the world, add to it the fact that I grew up there :). During my recent visits what has stuck me most is how fast India’s Urban landscape is changing. Overnight small cities have skylines and suburbs keep encroaching rural areas around to expand.

Right now the population of cities in the developing countries are increasing in ten folds every year. As rural life becomes more difficult people head into cities looking for jobs as they did eons back.

As the Indian economy surged, matters that call for the urgent attention of the public and government are ignored in favor of the stock market, and India’s famed IT boom. Agriculture though it feeds the country is left behind by the Government and the press. As farms become non-sustainable and farmers become debt laden their only recourse is to either head towards  the urban areas to look for menial hand to mouth existence jobs or end their lives.

Effects of Green Revolution in India

The North Western state of Punjab was the poster child for Green Revolution, it was the success story which was on every ones lips. Schools taught it as the shining example of what farming can accomplish. It was dubbed the “Bread Bucket of India” during the 80’s and 90’s. Punjab took to Industrialized farms effortlessly and the results were stunning to say the least. The state was producing surplus in agriculture and their GDP was way ahead of the rest of the country. Now Punjab is referred to as a case study in “How industrial agriculture boosts yields in the short term, but leads to the long term destruction of the land on which agriculture depends and of the social and environmental contxt with which it is immediately linked”.

The International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAAKSTD) concluded after assessing Punjab’s situation that “Business as usual is not an option and If radical changes are not made in how we produce and distribute our food the world’s people can not be fed over the next half century and we will be left with a world which nobody wants to inhabit!”

Now India adds 18 million people every year to her population! Her farms are producing lesser and lesser food and her farmers are getting deeper into debt. What can help them?

India will have to alter her course and go back to her roots in the agrarian way of life which sustained her for long. Some things that come to mind are as follows:

  • Community based natural farming.
  • Using native non-transgenic seeds which are adapted to the native conditions.
  • Rotating crops there by not letting pests get out of control.
  • Using natural herbicides and fertilizers etc…

A radical over haul of thinking and action is what will help the world in reaching a balance where everyone will have access to food and the environment will be taken care of too. Returning to a sustainable way of farming is the only recourse for mankind. As the Native American saying goes:

“Treat the earth well: it was not given to you by your parents, it was loaned to you by your children. We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children.”

Live Green!

GMO’s and other problems will be covered in the 3rd part of this post… have to finish reading Jeffrey Smith’s book

Genetic Roulette Digest

http://www.agassessment.org/

DIY – Make A Bird Feeder Under 10 Minutes

Finch Feeder

I look forward to spring when I can see the gold finches back in their normal plumage. Always been a fan of backyard  birding so I plant plants which the birds like to eat and keep the feeders filled for  everything from the tiny humming bird to the Blue jays and Squirrels.

I am used to buying a new feeder every year after the squirrels gnaw through them! I buy sock feeders every year and by the end of the year it would have holes in them. Inspite of mending it hardly lasts more than 2 years in Ohio’s winters.

One day as I was emptying out the garlic from its package, it struck me this could work! My feeder for the finches from a plastic mesh cover which would other wise end up some where in a landfill.

5 Steps to making a simple finch feeder.

Things needed:

  • Garlic pack (don’t eat garlic? try using your old panty hose with the feet cut off works as well!)
  • a thread/shoe lace to tie it
  • scissors to trim tag
  • Lyger thistle

Garlic Pack

1. Take out the garlic from the mesh casing.

Trimming Excess

2. Trim the tag , make sure you keep the sealing intact.

Feeder Filled

3. Turn it inside out. Fill it with Thistle (I use Nyjer – buy mine from Wildbirds unlimited).

tie-up 4. Tie a knot at the top, make sure you can open it out to refill it. Use a shoe lace or rope to hang it from a tree branch (birds do prefer to be amongst greenery, makes them feel safer I guess)

feeder with a female gold finch There you have a feeder made under 10 minutes from something one would normally throw away and yeah you can  keep adding more feeders as you buy new garlic! Now all we need to do is wait for the finches to show up.

Male gold-finch

Happy Birding and Green Living!

Dirty Dozen Veggies and Fruits – Why buy Organic?

Keep buying Organic
Image Courtesy marcp_dmoz

In this day of healthy Green living, Vegetables and fruits are making a come back to most diets. I have always assumed in some ways that it would be easier  being a vegan as it is all “natural”!  Organic produce is not so friendly on the wallet so I kind of pick and choose what I buy organic.

Growing up I had never seen perfect looking fruits and vegetables so often, there used to be some which would escape attacks from insects and other pests, but most would have some kind of dings, scrapes, cuts etc… Reading up on farming and all those e-coli outbreaks made me take a second look at what and how I eat.

Logged into yahoo today and found this post on the latest list of veggies and fruits to watch out for. It lists the 12 most pesticide laden veggies and fruits, most of which are a staple in our homes. The post says we can reduce our consumption of pesticides and other harmful substances by 80% just paying attention. One option is to buy locally grown produce, Certified Organic ones OR grow ones own vegetables and / fruits… well I am heading to the local farmers market come summer!

Read the post at Yahoo!green here

Organics

Green Grass

Green Grass

Organic is another term very much heard of these days. Organic food stores, Organic clothing, organic makeup etc… the list is long.
What is Organic? To many it means a return to the way things were 100 years ago when man lived off what the land provided and took care of it; nothing artificial, no enhancements, no fertilizers and no pesticides – basically a return to natural way of life. Continue reading