April 2008 Archives
The disappearance of honeybees is having significant negative impact on California agriculture, where the majority of the world's almonds, avocados, berries, melons and many other agricultural crops are grown. One major culprit contributing to the destruction of honeybee colonies is the U.S. farm bill, which subsidizes conventional agribusiness programs that are directly propagating the destruction of honeybees and other wild pollinators with their growing methods. While the Bush administration is trying to cut those subsidies and increase funding for environmental and nutrition programs as part of the farm bill, congress is doing its utmost to increase subsidies that have a direct correlation with everything that’s wrong with our overly processed and industrialized food supply as well as widespread obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer and now, the annihilation of honeybees and other wild pollinators.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, "Domesticated honeybee colonies suffered a 35 percent decline last winter. Wild pollinators such as native bees, wasps and butterflies are suspected to be in sharp decline, too, according to scientists, beekeepers and others at a symposium organized by Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., who is struggling to get $20 million in the bill to research the cause of the honeybee decline." Pesticides used in conventional farming, consider “safe” for humans, cause severe damage to insects. It’s believed that these pesticides seriously affect bees causing memory loss and navigation failure driving bees to their destruction. Moreover, the expansion of monocultures of single crops, sophisticated pests and other diseases, are suspected to also exacerbate the bee problem as well as the decline of other wild pollinators including bumblebees, butterflies, bats and hummingbirds.
We elect officials who vote and act in the interest of big corporate America. Capitol Hill lobbyists spend millions of dollars effectively luring our politicians to do their employers’ bidding. It’s no surprise to have a congress that supports the expansion of factory farming and industrialized crop production and do so by trying to cut existing farm conservation programs designed to keep pollinators alive. It is a disturbing notion, however, that it is our own lack of awareness about our food chain and the politics around it that makes this possible. Contrary to popular belief, ignorance is not bliss—knowledge and awareness are what can help our own preservation. Our existence as human beings depends on other living things, including plants and animals. Naturally, all plant life, upon which we depend, requires pollination for reproduction. Plants cannot survive without pollination and we cannot survive without plants. The possible extinction of pollinators caused by our own hands could be the demise of our future generations if not our own.
EXCLUSIVE: A fairly new chocolate company called Fine & Raw will soon be offering online sales, according to the owner of the company, Daniel Sklaar. Most available chocolate is junk food, but Fine & Raw chocolate is a superfood! It's made using raw techniques, processed only at very low temperatures to retain all the natural health properties in cocoa. It's lightly sweetened with low glycemic blue agave nectar, and contains virgin and cold pressed coconut oil. Fine & Raw chocolate is vegan, organic and fair trade. The chocolates are currently available in a small number of stores in New York City. Stay tuned, and I'll give you the details about how to buy online when that information becomes available.
Many readers have asked me to share a list of my favorite personal care products. My criteria for choosing personal care products is primarily that they have to be 100% biodegradable and made with certified organic ingredients when possible. Additionally, I make sure that they are free of harmful synthetic fragrance, mineral oil, preservatives, petroleum products, parabens, phthalates, FD&C colorants or dyes, and other toxic chemicals. Here are a few my favorite products:
1. Thoroughly Clean Face Wash with Organic Tea Tree Oil and Awapuhi by Desert Essence for face, hands and body. I’ve been using this for many years. I buy the 32 oz refill bottles to refill the soap dispensers I keep in showers and sinks around the house. The tea tree oil in it makes it a natural antibacterial soap, but it can also burn the eyes as a result of it. It leaves the skin clean and soft like.
2. Dr. Bronner’s Organic Castile Soap Lavender for face, hands and body. I love the smell of this soap, which I use alternately with the Thoughroughly Clean Face Wash. I buy the 32 oz refill bottles to fill up my soap dispensers. I don’t like using any one product exclusively as I think variety and moderation are important.
3. Aubrey Organics Camomile Luxurious Shampoo. I love the smell of this product. It’s not very foamy as it doesn’t contain toxic petroleum surfactants but it cleans hair well and leaves it nice and shiny.
4. Aubrey Organics Camomile Conditioner. It makes hair silky and soft as long as you use plenty of water to rinse the hair thoughroughly. Otherwise, it leaves residues in the hair making the hair feel sticky and hard to detangle.
5. Peelu dental fibers. It doesn’t taste very good but it cleans teeth well. To be followed by flossing and Peelu toothpaste or Burt’s Bees Toothpaste.