The honeybee massacre & the rise of Monsanto

 

via: Flickr

via: Flickr

The biotechnology and genetic engineering giants Monsanto are widely regarded as one of the most hated companies in the world. Often referred to as evil, Monsanto has rubbed a lot of people the wrong way! Before we begin, here is a brief background on the company and how they earned this villainous  reputation.

 

Monsanto began in 1901 as a small chemical company and by 1902 they had sold an artificial sweetener to Coca Cola. In the 1920’s they broadened their scope and began creating synthetic chemicals, pesticides and herbicides. They created PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyl) which were used as coolants in electrical equipment such as chemical plants. In the 1970s PCBs were banned after they were found to cause problems such as damage to the liver, hormones and the immune system and also an increase in the risk of cancer. In the 1960s during the Vietnam War, Monsanto was contracted to create a chemical which would clear the jungles in Vietnam as a military tactic. This chemical was Agent Orange.  It did it’s job of killing the thick forests, however it also killed and maimed over 400,000 people. This chemical was so toxic that is continues to have fatal consequences even today. Since the Vietnam War, over half a million children have been born with severe birth defects and most will not survive to see their 5th birthday.

In the early 1980s there were concerns for Times Beach in Missouri as it was nearby to a Monsanto plant which produced a great amount of chemical waste. By 1983 Times Beach was completely evacuated due to severe toxic contamination and an alarmingly level of PCBs in the soil. Monsanto still denies their products are to blame.

Monsanto ‘relaunched’ in the 1990s as an agricultural company and emerged as the leader of genetically modified crops. They modify organisms and produce genetically modified seeds for agricultural purposes. These genetically modified crops are resistant to herbicides and pesticides meaning that the crop can survive large amount of chemical spraying. Since Monsanto is also the leading producer of chemical herbicides with products such as RoundUp, this means their sales have inevitably sky rocketed. There are still varied opinions on the debate of genetically modified foods and the health risks involved. Ingesting large amounts of chemicals and genetically modified organisms however isn’t something that many people prefer over organically grown produce.

 

Monsanto

via: Flickr


So what about the bees?!

The first issue is that genetically modified crops have been created to ‘self pollinate’ without the intervention of the humble pollen spreading bee.

The second issue is the invention of neonicotinoids. There is a new stream of genetically modified seeds that contain ‘systemic pesticides,’ which are informally coined “the chemical you can’t wash off.” These chemicals are actually imbedded in the genetics of the crop, instead of being sprayed onto the surface of the plant. In the late 1990s these were introduced into commercial farming, the most common systemic pesticide being neonicotinoids.

When the bee attempts to pollinate a genetically modified crop, it becomes poisoned by the toxins and chemicals imbedded in the genes of the plant. When the bee returns to their hive they also bring back the chemicals, which are then stored along with the rest of the pollen. This has lead to a bee massacre and is the main contributor to Colony Collapse Disorder which is the sudden disappearance of honeybee colonies.
Over 1 third of crops worldwide rely on bees for pollination and this significant decline in the honeybee population has lead to a decrease in crop production and agricultural profits.

This has huge implications for farmers who use honeybees to pollinate their crops. Ultimately, it may lead to the disappearance of organically grown crops and the sole reliance on Monsanto’s genetically modified substitutes which will remain unaffected by this ecological disaster.

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via: Flickr

 

I hope this has perhaps opened your eyes and encouraged you to question your consumption habits and made you aware of some of the more serious implications of genetic modification and companies like Monsanto.

This is only scratching the surface of the information that is out there on this topic so I urge you to do your own research and get involved with the future of this Earth.

 


Sources:

1.http://www.independentaustralia.net/environment/environment-display/is-monsanto-killing-our-bees,5365

2. Yonemoto, Junzo. 2000. “The Effects of Dioxin on Reproduction and Development.” Industrial Health 28 : 259–68. – See more at: http://embryo.asu.edu/pages/birth-defects-caused-agent-orange#sthash.zKbzHJ6S.dpuf

3. Hanzai, E. 2014. “The Complete History of Monsanto.” Global Research, Waking Times, June 22, 2014. http://www.wakingtimes.com/2014/06/20/complete-history-monsanto-worlds-evil-corporation/

4. http://www.tfsp.info/systemic-pesticides/

5. http://www.ars.usda.gov/News/docs.htm?docid=15572#public

6. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2G5dlNzPnzU

7. http://www.honeycolony.com/article/what-is-monsanto-doing-to-our-bees/

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Can organic bananas cure cancer?! Raw till 4?

bananagirl2Founder of the “Raw till 4” diet, Freelee the ‘banana girl’ boasts how a raw vegan diet offers an abundance of health benefits and suggests that a high-carb diet consisting mainly of fruits can cure cancer. Freelee herself reveals how a raw till 4 vegan lifestyle completely changed her life. Once a miserable, overweight and depressed young lady, she began this diet which has resulted in extreme weight-loss, improved health and happiness.

So what exactly does this diet involve?

Freelee eats around 30 bananas a day, and suggests this is the best way to transition into the lifestyle. She has created ‘Banana Island’ a fictitious metaphor for a banana detox. During your time on ‘Banana Island’ you are to only consume bananas and water for an extended period of time. Some spend a week on Banana Island, others months. 

Once you have holidayed on Banana Island, it is now time to begin your raw till 4 lifestyle. This involves eating only uncooked vegan foods (mainly fruits and vegetables) until 4pm. This allows you to have a cooked vegan dinner (Freelee suggests rice or potatoes and more vegetables). The macros of the diet are high carb with only 5-10% fat and protein. Usually discouraged by dieters, weight-loss experts and dieticians, Freelee believes that a high-carb diet is the key to incredible health. As the carbohydrates you are consuming are simple carbs from fruits and vegetables they are easier to digest than complex carbs seen in pasta and bread. Freelee also insists that carbohydrates 

Freelee is a spokeperson for going organic and believes that by eliminating the nasty toxins that are found in commercial produce, your health will improve out of sight. She also attributes organic fruits and vegetables to curing diseases such as cancer, depression, Crohn’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, epilepsy, diabetes, heart disease and autoimmune diseases. Other conditions such as eczema and acne have also been shown to completely disappear while on this diet. Check out testimonials from the raw till 4 diet here and here.

So what do you guys think about the raw till 4 vegan lifestyle? Have you tried it out? Are you skeptical?

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For more info on Freelee and her lifestyle you can check out her YouTube channel where she posts daily videos about her diet.

5 Reasons Why You Should Go Local!

image via @ShopLocal #ShopLocal

image via @ShopLocal #ShopLocal

Food co-operatives are all about supporting your local community. One of the ways they do this is by supporting local farmers and consciously buying their produce locally.

There are many benefits of locally sourced, chemical and gmo free fruits and vegetables but here’s the top five!

Photo: University of Michigan/Flickr

Photo: University of Michigan/Flickr

Taste

They taste fresher. They taste better.

There’s no denying it! There is an incredible difference between a piece of fruit that has been farmed, driven to a packaging manufacturer, packaged, driven to a distributer, packaged, driven to a consumer supermarket and driven back to your home compared to a piece of fruit sent straight from the farm 10km to the local co-op. Trust your taste buds on this one!

Economy

Not only are the organic products cheaper than you will find in a conventional grocery store, you are also keeping money and business within your local community. As a member of a food co-op, you will get to know every employee at the store and instead of handing your money over to a conglomerate giant, you are feeding it straight back into your community co-op. This has all sorts of positive repercussions like economic growth within your community, providing employment opportunities for community members and encouraging prosperous relationships with other local business. 

Environment

When you shop at a food co-operative you are becoming an ethically and environmentally responsible citizen. As the products are not shipped and transported from all around the world (think about the oranges from Woolies that are imported from California and the asparagus that is flown in from Chile), there is no carbon foot print. You will reduce the mammoth C02 emissions that are constantly released into the atmosphere from various transportation methods. Usually the farms are no further than 20km from the store, which is a obvious difference from the thousand km flight  from South America. The environment also benefits from reduction of packaging and waste that is regularly seen in commercial grocery stores. There is no need for plastic packages and bags for your fresh fruits and vegetables, in fact this often spoils the fruit! Instead of plastic bags and wrappers, food co-ops use recycled cardboard boxes and recycled canvas totes to carry groceries to and from the store. When you shop at a food co-op you can pat yourself on that back, you’re making an ecological difference.

Community

Co-ops operate entirely on the principle of community. The community aspect is so prevalent when you step into a food co-operative. The workers and shoppers are your friends, neighbours, peers and family! They genuinely have your best interest at heart and will make choices that will benefit the local community as they are part of it too!

Health

Perhaps the most overlooked reason as to why you should shop local, an organic diet free from pesticides and other nasties is the healthiest diet for you. Numerous studies and tests have shown that fruits and vegetables that have not come into contact with chemicals and synthetics are by far the healthier choice! They give your body and your brain the nutrients and nourishment it needs. We all know our bodies are our most valuable possessions on this earth so fuel it with organic produce!

Well not only is going local tastier, great for the community and even better for the environment… It also makes you healthier and happier little vegemites!

Jump on board and go local! Make the most of your community co-op!

Food Co-ops?

Welcome to the ‘Say No to Pesticides & Packets’ movement! We are all about educating and discussing alternative methods of food consumption to promote a sustainable way of living.

Food Cooperatives are one example of an ethical, environmentally responsible and sustainable food consumption practice.

So what are ‘Food Co-ops’ and how do they function?

Simply put, food co-ops are a community based grocery store, ran and owned by it’s members. This means there is no middle man and they do not set out to gain any profits. Their main goal is to provide their members with affordable natural foods whilst supporting their local community and agricultural industry. As they are working at a much smaller scale, their produce is usually organic and locally sourced. There is also much less waste involved in the production and consumption process. Environmental pollution from the transportation of goods is relatively low and there is no wasteful unnecessary packaging that we often see in conventional grocery stores.
Food co-ops promote economic justice, sustainable living, environmental consciousness and community action. What’s not to love?!

 

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