People who live in a democratic country assume that they have participatory rights, unfortunately they are hoodwinked. Several instances whereby the electorate have not been engaged in decision making include: multiculturalism, political correctness, immigration, human rights and Europe (new laws) and the amount to be spent on foreign aid. What’s the difference between Nazi, Communist and Liberal brainwashing – methodology! Even our food is under attack: food waste, genetically modified (GM) crops and sludge lead to a chemical blitz on our dietary system.
Those who dare to raise a voice in opposition are stigmatized: little Englanders, racists, Neanderthals and Nimbys (not in my back yard). But it’s not the political or business class who have to live with the direct consequence of government decision making. Politicians may talk of transparency as a key word when trying to placate the voter or win support, but they rarely implement transparency as a prerequisite.
Keeping people in the dark helps them to expedite their business. They also hold the notion that insufficient numbers of voters care about issues and therefore they as representatives can implement whatever, whenever. In effect the electorate are disenfranchised. The State operates as would a dictatorship!
A classic example of the total contempt the ‘top boys’ have for the ordinary Joes’ is made explicit by the revelation that we are all being forced to eat halal meat. Rather than take on the additional cost of serving a minority preference, business and politicians took the cheaper route by forcing everyone to eat halal meat. It doesn’t matter what one thinks of halal meat, it should not be forced on people! The only motivation behind such a move is profit.
Many areas remain under the radar until they become too big to keep submerged e.g. food waste, GM crops and sludge. I have dealt with food waste in some detail but the political significance of the topic has a major impact on the debate about GM crops and the use of sludge (human waste). These all have a link to poverty, foreign aid, human rights and the general wellbeing and democratic rights of the people. Groups of activists fight their specific corner on these issues and in doing so dissipate so much energy and ingenuity that otherwise could be a force for good.
Some very telling facts from the Director of United Nations Environmental Programme, Achim Steiner:
- Research shows that the world produces more food than is actually needed; food that is lost along the food chain or wasted due to poor consumption decisions.
- 1.3bn tonnes of food produced is wasted which has used up 1.4bn hectares of land.
- It is estimated that there will be 10bn people by 2050 – If current population and consumption trends continue, humanity will need the equivalent of two Earth’s to support its self by 2030.
- Both USA and sub-Saharan Africa food loss is estimated at around 40%
To these facts we could add many more. Here is a short sample:
www.foodwastestats.com/ Food wasted in developed countries = 670m tonnes – in developing countries = 630m tonnes.
www.cbc.ca/news/world/food-waste-overeating An approximate 870m people world-wide do not have access to enough food to be healthy.
www.nrdc.org/food/files/wasted-food-IP.pdf Reducing food waste by 15% could feed 25m Americans.
www.cbc.ca/strombo/social-issues/ Food waste costs the global economy $750bn.
“Over half the food produced today is lost, wasted discarded as a result of inefficiency in the human managed food chain. There is evidence in the report, (The Environmental Food Crisis: Environment’s role in averting future food crisis) that the world could feed the entire projected population growth alone by becoming more efficient while ensuring the survival of wild animals, birds and fish on this planet”. Achim Steiner
The real gem of such an understanding of food waste is that we don’t need GM crops to feed the world; we have the technology to achieve that now. All the propaganda aimed at our heart strings about the importance of GM crops is such balderdash. It’s all about money! The big pharmaceutical companies have poured their dosh into research and now want it back with a hefty profit margin. Profit at the peoples’ expense is the key ingredient here. Come back, Robin Hood!
At present most soybeans, canola and maize produced is GM crop and widely used in animal feed. Studies of animal digestive tract suggest there is no build-up of toxins, but there is serious disagreement. While some work has been carried out on the eco system of areas used to grow GM crops a more thorough longitudinal study must be done. How long was it before they accepted that DDT pesticide was a disaster?
Did You Know? Mosquitos became tolerant to DDT! “Science cannot declare any technology completely risk free”. www.greenfacts.com (8.2)
Those who advocate GM crops point out that many plants are grown outside their natural habitat and therefore don’t cause transfer to wild relatives. However, over a period of time GM crops will create their own wild relatives and we need to know how that will affect the host environment and the eco system generally.
“In future, genetically modified plants may be equipped with mechanisms designed to prevent gene flow to other plants”. Is this an admittance that ‘gene flow’ is already prevalent and host ecosystems are being destroyed? One substance used in the process is Bacillus Thuringiensis (B.t.) “Unfortunately, B.t. toxins kill many species of insect larvae indiscriminately; it is not possible to design a B.t. toxin that would kill only crop- damaging pests and remain harmless to all other insects”. www.csa.com/discoveryguides/gmfood/ April 2000. This statement is supported by a study in March 2012 by the Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich. www.naturalnews.com/GM_crops
A further study found GM enzymes in bread, cheese, soda and beer. www.pbs.org/wgbh/harvest/exist .What exactly is being force fed into our bodies?
Over the past century our bodies have been subjected to a bombardment of chemical change and in consequence we have witnessed a steady increase in cancers and allergies. Animal welfare activists campaign vigorously and, at times, violently against the use of animals in experiments. But is it the truth that we the people are the true lab-rats, used in experiments, without our knowledge, in the name of science and profit?
Moreover, the new government of India are presently discussing whether to introduce GM science more widely. However, India is guilty of much waste; 33% of fresh crops are wasted because of poor storage and distribution. Also only 44% of India’s 140m hectares of arable land are irrigated. Perhaps a little more concentration on irrigation is required and a little less on the ‘big boy’ profit margin.
Nonetheless, scientists in general are adamant that GM crops are safe. Such an attitude leaves too many doors unopened and thus has no foundation in scientific exploration or in an intellectual mind. For all the bluster of scientists, they have failed to convince the public. In the USA, Maine, Vermont and Connecticut have all passed a GMO labelling law. Fear is thus a factor with GM crops and while fear exists change will prove erratic and increasingly difficult.
- While there is no documented scientific evidence that sewage sludge regulations have failed to protect public health, there is persistent uncertainty on possible adverse health effects. National Research Council July 2002.
- The EPA cannot assure the public that current land application practices are protective of human health and the environment. Environment Protection Agency 2002.
N.B. budgets to carry out research in these areas have since 2008, been slashed!
- Since 1991 it has been illegal to dump sludge into waterways or in to the ocean.
- 60% of sludge goes on farm land in UK & USA www.euwfd.com
- Sludge tends to be dumped, “where poverty is high and economic prosperity and opportunity is low”. www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sludge
Concern with the use of sludge comes from the metal content. Some metals are regulated and some are not. However, a study over 20 years in Arizona concluded that the use of biosolids (sludge) was ok. Other studies drew different conclusions suggesting that plant life uptakes the heavy metals and toxic pollutants in the biosolids which is then consumed by humans.
An intriguing case comes from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA):
For foods labelled ‘organic’ sludge can be used as a growing medium, but, “For produce to be USDA certified organic, sludge (biosolids) cannot be used”.
Sludge (raw sewage) can be injected into land but it should be registered and monitored. It’s a similar story with sludge Class B; this contains some raw sewage but can be spread if the guidelines are followed.
“Land application of raw or treated sewage sludge can reduce significantly the sludge disposal cost component of sewage treatment as well as providing a large part of the nitrogen and phosphorus requirements of many crops”. www.fao.org/T0551E/t0551e 08.htm
Three points can be raised here:
- Nevertheless, in the case of certain crops, limitations on planting, grazing and harvesting are necessary.
- Contains traces of many pollutants used in modern society.
- Can reduce significantly the sludge disposal costs.
- The metals found in wheat, potato, lettuce, red beet cabbage and rye grass were: cadmium (cd) Nickel (ni) Copper (cu), and Zinc (zn).
Furthermore, pathogens need serious consideration when dealing with sludge. Pathogens are, “bacteria which causes disease in other organisms”. www.wisegeek.com .There are two sure ways of dealing with pathogens.
Anaerobic Digestion (AD) which works by storing the waste in a large tank (digester) for 12/20 days at a temperature of around 35c. The pathogens break down and the mix generates a gas which is used to heat the tanks and other engines.
Thermal Drying (TD) which converts the sludge into pellets having gone through a heating process. The end result can then be used in farms and public areas such as golf courses and parks. www.euwfd.com/
You may be thinking why these processes are not compulsory – think money – think profit!
Many organisations refuse to source their produce from farms that use biosolids – www.sludgevictims.com/FOODCOMPANIES.pdf
????? Did You Know – aquaculture is a process whereby fish are cultivated using human waste!
There you have it! We are subjected to an avalanche of chemicals without our knowledge; so much for democratic accountability. Transparency is covered in so much crap it is difficult to unearth.
If capitalism is to develop a softer touch, we need people power. A people power that is more expressive than parliamentary government allows. Government generally rides roughshod over the people. It tends to view the voting public as of a narrow outlook. However, judgements can only be made on the information we have before us. The Overlords, politicians and the Gibbers only give the people titbits; no wonder therefore that some views appear narrow.
We can feed the world. We can produce enough medicine to prevent thousands of deaths. The ‘market’ cannot offer a solution; only people can find a way forward. We need thinkers who see beyond self but are truly selfish enough to understand that their life is better served by unity of purpose. However, progress will be slow as long as activists only confront their own dot. The sleepers must awaken!