Joanne Poyourow's blog

In so many ways, GMOs deplete any resilience in our food supply.
 
GMOs are perhaps the ultimate pinnacle of petroleum-dependent agriculture. These plants are laboratory-engineered specifically to work together with petro-chemicals: herbicides, insecticides, fertilizers. Headed into a world with increasingly less and less fossil resources, deepening the petro-dependence of our food supply is an absolutely disasterous course.
 
For thousands of years, humanity has fed itself “organically” — only your great-grandmother didn’t have a term for it. That was normal agriculture. This chemical-dependent stuff is very recent, widespread just since WWII. GMOs are the ultimate in UN-organic. The useage of farm chemicals with GMOs has vastly increased; it's now producing SuperWeeds and SuperBugs which are resistant to chemicals, requiring stronger chemicals in greater and greater quantity.  And the chemical-centric agribusiness process is stripping out our topsoils, polluting our waterways, sickening our farm workers.
 
The long-term impacts of GMOs on human health are completely untested.  For many years the companies that produced GMOs refused to allow independent studies, and there has been no transparency of scientific findings.  The first independent, longer-term studies are just now beginning to emerge in Europe, and these studies suspect the GM process itself (not just the chemicals) is detrimental to those who consume it.  (YouTube) We can indeed have a better life than this.

Fear.  It's that chill that creeps up your spine.  That awful, churning hot knot, deep in the pit of your stomach.  The tremble that makes your hands feel powerless.  The freeze-up, that tempts you to inaction.  But you can't give in to it.  You still need to DO SOMETHING.
 
I'm not a very public person by nature.  But right now life -- my activist life, and life on the planet in general -- demands that I do some very public things.  It's terrifying.
 
My husband tells me fear and excitement have some of the same roots.  Maybe.  Sometimes it is excitement, disguised.  But sometimes, like a week ago Wednesday, like today, it is just plain wanting-to-crawl-in-a-hole rather than do what needs to be done.

A delightful and thoroughly enjoyable read:  in my many years of reading environmental books there aren't many I could say that about.  I found The Seed Undergound on a table at the home of a member of Transition Mar Vista/Venice, at an open house (open garden) as part of last month's 100+ home Mar Vista Green Garden Showcase.  
 
The book's quirky handwritten double-entendre title called to me -- plus it was about SEEDS.  The cover photo looks a bit like the shelves in my house.  I opened the book to a random page, and after the first clever turn of phrase I was hooked.  I kept reading humourous excerpts aloud to anyone at the event who would listen.
 
The Seed Underground is a wonderful and heart-warming story, a treasure hunt in the best, most joyous meanings of the phrase.  The book threads together a series of personal vignettes as author Janisse Ray seeks and collects seeds for many varieties of heritage and heirloom food plants.

If you've ever looked for an iron-clad case that the fossil energy supply is out-of-control, over-the-top destructive --of planet, wildlife, people's health and culture-- then check out Energy, the latest publication of the Post Carbon Institute.

The word "breathtaking" has become cliche when put with "photographs" but here it really applies. You will gasp aloud as you turn each page. (even my teens did) And then you'll want to show the pictures to more people, because you can't keep this kind of stuff to yourself. Coal strip mines. Spawling oil fields. Landscape wracked by palm oil plantations. The debris of Fukushima. And of course the BP oil platform going down in flames.

 

There is still plenty you can do.  Even though California Proposition 37 failed on the November ballot as a grassroots effort to get genetically engineered food labeled in California, there is still plenty that you can do.  
 
Since California produces well over 25% of the nation's fruits and vegetables, and nearly 100% of some produce items, California's Proposition 37 was a huge statement to the GMO-pushers, that WE WANT TO KNOW what is in our food.  The ballot initiative didn't pass this time, but we-the-people have not gone away.
 
The 2012 ballot initiative got turned into a David-vs-Goliath fight.  Corporate profiteers poured an outrageous $46 million into the campaign to suppress labeling, completely bulldozing the humble $9 million scrapped together by grassroots citizens in favor of labeling GMOs.  The corporate interests deluged the general public with misleading television ads in the final weeks of the election season, spreading false information to the unknowing.  Despite all that, the initiative still emerged with 47% of the vote.  And we aren't done yet.

Regardless of who wins the election today, that man will proceed forward with the knowledge that half of the voting public did not support him.  Regardless of which candidate "wins," he will struggle to act with a similarly divided Congress.  If there ever was a time for a book like Susan Clark's and Woden Teachout's Slow Democracy, that time is today.

Early in its pages, Clark and Teachout poke fun at their own title: who wants their democracy to be "slow"?  Yet rather than snail's pace, Clark and Teachout had a very different definition in mind.  Building from the energy of the Slow Food movement, they envision recapturing some of the more intangible and precious aspects of democracy -- aspects which America has abandoned in our relentless pursuit of "efficiency."

 

Maybe you just launched your town’s first rickshaw taxi. Maybe you sell vegetable seedlings at farmers market or you’re pioneering urban goat cheese production. At any rate, you’re still going to need a few of the tools that conventional businesses use, like business plans and accounting systems.  May I introduce you to The Right-Brain Business Plan by Jennifer Lee  

So you’ve read plenty about The Great Turning our society is going through.  And you fully understand that the old ways are fading away, and that your “job,” your career, your livelihood is going to look kind of different.

But how do you find it?

It's late summer with hints of autumn, and the mourning dove nest in the pot on my baker's rack sits empty now.  My family watched as the two little chicks had their flying lessons.  The young doves lingered near the nest for another two nights, and then they left for good.  On occasion, I still see them foraging -- not quite fully grown, nor altogether capable, but they do all right on their own.

As initiator of Transition action in Los Angeles, I've been doing a bit of the "empty nest" syndrome myself.  For successful initiators in large areas worldwide, the empty nest phenomenon is part of the natural and evolving Transition journey of building local community. 

 

In many spiritual circles, it is popular to talk about gratitude.  Gratitude encompasses much more than a quickie “thank you.”  It implies a much deeper state of mind, one that practitioners realize will position you to receive even greater abundance.

Gratitude – together with all the volumes that have been written about it – is very much an ingredient of the gift economy.  A very beautiful ingredient, which enriches our hearts and spirits, at the same time as it potentially invites more substantial and tangible gifts.

Some communities are beginning to set up "gift circles" -- a collection of people who want to engage in gifting practices on a regular basis.  But you don't need to wait for an official gift circle.  Here's how you can get gift economy concepts rolling right now.

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