Unnatural Selection

Honeybees are dying in huge numbers. As they die from what’s called Colony Collapse Disorder, two-thirds of the fruits and vegetables we eat are threatened. What’s killing the bees is industrial agriculture and industrial civilization. Their death is a harbinger of more ecological havoc to come—in this fiftieth anniversary year of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring. Continue reading

Addictive Food

Food is a popular subject for exposes. We are routinely treated to some discovery about how food manufacturers use processes and substances that denude food of its nutrient value or turn it into something that’s actively toxic. Continue reading

Better than Nothing?

Time magazine’s cover story last week was “Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us.” What it describes is how every sector of the so-called health care industry continues to fail miserably at preventing the continued rise in costs, soon to reach 20% of national income. Continue reading

Save the Planet at All Costs

Sierra, the magazine of the Sierra Club, has a big spread in the current issue on wind power. In a sidebar titled “Wind Rush: Three Wind Myths,” James Walker tells us that although “naysayers” claim wind power damages health, scientists and health officials “have found no scientific evidence to support such claims.” Continue reading

The Dark Side of the Wind

The Nation magazine has an ad for a company that sells clean energy. In the ad, the image of a smokestack belching pollution is on one side and on the other the image of a wind turbine. On the clean energy company’s website, the effects of conventional energy production are compared to the effects of wind and solar energy. Continue reading

Poverty, Disease, and Biodiversity

Ecological diversity has a complicated relationship to health and illness. On the one hand, those parts of the world that are rich in organisms are also rich in disease-causing organisms. On the other hand, as biodiversity declines, the burden of disease increases because organisms that hold pathogens and disease vectors in check are weakened. This is a serious concern because of both anthropogenic climate change and the effects of industrial agriculture. Continue reading

Immunity and Income

It’s been known for some time that children who grow up on farms are less likely to have asthma and allergies. Although it’s been assumed that the animal and plant exposures were instrumental, no direct mechanism had been established. Last week, researchers identified the mechanism as the production of regulatory T cells. Continue reading

EMF in the Short- and Long-term

A new edition of the Bioinitiative Report has just been release. When first published five years ago, fourteen leading scientists summarized what was then known about the biological effects and public health implications of non-ionizing radiation from cell phones and other wireless technologies as well as extremely low frequency radiation from sources such as power lines. Continue reading

Technological Immersion

Our contact with the natural world has declined over the last century, particularly in the past 50 years. As just one example, over the last 25 years visits to National Parks have declined by 20% and nature-based recreation has declined by 25%. As another example, children now spend half the time outdoors compared to 30 years ago. Continue reading

Monsanto’s Scientific Community

Does the use of genetically modified organisms in food pose a threat to our health? We expect scientists to tell us. Science, as we all know, consists of the dispassionate evaluation of evidence and, after careful deliberation, an agreement within the scientific community about what that evidence tells us about the risks of GMO using foods. Continue reading