Thursday, August 14, 2008

DEATH IS BULLSHIT (Sometimes, In Some Ways)

Recently saw a documentary on PBS about Orca Whales— Their bodies are so full of high PCB levels that a washed up dead one needs to be treated as hazardous waste.
A large number of the breeding adult males have died due to the effects of the PCBs, whereas the adult famales have not been so largely effected because the PCBs are fat soluble... So the nursing mother Orcas are able to rid their bodies of some of the pollutant through their milk.
But the those PCBs are being passed on through the milk to the calves. Many of the calves never reach maturity now because the PCBs severely debilitates their immune systems. Along with that, the PCBs cause malformed reproductive systems in many of the calves that do reach maturity.
All combined, a quagmire that is threatening the future of the species.
Photo above from August 14, 2008 Seattle Times article, Newborn orca spotted in the San Juans



warm jet said...

damn good post.
link to what pcb's are....

R.T. said...

gnarly, huh. thanks for the link— will add to post.

Anonymous said...

Heavy stuff. Thanks for bringing this to my attention.

Anonymous said...

Another big thanks our friends at Monsanto....

"All of the PCBs that were produced in North America came from a single manufacturer, Monsanto Company in the United States. While their North American manufacture was banned in 1977, PCBs are still being produced in some European countries and the U.S.S.R."

-from above link...


R.T. said...

Yes, thanks for mentioning Monsanto. I don't usaully like to throw around the word "evil", but i think Monsanto qualifies.

There's a film called the FUTURE OF FOOD (can found at netflix, or even blockbuster) that describes how Monsanto patents the genes of seed strains, such as in it's Roundup-Ready-Corn. A genetically modified corn that is resistant to the herbicide/weed killer "Round Up".

Family farmers that have for generations been cultivating their own seed stock in their own fields are, by uncontrollable action of wind, getting their crops cross-pollinated by neighboring farms that have planted their fields with the purchased R-R-Corn.

Here's the kicker, Monsanto has field agents that secretly go to family farms that have NOT purchased the R-R-Corn, and take samples of the corn in those fields. If those samples show the gene of the R-R-Corn, then Monsanto hauls the family farmer into court for Patent Infringement, and tries take him for everything he's got— even though Monsanto and everyone knows there is no way to stop or control the wind cross-pollination! The courts usually lean in Monasanto's favor, and in the end the family farmer is forced to stop cultivating his own seed stock and start puchasing the R-R-Corn seeds from Monsanto.

Not only is this fucking the farmers who usually end up losing their family's life savings/retirement in court/lawyer fees, but...

It is also weakening the bio-diversity and natural resistance of the world's corn crops that have over a millennium made specific adaptaions from region to region.

To ad insult to injury, you can probably guess who owns the patent on Round Up, yes, Monsanto. So the farmers that are now forced to spend money on seeds, are also sold down the road that they need to buy and use Round Up for the R-R-Corn to maximize production— More of the family farmer's money to Monsanto. And all for what? Studies have shown:

1. Compared to use with other herbicide regimes RR corn varieties gave no improvement in yield when a Roundup herbicide regime was used.

2. These results demonstrate that 100% weed control was not necessary to obtain top yields. This means that in-crop biodiversity in some cases is being destroyed by excessive weed control without any economic benefit.


If all continues we will end up with a homogenization of corn strains. And any future genetic changes to the strains will be under the full control of Monsanto's laboratories (And other companies like Monsanto) where they will have a bank of original genetic strains, basically held hostage, until they create a hybrid with them that they can then patent as there "own" creation and again force it on the farmers!


Also... just what is a weed? But a competitive plant that a man has not yet identified a use for, or if he has identified that use, it is a use that he personally does not need (Dandelion is perfect example of that). A very limiting homo-centric point of view. Generally, in nature competition is good— except, for example, instances where an endangered species requires stewardship.


An interesting side note is how Monsanto is able to exercise control over the actual practitioners of agriculture... the farmers, much the same way the pharmaceutical & insurance companies are able to exercise control over the actual practitioners of medicine... the doctors.

asmith said...

R.T.- Have you read "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" By barbara Kingsolver? Kind of a sentimental foodie-enviro ramble but quick and good. I think a link to this post and following comments are necessary from my blog. Thanks.

R.T. said...

thanks for the book tip, Asmith. yes, would be stoked for you to add link to this post on your blog.