Equinox Event 2014

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U.S. government likely to respond to Ebola pandemic with military force, martial law and forced vaccines

Natural News - Tue, 09/16/2014 - 11:30
(NaturalNews) The U.S. government is putting plans in place right now to invoke extreme emergency actions across the USA in response to an anticipated Ebola outbreak sweeping through U.S. cities. Late last week, the U.S. State Department ordered 160,000 Ebola hazmat suits in anticipation...

45 new Ebola cases caused daily by patients being turned away by overwhelmed volunteers

Natural News - Tue, 09/16/2014 - 11:30
(NaturalNews) The collapse of Liberia's healthcare system due to the Ebola crisis is spurring as many as 45 new cases of the illness daily, according to new data. Researchers from the UK figure that each patient turned away from already full clinics is inadvertently spreading the...

Untested GMO bananas to move directly to human experimentation

Natural News - Tue, 09/16/2014 - 11:30
(NaturalNews) Human trials with a new genetically modified (GM) banana with artificial levels of the vitamin A precursor beta-carotene are set to begin this fall without prior animal testing. Researchers plan to feed the "frankenfruit" to college students attending Iowa State University...

Liberia fires 10 government officials who fled the country fearing Ebola

Natural News - Tue, 09/16/2014 - 11:30
(NaturalNews) Six assistant ministers, two deputy ministers and two commissioners have left Liberia "without an excuse." The Ebola pandemic, which has taken the lives of more than 1,100 in Liberia alone, has government workers running for their lives. As the fear grows, governments...

The biggest lies told by the food industry

Natural News - Tue, 09/16/2014 - 11:30
(NaturalNews) There's no wasting time here. People must know. You may be aware of some of the following tricks, lies, schemes and plots to keep people malnourished and in need of constant medical attention, but then again, you may not. The biggest lies in this world are the ones more...

Heal your thyroid with natural compounds

Natural News - Tue, 09/16/2014 - 11:30
(NaturalNews) One of the fastest rising health conditions in the US is hypothyroidism. The most common symptoms experienced are lethargy, depression and weight gain. Some of the newest reports are estimating that 15-30% of the population may have thyroid problems. Heal your thyroid...

The best 9/11 video ever: Official story dismantled in under 5 minutes

Natural News - Tue, 09/16/2014 - 11:30
(NaturalNews) More than 13 years after 9/11, which was (purportedly) the worst terrorist attack ever on the United States' home turf, there are still conspiracy theories circulating about which blame the attacks on elements other than the 19 men who have been identified by the government...

Breastfed vs. bottle-fed babies produce long-lasting differences in immunity and gut flora, scientists find

Natural News - Tue, 09/16/2014 - 11:30
(NaturalNews) As outrageous as it may seem to those of us who are trying to be natural purists in an unnatural, artificial and synthetic chemical world, the increase in breastfeeding has created a dichotomy of breast milk advocates vs. formula bottle feeders who are too busy to breastfeed...

B vitamins, your mental health & your wellbeing

Natural News - Tue, 09/16/2014 - 11:30
(NaturalNews) B vitamins are essential to many functions of the body. They aid in breaking down simple carbohydrates into glucose, the fuel for the brain and the body. They help manufacture new red blood cells and help them carry iron and create hemoglobin. And although these functions...

Mercury is twice as pervasive in environment as previously thought

Natural News - Tue, 09/16/2014 - 11:30
(NaturalNews) There is more than twice as much mercury contaminating the environment as scientists had previously thought, according to a study conducted by researchers from Harvard University and the Argonne National Laboratory, and published in the journal Environmental Science...

Office plants can increase productivity by 15% and improve overall well-being

Natural News - Tue, 09/16/2014 - 11:30
(NaturalNews) The University of Exeter in England coordinated a study that concluded late summer 2014 on increasing office productivity by placing indoor plants in actual working offices. Since NASA (National Aeronautic and Space Administration) did similar testing a few years ago...

4 ways to prevent allergies in children

Natural News - Tue, 09/16/2014 - 11:30
(NaturalNews) Due to the overwhelming burden of toxins in the world and a largely monotonous diet rooted in grains and sugars, allergies have become commonplace. This has created a weakness in our genetic profile that is being passed down from one generation to the next, causing allergies...

Russia completes dry run of nuclear bombing attack on America

Natural News - Tue, 09/16/2014 - 11:30
(NaturalNews) The Cold War ended with the collapse of the Soviet Union in December 1991, but under the stewardship of President Vladimir Putin, a former KGB agent, a new cold war between Russia and the United States appears to be forming. At least, it's cold for now.Over the past...

Airborne military craft to conduct facial recognition from the sky

Natural News - Tue, 09/16/2014 - 11:30
(NaturalNews) The era of privacy -- or, at least, the era of the expectation of privacy in the U.S., the first nation in history to even recognize it as an inherent right -- appears to officially be over. And of course, it's all for our own protection.The Washington Post reported...

How Residents of a Rural New Mexico County Fought the Fracking Barons and Won—For Now

Yes! Magazine - Tue, 09/16/2014 - 04:33

Photo by the author.

My parents live in Chacon, New Mexico, in a wind-chapped finger of high-mountain Mora Valley. My grandparents were determined to spend their last days there and are buried in Chacon’s campo santo. Every delicious summer of my childhood, I played in and along the Mora River, and now my children splash in the same cold mountain stream.

“Querencia,” as it is used in the ordinance, means both a respect and love of place, and a safe haven from which one draws strength.

Energy companies are seeking permits to explore natural gas extraction through hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in Mora County. But the area’s traditional livelihoods, farming and ranching, rely on clean, healthy rivers and streams. New Mexico has recently suffered several years of severe drought. Millions of gallons of water are used to frack, and water contamination and earthquakes are increasingly paired with this technology.

On a sunny afternoon last summer, I drove my daughters north to visit my parents. We made the 90-degree turn at Salman Raspberry Ranch, leaving the sweeping llano that stretches east of Las Vegas as Highway 518 begins to wind between tightly clustered hills of piñon, juniper, and ponderosa. Then the close-knit hills parted and the valley opened before us, the glistening coils of the Mora River wending through a lush field dotted with grazing cattle, cattails, and willow. As we got closer to my parents’ house, the girls pointed out familiar sights: the clinic where my mother worked as a nurse; Mora High School, where my father taught; and the recurring hand-painted signs bearing the image of a cow’s head and phrases like “Farming, not Fracking.”

In 2010, Mora County voters, worried about the mounting threat of fracking, elected John Olivas and Paula Garcia to the Mora County Commission. Both had voiced strong opposition to oil and gas extraction in the county. A local anti-fracking organization, Drilling Mora County, contacted the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF), which helps municipalities with a legal framework to support local self-governance. As a result, in April 2013, the Mora County Commission passed “The Mora County Community Water Rights and Local Self-Government Ordinance,” the first countywide ban on oil and gas extraction in the United States.

“I would hate to see fracking come in... To me, it’s just one more thing that could hurt my family."

Mora’s community ordinance draws on the protection of state and federal constitutions and the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, the contract signed between the United States and Mexico at the end of the Mexican-American War, which has provisions that protect the property and civil rights of land-grant families in New Mexico. The ordinance places both the indigenous and civil rights of the community over those of corporations—and it has unleashed a flurry of media attention on the Mora community.

It also set off a litigious backlash from the oil and gas industry. The Independent Petroleum Association of New Mexico and three private landowners filed suit against the county in federal district court, and in mid-February 2014, a second lawsuit was filed by a subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell, which leases state trust land in the eastern part of the county for 25 cents an acre.

Community ordinances like Mora’s are needed “to fill a void,” according to Eric Jantz, a staff attorney for New Mexico Environmental Law Center. Jantz says the “Halliburton loophole” (the energy-bill provision that exempts fracking from EPA regulations), congressional budget cuts, and lack of institutional will to deal with the environmental impacts of extractive industries weaken state and federal protections. If folks in the community put up a good fight, the deep-pocketed corporations take them to court, using what Jantz calls “a perversion of the 14th Amendment” to protect their property rights.

Jantz speculates that the oil and gas industry singled out Mora, “a poor, rural, largely minority community without resources,” purposefully as its battleground. He suspects the industry intends to use lawsuits to “squeeze the county into acquiescence.”

Should the plaintiffs win in court, a precedent would be set, and the industry would have more leverage to oppose other community ordinances in the state and across the country. Jantz points to the fact that no comprehensive geological surveys have been done in Mora County. The quantity of shale gas in the county is unknown; there may not even be enough to warrant drilling—or more specifically, hydraulic fracturing. To Jantz, this is evidence that the fight is about something bigger than access rights to Mora County’s hypothetical fossil fuel reserves. It’s a fight about rights: corporate vs. community.

Mora County Commissioner and fracking-ban champion Olivas agrees. He says he wants to protect the county from the sort of boom-and-bust industry he saw growing up in Grants, New Mexico, where his parents worked in the uranium mines. Now, Grants is a ghost town, and many of his parents’ friends and acquaintances have died from illnesses related to uranium exposure. Olivas also hopes to help set a precedent for other communities to keep fracking at bay. He believes that even the sort of strict regulations on fracking passed in other counties still provide an “in” for drilling.

Photo by the author.

Other local residents disagree. Joseph Griego runs an organic farm in Mora with his wife, Ruth Ann. He showed me their raised beds of frost-hardy greens, the greenhouse with an aquaponics system he built himself, and a pen containing hens and two splendid Spanish heritage turkeys. After the tour, we went into the kitchen, where Ruth Ann was at the stove, sauteeing asparagus.

Sitting across from me at the kitchen table, Griego insisted he has tried to remain neutral on the fracking issue: He doesn’t believe the industry’s testimonials from farmers and ranchers saying fracking is safe, but he doesn’t believe what he regards as hyperbole from environmental groups either. He figures a good number of Hispanics, like him, don’t want fracking in Mora but see an outright ban as a bad idea and fundamentally an Anglo-driven initiative.

He doesn’t think Mora has a chance to win lawsuits brought by the energy corporations: “As a county we don’t have the money to figure it out in court—it could take years. Money’s going to talk, and we don’t have enough population base to say we don’t want this here.”

Griego explained that there aren’t many job opportunities in Mora Country. He wonders if local fracking would offer his son, a mechanical engineering major at New Mexico Tech, a career in the area.

Jantz speculates that the oil and gas industry singled out Mora, “a poor, rural, largely minority community without resources,” purposefully as its battleground.

Joining us at the table with a sleeping baby in her arms, Ruth Ann expressed a less ambivalent view than her husband’s. “I would hate to see fracking come in,” she said. “To me, it’s just one more thing that could hurt my family. We’re trying to raise our own food because we want to know where it comes from. What would it do to the food we grow?”

Griego finished our conversation with a phrase I hear often from Mora residents. Despite his doubts about the fracking ban, he still sees Mora’s struggle for community rights as “the good fight.”

Robert Howarth, a Cornell University professor of ecology and environmental biology, has seen the effects of hydraulic fracturing through his research in other communities. He says that some gas well sites in Texas, Utah, and Colorado had pristine air quality before gas development began just a few years ago and now have airborne benzene and elevated levels of ozone.

As much as 5 million gallons of water and chemical additives are used per frack job, says Howarth. Some of the chemical additives are toxic, and “fracking fluids extract radioactive substances such as thorium, uranium, radium, and toxic materials such as lead and arsenic from the shale.”

An average of 40 percent of frack fluids rises to the surface over the lifetime of a gas well, and there aren’t comprehensive systems for disposing of them: “In Texas, they inject the waste fluids deep underground into old, conventional gas wells, but there aren’t enough such wells for all the waste in many areas.” Howarth cites evidence that fracking is responsible for an increase in earthquakes.

Then there’s climate change. Clearly frustrated that natural gas is touted as cleaner than other fossil fuels, Howarth points out that natural gas is mostly methane, which has the largest greenhouse gas footprint of any fossil fuel. “Considering natural gas a ‘bridge fuel,’” he says, “is disastrous.”

The serious risks of fracking are frequently ignored by corporations and courts, says CELDF Executive Director Thomas Linzey. He’s seen the current system of law not only ignore but punish people who fight to protect their communities. “We pretend we live in a democracy, but as long as certain corporate-manufactured legal doctrines remain in place, it doesn’t matter what we want or what we do.”

These doctrines include corporate constitutional “rights,” preemption, and Dillon’s Rule, which makes community lawmaking subordinate to state legislatures and state agencies. This means, Linzey continues, that “what Mora has adopted isn’t just an ordinance; it’s a new constitution—a new system of governance, a huge shift, a movement.” By developing community ordinances, Mora County and more than 200 other communities across the nation are asserting their right to local self-governance to decide the future health of their environment and their communities.

Joseph Griego on his organic farm with a Spanish heritage turkey. Photo by the author.

Olivas lost his seat as chairman of the county commission in June, casting doubt on the security of Mora County’s anti-fracking ordinance. His successor, George Trujillo, is not necessarily pro-fracking but believes an outright ban and the resulting lawsuits are too much of a financial burden for the cash-poor county and its taxpayers. However, a repeal of the ordinance would not be easy, much less automatic; it would require both a unanimous vote of the county commission and a referendum, effective only if two-thirds of the electorate votes to repeal.

“If we’re opposing an industry coming into our community, we need to show that we’re working for something positive,” says Anita LaRan, descendent of some of the first Mora inhabitants and co-founder of Collaborative Visions, an organization that works to establish local economy projects. The community is rallying around the idea and there are signs of progress: a newsletter, La Voz de Mora; the Mora Watershed Alliance, which aims to restore arroyos and riparian areas; a planned arts venue; and a produce co-op that supplies markets in Taos, Santa Fe, and Española. Community cohesion is the aim.

“We want to get people involved,” LaRan says. “We don’t want anything that divides the community.”

A specific aspect of the anti-fracking ordinance refers to the values of a community that understands the importance of place and interdependence. This section evokes the Spanish tradition of querencia as protection for the inherent indigenous rights of all the county’s inhabitants—human, plant, and animal.

Querencia,” as it is used in the ordinance, means both a respect and love of place, and a safe haven from which one draws strength. Author Barry Lopez, in The Rediscovery of North America, suggests that the word carries a “sense of being challenged” and defines querencia as “a place in which we know exactly who we are. The place from which we speak our deepest beliefs.”

“As long as certain corporate-manufactured legal doctrines remain in place, it doesn’t matter what we want or what we do.”

“A sense of place,” he warns, “must include, at the very least, a knowledge of what is inviolate about the relationship between a people and the place they occupy, and certainly, too, how the destruction of this relationship, or the failure to attend to it, wounds people.”

Defending that relationship is embedded in the county’s history. During the Mexican-American War, and despite terrible odds, Mora and a handful of outlying areas made up the only significant resistance to the U.S. occupation of New Mexico.

In January 1847, mountain valley rebels managed to repel the U.S. Army, pushing the troops out of Mora. When the Americans returned with fresh soldiers and artillery, they razed the town, burned the wheat fields, and confiscated every last scrap of food. Mora’s villagers, left with charred fields and rubble, chose to replant and rebuild rather than relocate.

Today, facing battle with another superior power—this time in court—the people of Mora County have drawn on their heritage of resistance and resilience. They’ve responded to the threat of fracking with an ordinance that asserts their right to self-governance. Despite political differences and financial uncertainty, they’re working to create a community-centered economy and to keep up the good fight for place and home—for querencia.

Nina Bunker Ruiz wrote this article for The End of Poverty, the Fall 2014 issue of YES! Magazine. Nina is a freelance writer native to New Mexico. She currently lives in Santa Fe with her husband and two daughters.

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Categories: Ecological News

For the Beaches and the Barrios: Why Next Week’s Climate March Will Be the Largest Ever

Yes! Magazine - Tue, 09/16/2014 - 03:43

This article originally appeared at TomDispatch.

Icebergs near the South Orkney islands. Photo by Grapesmc / Flickr.

On Sunday, September 21, a huge crowd will march through the middle of Manhattan. It will almost certainly be the largest rally about climate change in human history, and one of the largest political protests in many years in New York. More than 1,000 groups are coordinating the march—environmental justice groups, faith groups, labor groups—which means there’s no one policy ask.

Those who have contributed the least to causing the crisis are hit hardest.

Instead, it’s designed to serve as a loud and pointed reminder to our leaders, gathering that week at the United Nations to discuss global warming, that the next great movement of the planet’s citizens centers on our survival and their pathetic inaction.

As a few of the march’s organizers, though, we can give some sense of why we, at least, are marching, words we think represent many of those who will gather at Columbus Circle for the walk through midtown Manhattan.

We march because the world has left the Holocene behind: Scientists tell us that we’ve already raised the planet’s temperature almost one degree Celsius, and are on track for four or five by century’s end. We march because Hurricane Sandy filled the New York City subway system with salt water, reminding us that even one of the most powerful cities in the world is already vulnerable to slowly rising ocean levels.

We march because we know that climate change affects everyone, but its impacts are not equally felt: Those who have contributed the least to causing the crisis are hit hardest, here and around the world. Communities on the frontlines of global warming are already paying a heavy price, in some cases losing the very land on which they live. This isn’t just about polar bears any more.

But since polar bears can’t march, we march for them, too, and for the rest of creation now poised on the verge of what biologists say will be the planet’s sixth great extinction event, one unequalled since the last time a huge asteroid struck the Earth 66 million years ago.

And we march for generations yet to come, our children, grandchildren, and their children, whose lives will be systematically impoverished and degraded. It’s the first time one century has wrecked the prospects of the millennia to come, and that makes us mad enough to march.

We march with hope, too. We see a few great examples around the world of how quickly we could make the transition to renewable energy. We know that if there were days this summer when Germany generated nearly 75 percent of its power from renewable sources of energy, the rest of us could, too—especially in poorer nations around the equator that desperately need more energy. And we know that labor-intensive renewables would provide far more jobs than capital-intensive coal, gas, and oil.

And we march with some frustration: Why haven’t our societies responded to 25 years of dire warnings from scientists? We’re not naïve; we know that the fossil fuel industry is the 1 percent of the 1 percent. But sometimes we think we shouldn’t have to march. If our system worked the way it should, the world would long ago have taken the obvious actions economists and policy gurus have recommended—from taxing carbon to reflect the damage it causes to funding a massive World War II-scale transition to clean energy.

We don’t march because there’s any guarantee it will work.

Marching is not all or even most of what we do. We advocate; we work to install solar panels; we push for sustainable transit. We know, though, that history shows marching is usually required, that reason rarely prevails on its own. (And we know that sometimes even marching isn’t enough; we’ve been to jail and we’ll likely be back.)

We’re tired of winning the argument and losing the fight. And so we march. We march for the beaches and the barrios. We march for summers when the cool breeze still comes down in the evening. We march because Exxon spends $100 million every day looking for more hydrocarbons, even though scientists tell us we already have far more in our reserves than we can safely burn. We march for those too weak from dengue fever and malaria to make the journey. We march because California has lost 63 trillion gallons of groundwater to the fierce drought that won’t end, and because the glaciers at the roof of Asia are disappearing. We march because researchers told the world in April that the West Antarctic ice sheet has begun to melt “irrevocably”; Greenland’s ice shield may soon follow suit; and the waters from those, as rising seas, will sooner or later drown the world’s coastlines and many of its great cities.

We don’t march because there’s any guarantee it will work. If you were a betting person, perhaps you’d say we have only modest hope of beating the financial might of the oil and gas barons and the governments in their thrall.

It’s obviously too late to stop global warming entirely, but not too late to slow it down—and it’s not too late, either, to simply pay witness to what we’re losing, a world of great beauty and complexity and stability that has nurtured humanity for thousands of years.

There’s a world to march for—and a future, too. The only real question is why anyone wouldn’t march.

Eddie Bautista, LaTonya Crisp-Sauray, and Bill McKibben wrote this article for TomDispath, where it originally appeared. Eddie is executive director of the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance. LaTonya is the recording secretary for the Transport Workers Union Local 100. Bill is the founder of 350.organd a TomDispatch regular.

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Categories: Ecological News

Air pollution found harmful to young brains

ENN Pollution - Tue, 09/16/2014 - 02:49
Findings by University of Montana Professor Dr. Lilian Calderón-Garcidueñas, MA, MD, Ph.D., and her team of researchers reveal that children living in megacities are at increased risk for brain inflammation and neurodegenerative changes, including Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease. Calderón-Garcidueñas’ findings are detailed in a paper titled "Air pollution and children: Neural and tight junction antibodies and combustion metals, the role of barrier breakdown and brain immunity in neurodegeneration."
Categories: Ecological News

Air pollution found harmful to young brains

ENN Health - Tue, 09/16/2014 - 02:49
Findings by University of Montana Professor Dr. Lilian Calderón-Garcidueñas, MA, MD, Ph.D., and her team of researchers reveal that children living in megacities are at increased risk for brain inflammation and neurodegenerative changes, including Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease. Calderón-Garcidueñas’ findings are detailed in a paper titled "Air pollution and children: Neural and tight junction antibodies and combustion metals, the role of barrier breakdown and brain immunity in neurodegeneration."
Categories: Ecological News

EU leads diplomatic protest against Iceland's whaling

The Ecologist Magazine - Mon, 09/15/2014 - 22:39
As the IWC meeting begins today in Slovenia, the EU, its 28 member states and the United States, Australia, Brazil, Israel, New Zealand, Mexico and Monaco, have expressed their opposition to Iceland's commercial whaling in a powerful diplomatic broadside.
Categories: Ecological News

Tory MPs: 'climate change is not man made'

The Ecologist Magazine - Mon, 09/15/2014 - 21:19
Seven out of ten Tory MP's think there's no proof that climate change is caused by people, and one in five thinks the idea is 'environmentalist propaganda', a new poll shows. Labour and Lib-Dem MPs are far more likely to accept climate science, but Parliament as a whole is remarkably 'climate sceptic'.
Categories: Ecological News
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