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    The Price of Our Comfortable Lives

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    mudra

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    The Price of Our Comfortable Lives

    Post  mudra on Sat Nov 23, 2013 3:14 pm


    The price of our comfortable lives

    I would like this thread to be a place of research upon these commodities we take so much for granted in our daily civilized world
    that we couldn't even think doing without them.

    The habit of using the many elements  that make our lives more comfortable is so deeply engrained in the collective mind that we rarely ask ourselves,

    Where does it come from?

    How is it made ?

    And  what the price to pay is for our planet at large to live these comfortable lives ?

    It's seems almost natural to use these things but can anything that is man made on this planet be truthfully called " natural " in alignment with nature that is ?  





    The price of Fuel, timber, paper, pastures for livestock , plantations of commodities and settlements


    Deforestation



    Arrow http://green.wikia.com/wiki/Deforestation

    Deforestation, clearance or clearing is the removal of a forest or stand of trees where the land is thereafter converted to a non-forest use.Examples of deforestation include conversion of forestland to farms, ranches, or urban use.
    About half of the world's original forests had been destroyed by 2011, the majority during the previous 50 years.[citation needed] Since 1990 half of the world's rain forests have been destroyed.More than half of the animal and plant species in the world live in tropical forests.

    The term deforestation is often misused to describe any activity where all trees in an area are removed.[not in citation given][neutrality is disputed] However in temperate climates, the removal of all trees in an area[not in citation given]—in conformance with sustainable forestry practices—is correctly described as regeneration harvest. In temperate mesic climates, natural regeneration of forest stands often will not occur in the absence of disturbance, whether natural or anthropogenic. Furthermore, biodiversity after regeneration harvest often mimics that found after natural disturbance, including biodiversity loss after naturally occurring rainforest destruction.
    Deforestation occurs for many reasons: trees are cut down to be used or sold as fuel (sometimes in the form of charcoal) or timber, while cleared land is used as pasture for livestock, plantations of commodities and settlements. The removal of trees without sufficient reforestation has resulted in damage to habitat, biodiversity loss and aridity. It has adverse impacts on biosequestration of atmospheric carbon dioxide. Deforestation has also been used in war to deprive an enemy of cover for its forces and also vital resources. A modern example of this was the use of Agent Orange by the United States military in Vietnam during the Vietnam War. Deforested regions typically incur significant adverse soil erosion and frequently degrade into wasteland.

    Disregard or ignorance of intrinsic value, lack of ascribed value, lax forest management and deficient environmental laws are some of the factors that allow deforestation to occur on a large scale. In many countries, deforestation, both naturally occurring and human induced, is an ongoing issue. Deforestation causes extinction, changes to climatic conditions, desertification, and displacement of populations as observed by current conditions and in the past through the fossil record.



    Deforestation and Degradation

    Before expanding further on forest loss it is critical to first explain what is considered "forest" and what is meant by deforestation and forest degradation.

    The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the leading source for information on the status of the world's forests, defines forests as land with a tree canopy cover of more than 10 percent and an area of more than half a hectare. FAO says that "forest" includes natural forests and forest plantations but specifically excludes stands of trees established primarily for agricultural production (i.e. fruit tree and oil palm plantations) and trees planted in agroforestry systems.

    Other organizations use different standards for defining forests. For example, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) uses 40 percent cover as the threshold for "closed forests" and 10-40 percent cover for "open forests," while the Tropical Ecosystem Environment Observations by Satellite (TREES) project—funded in the 1990s by the European Commission—classifies areas with more than 70 percent canopy cover as "dense forests" and those with 40-70 percent cover as "fragmented forest."


    Data according to the FAO. Note the differences from the chart above. FAO's data is based on self reporting from forestry departments, while Harris and colleagues used satellite imagery. To reduce confusion, this site will generally follow FAO's convention, even though it has been criticized for its generous definition of what it considers forest.

    FAO defines deforestation as "the conversion of forest to another land use or the long-term reduction of the tree canopy cover below the minimum 10 percent threshold." Depletion of forest to tree crown cover greater than 10 percent (say from 90 percent to 12 percent) is considered forest degradation. Logging most often falls under the category of forest degradation and thus is not included in FAO deforestation statistics. For this reason, forest degradation rates are considerably higher than deforestation rates.

    Digging a little deeper, FAO says that "deforestation includes areas of forest converted to agriculture, pasture, water reservoirs and urban areas," but the term "specifically excludes areas where the trees have been removed as a result of harvesting or logging and where the forest is expected to regenerate naturally or with the aid of silvicultural measures."

    Arrow http://rainforests.mongabay.com/0801.htm

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    Re: The Price of Our Comfortable Lives

    Post  mudra on Sat Nov 23, 2013 3:16 pm

    The price of Palm oil

    Palm oil is a type of vegetable oil derived from the palm fruit, grown on the African oil palm tree. Approximately 85 percent of palm oil is grown in the tropical countries of Indonesia, Malaysia and Papua New Guinea on industrial plantations that have severe impacts on the environment, forest peoples and the climate.

    Palm oil and its derivatives are used in a ubiquitous array of packaged foods, including ice cream, cookies, crackers, chocolate products, cereals, breakfast bars, cake mixes, doughnuts, potato chips, instant noodles, frozen sweets and meals, baby formula, margarine, and dry and canned soups. In the U.S. alone, palm oil imports have jumped 485% in the last decade. The dramatic and growing demand for this crop in recent decades has pushed sprawling palm oil plantations deep into some of the world’s most valuable rainforests and palm oil production is now one of the leading causes of rainforest destruction around the globe.

    Palm oil is now one of the leading causes of rainforest destruction worldwide, and the single biggest threat driving orangutans toward extinction; the best estimates place their population at just 60,600, and it’s shrinking quickly. The palm oil industry is also responsible for widespread human rights violations including displacement of indigenous peoples, land conflicts with forest-dependent communities, and forced and child labor. Hence palm oil from such unsustainable sources has been dubbed “conflictpalm oil.”

    Palm oil can be used to produce biofuels as biodiesel. Palm oil biodiesel is often blended with other fuels to create palm oil biodiesel blends. Palm oil biodiesel meets the European EN 14214 standard for biodiesels, but the US Environmental Protection Agency ruled in early 2012 that palm oil does not meet the US Renewable Fuels Standard, which calls for 7.5 billion gallons of renewable fuels to be blended into gasoline. The EPA’s ruling came after extensive lifecycle analysis of palm oil production, which showed that deforestation significantly undercuts the climate benefits of palm oil as a biofuel source over fossil fuels. Global palm oil production hit 58 million metric tons in 2013, and with growing markets in China and India (which account for more than a third of palm oil imports), there is a significant and growing demand.

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    Re: The Price of Our Comfortable Lives

    Post  mudra on Sat Nov 23, 2013 3:21 pm



    How Palm Oil in Everything From Food to Fuel Is Killing Orangutans and Exacerbating Climate Change

    November 18, 2013  |  

    Palm oil. It’s the ubiquitous additive in everything from soaps and lotions to cookies and diet foods. It’s found in junk food like Cheez-Its, Tootsie Rolls, and M&Ms, but it’s also found in the products of more ecologically conscious companies like Ben & Jerry’s, Nature’s Way, and Toms of Maine. According to Rainforest Action Network (RAN), palm oil can be found in almost half of the products found in grocery stores. The US consumes most of its 1.2 million metric tons of palm oil per year through these products.

    Palm oil is also used for fuel, specifically as a biofuel additive. The European Union is the worst offender, thanks in part to a European Union directive promoting the use of biofuels for transport. From 2006 to 2012, Europe’s use of palm oil as a biofuel additive increased by 365 percent, and overall European consumption of palm oil is now a whopping 5.6 million metric tons.

    To meet this huge (and growing) demand, palm oil is being produced on vast industrial plantations, largely in Indonesia and Malaysia. Since 1990, the total area of Indonesia covered by palm oil plantations grew 600 percent to nearly 20 million acres (about the size of Maine).

    Arrow http://www.themistsofavalon.net/post?p=99193&mode=editpost

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    Re: The Price of Our Comfortable Lives

    Post  mudra on Sat Nov 23, 2013 3:37 pm

    The power is in your Palm

    AMAZING! Orangutan asks girl for help in sign language

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G32YehcdUAw#t=27


    Since I know about this I carefully read the ingredients in the various food products I buy.
    Even in health food stores they sell stuff that contain palm oil.
    I avoid them all.
    It's a very simple gesture but if done by many it will create a difference.

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    Re: The Price of Our Comfortable Lives

    Post  mudra on Sun Nov 24, 2013 7:05 am

    The price of Plastic



    Plastics in the Ocean Affecting Human Health


    The Three Plastic Islands

    The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, also know as the Pacific Trash Vortex or gyre, is located in the central North Pacific Ocean and is larger than the state of Texas. There are also garbage patches in the Indian and Atlantic ocean. The patches are defined as containing a higher amount of plastic as compared to surrounding oceans. To date, five patches in total have been discovered.

    Plastics are transported and converge in the ocean where currents meet. This means that huge plastic islands are made as a result. SES (Sea Education Society) scientists studied plastics in the Atlantic and calculated there are 580,000 pieces of plastic per square kilometer.


    Sources of Plastic Toxins Entering the Oceanic Food Chain

    As far as plastic entering the ocean, about 20% of the trash comes from ships and platforms that are offshore. The rest sources from litter being blown into the sea, picked up by tides on the beach, or intentional garbage dumping. The worse part is, these plastics don't biodegrade, so they brake up into tiny pieces that are consumed by fish and sea mammals. Plastic is killing more than 100,000 sea turtles and birds a year from ingestion and entanglement. To learn more visit Project Green Bag

    Chemicals in plastics are released into the water as well as the atmosphere. Fish easily become contaminated from the chemicals in the water. This is a direct link of how plastic chemicals enter the food chain. See Earth Times for more on this.


    Plastics getting to Humans Impacting Health

    Different plastics spread throughout the ocean. As Styrofoam breaks into smaller parts, polystyrene components in it sink lower in the ocean, so that the pollutant spreads throughout the sea column.

    In fact, not only do the toxins in plastic effect the ocean, but acting like sponges, they soak up other toxins from outside sources before entering the ocean. As these chemicals are ingested by animals in the ocean, this is not good for humans. We as humans ingest contaminated fish and mammals.

    For more information on this topic on toxins in the ocean, see this article by National Geographic. National Geographic

    There are different types of ways that plastic is dangerous for humans. Direct toxicity from plastics comes from lead, cadmium, and mercury. These toxins have also been found in many fish in the ocean, which is very dangerous for humans. Diethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP) contained in some plastics, is a toxic carcinogen. Other toxins in plastics are directly linked to cancers, birth defects, immune system problems, and childhood developmental issues. To learn more on effects of plastics on humans visit the Ecology Center

    Other types of toxic plastics are BPA or health-bisphenol-A, along with phthalates (mentioned above). Both of these are of great concern to human health. BPA is used in many things including plastic bottles and food packaging materials. Over time the polymer chains of BPA break down, and can enter the human body in many ways from drinking contaminated water to eating a fish that is exposed to the broken down toxins. Specifically, BPA is a known chemical that interferes with human hormonal function.



    Rolf Halden, associate professor in the School of Sustainable Engineering and Arizona State University has studied plastics adverse effects on humans and has thus far concluded that and exact outline of health effects of plastics on humans is almost impossible to determine. This is due to the fact that the problem of plastic contamination in humans is globally spread; there are almost no unexposed subjects. That being said, it is evident that the chemicals are not healthy for humans. To learn more about Halden's studies on plastic at Arizona State University see Impacts of plastics on human health and ecosystems

    Arrow[url= http://serc.carleton.edu/NAGTWorkshops/health/case_studies/plastics.html] http://serc.carleton.edu/NAGTWorkshops/health/case_studies/plastics.html[/url]

    World biggest garbage dump - plastic in the Ocean

    The world biggest garbage dump is a floating one and has twice the size of the USA.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XxNqzAHGXvs


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    Re: The Price of Our Comfortable Lives

    Post  burgundia on Sun Nov 24, 2013 7:26 am

    Thanks mudra for this thread. The Karen 
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    Re: The Price of Our Comfortable Lives

    Post  mudra on Sun Nov 24, 2013 8:19 am

    coal burning,
    base-metal ore smelting, gold rushes,Power Plants


    Mercury

    Mercury is a naturally occurring element and is
    found throughout the world. There are thus many
    natural sources of mercury, creating background
    environmental levels that have been present since
    long before humans appeared.

    Mercury is contained in many minerals, including
    cinnabar, an ore mined to produce mercury. Much
    of the present day demand for mercury is met by
    supply from mercury recovered from industrial
    sources and stockpiles rather than from mercury
    mining. Mercury is also present as an impurity
    in many other economically valuable minerals, in
    particular the non-ferrous metals, and in fossil fuels,
    coal in particular.

    Human activity, especially mining and the burning
    of coal, has increased the mobilization of mercury
    into the environment, raising the amounts in the
    atmosphere, soils, fresh waters, and oceans. The
    majority of these human emissions and releases of
    mercury have occurred since 1800, associated with
    the industrial revolution based on  in various
    parts of the world.
    To some extent the same drivers
    of mercury emissions and releases are continuing
    with fossil-fuel-based energy generation powering
    industrial and economic growth in Asia and South
    America, which in turn helps drive high demand for
    metals including gold, spurring artisanal and small-
    scale gold mining (ASGM) around the world


    Global Mercury assessment
    : Arrow http://www.unep.org/PDF/PressReleases/GlobalMercuryAssessment2013.pdf

    Mercury pollution threatens health worldwide, scientists say

    Aug. 11, 2006
    0 0 5

    Mercury pollution can threaten the health of people, fish and wildlife everywhere, from industrial sites to remote corners of the planet, but reducing mercury use and emissions would lessen those threats, according to a declaration ratified today (Aug. 11) at an international conference on mercury pollution.


    read on: http://www.news.wisc.edu/12761

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    Re: The Price of Our Comfortable Lives

    Post  mudra on Sun Nov 24, 2013 8:24 am

    Mercury : Know Where It's Coming From

    Each year power plants and other sources create tons of mercury pollution, which makes its way into our homes and bodies in fish.

    Some of the major sources of mercury pollution in the US include coal-fired power plants, boilers, steel production, incinerators, and cement plants. Power plants are the largest source, emitting around 33 tons of mercury pollution in the US annually, and contributing to almost half of all mercury emissions. Large boilers and heaters, many of which are powered by coal, are the next largest source of mercury emissions, followed by steel production. Incinerators, once the largest source of mercury in the U.S. have drastically reduced emissions, though they remain the fourth largest source. Overall, mercury emissions have gone down by 65% in the US over the past two decades.

    Power Plants and Coal Combustion

    Coal is naturally contaminated with mercury, and when it is burned to generate electricity, mercury is released into the air through the smokestacks. The bulk of this mercury pollution could be eliminated with the installation of relatively simple and widely-available pollution-control devices. Similar devices have proved very successful on municipal incinerators, which were once a significant source of mercury pollution. In the United States, mercury pollution from power plants and industrial sources collectively contributes to half of all the mercury air emissions.

    Regulation of mercury pollution has finally begun to phase in among the largest emitters despite long delays and repeated attempts to weaken mercury regulations under the Clean Air Act. The Environmental Protection Agency finalized clean air safeguards to reduce toxic pollution, including mercury, from:

    cement plants in 2010
    power plants in 2011,
    gold mining in 2011, and
    industrial boilers in 2011, but these are now on hold.

    New standards were proposed for the chlorine chemicals industry in 2011. Mercury emissions are slated to go down 80 percent by 2016 compared to 1990 levels, due to these US EPA regulations.

    Outside the U.S., coal-fired power plants are the largest source of mercury air emissions worldwide. Coal is an economically attractive source of energy in countries where it is abundant and inexpensive. Currently, coal-fired power plants supply 75 percent of China's energy; in the next eight years, China is expected to add more coal plants to meet domestic energy demand. However, China recently issued mercury emission limits on new and existing coal-fired power plants which will be implemented over the next few years.

    Gold Mining

    In the U.S. large scale mining and processing of gold ore is a now a relatively minor source of direct mercury emissions to air thanks to effective regulations. Globally, however, large scale gold mining still emits substantial quantities of mercury to the environment. In addition, the largest use of mercury in the world is artisanal and small scale gold mining. Approximately 10-20 million miners around the world, especially in Asia, Africa and South America, use mercury to bind with gold contained inside ore, and then burn off the mercury, leaving just the gold behind. This low-tech practice releases a significant quantity of mercury to the air, causes severe damage to soils, water bodies and wildlife near the mining sites, and results in heavy mercury exposures to the miners and their families, and adds to the global pool of mercury in the environment.

    Manufacturing of Metals and Cement

    Mercury is an impurity in certain metal ores, and in limestone, which is used to make cement. As noted above, mercury can also be in the coal that is often burned to power cement kilns. Accordingly, metal smelting and refining, particularly lead and zinc smelting, and cement manufacturing, are significant contributors to global mercury pollution.

    Other Industrial Mercury Emitters

    Certain types of chemicals, such as chlorine, were originally produced using a mercury intensive process. This 19th century technology is still employed at up to 100 "chlor-alkali" plants around the world as of 2011, accounting for approximately 15% of mercury use worldwide. Because an alternative process is widely available, chlor-alkali plants represent a significant source of preventable mercury pollution. There is some good news: The chlorine industry has phased out mercury use in India, where a large number of mercury-based chlor-alkali plants were located. In the US, just two of these outdated mercury based chlor-alkali plants are left.

    A large percentage of the polyvinyl chloride, or PVC, manufactured in China relies on a coal-based method that uses mercury as a catalyst. China's PVC industry is one of the largest users of mercury worldwide, consuming over 800 metric tons annually, and releasing substantial quantities of mercury throughout the catalyst life cycle. Pilot testing of a mercury free catalyst is now underway in China.

    Consumer Products and Additives

    Mercury is used as a component in many consumer products, like thermometers, batteries, electronic devices and many automotive parts, and can escape as a pollutant when these products are manufactured, broken during use, or most importantly, handled and disposed of at the end of the product's useful life. It can also be used as an additive to cosmetics and antiseptics, often exposing consumers unknowingly and unnecessarily. Incinerators burning mercury wastes, including discarded products, can release significant quantities of mercury unless they are equipped with appropriate mercury capture devices. Likewise, the recycling of scrap metal (secondary smelting) can release mercury from auto parts like light switches, if proper care is not taken to remove the mercury before smelting and/or mercury capture devices are not installed on the smelter.

    read on down the list : http://www.nrdc.org/health/effects/mercury/sources.asp

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    Re: The Price of Our Comfortable Lives

    Post  mudra on Sun Nov 24, 2013 8:27 am

    burgundia wrote:Thanks mudra for this thread. The Karen 
    Thank You burgundia

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    Re: The Price of Our Comfortable Lives

    Post  mudra on Sun Nov 24, 2013 8:43 am


    Mercury Contamination of Aquatic Ecosystems


    How does mercury become a toxicological problem?

    Like many environmental contami-nants, mercury undergoes bioaccumulation. Bioaccumulation is the process by which organisms (including humans) can take up contaminants more rapidly than their bodies can eliminate them, thus the amount of mercury in their body accumulates over time. If for a period of time an organism does not ingest mercury, its body burden of mercury will decline. If, however, an organism continually ingests mercury, its body burden can reach toxic levels. The rate of increase or decline in body burden is specific to each organism. For humans, about half the body burden of mercury can be eliminated in 70 days if no mercury is ingested during that time. Biomagnification is the incremental increase in concentration of a contaminant at each level of a food chain

    Figure 4. Mercury (Hg) biomagnifies from the bottom to the top of the food chain. Even at very low input rates to aquatic ecosystems that are remote from point sources, biomagnification effects can result in mercury levels of toxicological concern.

    This phenomenon occurs because the food source for organisms higher on the food chain is progressively more concentrated in mercury and other contaminants, thus magnifying bioaccumulation rates at the top of the food chain. The bioaccumulation effect is generally compounded the longer an organism lives, so that larger predatory game fish will likely have the highest mercury levels. Adding to this problem is the fact that mercury concentrates in the muscle tissue of fish. So, unlike organic contaminants (for example PCBs and dioxins) which concentrate in the skin and fat, mercury cannot be filleted or cooked out of consumable game fish.

    What are the human health effects of mercury toxicity?

    Humans generally uptake mercury in two ways: (1) as methylmercury (CH3Hg+) from fish consumption, or (2) by breathing vaporous mercury (Hg0) emitted from various sources such as metallic mercury, dental amalgams, and ambient air. Our bodies are much more adapted for reducing the potential toxicity effects from vaporous mercury, so health effects from this source are relatively rare. Methylmercury, on the other hand, affects the central nervous system, and in severe cases irreversibly damages areas of the brain

    Figure 5. All forms of mercury are toxic to humans, but methylmercury is especially of concern because our bodies have a less well developed defense mechanism against this toxin. Effects on the nervous system are the most prevalent in humans.

    The most well documented cases of severe methylmercury poisoning are from Minamata Bay, Japan in 1956 (industrial release of methyl-mercury) and in Iraq in 1971 (wheat treated with a methylmercury fungicide). In each case, hundreds of people died, and thousands were affected, many with permanent damage. In milder cases of mercury poisoning, adults complain of reductions in motor skills and dulled senses of touch, taste, and sight. These milder effects are generally reversible if exposure to mercury is halted. Unborn children are at greatest risk from low-level exposure to methylmercury. Recent research suggests that prenatal effects occur at intake levels 5-10 times lower than that of adults. If these results are confirmed, a substantial fraction of unborn children would be at risk.

    Mercury Cycling in the Environment

    Mercury can take a myriad of pathways through the environment.

    Figure 6 Mercury cycling pathways in aquatic environments are very complex. The various forms of mercury can be converted from one to the next; most important is the conversion to methylmercury (CH3Hg+), the most toxic form. Ultimately, mercury ends up in the sediments, fish and wildlife, or evades back to the atmosphere by volatilization. Reprinted with permission from Mercury Pollution: Integration and Synthesis. Copyright Lewis Publishers, an imprint of CRC Press.

    shows a schematic drawing of mercury cycling in an aquatic ecosystem. With the exception of isolated cases of known point sources, the ultimate source of mercury to most aquatic ecosystems is deposition from the atmosphere, primarily associated with rainfall. As depicted in this figure, atmospheric deposition contains the three principal forms of mercury, although the majority is as inorganic mercury (Hg2+, ionic mercury). Once in surface water, mercury enters a complex cycle in which one form can be converted to another. It can be brought to the sediments by particle settling and then later released by diffusion or resuspension. It can enter the food chain, or it can be released back to the atmosphere by volatilization. The concentration of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) and pH have a strong effect on the ultimate fate of mercury in an ecosystem. Studies have shown that for the same species of fish taken from the same region, increasing the acidity of the water (decreasing pH) and/or the DOC content generally results in higher body burdens in fish. Many scientists currently think that higher acidity and DOC levels enhance the mobility of mercury in the environment, thus making it more likely to enter the food chain. Many of the details of the aquatic mercury cycle are still unknown, however, and remain areas of active research.

    source : Arrow http://water.usgs.gov/wid/FS_216-95/FS_216-95.html

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    Re: The Price of Our Comfortable Lives

    Post  mudra on Sun Nov 24, 2013 9:14 am

    An alternative to the unsustainable fish based source of Omega 3

    Why Fish Oil is NOT the Best Omega-3 Source

    Callum Roberts, professor of marine conservation at York University, predicts that by 2050 half the world population will have to go without fish; all that will be left for them may be “jellyfish and slime”.

    Ninety years of industrial-scale exploitation of fish has led to an ecological meltdown, and whole biological food chains have been destroyed.

    North Atlantic fish stocks have been in decline for well over a century. Fish catch records from the 1920’s onwards show that, despite the enormous improvements in technology, catches of the great Atlantic species have remained constant or slowly declined.

    Why has the international community failed so badly in its attempts to stop this long-heralded disaster?

    “Quite simply,” Roberts says, “agreements and deals brokered by politicians will never be satisfactory. They always look for the short-term fix.” Quotas for fishing fleets are on average 15 to 30 percent higher than those recommended as safe by scientists. And often, for less threatened species, the quotas are set 100 percent higher than the science recommended.

    The average American diet is seriously deficient in the essential omega 3's, DHA and EPA. Except for certain types of fish, there are very few sources of these vitally important fats.

    Unfortunately, as this well-written article in the Guardian spells out quite succinctly, fish supplies around the world are becoming scarcer each year. Even I see it, every year that I go to Maui the fish are becoming far less abundant. And, add to that the fact that much of the fish that is available are grossly contaminated.

    Additionally, eating fish before maturity (meaning it has not had time to reproduce) spells disaster for the ecology. Eating fish that is loaded with toxins spells disaster for your health, completely counteracting any of its inherent benefits.

    These are both good reasons for limiting your fish intake, and being mindful of the types of fish you do consume.

    The World’s Most Perfect Food – Not so Perfect Anymore

    The world’s oceans are so polluted with industrial waste that most commercially available fish have become little more than carriers of toxins – especially mercury – which accumulates throughout the fat and tissues of their bodies.

    This isn’t surprising, considering some 40 tons of mercury are released in the United States alone, every year, due to burning coal to generate electricity.

    The most common contaminants found in fish include:

       Mercury
       PCBs
       Radioactive substances like strontium
       Toxic metals such as cadmium, lead, chromium and arsenic

    Smaller fish, such as herring, sardines, and anchovies fare better than larger fish since they don’t have time to accumulate much mercury in their tissues.

    Farm-Raised Fish is Much like Factory-Farmed Cattle

    Contrary to what industry would like you to believe, farmed fish is NOT a healthier option. Not for you, the fish, nor the environment.

    Not only do you still have the problem of mercury, but farm-raised fish also has higher levels of PCBs, another poisonous industrial byproduct. Residues in farm-raised fish can be as much as 9 million times the amount found in the water.

    See, in order to be profitable, fish farms must raise large quantities of fish in confined areas, and the overcrowding leads to disease and injuries to the fish. The fish are therefore given antibiotics and chemicals for the parasites like sea lice, skin and gill infections and other diseases that commonly affect them.

    Making matters worse, these fish are also given drugs and hormones, and sometimes are genetically modified, to accelerate growth and change reproductive behaviors.

    Farmed salmon are also given the chemicals canthaxanthin and astaxanthin to turn their flesh pink. Wild salmon eat a diet of shrimp and krill, which contain natural chemicals that make the salmon pink. Farm-raised salmon do not eat a natural diet, so their flesh would be gray if they were not given these additives.

    What foods are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids?

    There are two major types of omega-3 fatty acids in our diets: One type is alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which is found in some vegetable oils, such as soybean, rapeseed (canola), and flaxseed, and in walnuts. ALA is also found in some green vegetables, such as Brussels sprouts, kale, spinach, and salad greens. The other type, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), is found in fatty fish. The body partially converts ALA to EPA and DHA.

    For good health, you should aim to get at least one rich source of omega-3 fatty acids in your diet every day.

    This could be  a tablespoon of canola or soybean oil in salad dressing or in cooking, or a handful of walnuts or ground flaxseed mixed into your morning oatmeal.


    Arrow http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/omega-3/

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    Re: The Price of Our Comfortable Lives

    Post  getlikeme on Mon Nov 25, 2013 11:17 pm

    Midway island is a perfect example of how large an impact we are having. I love animals and sometimes find myself getting attached but it always helps me to realize they have survived this long and every death sustains innumerable lives. The source resides in all living things, just different manifestations having infinite experiences on this planet, so fear not for individual species because for every one that departs this beloved world many others will thrive in their absence. :)
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    Sanicle

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    Re: The Price of Our Comfortable Lives

    Post  Sanicle on Mon Nov 25, 2013 11:40 pm

    mudra wrote:The power is in your Palm

    AMAZING! Orangutan asks girl for help in sign language

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G32YehcdUAw#t=27


    Since I know about this I carefully read the ingredients in the various food products I buy.
    Even in health food stores they sell stuff that contain palm oil.
    I avoid them all.
    It's a very simple gesture but if done by many it will create a difference.

    Love Always
    mudra
    Crybaby Crybaby Crybaby 
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    Sanicle

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    Re: The Price of Our Comfortable Lives

    Post  Sanicle on Mon Nov 25, 2013 11:43 pm

    getlikeme wrote:Midway island is a perfect example of how large an impact we are having. I love animals and sometimes find myself getting attached but it always helps me to realize they have survived this long and every death sustains innumerable lives. The source resides in all living things, just different manifestations having infinite experiences on this planet, so fear not for individual species because  for every one that departs this beloved world many others will thrive in their absence. :)
    Well said getlikeme, but mankind's cruelty and thoughtlessness towards these animals has GOT to stop. Don't you agree?
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    getlikeme

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    Re: The Price of Our Comfortable Lives

    Post  getlikeme on Mon Nov 25, 2013 11:54 pm

    I do but right now we must focus on ourselves I'm really not trying to be selfish just find it odd that we don't even have well established or rather well enacted human rights how do we expect to save the planet if we can't even save ourselves? I love nature and animals especially and plan to go back to school for biology but if we continue along this path we will destroy ourselves before we destroy the planet. The earth has given rise to all of the great species without our help and millions of species have come and gone before we had anything to do with it, the earth has its ways of coping. Were really not that great of a species on average and we have a terrible track record but we try to act as if we are civilized when we are far from it.
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    Sanicle

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    Re: The Price of Our Comfortable Lives

    Post  Sanicle on Tue Nov 26, 2013 12:02 am

    I agree with you on the whole Drew but, to me, all life is sacred and worthy of love. This statement in particular I agree with:
    We're really not that great of a species on average and we have a terrible track record but we try to act as if we are civilized when we are far from it.
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    getlikeme

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    Re: The Price of Our Comfortable Lives

    Post  getlikeme on Tue Nov 26, 2013 12:24 am

    I agree but animals (including ourselves) and plants are but vehicles for experience and there form matters not, only what we do while we are here matters.
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    Sanicle

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    Re: The Price of Our Comfortable Lives

    Post  Sanicle on Tue Nov 26, 2013 12:34 am

    Yes, what we do here IS what matters, and I believe self-serving cruelty to other forms of life should not be part of that dynamic.  

    I logged back on to edit the statement I made above........adding to "all life is sacred and worthy of love" if possible, but always with respect, as per Namaste.

    Sorry, gotta go. Messages to do. I love you 
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    Re: The Price of Our Comfortable Lives

    Post  getlikeme on Tue Nov 26, 2013 12:39 am

    Thanks for the welcome BTW :)
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    mudra

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    Re: The Price of Our Comfortable Lives

    Post  mudra on Tue Nov 26, 2013 2:07 pm

    getlikeme wrote:Midway island is a perfect example of how large an impact we are having. I love animals and sometimes find myself getting attached but it always helps me to realize they have survived this long and every death sustains innumerable lives. The source resides in all living things, just different manifestations having infinite experiences on this planet, so fear not for individual species because  for every one that departs this beloved world many others will thrive in their absence. :)
    I tend to agree with you Drew Source resides indeed in all living things and survival is so strong it is really like running water.
    It's not fear really but Love and caring I would say. I believe it's part of our individual awakening as human beings to realize
    we are more than mere flesh and bones , a spiritual being animated by Love living an experience that allows us to choose each one
    of our actions. It has often been said that everything is connected so I believe each of our individual gestures no matter how small
    that align with the greater picture of respect for all life counts in the overall search for balance.

    Welcome in the Mists and thank you for sharing your thoughts on this thread.

    Love from me
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    Re: The Price of Our Comfortable Lives

    Post  mudra on Tue Nov 26, 2013 2:17 pm

    Fashion’s impact on the earth



    Safia Minney
    15th September, 2011


    It seems like a very small thing to us, choosing a t-shirt or a dress made of organic rather than conventional cotton. But it can make a big difference at the other end of the chain. The environmental impact of fashion is something that needs to concern us all. What’s clear is that fashion’s environmental footprint at the moment is unsustainable. The evidence is overwhelming. For example, the British clothing and textiles sector alone currently produces around 3.1 million tonnes of CO2, two million tonnes of waste and 70 million tonnes of waste water per year – with 1.5 million tonnes yearly of unwanted clothing and textiles ultimately ending up in landfill. This means that we each throw away an average of 30 kilos a year.

    We need to consume less fashion and wear our clothes for longer, while the fabrics and clothes that we do buy need to have more ‘value added’ – benefiting not only the farmers but also as many artisans as possible in its transformation to clothing. Fair Trade can make a big difference here. Fair Trade takes a long-term view, working in partnership with producers and enabling communities to ‘invest’ in environmental initiatives and diversify. It recognizes that, if farmers are given even half a chance, they will protect the environment. After all, why would people whose lives are so dependent on the resources of their natural surroundings, destroy their environment? The answer is that they only do so when driven to it by low prices, unfair terms of trade and the insecurity that comes from not knowing where your children’s next meal will come from. They only do it when there seems to be no alternative.


    Fair Trade, social businesses and new economics are leading the way in showing how we can protect the environment and help the poor feed themselves. Supporting low chemical inputs, transitional and organic farming is also vital. Polyester, the most widely used manufactured fibre, is made from petroleum. The manufacture of this and other synthetic fabrics is an energy-intensive process requiring large amounts of crude oil and releasing millions of tonnes of CO2. With oil supplies dwindling, we have to find alternatives to oil-intensive farming methods now, before it’s too late. Organic farming takes 1.5 tonnes of CO2 per acre per year out of the atmosphere.

    Water is another vital resource being over-consumed by the fashion industry. And, as water scarcity becomes as big an issue as global warming, this is critical. Conventionally grown cotton is one of the most water-dependent crops to be grown. It takes over 2,000 litres of water to produce the average t-shirt with conventional cotton. Organic and Fair Trade cotton has helped to reduce water consumption by over 60 per cent in the Indian state of Gujarat, by supporting farmers who invest in drip irrigation.

    The conventional cotton industry has a devastating effect on farmers and the environment. Heavy pesticide use reduces biodiversity, disrupts ecosystems and contaminates water supplies. Worse still, pests exposed to synthetic pesticides build up a resistance to them so that, each year, farmers have to buy and use more pesticides to grow the same amount of cotton. Not only does this increase the annual damage to the environment, it means the farmer gets less and less profit from the crop. These pesticides also harm the farmers and their families. Many of the chemicals used in cotton farming are acutely toxic. Around 10 per cent of all chemical pesticides and 22 per cent of all insecticides used worldwide are sprayed on cotton crops. Cotton growers typically use many of the most hazardous pesticides on the market, many of which are organophosphates originally developed as toxic nerve agents during World War Two. At least three pesticides used on cotton are in the ‘dirty dozen’ – so dangerous that 120 countries agreed at a UNEP conference in 2001 to ban them, though so far this hasn’t happened.

    The World Health Organization estimates that three million people are poisoned by pesticides every year, most of them in developing countries. When pesticides leak into the environment, chronic poisoning can affect entire communities. Symptoms of chronic poisoning include numbness or weakness of arms, legs, feet or hands, lethargy, anxiety and loss of memory and concentration. Young women are particularly vulnerable – exposure to pesticides can affect the reproductive system, causing infertility and spontaneous abortions. In the light of all this, any support we can give to small farmers growing organic cotton is vital. Organic cotton is grown as a rotational crop alongside organic foods that are often consumed by a farmer’s family, with the surplus sold locally. But cotton farmers in India trying to make the transition to organic often struggle to do so because the soil takes five years to recover its yields as it is weaned off agrochemical methods. They desperately need more support from the government. The only support at present is coming from NGOs and advocacy organizations – and from consumers prepared to pay a Fair Trade premium and to insist on organic cotton.

    read on: Arrow http://www.theecologist.org/green_green_living/clothing/1055961/safia_minney_fashions_impact_on_the_earth.html

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    Re: The Price of Our Comfortable Lives

    Post  mudra on Tue Nov 26, 2013 2:24 pm

    The Ecologist guide to Estethica




    London’s environmental fashion initiative celebrates its fifth birthday this year and this season looks set to be the best yet. Ruth Styles takes a closer look

    London Fashion Week’s main platform for ethical and eco-friendly fashion is five years old this year, and has helped cement the careers of the 108 designers who have passed through its doors to date. Launched in 2006, Estethica was a response to a growing interest among consumers, buyers and designers in fashion that doesn’t literally cost the earth, and has made a name for itself by promoting Fairtrade, upcycled and organic pieces, as well as helping to get the careers of some of the UK’s brightest talents off the ground. Among them are the likes of Christopher Raeburn, Junky Styling, Dr Noki and The North Circular, all of whom adhere to Estethica’s three main principles: Fairtrade, ethical practices or the use of organic or recycled materials.

    ‘This anniversary of Estethica marks an important milestone for the initiative and also for the fashion industry,’ commented Harold Tillman, chairman of the British Fashion Council. ‘Each season we see Estethica grow to support designers in new and exciting ways...placing sustainable values at the forefront of fashion design. This is a chance to celebrate Estethica’s achievements and look forward to future ventures in promoting sustainable fashion.’ Whatever the future holds, Estethica has already participated in a wide variety of initiatives, including a mentoring scheme for new talent, work with DEFRA to create a roadmap for sustainable fashion, and partnering with Yoox.com to provide a sales outlet for the cream of Britain’s young eco-designers. So who’s on the cast list this season? Here are some of the highlights:

    Arrow http://www.theecologist.org/green_green_living/clothing/1055311/the_ecologist_guide_to_estethica.html

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    Re: The Price of Our Comfortable Lives

    Post  mudra on Tue Nov 26, 2013 2:32 pm

    Stop making China suffer toxic pollution for Western fashion



    A Greenpeace investigation exposed the gender-bending chemicals used in clothing production. Puma, Nike and Adidas have agreed to phase out the toxic chemicals, but can we expect others to follow, asks Tamara Stark

    What will be the phrase on London's fashionistas' imacculately glossed lips during this year's London Fashion Week? Probably not Nonylphenol Ethoxylates, but it's a term being bandied around the boardrooms of some of the world's biggest brands. Today Greenpeace brings you some genuine fashion secrets and lets you in on how what you wear is going to change over the next decade.

    ‘Fashion secret' sounds a bit implausible - how fashionable can something be and still be a secret? You'd be surprised. A recent Greenpeace investigation tested clothing samples for the presence of toxic chemicals and exposed an industry-wide problem. Lab tests revealed that clothing from 14 out of 15 global brands that had been purchased in 17 different countries all contained the chemical nonylphenol ethoxylates. These NPEs, as they're known, break down in water into toxic, persistent and hormone-disrupting nonylphenols - contaminating fish, wildlife and people - often having the greatest impacts on rivers near the factories where the clothing is produced.

    Some of the impacts of toxic river pollution on fishing villages and other communities living by rivers in China and elsewhere are truly appalling, but having exported much of our pollution to the developing world, now we in the rich west are importing it back again in our clothes, and, when we wash them, put it back into our rivers.

    Clean water is a universal right

    It was just last year that the United Nations voted to include access to clean water within the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This late addition to a list that defines our basic human rights probably comes as a surprise to many people - but I can only imagine that when the Declaration was passed in 1948, no one had envisioned a scenario where, in many countries, access to clean water would hit a crisis point.

    Yet here we are in 2011, with almost 1 billion people on the planet foregoing a universal right, and some industries - including the textile industry - adding to the problem of global water contamination. That's why Greenpeace is campaigning to clean up the industry and, correspondingly, contaminated rivers and waterways in manufacturing countries such as China.

    Personally, I don't want to be a contributor to this problem. Did you know that as much as 70 per cent of the rivers, streams and reservoirs in China alone are contaminated? Meanwhile, we're lucky enough to live in a country where some efforts have been made to clean up our environment, so these toxic chemicals have already been banned in manufacturing in the EU. What these testing results make clear, however, is that these chemicals are still showing up in clothing I can buy here in the UK, so people like you and I unwittingly become part of the problem when we purchase them.

    So this investigation is important, because it reveals the extent of the toxic pollution the industry is causing, and it's a problem globally. Given the high levels of attention paid to China as the world's largest manufacturing nation, it would be easy for consumers to think that poor production processes are restricted to only China - or to 1 or 2 other countries at most. The report Dirty Laundry exposes the fact that whether we're purchasing clothing made in China, Bangladesh, Vietnam or any of the other 9 nations whose clothing was tested, there's a high probability that toxic chemicals were used in manufacturing.

    I want to make purchasing decisions that I know to be ethical as well as attractive, and right now the state of the textile industry is such that it's extremely difficult to be confident that what I'm buying is truly ethical - and non-toxic. That's why we challenged these global brands, such as Puma, Nike and H&M, to de-tox their clothing lines.

    The good news: De-toxing is back in fashion

    At least some clothing corporations are getting the message. Within two weeks of our report, Puma contacted us, pledging to completely eliminate hazardous chemicals from their supply chain by 2020, and Nike quickly followed suit. Sportswear giant Adidas took longer to convince but at the end of August they, too, committed to develop an action plan with clear timelines attached that will eliminate the use of these chemicals. They will also challenge their suppliers to be more transparent with local communities, and voluntarily disclose what chemicals they use and discharge in their manufacturing, wherever it occurs. This could be the first step to bringing fashion's dirty secrets out into the open, and that's what we urgently need if we're going to clean up this industry and protect both China's rivers and our own.

    What's less heartening is that - as yet - companies such as H&M, Ralph Lauren, and Abercrombie & Fitch aren't accepting responsibility for cleaning up their supply chain.

    read on: http://www.theecologist.org/blogs_and_comments/commentators/other_comments/1053117/stop_making_china_suffer_toxic_pollution_for_western_fashion.html

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    Re: The Price of Our Comfortable Lives

    Post  mudra on Tue Nov 26, 2013 3:51 pm

    Shopping guide to High Street Clothes Shops, from Ethical Consumer

    This is a product guide from Ethical Consumer, the UK's leading alternative consumer organisation. Since 1989 we've been researching and recording the social and environmental records of companies, and making the results available to you in a simple format.

    This report includes:


    Ethical and environmental ratings for 29 High Street clothes shops
    Best Buy recommendations
    why fashion is a feminist issue
    the workers who make your clothes
    comparison of workers' rights in companines' supply chains
    company profiles
    toxic waste and water shortages
    can fashion ever be ethical?
    the use of wool
    a co-operative clothes factory


    Arrow http://www.ethicalconsumer.org/buyersguides/clothing/clothesshops.aspx

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    Re: The Price of Our Comfortable Lives

    Post  mudra on Tue Nov 26, 2013 3:54 pm

    Free Shopping guide to Alternative Clothes Companies, from Ethical Consumer.

    This is a product guide from Ethical Consumer, the UK's leading alternative consumer organisation. Since 1989 we've been researching and recording the social and environmental records of companies, and making the results available to you in a simple format.

    This report includes:

    Ethical and environmental ratings for 16 alternative clothing brands
    Best Buy recommendations
    courses for how to make your own clothes
    clothes swaps and charity shops

    Arrow http://www.ethicalconsumer.org/buyersguides/clothing/alternativeclothescompanies.aspx

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    Re: The Price of Our Comfortable Lives

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