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Tuesday, December 6th, 2016
Volume ∞ Issue ∞

The environment is the defining issue of our time!

By Yvonne Nyenhuis

Fri, Jul 25th, 2014
Posted in All Commentary

Thank you Karen Reisner for your comprehensive article, “Pay it Forward.” The word that jumps out at me is “responsibility.” We have been entrusted with the care of this planet.

Sometimes I’m tempted to believe in providence, that the table has been set for me and that I am the invited guest. Lately a series of circumstances have convened in an amazing order.

Our read for book club this month was “Turn Here Sweet Corn”. From the shelf of my personal library I retrieved a story “The Apple Orchards”, written by Vera Powell Glenn, a family history of the Powell family who came from Wales bringing with them apple seedlings. They established an enduring heritage, as they built homes and planted orchards for their families. Inadvertently I dislodged a small book that fell into my hands, “Heaven in a Wildflower”, written by the same author, in which she describes caring for her wild flower garden. “The humblest things of nature hold the secrets of the universe and its creator.” Then a package arrived in the mail. When the wrapping fell away there was a beautiful picture of Jane Goodall in the woods. Her book “Seeds of Hope” was a gift from a friend in Pennsylvania.

For the past month I’ve been immersed in another world. I’ve given myself to exploring the connection between humans and plants: how all living things are related and depend on each other.

A wake up call for me came in 1962 with the publishing of Rachel Carson’s book “Silent Spring.” “That Man is a part of nature, and his war against nature is inevitably a war against himself.... In nature nothing exists alone.... The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe about us, the less taste we have for destruction.... The human race is challenged more than ever before to demonstrate our mastery, not over nature but of ourselves.”

I received an email from my son who resides in open country north of Duluth. The abundant rain had caused a preponderance of bugs, flies and mosquitoes. He was rejoicing that a host of hungry dragonflies had finally hatched and would take over the problem. It occurred to me that if he had sprayed the bugs he would have also killed the dragonflies.

Along with the practical reasons for farming there is a feeling of being part of the creative process: in harmony with nature. In “Turn here-Sweet Corn”, Atina Diffley shares her experience on a family farm that is dedicated to organic methods. The Diffley family settled the land in 1855 in Eagan, Minn. Over their food stand was a sign, “Gardens of Eagan”. Atina observes, “Some people have the preconceived notion that organic food will be insect ridden, small and low quality. She explains how a balanced soil and ecosystem creates healthy plants and resist pests and disease. She shows doubters a picture of a farmer spraying a field of broccoli, wearing a face mask and body suit. “Pesticides are designed to kill. All forms of life are affected. That includes people. if it is so toxic that the applicator needs to protect his health, do you want to eat it, put it inside your body?”

On April 9, 2006, Atina Diffley received notice that Flint Hills refinery, owned by Koch industries, wanted to put a crude oil pipeline across their farm. She and her husband, Martin, found themselves in the fight of their lives. “Turn Here Sweet Corn” is a beautiful and informative treatise on organic farming. In the last pages she discloses some astounding information on the amount of toxins in our soil and water and the effect on our health.

In her book “Seeds of Hope”, Jane Goodall shares with us her knowledge of science and her deeply spiritual response to all living things in nature. “Seeds of Hope” is not just a love letter to the plant world, it is a call to arms, sounding the alarm about habitat destruction, violence of industrial agriculture,and the risks of genetic engineering. (taken from a foreword by Michael Pollan).

Among a plethora of subjects there was this about marijuana. “A leather basket of leaf fragments and seeds was recently uncovered beside a shaman who was buried in China 2,700 years ago. It was widely used in India and other eastern countries for nausea and vomiting, the control of muscle spasms and as a sedative and relaxant. Today’s medical trials indicate that it reduces neuropathic, as well as cancer pain, improves appetite and caloric intake and may relieve spasticity and pain in multiple sclerosis.” She also regrets that “hemp, because of its association with cannabis, is illegal in the United States. It can be used for many products such as rope, clothing, bricks and oil extracts. It’s also one of the best of the “mop crops”, a kind of plant that actually absorbs toxins from the environment and can be used to clean up polluted areas.”

The need to replenish and nurture our planet should be a concern for all nations. In 1992 there was a United Nations conference in Rio de Janeiro. It was attended by 178 governments including the United States led by then President H. W. Bush who voted to adopt the program. “Agenda 21” is a voluntary action plan that offers suggestions for sustainable ways local, state and national governments can combat poverty and pollution and conserve natural resources in the 21st century. It is not legal or binding in any way, ( Ref. The Daily Beast )

In closing, the danger we face is not “liberals taking over the world.” The threat comes from corporations that use their money and power to buy access to legislators and will not hesitate to contaminate our land and water to enhance their profits!


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9:02:44, Jul 29th 2014

notacookoo says:
WOW, this is the most unconnected rambling yet. It started out nice as she expressed her concern for the environment but then at the end, she did it. she pulled off crazy. People like this buy in to stereo types and contribute to the brainwashing of America that has been going on for 2 decades with is the progressive mantra:, if you are unhappy with anything in your life, blame Corporate America.


12:15:51, Jul 29th 2014

kyle says:
or George Bush