Don’t know if it’s the water, could be pesticides, but one thing’s for certain, men in mid-Missouri have much lower sperm counts. The problem has been going on for years with no definitive answers. And there’s plenty of evidence to show the problem is much broader and more widespread.

The story:

Two years ago when fertility specialist Gil Wilshire came to Columbia from his practice in New Jersey, one detail jumped out at him. His male patients in Mid-Missouri were much less fertile than those he treated on the East Coast.

“Nobody I saw had a normal sperm count,” said Wilshire, a reproductive endocrinologist at Mid-Missouri Reproductive Medicine and Surgery Inc. “It took about two or three weeks until a normal semen analysis came through the door. I kept asking myself, ‘Am I in a hellhole of toxins?’ ”

Danny Schust, another endocrinologist who arrived here from Harvard University in 2006, had an almost identical experience. He was accustomed to treating men with low sperm counts, but those he saw in Missouri all had low counts.

“I went to” an andrologist at the Missouri Center for Reproductive Medicine and Fertility. “And I said, ‘Are you guys doing something different here because I never see normal sperm counts?’ ” Schust recalled. “And she was like, ‘No, this is Missouri sperm.’ ” Read the rest of this entry »

The Vatican has brought up to date the traditional seven deadly sins by adding seven modern mortal sins it claims are becoming prevalent in what it calls an era of “unstoppable globalisation.”

The new deadly sins include polluting, genetic engineering, being obscenely rich, drug dealing, abortion, pedophilia and causing social injustice.

The Pope told the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano that the greatest danger zone for the modern soul was the largely uncharted world of bioethics.

“(Within bioethics) there are areas where we absolutely must denounce some violations of the fundamental rights of human nature through experiments and genetic manipulation whose outcome is difficult to predict and control,” he said. Read the rest of this entry »

“As far as genetic engineering (genetic modification) for food, that is the great experiment that has failed. They literally have the entire world market against them. All those dreams… the blind will see, the lame will walk… has turned out to be science fiction. They are basically chemical companies selling more chemicals. They’ve been able to spread these herbicide-promoting plants around because it is more convenient for farmers who can just mass-spray their crops. But they’ve given absolutely nothing to the consumer while causing more chemical pollution and contamination.” – Lawyer, Andrew Kimbrell, executive director of the Center for Food Safety (USA)

See also: 50 Harmful Effects of Genetically Modified Food

  • According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, about 75 per cent of the genetic diversity of agricultural crops has already been lost in the last century.
  • Almost 96% of the commercial vegetable varieties available in 1903 are now extinct.
  • Today only 150 plant species are cultivated, 12 of which provide approximately 75 percent of our food and four of which produce over half of the food we eat.
  • Between 10% and 30% of mammal, bird, and amphibian species are currently threatened with extinction (medium to high certainty), based on IUCN–World Conservation Union criteria for threats of extinction.
  • Over the past few hundred years, it is estimated that humans have been responsible for up to a thousand times more extinctions than the natural rate.

Salmon farming operations have reduced wild salmon populations by up to 70 per cent in several areas around the world and are threatening the future of the endangered stocks, according a new scientific study.

The research by two Canadian marine biologists showed dramatic declines in the abundance of wild salmon populations whose migration takes them past salmon farms in Canada, Ireland and Scotland.

“Our estimates are that they reduced the survival of wild populations by more than half,” Jennifer Ford, lead author of the study published Monday in the Public Library of Science journal, said in Halifax.

“Less than half of the juvenile salmon from those populations that would have survived to come back and reproduce actually come back because they’re killed by some mechanism that has to do with salmon farming.”

The authors, including the late Halifax biologist Ransom Myers, claim the study is the first of its kind to take an international view of stock sizes in countries that have significant salmon aquaculture industries.

Want to know more about about where the candidates stand on food issues and the environment?

A questionnaire was designed by the League of Conservation Voters (LCV) to elicit responses and ideas from the 2008 presidential candidates regarding what environmental and conservation groups consider the most important national issues of the day. The results include an overview and 30 questions directed at each candidate. We’ve singled out one question in particular but be sure to check out the LCV site and take a look at the other twenty-nine.  

Question 18: In recent years, the key agencies charged with protecting the safety and health of Americans and our food supply (U.S. EPA, FDA and USDA) have made decisions that put farm workers, children, and rural communities at high risk of exposure to pesticides known to be carcinogens, developmental toxicants, and neurotoxicants. For example, while more than 50 countries have banned all uses of the insecticide lindane, it is still approved by the FDA for pharmaceutical use in the U.S. And in August of 2006, hundreds of EPA staff scientists protested industry influence on the scientific integrity of the process that led to EPA’s blanket approval of continued use of the highly toxic organophosphate insecticides that many people are exposed to through food, water and air.If elected, how will you limit industry influence on these agencies, protect U.S. residents from these toxic pesticides, and promote the use of established, safer alternative pest control methods?

Read the rest of this entry »

a revolution of change for the betterment of all mankind. A collective mindset with the power to transform the world. A created legacy of good for our children, for their children, and for generations to come.

Where would we start? What principles would guide us? Imagine…

The Earth Charter
We stand at a critical moment in Earth’s history, a time when humanity must choose its future. As the world becomes increasingly interdependent and fragile, the future at once holds great peril and great promise. To move forward we must recognize that in the midst of a magnificent diversity of cultures and life forms we are one human family and one Earth community with a common destiny. We must join together to bring forth a sustainable global society founded on respect for nature, universal human rights, economic justice, and a culture of peace. Towards this end, it is imperative that we, the peoples of Earth, declare our responsibility to one another, to the greater community of life, and to future generations. Read the rest of this entry »

In a deep and compelling New York Times piece, Rethinking the Meat Guzzler, columnist Mark Bittman compares the production and consumption of meat to that of oil. It’s not a pretty picture.

 The world’s meat supply has quadrupled since 1961 to 284 million tons. Per capita consumption has more than doubled in that time and is expected to double again by 2050. Americans consume an average of nearly 200 pounds of meat (including poultry and fish) per year, which is roughly twice the global average. While some 800,000,000 people suffer from hunger or malnutrition, the majority of the world’s corn and soy are used as feed for cattle, chickens and pigs. Read the rest of this entry »

France’s decision to ban the sale of more than 1,500 pesticides in the country beginning Feb. 1 applies to some of the world’s biggest chemical producers, the farm ministry said on Friday. Iincluded in the ban are U.S. companies Dow Chemical and DuPont Co, Germany’s Bayer and BASF and Switzerland’s Syngenta.

France aims to gradually phase out the use of 53 phytosanitary substances in its fields. Licences for 30 of them will be scrapped this year. The ban is part of a larger plan to cut by 50 percent the use of phytosanitary products in the next 10 years, the farm ministry said.

The strategy was flagged as a major goal in an environmental consultation exercise set up by French President Nicolas Sarkozy in October and has been welcomed by environmentalists.

Data from The Rodale Institute’s long-running comparison of organic and conventional cropping systems confirms that organic methods are far more effective at removing the greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide, from the atmosphere and fixing it as beneficial organic matter in the soil. Check it out… Read the rest of this entry »