Thursday, March 31, 2011


A friend shared with me the following news article ( on 24/3/2011) about this 9-year old Japanese boy and what he did which made me want to reach out and give him a BIG, WARM HUG!

Please read and then allow yourself a moment of silence before sending out a message of love and compassion to all the victims of the recent unfortunate earthquake/tsunami...

Source of article:

EDITOR'S note:
THIS letter, written by Vietnamese immigrant Ha Minh Thanh working in Fukushima as a policeman to a friend in Vietnam, was posted on New America Media on March 19. It is a testimonial to the strength of the Japanese spirit, and an interesting slice of life near the epicenter of Japan's crisis at the Fukushima nuclear power plant. It was translated by NAM editor Andrew Lam, author of "East Eats West: Writing in Two Hemispheres." Shanghai Daily condensed it.


How are you and your family? These last few days, everything was in chaos. When I close my eyes, I see dead bodies. When I open my eyes, I also see dead bodies.

Each one of us must work 20 hours a day, yet I wish there were 48 hours in the day, so that we could continue helping and rescuing folks.

We are without water and electricity, and food rations are near zero. We barely manage to move refugees before there are new orders to move them elsewhere.

I am currently in Fukushima, about 25 kilometers away from the nuclear power plant. I have so much to tell you that if I could write it all down, it would surely turn into a novel about human relationships and behaviors during times of crisis.

People here remain calm - their sense of dignity and proper behavior are very good - so things aren't as bad as they could be. But given another week, I can't guarantee that things won't get to a point where we can no longer provide proper protection and order.

They are humans after all, and when hunger and thirst override dignity, well, they will do whatever they have to do. The government is trying to provide supplies by air, bringing in food and medicine, but it's like dropping a little salt into the ocean.

Brother, there was a really moving incident. It involves a little Japanese boy who taught an adult like me a lesson on how to behave like a human being.

Last night, I was sent to a little grammar school to help a charity organization distribute food to the refugees. It was a long line that snaked this way and that and I saw a little boy around 9 years old. He was wearing a T-shirt and a pair of shorts.

It was getting very cold and the boy was at the very end of the line. I was worried that by the time his turn came there wouldn't be any food left. So I spoke to him. He said he was at school when the earthquake happened. His father worked nearby and was driving to the school. The boy was on the third floor balcony when he saw the tsunami sweep his father's car away.

I asked him about his mother. He said his house is right by the beach and that his mother and little sister probably didn't make it. He turned his head and wiped his tears when I asked about his relatives.

The boy was shivering so I took off my police jacket and put it on him. That's when my bag of food ration fell out. I picked it up and gave it to him. "When it comes to your turn, they might run out of food. So here's my portion. I already ate. Why don't you eat it?"

The boy took my food and bowed. I thought he would eat it right away, but he didn't. He took the bag of food, went up to where the line ended and put it where all the food was waiting to be distributed.

I was shocked. I asked him why he didn't eat it and instead added it to the food pile. He answered: "Because I see a lot more people hungrier than I am. If I put it there, then they will distribute the food equally."

When I heard that I turned away so that people wouldn't see me cry.

A society that can produce a 9-year-old who understands the concept of sacrifice for the greater good must be a great society, a great people.

Well, a few lines to send you and your family my warm wishes. The hours of my shift have begun again.

Ha Minh Thanh

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

7 Pros and Cons of Drinking Coffee ....

I like this post by SAMANTHA (@ which gives a fair view to the effects to drinking of coffee. Have a read and remember that MODERATION is the key to everything we do. Enjoy your cuppa!

P>S> The following article is selected from Planet Green and originally written by Sarah Novak.


Before I moved to South Carolina from Washington D.C., I used to enjoy a sizable Starbucks coffee each morning on my way to work. I started my day like the Tasmanian Devil, flying around my office like a child jacked up on sweet tarts. So after I moved south and my life began to slow down a bit, I gradually downgraded my caffeine intake. And just a few years later, I still enjoy a delicious cup o’ Joe, but today it’s the decaffeinated, organic, fair trade variety. It’s a pleasant morning ritual too painful to part with. But is coffee good for your health? Similar to alcohol, the studies seem to seesaw back and forth.

So when you’re considering your morning coffee, here are some health facts to keep in mind:


1. Coffee Reduces Your Risk of Diabetes
In a 2005 review of nine studies, researchers found that for those that drank four to six cups of coffee per day, versus only two or fewer, their risk for Type 2 diabetes decreased by almost 30 percent. The number decreased by 35 percent when people drank more than six cups per day. And if you’re picturing yourself running around the office with your eyes bugging out of your head, no worries because caffeinated and decaffeinated coffees provided much the same results.

2. Coffee Fights Free Radicals
We often forget that coffee is actually a plant and like all plant foods, the coffee bean contains more than 1,000 naturally occurring substances called phytochemicals, which may help prevent disease. Many of these phytochemicals are antioxidants which protect the cells from damage from free radicals.

3. Coffee Improves Memory and Cognition
Researchers reported that volunteers who drank caffeinated coffee in the morning performed better than nondrinkers on tests that involved learning new information. Coffee can also improve cognitive function as we age. One study found that combining coffee with a sweet treat had an even bigger impact.

According to study researcher Josep M. Serra Grabulosa, from the Department of Psychiatry and Clinical Psychobiology at Universidad de Barcelona:

Our main finding is that the combination of the two substances improves cognitive performance in terms of sustained attention and working memory by increasing the efficiency of the areas of the brain responsible for these two functions. This supports the idea of a synergistic effect between two substances, in which each one boosts the effect of the other.


4. Coffee Can Increase Osteoporosis

It’s true that coffee can cause the body to excrete calcium in urine. We don’t want the body to rid itself of calcium because this can lead to osteoporosis. According to The Diet Channel, about five milligrams of calcium is lost per every six ounces of coffee consumed. But these calcium losses can be counter balanced with two tablespoons of milk or yogurt per cup of coffee.

5. Coffee Causes Wrinkles
Even though coffee has antioxidants, if you drink too much of it, it can cause wrinkling of the skin. This is a result of dehydration which is the worst thing for your skin. So when you’re drinking that morning cup or two, make sure that you’re pairing it with water. Even better, add 1 tablespoon of chia seeds to your water and let them sit for 30 minutes. The chia seeds keep you even more hydrated than regular water.

6. Coffee Can Actually Cause Weight Gain
The blood sugar fluctuations that a caffeine high produces can contribute enormously to cravings, according to iVillage. Coffee is also socially connected to food. For example, we pair coffee with dessert or that morning powdered doughnut. Additionally, when we crash from our caffeine high that’s when we reach for all sorts of fatty snacks to keep us going.

7. Conventional Coffee Is Laden with Pesticides
The coffee plant is one of the most heavily sprayed crops. It’s coated with chemicals, pesticides, and herbicides, nothing you’d want to be ingesting. If you do drink coffee, make sure that it’s the organic variety, free from assorted chemicals that leech into our ground water and can make us sick down the road.

If you switch to decaffeinated coffee, make sure the caffeine is removed in a natural way without the use of chemicals to do it. Often times, conventional decaffeinated coffee has more chemicals that regular.

CAFFEINE : Myths and Facts

COFFEE : To quit or Not to quit

8 Reasons to Drink Coffee

Great News for WHALES ???

The following recent post by JAKE RICHARDSON ( dated 29th Mar, 2011) takes a look at how a shift from an old traditional way of life may allow man and animal to co-exist in peace and harmony. Let's all pray and hope that man will leave our animal co-inhabitants alone to enjoy their right to live in their respective and natural environment ... ... ...


Whaling in Japan Dealt Another Blow

Ayukawahama is a small whaling and fishing village located about 200 miles north of Tokyo. It was hit by the tsunami and experienced tremendous destruction, so much that it currently can no longer function as a whaling center. Ayukawa Whaling is the only whaling company left in the village of 1,400 but the tsunami moved their three whale hunting ships miles down the coast and left them grounded. There is currently no quick way to get them back in the water and functioning. Their whale meat processing factory was destroyed, as were their offices. The company’s chairman had to lay off all 28 employees. He wants to rebuild the company in time for the fall whaling hunt, but admitted it was unlikely to happen. Of course they will miss the April hunt, when they would have been able to take 50 minke whales which is allowed for “research” purposes, but eating whale-meat stew could hardly be called a scientific experiment.

The company can’t afford to move their hunting ships from their grounded locations to water without financial aid from the government. The whaling company’s chairman who is 74 said, “If we can fix the ships, then we’re back in business and should not be afraid, because another tsunami like that won’t come for another 100 years.” (Source: His father was a whaler, so it must be very difficult to let go of a business that has been in the family for decades, and is so interwoven into the local culture. Of course, in 100 years the village may not even exist any more because many of the residents are old, and may not live even thirty years. Whaling has been declining in Japan due to shifting cultural attitudes, meaning the young people are not nearly as interested in eating whale meat.

The government has been propping up the whaling industry there, and even giving free whale meat to school children to promote it. In January a similar whale meat promotion also did not fare well. They tried to sell meat from Minke whales, humpback whales, and sperm whales at half price. Also free whale meat stew was given away, but it mainly drew interest from about 100 seniors.

One of the Japanese whaling defenders said, “We will pass down the history of our ancestors to the next generation, preserve it. We have a strong sense of pride about this. So we are not going to change our plans for the town based on the criticism of foreigners.” (Source:

Some Japanese men go to the extent of dressing in red loincloths and chasing a mechanized whale for an annual whale festival. Most of the sentiment regarding a revival of whaling in the tiny town is coming from older males who are at retirement age, or are already retired.

While the disaster in Japan is tragic, and the loss of much of the whaling village is also, it must be said that many whales are now better off, as they won’t die to continue an absurdly out of touch and very destructive, pointless tradition.

Recently anti-whaling activists foiled a big Japanese whaling hunt and saved the lives of many whales. Will the whaling industry in Japan ever finally die out? It is looking more that way today.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


The following post by Melissa Beyer (@ on March 10, 2011) should alert us to how we can further help save the environment no matter which part of the world you happened to be. HELP SAVE OUR PLANET !!!

Our trash that goes in the can or recycling is waste we have no choice but to face. Whether it’s hauling the trash cans to the sidewalk, bringing recycling to a center–it’s a mass of garbage that we have to contend with. Liquid waste, on the other hand, simply gets rinsed down the drain and it’s “bye-bye never have to think about you again.” It’s a much more expedient process–one that’s hidden from the eyes of any sanitation departments–and one that can wreak waves of environmental chaos, not to mention what it can do to your pipes. We often don’t realize the harm we are doing by what we rinse down our kitchen sinks, bath and shower drains, and even what we flush down our toilets.

In a study published in 2002, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) collected and analyzed water samples from 139 streams in 30 states. The goal of the study was to measure concentrations of 95 wastewater-related organic chemicals in water. And guess what? One or more of these chemicals were found in 80 percent of the streams sampled. Half of the streams contained seven or more of these chemicals, and about one-third of the streams contained 10 or more of these chemicals. Pharmaceutical and personal-care products are to blame for many of the chemicals found in the USGS study. Research has shown that there can be effects on aquatic organisms like fish and frogs. Lesson here: don’t flush unwanted prescriptions and try to purchase all-natural personal care products.

But another area of concern is kitchen waste–namely fats, oils and greases which can not only clog pipes, but are terrible for sewage systems. According to the Watership Environment Foundation (WEF), sewer overflows and backups can cause health hazards, damage home interiors, and threaten the environment. An increasingly common cause of overflows is sewer pipes blocked by grease–this results in raw sewage overflowing in your home or your neighbor’s home; An expensive and unpleasant cleanup that often must be paid for by you, the homeowner; Raw sewage overflowing into parks, yards, and streets; Potential contact with disease-causing organisms; and an increase in operation and maintenance costs for local sewer departments, which causes higher sewer bills for customers.

Where does the grease that causes sewer overflows come from? Much of it from the kitchen sink.
Meat fats
Cooking oil
Butter and margarine
Food scraps
Baking goods
Dairy products

Grease sticks to the insides of sewer pipes (both on your property and in the streets). Over time, the grease can build up and block the entire pipe. Note that home garbage disposals do not keep grease out of the plumbing system. These units only shred solid material into smaller pieces and do not prevent grease from going down the drain. Commercial additives, including detergents, that claim to dissolve grease may pass grease down the line and cause problems in other areas.

WEF suggests these tips to alleviate pipe blockage and sewer overflows:
• Never pour grease down sink drains or into toilets.
• Scrape grease and food scraps from trays, plates, pots, pans, utensils, and grills and cooking surfaces into a can or the trash for disposal (or recycling where available).
• Do not put grease down garbage disposals. Put baskets/strainers in sink drains to catch food scraps and other solids, and empty the drain baskets/strainers into the trash for disposal.
• Speak with your friends and neighbors about the problem of grease in the sewer system and how to keep it out.
• Call your local sewer system authority if you have any questions.

Other things to never wash down your drain:
•Fats, oils or grease from cars or lawnmowers
•Coffee grinds
•Egg shells
•Produce stickers
•Chunks of garbage
•Feminine hygiene products
•Paper towels
•Flushable cat litter
•Motor oil, transmission fluids, anti-freeze or other toxic chemicals
•Solvents, paints, turpentine, nail polish, polish remover
•Flammable or explosive substances
•Corrosive substances that are either acidic or caustic
•Prescription and over-the-counter medications

For more information on how to dispose of old medication and personal care products, read Medicine Cabinet Clean-Out.


BLOGGER'S NOTE : If you are making kitchen waste enzyme for use in your home, simply pouring it down your kitchen sink will help clean the drains/sewage too. Please read our previous postings on how to make the enzyme and its many environmental saving ways. A little effort from everyone will go a long, long way in helping to mitigate further damages to our planet.
Have a nice day!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


It costs the world US$40 trillion to mitigate climate change by 2050.
A global shift to a no-meat diet would save 70% i.e. $28 trillion.
A global shift to an animal-free vegan diet would save more than 80%, $32 trillion

~ Netherlands Environmental Assessment

Meat eating:
Accounts for 70% of Amazon deforestation
Generates 51% of total Greenhouse gas emissions
Uses up 42% of world grain and 70% of world soy production
Largest source of pollution to our waterways
1 lb of beef uses water enough to shower for 6 months
Major cause of most common diseases

SOLUTION : Be Vegan, Go Green 2 Save the Planet!

UN Urges Global Move to a meat & dairy free diet

Lesser consumption of animal products is necessary to save the world from the worst impacts of climate change, UN report says.

A global shift towards a vegan diet is vital to save the world from hunger, fuel poverty and the worst impacts of climate change, a UN report said today.

As the global population surges towards a predicted 9.1 billion people by 2050, western tastes for diets rich in meat and dairy products are unsustainable, says the report from United Nations Environment Programme's (UNEP) international panel of sustainable resource management.

It says: "Impacts from agriculture are expected to increase substantially due to population growth increasing consumption of animal products. Unlike fossil fuels, it is difficult to look for alternatives: people have to eat. A substantial reduction of impacts would only be possible with a substantial worldwide diet change, away from animal products."

Professor Edgar Hertwich, the lead author of the report, said: "Animal products cause more damage than [producing] construction minerals such as sand or cement, plastics or metals. Biomass and crops for animals are as damaging as [burning] fossil fuels."

The recommendation follows advice last year that a vegetarian diet was better for the planet from Lord Nicholas Stern, former adviser to the Labour government on the economics of climate change. Dr Rajendra Pachauri, chair of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), has also urged people to observe one meat-free day a week to curb carbon emissions.

The panel of experts ranked products, resources, economic activities and transport according to their environmental impacts. Agriculture was on a par with fossil fuel consumption because both rise rapidly with increased economic growth, they said.

Ernst von Weizsaecker, an environmental scientist who co-chaired the panel, said: "Rising affluence is triggering a shift in diets towards meat and dairy products - livestock now consumes much of the world's crops and by inference a great deal of freshwater, fertilisers and pesticides."

Both energy and agriculture need to be "decoupled" from economic growth because environmental impacts rise roughly 80% with a doubling of income, the report found.

Achim Steiner, the UN under-secretary general and executive director of the UNEP, said: "Decoupling growth from environmental degradation is the number one challenge facing governments in a world of rising numbers of people, rising incomes, rising consumption demands and the persistent challenge of poverty alleviation."

The panel, which drew on numerous studies including the Millennium ecosystem assessment, cites the following pressures on the environment as priorities for governments around the world: climate change, habitat change, wasteful use of nitrogen and phosphorus in fertilisers, over-exploitation of fisheries, forests and other resources, invasive species, unsafe drinking water and sanitation, lead exposure, urban air pollution and occupational exposure to particulate matter.

Agriculture, particularly meat and dairy products, accounts for 70% of global freshwater consumption, 38% of the total land use and 19% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions, says the report, which has been launched to coincide with UN World Environment day on Saturday.

Last year the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation said that food production would have to increase globally by 70% by 2050 to feed the world's surging population. The panel says that efficiency gains in agriculture will be overwhelmed by the expected population growth.

Prof Hertwich, who is also the director of the industrial ecology programme at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, said that developing countries – where much of this population growth will take place – must not follow the western world's pattern of increasing consumption: "Developing countries should not follow our model. But it's up to us to develop the technologies in, say, renewable energy or irrigation methods."

The above article by FELICITY CARUS appeared in the
Dated : 2 June 2010

Sunday, March 13, 2011

5 Ways you can help JAPAN

We are all shocked whenever mother nature 'misbehaves' and unleashes her 'fury' on us. The most recent earthquake and subsequent tsunami that hit Japan is a devastating example of how helpless we are in the paths of such uncontrolled disasters....

Here are some ways we can offer help, no matter how small, to alleviate the sufferings and immediate needs of the victims.

Posted by : Emily L on (12/3/2011)

More than 300 people are now confirmed dead after Thursday's devastating earthquake and subsequent tsunami in Japan. Police expect the death toll to rapidly climb to 1000 or more.

As shocked bystanders across the globe and in neighboring countries, many of us feel helpless with the sight of the photographs and want to do what we can to help. There are many organizations working to relieve Japan's citizens.

Here are five ways you can help the people of Japan from your own home:

1. Donate to IMC - International Medical Corps is mobilizing relief teams and supplies, as well as contacting partners in the area in order to deploy their most effective strategy. They are a group of medical professionals who provide vital health services with a focus on training in order to return devastated populations to self-sufficiency. You can donate online at

2. Donate to Save the Children - Save the Children stands ready to meet the needs of children and families affected by these events. An international emergency team has been dispatched to assist staff in Japan. You can donate to their efforts online at

3. Donate money, supplies or air miles to Operation USA - Los Angeles-based international relief agency OpUSA is preparing for their efforts in Japan, and are asking for monetary donations from individuals. They are also requesting air miles through United Airlines Charity Miles program. If your employer would like to get involved, corporate donations of bulk quantities of disaster-appropriate supplies are also needed. Find out the ways you can donate at

4. Text a donation to the Red Cross - The Red Cross has launched their relief efforts in Japan. You can donate online, or text REDCROSS to 90999 to donate $10 from your phone.

5. Donate to Doctors Without Borders - Doctors Without Borders has two three-person teams in Japan attempting to get to the hardest hit areas by helicopter. Another 25 staff will respond once the situation has been assessed. You can find out how to donate by visiting their website

Of course, you can always help by keeping up with what's going on and making sure your friends and loved ones in the area have up-to-date information. Google has a resource site that may provide answers to those in need.


Posted by : Lindsay Spangler on (12/3/2011)

Title: As Waters Rise, Conservatives and Liberals Remain In Denial

The negative impacts of climate change are coming on more quickly than anyone expected. According to a new NASA study, ocean waters are creeping steadily upwards, at rates faster than predicted, Maureen Nandini Mitra reports at Earth Island Journal:

"That ice sheets will dominate future sea level rise is not surprising -- they hold a lot more ice mass than mountain glaciers," Eirc Rignot, the report's lead author said in a statement emailed by NASA yesterday. "What is surprising is this increased contribution by the ice sheets is already happening."

This is just the latest warning sign that climate change is happening and that its negative effects will occur more quickly than anyone has prepared for. This will happen despite Republicans' insistence that there is no hard scientific proof of climate change, and that "just because you might be in the minority doesn't always mean you're wrong," as Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-VA) put it this week at a House subcommittee hearing on climate science.

Dealing with it
This problem is not going to go away. The economist and blogger Tyler Cowen wrote this week that left-wing economists have a "reluctance to admit how hard the climate change problem will be to solve, for fear of wrecking any emerging political consensus on taking action." In response, Mother Jones' Kevin Drum comments, "Actually, liberals spend a ton of time talking about how hard climate change is. Still, there's something to this. As hard as we say it is, it's probably even harder than that."

How hard? On Democracy Now!, Naomi Klein argued this week that progressive environmental groups have been pussy-footing around the scope of the issue entirely. She said:

What I see is that the green groups, a lot of the big green groups, are also in a kind of denial, because they want to pretend that this isn't about politics and economics, and say, "Well, you can just change your light bulb. And no, it won't really disrupt. You can have green capitalism." And they're not really wrestling with the fact that this is about economic growth. This is about an economic model that needs constant and infinite growth on a finite planet. So we really are talking about some deep transformations of our economy if we're going to deal with climate change. And we need to talk about it.

That's a tall order for green groups, however, when they're having a hard time convincing conservatives that climate change even exists. As Klein says, refusing to believe in climate change has become one way that conservatives define themselves, politically, and the pull of ideological identification outweighs any rational attitude toward the science in question.

The example of agriculture
In many cases, solutions to the problems of climate change are clear. Only habit and political intransigence keep them from being put into action.

Agriculture is a great example of this tangle. Industrial farming pollutes earth, water, and air, while sustainable methods of farming promote global health. What's more, they create as much, if not more, product than industrial farming techniques. This week the United Nations confirmed these benefits in a report on "eco-farming," what Americans generally call sustainable agriculture. Inter Press Service reports:

"An urgent transformation to "eco-farming" is the only way to end hunger and face the challenges of climate change and rural poverty," said Olivier De Schutter, U.N. Special Rapporteur on the right to food. ... Yields went up 214 percent in 44 projects in 20 countries in sub-Saharan Africa using agro-ecological farming techniques over a period of 3 to 10 years... far more than any GM [genetically modified] crop has ever done.

Despite this sort of success, the argument that agribusiness is necessary to feed the world is still running rampant. At Grist, Tom Philpott has been picking apart a series of articles from The Economist that explains, as Philpott puts it "how industrial agriculture is the true and only way to feed the 9 billion people who will inhabit the world by 2050."

But as Philpott notes, sustainable farming can feed the global population and is better for the planet as well. The United Nations, he writes, has:
found that 'ecological agriculture' could 'assist farmers in adapting to climate change' by making farm fields more resilient to stress. So why isn't eco-agriculture catching on? The report cites a bevy of obstacles, none of them technological:

"Lack of policy support at local, national, regional and international levels, resource and capacity constraints, and a lack of awareness and inadequate information, training and research on ecological agriculture at all levels."

Obvious solutions
Indeed, it can be incredible how simple solutions to seemingly intractable problems can be. For instance, IPS reports, yet another UN report has found one solution to mitigating global hunger: Push back against gender inequality. IPS's Alan Bojanic and Gustavo Anriquez write:

The UN agency's report estimates that if women had the same access to agricultural assets, inputs, and services as men they could increase yields on their farms, and this increase could raise total agricultural output in developing countries by roughly 2.5 to 4 percent.

Moreover, such a growth in agricultural production could in turn bring 100 to 150 million people out of hunger - that is about 12 to 17 percent of the 925 million undernourished people that exist in the world according to FAO's latest estimates.

Dealing with the problems of climate change might be harder than liberals often admit. But some of the simplest solutions haven't even been tried yet.

(The above was orginally written by SARAH LASKOW of The Media Consortium and is free
to reprint)


The following post by DELIA QUIGLEY was posted on (March 12, 2011) and explains the reasons why it is important for us to seriously reconsider the logic for a change in our eating habits...

Am I a Bad Person if I Eat Animals?

Read more:

If you want to progress on a spiritual path, you must challenge your actions—including what you eat—as to whether they are authentic expressions of the love and spirit within you.” John Robbins

I have a friend who loves to collect clichés. He believes that we repeat them so often because they have some truth to them. Take, for example, the old adage “You are what you eat.” Even more than that, you are what remains in your body after the rest has been eliminated. Restricting your food choices can be beneficial to your health, and can also serve as an investigation into your true nature. The manner in which animals are raised and slaughtered carries both energetic and karmic consequences that the human race must all share. Compare it to standing by while someone you love is being harshly abused. You wouldn’t. You would find a way to help them from being hurt or killed. We share the karma because we are aware of the pain that is being inflicted and do nothing to prevent it from happening. The ethical treatment of animals is the responsibility of all peoples and is one of the precepts of right and moral conduct to do no harm.

Empirical evidence shows that energy cannot be destroyed. The energy we put into the preparation of our food, as well as, the energy that remains in the fiber of the meat you eat, can affect how you think and feel on any given day. With meditation, you bring a calm and tranquil mind to the kitchen, and the results of that mental energy is transferred to your food and back again to the body. Does this mean that you must be a vegetarian in order to become liberated? People have been considering this question since ancient times. The different schools of thought range from strict vegetarians, who wear a face mask so as not to accidentally swallow an insect and cause harm, to those who transform the karmic energy of slaughtered animals to a higher level and use it for good. The range of beliefs and perceptions are wide and diverse including whether to confine animals for their butter and milk or chickens for their eggs. Each individual must decide for him or herself.

I have experienced how a balanced vegetarian diet can help to calm and center the body in tune to how meditation brings peace to the mind. Consuming meat that still holds the animal’s pain and fear does not contribute to a calm and centered body; instead, it causes feelings of heaviness and lethargy. A diet made up of mostly meat, fish, eggs, overcooked and packaged foods can make a person dull, lazy, lacking in high ideals, purpose, and motivation. This can eventually result in developing chronic ailments and suffering from depression.

As we look for answers to the healthy survival of our planet and the human species a significant change in diet must be seriously undertaken. If you are determined to reduce your carbon footprint then include 1-2 vegetarian meals on a daily basis as a place to begin. If you are not sure what a days worth of meals might look like, then here is a typical day without animal protein, refined flour, and refined sugar products.

Upon rising: Juice of half a lemon in 1 cup warm water with 1 teaspoon raw honey.
Breakfast: Cooked whole grain cereal (oatmeal, cream of rice, spelt flakes), with maple syrup, blueberries and walnuts.
Snack: 6 almonds and 1 apple.
Lunch: Bean burrito with brown rice, mixed green salad with sprouts and flax seed oil vinaigrette.
Snack: Fruit smoothie made with a non-dairy milk, ½ banana, strawberries and maple syrup or stevia.
Dinner: Lentil miso soup, whole grain bread with nut butter, dark green salad with steamed broccoli.

This is a very basic menu that you can enhance with a variety of organic food additions. It supports a clean, healthy body and a clear, focused mind. Of course, it always makes sense to check with your physician before changing your diet, especially if you are taking medications. As your diet improves your blood pressure and cholesterol will naturally lower, so have your doctor monitor your meds until you don’t need them any longer. For recipes to get you started (by going to) my cooking/recipe blog.

Delia Quigley is the Director of StillPoint Schoolhouse, where she teaches a holistic lifestyle based on her 28 years of study, experience and practice. She is the creator of the Body Rejuvenation Cleanse, Cooking the Basics, and Broken Bodies Yoga. Delia's credentials include author, holistic health counselor, natural foods chef, yoga instructor, energy therapist and public speaker.
Follow Delia's blogs: and
To view her website go to

Saturday, March 12, 2011

One Fifth of Animals Face Extinction

Posted by : Sharon Seltzer on
Link :

Scientists warned in a new study that the world may be going through a “sixth mass extinction” and that one in five mammals, birds, fish, reptiles and amphibians may disappear.

The disturbing study revealed that more species of animals are vanishing today than at any time since the dinosaurs disappeared.

The report blames humans for most of the problem and urges the world to take immediate conservation steps to limit the damage.

Scientists discussed their research, which they took from information derived by the Red List, at the United Nations biodiversity summit in Nagoya, Japan this week.

The Red List Study
A group of 174 scientists from 38 countries analyzed more than 25,000 species of animals recorded on the” Red List” - a worldwide database of threatened animals. The Red List was created by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

They found that approximately 25 percent of all mammals, 13 percent of birds, 22 percent of reptiles and 41 percent of amphibians are at risk for extinction. Many species of fish such as sharks and rays are also threatened.

Some of the endangered mammals include polar bears, tigers, the Iberian lynx and the Tasmanian devil.

And creatures like the marine turtle and panda have such a unique ancestry that no other animal will be able to “fill the ecological niches or functions they inhabit.”

The common denominator for all of the threatened animals is that they have a backbone or skeleton made of cartilage.

One of the leading ecologists, Professor Edward O. Wilson, from Harvard University said, “The backbone of biodiversity is being eroded. This is just a small window on the global losses taking place.”

The Human Factor
The study clearly points to humans as being the biggest risk to the animal world.

According to the report says, “On average 50 species of mammal, bird and amphibian move closer to extinction each year.”
They attribute agricultural expansion, logging, over-hunting, poaching and introducing foreign animals to new countries as the leading causes of the devastation.

The animals in Southeast Asia had the most losses because of the growth of palm oil farms, the timber industry and rice crops.

The world is simply becoming too industrialized.

“We’ve transformed a third of the habitable land on earth for food production,” said Nicholas K. Dulvy, author and co-chair of the IUCN shark specialist group. “You can’t just remove that habitat without consequences for biodiversity.”

In some instances disease has impacted the existence of animals. Many amphibian species in parts of Central America, the tropical Andes of South America and Australia were hit hard by a fungus that killed large populations.

The Good News
The good news is that scientists believe the situation for animals on Earth would have been worse without action from conservationists. They are hopeful that stepped up efforts can still save many creatures.

The status of 64 species has improved with the help of conservationists. Some of these animals include the California condor, the black-footed ferret and a horse native to Mongolia.

Environmental and animal welfare groups attending the conference in Japan are urging the world’s leaders to set a goal to protect 25 percent of all the land on earth and 15 percent of the sea by 2020.

NOTE: The author of this post is one of the co-founders of the animal rescue group - HEAVEN CAN WAIT SANCTUARY.

One in Five Plant Species Endangered

Posted by : Suzi Parrasch on
Link :

One in five of the world's 380,000 plant species is threatened with extinction according to a study just released by Britain's Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, London's Natural History Museum and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

The study marks the first global analysis of the world's plants ever conducted, and scientists hope it will serve as a baseline to measure conservation efforts. The findings, which were based on data analyzed in a five-year study and complied into the Sampled Red List Index for Plants, found that 22% of species are endangered, critically endangered, or vulnerable. The report also said that tropical forests, such as Brazil's rainforests, are most at risk.

"The single greatest threat is conversion of natural habitats to agricultural use, directly impacting thirty three percent of threatened species," according to the report, which comes out in anticipation of a United Nations' Biodiversity Summit in Nagoya, Japan scheduled for mid-October.

"This study confirms what we already suspected, that plants are under threat and the main cause is human induced habitat loss. For the first time we have a clear global picture of extinction risk to the world's known plants," Stephen Hopper, director of the Royal Botanic Gardens said in Science Daily. "The 2020 biodiversity target that will be discussed in Nagoya is ambitious, but in a time of increasing loss of biodiversity it is entirely appropriate to scale up our efforts. Plants are the foundation of biodiversity and their significance in uncertain climatic, economic and political times has been overlooked for far too long," he added.

"Present day human activities are pushing more plants towards extinction, but if the world's governments take the right steps ... we do have the potential to safeguard plant life and the creatures that depend on it," said Steve Bachman, a plant conservation analyst at Kew told Reuters.

According to Reuters: The study involved sampling about 7,000 plant species drawn from five major groups. Both common and rare plants species were assessed to try to give an accurate picture of how plants were faring around the world, the scientists said at a briefing for reporters. Researchers studied a random sample of about 1,500 species from each group, since assessing the threat to all the world's estimated 380,000 plant species would be too enormous a task.

"We cannot sit back and watch plant species disappear -- plants are the basis of all life on Earth, providing clean air, water, food and fuel. All animal and bird life depends on them and so do we," said Hopper.

"The diversity of plants underpins all life on earth, so it is sobering that our own species is threatening the survival of many thousands of plant species," said Neil Brummitt, a botanical diversity researcher at the Natural History Museum. "We've set the baseline. Now we need to all work together to safeguard not only the future of plants but the future of ourselves."

Earth's 6th Mass Extinction .....

Posted by : Lindsay Spangler on
Link :


A "mass extinction" event is characterised as a period during which at least 75% of the Earth's species die out in a period of a few million years or less. In the past 540 million years, five such mass extinction events have occurred, but according to a study by UC Berkeley's Anthony Barnosky and colleagues recently published in the journal Nature, there are signs that we may be entering a sixth such event.

The Earth's five previous mass extinction events occurred during the following eras:

•Ordovician (443 million years ago, 86% of species extinct)
•Devonian (359 million years ago, 75% of species extinct)
•Permian (251 million years ago, 96% of species extinct)
•Triassic (200 million years ago, 80% of species extinct)
•Cretaceous (65 million years ago, 76% of species extinct)

These previous mass extinction events (also known as the "Big Five") are hypothesised to have been caused by combinations of key events such as unusual climate change, changes in atmospheric composition, and abnormally high stress on the ecosystem (except in the case of the Cretaceous, which was caused by an asteroid impact and subsequent effects).

Barnosky and colleagues note that scientists are increasingly recognising modern species extinctions due to various human influences, including some of the same effects which caused the Big Five:
through co-opting resources, fragmenting habitats, introducing non-native species, spreading pathogens, killing species directly, and changing global climate.

There are, of course, species extinctions which have nothing to do with human influences. Scientists have identified a "background rate" of species extinctions from the fossil record, which allows for a comparison to the current extinction rate, thus allowing us to assess the human impact on the rate of species loss.

The study's authors find that over the past 1,000 years, the average extinction rate is more than ten times larger than the natural background extinction rate from the fossil record, and recently has reached levels almost 400 times faster than the average natural extinction rate.

The authors also find that the extinctions over the past 500 years are happening at least as fast as the species extinctions which triggered the Big Five mass extinction events. However, the Big Five occurred over periods of hundreds of thousands to millions of years, so Barnosky and colleagues also attempted to determine how long it might take us to reach mass extinction levels (75% of species extinct).

To answer this question, the scientists examined a hypothetical scenario in which the Big Five extinctions occurred suddenly, such that all of the species went extinct over just 500 years rather than over hundreds of thousands to millions of years. They determined that the current extinction rate isn't quite this rapid, but that if all species currently listed as "threatened" eventually become extinct, the current extinction rate then becomes almost as fast as the hypothetical 500-year Big Five extinction rates. In other words, if we lose all currently threatened species, we will be on a course for a new mass extinction event in just over 500 years.

In a similar hypothetical scenario, examining how many more years it would take for current extinction rates to produce species losses equivalent to Big Five magnitudes, the authors arrive at a similar conclusion:

if all 'threatened' species became extinct within a century, and that rate then continued unabated, terrestrial, amphibian, bird and mammal extinction would reach Big Five magnitudes in ~240 to 540 years....This emphasises that current extinction rates are higher than those that caused Big Five extinctions in geological time; they could be severe enough to carry extinction magnitudes to the Big Five benchmark in as little as three centuries.

The authors draw two main conclusions from these findings. The first is that although we're clearly in dangerous territory in terms of extinction rates, we still have enough time to reverse course, although doing so will be a very difficult task. The second conclusion is that if we continue on our present course, we could be headed towards a mass extinction event within a timeframe of just a few centuries. Therefore, it's very urgent that we steer away from our mass extinction course immediately.

The huge difference between where we are now, and where we could easily be within a few generations, reveals the urgency of relieving the pressures that are pushing today's species towards extinction.

It's also important to bear in mind that it takes a very long time to recover the biodiversity loss from a significant extinction event:

recovery of biodiversity will not occur on any timeframe meaningful to people: evolution of new species typically takes at least hundreds of thousands of years, and recovery from mass extinction episodes probably occurs on timescales encompassing millions of years.

In short, human influences, including our impacts on climate change, are causing extinctions at a rate faster than the average during a mass extinction event. If we continue down our current path, we may face a sixth mass extinction event within the next few centuries. However, we're still relatively early along in the process, so although it will be a difficult task, there is still time to change course and prevent a huge loss in biodiversity. If we fail to do so, it may take millions of years to recover from the human-caused extinction event, and we're quickly running out of time to avoid this fate.

NOTE: This post was originally published by Treehugger by guest blogger Dana Nuccitelli of Skeptical Science.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Air Pollution Triggers Heart Attacks

Air Pollution is one of the top environmental problems that has resulted in the spread of many air-borne diseases and deaths. Recent findings by scientists now say that you can suffer from heart attacks because of it....

Posted by : Kate Kelland, (Reuters, 24the Feb, 2011)

LInk :

(Reuters) - Air pollution triggers more heart attacks than using cocaine and poses as high a risk of sparking a heart attack as alcohol, coffee and physical exertion, scientists said on Thursday.

Sex, anger, marijuana use and chest or respiratory infections and can also trigger heart attacks to different extents, the researchers said, but air pollution, particularly in heavy traffic, is the major culprit.

The findings, published in The Lancet journal, suggest population-wide factors like polluted air should be taken more seriously when looking at heart risks, and should be put into context beside higher but relatively rarer risks like drug use.

Tim Nawrot of Hasselt University in Belgium, who led the study, said he hoped his findings would also encourage doctors to think more often about population level risks.

"Physicians are always looking at individual patients -- and low risk factors might not look important at an individual level, but if they are prevalent in the population then they have a greater public health relevance," he said in a telephone interview.

The World Health Organization (WHO) describes air pollution as "a major environmental risk to health" and estimates that it causes around 2 million premature deaths worldwide every year.

Nawrot's team combined data from 36 separate studies and calculated the relative risk posed by a series of heart attack triggers and their population-attributable fraction (PAF) -- in other words the proportion of total heart attacks estimated to have been caused by each trigger.

The highest risk PAF was exposure to traffic, followed by physical exertion, alcohol, coffee, air pollution, and then things like anger, sex, cocaine use, smoking marijuana and respiratory infections.

"Of the triggers for heart attack studied, cocaine is the most likely to trigger an event in an individual, but traffic has the greatest population effect as more people are exposed to (it)," the researchers wrote. "PAFs give a measure of how much disease would be avoided if the risk was no longer present."

A report published late last year found that air pollution in many major cities in Asia exceeds the WHO's air quality guidelines and that toxic cocktails of pollutants results in more than 530,000 premature deaths a year.

While passive smoking was not included in this study, Nawrot said the effects of second-hand smoke were likely to be similar to that of outdoor air pollution, and noted previous research which found that bans on smoking in public places have significantly reduced heart attack rates.

British researchers said last year that a ban on smoking in public places in England led to a swift and significant drop in the number of heart attacks, saving the health service 8.4 million pounds ($13 million) in the first year.

Tim Chico, a heart specialist at the University of Sheffield who was not involved in this research, said it would help health authorities focus on which are the most important triggers.

"However, what triggers the heart attack should be considered the "last straw." The foundations of heart disease that lead to a heart attack are laid down over many years," he said in an emailed comment. "If someone wants to avoid a heart attack they should focus on not smoking, exercising, eating a healthy diet and maintaining their ideal weight."

Oceans Under Threats of Pollution

A recent report from the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) highlighted that our oceans are being threatened by 2 main sources of pollution that will cause widespread destruction to marine biodiversity and harm water quality. Read on for more details...

Posted on 17th February, 2011 in the RedOrbit
Link :

The U.N.'s environmental watchdog warned on Thursday that tons of throw-away plastic and massive runoff from chemical fertilizer are choking the world's oceans.

The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) said in its annual Year Book report that the two sources of pollution threaten biodiversity, harm water quality, poison fish stocks and undermine coastal tourism.

The report, which was released ahead of a key meeting next week of environment ministers in Nairobi, highlights the need to protect marine environments already rendered fragile by over-exploitation and acidification caused by climate change.

It said only better waste management and a coordinated shift towards cleaner engines of economic growth can insure the future health of the planet's aquatic commons.

"The phosphorus fertilizer and marine plastic stories bring into sharp focus the urgent need ... to catalyze a global transition to a resource-efficient Green Economy," UNEP executive director Achim Steiner told AFP.

Recent research suggests that both problems are more widespread than once thought.

In the U.S., the costs associated with phosphorous pollution are estimated at over $2 billion a year, with the global tally in the tens of billions.

About three dozen countries mine the phosphate rock found in growth-enhancing fertilizers. Supplies are not about to run out, but are estimated to last about 300 to 400 years.

Use of chemical-based fertilizers increased around the world by 600 percent during the second half of the 20th century, but precisely how much flows into the environment is still unknown.

One study found that 22 million tons of phosphorus wind up in marine environments every year, while concentrations in freshwater and land have grown by at least 75 percent since 1960.

The report said that recycling waste water in the developing world's mega-cities could help stem that flow.

The Year Book warns that marine plastics have also emerged as a growing threat.

Scientists have found that birds and aquatic animals can become entangled in plastic filaments, causing them to drown, or mistake them for food like squid or jellyfish.

However, a new concern is microplastics, which are tiny particles smaller than 0.19-inches in length discharged as pellets by industry or broken down by waves and sunlight.

New research suggests that microplastics could be moving through the food chain, becoming more toxic along the way.

Consumption of plastic products continues to rise worldwide.

In North America and western Europe, per capita annual use stands at about 220 pounds, which is an amount likely to increase by 40 percent within five years. The developing world consumes at a fifth that level.

The report calls for stepped up recycling efforts.

"If plastic is treated as a valuable resource rather than just a waste product," it would create stronger incentives for collection and reprocessing, it argues.