Toxic Culture

toxic cultureWestern culture has much to be proud of. Its attainments are without comparison. But we are living on borrowed time because there is a serious flaw at the heart of our philosophy that has opened us all to dangers.

The contradictions implicit in a conspicuous consumer culture are evident to increasing numbers of people. The shortcomings of an economic system that uses its assets (the Earth’s resources) as income, and then messes its own doorstep with pollution, are becoming plainly visible.

Globally at the moment there are problems facing the survival of mankind. Diminishing natural resources and increasing populations who consume mean that we are already fighting over what’s left (ie oil, water, forest) and exporting many of our problems to the environment for our children to sort out. In effect our present global economy is stealing a future from our descendants.

Our investment systems have used the capital assets of our planet as if they were income since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. Our whole system of investing for the future is based on extracting and exploiting the capital assets of the earth to create income, without any regard to the future. It is a house built on sand. Any accountant, in fact most four year olds can tell you that if you use finite assets as income, and then spend it, you’re going to end up with nothing. We are putting little back into our planet except for our waste materials. This is utterly exploitative at a deep level and has resulted in an environment and economy full of danger.

The way our culture relates to this planet is not sustainable. Many people have compared our culture to a cancer spreading on the face of the planet, eating away at its resources without replacing, acting only for itself without reference to other species of life. In this context the disease of cancer mirrors a crisis in our culture.

Cancer is a side effect of a culture that values unrestricted growth at any cost. The whole idea of ‘magic bullets’ and ‘a pill for every ill’ are symptomatic of a shallow, high tech, quick fix mentality of a dominator culture expecting the world to be as controllable as a laboratory.

Two hundred years ago 98% of people worked on the land in some way, living in farms and villages. Pretty soon half of the worlds population will be urbanites. The intrusion of humans into remote places, combined with the high speed of global travel combined with high density living in cities creates conditions that are ripe for microbes, viruses, bacteria and parasites to flourish amongst us. Modern conditions make us more susceptible to communicable diseases than we were just 50 years ago.

Biological enhancement of crops, growth hormones in milk and meat, mercury in our mouths, colorants and carcinogens in food are commonplace. The foot and mouth epidemic, B.S.E. in sheep and cattle, bird flu, S.A.R.S., nuclear radiation and the de-naturalisation of our food are examples of how common sense is abandoned to profit. The ‘Precautionary Principle’ is too often being overlooked in the rush of science.

The genetic modification of food for example is still largely untested and many of its results are open to interpretation. Scientific knowledge of the processes involved is still at an early stage.

Little is known about side effects, how gene function is controlled, and gene transfer into other organisms such as bacteria in the human gut. The British Medical Association (BMA) has said that the potential adverse effects have not been sufficiently investigated and strongly recommend caution.

The United Nations’ safety body, the Food and Agriculture Organisation, has warned that the failure to carry out full health checks on GM foods could lead to toxic reactions, allergies and increased resistance to antibiotics. Experience has shown that genetically modified and organic foods cannot exist together because genetically modified crops will cross-pollinate with any others.

Contamination of the whole food chain has already occurred within a few years. Biotechnology companies that are facing opposition in Europe and the US are targeting less well resourced countries in the hope that genetically modified organisms will spread irreversibly before public opinion has time to intervene.

The common Western diet has become one based on convenience foods full of poor quality cholesterol, life-clogging trans-fats and processed sugar. Convenience often outweighs any considerations of nutrition or authenticity.

In addition to dangers lurking in our food supply, there are others waiting in the environment. Daily cocktails of synthetic chemicals, poisons, radiation and other stressors surround us. We find radiation from mobile phones and microwaves or toxic car fumes and aluminium and parabens in antiperspirant, rat poison in toothpaste, the convenience of chemical sprays or heavy metals and chemical effluents in the water and food. Slowly the sheer levels of non-natural substances have built up and now our environment is crammed with toxins we often consume unwittingly.

wizcov800optIn a world going toxic, you owe it to yourself, your friends and your family to protect your very being, increase your immunity to modern disease and limit harm to our planet. With WildFood Wizard you enter a place of nutrition, of living lightly on the earth and enjoying radiant health. By bringing more of nature’s healing gifts into your life you will find a quiet joy, feelings of belonging, links with natural seasons and cycles – and nature wants you back.

We all know time is running out for our culture on planet earth. You can help by taking a step into a healthy relationship with the natural world around you. Start the journey back to nature with WildFood Wizard, available in hardback, paperback and for the Kindle. Just click the cover image to find out more…

Chemical Consumerism

chemical consumerismAn expanding medical establishment is faced with a generally healthy population in the West so medical consumerism is on the increase. Medicine is an increasing part of our economy, with many normal processes such as childhood excitability, puberty, ageing or menopause are becoming medicalised and subject to treatment by pharmaceutical drugs being a normal ‘over the counter’ purchase in our shopping.

Medical consumerism, like ordinary consumerism, is designed to be unsatisfying. Doctors and many consumers are locked within a fantasy that everyone has something wrong with them that can be ‘cured’ by medical means, treating trivial complaints with fancy procedures. This is partly based on the medical successes of the 1930’s and 40’s and has led to inflated expectations that are basically unfulfillable. The ‘silver bullet’ approach to modern disease is an anachronism (see ‘the-power-of-immunity‘).

However pharmaceutical companies are quick on the uptake and always on the lookout for profit. They have already bought in to the consumer led craze for pill popping and convenience chemicals and surgery. They have a vested interest in developing expensive synthetic products or processes for us to buy, over easily found and more natural treatments, especially if they are ‘free’.

Any supermarket now stocks a whole range of medical treatments for a variety of minor afflictions. It is an interesting experience to view how many products on sale in a supermarket are of chemical origin. Think back even only ten years and there were far fewer products of synthetic origin. Every synthetic drug or chemical has side effects and these are contributing to the development of toxic overload in our bodies that stress our immune systems and prepare us for serious illness. And the ‘cures’ for these dis-eases? They come from the same pharmaceutical industries. It’s just like the glazier who sent his young son out smashing windows.

For example most non-organically farmed animals are routinely treated with antibiotics. A high-yielding cow might be killed off after three lactations, whereas in a less intensive farming practice she might still be in her prime. The quality of life these ‘cow units on a production line’ can actually be tasted in the foodstuffs they supply. Try it yourself – get some fresh organic milk and some farmed milk and just taste the difference!

The drive to cut corners and costs in food mass production means antibiotics are used routinely on animals and crops are often covered in pesticides. Research presented by the Soil Association shows a 60% increase in Tylosin given to pigs in their feed, creating resistance to front-line antibiotics given to humans. Similarly with Enroflaxin routinely put in the drinking water of farmed chickens.

Nicarbazin is another chemical shown to cause birth defects and hormonal imbalance in animals. It is used in chicken feed and levels up to 20 times the legally permitted level have been found in about 10% of chicken livers.

Total farm antibiotic use has increased by 11% in 3 years when it was supposed to fall. Most farm animals in UK are still given antibiotics in feed on a daily basis. In Britain over 3 times the weight of antibiotics is fed to each pig compared with Denmark.

Unheard of chemical exist in our foodstuffs: Acrylamide is a toxin linked to cancer and nerve damage that is present in many foods in Britain – cakes, chips, crisps, biscuits and bread, in amounts that may cause long-term damage.

Iprodione is a suspected carcinogen and suspected groundwater contaminant and hormone disrupter that is in food including carrots.

Aldicarb is used on potatoes and described by the World Health Organisation as ‘highly toxic’. Around 25,000 tons of pesticide is applied to UK
crops every year. Almost half of UK fruit and vegetables contain pesticide residues.

The most dangerous, such as organophosphates, have been linked with cancer, foetal abnormalities, chronic fatigue syndrome in some children and Parkinson’s disease.

Many of these manufactured, synthetic chemicals fail to break down and actually accumulate in organic life forms. For example organochlorines such as those found in solvents, propellants, coolants and many forms of packaging (including food) are concentrating in the food chain. These chemicals accumulate in life forms such as plankton.

As a result fish have been found with 159,000 times greater concentration of some organochlorines than are found in the water they inhabit. Accumulation of these poisons have been found at 3 billion times the background rate in polar bears.

Inuit Indians living far from traditional industry have been found with phenomenal amounts of chlorine derivatives in their body tissues. These organochlorines are passed to their children during pregnancy and in mother’s milk.

When the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in US carried out a random survey of the average diet of American children.They found 66 known carcinogens (cancer causing substances) in an average child’s diet. In amongst all those toxins we consume are some really dangerous ones. Lots of chemicals are used in our homes, in food production and agriculture. Current testing procedures can only detect about 40% of known chemicals and only a hundredth of the foods you will find on a supermarket shelf in the UK have been tested for chemicals.

Our manufacturing industries produce much de-natured food, grown on increasingly de-mineralised soils. Important minerals in the soil of many farms are depleted and are replaced by chemically engineered growth aids. This leads to low mineral levels in non-organic foods.

wizcov800optIn a world going toxic, you owe it to yourself, your friends and your family to protect your very being, increase your immunity to modern disease and limit harm to our planet. With WildFood Wizard you enter a place of nutrition, of living lightly on the earth and enjoying radiant health. By bringing more of nature’s healing gifts into your life you will find a quiet joy, feelings of belonging, links with natural seasons and cycles – and nature wants you back.

We all know time is running out for our culture on planet earth. You can help by taking a step into a healthy relationship with the natural world around you. Start the journey back to nature with WildFood Wizard, available in hardback, paperback and for the Kindle. Just click the cover image to find out more…