New Bern, NC, March Against Monsanto Video

I didn’t shoot much video on May 25, but I did shoot this short presentation by Kathleen Bailey, and some short clips of the protestors. Kathleen has some things to say about the reasons for our protest. There is so much more that she doesn’t have time to include here. The Federal Food and Drug Administration is like a subsidiary of Monsanto. We are, essentially, Monsanto’s guinea pigs. I’m not going to tell you that I can prove the effects of GM crops, crops that are, themselves, pesticides, or pesticide and herbicide residues on our food, but I can tell you that the health statistics show some very alarming trends, and more research is necessary before we should feed our children these potentially dangerous products.

Basil

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Photo courtesy of photos-public-domain.com

I’ve been suffering from these sinus headaches for years. They are brought on by caffeine, and some other things that I’m not as sure about. Lately, eating out at restaurants has resulted in a sinus headache. What makes these sinus headaches such a big deal is that they last for 3 days. They aren’t just a headache, either. They just tap my energy and make me feel ill. As you can probably guess, I’ve tried various pain killers and decongestants, although I haven’t tried that many, because I hate putting unnecessary chemicals in my body. The last decongestant I tried had no significant benefit, but later in the day, my headache got even worse.

Yesterday, on the way home from the protest march, I stopped at a restaurant for dinner. By the time I went to bed, I had a raging sinus headache and I was looking at suffering through the next 3 days.

When I have one of these headaches, I spend an inordinate amount of time lying down and thinking about how I can get the pain to stop. Today was no exception. Not long ago, I read that basil contains an anti-inflammatory agent. That fact popped into my head as I lay awake in bed this morning. It just happens to be that I grow basil in my garden, so I went out and harvested a handful of basil leaves and ate them. At least I know the stuff from my garden doesn’t contain any chemicals. There was absolutely no risk in testing the basil. The results were not instantaneous. The headache abated some after a couple of hours, and I ate more basil as the day progressed. About 6 hours after the initial dose, the headache was mostly, if not completely gone. I’m pretty excited about the outcome. I can’t say, yet, if the results will be repeatable, but I’m optimistic because this headache had a full 2 days left.

I know you herbalists will say, “duh”, and I suppose I should spend more time researching herbal remedies, but I’m a really healthy person, for the most part, so when I read that stuff, I tend to forget it soon after I read it. Since I don’t grow many medicinal herbs, there isn’t much I can do with the knowledge anyway. I’m surely not going to buy a bunch of dubious concoctions from some on-line store that claims to have the cure for everything. I’m way too frugal and skeptical. I am definitely going to keep lots of basil on hand, and I may attempt to grow some other herbs that could prove useful. Right now, I’ve always got a good supply of aloe, basil and plantain (the weed). Heretofore, I thought the basil was just for cooking.

So, the bad news is that I am still very sensitive to what I eat, and I seem to be getting more sensitive. The good news is that I may not have to suffer so long when I slip up and eat or drink something I should not.

I hope this information helps someone. I don’t know when I might get another headache, but I’ll report whether or not the results are repeatable, when I do.

Image source

After the March

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Protesters at the entrance to Union Point Park in New Bern, NC (USA)

The march got off to a slow start, but more and more people arrived, once we got started. We didn’t really march. We found a busy intersection at the entrance to the park and we did our best to educate anyone who would listen. It was nice to hang out with others who are passionate about protecting the environment and the people who rely on it, from greedy corporations who would compromise our health and the health of our environment for increased profits.

Monsanto has been encouraging the heavy application of glyphosate with glyphosate resistant, genetically modified plants for years. More recently, they’ve been turning the plant itself into a pesticide (BT toxin), which may be devastating bee populations. Also, thanks to over application of glyphosate, glyphostate resistant weeds are becoming common, and Monsanto wants to bring back more toxic herbicides to control weeds! Check out this article on Mother Jones for some background on Monsanto’s resistant weed problem.

Monsanto was responsible for the super toxicity of Agent Orange, and they lied to the FDA about the likelihood of weeds becoming resistant to glyphosate. Now they are responsible for 70-80% of the seeds that farmers plant each year. Those three facts, alone, should give most people reason for concern. If you take the time to research genetically modified organisms, plants impregnated with BT toxins, glyphosate, and the decline in the honeybee,  the story takes on a sinister tone. Keep in mind, that Monsanto scientists feed their families organic foods, and the cafeteria where Monsanto’s employees eat serves organic food. They know what they’re selling, and they won’t eat it. Genetically modified (GM) foods are for the poor, uneducated masses. People who know better, and can afford it, eat organic. That’s why Monsanto has fought labeling of GM foods. I do everything I can to avoid GMOs when I shop for groceries, but it’s not easy.

March against Monsanto

I know this blog entry is probably too late for anyone who wants to get involved in this protest. In nearly 300 cities around the world, on March 25 (today), people are organizing protest marches against Monsanto. I am going to march in the one being organized in New Bern, NC. I’ll update my blog after the march, and let you know how it went. I just found out about this yesterday, and couldn’t locate a nearby march until this morning. This is all rather last minute.

The Uwharrie River

Uwharrie 2013I have a rule, not to use fossil fuels for recreation. I allow myself to drive the 1.5 miles to where I launch my kayak on my local creek, but only because I can’t think of a safe, practical alternative.

So, it was a really big deal for me to take a canoe/camping trip on the Uwharrie river, which is about 200 miles away. I didn’t just bend my rule, I shattered it. I suppose most people wouldn’t see it as any big deal. My car gets about 32 MPG. It may just be an obsession of mine. I work from home to avoid commuting, and I try to make only one trip into town each week.

In any case, the river was beautiful. My only regret was that I had to leave there so soon. I could have stayed a couple more days. I had a dear friend with me, which made the trip all that much more special. I don’t think she realizes how wonderful she is to me. When she is with me, everything is better. Sigh.

DJT_9443When we arrived at the national forest, we dropped off the boat and some equipment at our put-in, and we drove to our take-out and left the car there. We had to walk just over 3 miles back to the boat, carrying lots of heavy camera gear, because neither of us can go anywhere without our DSLRs and a selection of lenses. Of course, I only used one lens the entire trip!

Once we got on the water, it was all downhill. The weather was fairly cool, but it didn’t rain on us and the sun peeked through from time to time. The section of the Uwharrie that we paddled doesn’t really have rapids, so to speak. It has rock beds and ledges that can be a little challenging. Mostly, the river is just shallow and rocky. The water level was about perfect. We never had to get out and walk, and we only scraped over a few rocks.

We traveled about 5 miles by river. We were surrounded by beautiful scenery the entire time. There were forests of green, high rock walls, crazy looking sedimentary rock formations, and my friend even saw a bear. I love the sound of water, cascading over rocks. It’s a sound I could never grow tired of. I did a little wading in the river during our paddle, and I took a dip in Moccasin Creek before we left. Even in cool weather, I love to get in the water.

So, that’s my happy report for the month. There will be more doom-and-gloom next week, I’m sure!