Most people who visit Dominica exclaim over and over how green it is!

Most people who live here say one of the reasons they put up with all the challenges of living on a small island is the nature.

Lucky for me growing up my parents loved to immerse in nature; our most frequent family outing was an experience in nature; visiting a lake or a park for a day or a week holiday. I still remember the feelings of well being after being immersed in nature and the deep refreshing sleeps after.

I learned this first in the 1980’s from the Rasta’s I studied during my year’s sabbatical studying Healthy Living in the Caribbean! Repeatedly as I interviewed people who were part of the Rasta movement and interested in Healthy Living in the Caribbean I heard that Immersion in Nature – gardening; hiking trails; nature walks; river baths; hot water soaks; river baths or visits to ‘Dr. Sea’ – was considered to be an intricate part of a Healthy Lifestyle.

When I returned to work in the Health and Wellness Industry in Canada I found other cultures movements who talked about this. The First Nations of North America and South America

Scientists have shown

We are just starting to realize that those feelings of well being are reflected in the body and the mind.

 

 

 

“How could we have ever believed that it was a good idea to grow our food with poisons? ~ Jane Goodall

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Sometimes I copy an article – I always link to the source  – this article describes exactly what I believe about one of the  causes of autism.

We have to take some time to realize that the huge increases in autism and dementia that we are experiencing are not normal.

In the US 1 in 68 children are diagnosed with autism.

In Dominica we are soaking the ground with hundreds maybe 1000’s of gallons of insecticides and herbicides like Roundup every year.  We only started in the 1960’s or so – but our autism rate has also grown – buy organic stop this environmental pollution of our beautiful land.

The prevalence of autism in U.S. children increased by 119.4 percent from 2000 (1 in 150) to 2010 (1 in 68). 

Experts say autism is the fastest-growing developmental disability. Years down the line many autistic children will be adults who need ongoing medical care.

This article is from Collective Evolution – a Toronto based grassroots organization created in 2009, CE is now one of the world’s most popular alternative media, production, and community outlets that gives readers an opportunity to reshape their everyday way of thinking. CE’s content ranges from full-length articles, to videos, to live events, all of which share one common goal: to raise awareness about how our world functions, and to encourage conscious change that moves beyond it.

Join Collective Evolution on Facebook or check out their website Collective Evolution .com

Here is the article

There is no single known cause for autism spectrum disorder (ASD), but it is widely accepted by the scientific community that it is triggered by abnormalities in brain structure and function. This has been established in studies which illustrate the differences in the shape and structure of the autistic brain compared to those seen in the brains of neurotypical children. There is also a decent amount of evidence to support the theory that some children are born with a susceptibility to autism, but scientists have yet to identify this “trigger.” This is why researches have theorized that irregular segments of genetic code may be the root cause of autism.

In recent years, however, a wealth of information has emerged that was once never even considered. Despite the fact that the cause for autism isn’t certain, and that it’s highly unlikely researchers will ever find that ‘one’ cause of autism, scientists are now realizing that autism could be the result of the modern day human lifestyle. There are a number of significant studies that should be ringing alarm bells in the medical and scientific communities in this regard.

I’d also like to mention that autism is a large spectrum, some of what we are seeing here are in no way a ‘disability.’ Some may be due to malformations at critical stages of development due to the factors mentioned in this article. Other cases could be a gift, a slight evolutionary leap or an ability to access other parts of the brain. I just want to make it clear that the spectrum is huge, and many children who are diagnosed with ASDs do not have their brain scanned, much of the time they are diagnosed strictly through observation and social tendencies.

Environmental Toxins

Since autism is strongly correlated with malformations during critical stages of development, especially in fetal states, scientists are finding that some of the strongest predictors for autism are associated with the environment. At particular stages of pregnancy the fetus is extremely vulnerable to whatever toxins the mother is exposed to, such as plasticers, prescription drugs, and environmental pesticides.

As Andrey Rzhetsky, Professor of Genetic Medicine and Human Genetics at the University of Chicago points out, “some of these small molecules essentially alter normal development.” A couple of years ago he published a study in the journal PLOS Computational Biology with researchers at the University of Chicago; it revealed that autism and intellectual disability (ID) rates are linked with exposure to harmful environmental factors during congenital development. His team looked at data that covered one third of the United States population, as well as more than 21 countries. They found that environmental lead, medications, and a large variety of other synthetic molecules (like pesticides, mercury, aluminum and more) all wreak havoc on the fetus. These substances were also linked with congenital malformations of male genitalia – which is strongly correlated with autism. (source)(source)

This is one out of many significant studies which should really be signaling to the medical and scientific community that preventative measures are crucial in the fight against autism; parents who want to decrease their risk of bearing a child with autism need to be educated in such measures.

“It’s time to start looking for the environmental culprits responsible for the remarkable increase in the rate of autism.” –  Irva Hertz-Picciotto, Epidemiology Professor at University of California, Davis. (source)

It should be clear that autism goes well beyond a genetic problem. Our environment is full of neurodevelopment toxins, which are substances that alter how the brain grows. Polychlorinated diphenyl, lead, mercury, aluminum, brominated flame retardants, and pesticides are a few out of many examples.

There is a reason why, in the United States alone, autism rates have risen from 1;10,000 in 1981 to 1;68 in 2014. It’s time to look at our environment.

If we were to focus on just one (out of dozens) of these environmental toxins that we are exposed to on a daily basis, it would not be difficult to see how it could significantly increase the chances for autism. Throw in the dozens of other toxins that are equally as problematic, and the picture becomes much clearer.

Let’s take a look at pesticides, if only because billions of tonnes of these chemicals are sprayed on food and in our environment each year. In the United States alone, over 1 billion pounds of pesticides are sprayed every year, and approximately 5.6 billion pounds are used worldwide. It’s also disturbing to note, as emphasized by multiple publications, that all commercial formulations of pesticides are very complex mixtures of active and other ingredients. These “other” ingredients “include a wide variety of substances which are added to increase the efficacy of the product in a cost-effective manner. Information regarding these other compounds is considered proprietary business information and is not publicly available.” (source)

That being said, the information that we do have about the active ingredients in pesticides still paints a shocking picture.

For example, a study coming out of the University of California, Davis, determined that pregnant women who live in close proximity to land and farms where chemical pesticides are/were applied experience a two-thirds increased risk of having a child with autism spectrum disorder or some other developmental disorder.

The study examined associations between pesticides — including organophosphates (a main ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide) — that were applied during the participants’ pregnancies and a later diagnosis of autism or developmental delay in their children.

The study was published online this summer in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.(1) It concluded that proximity to organophosphates alone, at some point during gestation, was associated with a 60% increased risk for ASD:

This study validates the results of earlier research that had reported associations between having a child with autism and prenatal exposure to agricultural chemicals in California. While we still must investigate whether certain sub-groups are more vulnerable to exposures to these compounds than others, the message is very clear: Women who are pregnant should take special care to avoid contact with agricultural chemicals whenever possible.  – Janie F. Shelton, a UC Davis graduate student who now consults with the United Nations, lead author of the study (source)

Many people like to mention that correlation does not mean causation, but they fail to use the Bradford Hill Criteria and consider just how much information correlates with the evidence at hand.

“How could we have ever believed that it was a good idea to grow our food with poisons? . . . As part of the process, they portrayed the various concerns as merely the ignorant opinions of misinformed individuals — and derided them as not only unscientific, but anti-science. They then set to work to convince the public and government officials, through the dissemination of false information, that there was an overwhelming expert consensus, based on solid evidence, that GMOs were safe.” – Jane Goodall

The study cited above found that organophosphates applied over the course of pregnancy were associated with an elevated risk of autism spectrum disorder. The study also found that exposures to insecticides for those living near agricultural areas may be problematic, especially during gestation, because a developing fetal brain is more vulnerable to such chemicals than an adult’s.

Because these pesticides are neurotic, in utero exposures during early development may distort the complex processes of structural development and neuronal singling producing alterations to the excitation and inhibition mechanisms that govern mood, learning, social interactions and behaviour.

“Because of the observed associations in humans and direct effects on neurodevelopmental toxicity in animal studies, caution is warranted for women to avoid direct contact with pesticides during pregnancy.”(source)

These pesticides are not just potential factors for the development of atusim, The active ingredient in Roundup is Glyphosate, which was recently linked to cancer by the World Health Organization (source). It was also found to be 125 times more toxic than regulators claimed. (source)

Pesticides sprayed on our food have also been linked to birth defects. (source) A paper published in the journal Pediatrics found that prenatal exposure to some of the pesticides sprayed on our food could impair the anthropometric development of the fetus, reducing the birth weight, length, and head circumference. (source)

There are a number of studies that have examined pesticide-induced diseases in fetuses. You can view some of them here.

Canadian research has also identified the presence of GMO-associated pesticides in maternal, fetal, and non-pregnant women’s blood. They also found the presence of Monsanto’s Bt toxin. The study was published in the journal Reproductive Toxicology in 2011. (source)

The study concluded that, apart from pesticides, Monsanto’s Bt toxins are clearly detectable and appear to cross the placenta to the fetus. The study pointed out that the fetus is highly susceptible to the adverse affects of xenobiotics (foreign chemical substances found within an organism that are not naturally produced). This is why the study emphasized that knowing more about GMOs is crucial, because environmental agents could disrupt the biological events that are required to ensure normal growth and development.

Here is another study that shows glyphosate can cause abnormalities. It was published in 2010 by the American Chemical Society; the research was conducted at the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina.

“The direct effect of glyphosate on early mechanisms of morphogenesis in vertebrate embryos opens concerns about the clinical findings from human offspring in populations exposed to GBH in agricultural fields.”

In late 2013, the European Food Safety Authority determined that pesticides may negatively affect the development of neurons and brain structures in unborn babies.

“Given the ubiquitous exposure to many environmental toxicants, there needs to be renewed efforts to prevent harm. Such prevention should not await detailed evidence on individual hazards. . . . Toxic exposure to chemical pollutants during these windows of increased susceptibility can cause disease and disability in childhood and across the entire span of human life.” (source)From the world’s foremost pediatricians, toxicologists, environmental scientists, and epidemiologists at a conference held in 2007

“Chemical pollution represents a serious threat to children and to Man’s survival.” (source)  – The Standing Committee of European Doctors

As you can see above, environmental toxins are of big concern. Just to reiterate, we are talking about multiple toxins found in a variety of products that have found their way into the human lifestyle. Air fresheners, pesticides, prescription drugs, fluoride (neuro-toxin), and a host of other contaminants could all be contributing factors for autism. This is probably why scientists have not been able to identify one specific cause. Considering how many environmental toxins we are regularly exposed to, it becomes clear that we are dealing with multiple instigators which, in combination, represent serious cause for concern.

http://www.collective-evolution.com/2015/12/01/parents-what-youre-not-being-told-about-autism-what-causes-it/

Studies

http://www.mailman.columbia.edu/news/prenatal-exposure-insecticide-chlorpyrifos-linked-alterations-brain-structure-and-cognition

http://www.chlorpyrifos.com/news/

A new study released within the last few days by the Center for Disease Control and  Prevention has shown a marked increase in Autism;  it now affects 1 in 88 children, 1 in 54 boys, an increase of 28% since and a frightenly huge jump from 1 in 10,ooo cases seen in the 1980’s.

As a early childhood education teacher I began to see the increase in autism in the 1980’s and 1990’s. I was told by parent after parent that they thought immunizations had changed their child overnight, they had observed different behaviours.

This was repeatedly refuted by the vaccination companies, but now as the rates of autism increase

My husband was recently diagnosed with dementia, after a few years of research I have realized that dementia is also increasing rapidly.

I do not have a degree in science nor medicine but I see a direct relationship to the increase in the amount of chemicals released into our environment.

I asked the Neurologist when we went to Guadeloupe for testing and diagnosis; we discussed that there were no studies at that time that we know of. I kept researching and the links are becoming more clear.

See the studies below

Parkinsons
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/parkinsons-disease/DS00295/DSECTION=symptoms

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parkinson%27s_disease

Dementia
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/dementia/DS01131/DSECTION=symptoms

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dementia

Autism

 

When I moved to Dominica in the 1990’s and travelled the island catching rides I often talked about water conservation. I already saw signs of less water in the dry river beds and low water levels of rivers. I had first came to the island in 1981 and the observation was personal.

Everyone laughed at me and said; Dominica does not need to  conserve water.

This year for this first time I remember Dominica has been warned that there could be a drought.

Tropical Storm Erica showed us that not all precipitation contributes to higher water levels in out rivers, as runoff from hard rains after long dry periods can leave as quickly as it comes.

Tips

All household faucets should be fit with aerators. This is hands-down the single best home water conservation method – and the cheapest!

Be sure taps are fully off before leaving your home. Leaving a rap running can waste gallons of water.

Check the household water system for leaks regularly. A small drip from a faucet can waste 20 gallons of water per day. Leaks not only waste water but can lead to significant structural damage, including mold.

Don’t leave the water running to wash dishes. If you use a basin when washing dishes by hand, you use half the water.

Ensure  toilets are working properly. A “running” toilet with a loose or stuck seal can waste thousands of gallons of water.

Fill the washing machine before doing the load. This allows you to wash more clothes with the same amount of water.

Go to the Beach or the River. Take advantage of Dominica’s natural hot pools, rivers and ocean beaches. Private swimming pools use large amounts of water.

Hide a small water bottle or 2 filled with water/sand in your toilet water tank. This means evey time you flush the toilet you save 1/2 or 1 litre of water.

Insulate hot water pipes. It’s inexpensive and very easy to insulate water pipes with pre-slit foam pipe insulation. Since hot water comes faster we don’t waste water running the tap while it heats up.

Just use the hose when rinsing off your car or equipment while washing them. Use a pail of soapy water first to clean the car then turn the hose on.

Know that every drop of water saved is valuable! Climate change is here!

Low-flow faucet aerators. All household faucets should be fit with aerators. This is hands-down the single best home water conservation method – and costs very little!

Make showers quick! Long, hot showers can use 5 to 10 gallons every unneeded minute.  

Not to leave the water running when you shampoo or soap up in the shower. Turn the water on to wet the body; turn it off to soap or shampoo then back on to rinse.

Open the facet a little less than full force when using the hose or tap. In Dominica water pressure can be high and that means a lot more water flows when the tap is on.

Purchase water saving household equipment. Washing machines that are water saving use less water per cycle.

Quit letting the hose run when u wash your car. Better yet don’t turn on the hose until you are ready to rinse.

Replace regular shower heads with water-saving shower heads, It’s easy and inexpensive to install water-saving low-flow shower heads. “Low-flow” means using less than 2.5 gallons per minute.

Save a few liters of water every day. this will add up to saving 1000’s of gallons of water over a lifetime.

Turn it off while brushing. After wetting the toothbrush, turn off the water while brushing. This can save 684 gallons of water in a year’s worth of brushing

Utilize efficient watering systems. We can greatly reduce the amount of water used for gardening by utilizing soaker hoses, installing drip-irrigation systems and watering plants in the early morning or late evening so the water does not evaporate as quickly. Water sprinklers use much more water often with greater lost to evaporation.

Verify the water from your guttering is caught in a rain barrel water catchment system covered for mosquitos. Free water for all your outdoor needs.

Wash sheets, towels and clothing only when they need it. Wearing an outfit more than once or washing sheets and towels less frequently can cut water usage in half.

Xeriscape with plants that suit the environment. Keep lawn surfaces to a minimum and Plant drought-resistant lawns, shrubs and plants. Use native plants and flowers known to thrive in the area you live. Around Salisbury we would focus on drought resistance flowers and shrubs; perhaps cactuses and succulents. In Pond Case and Laudat we would grow plants that love the wet cool conditions there.

Yes these little tips do make a difference. Never under estimate the impact of one person in the world wide scheme of things. 

Zest for living in a mindul manner results in less resources being used per person and family. This ensures resources will still be there for our grandchildren.

It is always prudent and mindful to conserve precious drinking water as one of Dominica’s most important resources.

Scientific research has for years produced evidence that many ingredients in personal and home care products can pose serious long term health risks such as cancers, skin disorders, allergies and asthma.

Not only do a lot of the cleaning agents we use hurt our health they hurt the earth.

to be continued

“The classic permaculture model sounds like this: permaculture practiced on the land leads to an abundance of material resources which can nourish and cultivate community.

Social permaculture implies a second narrative possibility that sounds like this: permaculture practiced in the community leads to an abundance of material resources which can nourish and cultivate the land.”  ~ Butterside.com

Farm
Eden Heights Garden

Social and Ecological Permaculture Design Certification Course

March 7th-19th 2016 – Mon. to Fri.

The course is being designed and delivered by Jeff “Papillon” Ribier of the ButterSide and Mike Wird of Regenerative Lifestyles, Colorado, and is based on the classic Permaculture curriculum as inspired by the work of Bill Mollison and David Holmgren.

It will take place in the Castle Bruce area at Eden Heights and Beyond Vitality plus various other sites across the island.

This certification course will expose participants to a wide variety of subjects in the form of lectures, demonstrations and hands-on workshops.  You will be studying in some of Dominica’s most beautiful gardens as well as in devastated and urbanized areas.  Residing on the design sites at Beyond Vitality and Eden Heights, looking through the lens of Permaculture, you will develop a deeper understanding of social and ecological patterns, principles and appropriate strategies.  And most importantly, the quality of the relationships between them.  There will be a series of presentations by local community organizers, farmers, botanists, builders too.

One thing you know when you visit Dominica whether you have an intricately planned itinerary or not there will be something more …

… because Dominica is such a spontaneous natural environment there is always more to enjoy then what is planned – a beautiful rainbow; the visit of an iguana;  a ripe fruit; the heavenly scent of flowers; the call of a bird.

The organizers are going out of their way to have both Dominican and International Students be able to participate. In my opinion this is essential for a truly eco sustainable educational tourism program.

This will enable the rare blending of those from Dominica interested in organic farming with those interested in organic farming throughout the world – I am sure a lifetime of friendships will evolve!

International Students:

You can choose to take a one week or two week program.

Early-bird rates end on December 15th, 2015.

Dominican Students:

Scholarships are available to a limited number of people – checkout who complete the PDC scholarship application form and return it to Sian at Eden Heights by January.

The program is available for people who can only attend a couple of days of workshops, as well as those interested in completing the whole course. Exact dates and topics for the 2 day packages will be confirmed in January.

There is a limited number of spots for this course, don’t wait too long.

Final sign-up deadline is February 1st, 2016 (no refunds are available beyond this date).

If you miss the deadline or wished there were a possibility for a payment plan, don’t give up!  We’ll work it out.

Contact us to see what can be arranged.  If you are choosing a payment plan, a non-refundable $300 deposit is required upon registration. Your registration will be handled with care and you will be on our standby list for the first available opening.

Accommodation is organized on a first registered/first served basis.

The link below gives you an overview of the itinerary; the topics covered during the training as well s the credentials of the teachers.

http://www.butterside.com/#instructors-guest-speakers

I have written about pesticides and the detrimental effect on humans for over 20 years.

We are all at risk for DEMENTIA; CANCER; OBESITY; INFERTILITY if we don’t start farming mindfully.

I have been shunned and laughed at by co-workers; family and friends but ……

I knew it would take a few years but someone with more influence then me would have to do an article – and perhaps people would sit up and pay attention!

Than you MSN

This is a copy of an MSN article

What’s Poisoning the Men of Martinique!

From the outside, the French Caribbean island of Martinique looks like a paradise: turquoise waters beneath colorful wooden homes that climb up lush green slopes of banana leaves. Life seems pretty laid-back — no one expects Martinique to lead the world in any rankings. But this Caribbean island does lead the world in one dark, tragic metric: prostate cancer rates. According to the World Cancer Research Fund International, in Martinique:

For every 100,000 men, 227 have prostate cancer.

That number is almost twice the rate of the second country on the list: Norway (129). The United States, by comparison, comes in at No. 14, with 98 incidents per 100,000. And Martinique’s is an outlier result that looks even more eyebrow-raising when you run comparisons to figure out why.

Maybe it’s the geography? Maybe something about this little pocket of the Caribbean causes the cancer rates to spike? If so, the neighboring islands of Dominica, or even Puerto Rico, should also show those rates. They don’t. While Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados are also in the top five, Martinique’s rates are still double. Maybe it’s the genetics? The island is a French colony, but if French genetics are the problem, then the French should have just as high rates. They don’t. Though their rates are the third-highest on the list, they are still half that of Martinique’s. And as a 2009 paper from theInternational Journal of Oncology found, “the growth curves of incidence rates” for Martinique and metropolitan France have been “significantly diverging since 1983.”

But some doctors have come up with a damning diagnosis: those green slopes of banana leaves. Turns out, they’re a little too green. The high cancer rate in Martinique is being linked to pesticides, primarily used in banana plantations to combat weevils. According to the 2009 paper, researchers found that the islanders’ connective tissue was being contaminated by “extremely high levels” of a nasty cocktail of “DDT, DDE, alpha, beta and gamma HCH, aldrin and dieldrin.” The paper concludes that environmental factors such as the “intensive and prolonged exposure to carcinogenic, mutagenic and reproductive toxin pesticides” may be the culprit.

One of the lead authors of that paper, Dr. Dominique Belpomme, professor in clinical oncology at the Paris University René Descartes, was asked in 2007 by politicians in Martinique to give advice on the health effects of chlordecone pollution — also called kepone, a colorless pesticide related to DDT. It is so toxic that in 2011, it was banned globally by the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants. “But today, unfortunately, chlordecone was replaced by the use of other toxic pesticides,” he tells OZY, “so there is no end to pollution.” Now, concerned citizens of Martinique believe the chemicals have poisoned their entire food chain, plus their rivers and coasts.

For its part, the government of Martinique, which declined to comment to OZY, has launched an investigation into the issue, through the country’s public-health prosecutors. Indeed, the rate has drawn some attention, with locals protesting and mainland France contributing aid to research and monitoring. But the results of these changes may not be evident for years. And that’s got not just the young men of Martinique worried. As Dr. Belpomme points out, the pesticides might also be linked to “women with breast cancer and children with congenital malformations.”