Conscious Living


I wrote about the release of GM mosquitos when they started the first trial in the Cayman Islands about 8 years ago.

Mosquitos are pollinators too

After we posted that article we kept track of what was happening.

In 2015 Genewatch UK published an article titled GM insect factories might become antibiotic-resistant bacteria factories. Their concern was mass production of GM insects in factories, using tetracyclines as an additive in their feed, could lead to drug resistance in their microbiota, in the same way that treating bees with tetracyclines has selected for antibiotic resistance. Oxitec’s GM insects may then disseminate antibiotic resistance when released into the environment in the repeated, largescale releases needed to vastly outnumber wild pest insect numbers.

This is a big deal – the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates 700,000 people die each year from antibiotic resistant bacterial infections.

Then just as Florida was thinking of releasing the GM mosquitos Physicians from the area expressed their concerns: These GM insects are programmed to require tetracycline as a maturation factor. If they do not receive the antibiotic in sufficient dosage to penetrate every cell and neutralize the implanted lethal gene, the insects die in early larval stage. If they receive a sufficient dosage, they will live and reproduce.

They asked that nasal swab studies be done to assess pre and post release bacterial resistance.  According to one of the doctors involved the company continued to spend big money marketing the concept but did not run the cheap cultures to soothe residents fears. Physicians Vote No To GM Mosquitos

In January 2017 in the Cayman Islands Oxitec announced The release of some 8 million modified mosquitoes in West Bay has had a significant impact in reducing populations of the disease spreading insects.

In June 2017

In  October 2017 a report was released identifying the success of the project claiming a 62% suppression rate.

An $8 million plan for an island wide rollout of the genetically modified mosquito program was aborted at the last minute in late 2017 amid budget cuts and concerns that the technology has yet to fully prove itself.

Instead government opted for a much smaller-scale deployment, testing the GM mosquitoes in combination with other suppression techniques in a $588,000 trial throughout 2018.

But in May of 2018  a cache of internal emails was released following an open records request. In those communications staff at a management level expressed serious doubts about the impact of the technology in controlling natural populations of the disease-spreading insects. They also expressed concerns about the claims being made on its behalf by British biotech firm Oxitec. The emails state that the report was generated by Oxitec which stood to gain from a deal of close to US $8 million dollar that would expand the project to entire island.

The Revealing and disturbing MRCU Oxitec Emails – Editorial

If it were not for the release of those emails, it seems likely that Oxitec’s claim that its program had led to a “62 percent suppression rate” of the disease-carrying Aedes aegypti population in the West Bay pilot area would have gone unchallenged by government officials. That may well have led to the awarding of a two-year, US$8 million contract to Oxitec based on, at best, incomplete data.

Instead, the government budgeted “only” $940,000 in 2018, essentially for Oxitec to rerun its pilot tests in West Bay from 2016 and 2017.

In November 2018 it was announced that the release of the GM mosquitoes has stopped and no new public funds are committed to the project next year.

It seems like this may be the final chapter in this GM Mosquito story in the Caymans.

https://www.caymancompass.com/2018/11/13/gm-mosquito-release-halted/

 

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The next time you go to use a throw away plastic cup – think about where it could end up.

 

March 2011 046

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

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

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Immersion in Nature is now scientifically proven to be healing!

I first learned this concept – nature is healing as part of a conscious lifestyle for health and wellness – in the 1980’s from the Rasta’s I studied during my year’s sabbatical in the West Indies studying Herbal Medicine; Appropriate Technology and Vegetarian Cooking!

Repeatedly as I interviewed people who were part of the Rasta Movement and interested in Healthy Conscious Living I heard that Immersion in Nature – gardening; hiking trails; nature walks; river baths; hot water soaks or visits to ‘Dr. Sea’ – was an intricate part of their Healthy Lifestyle.

Now Forest Bathing is offered everywhere.

The scientifically-proven benefits of exposure to nature include:

  • Boosted immune system functioning.
  • Reduced blood pressure.
  • Reduced stress.
  • Improved mood.
  • Increased ability to focus, even in children with ADHD.
  • Accelerated recovery from surgery or illness.
  • Increased energy level.
  • Improved sleep.

 

 

 

 

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 people are looking at vaccination as a possible cause of autism.

Another suspected source of neurotoxins in children is environmental toxins and agricultural chemicals such as organophosphates.

My husband was recently diagnosed with dementia, after a few years of research I have realized that dementia is also increasing rapidly and there are starting to be a few studies linking agricultural chemicals and dementia.

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
Exposure to certain toxins or environmental factors may increase the risk of later Parkinson’s disease, but the risk is relatively small.

Dementia

Cognitive impairment in agricultural workers and nearby residents exposed to pesticides in the Coquimbo Region of Chile.

Association between background exposure to organochlorine pesticides and the risk of cognitive impairment: A prospective study that accounts for weight change.

 

 

Autism

Prenatal chlorpyrifos leads to autism-like deficits in C57Bl6/J mice.

Prenatal exposure to organophosphate pesticides and risk of autism spectrum disorders and other non-typical development at 3 years in a high-risk cohort.

 

When I moved to Dominica in the 1990’s and traveled 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.

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 with clothes 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 every 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 to rinse off the car or equipment when 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.  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 mindful 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.

“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

An upsetting video of a plastic straw being removed from the nostril of a sea turtle shows the grim reality of how plastic litter impacts marine life.

Straws are a fine example of the way we have been brainwashed into consuming. Since when did we need a straw to drink? Since companies started making them for profit! The drink does not stay cleaner or taste better.

Sometimes a small move can have huge effects. In my 20’s I decided to stop using straws. If you consider an average person uses at least 1 straw a day then throws it away – that means I have stopped with that 1 small move the release of 14,600 straws into the environment. I still have years left to continue this joyful move – clean up your environment – one small policy at a time.

I also saved 14,600 paper straw covers.

I have less BPA in my system from drinking liquids through a straw – BPA has all kinds of ramifications including obesity as this is one of the chemicals in our environment that causes the storage of unhealthy fat.

An upsetting video of a plastic straw being removed from the nostril of a sea turtle shows the grim reality of how plastic litter impacts marine life.

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