Natural 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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Traditionally especially in tropical countries it is an accepted body care program to oil the body once or even twice a day. Usually it was coconut oil; made at home from coconuts growing in the area.

The benefits of this are many but one recent mind blowing study has shown a benefit most people do not think about.

Universities from Nebraska; Illinois; China and Brazil working in cooperation with The US Department of Agriculture have found that Coconut Oil is just as repellent as DEET.

DEET is an insect repellent that is used in products to prevent bites from insects such as mosquitoes, biting flies, fleas and small flying insects.

DEET has some serious side effects.

Manufacturers and governments still say it is safe to use but the people who use it a lot are disagreeing.

Children are affected the most as usual – The Canadian Government does not recommend using DEET on a daily basis for children younger than 12 years old for more than a month. For infants younger than 6 months old, they recommend not using it all.

The FDA does not recomend the use of DEET for children under 2 years old.

Mental retardation, muscular hypotonia, hearing loss, and coarctation of the aorta have been reported among infants whose mothers were exposed to DEET during pregnancy; however, a direct relationship between the use of DEET and birth defects has not been demonstrated.

They are still looking at the connections of the use of DEET to Gulf War Syndrome. US Veterans who used DEET-containing insect repellents showed signs of arthro-myo-neuropathy, a neurotoxic syndrome with symptoms including joint and muscle pain, fatigue after exertion, and tingling or numbing of the hands, arms, feet, and legs.

In 1982 workers at The National Everglades Park in Florida were concerned by the effects they were having from sustained use of DEET and they requested the National Park Service initiate a health hazard evaluation to evaluate occupational exposure to DEET among workers. It was found that more highly exposed workers had significantly higher prevalence of insomnia, muscle cramping, symptoms of mood disturbances,skin rash or blisters, and difficulty starting or stopping the urinary stream.

Until 1989, the standard-issue insect repellent used by the U. S. military contained 75% DEET, but concerns about its toxicity led to a search for new formulations. The 3M Company therefore developed a slow-release product containing only 35% DEET, which is the repellent currently used by military personnel

In the 1990’s a ban on any DEET product above 30% was put into place but it was negated by the courts and the companies who stood to make millions from the product.

The use of DEET has continued because vector-borne diseases account for 17% of all infectious diseases resulting in 700,000 human deaths annually. Repellents are a primary tool for reducing the impact of biting insects on humans and animals.

Universities have done multiple studies to find alternatives to DEET. Studies increased when they found mosquitoes were breeding immunity to the most powerful DEET concoction.

Lemon Eucalyptus is one natural product they found that compared to DEET in effectiveness but we will talk about that later.

In a cooperative study released in September 2018 that included U.S. Department of Agriculture, University of University of Kentucky, South China Agricultural University, Rutgers University, Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology and the Universidade Federal de Goiás of Brazil they found that fatty acids derived from coconut oil are inexpensive and highly efficacious repellant compounds.

What is mind blowing is these coconut fatty acids are active against a wide array of insects including biting flies, ticks, bed bugs AND mosquitoes. The medium-chain length fatty acids from C8:0 to C12:0 were found to exhibit the predominant repellent activity.

Repellency was stronger and with longer residual activity than that of DEET.

In laboratory bioassays, these fatty acids repelled biting flies and bed bugs for two weeks after application, and ticks for one week.

An aqueous starch-based formulation containing natural coconut fatty acids was also prepared and shown to protect pastured cattle from biting flies up to 96-hours in the hot summer, which, to their knowledge, is the longest protection provided by a natural repellent product studied to date.

This is huge.

There is already DEET in our waters and environment and repeated exposure seems to increase the side effects.

Science has shown we can use coconut based products instead.

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.

“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

GENET is a European network of non-governmental non-profit organisations engaged in the critical debate of genetic engineering, founded in 1995. GENET‘s mission  is to provide information on genetic engineering to its member organisations and the interested public and to support their activities and campaigns. At the moment, GENET has 51 member organisations in 27 European countries. GENET is an international non-profit association under Swiss law.

The purpose of GENET is to exchange information on genetic engineering and campaigns focussing on:

  • plant and animal breeding
  • human health
  • agriculture
  • animal welfare
  • food production

and its implications on

  • biological diversity
  • human genetics and medicine
  • the environment
  • the socioeconomic development

By informing interested organisations and individuals GENET facilitates the citizens’ involvement in decision-making processes which have to guide the development of this technology.

List of GMO-Free Regions

Dominica is listed as GMO Free on this website.

GM Crop report relating to: Dominica

 

Children's yoga aI grew up in a country where you wanted curls. all the little girls with straight hair could hardly wait to get a  perm. Not sure who wanted me to have curls – mom or I but I clearly remember the chemical smell and the burning of the perms I got as a child. I did not have many as I decided early on I did not want to perm my hair and I was lucky to have a mom who let me more or less decide what hair to have.

As a teen growing up I worked part time in a store that had a beauty parlour attached. That was when I realized just how dangerous the perms could be. In more than one incident I remember a person’s scalp was burnt and I also heard of other people’s hair falling out. This just reinforced my urge to have natural hair.

During my year sabbatical in 1981 studying herbal medicine and vegetarian cooking in the Caribbean I was amazed to find the reverse of Canada. Most of the women I met wanted to get rid of their curls. Often they had started straightening their hair as young children.

Generally it seemed to me that those who permed OR straightened often had very damaged hair that kept breaking off.

Over my lifetime what I realized was harmful intuitively as a child started to be scientifically proven – I was not surprised to hear that studies have shown that Hairdressers have a higher incidence of Cancer and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has labelled these occupations as “probably carcinogenic to humans”.

A really recent study has shown the chemicals in these hair products can cause fibroids.

People have also started to speak out about the twisted marketing that makes us want to be different then our beautiful natural selves. There are natural hair groups all over facebook and it is the focus of many blogs. Articles such as the ones below are sharing peoples experiences with the damaging effects of perms and straighteners and sharing the joy of their natural hair.

I spent £18,000 on straightening treatments …until my hair fell out

At last after a lifetime of observing mega corporations earning millions by talking people into using harmful chemicals to alter the beauty of their natural hair; natural hair is in vogue and has become the norm. Oh joy!

The young people of today are embracing natural hair and the array of techniques they promote are interesting and wide ranging. My step daughter has a blog on natural hair but there are 1000’s and 1000’s more.

The first time I saw locks was in 1981 in an ancient book on yoga in a library of a Yoga Center in Christ Church Barbados that has since closed. A gentleman was in The Eagle Pose and his hair was in locks which were spread out in a mandala on the floor around him. I just knew I wanted my hair like that.

In the 80’s when I decided my natural hairstyle was going to be locks I was amazed at the reaction, in Canada and in the Caribbean. People found it truly hard to believe that I loved my hair in this natural style shaped and formed by nature and life.

I have never found that picture or book again but I can close my eyes and see it clearly almost 40 years later.

The next place

Over the years I have grown to love my locks a little more each year. My hair has been a great conversation piece wherever I have visited or lived.

The history of locs is interesting.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dreadlocks

One thing I absolutely love is the camadarie of people with locks. On my last visit to Toronto on one of the most busy corners near Young and Bloor I saw a young man with locks and we greeted each other in passing.

Here in Dominica my daughters were told that in any publicly funded school children with locks were accepted and they were welcomed into the schools nearby. It was only at the Catholic school we were told locks were not allowed and by then my daughter had decided to cut her hair. A few years later I heard even the Catholic Schools were accepting students with locks.

Locks are very common now and my research shows locks have historically existed in many different cultures.

A recent article online was a shock – I had thought we were past this. This article talked about how a little 7 year old in Oklahoma had been expelled from school for her locks. How archaic! I absolutely love how this woman sent love and support to this little girl online through an E book called For Tiana: A Care Package FILLED with Locs of LOVE. I enjoyed Alice Walker’s talk at the end too!

Here’s to having the freedom to choose natural hair for our children; mohawk; afro; locs; combed; braided and the celebration of our differences.

Resources

http://www.cancer.org/cancer/news/news/hairdressers-and-barbers-may-be-at-increased-cancer-risk

http://edition.cnn.com/2013/09/10/living/identity-opinion-yaba-blay-dreadlocks-brown-girl/index.html?iref=obinsite