INTERESTING NEWS


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/

 

Advertisements

DSCF0502

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.

“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

 

 

Rediscovery of Black-capped Petrels on Dominica

Adam Brown goes face-to-face with the Diablotin.
Adam Brown goes face-to-face with the Diablotin.

A team of scientists from EPIC and Dominica’s Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries have recorded 968 Diablotin, also known as the Black-capped Petrel, over the mountains of Dominica, a Lesser Antilles island for which the last confirmed date of nesting of that species is 1862. This rare seabird was once abundant on Dominica, but thought to be extirpated in the late 1800s due to overhunting and the introduction of mammalian species. Observations made with radar and supplemented by detection of vocalizations showed large numbers of petrels flying between the sea and potential nest areas in the island’s highest peaks. Details of the expedition are being released at the 20th International Meeting of BirdsCaribbean, taking place now in Kingston, Jamaica.Adam Brown, Co-Founder and Lead Scientist at EPIC states, “Finding this colony of petrels on Dominica is a real game-changer for Black-capped Petrel conservation. For years we thought the only remaining colonies of petrels were on Hispaniola, where nesting habitat is diminishing at an alarming rate and pressures of human activity are significant. Dominica is an island-nation where nature conservation is a high priority and forests needed by petrels are well protected, so we now have a huge new opportunity to undertake conservation efforts to preserve this imperiled species.”

Biologists from EPIC and the Forestry, Wildlife and Parks Division of Dominica’s environmental ministry teamed up in January 2015 to do a systematic survey of the entire island of Dominica to locate Diablotin and determine its status. The Diablotin is a very difficult bird to study, as it is a seabird that comes to shore only for a few months of the year to breed, flying into forested mountains at night to underground burrows. A portable marine radar array and night vision scopes allowed biologists to locate, identify and count flying petrels in in the dark. This technique was developed and used successfully to study Diablotin on Hispaniola.

Team member Arlington James during a radar survey on Dominica.
Team member Arlington James during a radar survey on Dominica.

The next step is to confirm breeding by locating active nests. The team is confident that petrels observed on Dominica are breeding but the discovery of birds, eggs or chicks in burrows would make their presence a certainty. Biologists will make expeditions into the mountains in early 2016 when breeding petrels are expected to return to Dominica. Dominica’s forests, many pristine due to strong protections, would appear to offer prime nesting habitat to petrels, but also make locating burrows a challenge.The Diablotin is considered one of the world’s rarest seabirds with an estimate of only 1,000-2,000 pairs remaining, and until recently, known to nest only on the island of Hispaniola (comprising the nations of Haiti and Dominican Republic). Biologists and others, who have formed an International Black-capped Petrel Conservation Group, held out hope that the species persisted on Dominica, buoyed by occasional findings of adult birds on the ground in coastal or inland areas. However, numerous searches to find evidence of nesting of this species on Dominica during the second half of the 20th century were unsuccessful. The dramatic re-discovery of Diablotin on Dominica gives that nation a huge role in securing the future of this species.

http://www.birdscaribbean.org/2015/07/rediscovery-of-black-capped-petrels-on-dominica/

Unless you are eating 100% organic the answer is yes!

The chemicals we put on our gardens and farms are often organophosphates and they are neurotoxins very similar to nerve gas.

Chemical warfare was introduced to a shocked world during the First World War. The development of chemical warfare agents during the Second World War led to the so-called “nerve gases,” which are quick-acting poisons attacking the nervous system. In the second world war Nerve Gas was a feared and terrible weapon. I remember my grandfather telling stories of people who had come back from the war and described the experience: convulsions; seizures; confusion; irritation; anger; loss of memory and executive function.

As a Health and Wellness Consultant and Writer I have written many articles on studies showing the dangers of agricultural chemicals and I knew more than one study had shown links between agricultural chemicals and Parkinson’s Disease.

Over the years as I delved more deeply I found there were a lot of similar symptoms in many Dementias; Parkinson’s Disease and other Brain Diseases of today.

I asked a local doctor that I respect very much if he thought there could be a connection. He said he theorized from his many years of observations that older farmers he saw were functioning differently neurologically then those the same age with other jobs with less exposure to chemicals.

Symptoms of Parkinson’s
Physical Symptoms
Mental Symptoms

Symptoms of Dementia

At first I could not find any studies linking agricultural chemicals and dementia but years later they are starting to be published one by one and it is sad to think that we are doing this to ourselves for money.

Then I found a study in France that supported my friends theory

I was just blown away when I began to realize that a lot of the chemicals that we put on our food are “neurotoxins” very similar to the nerve gas of Chemical Warfare.

Researchers measured the levels of pesticide byproducts in the urine of 1,139 children from across the United States. Children with above-average levels of one common byproduct had roughly twice the odds of getting a diagnosis of ADHD, according to the study, which appears in the journal Pediatrics.

Recently it was projected that one in —- would have dementia over the age of 60;

According to the ‘Gulf War and Health published by the National Academies Press: “the persistent abnormalities seen in sarin victims that last long after the acute toxicity has resolved appear to be similar to the long-term neurobehavioral effects seen after acute intoxication from organophosphate pesticides (Delgado et al., 2004; London et al., 1998; Rosenstock et al., 1991; Savage et al., 1988; Steenland et al., 1994; Wesseling et al., 2002).

Organophosphate pesticides (as well as sarin and VX nerve agent) irreversibly inactivate acetylcholinesterase, which is essential to nerve function in insects, humans, and many other animals.

Meta-analysis was carried out by the University College of London to determine the neurotoxic effects of long-term exposure to low levels of organophosphates (OPs) in occupational settings.

It was released around the start of January 2013 and their conclusions are

The majority of well designed studies found a significant association between low-level exposure to OPs and impaired neurobehavioral function which is consistent, small to moderate in magnitude and concerned primarily with cognitive functions such as psychomotor speed, executive function, visuospatial ability, working and visual memory.

Listen to what this farmer has to say about the organophosphates they were forced to dip their sheep in.

 

Listen to this Organic Farmer’s observations on Mad Cow disease and neurotoxins.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MheeiX2w8JU

This is a great way to highlight Dominica and new talent; congratulations Discover Dominica!

Dominica Challenge – this year’s winners

For Film

Trent and Josh

Dominica The New

http://www.dominicachallenge.com/portfolio_page/trent-and-josh/

 

For Photography (People’s Choice)

Trevor Paulhus

Closer to Eden

http://www.dominicachallenge.com/trevor-paulhus-closer-to-eden/#43

Dedicated to the people of Dominica!

Next Page »