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How Roundup® Poisoned my Nature Reserve: A personal witness

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Institute of Science in Society  09/17/2014    by Rosemary Mason MB ChB FRCA

A personal witness to the devastating demise of wild pollinators and other species as glyphosate herbicides increase in the environment   

In March 2006, UK’s Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) announced the closure of its wildlife research centres [1], a decision opposed by 99% of 1 327 stakeholders.  Monks Wood centre, which hosted BBC’s Spring Watch, pioneered work on DDT and pesticides in the 1960s, and more recently revealed how climate change is affecting wildlife, with spring arriving three weeks earlier. The research centres were also involved in assessing the impacts of GM (genetically modified) crops on wildlife, with findings contradicting industry claims that no harm would be caused.

In response to that and to the unexplained disappearance of birds and invertebrates (such as bumblebees, honeybees and other pollinators), we set aside one acre of the field next to our house in South Wales to make a chemical-free nature reserve.

Progress

To begin with we had considerable success. We photographed many insects that were clearly benefitting from wild flowers, often insignificant ones, which supplied nectar and pollen resources but which had been eliminated from many conventional arable fields. The reserve also provided larval food plants for several species of moths, butterflies and bush crickets.

In 2009, I had major surgery followed by radiotherapy. The work on the reserve diverted me from dark thoughts, and insomnia allowed me to make nocturnal visits around the reserve and adjacent fields to see speckled bush crickets in their most active periods. With a bat detector set at 40 kHz, a torch and recording device, I followed the ‘singing’ adult bush crickets and recorded the progress of their courtships. In fact ‘stridulation’ is a sound produced by the males rubbing a tooth-bearing left wing across a scraper on the right wing. Courtship and mating takes place at the highest point. It was amazing how many I heard and saw. The same frequency picked up the staccato discharge of pipistrelle bats performing their erratic aerobatics as they hunted insects along the hedge above my head. I would hear tawny owls calling to each other, such a haunting sound, and follow the voice with my ears, as the owl moved on silent wings between groups of trees.

After observations made during the summer of 2009, we published a photo-journal: Speckled Bush Crickets. Observations in a small nature reserve [2] (see Box 1). On 10 February 2010, Dr David Robinson, who is studying the behaviour and acoustics of Leptophyes punctatissima (Speckled Bush Crickets) at the Open University, said: “I think that it is probably the first time anybody has produced a book about a single species.” He gave a copy to Dr Judith Marshall, who is the British expert on grasshoppers and crickets at the Natural History Museum.

At the end of 2010, we published another photo-journal, The Year of the Bumblebee. Observations in a small nature reserve [3] (see Box 1). The United Nations had declared 2010 the International Year of Biodiversity, to celebrate the diversity of life on earth.  It also marked the year by which 200 countries had promised to halt biodiversity loss. In 2010 we set ourselves the task of identifying the six common types of bumblebees, their emergence, behaviour and the species of flower from which they took pollen and nectar.

Box 1

Extracts from photo-journals [2, 3] & other observations

Mating strategy in the female spider Araneus quadratus

“At fence post 22 on 16thAugust 2010, I was lucky enough to witness and photograph the courtship and mating of Araneus quadratus, an orb web spider, in our 1-metre high hedge.” Spiders reconstruct their webs during the night. “An early morning photograph illuminated by a torch, showing the previous night’s work. The prey catching web of an orb web spider is amazingly intricate. It was much more complex than her courtship web, which looked as if it had been thrown together in a hurry! There are strong frame threads and radial threads, after which the spider lays down a temporary auxiliary spiral which she takes down as she constructs the sticky prey- catching spiral. This ends before the central hub, leaving a free zone.”

The first pollen of the year for the Bombus Terrestris March 5th 2010

She descended like a helicopter, feet first into a large, purple crocus flower and disappeared completely. Apart from a faint tremor of the petals you would have been unaware she was there if you hadn’t actually seen her go in. Some 5-10 s later she emerged head first over the threshold, liberally powdered with pollen and crawled out like a drunk, narcotised by the first decent meal of the year.”

 

Moulting in a Speckled Bush Cricket nymph, August 8th 2009

She sat with her right hind leg extended and braced against the leaf below with the left leg flexed and acting as a counterbalance. The forelegs grasped the shroud and the two mid legs were used as stabilisers. The external mouthparts, mandibles and palps were clearly visible and this time I could see the mouthparts moving. She had chosen a perfect day on which to perform her ecdysis. She and her other self were poised like ballet dancers caught in the spotlight of the sun, casting surreal shadows on the scabious leaf below. At the end of 16 minutes all that remained was a pair of tibia, still hooked by their tarsi to a trefoil leaf above. Presumably she must have mentally calculated that the nutritional gain from climbing up and unhooking them was hardly worth the effort.”

The Ladybird Ball

For two weeks in April 2010 we studied 7-spot ladybirds. They are remarkable predators and natural pest removers!  They steadily graze their way through aphids and mildew spores. We made counts three times a day; morning, afternoon and evening. During those periods they migrated from positions in the field during the day and usually gathered on shrubs in the western hedge in the early evening sunshine; field maple, hawthorn, blackthorn, hornbeam and hazel. Here they fed, rested and mated. Although they meet by accident, the factors that govern their behaviour (they are attracted by light and move against the force of gravity) meant that they climb upwards and are drawn to the same places. In those 2 weeks we counted 348 ladybirds.

 

Three plant species that supported the insects

August 5th 2009: Male speckled bush cricket nymph on devil’s bit scabious leaf; ‘proof of grazing’. July 7th 2010: ‘The Teasels grew and grew, like Jack’s beanstalk, and had to be staked up against the July gales!’ Teasels were the favourite flower of the new bumblebee queens. They were used for both feeding and roosting. August 18th 2010: Bombus terrestris, buff-tailed bumblebee, has a short tongue which cannot reach the inside of the bell-shaped flowers of the Comfrey. She solves the problem of a short tongue by ‘stealing’ it. The short tongue penetrates the base of the flower.

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Written by laudyms

September 17, 2014 at 5:46 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Changing from GMO to Non-GMO Natural Soy Animal Feed: Farmers See Big Difference

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“Pilegaarden” (Willow Farm)

Changing from GMO to Non-GMO Natural Soy, Experiences from Denmark

Institute of Science in Society   Sept 10, 2014

Healthier, more productive pigs, more profit, and much less birth deformities; an important lesson for all farmers not to use GMO feed or glyphosate on their land

By Borup Pederson  Based on invited lecture at the 1st Forum of Development and Environmental Safety,
25 – 26 July 2014, Beijing
 
My farm “Pilegaarden” (Willow Farm) is an average Danish farm in the small village of Hvidsten. Our pigs are raised accordingly to United Kingdom regulations for pig housing, and exported to the UK for consumption. Inside the pig farm is a straw-based system for the sows as well as a standard farrowing house.

I had read about the effects that GM feed has on rats in lab experiments (see [1] GM Soya Fed Rats: Stunted, Dead, or Sterile, SiS 33), so I decided to change the feed from GM to non-GM soy in April 2011 without telling the herdsman on the farm. Two days afterwards, he said to me: “You have changed the food.” He always notices whenever there is any problem with the feed and tells me. This time was different. Something very good was happening with the food as the pigs were not getting diarrhoea any more. The farm was saving 2/3 of the medicine or £7.88 per sow; not just my farm but three other farms in Denmark that switched from GMO to non GMO feed have also seen the same. Medication after the changeover in the weaners barn also went down dramatically by 66 %, with one type of antibiotics not being used since.

The sows have higher milk production; we can tell because the sows are suckling 1, 2 or 3 more piglets and have more live born pigs, on average 1.8 piglets more per sow. They wean 1,8 pigs more pr. litter, and have more live born pigs. We have seen a certain aggressive diarrhoea disappear altogether that affected young piglets in the first week of life, killing up to 30 % of the pigs. It has completely gone for over 3 years. Sows no longer suffer from bloating or ulcers and they also live longer in high production, only dropping in effectivity after 8 layers compared to 6 on GM soy.

So, a change to non-GM soy makes the herd easier to manage, improves the health of the herd, reduces medicine usage, increases production and is very profitable.

Severe birth deformities in piglets

Deformities in the pigs used to be very rare and I used to be proud to send Siamese twins to schools for classes because it would only happen one in a million. But then they became too frequent. So I read a lot on the subject and my suspicion fell on glyphosate. I read how glyphosate had been shown in scientific studies (see [2] Lab Study Establishes Glyphosate Link to Birth Defects, ISiS 48, [3]) to cause deformities and noted it was the same type of deformities that I was seeing in my pigs…   read more here

Written by laudyms

September 10, 2014 at 6:17 am

The age of rentier capitalism (we’re more exploited than ever!)

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     from the article: “….once economic liberalization [Neo-Liberalism] took off in the 1980s, the struggle was won decisively by capital, and labor’s share of total income has shrunk everywhere.”

   

Similarly, Neo-Libs and Neo-Cons have dominated politically, leaving little room for any who support social-democracy or justice. Power has consolidated against people.

 

How intellectual property makes us more unequal

Al Jazeera September 7, 2014 

 

It is well known that globalization has put strong downward pressure on wages and benefits of workers in wealthy countries, as companies have offshored and outsourced labor to lower-wage locations and justified wage cuts to try to stay competitive. But politicians and economists have yet to come to terms with the fact that in the rich world the income distribution system itself has broken down irretrievably.

The 20th century was the only century in which most income was divided between capital (profits) and labor (wages), with the struggle for shares mediated by the state through regulations, fiscal policy and a system of social protection. But once economic liberalization took off in the 1980s, the struggle was won decisively by capital, and labor’s share of total income has shrunk everywhere.

Meanwhile, rental income, linked to the control of natural resources, property, financial assets and intellectual property, has become a dominant force in the global economy.

This is the age of rentier capitalism; rich countries are becoming rentier economies. A rising share of global income is going to rent, rather than to wages or profits from productive activities. This perpetuates inequalities: It disproportionately favors the wealthy, and accentuates inequality over generations.  read more here

 

Congressional report: Did Certain Foreign Governments Facilitate 9/11 ?

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A Congressional report titled “Finding, Discussion and Narrative Regarding Certain Sensitive National Security Matters” … has gotten zip coverage by the media. This report can be read only by heads of Senate and House intelligence committees and, with their permission, by Members of Congress who are carefully guarded and not allowed to take notes.

Friday, August 29, 2014 INFORMATION CLEARING HOUSE (ICH)

Did Certain Foreign Governments Facilitate the 9/11 Attacks?

By JUSTIN RAIMONDO
…….”One or more foreign governments,” eh? Who in the Middle East – or anywhere else, for that matter – are among “those whom we thought we could trust”? That doesn’t sound like the Saudis to me. Would anyone really be surprised or “disappointed” to learn that they were playing games behind our back?

[Kentucky's 4th district] Rep. Thomas Massie’s statement is even more revealing: “I had to stop every two or three pages and rearrange my perception of history. And it’s that fundamental – those 28 pages ….It certainly changes your view of the Middle East.”…

read entire article here
 
 

Tell Congress: no more weapons of war for local police

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Sign the petition here to protect Free Speech and De-militarize the Police.

       I suspect even they will appreciate it!

Update:  Police aren’t just using military-issued weapons, they’re LOSING themFusion Investigates

California fracking uses more than 2 mil gallons of water a day (in a major drought!)

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Photo: According to new analysis by Californians Against Fracking, the California oil & gas industry uses over 2 million gallons per day on activities like fracking, acidizing, and cyclic steam injection. Read more here: http://go.350.org/Y5XxHG Unlike many other water uses -- say, farming for instance -- fracking permanently pollutes water and effectively removes it from the water cycle.  What was that about a drought? Photo: Brooke Anderson Photography: Stills of Our Stories & Struggles

 

According to new analysis by Californians Against Fracking, the California oil & gas industry uses over 2 million gallons per day on activities like fracking, acidizing, and cyclic steam injection. Read more here:

Am I Next? America’s Militarized Police Forces

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Demonstrators Aaron Little (R), Gianni Cook (C) and Troy Jones hold signs while protesting against the death of black teenager Michael Brown, outside St Louis County Circuit Clerk building in Clayton, Missouri August 12, 2014. Police said Brown, 18, was shot in a struggle with a gun in a police car but have not said why Brown was in the car. At least one shot was fired during the struggle and then the officer fired more shots before leaving the car, police said. But a witness to the shooting interviewed on local media has said that Brown had been putting his hands up to surrender when he was killed. The FBI has opened a civil rights investigation into the racially charged case and St. Louis County also is investigating.  REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

Daily Kos         Demonstrators Aaron Little (R), Gianni Cook (C) and Troy Jones hold signs while protesting against the death of black teenager Michael Brown, outside St Louis County Circuit Clerk building in Clayton, Missouri August 12, 2014.

If the murder in Ferguson, Missouri was an isolated case, it would be tragic enough. But how many Fergusons dot this country of ours? Likely innumerable, and that is an unbearable thought.

One Nation Under SWAT

War Comes Home: The Excessive Militarization of American Policing
11 Eye-Opening Facts About America’s Militarized Police Forces
Police Militarization In Ferguson – Business Insider

Update:  8/17/14

Police Threaten To Shoot, Mace Reporters In Ferguson

Update x2:

Pentagon’s 1033 Program is Preparing for War Against the Civil Population
By Martin Armstrong
This was the design of the military to prepare for civil unrest because the government WILL default on social welfare and social security not to mention confiscating pensions.
 
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