In a message dated 6/16/01 3:19:38 AM, Joseph writes in response to June Hotline (see below):
Glad to see some one is out there spreading the gospel concerning the benefits and healing properties of raw foods.
I have been a raw food (only organics) adherent for 25 years. I believe, if the world is going to be saved, the majority of the people MUST convert to raw foods and grow only organics. The chances of that happening are not only nil, but impossible.
Our enemies are not only the corporations and transnationals, but also, every person who has embraced the capitalist system and its philosophy of accumulation. After all, these corporations would not have achieved their powerful positions without the support and consent of most of the people.
You spoke of Percy Schmeiser, the Canadian farmer, and his plight. From what I read, close to 90% of his crop was genetically engineered. If that is true, there is no way this amount could have blown into his fields. There had to be deliberate planting. Thirty years ago, we were working with many farmers in the organic movement. We came into contact with many farmers, The smaller, and I do mean small, were the most dedicated to the preservation of the land. The larger farms were nothing more than businessmen who cared more for the dollar than the land. Smaller farms are the answer, unfortunately, things are moving in the opposite direction.
I have no sympathy for any of the farmers who bought into genetically engineered crops, and who are now faced with financial ruin because of shrinking markets. Their motivations were more money (greed) and they never once stopped to think about the consequences. The cliches that we hear about farmers and their connection to the land, I found to be a myth. They are more concerned with money.
As far as the general population is concerned, they will eat any garbage that is placed on their plates that has the appearance of food. My edict is, if I can't recognize it, I won't eat it. Frankly, a raw food diet takes a lot of discipline and conviction, two qualities that are lacking in most people. We are constantly fighting the advertising dollars of McDonalds, Wendys, etc, and we are losing the battle, as evidenced by the increasing numbers of these "fast food chains".
It is good that Bill Moyers is bringing necessary information to the public. But his program, "Earth On The Edge" should be called, "Earth OVER the edge". We crossed that threshold many years ago. If there were an immediate cessation of pollution today, we would still be in deep trouble. We know that is not going to happen. Measures like the one proposed by Jerrold Nadler are to be applauded. But it is too little. All it does is slow down our rate of pollution and deceive people into believing it is going to clean up our air. We need more drastic action than this, otherwise we are deceiving ourselves.
We constantly hear about the "balance" that must be struck between technology (or what is called "progress") and the environment. This is another myth. There can be no balance between the two!!! The earth and environment are in balance when both are left untouched by human hand. As soon as "progress" is introduced, we are shifting that balance. Unfortunately, the people of the world have embraced so called "progress", and have relegated the earth to a hopeless and irreparable state of imbalance.
The time for half measures and concessions has long passed. The earth is in need of "emergency room" solutions. Your raw food movement is one of them. Organic farming is another. Changing the way our government works and their corrupt practices of protecting industry is a must. If we cannot do that, we are doomed to failure.
As you noticed when giving your lecture, the average person is overwhelmed and often demoralized by a constant stream of bad news. Small doses are less likely to crush their spirits, but they must realize the gravity of the situation. There is no way to sugar coat it, it is a bitter pill they must swallow for their own salvation and salvation of the future inhabitants of the world. As you noted, there is no humor in destruction. But, some humor can ease the pain and can also be a teaching tool.
I believe that any person who switches to a raw food diet has already come to a full realization of the many problems that plague us. What better way to start cleaning up the world than with your own body!
I may sound pessimistic and that is because I am. It is not a malady of spirit that has no cause, it is firmly rooted in the reality of what IS! When I speak to anyone, I always try to give them a true picture of what they are up against. We need very dedicated people who are not intimidated by the arduous uphill and lop-sided battles we must face. If they cannot stomach reality, let them go for therapy.
I would like to wish you the best of luck in your endeavors in helping people to see the light. If there is any way I can aid you, please let me know.
Thank you for reaching out to me and giving me your point of view. It was quite a lot but I can appreciate your passion, having some of it myself. I believe we both love the land and the earth as Nature made it and even though you may think it's too late, and I don't believe it is – I would love to work together with you in some way to just get the information out.
Perhaps you are working from a "reality" point of view as you say, and I am working from a "reality in the remaking" point of view which takes into account unknown allies like guardian angels, and other hidden worlds that I believe have already helped us out a lot here on this earth. With the massive pollution levels that the earth has sustained already, as you well point out, I believe that there are these unknown factors standing in the wings and giving us a hand when they can. Perhaps we have destroyed the earth or other ones like it in our human history — perhaps we will do the same here. But the Creator of all – can still create again.
I know this is a little metaphysical – but just so you understand why I still believe in the possibility of setting things right again. (I hope I'm not losing you -sometimes I do at this point.)
Of course, what I've taken on as one of my issues, the GE of seeds is a most distressing one. And even though I could see the veil come down on those people in Georgia, they rallied and were incredibly supportive and now in GA at least two or three groups are taking up the GE issue as their cause. Also a group in Alabama.
When I do my lectures on GE I do it on a people talk level. I use just common everyday language that people can understand and I believe that is what brings it home to them in a more intimate way. The scientists have created their own specialized language and are fond of talking over everyone's head. When people can't follow, they may feel they are stupid or incompetent to understand the issue, but they are not. They just don't know the language (that was created to exclude them). I have a great belief in the power of common ordinary everyday people to effect changes in their world. The common people are really quite extraordinary!
As Jim Hightower* pointed out in a lecture I attended, when our democracy was born it wasn't really very democratic because only 4% of the people could vote. The democracy outlined on paper was a fledgling hope yet to become a reality. African Americans, Native Peoples, Women and non property owners did not have the right to vote. Common ordinary people had to get into the fray and fight for their right to vote and other rights.
If those extraordinary people fought for those rights and prevailed, then we can do no less in fighting the battles of our day. I feel that one of our major struggles today is to win for our EarthMother "recognized rights and stature". Just as individual people and corporations have rights, so must our EarthMother. The environment must be made to be a real and "recognized" entity in a court of law. All of these struggles involve basic human rights as well.
I talked to Percy and he said that there was not a high level of contamination, (certainly not anywhere near 90%) and some of his fields were not even tested. Perhaps you can call him and find out more information.
I believe where Percy made a mistake (but I'm just surmising) is that he did know that his fields could be contaminated and he chose to do business as usual – saved his seeds and planted them. He should have taken the initiative and told Monsanto to decontaminate his fields – as if they could do that. He says they've sprayed with some toxic chemicals and the mutant plants still come up. The whole thing is a mess.
We are in accord when you say that the enemy is ourselves. Of course, and that is because we've become addicted to the junk and garbage foods and bought into the modern lifestyle of encumbering ourselves with more, more, and more things. Our idea of a good time is "shopping" and the simple values of community have been shunted aside. The good news that I see within raw, vegetarian, vegan and somewhat health conscious groups is that people are looking for the old time communities and camaraderie and working together on common goals.
Since my book has been out (only a few months) I've gotten tons of email where people are beginning to question the concepts that they've been taught since childhood. Tons of people are starting to make changes and of course the most powerful changes come about with Nature's Raw Foods.
Thanks once again and I will surely be taking you up on your offer to aid me. I never turn down help. Where are you located? I don't see you on my elist – did someone forward you my hotline?
Many blessings to you,
*Jim Hightower, former Commissioner of Agriculture in Texas and a strong and vocal proponent for organic agriculture.
RAW ENERGY HOTLINE – JUNE 10th, 2001
Hi, this is Rhio, with the Raw Energy Hotline. The following message was updated on June 10th, 2001. If you are in the New York City area and would like to listen to an abbreviated hotline toll-free, call (212) 343-1152, 24-hours a day.
ITEM #1: Recently I visited Atlanta, Georgia, where there is a thriving raw food community which is growing by leaps and bounds. I was pleased to see and meet so many people who are making the effort to convert to the raw lifestyle. They were open, receptive and very friendly. I did three lectures in one day and next day, a food presentation of two of my favorite recipes – what I call the heavy greens, like collards, kale, and swiss chard, so important for oxygen delivery to the body. I also demonstrated how to prepare nut yogurts — because people think they have to give up dairy-like flavors — and nut yogurts are a really satisfying substitute.
But my main topic was on the genetic engineering of seeds which is a very sobering topic and no way to make it fun. About half way through the lectures I could see a pall descending on people as they began to understand the seriousness of the situation. Most of them had no idea that this was going on — they had heard a little something — but not enough to bring it home to them in any meaningful way. Of course I always try to give people hope by letting them know what is being done in Europe, Japan, Brazil and other countries and how we can do the same here. But finally, Leigh (my partner) said to me, you've got to break it up a little with a joke. A JOKE! I've never told a joke to an audience in my whole life!! But I had to agree with him. So I did tell my first joke and it went well. I guess from now on, when I see that dark shadow descending on my poor captive audience, I'll have to pull out a joke to snap them out of it. It's not their fault or mine — this is the kind of topic that makes your eyes glaze over and you want to cover your ears and hope it just goes away quietly. However, that is not likely to happen, since billions of dollars of income for the multinational corporations, who control the seed markets worldwide, are at stake.
Genetic engineering of plants, bacteria, animals and humans is a travesty against Mother Nature and a type of contamination that we have no way to recall, since life forms continue to evolve on their own (as they have done for billions of years). With other types of pollution, such as pesticides, chemical and oil spills, greenhouse gases etc., we DO HAVE WAYS to clean it up if we have the will and want to do it, but with the contamination that happens with biotechnology, scientists have stated that there is no way to retrieve it once it is released into the environment.
But, getting back to the Georgia raw food community — they are very fortunate in that there are a few centers that are available to support them. The Shinui Living Foods Retreat where we were guests, is run by Jackie and Gideon Graff, an amazing couple who have dedicated themselves to this endeavor. Recently, they opened the Sprout of Life Café in the Life Grocery in Marietta. It is open from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and you can eat in or take out. They also have a Live Food Van which delivers in the area. Jackie Graff is an innovative and very talented chef who has created some tantalizing recipes which she offers to the raw community through special dinners and now, through the Café. Jackie has also created a series of recipe booklets which are fabulous. We've only tried a few of the recipes so far but they are incredible. Leigh is groovin' on her Deviled Tomatoes which really tastes like deviled eggs(less). The booklets are divided into different themes such as Tex-Mex Fiesta, Live Italian Feast, Pizza Party, Middle Eastern Feast, Oriental Feast, Country Barbecue and even Passover Seder Recipes. I know that Jackie will put them all into a book sometime soon, but they are available in booklet form right now. I highly recommend them. For more information and/or to order, call Jackie at (770) 992-9218.
David and Sandra Gerhardt, who operate the Natural Marketplace in Marietta, are also incredibly supportive of the raw lifestyle community.
On my next visit to Georgia, I hope to become acquainted with another raw food center known as the Living Foods Institute.
I'm looking forward to the day when there will be thriving raw food communities in every single state of our beautiful country. And it is going to happen soon. Count on it!
NEXT ITEM: Look for my Raw Potluck, Raw Restaurants and Raw Lifestyle Centers (and Teachers) Directories which will be up on this site by the end of June
NEXT ITEM: Percy Schmeiser is a farmer up in Saskatchewan, Canada. He comes from a family that has been farming and saving their own seeds for five generations. A couple of years back, Percy did what he and his ancestors have done for all the time that they have farmed. He saved and replanted his own seed. However, that year there was a major difference in that the genetically engineered canola seed pollen of his neighbors had blown or drifted onto his farm and contaminated his crop. Percy did not purchase GE seed nor plant it, but Monsanto came onto his land and took some plants for examination. After testing, they said that his crop was utilizing their exclusive patented seed technology and they sued Percy. An incredibly unjust decision was handed down that Percy had to pay Monsanto $10,000 for the use of their patented seed, plus up to $75,000 from the profits of his crop. And all for seed that he did not want, purchase or plant!!!
If you look at the situation from a common sense perspective, then you know that what happened in reality is that the farmers that grew the genetically engineered seed, together with the mega corporations who produce these mutant seeds, have in essence trespassed on Percy's land and stolen his crop by contaminating it with their products. They should not be allowed to do this and then get away with it by twisting things around and maintaining that Percy stole from them.
Percy and all other farmers who find themselves in similar circumstances should get together and sue the corporations for damage to their crops and losing their livelihood. Percy does want to pursue an appeal of this decision, but he has already spent $200,000 and does not have the funds to proceed. Please send Percy whatever you can – $5., $10. $50. He is fighting a fight for all of us — not just farmers, but eaters too — to maintain the integrity of unmodified, GE-free crops. This decision should not be allowed to stand because it will set a precedent that will then be very difficult to overturn. You can reach Percy at (306) 369-2520 or send a check or money order to: Fight Genetically Altered Food Fund Inc., Box 400 at Bruno, Saskatchewan SOK 0S0, Canada.
Be as generous as you possibly can.
NEXT ITEM: On Tuesday, June 19th, at 8:00 p.m., acclaimed journalist Bill Moyers and his award winning team of producers is once again doing a piece on behalf of our Earth Mother called "Earth on Edge," to be broadcast on all PBS stations (check your local listings). Recent scientific evidence shows that the Earth is approaching a key environmental threshold and may no longer be able to sustain nature and civilization. The documentary coincides with the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, an international effort to gauge the health of the world's forests, grasslands, coastal and freshwater areas. Preliminary findings are mind boggling — half the world's wetlands lost in one century, half the world's forests chopped down, 70 percent of the world's marine fisheries depleted, etc.
After documenting how human demands and wastefulness have been depleting the commonwealth and fraying the web of life, Moyers also takes us on a journey of hope and interviews people who are pioneering sustainable solutions to ecological problems.
Bill Moyers has been doing some amazing environmental work recently. Please take a moment to write and thank him for his pioneering work in this area and to ask him to do a program on the genetic engineering of seeds, bacteria, animals and humans. I feel it is only a matter of time before he gets around to this issue, but we can help push it along. Send a communication to Bill Moyers c/o your local PBS station.
NEXT ITEM: A new bill co-sponsored by one of the good guys in the House of Reps, Jerrold Nadler of New York, is H.R. 1265, the Clean Smokestacks Act.
Old, inefficient power plants are responsible for more than one quarter of all nitrogen oxide emissions, second only to the emissions from automobiles. They also emit soot, a dangerous air pollutant, causing 64,000 deaths each year in the U.S. Power plants are responsible for 34 percent of all mercury emissions. (Mercury is a very dangerous and potent toxin – just one drop of mercury can contaminate a 25-acre lake, leaving fish unsafe for consumption.) Carbon dioxide, the single biggest contributor to global warming is also emitted by power plants.
H.R. 1265 would, by the year 2007, significantly reduce these four major pollutants. For nitrogen oxide, 75% from 1997 levels; for soot, 75% below levels called for in the Clean Air Act; for carbon dioxide, the emissions would be reduced to 1990 levels.
Write to your representatives in the House and ask them to support H.R. 1265. Thanks for doing this good work.
Until next month, stay vibrant and healthy on Nature's raw and bountiful harvest.