“There’s a deceptively still body of water in Tanzania with a deadly secret—it turns any animal it touches to stone. The rare phenomenon is caused by the chemical makeup of the lake, but the petrified creatures it leaves behind are straight out of a horror film.
Photographed by Nick Brandt in his new book, Across the Ravaged Land, petrified creatures pepper the area around the lake due to its constant pH of 9 to 10.5—an extremely basic alkalinity that preserves these creatures for eternity. According to Brandt:
I unexpectedly found the creatures – all manner of birds and bats – washed up along the shoreline of Lake Natron in Northern Tanzania. No-one knows for certain exactly how they die, but it appears that the extreme reflective nature of the lake’s surface confuses them, and like birds crashing into plate glass windows, they crash into the lake. The water has an extremely high soda and salt content, so high that it would strip the ink off my Kodak film boxes within a few seconds. The soda and salt causes the creatures to calcify, perfectly preserved, as they dry.
I took these creatures as I found them on the shoreline, and then placed them in ‘living’ positions, bringing them back to ‘life’, as it were. Reanimated, alive again in death.
Brigitte Gynther, longtime Immokalee-based organizer, returns to Florida after a year on the front lines of struggle for justice in post-coup Honduras, where she coordinates the Stories of Honduras project on behalf of School of the Americas Watch. Brigitte works closely with leaders of Honduran human rights organizations at a time when small farmers, Indigenous leaders, social activists, journalists, lawyers and members of the LGBTQ community as well as the new LIBRE political party (formed out of recent resistance movements) are facing assassinations, death threats, repression and surveillance. US military aid contributes to the rapidly militarized society, where armed forces deployed nationwide in the name of fighting the Drug War often are used to target those working for justice.
In 2009, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops selected Brigitte for the prestigious Cardinal Bernardin New Leadership Award for her admirable efforts alongside the Coalition of Immokalee Workers. Her talk on the human rights situation in Honduras — widely described as one of the world’s most violent nations — comes in the lead-up to national elections there in November, when it is feared that violence and repression may escalate even further.
Tuesday, October 1st
Naples at 3 PM:
Sanctuary of Cornerstone United Methodist Church
8200 Immokalee Rd, Naples, FL 34119
Fort Myers at 6:30 PM:
Sugden Welcome Center at Florida Gulf Coast University
10501 FGCU Blvd South, Ft. Myers, FL 33965
Plenty of free parking at both events — Talk is free and open to the public
(Donations welcomed for Honduras justice efforts.)
For more info, write: Jordan@InterfaithAct.org, or phone: (239) 986 9101
6 millions people killed since 1996.
The disappearance of honey bees in the United States is a phenomenon that has many people asking questions. What exactly is going on? This question has been answered by multiple studies that have shed light on the harmful effect pesticides are having on honey bees. More research is showing that bees exposed to common agricultural chemicals while pollinating US crops are less likely to resist a parasitic infection. Honey bees are more likely to become a victim of the lethal Nosema ceranae parasite, which ultimately leads to death.
Scientists from the US Department of Agriculture as well as the University of Maryland published a study this past week that linked chemicals, including fungicides, to the large scale die-off of bees that has recently plagued the planet, you can read that study here. It’s not just the United States, Elmwood Canada also recently reported a discovery of over 30 million dead bees. The massive bee deaths in Elmwood came shortly after approximately 50 thousand bees were found dead in an Oregon parking lot. If we look overseas, the United Kingdom recently recorded itslargest ever honey bee loss in history.
In the United Stats alone, the honey bee population declined by approximately 30 percent, with some beekeepers reporting losses up to 90 and 100 percent. More than 100 US crops rely on honey bees to pollinate them. The study determined that fields ranging from Maine to Delaware contained nine different agricultural chemicals. These included fungicides, herbicides, and insecticides. In some cases they even recorded samples of 21 different agricultural chemicals.
Bees are declining at an extreme rate, the human race is at a critical point and we must find alternative ways to cultivate our crops. There are a number of factors that are contributing to bee losses all over the planet. These include climate change and habitat destruction to name only a couple. It is clear that the effect of agricultural chemicals is also quite large. The European Union recently recognized this problem, and quickly put a ban on the pesticides linked to massive bee deaths, while the EPA in the US approved them.
Produce with bees
Produce without bees
The link between pesticides and bee deaths cannot be disregarded. It has been published in a number of peer-reviewed journals that show how widely used pesticides have a very damaging effect on bees. A paper published in the journal Nature shows how bees are twice as likely to die when exposed to pesticides; two-thirds of the bees are lost when exposed compared to a third when not exposed. The exposed bees are also half as successful in gathering food. The exotoxicology tests only looked at honey bees, and failed to include bumblebees. Bumblebees are just as important in providing the required pollination to create much of the food we consume.
There was also a study done published by the NCBI. The study found that various groups of neonicotinoids are harming honey bees. They discovered that both clothianidin and and thiamethoxam persist in “extremely high levels” in planter exhaust material produced during the planting of crops treated with these insecticides. The research team also found neonicotinoid compounds in soil, including in fields where the chemicals were not even sprayed. They also found them in several plants and flowers visited by bees. Researchers determined that bees actively transfer contaminated pollen from primarily neonicotinoid treated corn crop and bring it back to their hives. The bees also transfer these compounds to other plants and crops that are not treated with the chemicals which demonstrates just how persistent these chemicals truly are in the environment and how easily they can spread.
It’s amazing how much information is surfacing within the past few months on this subject, it’s clear that we need to stop using these pesticides and begin using organic and permaculture methods of growing.
Erik Knutzen and Kelly Coyne have been farming their yard in Los Angeles for over a decade. In addition to a mini orchard and extensive veggie garden, they have all the instruments of an urban homestead: chickens, bees, rainwater capture, DIY greywater, solar fruit preserver, humanure toilet, rocket stove, adobe oven. But they don’t like to talk about sustainability of self-sufficiency, instead they prefer the term self-reliance.
“I don’t like the goal of self-sufficiency, I think it’s a fool’s errand to chase that goal,” explains Knutzen. “I think we live in communities, human beings are meant to live, and trade and work together. I think self-reliance is okay, in other words, knowing how to do things.”
Knutzen and Coyne share their tinkering, DIY and small scale urban agriculture experiments on their blog Root Simple and in their books “The Urban Homestead: Your Guide to Self-Sufficient Living in the Heart of the City” and “Making It: Radical Home Ec for a Post Consumer World”. They believe in the value of shop classes and old-school home economics (back when you learned how to make things, not shop for things).
For the couple, their true goal with all of this self-reliance is freedom to live as they please. By growing their own and canning, pickling, preserving, freezing and baking their own breads and beans, they live frugally. They also only own one car (plus a cargo bike), one cellphone and no tv. “I think a lot of it has to do with our overdriving ambition to be free,” explains Coyne, “makes being cheap fun, because it means you can be free”.
seen at www.upworthy.com
Ida Bell Wells-Barnett (July 16, 1862 – March 25, 1931) was an African-American journalist, newspaper editor, suffragist,sociologist and, with her husband, newspaper owner Ferdinand L. Barnett, an early leader in the civil rights movement. She documented lynching in the United States, showing how it was often a way to control or punish blacks who competed with whites. She was active in the women’s rights and the women’s suffrage movement, establishing several notable women’s organizations. Wells was a skilled and persuasive rhetorician, and traveled internationally on lecture tours.
“When Titans Walked The Earth”
While most of us get ready to watch the fireworks on this day of “Independence”, we will either see or be wearing the American flag. Something has to be said about the flag we pledge allegiance to. While we all know of the flag pictured above, it has a meaning. It is known as a “Military Flag” or a ”War Flag. It’s only to be used during times of war, or when the country is engaged in or is under military rule. Even if all the wars ended and all we had was the occupations left, this flag would still fly. This flag has been used since the Civil War. And has been the only flag that most people in this country has ever seen.
And this one here is known as the “Civil Flag” or the “Peace flag”. It is only to be used during times of peace, or when the country isn’t under any kind of military operations. The last time this flag was used was before the Civil War. Some have said that the idea of two flags for the United States of America is just a myth. But in fact every country has a “War” flag and a “Peace” flag. Thanks for taking a moment to check out the blog. I’ll let you enjoy the rest of your evening on this day of Independence.