Dear Friends,

Can you name this Beautiful Creature?

I hope you had a wonderful Holiday break!!!

2010 is here. It feels good, doesn’t it? A new decade! Are we on the verge of a global paradigm shift that will make right our failing world? I think we are.

Did you see Avatar yet? What a movie—a masterpiece by James Cameron! The story line takes place on a distant planet in the future—Pandora, where a race of humanoids called the Na’vi, live in perfect harmony with nature—a beautiful world of rich biodiversity, with each plant and animal given full respect and a place at the table of life. Then enters the human race from earth, in the person of a transnational corporation, scientists and the military, seeking to exploit the Na’vi for the mineral wealth that lays under the ground of their sacred home. The Na’vi had to be moved to a new territory. The gross insensitivity of our race towards a beautiful indigenous culture that was deeply in-tune with nature, and the rapacious disregard exhibited by us towards their flora and fauna was a mirror of reflection for our present day mishandling of our own earth’s biosphere. Avatar provides a fitting reminder, as we begin our journey into this new decade, that we in the industrialized world have a long way to go and much to correct regarding our actions around our own world.

But I am excited. I am ready for a major sea change, a paradigm shift of global proportions. Bold and audacious goals seem very appropriate this January 4th of 2010. Here are three to grab hold of:

1. Fight For Biodiversity

It comes down to loving the Creation, honoring the fruits of evolution, understanding the value of each of life’s form in the biosphere. Avatar depicts a world of conflict between the indigenous people and the modern industrialized cultural practices

Agroecology, the alternative to the Green revolution, is the solution to displacement, environmental disaster, and life lived outside of nature. As was presented in our December 22nd Newsletter, agroecology is proving its ability to feed our starving world wherever it is implimented. Biodiversity is the key to agroecology. It embraces farming with nature rather than against it. Take the time to check it out. Go to their website—Agroecology, get the book Food Rebellions! Crisis and the Hunger for Justice, Pub.2009, by Eric Holt-Gimenez and Raj Patel—

Biodiversity is exquisitely argued for in the book by Nobel Laureate Eric Chivain—Sustaining Life: How Human Health Depends on Biodiversity, Pub. 2008. In 1996 he founded and still heads the Center for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard Medical School. One hundred scientists contributed to the writing of this impressive work.

It is a book about our relationship to nature. It defines that relationship by how our health and lives depend on the health of the natural world. In his public presentations, Dr. Chivain brings home his point that other creatures play a vital role in our health through relaying examples from his book—his observations regarding the polar bear, the gastric breeding frog and the cone shell. Here is what Dr. Chivain said in one of his lectures:

Polar bears are the largest land carnivores. It is obvious to all that their survival is endangered by global warming. They are important to human health because they don’t actually hibernate, they go into a state of decreased metabolic rate during which they don’t eat, drink, urinate, or defecate. They are largely immobile. These periods last from 5 to 9 months.

All mammals including humans loose bone mass when they are immobile. We develop osteoporosis. Polar bears do not develop osteoporosis. They recycle their calcium, they actually make new bone while they are immobile. So scientists are looking at the substances in polar bears blood that prevent them from becoming osteoporotic. Osteoporosis is an enormous health problem, killing 70,000 people a years and cost the US economy 18 billion dollars a year. Polar bears don’t get osteoporosis. If we understood that we could possible prevent it in humans.

[Polar bears] also don’t get toxicity from not urinating. If we don’t urinate for a few days it is toxic to our system and there is no treatment for end stage renal disease except dialysis or a kidney transplant. Polar bears reabsorb their urinary toxins, break them down and make new proteins.

Bears become massively obese before hibernating. When we become massively obese our cells develop insulin resistance and we become diabetic. Obesity related diabetes in the US is epidemic, there are over 16 million obesity related diabetics in America today—over 6% of the population. We have to study bears in the wild to understand how they avoid these problems.

Gastric breeding frogs– There are two species of frogs discovered in the rainforests of Australia that are called gastric breeding frogs. The female swallows the fertilized eggs and they hatch in her stomach. And become tadpoles. When the tadpoles reach a certain level of development she vomits them up in to the environment and they continue their development into mature frogs. It was discovered that the tadpoles made and released certain substances that prevent them from being digested by the acid secretions of the stomach. So as scientists were trying to figure out these mechanics the two species went extinct and they were unable to figure out the mechanism that enabled the frog to protect themselves.

We have talked throughout the last year about the accelerating demise of many species on land and in the sea—a process we have labeled de-evolution. Dr Chivian stated that species extinction is occurring now at a higher rate than anytime in history.

Cone snails– The cone snail of the coral reefs are predatory. They fire a poison coated dart that paralyzes small fish. Each snail makes between 100 to 200 different kinds of poisons and there are 700 different species of these snails. They coat these darts with a cocktail of these poisons. Most of the research on the toxins is in their application in pain research. One of those pain killers is now on the market. What is so important about this particular pain killer is that it is not the fact that it is 1000 times more potent than morphine but that it doesn’t cause addiction or tolerance. So here is a watershed event in medicine. In some ways equivalent to the discovery of penicillin. We have the possibility of treating patients with severe chronic pain for the first time. The Cone Snails depend on the coral reefs for their survival and we are killing the coral reefs. Cone Snails may have more potential for treating human being that any other organism.

We have 3½ billion years of evolution that we are destroying and that is a sin whether you are religious or not. Here a fascinating interview of Eric Chivian, Harvard Professor and Richard Cizik, evangelical Presbyterian Minister regarding biodiversity and the environment.

2. Embrace Agroecology and Permaculture- Agriculture Justice

The University of California and the University of Vermont are leading the way in courses and degrees in Agroecology. For those who want a quick immersion in the theoretical concepts behind current global food issues and the solutions offered through agroecological methods, both schools jointly offer a 2 week Short Course in Agroecology, each summer. See their website for this information.

3. Believe a Quantum Leap from Fossil Fuel Energy to Clean Energy is Possible

November 2009’s Scientific American devoted its issue to a plan for a sustainable future. In its featured article entitled, A Path to Sustainable Energy by 2030, authors Mark Jacobson, professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford University and Mark Delucchi, a research scientist at the University of California’s Institute of Transportation Studies, argue that it is entirely plausible that we can be free of carbon based energy by 2030. That is just two decades from now. Here are a few points for their article:

Most recently, a 2009 Stanford University study ranked energy systems according to their impacts on global warming, pollution, water supply, land use, wildlife and other concerns. The very best options were wind, solar, geothermal, tidal and hydroelectric power—all driven by wind, water or sunlight (referred to as WWS).

The plan calls for millions of wind turbines, water machines and solar installations. The plan includes only technologies that work or are close to working today on a large scale. They consider only technologies that have near-zero emissions of greenhouse gases and air pollutants over their entire life cycle, including construction, operation and decommissioning.

Today the maximum power consumed worldwide at any given moment is about 12.5 million watts (terawatts, or TW) according to the US Energy Information Administration. The agency projects that in 2030 the world will require 16.9 TW or power. Detailed studies indicate that energy from the wind, worldwide, is about 40 to 85 TW and solar alone offer 580 TW (this calculation takes into account wind and sun over the oceans and inaccessible land areas). Currently we generate only 0.02 TW of wind power and 0.008 TW of solar.

Wind will supply 51% of the demand, provided by 3.8 million large wind turbines (each rated at five megawatts) worldwide. Another 40% comes from photovoltaics and concentrated solar plants, with about 30% of the photovoltaic output from roof top panels on homes and commercial buildings. About 89,000 photovoltaic and concentrated solar power plants, averaging 300 mega watts apiece, would be needed. The mix also includes 900 hydroelectric stations worldwide, 70% of which are already in place.

The worldwide footprint of the 3.8 million turbines would be less than the area of Manhattan. The nonrooftop photovoltaics and concentrated solar plants would occupy about 0.33% of the planet’s land. Enough concrete and steel exist for the millions of wind turbines, and both those commodities are fully recyclable.

Taking it to the next level, the Rocky Mountain Institute weights in on a carbon free energy source for the world by suggesting we need to take a quantum leap into a future with a totally clean and renewable energy source. In its 2009 Christmas/New Years newsletter, entitled Reinventing Fire, is aimed at changing the way most people have been getting and using energy since the Industrial Revolution. In their short video Greeting for the New Year and New Decade they spell it out—Our New Year Resolution. View it. Let’s embrace the vision.

Sincerely yours,

Seann Bardell

Clinical Note:

Next week I will have a script for you that goes along with this sheet—Therapeutic Foods Systemic Support.

The Last Quiz Answer: This amazing creature is an Octopus. Octopuses belong to the phylum Mollusca (molluscs), class Cephalopoda (cephalopods), subclass Coleoidea. They belong to the genus Octopus and there are about 50 known species including the common octopus (O. vulgaris), which may reach 2 m/6 ft in length; the Australian blue-ringed octopus (genus Hapalochlaena) that can kill a human being in 15 minutes as a result of its venomous bite; and the giant deep-sea octopus (Architeuthis dux) that can grow to 20 m/64 ft.

From the North to South, the movement of food sovereignty is empowering the poor to reclaim the water, seed and soil that they need to address their own needs. Planting Justice is a unique but simple model: Plant seeds, train people, grow food, work with existing institutions like schools, churches, stores and prisons. Your will be touched and inspired by this video clip on Planting Justice.