Dear Friends,

Can you name this Beautiful Creature?

I was pouring over Howard Yana-Shapiro’s and John Harrison’s tremendous book, Gardening For The Future Of The Earth (2000), learning how to build, nurture and prepare the soil of our little condo garden plot for next year’s Spring planting, and came across the following quote:

In 1905 Nathaniel Southgate Shaler described in his book Man and Earth how soil, air, and water provide a fragile “placenta” that envelops the planet, sustaining all life. The key to survival is maintaining a healthy “placenta” and soil quality is as important an environmental factor as air and water quality. We have damage our “placenta”. (p. 76)

I love this metaphor. Doesn’t it encapsulate what we must ultimately change—the quality of our air, water and soil?

Over the last year we have been discussing, the human caused demise of the biosphere—caused by the poisoning of the “placenta”. Beginning in Sept 08 with our first email, we describe the resulting process, I have labeled as the De-Evolution of the biosphere, that has been set in motion since the industrial revolution (as Dohrea tells me, London was a filthy city, with soot permeating air, water and earth, the great River Thames doomed, and that was just the beginning), and is now escalating at an alarming rate.

No documentary captures better the magnificent beauty and diversity of the biosphere than the BBC natural history series—Planet Earth. It is stunning! The series producer, Alastair Fothergill, called their years of filming wild places all over the globe, and their interviews with impassioned individuals who are doing a great deal on the ground to save the species, as “a bitter sweet experience.”

The situation in the Asian region is extremely serious. Nearly all the natural rain forests are gone from Thailand and the Philippians, and what remain in Indonesia are extremely stressed. (Tony Juniper- Executive Director, Friends of the Earth, Planet Earth).

We have one in four mammals on the threatened list. We have one-third of all amphibians on the threatened list. We know we are pushing more and more species to the edge of extinction. We have lost one-half of the world’s forests, one-half of the world’s wetlands, one-half of the world’s grasslands. We are systematically eradicating many of the world’s habitats. (James Leape, Director General, World Wildlife Federation International, Planet Earth).

In our ignorance (and later greed and arrogance), in our faulty philosophy—viewing ourselves as separate from nature, somehow untouchable when it comes to our polluting of the air, poisoning of the water, and carelessly destroying the precious soil—we find ourselves in a world of increasing environmental collapse and chronic illnesses, the very process of De-Evolution unfolding in front of our eyes. We need a new way of thinking about life and our relationship to it. Scientific studies have incontrovertibly established that human gluttony and pollution are causing the greatest mass extinction since dinosaurs disappeared 65 million years ago. If present trends continue, half of all higher species, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals will be extinct within this century—that is the essence of De-Evolution.

Over the past year we have examined the biosphere and the relationships of all of life’s forms—both from a macro scale of habitats and ecosystems to microscopic world of microbes. We viewed the biosphere from a Planet Earth perspective to that of the genetic worlds of the Human Genome and Microbiome Project. In this email I am summarizing and setting the stage for our re-entry into the world of cellular biology and the world and relationship of the microbiome to our human body.

Needing a new way of thinking about life and our relationship to it, we have proposed the importance of embracing a systems theory view of life and this we have explored through looking at the work of many systems luminaries. Fritjof Capra articulates a systemic perspective on life beautifully his book—The Hidden Connections (2002):

We are an open system, and all organisms in an ecosystem produce wastes, but what is waste for one species is food for another. So wastes are continually recycled and ecosystems as a whole generally remain without waste.

By blending water and minerals from below with sunlight and CO2 from above, green plants link the earth and the sky. We tend to believe that plants grow out of the soil, but in fact most of their substance comes from the air. The bulk of the cellulose and the other organic compounds produced through photosynthesis consists of heavy carbon and oxygen atoms, which plants take directly from the air in the form of CO2. Thus the weight of a wooden log comes almost entirely from the air. When we burn a log in a fireplace, oxygen and carbon combine once more into CO2, and in the light and heat of the fire we recover part of the solar energy that went into making the wood.

A typical food cycle: plants are eaten by animals, which in turn are eaten by other animals, the plants’ nutrients are passed on through the food web, while energy is dissipated as heat through respiration and as waste through excretion. The wastes, as well as dead animals and plants, are decomposed by so-called decomposer organisms (insects and bacteria), which break them down into basic nutrients, to be taken up once more by green plants. In this way, nutrients and other basic elements continually cycle through the ecosystem, while energy is dissipated at each stage—matter circulates, energy dissipates. The only waste generated by the ecosystem as a whole is the heat energy of respiration, which is radiated into the atmosphere and is replenished continually by the sun through photosynthesis.

The “placenta” of our planet has birthed the biodiversity that eventually, according to evolutionary theorists, led to our emergence as a species. Today, human progress is at a turning point where an old paradigm and a challenging new awareness are uneasily trying to coexist. We are wedded by habit and tradition to an outmoded view of the Universe and yet civilization is pregnant with ancient and wise indigenous philosophies, new scientific discoveries, and exciting and optimistic understanding of life.


Traditional thinking has taught us that the nucleus of a cell is the cell’s brain. But the brain is actually the cell’s membrane, the equivalent to the cell’s skin. Built into the membrane are protein switches that respond to the environmental signals by relaying their information to internal protein pathways. A different membrane switch exists for almost every environmental signal recognized by a cell. Some switches respond to estrogen, some to adrenaline, some to calcium, some to light waves and so on. These membrane proteins have been called receptors and effectors. The tissues in the body with the most receptors and effectors are the immune system cells and the cells of the nervous system—both with between 200,000 to 2,000,000 receptors per cellular membrane.

Each membrane switch is a unit of perception, comprised of two fundamental parts, a receptor protein and an effector protein. The receptor protein, receives signals from the environment. Upon receiving its primary complementary signal the now activated receptor moves to and is thus able to bind to the effector protein. When activated by a receptor, the effector protein sends a secondary signal through the cytoplasm activating a metabolic pathway (protein pathway) and/or stimulating the genome to produce certain proteins. Read more about Epigenetics in Spontaneous Evolution— Our Positive Future (and a way to get there from here). Written by Bruce H. Lipton, PhD., and Steve Bhaerman, and published this year.

Recognizing that we are, as human beings, a collection of 10 trillion human cells and 100 trillion microbial cells in our microbiome, cohabitating as a functional unit—is important, and the foundation for our up and coming conversations. With further recognition that our gastrointestinal tract is our most exposed surface to the outside world, it is no wonder that 70 % of our immune system resides in the gut, and that the enteric nervous system is second only to the brain in terms of number of nerve cells. It is also no coincidence that the Human Genome Group of scientists after their successful typing of the complete human genetic code, have now taken on the mapping of the human microbiome in the gut.

So friends, in the ensuing weeks we will move back into looking at the exciting current stage of this work with the human microbiome, in particular the world of the Human Microbiome Project.

Sincerely yours,

Seann Bardell

Clinical Note: Here is a powerful, highly effective protocol for dealing with “coming-on” sore throats—take 2 capsules of our Freeze Dried Organic Garlic and open up the capsules up poring the powder in a large glass of water. Let it sit for about 15 minutes so that the alliin and alliinase fully react to form allicin. At this point add a full heaping tablespoon of the Beta Glucan Synbiotic Formula to the water. Allicin is a very strong antimicrobial, but for sensitive stomach it may cause a burning sensation, the Beta Glucan will buffer that response. In addition, the synbiotic combination adds antimicrobial power with 5 effective probiotic organisms, while the beta glucan fibers prime the immune system. Most of the time this protocol stops the sore throat in its track. Try it. Of course, for those of you (like Dohrea) who dislike the garlic smell, take the capsules whole. Any question, give a call!

The Last Quiz Answer: This amazing creature is a musk deer. There are perhaps six species of musk deer found in 13 countries, including Russia, China, India, Nepal and other Asian nations. Musk deer are relatively small and antlerless, save a pair of protruding tusklike teeth, as you can see in the picture. A strong smelling secretion by the glands of Asian musk deer has been used in perfumes and the traditional medicine of China and its neighboors for 5000 years or more. It is estimated that musk is currently being used in as many as 400 Chinese and Korean traditional remedies. It is used to treat complaints of the nervous, cardiovascular and respiratory systems and is worth its weight in gold. In fact, gram for gram, musk can be worth three times more than its weight in gold.

“Fertility of the soil is the future of civilization.” Sir Albert Howard, 19th Century Agriculturist.