Precious water

ON THE GARDEN PATH by Carolyn Herriot

RENOWNED FOR its lakes, rivers and streams, Canada has nine percent of the world’s available supply of fresh water so it’s hard to believe that Canadians should be concerned about fresh water shortages. You might think commercial and industrial demands put the most strain on the water supply, but Canadian households actually use 60 percent of all the water (second in per capita use only to Americans).

Residential use, including flushing toilets and watering lawns, is the fastest growing sector of water usage across Canada. On average, BC residents use 440L (96 gal) of water per day, but at least half of this is wasted, in some part, due to leaking faucets, high flush toilets and excessive outdoor water use, especially in summer when our water usage more than doubles. Imagine nine billion bathtubs full of water because that’s the amount of water wasted each year in Canada.

When we over-water lawns, wash down the driveway or leave the hose running, we are wasting a precious resource that one day may be in short supply. Over-watering the lawn is the most wasteful practice, as half the water we pour on our lawns is lost to runoff. It takes only one inch of water per week to ensure that roots grow deep enough for the lawn to stay healthy during periods of hot weather. To measure this, check how long your system takes to fill a tin can to a depth of one inch. That’s how long you should water your lawn once a week.

Most gardeners don’t realize that the most commonly available plants require no more water than Mother Nature supplies and many plants are watered unnecessarily. All plants need regular watering from the time they are planted until they are well rooted, so there is no such thing as a drought tolerant plant until it is well established. Most plants require only one growing season to establish; trees and shrubs can take two or more seasons. Once established, plants can be weaned off watering to the point where natural rainfall will satisfy their needs.

Did you know?

Mulching on steep slopes, windy sites and between exposed plants reduces evaporation, protects plants and smothers weeds. A mulched border can go seven days between watering. Light sandy soils need more watering than heavy clay soils. Water runs off slopes and berms quickly without soaking in. Terracing helps prevent runoff. Lawns are major consumers of water. One good, deep, weekly watering encourages roots to grow deeper and is better than brief, daily watering, which causes surface roots vulnerable to desiccation. If it’s cool at night, water in the morning. Young plants don’t enjoy cold, wet soils, which lead to fungal problems, such as damping off. If a plant is seriously wilted, water it regardless of the time of day. An eco-meadow of yarrow, speedwell, clover or English daisy needs very little water and no fertilization and looks beautiful in bloom. Best yet, it only needs mowing once every four weeks.

Carolyn Herriot is author of A Year on the Garden Path: A 52-Week Organic Gardening Guide. She grows her certified organic “Seeds of Victoria” at The Garden Path Centre where she blogs The New Victory Garden online.


Watering tips

When watering, avoid excessive water loss from evaporation by watering in the early morning, ideally before 9:00 AM. Avoiding windy days prevents wastage due to wind drift. Add organic amendments to the soil to increase its water holding capacity. Mulching garden beds with compost, leaves and manure locks in moisture for drier periods. A brown lawn, which recovers in winter, is a small price to pay to protect such a precious resource. With increasing populations and decreasing supplies, using fresh water sparingly and with greater respect now ensures there will be plenty left for others to enjoy in future.

The way of the cross

THE POWER OF NOW by Eckhart Tolle

THERE ARE many accounts of people who say they have found God through their deep suffering, and there is the Christian expression “the way of the cross,” which I suppose points to the same thing. We are concerned with nothing else here.

Strictly speaking, they did not find God through their suffering because suffering implies resistance. They found God through surrender, through total acceptance of what is, into which they were forced by their intense suffering. They must have realized, on some level, that their pain was self-created.

How do you equate surrender with finding God? Since resistance is inseparable from the mind, relinquishment of resistance – surrender – is the end of the mind as your master, the impostor pretending to be “you,” the false god. All judgment and all negativity dissolve. The realm of Being, which had been obscured by the mind, then opens up. Suddenly, a great stillness arises within you, an unfathomable sense of peace. And within that peace, there is great joy. And within that joy, there is love. And at the innermost core, there is the sacred, the immeasurable, That which cannot be named.

I don’t call it finding God because how can you find that which was never lost, the very life that you are? The word God is limiting, not only because of thousands of years of misperception and misuse, but also because it implies an entity other than you. God is Being, itself – not a being. There can be no subject-object relationship here, no duality, no you and God. God-realization is the most natural thing there is. The amazing and incomprehensible fact is not that you can become conscious of God, but that you are not conscious of God.

The way of the cross is the old way to enlightenment and, until recently, it was the only way. But don’t dismiss it or underestimate its efficacy. It still works.

The way of the cross is a complete reversal. It means that the worst thing in your life, your cross, turns into the best thing that ever happened to you, by forcing you into surrender, into “death,” forcing you to become as nothing, to become as God – because God, too, is no-thing.

At this time, as far as the unconscious majority of humans are concerned, the way of the cross is still the only way. They will only awaken through further suffering, and enlightenment as a collective phenomenon will be predictably preceded by vast upheavals. This process reflects the workings of certain universal laws that govern the growth of consciousness and thus was foreseen by some seers.

It is described, among other places, in the Book of Revelation or Apocalypse, though cloaked in obscure and sometimes impenetrable symbology. This suffering is inflicted not by God, but by humans on themselves and on each other, as well as by certain defensive measures that the Earth, which is a living, intelligent organism, is going to take to protect herself from the onslaught of human madness.

However, there are a growing number of humans alive today whose consciousness is sufficiently evolved not to need any more suffering before the realization of enlightenment. You may be one of them.

Enlightenment through suffering – the way of the cross – means to be forced into the kingdom of heaven kicking and screaming. You finally surrender because you can’t stand the pain anymore, but the pain could go on for a long time until this happens. Enlightenment consciously chosen means to relinquish your attachment to past and future and to make the Now the main focus of your life. It means choosing to dwell in the state of presence rather than in time. It means saying yes to what is.

You then don’t need pain anymore. How much more time do you think you will need before you are able to say, “I will create no more pain, no more suffering”? How much more pain do you need before you can make that choice? If you think that you need more time, you will get more time – and more pain. Time and pain are inseparable.

Adapted from The Power of Now, copyright 1999 by Eckhart Tolle. Reprinted with permission of New World Library, Novato, CA, 800-972-6657 (ext. 52). Visit www.eckharttolle.com.

The might of ego’s right

UNIVERSE WITHIN by Gwen Randall-Young

Let go of your attachment to being right and suddenly your mind is more open. You’re able to benefit from the unique viewpoints of others, without being crippled by your own judgment.

–Ralph Marston

BUDDHIST philosophy teaches about the pain and suffering that come from attachment. We may become attached to people, things or events unfolding in a particular way. Ego likes to think it has control and that it can arrange aspects of life to suit its wishes.

Of course, life, events and other people cannot be controlled so ego seemingly gets into a power struggle with what is. At times, it can be like a four-year old who doesn’t get his way. Ego, too, has its own version of tantrums.

Ego often becomes attached to being right. The problem is that it becomes attached to being “right” about things that are often a matter of opinion, rather than fact. If one insists on being right about the score of last night’s game or the exact wording of a quote from Shakespeare, these are things that can be objectively confirmed.

However, if the topic is a question of politics or how things should be handled in a relationship or even how the children should be disciplined, there is no one right viewpoint. Try telling that to ego. While there is no arbiter for the validity of its truth, ego argues its points on the basis of some kind of superior knowing.

Yes, indeed, when ego is speaking, it speaks with the voice of authority. It is right and everyone else is wrong. Not only does it claim rightness when there is no right, but it also establishes a polarity, which brings with it distance, conflict and, in extreme cases, violence.

We see the devastating effects when a society decides that one group is better than the others. It can justify its belief in all kinds of ways, but it is still a judgment based on opinion, not fact. We have seen this with the Jews in Germany and the blacks in America.

Ego also rears its polarizing, judgmental head around issues of gay rights. Whether it argues that homosexuality is immoral or that gays should not be allowed to marry, ego takes its biased view and parades it as fact.

Religious groups that claim their religion is the only right one are yet ego-driven while practising their form of spirituality. Stating that they are the only ones who will be admitted into God’s presence is projecting human ego judgments onto the higher spiritual power. Surely, God, of all beings, has evolved beyond playing favourites and controlling through reward and punishment.

I smile inwardly when I hear someone who has “found” the spiritual path talking about how “unevolved” his/her partner, friends or colleagues are. Clearly, ego has found the path, but it is still ego walking down that path. Now it is all things spiritual that are right and everything else is wrong. Ego holds on with a tenacity and fervour that makes it seem like a life and death issue.

In truth, for ego it is a life and death issue. We either continue to house ego within our mind-body, allowing it to govern our thoughts, feelings and behaviours or we let it go. Ego has a very deep fear of getting the transformational pink slip.

If you find yourself asserting that you are right, being unable to let go or simply agree to disagree, it is a sure sign that ego still plays a dominant role in your consciousness. Holding on to rightness is like closing a door to all other points of view. It often allows the argument to become more important than the person with whom we are conversing. It allows no room for expanding perceptions or seeing a bigger picture.

With ego out of the way, so goes the issue of right and wrong. We are then free to respectfully disagree and to learn from one another.

Gwen Randall-Young is a psychotherapist in private practice and author ofGrowing Into Soul: The Next Step in Human Evolution. For more articles, permission to reprint and information about her books and “Deep Powerful Change” personal growth/hypnosis CDs, visit www.gwen.ca

Framing the Earth

FILMS WORTH WATCHING by Robert Alstead

Scene from Earth Days

APRIL 22 is Earth Day, and has been since 1970, when a bunch of Harvard graduates organized a grass roots teach-in on the environment.

The history of Earth Day is the subject of Earth Days, the closing film at the second Projecting Change Film Festival (www.projectingchange.ca). The film fest, which saw 2,200 attendees last year, could itself easily be titled “Earth Days” with its strong environmental focus. (The film festival runs April 2-5 at the Fifth Avenue Theatre, 2110 Burrard Street.)

Earth Days is a well-crafted documentary that, through interviews with key participants in the green movement, taps a rich vein of optimism and hope while acknowledging that an awful lot of damage has been inflicted on our fragile planet. (www.earthdaysmovie.com)

The story of Earth Day and the development of the environmental movement are closely intertwined: writer-director Robert Stone’s enjoyable film suggests that you can pinpoint the start of the modern environmental movement to the first Earth Day in 1970. People like Rachel Carson, with her pesticides exposé Silent Spring published in 1962, created a new sensitivity toward the environment, but it wasn’t until millions took to the streets across the US on that first Earth Day that people realized they were linked by a common concern. A political force had been born. Nixon – not generally remembered for his green credentials – created the Environmental Protection Agency to monitor pollutants in the same year.

Stone’s choice of nine interviewees reflects his interest in the political development of environmentalism over the years in the US with inside stories from original Earth Day organizer Denis Hayes, early environmental author and former Secretary of the Interior Stewart Udall and eco-conscious Republican congressman Pete McCloskey. There’s a sense of achievement mixed with amusement and regret, but perhaps the most poignant moments are when the interviewees talk about their memories of life before land started being gobbled up by post-war development.

Stone reels off copious amounts of archive footage, particularly of utopian fifties’ visions of the future, to put us in the right mindset and contrasts it effectively with the contrarian, ecological warnings of authors Paul Ehrlich and Dennis Meadows and Earth Times editor Stephanie Mills, who chose not to have a child for environmental reasons. They make a good point that their predictions of ecological collapse due to exponential population growth were not necessarily wrong; we just put them off for a while.

The BBC wildlife series Earth has been re-edited into a feature length movie for theatrical release. Expect nothing short of stunning imagery of the natural world, although sanitized of its bloodier aspects for family viewing.Earth comes out on, you guessed it, Earth Day.

Robert Alstead maintains a blog at www.2020Vancouver.com

Ten reasons for STV

EARTHFUTURE by Guy Dauncey

ON MAY 12, we are being invited to choose a new system of voting in BC. In place of the old “First Past the Post” system, we’ll have a chance to choose a more democratic method. This is an enormous opportunity, but it is one we could easily lose if we are not well organized.

Under the present system, most BC governments are elected by a minority of the voters, with the unfortunate result that the majority of voters feel sulky, angry or irritated because their views are not being represented. This is not the way democracy is supposed to work.

On May 12, we can change this by voting for STV. Does STV stand for a “Sultry Transgendered Vogon” or a “Steaming Tantric Voluptuary?” No, it stands for the Single Transferable Vote and it can be explained in three easy points:

ONE: BC will have fewer ridings (20 instead of 79), but more MLAs per riding. Each riding will have between two and seven MLAs, for a total of 85 MLAs.

TWO: Instead of voting for one candidate, you rank the candidates in order of preference, placing “1” by your first choice, “2” by your second choice, etc.

THREE: The counting is done in rounds. After each round, one of two things happens: (1) if the leading candidate has more votes than are needed to win, the surplus votes are transferred to the candidate’s supporters’ second choices; (2) if not, the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated, and likewise, the votes are transferred to the second choices of those who voted for him/her. This continues until the clear winners emerge.

stvHere are 10 reasons STV makes sense:

1. The Citizens’ Assembly that recommended STV was created by a unanimous vote of the BC Legislature. The Assembly was randomly selected, with one male and one female from each riding.

2. After studying all possible systems of voting and hearing hundreds of submissions from the public, 95 percent of its members recommended STV as the best for BC. STV is not complicated, as its opponents claim. You simply put a “1” by your first choice of candidate and “2”, “3” or “4” (etc) by your follow-up choices.

3. Voting uses paper ballots and does not require a computer unless you want to tally the votes faster.

4. Under STV, few votes are wasted. Eighty percent of voters will see one of their top choices elected, compared to less than 50 percent in the current system.

5. Under STV, there is no need for “hold your nose” strategic voting, which causes rifts and antagonisms between voters who support similar ideas.

6. STV will not produce more minority governments. It will often produce a single-party majority government and sometimes a coalition majority government. In Tasmania, in six of the last eight elections, STV produced a single-party majority government. Contrast this with Canada under the current system, where nine of the last 18 federal elections produced minority governments.

7. STV will create more respect between parties, as they may need to form a coalition government together. This will reduce the polarity and hostility that have been the curse of BC politics for years.

8. In most ridings, voters will elect MLAs from two or more parties, giving you a choice of whom to speak to when you have a concern.

9. STV discourages negative campaigns because winning candidates need second and third-place support from voters whose first choice is a competing candidate. It rewards constructive behaviour.

10. STV does not encourage the election of fringe candidates, as its opponents claim. The preferential ballot weeds out extremists and ensures that the winning candidates have widely based support.

We need to mobilize as much support as possible as we approach May 12. Each side has been given $500,000 with which to campaign and if I was opposing STV, I would claim, “It’s complicated. It’s going to elect minority governments and fringe candidates.” None of this is true.

STV will give us more democratic, accountable governments. The system is used in Tasmania, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Malta, the Australian Senate and in local government elections in Scotland and Cambridge (MA). It would be great to have it here in BC.

To learn more, go to en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Single_transferable_voteand www.stv.ca where you can also volunteer.

Guy Dauncey is an author and speaker living in Victoria, BC.

www.earthfuture.com

www.guydauncey.com

Forests part of climate puzzle

SCIENCE MATTERS by David Suzuki with Faisal Moola

WE KNOW that global warming is a reality and that we humans are its primary cause. And we know that carbon dioxide emissions, mostly from burning fossil fuels, are a major contributor to global warming. But we still have much to learn about the Earth’s mechanisms when it comes to regulating emissions and warming.

Forests – along with grasslands, soils and other ecosystems – are an important part of the equation, and a new report published in the journal Nature sheds a bit more light on their role. We’ve known for a long time that forests are important carbon sinks. That is, they absorb carbon from the atmosphere, thus preventing it from contributing to global warming.

But the Nature study shows that tropical forests absorb more carbon than we realized. Researchers from a number of institutions, including the University of Toronto, analyzed data from 79 intact forests in Africa from 1968 to 2007, along with similar data from 156 intact forests from 20 non-African countries. They concluded that tropical forests absorb about 4.8 billion tonnes of carbon a year, equivalent to about 18 percent of the carbon dioxide added to the atmosphere each year by burning fossil fuels. The world’s oceans are the other major carbon sink, absorbing about half the human-produced carbon that doesn’t end up in the atmosphere.

That doesn’t mean we can count on the forests or the oceans to save us from our folly. To start, about 15 billion of the 32 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide that humans produce is not reabsorbed on land or sea and ends up in the atmosphere. And the carbon stored in forests can be released back into the atmosphere with natural disturbances, such as fire or insect outbreaks or if the forest is logged. This is because when trees are cut down, die and decay naturally or burn, some of the stored carbon is released back into the atmosphere. And many wood and pulp and paper products are discarded and destroyed in a much shorter time period than the life of an old-growth forest. This means that the carbon is released earlier than it would have been if the forests were left intact.

We humans have upset the balance of nature in more ways than we understand. The scientists haven’t figured out why the tropical trees are growing big enough to absorb more carbon than they release. One theory is that global warming and the extra carbon in the atmosphere are actually fertilizing the trees.

One thing we do know is that we cannot rely on tropical forests to prevent dangerous levels of climate change. But the amount of carbon they store is a compelling argument for protecting them: – they may at least provide a buffer while we work on other solutions, such as reducing our energy consumption and switching to renewable sources of energy.

Clearly, it’s not the only reason to protect forests. The ability of forests to absorb carbon shows us that they have economic value beyond providing lumber. Forests are a source of medicine, food and clean drinking water and are habitat for over half of all land based plants and animals on the planet. Forests also provide spiritual, aesthetic and recreational opportunities for millions of people.

Forest degradation is also contributing to another ecological crisis, a biodiversity crisis on par with earlier mass extinctions. Scientists estimate that 16,000 species are now threatened with extinction, including 12 percent of birds, 23 percent of mammals and 32 percent of amphibians. Habitat destruction is partly responsible for this crisis and climate change is exacerbating it. And although most of our carbon emissions are from burning fossil fuels, one quarter is from deforestation.

This shows how everything in nature is interconnected and how our planet works to find equilibrium. We can’t confront the problems we have created on a piecemeal basis. We must look at them together. Conserving the world’s forests – which can include sustainable forestry practices – is one obvious place to start dealing with some of the most imminent crises.

Take the Nature Challenge and learn more at www.davidsuzuki.org

Nature study:www.nature.com/nature/journal/v457/n7232/edsumm/e090219-07.html

Democracy is evolving

 

Democracy is an ideal, a fragile state that requires our ongoing attention in order to be preserved. It is a gift passed to us by our parents and grandparents, paid for by their blood and tears. Democracy has finally arrived after millennia of serfdom, dictatorship and slavery. Finally, we hold the privilege of voting for someone to represent us in government. Never before have we enjoyed this freedom. By voting, we demonstrate our willingness to uphold democracy. This, however, is only a beginning. Democracy has been an unfolding process conditioned and stabilized by history and tradition, but nevertheless aided and developed over time – the most recent advances, of course, being the extension of suffrage to women and the lower classes and all races.

Democracy is now ready for the next evolutionary stage, a state that has to do with how our votes are counted. Under our present voting rules, only votes for the winning candidate have the power to elect anyone. Second and third place finishers split up the remainder of the vote, thus making it very difficult to win a seat. This is a distortion created by the simple mechanics of the system and limits the competition in the riding. This condition limits the scope of political debate and erodes public support for democracy.

On election day, consider your ballot carefully. The decision you make will be your only input into the governance for the next four years. You get to place an X next to one of four or five candidates and that is your only option. If the candidate of your choice does not win, your vote does not provide you with representation in government. Now consider another kind of ballot. On this ballot, you may choose from one to nine or 10 candidates. There may be more than one candidate from each of the larger parties. You get to rank your choices, marking your first choice 1, one your second choice 2, and so on until you have ranked as many candidates as you wish, or all of them.

Under these new rules, voters will have far more influence. Representatives owe most of their allegiance to the voters back home in their district and less allegiance to the party, which, at present, determines how they will vote. Under this new system, a new political caucus may arise within the district with support from across party lines. With the proposed closing of a hospital, for instance, this new set of voting rules promises a fairer outcome, more consensual politics and a more stable government. The large-scale swings in policy that happen now when governments change will be no more; instead, policy will evolve more slowly and will be capable of responding to very long-term issues like global warming and social systems. Our present system is entrenched in a bipolar, left/right, conflict-based model, which cannot accommodate the political, social and cultural diversity of modern society. It is a 19th century artifact that has its roots in the earliest beginnings of democracy.

On May 12, a referendum on the provincial election ballot will ask you to choose between the present “First Past the Post” electoral system and a new system called BC-STV or the Single Transferable Vote. BC-STV is the recommendation of the Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform, a group of 160 of your peers, who were selected at random from the list of voters. After extensive study and consultation with the public, the Citizens’ Assembly designed and built a new voting system that belongs to the citizens of BC. This system is our system. On May 12, vote yes for BC-STV. It’s your system bought and paid for by you. It is your right, so take it. For more information on BC-STV or to volunteer, visit www.bc-stv.ca

– Tim Jones

Bernie made off with billions

 

I always enjoy your very lucid and insightful writing, Mr. Olson. Our family lost $3 million with Bernie. Yah, I’m angry with him, a fellow “Yid” – non-pejorative when pronounced in the Old Yiddish as “Yeed” – who just mowed ahead as if the bulimic frenzy could never end. But, as my brother says, to the mostly non-Jewish public (and capitalist class) this is just a bunch of Jews eating each other up. Is he psychopathic? Dr. Michael Parenti says it best: “Is it the outcome of the personal avarice of people like Bernard Madoff? In other words, is the problem systemic or individual? In fact, the two are not mutually exclusive. Capitalism breeds the venal perpetrators and rewards the most unscrupulous among them. The crimes and crises are not irrational departures from a rational system, but the converse: they are the rational outcomes of a basically irrational and amoral system. (Capitalism’s Self-inflicted Apocalypse by Dr. Michael Parenti, http://michaelparenti.org/capitalism apocalypse.html)

Starting in the early 70s, my father started investing with a friend, who invested with another broker, who invested with Madoff. We knew there was this guy on the New York Stock Exchange who was supposedly doing arbitrage with our money. We were enthralled with getting 12 percent per year. But we were never permitted to know who the guy was. On December 7, 2008, we found out in the media, confirmed by a letter from our friend, who also didn’t know who Madoff was until then.

For years, I was able to give money to the campaigns to help free Leonard Peltier, Lori Berenson and the prison abolition movement – ironically, victims of the same system that produced Madoff. That charity can’t happen as liberally any more.

Our family is lucky. We had enough diversification to still be comfortable – just through luck and privilege rather than being smart. This cliché about being a smart investor is ruthlessly guilt-laden and blames victims for getting poor, in keeping with our dominant ideology. For instance, the New York Times reported that, in the weeks before Madoff’s collapse, two other giant funds removed at least hundreds of millions to a few billion from Madoff. That left nothing for anybody else – ending the Ponzi scheme. Others with more power knew something the relative peons weren’t privy to. And it urges us to ask the question: What is it about our system that leads to this anyway.

All the money in stocks, bonds and their equally socially useless derivatives comes from unpaid labour somewhere in the world, accumulated by the few over weeks to centuries. For an engineer, a teacher, an apple picker and a toilet cleaning person – anybody working more than two days a week (the amount of time it takes to meet our basic needs) – is creating unpaid surplus value for the accumulating class. Less than five percent of the global population has amassed more than 60 percent of all the wealth by this centuries-long process. Madoff was small fry in this global dynamic. Focussing on him diverts us from the real issue. Let’s work together to put people before profits in all aspects of life.

– LarryWartel, Victoria, BC

Common Ground the first to report cell phone hazards

 

I was thrilled to see a full-page photo, with headlines linking brain tumours to teen cell phone use, on the cover of The Province on March 16. Finally, mainstream media is also reporting on the hazards of cell phone use. This is cause for celebration.

Many of us are overwhelmed with information coming at us from all directions, most of it contradictory. My son exclaimed recently, “Everything seems bad for you.” He is not alone with this thought. It takes multiple exposures to the truth for a message to take effect and it is so much more effective if relayed by those with significant public standing or respect.

Hats off to Common Ground magazine for being the forerunner in its bang-on reporting of many pertinent issues, with articles about PharmaCare’s drug addiction bankrupting public health to Twin Towers of Deception [September 2006] to Make Water a Human Right [March 2007]. Regarding cell phones, I remember reading the article Cell phones: Invisible Hazards of the Wireless Age in CG’s December 2006 issue (almost two and a half years ago!). That was an eye opener for me. I had just bought almost everyone in my family, including the young ones, a cell phone.

I want to congratulate Common Ground magazine for being the first here to alert us about the safety of cell phone use. CG has the wisdom, foresight and courage to lead with educating the public on areas sometimes taboo and contrary to the “official” message out there.

I have been reading CG magazine now for many years and I conclude that CG feels not only passionate, but it comes from the place of kindness and soul. Lastly, this issue of cell phones (and cordless phones, wireless internet and cell towers) is fixable with currently available knowledge. May our health concerns triumph over short-term corporate profits. May our eyes remain open, kindly and soulfully.

– Bebe Law, Burnaby

Mainstream media finally reporting the truth about cell phones

 

Recently, the news media has reported on a Swedish study, which showed a five-fold increase in malignant brain tumours among young people who used a cell phone for at least a year before the age of 20. This study was included in the peer-reviewed journal, *Pathophysiology, along with 15 other studies from researchers in six different countries, which all showed cause for concern. As in the past, Health Canada reaffirmed its position that it “currently sees no scientific reason to consider the use of cell phones as unsafe. There is no convincing evidence of increased risk of disease from exposure to radio frequency electromagnetic fields from cell phones.”

This is hard to fathom, as all of the independent studies tracking those who used cell phones for over 10 years show increased risk – all of them. Health Canada was also privy to data from the six-year, $28.5 million research program by the North American wireless industry, which showed single and double strand DNA breakage and damage to cell nuclei from cell phone use way back in 1999.

With millions of Canadians using cell phones, and with parents providing their children phones for “safety,” Health Canada has a duty to take action to protect all of us. It took decades for [Health Canada] to raise the alarm about tobacco. Children and parents can’t afford to wait decades for warnings about products from an industry that uses the tobacco [industry’s] public relations playbook.

– Milt Bowling, president and CEO
Clean Energy Foundation

(*L.Hardell, etal., Epidemiological evidence for an association between use of wire less phones and tumor diseases, Pathophysiology(2009),doi:10.1016/j.pathophys.2009.01.003)