Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Drones Could Plant 1 Billion Trees a Year

Drones are taking on deforestation and planting trees more efficiently than ever before.

Currently, more than 6.5 billion trees are lost each year because of human activities--burning land to make way for livestock, harvesting wood, etc.--and natural disasters.

Replanting efforts have accelerated in recent years and deforestation has slowed, but there's still a major gap between trees destroyed and trees planted. Throughout history, humanity has created a major tree deficit that will be hard to close. 

In all, it's estimated that the global tree population has dropped 46% since the dawn of human civilization
Typically, replanting is done by hand because trees require careful preparation to grow properly. 
Human labor, of course, has limits and so replanting efforts tend to be modest. 

A former NASA scientist realized that the current model would never close the deforestation deficit, so he devised a strategy to accelerate the process, and it depends on the humanitarian technology of the moment: drones.

Drones have been used for all sorts of progressive delivery projects in the past, but these have mostly consisted of getting products to consumers or medicine to doctors. 

BioCarbon Engineering's drones extend this generosity to the environment. The drones work by first flying over an empty field and examining the terrain's conditions. 

If the land can foster trees, the drones descened to two to three feet above the ground and begin firing small pods that contain germinated seeds into the soil. The pods protect the seeds until they can establish themselves in the soil and then they degrade. 

With 2 drone operators manning multiple drones, the team will be able to plant 36,000 trees a day. In a year, 1 billion trees is the target.

Over time, if more drones are deployed, BioCarbon's efforts can help to restore tree levels to their historic levels.

The team is working with the UN to help restore 300 billion trees by 2030.

The damage wrought by deforestation can't be overstated. Trees allow all life on Earth to occur. They provide oxygen for us all, absorb harmful gases such as carbon and methane, provide habitats for animals and promote general biodiversity. Trees provide food, conserve water, offer protection, cool areas, control water and wind erosion and they filter and perfume the air.

And trees act as a bulwark against climate change. The less trees, the more vulnerable Earth becomes.

Any effort to plant trees--if it's just in your backyard--makes a difference. But to truly have an impact, the scale of change has to enter the millions and the billions.

A part of being a NASA scientist is dreaming big. Most of the time this dreaming is directed beyond the Earth, so it's good to see that powerful imaginative ability being used to help this planet out as well.

by Joe McCarthy

What do you think? Good idea? Or is conservation the best answer? Use less, maintain old growth? 

Pesticides are Poisoning You! - How One Farmer Turned Trial Into Triumph With Organic Crops

We are constantly being told by companies such as Monsanto, that the pesticides used in more conventional farming are harmless, but this farmer disagrees.

Farmer Jim Cochran decide to stop using pesticides and go 100% natural after he found he was being poisoned by the chemicals he was using on his crops.  Jim Cochran now runs the first large-scale organic strawberry farm, after quitting using pesticides 35 years ago. In 1981 Jim noticed a change when he started growing conventional strawberries, and using pesticides like everyone else did.

He said  “My eyes started to water, and I started to get all jittery,” he went on. “I said ‘Oh boy, this is not good stuff…We have to get away from this stuff.”

Jim now owns Swanton Berry Farm, that attracts many visitors due to it's organic status. Organic strawberry farms are extremely rare in the US.

He now uses beneficial bugs, single row planting, crop rotations, and other classic techniques to help grow his strawberries, all methods which have been out-dated but Jim has found them to be very successful.

Jim has been active in trying to make people realize the importance of staying away from pesticides and exposing the conventional market for what it is. He has revealed that one acre of non-organic strawberries uses 300 pounds of pesticides, which is about 1,100 percent more than most crops. 

Many of the pesticides used on strawberries have been shown to be harmful, with methyl bromide, chloropicrin, and Telone (1,3-D) have all been linked to cancer, developmental problems, and hormone disruption.

Margaret Reeves, PhD the Senior Scientist with Pesticide Action Network has warned that current regulations are not enough; with “over 5.5 million pounds of chloropicrin” used in California alone. The strawberries were found to have over 54 different pesticides, all of which are harmful to humans and the environment.

Cochran is one a kind in his field. Many other farmers are sticking with conventional methods, knowingly selling strawberries they know are contaminated with harmful chemicals for the sake of a little more profit.

What do you think? Post your comments below.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Move Over Cotton, Say Hello to Hemp — The ‘Forbidden’ Crop That is Taking the World by Storm


Allowing and encouraging domestic hemp cultivation would be a boon for small farmers, especially organic farmers. I’m talking only about industrial hemp, not medical cannabis/marijuana, which continues to prove its merits and gain acceptance.

Industrial hemp’s use should be a no-brainer. But it’s a complex boondoggle of legal and bureaucratic nonsense even without THC, the molecule that leads to “Reefer Madness”.

Industrial hemp commercial cultivation is legal in Canada. But the USA hemp industry was pushed to the side by government connected industry insiders whose monopolies were threatened when it appeared hemp may boom and compete for the very products of their monopolist concerns.

Circa 1937, the hemp industry had been given a mechanical invention gift known as the decoricator machine was invented. It was a machine that was to hemp what the 19th Century cotton gin was. It replaced hand shredding of hemp to glean its fibers, fibers that could be used for textiles, clothing, paper, and plastic.

With the advent of the decoricator, hemp would have been able to take over competing industries in paper, textiles for clothing and other applications, fuel, and plastics. Growing hemp in abundance was easy, and it’s plant to harvest time was no more than six months.

According to Popular Mechanics during that time, “10,000 acres devoted to hemp will produce as much paper as 40,000 acres of average [forest] pulp land.” Then a  small number of large businesses with competition concerns used high level government connections to push through the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937.

The ensuing marijuana scares hyped by movies such as “Reefer Madness” brought about more legislation that would prohibit all hemp cultivation, even hemp without THC.

Prior to this, even without the high speed decoricator, hemp was an easy cash crop for small farmers, some of whom were recruited to continue cultivating hemp during WW II to provide hemp fibers for U.S. Naval ships’ ropes as well as other military applications.

And prior to that, hemp was so important during colonial and early American times that farmers were virtually required to cultivate it along with their other crops.

George Washington – “Make the most you can of the Indian Hemp seed and sow it everywhere.”

Thomas Jefferson – “Hemp is of first necessity to the wealth and protection of the country.”

Hemp for Nutrition

Hulled hemp seeds, their powders and cold pressed oils provide all the essential amino acids for easily digested high protein. Hemp is not only very high in omega-3, but it provides an almost perfect ratio of omega-3 to omega-6.

It is truly a super food that you can buy in health food stores or online. The seeds come from Canada, where industrial hemp is legal. Hemp is so nutritionally dense that one could survive on hemp seeds alone during extreme food shortages. If hemp were legal, you could easily grow your own.

Hemp Improves Farming

Hemp plants don’t need pesticides or synthetic fertilizers, which rely mostly on the phosphate industry. A phosphate industry byproduct is the sodium fluoride that is sold to municipality water works for our poisoned tap water.

The runoff from fields of phosphate fertilizers into waterways that merge with seawater is causing all sorts of nitrogen and phosphorous excesses and imbalances, leading to algae that stifles the water’s ecological support systems.

Hemp’s thick roots ward off weeds, and growing hemp improves the soil’s nitrogen, making that soil better for other crops. They would be useful and lucrative rotation crops for organic farmers.

Hemp plants have a growth cycle of only four months. In mild climates, harvesting hemp two times in one year would create an annual cash cow for farmers. The marijuana taboo is eliminated by allowing the male plants to continually pollinate the female plants. This reduces psychotropic THC to legal levels.

Eliminating Toxic Petrochemical Plastics

There is a clump of plastic waste residue larger than the state of Texas floating in the middle of the Pacific. A lot of it is expected to decompose, creating a plastic soup in the ocean. 

The toxins from this plastic soup spread out into other oceanic regions and are hazardous to fish and bird wildlife. This soup could find its way into our kitchens as well!

Mammograms Promote Cancer Growth - Doctor's Recommend THIS Early Detection Method Instead

Thermogram testing is a much safer way to early detect breast cancer than the more commonly used mammogram. The mammogram is widely regarded as the standard way to detect breast cancer but studies show it isn't all that safe, or even accurate.

As women get older they are encouraged to get a mammogram test every one or two years in order to detect abnormal cancer cells, but many women don't know about a different method of testing, thermogram testing.

Mammograms are considered very dangerous by some of the medical community, so dangerous in fact that they are said to promote the growth of cancer cells due to the large amount of radiation involved.

A single mammogram can expose you to the same amount of radiation as 1,000 chest X-rays, put into some perspective that is equal to about 3 chest X-rays per day for a year. Cancer expert Dr. Samuel Epstein has said  “The premenopausal breast is highly sensitive to radiation, each 1 rad exposure increasing breast cancer risk by about 1 percent, with a cumulative 10 percent increased risk for each breast over a decade’s screening.”

As well as the danger of radiation exposure, it has been shown that mammograms may not even be effective at preventing deaths from breast cancer.

A study in Sept 2010 in the New England Journal of Medicine found that mammograms only reduced cancer death rates by .4 deaths for every 1,000 women who received annual testing for 10 years, which means that only 1 breast cancer death was averted per 2,500 women. Women are always encouraged to check for lumps in the breast as well as any changes to better help detect breast cancer early.

There is another, less known way of scanning for breast cancer which is often not suggested by doctors.

Thermogramming is different as is scans for heat levels in the body to detect inflammation.  It’s incredibly safe and poses no risks even to pregnant and nursing women. Cancerous and pre-cancerous cells are usually caught due to inflammation first before the growth being visible by mammography, therefore thermograms are able to detect cancer years earlier.

A study conducted on women who received regular thermogram screenings over a ten year period found that an abnormal thermogram scan was ten times more reliable for spotting risks than relying on family history, and it also found that thermography was the earliest detector of potential cancers for 60% of women who later developed it.

Dr. Phlip Getson has used medical thermography since 1982, and he has said “Since thermal imaging detects changes at the cellular level, studies suggest that this test can detect activity 8 to 10 years before any other test.  This makes it unique in that it affords us the opportunity to view changes before the actual formation of the tumor. 

Studies have shown that by the time a tumor has grown to sufficient size to be detectable by physical examination or mammography, it has in fact been growing for about seven years achieving more than 25 doublings of the malignant cell colony. 

At 90 days there are two cells, at one year there are 16 cells, and at five years there are 1,048,576 cells—an amount that is still undetectable by a mammogram.”

Thermograms are also better at differentiating between real cancer and false positive scans. A false positive can result in harmful unnecessary treatments and psychological damage.

Thermogram testing is not as common, but can be found in specialist clinics. It is not usually covered by insurance policies but only costs around $250, which is a small price to pay for such a better service.

Source: Reprinted with permission from Organic & Healthy

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