As you may guess from this picture, I love biking in the woods. Make yourself comfortable and enjoy the ride. Until February 2016 I blogged regularly about books, art, literature and writing.
This is my only site. You can check the column on your left to access the links to my published works. The latest ones appear on the upper part.
“Always leave the Earth better than you found it,”
“I would feel more optimistic about a bright future
for man if he spent less time proving that he can outwit Nature and more time
tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority.” E.B White
exciting happened after publishing my
post on growing food. I came across “Seeds of Hope”, a book by Jane Goodall.
Jane Goodall is a scientist and an excellent storyteller. “Seeds of Hope” brims with stories
of inspiration and hope. I was in awe to read the stories of seeds that
sprouted after hundreds of years. Her book delves into many of the topics I
wrote about in my previous post.
As I write
this, the air from a fan powered by solar energy helps me to cool down. By the
way, if you are one of the privileged ones who relies on air conditioning on
hot summer days, set up the temperature to a higher level to avoid wasting so
much energy and to decrease the level of carbon dioxide you release into the
air. Remember that the hot air of your home ends up raising the temperature
Let’s all be part of the solution instead of the problem.
has a a way of explaining complicated subjects in very simple terms. This is a
thought-provoking educational book. She explores the mysterious world of plants
and how their lives are interconnected with all other living beings. You will
also learn about the adventurous lives of botanists; many chapters are devoted
to growing food and to the need of feeding the world ethically.
extensively about GMOs and explains the research that shows the deleterious
effects on the health of animals as well
as their impact on the environment. GMOs have led to the emergence of "superpests" and "superbugs" that help corporations like Monsanto sell more dangerous pesticides. The word
“pesticide” is a misnomer because pesticides kill many beneficial insects such
as bees, so why do we use it? The American Academy of Environmental Medicine, which is an accredited provider of medical education for health care professionals, has even asked physicians to avoid GM foods because of the risks seen in animal studies.
Soil Association has conducted an exhaustive review of all the scientific
literature published between 1999 and 2007 that addressed the question of
whether or not organic agriculture could feed the world. Every one of these
papers concluded that organic farming has the potential to feed the world’s
population. Even the UN concluded that shifting our agriculture model to small-scale,
sustainable farming is the only way we can successfully feed the world in the
Goodall and Vandana Shiva are an inspiration to me because of their knowledge,
clarity of mind, boldness and commitment to important causes. Jane Goodall is the leader of Roots and Shoots. Feel free to check
Goodall mentioned the seed savers in Decorah, Iowa. I am very thankful for
these seed savers who preserve the legacy of organic seeds that are not
contaminated by GMOs. They have been doing this since 1975. We appreciate their
work; our organic vegetable gardens are the best evidence of our thankful attitude.
There are many captivating stories in “Seeds
of Hope”about how gardens empower individuals and communities in many ways.
Vandana Shiva created Navdanya, a movement in India for
saving seeds, protecting biodiversity, and spreading ecological methods of
farming. They created more than one hundred community seed banks which have
provided open access to grow tasty food
with no external inputs, increasing both their nutrition and their incomes.
These seed banks rescued farmers in times of climate extremes, including droughts,
floods and cyclones.
I was a bit
surprised that Dr Goodall did not discuss the story of amaranth, a kind of food rich in iron and protein. It was thrilling to discover this nutritious food
recently. I will tell you more about the history of this seed later in this
Bear in mind that taking a shower takes about
25 gallons of water, but manufacturing a hamburger takes 3,500 gallons. Don’t worry, I have not given up on my shower,
but I haven’t eaten a meat hamburger for a long time. Besides wasting water, meat
consumption is also worsening climate change.
Let’s talk about The Clean Power Plan. Those who
claim to care about human health should be paying attention to it.
The Clean Power Plan would lead to 90,000 fewer
asthma attacks a year, 300,000 fewer missed work and school days, and 3,600
fewer premature deaths a year. The Republican administration is not impressed
by these numbers. They are in the process of discarding the Clean Power Plan to
serve the interests of the fossil fuel industry.
energy means clean air and water. When you use solar and wind energy you are not polluting the
water and the air. When you use coal, gas and oil you ARE poisoning the air and
the water and you are relying on a resource that will not last forever. On the
other hand, by using wind and solar energy we are not depleting the Earth of
any resource. It is a kind of recycle-reuse strategy that works in harmony with
Contrary to what Big Oil will tell you, clean energy
fosters the creation of new jobs and strengthens the economy. I wrote an article about clean energy a while ago; it was published in The Mindful Word. Those who love the poorly educated do not want people to understand the need for
clean energy and how it makes a difference in the well-being of human beings
and the planet.
This kind of
manipulation is similar to what the tobacco industry did to hide the truth about
the effects of smoking. They did not care that people died of cardiovascular disease, lung cancer and other
types of cancer. They were concerned about the profits they made from people's smoking habits.
Do you believe that making people sick helps the economy? It does just the
The same situation applies today when we think
of those who defend the interests of coal, oil and gas while they destroy the
planet along with the health and livelihoods
of millions of human beings. In fact, some of the same people who
defended the tobacco industry now deny the man-made climate chaos that our
planet is going through.
I am married to a man who has a passionate interest
in solar energy. A few months ago we had solar panels installed on our roof. We
now produce 50% more energy than we use, which means that we are supplying our
community with clean energy.
Our goal for
the near future is to buy no gasoline. We are working progressively toward this
goal. Our strategies include biking more and using an electric car which we can
power with solar energy.
What are your goals? What are your strategies to get
about clean water.
We all know
that water is a basic right. Without water there is no life. We should all have access to drinking water and
protecting water should be considered a priority. The Clean Water Rule was created to
protect streams, lakes and rivers. It helps to safeguard the drinking water of
millions of Americans. The Republican administration, however, is planning to get rid of this regulation to allow industrial agriculture and other industries
to pollute the water.
shortages are on the rise in the world. The United States is not an exception. Do you know about the legal battles between the states of Georgia and Florida, for example? Alabama was also involved in
these legal battles. In the meantime, the Republican administration increases
the budget of the military while it cuts down on the environment.
What is their next strategy? How are they planning
to address the water shortages? Are they going to make up an excuse to invade
another country and steal their water?
people’s livelihoods in other countries has nothing to do with freedom,
regardless of what the interests of the war industry tells you. Let’s ignore
the everyday fossil fuel- propaganda and use our critical thinking skills.
Water is not
something that should be taken for granted. Many conflicts masked as religious
or ethnic conflicts have to do with water. Scapegoating and fundamentalism are
the weapons of the demagogues. Stay mindful.
In Syria the civil war broke out after a severe
drought struck the nation. Industrial agriculture had eroded the soil and they
were not able to withstand the consequences of the drought. They lost 80 % of their crops.
change causes droughts, floods, hurricanes, and other natural disasters (or I should say unnatural disasters). It is
also associated with the melting of ice sheets and the rise of sea levels. Complex
problems demand multiple actions on multiple levels. They require behavioral changes
and collective awareness. They call for mindful choices. Denying the existence
of these issues and discarding regulations that ensure the health of our
communities is not intelligent. It is stupid and dangerous.
this clear: The Republican administration is planning to review the Clean Water
Rule because they have an interest in getting rid of it. Do you think it is
patriotic to enable the pollution of water ? Are you aware that water shortages
are on the rise? Do you think enabling
the pollution of the waterways is an act of respect for present and future generations? Do
you think it is acceptable to do this?
I believe it is akin to an act of
terrorism, and it is also deplorable. If you agree with me, speak up. Call your
Representatives, write letters, educate others. Apathy is part of the problem,
so let go of it.
was raised by a father and a mother who taught me to value, respect and honor
Mother Nature. They also taught me that I have the right to express myself. If
somebody has trouble understanding this basic principle, they should go read
the First Amendment of the US Constitution.
We are water, air, soil. Why can’t they understand that harming Nature
is harming ourselves? Such is the power of arrogance, shortsightedness and
produces food and is a haven for wildlife. It attracts pollinators, fireflies, birds and many beautiful creatures that brighten our spirit and perk up our moods.
celebrate their visits everyday, even
though we know how challenged their existence is by different factors. One of
them is the stupidity of those who use lawn weed killers.
there is a movement to educate others on the effects of lawn weed killers and
on the need to put pressure on those who are in power to stop spreading these
dangerous chemicals on public parks, day-care centers, playgrounds, schools, public libraries
and other places. The massive use of these pesticides has a health cost.
important point that deserves your urgent attention is the Endangered Species
Act. Republicans in power believe that there is no need to keep this important
regulation. Do I need to say more?
Let’s go back
to the story of amaranth now. This food was grown by the Aztecs. They
worshiped it and believed it had special powers. Then the Europeans came. They
wanted to impose their Christianity upon them, so they destroyed the plantations
of amaranth and they punished those who possessed this nutritious food. Yet
How did it happen? Perhaps somebody dared to
save the seeds. Despite the oppression of those who believed they were superior
to others, amaranth survived.This is a story of hope.
To finish this post I will introduce you to one of my
peaceful friends: a Red-Wiggler, also known as Eisenia fetida. These Red
Wigglers are a kind of earthworm that we keep indoors. They turn our garbage
into food for the plants. This is called vermicomposting. We also rely on
outdoor composting which is more
efficient during this time of the year compared to vermicomposting due to the
summer temperatures; it is performed by other kinds of earthworms along with
bacteria and fungi. They all transform our trash into nutritious food for the
plants. By doing so, they enrich the soil.
soil suffers from some kind of nutritional deficiency, it passes it on to the
plants, and from there to animals and human beings.
The more living organisms a soil contains, the more
fertile it is because all those organisms are the ones that confer fertility to
the soil. The soil is a reservoir of water. Its water holding capacity depends
on these organisms. The efficiency to drain water also depends on them. Thanks
to them the soil is more resilient to droughts and floods. The nutrition and
all the beneficial properties that make it fertile depend on these living
is related to the life of the soil. Therefore, the health of the soil is NOT
dissociated from human health, no matter how much industrial agriculture
ignores this by injecting chemicals into the soil.
build healthy plants, and healthy plants give rise to healthy communities (the
opposite is also true).
If you enjoyed this post, feel free to visit these
blog posts I wrote not too long ago:
is an endeavor of love, but industrial agriculture has turned it into an act of
destruction. Somebody may have made you believe that industrial agriculture
feeds the world. This is a fallacy.
people are hungry as I write this post.
By destroying the foundation of food production industrial agriculture worsens
hunger and poverty.
Only 30% of
the food that people eat comes from large-scale industrial farms. The other 70%
comes from small-scale farmers working on small plots of land. In addition to being more expensive due to the
cost of pesticides, herbicides and synthetic fertilizers, industrial agriculture
is responsible for 75% of the ecological damage being done to the planet. It pollutes more water and fails to conserve
it. Vandana Shiva’s book “Who feeds theWorld?” explains that these figures are routinely hidden, ignored and denied.
Sustainable agriculture is based on ecological
principles. It creates jobs, strengthens communities, and
treats animals with respect and kindness. It minimizes its impact on the
environment and strives to preserve the health of ecosystems through the enrichment
of the soil with organic matter, integrated pest management, diversity of
cultures and rotation of crops.
the soil should be a priority. In order
to produce nutritious food we need healthy soils. The soil needs to be enriched
with organic matter. Healthy soil teems with life, but industrial agriculture
treats the soil as an empty inert container, loading it with synthetic
fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides. These chemicals destroy soil fertility
by killing organisms in it. The excess
of nitrates it injects into the soil end up polluting the water. The chemicals
create dead zones in lakes, rivers and oceans, where no life can thrive.
Healthy soil produces healthy plants by making them more resilient and resistant to pests and diseases. Good quality
soil also allows to conserve water, but industrial agriculture ignores this fact, so
it requires intense irrigation systems to function. Water is a precious
resource and the only ones that benefit from wasting and polluting water are
the corporations that get paid to try to
purify it. This leads to more inequality and injustice because drinking water
becomes more expensive. High concentrations of nitrates in drinking water increase the risk of cancer.
We all know
that climate change is not a hoax. A
healthy soil is better able to endure climate adverse conditions due to its
efficiency in regulating water and its capacity to hold onto moisture, which is
another reason to nurture the soil instead of destroying it.
Einstein must have been ahead of his times when he said, “When the last bee disappears,
humans will disappear.” Today 75% of bee populations in some regions have been
killed over the last three decades because of toxic pesticides and monocultures.
Climate change is also contributing to the decline of pollinators.
Losing bees is not only about losing honey. More
than 140 fruits and vegetables depend on hardworking honeybees for pollination.
We’ll lose small family farms and local businesses. We will lose an estimated
$15 billion dollars in agricultural revenue.
play an important role in the decline of bees. Avoid using these chemicals
altogether. Make sure you plant untreated seeds to grow the flowers whose nectar bees need to feed on,
such as Aster, Black-Eyed Susan, Blazing Star, Calstrop, Currant, Huckleberry,
Purple Coneflower, Woodland Sage, Scorpion Weed and many others. Let’s all be part of the solution instead of
the problem. Check the ones that are native in your area and grow them.
remember that many scientists have been persecuted and threatened for exposing
their research on GMOs, pesticides and herbicides. Examples of scientists who
have been in these situations include Arpad Pusztai of the United Kingdom,
Gilles-Eric Seralini of France, Tyrone Hayes of the University of California,
Berkeley, Vicki Vance of the University of South Carolina, and many others.
cultures is also necessary to create an environment that produces food in
sustainable ways, but industrial agriculture relies on monocultures. In doing
so, it erodes the soil and contributes to the decline of pollinators. Industrial
agriculture claims to have a “high yield per acre”, but high yield does not
mean high nutrition per acre. Their soil is deprived of nutrients , so they produce tasteless food that lacks nutrition.
Vandana Shiva explained it well: "Life evolves
through cooperation and self-organization. Fifty trillion cells cooperate to
create the human body. Millions of species cooperate to shape ecosystems and
the planet. Plants cooperate with each other. Take, for example, the mixed
farming system of corn, beans and squash. Nitrogen- fixing beans provide free
nitrogen to cereals, and the stalks of cereals provide support for the bean
stalks to climb. The squash provides cover to the soil, preventing soil
erosion, water evaporation and the emergence of weeds. Together, these crops
provide nutrition for soil, animals and human beings."
If you are in the business of pesticides and
herbicides, consider switching to another business: the business of massive
composting. Garbage is nutrition. You can invest in a business that turns
garbage into compost. By making compost you can help to feed the soil, and by
nourishing the soil you foster the production of healthy food and help to
maintain the integrity of the ecosystems. This is beneficial for the future of
patriot should be expected to nurture the soil, not to kill the organisms that
live in it. Earthworms are the best fertilizers. Start composting now. Instead of sending trash to landfills, where
it pollutes the air and soil and increases the temperature of the planet
through the production of methane, you can turn it into a valuable resource
that will be treasured by farmers and gardeners and by anybody who is
interested in the art of growing food and flowers.
should be an act of compassion and
empathy, not of destruction… do you think those workers like to spray your
fruit and vegetables with chemicals? Many of them are immigrants who work under
the threats of those who exploit them. These workers are coerced into spraying chemicals that harm their own health.
Ask yourself: where is the chicken coming from? How
was she treated? Let’s be mindful of what this means.
soil, water and air does not feed the world. It contributes to food insecurity,
social injustice, inequality and wars. Worsening climate change and the effects
of it is an act of terrorism . Let’s acknowledge this simple truth instead of
hiding it behind the veil of propaganda. Pesticides and herbicides may be
beneficial to the fossil fuel industry, but not to the health of humanity and
fossil fuel industry will eventually suffer, because we all live in the same
planet. (They just don’t have the foresight to acknowledge the consequences of
their current actions).
are considering to support a CSA (community supported agriculture), or you may
want to volunteer for one of the community gardens in your area ; you may want
to grow some of your food. You can do so in containers if you don’t have a garden.
Go ahead: write a blog post on this subject. I
challenge every reader of this blog to read about the food they eat and to
write about what they do to reduce their carbon footprint and on how to lead a
more sustainable lifestyle.
Small changes can be the beginning of bigger
changes. They can be the starting point of a different kind of mindset and
attitude, one that is more devoted to
being healthier , more considerate and caring.
Spread the word. Inspire others. Share ideas.
educate yourself on this important subject you will discover that there is a
lot that you can do to become part of the solution.
educating others is also part of our mission.
takes time, knowledge and observation. When
we do so we are more attuned to nature, to the rhythms and patterns. We become
deeply connected to the creatures and
plants that surround us. We become aware of how they interact with one another,
and we learn something everyday.
Look at this leather jacket. Every time I get the
soil ready to sow seeds I find a few of
them (they are pests to the vegetable plants), so I put them on one of the
bird-feeders. Chickadees and Cardinals
devour them. I can assure you that birds turn up to feast on them in less than five minutes.
As we restore our union with Mother Nature, we clear
our minds, open our hearts, get more
creative and feel happier.
It’s time to return to the soil; I have a lot of
work to do.
"Of course the people do not want war... But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, a fascist dictatorship, a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them that they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism. " German Field Marshall
A reader of this blog took
the time to e-mail me the post I deleted by accident. Thank you , Claire. I
appreciate your time and cooperation.
Today I’m publishing my
post on “1984” again, with a few “upgrades”.
If there is something
about the plot and/or characters that offends somebody, please bear with it.
George Orwell is now dead so you can’t bully the author. Excuse my sense of
humor here. I know, I know. Women are not expected to have this kind of sense of
humor (unless they use it to pester a woman who opposes the bully in power).
Thankfully, I’m married to
a man who loves my sense of humor.
Do people get annoyed by
the use of pen-names? Hopefully not because George Orwell is a pen-name. Ladies
and gentlemen: live and let live.
Here’s my essay on “1984” by George Orwell.
‘1984’ is a dystopian novel
about a country calledOceania. (The
name Oceania probably alludes to the isolationist nature of its people). Oceania is constantly at war, but its citizens do not
know why it is at war. They do support it, though, because anybody who is not a
supporter is considered a traitor.
Hatred and rage fuel the support of this endless war.
Anyone who dares to oppose the dictator’s ideas or think
differently is vilified and will disappear. Those who work for the party are
instructed to manipulate the truth as needed. In fact, nobody is expected to care about the truth because their lives would be at
stake if they did. Freedom is considered to be blind obedience to the leader. Physical movements and facial expressions are closely
monitored by screens in people’s homes, political prisoners are treated worse
than criminals and love does not exist; hatred and fear condition everybody’s
behavior. Blind obedience to Big Brother is what matters.
Winston is a thirty-nine year-old man who works for
the Ministry of Truth. He helps to change the historical facts but, in reality,
he is a free thinking person who would like to sabotage Big Brother’s
dictatorship. He falls in love with a woman, and they both challenge the system
by loving each other and having secret encounters that they must plan in
When Winston becomes a political prisoner a member of the
inner Party confesses to him, “Our civilization is founded upon hatred. In our
world there will be no emotions except fear, rage, triumph, and self-abasement.
Everything else we shall destroy - everything. Already we have destroyed the
habits of thought which have survived from before the Revolution. We have cut
the links between child and parent, and between man and man, and between man
and woman. No one dares trust a wife or a child or a friend any longer. ..”
The society in which the authoritarian regime thrives is
designed carefully to disregard critical thinking and to believe blindly in
their leader. His authority is not to be questioned, and those who dare do it
are punished and labeled as enemies. George Orwell portrays the dynamics of
this society with striking details.
The features that make Big Brother powerful are the
-Use of songs and ceremonies to venerate the leader
The past becomes mutable for the government can manipulate
history by rewriting the historical facts and changing the data to keep the
dictator in power. This is done because
the omnipotence of the dictator can only be preserved through lies and
proletarians - also called “the proles”- are the majority of the population.
The Party claimed to have liberated “the proles”, but, in reality, the dictator
does not care about them.
“So long as they continued to work and breed, their other
activities were without importance.”
“All that was required of them was a primitive patriotism which
could be appealed to whenever it was necessary to make them accept longer
working hours or shorter rations”.
Contradictions are at the heart of the regime. In
‘1984’ the Ministry of Peace concerns itself with war, the Ministry of Truth
with lies, the Ministry of Love with torture, and the Ministry of Plenty with
The question that lingers in my mind is whether
these totalitarian leaders succeed because of the ignorance and/ or apathy of
the masses or the conformism of the intellectuals. I think it is a combination
of both. As Albert Einstein said, “Few are those who see with their own eyes
and feel with their own hearts.”
On December 3 2016 I wrote a post on "1984", a novel by George Orwell.
The novel became a best-seller on January 21 2017 and it was shared in movie theaters all over the world on April 4 2017.
Today I deleted the post on "1984" by accident. This action was not intentional. I don't know how to recover it, but I hope that you consider reading this book.
Sorry for the deletion; enjoy the read.
Aki” by Winifred Conkling is the true story of two American girls of different
cultural backgrounds who grew up in the 1940s in the United States of America.
narrative is attuned to their joys, fears, dreams and loving families, and it reveals
how their happy childhoods were disrupted by the evils of segregation, discrimination
and social injustice. Unexpected challenges and hardship threatened the
well-being of their families and their future.
There is an afterword
that gleans relevant historical facts and relates them to the lives of the
characters. We can learn a lot from history; literature offers us unique
opportunities to do so.
I highly recommend “Sylvia and Aki”. It is a book that
invites us to honor friendship, learn about history and spend quality time with