And you’re thinking pipelines are bad for the planet and your health. It’s time to realize that things like the Keystone Pipeline and Big Oil are, well, a drop in the bucket when it comes to endangering the Earth and the people on it.
Roughly ten thousand years ago, our species developed what we call agriculture. We began a rather rapid transition from hunter-gatherer to landed gentry with peasants and serfs doing the dirty work. Along with somewhat curtailing famine, this organized crop-growing also allowed for organized warfare. Relying on crop growers for food and consequently with time on their hands, the urban dwellers could grow their cities and mount military operations that far exceeded those that once depended on spending time just gathering food for the army. Over centuries, agriculture advanced to the point that we now have it chemical-ized, mechanized, even weaponized and produce more food than the world population needs.
Of pipelines and pesticides While well-intentioned eco-warriors team with opportunistic junior-league politicos who have their panties in a bunch over oil pipelines, there is a far deadlier and far more pervasive pollution we should all be worried about. It doesn’t have the dramatic optics of tarred and feathered pelicans, gobs of goo floating down rivers or washing up on coastlines. It doesn’t depend on a pipeline mishap that is unintended. In fact, this poison is applied voluntarily, daily and intentionally. While we remain vigilant for broken pipes, tanker rollovers or train crashes releasing black death into our waterways, a deadlier killer is already there, has been for decades and is getting worse. It’s agricultural runoff and here in the Heartland, we live at ground zero.1
Those early farmers of 10 millennia ago didn’t spray pesticides much less dump them into streams and groundwater. But we do. The most frequently detected agricultural herbicides in our water system — atrazine, metolachlor, cyanazine, alachlor, and acetochlor — generally were detected most often and at the highest concentrations in water samples from streams in agricultural areas with their greatest use, particularly in the Corn Belt. Five herbicides commonly used in urban areas—simazine, prometon, tebuthiuron, 2,4-D, and diuron—and three commonly used insecticides—diazinon, chlorpyrifos, and carbaryl. And guess what? Each and every one of those is toxic.
Of fossil fuel and farming Let’s examine only one: atrazine, an herbicide that is the most commonly found in our water system. Testing by the United States Department of Agriculture found atrazine in 94 percent of the nation’s drinking water. And not just in small amounts. With a safe level listed as 3 parts per billion, systems exceeded that time and again, sometimes at astronomical levels. And mind you, that is treated water we’re talking about. Just imagine what the levels are in plain river water.
So, is atrazine safe? Not at all. It’s main problems, as with many chemicals, include cancer, endocrine disruption and reproductive effects. We all pretty much know that cancer is not a good effect but those other two seem kind of nebulous, don’t they? Well, neither is good.
Endocrine disruption can result in unnatural levels of key hormones in the body with untold results ranging from disease to arrested puberty. Artificially unbalanced hormones could even be why so many adolescent Jacks are “identifying” as Jills.
Atrazine affects how organs develop, is suspected of increasing risk of miscarriage, intestinal problems and birth defects. Atrazine doesn’t kill quickly. You won’t see birds dropping dead (usually) from paddling in our waterways for a couple minutes. None of us would go near a big glob of heavy crude oil straight out of a broken pipe. But atrazine is in our water and it’s getting inside us daily. And now, remember that atrazine is only one of dozens of chemicals being sprayed right now, today, on fields probably within walking distance of where you read this and certainly across millions of acres of farmland.
Of Soil and Dirt Realize this, too. Our topsoil is the most overlooked and ignored natural resource we have. Soil is not dirt. Soil is a living organism that hosts micronutrients created by fungi, bacteria, insects, animals — living things that dwell there. Bear in mind that any and all poisons applied to our topsoil kills those living things and often that is the exact intent of the toxic application. Poisons kill. That is their destiny. Modern farming relies on transforming soil into a dead zone of material that mimics cardboard, not healthy soil. Then modern farming applies the bare minimum of artificial fertilizer necessary for a plant to survive and produce. That fertilizer provides just the basics for life not the micronutrients for nutrition. Then note the majority of acreage in the United States is devoted to ethanol, livestock feed and junk (processed) food.
Topsoil should be on the Endangered Species list. Killing it is no minor thing. It has taken thousands of years to produce the supply we have. It is not easily replaced.
Finally, take those millions of tons of dozens of different poisons we voluntarily let loose on the environment and send them downriver to the ocean and we create a Dead Zone where nothing can exist. It’s what we are doing to the planet and one more pipeline or five dozen more pipelines won’t equal what Big Agriculture is doing to the planet intentionally.
For more, visit http://www.panna.org for some hard, cold facts.
Heartland Healing is a metaphysically based polemic describing alternatives to conventional methods of healing the body, mind and planet. It is provided as information and entertainment, certainly not medical advice. Important to remember and pass on to others: for a weekly dose of Heartland Healing, visit HeartlandHealing.com. and like us on Facebook.