Every year on April 22, Earth Day marks the anniversary of the birth of the American environmental movement in 1970. Organizers and student protesters at that time voiced concern for clean air, water, and environmental protection of wild life. What has happened since then?
Earth Day History
The birth of Earth Day began with Senator Gaylord Nelson, a junior senator from Wisconsin, who was concerned about the deteriorating environment in the United States. In 1969, we witnessed the ravages of a massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California. Senator Nelson announced the idea for a teach-in on college campuses to the national media. Earth Day inspired 20 million Americans — at the time, 10% of the total population of the United States — to take to the streets, parks and auditoriums to demonstrate against the impacts of 150 years of industrial development which had left a growing legacy of serious human health impacts.
Thousands of colleges and universities organized protests against the deterioration of the environment and there were massive coast-to-coast rallies. Groups that had been fighting individually against oil spills, polluting factories and power plants, raw sewage, toxic dumps, pesticides, the loss of wilderness and the extinction of wildlife united on Earth Day around these shared common values. Earth Day 1970 achieved a rare political alignment, from Republicans and Democrats, rich and poor, urban dwellers and farmers, business and labor leaders. By the end of 1970, the first Earth Day led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of other first of their kind environmental laws.
Environmental Protection Laws Overturned
Recently, a “money first” policy at work in the Trump White House nullified restrictions for drilling on sacred, protected lands, dumping of toxic chemicals in ocean and stream, flagrant use of highly dangerous pesticides, hunting for endangered species on protected lands—a rape of the environment in favor of political power lobbies, including gas, oil and chemical manufacturers. Here is how the present administration is working to reverse the horrific damage.
Chemicals in Your Food
The protests begun on Earth Day have become grass-roots movements for those of us who love the Earth. If you Love the Earth, Keep it Clean and Safe for all. Lacking adequate official governmental protection, we as health-conscious individuals, chefs and parents choose wholesome foods daily with our purchases.
The EWG Scientists
Each year the Environmental Working Group EWG publishes its “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean Fifteen” foods lists in which the “Dirty Dozen” identifies the foods that are most grown and processed with toxic pesticides. By toxic we mean cancer-causing and neurological and genetic damage. Many of these chemicals [Round-up] are widely banned in other countries. The Lists for 2021 are:
The EWG “Dirty Dozen” List for 2021 – highest use of pesticides
- Kale, collard and mustard greens
- Bell and hot peppers
GMO and Pesticides in North America
Corn (maize) in north America is GMO, genetically modified which, some say, overtime alters DNA. Oats and grains are sprayed with Roundup either during growing or to “age” the grain. “Conventional farmers spray glyphosate, a main poison among others in Roundup, on genetically engineered corn, oats, soybeans and wheat before it is harvested. Consumers also use glyphosate on their lawns and gardeners. Both the nature and severity of human health impacts following exposures to glyphosate herbicides are unknown.” For more information on Roundup and how long it stays in foods and in the soil, see the previous blog: “How Safe is Roundup: Don’t Breathe.”
The EWG “Clean Fifteen” List for 2021:
- Sweet corn
- Sweet peas (frozen)
- Honeydew melon
“The Longevity Diet”
The Academy of Healing Nutrition’s program in New York and London, stresses foods from “the blue zones” where many people often live to be over 100 years old. It is a varied and rounded diet using organic, seasonal foods prepared with care to preserve nutrients and taste. Based on macro-biotic and traditional Chinese medicine principles, whole food choices will vary among individuals based on a number of factors, including energy type, seasonal changes and basic health questions.
The diet includes organic whole grains, vegetables, seasonal fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, seaweeds and teas. Adding seaweeds to the diet helps to keep the blood at the proper PH to boost immunity. Chinese herbs are used in cooking of soups, stocks, and healthy beauty elixirs. The diet combines the best of East and West with an eye on the impact of environment on ingredient choice. The faculty includes dietary and herbal experts in Chinese and Ayurvedic (East Indian) health traditions, and chefs who use foods as medicines, chefs to love the Earth. https://www.academyhealingnutrition.com/