30 November 2013

Damn consumerism

As a youth, I was certainly guilty of being interested in shopping and in searching for bargains. Even as a concerned person who cared about the welfare of others, I was also still a teenager, in somewhat typical fashion.

That was a long time ago. It is utterly unbelievable that adults do not see the moral folly of materialism, consumerism, and capitalism. We cannot possibly battle the ecological and sociological crises of our world until we all do.


02 October 2013

Solutions

Another great video by Annie Leonard. We should all be working on "game changing solutions."



23 July 2013

Don't F*&k With NY!

When I heard that this racist moron, Rick Perry, was trying to recuit New Yorkers to move their businesses to Texas, my first reaction was what is perfectly depicted in this short clip with Lewis Black:


19 June 2013

More on Angelina Jolie, defective BRCA genes, and causes of cancer

Image courtesy Cancer Research UK


Though poor diets, lack of exercise, and genetic susceptibilities amplify one's risk of cancer, these are just RISK FACTORS; they are not causes of the disease. Risk factors and causes are not the same, although they are commonly conflated by the public, by medical professionals, and by scientists who should know better. Furthermore, beware the opportunists selling cures; eating well and healthfully is vitally important to overall health, but there are no "superfoods" that will prevent cancer if you have been exposed to enough carcinogens.

Image courtesy Cancer Research UK


Carcinogenic exposures cause mutations to our DNA which can (and often do) lead to cancer. Endocrine disrupting chemicals, which are ubiquitous in our air, food, water, and consumer products can more indirectly lead to cancer. The exponential increase in these known carcinogenic agents and potential carcinogens in our environments corresponds with the increase in cancer rates, particularly in industrialized nations. (Note the increase in numerous cancers in China as their industrial development has exploded over the past several decades.) The fact that cancer can be detected more easily now and the fact that we have a larger aging population who will live longer and thus have a higher risk of contracting cancer does not explain why cancers such as breast, colorectal, thyroid, and testicular have increased in the 24-40 age group over the past decade and a half. Indeed, this age group is comprised of so-called "Generation X" - a generation of individuals with a much smaller population size than that of the Baby Boomers or Millennials. Thus, because of their small population size, Generation X should see less individual numbers of cancer diagnoses not more, if overall cancer rates were remaining stagnant. This increase in cancers among the middle-aged is an alarming trend and may portend a very grim future in terms of cancer rates among generations to come. Moreover, this trend absolutely cannot be explained statistically by genetic inheritance.

We can reduce and eliminate at least some of these exposures with greater regulation and banning of so many unnecessary chemicals and technologies. Ubiquitous exposure to carcinogens is not inevitable, nor does cancer need to be. To hear more, please listen to Feminist Magazine from June 18, 2013:

Feminist Magazine 6/18/13


 

04 June 2013

Fighting the Toxic Industrial Complex

Sandra Steingraber’s War on Toxic Trespassers



David Rosner and Gerald Markowitz on Toxic Disinformation



Moyers Moment (2001): Toxins in Our Blood



Thank you, Bill Moyers, for disseminating this important information!

15 May 2013

In a world incompatible with life, mutilation amounts to prevention




The world exploded with praise and awe when actress Angelina Jolie announced - via op-ed in The New York Times – that she had undergone double-mastectomy as a preventative measure after discovering that she possessed the mutant BRCA1 gene. A mutation to either the BRCA1 and/or BRCA2 (both named for BReast CAncer) genes seems to confer an increased risk of breast and ovarian cancer in its carriers. As the scourge of cancer has permeated the American landscape – one in two men and one in three women will develop cancer in their lifetimes – diagnosis and treatment have become the sole allowable precautionary procedures. Every day we learn more about the myriad known and probable human carcinogens saturating our built environment. In addition, scientists are continually revealing the long-term, intergenerational, and epigenetic health effects of exposure to these ubiquitous chemicals. Yet, on our insidiously poisoned planet, our insistence to continue with business as usual has led us to a form of collective insanity. We now choose bodily mutilation as a means of dealing with the diseases of our global industrial culture, rather than confronting the root causes.

In a 2003 study published in the esteemed academic journal Science, researchers found that among women carrying the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes, cancer “risks seemed to be increasing over time.”[1] In other words, those born before 1950 only had a 24% risk of developing breast cancer by age 50, while those born after 1950 had a 67% risk. These statistics indicate that the cancers are not at all caused by these genes; merely, these genes enable certain environmental factors to affect those who carry these genes. Moreover, these environmental triggers of cancer have become more prevalent in recent years. And though the BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene carriers do individually possess a higher risk of cancer, they comprise less than 5% of breast cancer cases.[2] Consequently, inherited genetic traits cannot be deemed causal factors in the genesis of the vast majority of cancers. Furthermore, inherited predispositions or susceptibilities only exist in the sense that there must be an environmental exposure to elicit the genetic response. Remove the exposure and you remove the predisposition. 


Clearly, the environment is the key piece to solving the cancer puzzle. Yet rather than disrupting the corporate capitalist consumer culture that incessantly disseminates its toxic pollutants throughout our land, water, and air, we choose the path of least resistance. Instead of removing carcinogens and other substances such as endocrine disrupting chemicals from our environment, we irradiate, poison, or mutilate our bodies to permit global industrial capitalism to continue unabated. And though at times these primitive procedures allow us a productive life after they take arduous and torturous tolls, other times they may just prolong or even hasten the inevitable.



As a victim of cancer myself, I comprehend the current need for treatment. But as one of the innumerable many who have lost loved ones to the disease, it is the lack of effort to truly reject this preventable illness to which I demur. Angelina Jolie’s choice of “prevention” – one that remains unaffordable and unavailable to most women who suffer at the hands of our corporate health insurance and medical system – is a rather extreme measure which has nonetheless become all too acceptable. While I do not begrudge her personal decision, I begrudge a society that chooses to tolerate its women undergoing amputation and excision as routine procedures. As anthropogenic alterations to our world render it more and more inhospitable to life, will we continue to abide increasingly insane actions to maintain our existence, or will we ever relinquish our short-term superficial conveniences for long-term genuine life?

 


[1] King, M.C., Marks, J.H., and Mandell, J.B. (2003). Breast and Ovarian Cancer Risks Due to Inherited Mutations in
BRCA1 and BRCA2. Science. 302(5645).
[2] Pasche, B. (2010). Cancer Genetics. New York: Springer.