Monday, October 10, 2016

Elections 2016: Why so indifferent to the natural world?

I have been writing about the importance of the natural world for nearly as long as I remember. To me its obvious we cannot ignore the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat or the breeze bathing us each time we bike or walk or stay motionless under a tree. Then there are those gorgeous landscapes I embrace in my walks up Johnston's pasture, a mountain at the northern borders of Claremont. But even in my backyard where I do my writing I occasionally see the Monarch butterfly landing on the green leaves and red flowers of the milkweeds. This insect alone makes my day. Its large diaphanous colorful wings open and close like a dream.



But, of course, the natural world includes animals, plants, rivers, mountains, oceans, most of the Earth is natural world. So why our politicians fail to get it? You cannot be healthy if the natural world is unhealthy. That's simple. Or is it not?

I heard practically nothing about the natural world in these past "debates" between Trump and Clinton. These candidates have other things in mind.

But I wanted my candidate, Hillary Clinton, to at least think about the unsaid in the debates. So I wrote her a letter:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/evaggelos-vallianatos/letter-to-hillary-clinton_b_12301950.html
  

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Seeds of Life

Seeds are life. I knew that from childhood. I observed my father at harvest saving wheat, barley and lentils for sowing later in the year. Saving seeds is still alive but it is under stress. Agricultural industrialization includes the industrialization of seeds. Now, in the US, we have this unbelievable reality where pesticide companies are becoming seed companies!

This mechanization of almost everything is causing chaos in rural America and seed protection. Experts say crop genetic diversity is in hard times, which puts agriculture also in hard times.

I reviewed two books on seeds:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/evaggelos-vallianatos/seeds-and-the-future-of-l_b_12219394.html



Both books, one by the Japanese civil-society organization, Shumei International, and the Indian Navdanya, and the other written by an American agronomist, Cary Fowler, warn we better mend our ways or we are for a likely massive hunger, perhaps unimaginable catastrophes.

The Japanese-Indian book urges all of us to find a way to reconcile our differences with the natural world and learn how to live in peace and harmony with nature. The other book is about protecting a good sample of unmodified seeds from calamities, even nuclear war.

Time has come to rethink our failed agricultural policies and rebuild rural America. These two books are an inspiration to action.