Can electric cars kill the oil industry & save the planet?

This is just a rant, and a half hour or banging the keyboard because it is raining and not nice for going out to plant more seeds in my back yard.

I noticed a lively thread on social media where I had commented that I did not feel strongly that electric cars would kill the oil industry or the dependence on fossil fuels, mainly because electricity, by and large, will continue to come from fossil fuels, unless we consider nuclear energy, which has its own bag of issues. That generated a nice and healthy chain of comments from learned and well meaning folks. I did not wish to bother them with any more lengthy posts from my cantankerous self. But, it was raining outside, and I was stuck indoor for a while. The coffee was hot, and so here I am, on my own blog.

As to having a choice on what kind of electricity one gets may be relevant in very few spots on the planet. For a vast majority, on a global scale – there is no choice. What you get is what is on offer, and fossil fuel burning plants that produce electricity is the global norm right now. So, I do not see electric cars to bring a death knell to fossil fuel industry.

Of course, there are many many other issues far more relevant than a car, with regard to fossil fuel industry. Folks say, though I have not read the actual measurements, that a single flight by a single person on a cross Atlantic round trip in a year, as one passenger in a three hundred passenger carrying commercial plane, makes you responsible for a higher carbon footprint annually, than you driving around as a travelling salesman clocking 300 KM every day of the year.

So, perhaps one should talk about electric aircraft, rather than electric cars, or perhaps conscientious folks should start a movement to boycott air travel altogether to save the planet.

But, again, on a global scale, one can consider how much of the fossil fuel goes into industrial scale agriculture used in new world nations such as Canada, USA and Australia and compare it with fossil fuels used for on surface of air transportation, to get a perspective on our fossil fuel consumption.

This of course does not cover the non commercial flights such as cargo flights that bring goodies to our neighbourhood but was produced in China or Indonesia. It also does not cover our tax payers money used to fly bombers over Syria to drop bombs over civilians in the name of fighting terrorism.

Fossil fuel usually means hydro-carbon. This means a series of molecules, of a thousand different variety, that has carbon and/or hydrogen in bond. ON one end of the spectrum is pure carbon. Folks think coal is pure carbon, but it is actually not so. It has hydrogen too, but much less. As the percentage of hydrogen increases, the fossil fuel gets lighter and lighter, into liquid mode and eventually into gaseous mode.  Among the lightest that is still around on earth in plentiful quantity are gasses like natural gas or methane, Liquified petroleum ( a mix of propane and butane) etc.

They are all called fossil fuel because, billions of years ago, they along with carbon dioxide (CO2) and water vapour constituted our atmosphere. There was no oxygen at all. One could argue that the CO2 in our atmosphere back then came from burning up whatever oxygen was available at the time with too much hot carbon. Either way, the atmosphere was full of stuff that would not allow us to live even one minute.

Then came a long chain of slow reactions, thought to be triggered and engineered by tiny living creatures we generally identify as micro-organisms, or bacteria. They invented photosynthesis, used sunlight as a source of energy, started splitting CO2 to grab the carbon, pull hydrogen out of water vapour and other hydrogen containing molecules and started constructing biological molecules that would be the foundation for a whole plethora of life forms. In the process, it did a few interesting things. It removed carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, produced oxygen as a byproduct, sequestered excess carbon and hydrocarbons into the ground and away from the atmosphere, and made it possible for plant and animal kingdom to evolve. And all those sequestered hydro-carbons are today known as fossil fuels, handiworks of billions of years of industrious micro-organisms that changed the planet and made it habitable for us air breathing animals.

Up came man or man’s predecessors, found out how to make fire out of wood, and started a two million year process of reversing the four billion years of work done by the bacteria.

It took our ancestor hominids and modern humans around two million years to finish off easily available wood on the surface of the planet, so clear cutting of forests became the next major source of energy. Around five hundred years ago, Europe finished off most of its forests so no more wood was available for energy. Man had invented a thing called “technology”, so buried “fossil fuel” called coal, could be pulled out of the earth, and used in place of wood.

Steam engine got invented so water that flooded coal mines could be emptied without manual labour. The rest was an inexorable march of human “technology” to undo the work of the bacteria.

It took around 400 years or so, for man to run out of enough coal on a global scale, to satisfy its ever increasing greed. So, around the beginning of the 20th century, large deposits of the next best thing – oil, was discovered and technology developed to use it for energy production. Being liquid, it had its other advantages that could be exploited better.

However, unlike wood that lasted us two million years, or coal that lasted about four hundred, mans ever increasing demand is finishing off oil is just over a hundred years. So we finished off solid fuel and liquid fuels and the last remaining frontier in fossil fuels is fuels that would be gaseous, but are somehow kept underground by those industrious micro-organisms as part liquid in strange conditions of pressure and temperature that is only possible deep underground or underwater.

So the next, and last, remaining source of “fossil fuel” appears to be natural gas and its other cousins such as LPG etc.

By now, demand for this gas, in places such as BC, Canada, is making the industry cut away last of the remaining forests, flood good agricultural lands, in order to make gigantic dams using the last of the meltwater fed rivers to produce hydro-electric power that can be used for hydraulically fracturing our stone foundations on an earth-quake prone continent, to get at the trapped natural gas, so that more “fossil fuels” can be extracted to power our ever more thirsty civilization.

How long would this natural gas last, compared to wood, coal and oil of the past? Your guess is as good as mine, but my guess is it would last far less than a hundred years. What the bacterial world achieved over 4 billion years, man will finish off in less than a hundred.

When hydro-carbons, or fossil fuel, is gone, what kind of energy is there in nearly inexhaustible quantity that man’s ever increasing greed is not likely to exhaust any time soon?

Far as I can see – it is nuclear fuel, and not wind power or solar or ocean waves etc all of which will remain as fringe. Nuclear fuel has kept the core of the earth hot, molten and magnetic ever since the planet formed and there is enough of it around.

However, just like burning fossil fuels have a nasty side effect. So has nuclear fuel. The reason mankind particularly chose Uranium for power generation and not one of the less dangerous nuclear fuels is because Uranium is a particularly good dual-technology fuel. It not only allows power generation, but it, and its synthetic derivative Plutonium also helps greatly in making atomic and eventually hydrogen bombs. Its great for warfare and weaponization.

So, in the long run, just as I do not believe electric cars are going to solve the planet’s environment on a global scale, I also do not see natural gas to solve it either, and do not see an end anytime soon, of an unending increase of nuclear power plants across the planet either. Till now, Uranium-Plutonium duo remains the most favoured technology which has allowed at least nine nations to develop nuclear bombs (USA, Russia, France, UK, China, Israel, India, Pakistan, North Korea) and at least a few more merely months away from making one if needed.

Meanwhile, an equally increasing number of nations have now the capability of building rockets than could carry such bombs across continents and deliver it at your doorstep, raining death and destruction from the sky, all following the age old model of warfare designed to enhance someone’s economy.

There are, meanwhile, environmental scientists that are beginning to predict that the current business-as-usual model of world civilization is long past the point of no return and the planet has absolutely no chance of maintaining life forms as we know it now. We are already in the midst of the sixth mass extinction phase, which is not even a disputed argument any more. The last mass extinction happened 65 million years ago that make the dinosaurs go extinct. Today it is recognized to have happened because of a massive asteroid strike on planet earth. However, the current sixth mass extinction is not due to any extraterrestrial phenomenon. This one is wholly man made.

So, how much time does the planet have left. Again, your guess is as good as mine. But a rising group of scientists, mostly kept out of mainstream and out of public eye, are claiming that this century, the 21st will not end with the business as usual model still in place.

Some are predicting 95% of living animals we can now identify will be gone by the end of the century, along with 99% of human population. What will the earth look like – I have absolutely no idea, but cities as we know it will be gone, as would be civilization.

Maverick scientists like ex-Jet propulsion laboratory and NASA notable James Lovelock predicted some years ago through his gaia series works that world has less than thirty or so years left before all hell breaks lose. That was made a decade  ago, so perhaps today, by his calculation, we have less than ten years left. His advise at the time was – there is actually nothing one can do to reverse this cataclysm, so might as well put your feet on the table, have a coffee and enjoy life while it still lasts.

I do not know if Lovelock’s prediction and time table is correct, but instinctively, I believe him to be fully correct even if the time table is arguable, and the reason I believe this to be correct is not just on account of man using up fossil fuel alone, but on an increasing different ways including our economy, money creation, agriculture, ever increasing population, ever increasing material demand made by the so called ‘Developmentality’ of civilized humans etc etc etc. So, in my mind, we are the very last generation of living people that are seeing the world as a continuum and peaking of a specific trend of human civilizational evolution and planetary sustainability.

For the next generation on – it is going to be a dog eat dog downward slide where it gets to be impossible for the bacterial world to keep maintaining the earth’s environment in a habitable range for air breathing animals in a manner that we humans of today can still relate to.

Time for a coffee ?

Chlorothalonil in food and our disfunctional democracy

Was interviewed the other day by the US based USA Prepares Show (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z8W5SjHRHVI)

They wanted to know if I am happy with either a one hour interview or a two hour.
I personally think anything over 10 minutes gets to be boring for the people, so agreed to a one hour.
 
These folks came to know about me from German born New Brunswick farmer Werner Bock, who has been screaming hoarse about Canadian government poisoning its agriculture, its forests and its meadows for more than three decades, to the point where the government started harassing him and even putting him temporarily in a loony bin claiming he was mentally disturbed. Apparently, Werner knows everybody in North America. He found out my phone number a few years ago and usually calls me up every few months. He is well known to the radio show people and apparently told them to find me.
 
I personally am not too sure if radio talks are fruitful.
 
I know articles written in online and printed papers have their value in raising awareness. I know blog posts and social media have their value in raising awareness. I know youtube video, audio podcasts and radio shows have their value in raising awareness. I know seminars, March against Monsanto, and mock tribunals all have their value in raising awareness.
 
And yet, I am coming to the conclusion that all these “raising awareness” is pretty much useless, when I consider what result it has achieved in the western hemisphere, especially in North America, which is faced with the worst of this avalanche of food poisoning.
 
At this rate, we shall have a highly raised level of awareness in a few more decades, while we shall also all be dead from poisons – highly aware people that died from poison but decided to do nothing, other than being “aware”.
 
The reason for this contradiction, in my analysis, is that the western world in general, and North America in particular, is too full of people that are little more than armchair activists, and people that are addicted to “raising awareness” to millions more armchair activists.
 
To me, it is clear as the open sky, that the root of all this problem is a dysfunctional democracy that has been hijacked into a full blows fascism, while the addicted population still believes writing an article, or clicking a like button, or hanging out with this or that talking head will bring them close to Nirvana.
 
If we have a full blown fascism and our democracy is nothing more than a make belief facade, then we have a problem that is political in nature and has to be solved, if at all, by political means.
 
I am not a politician by nature. I hate politicians and consider their professions to be among the lowest of the low, very close to anti-GMO talking heads in fact. They all are there to make a living out of whatever the hot topic of the day is. They are not here to solve anybody’s problems.
 
So, as an activist that is fed up with arm chair activism of my friends, fed up with raising awareness, and fed up with local politicians at the municipal, provincial and federal level – the only option appears to be to try and influence more citizens to stop the bullshit, and start targeting politicians, and try to pull their pants off in public. Time is well past when I can still be polite and ask  politician with folded hands to “please sir, please madam, please look at this or that issue, please see these reports and please disclose that hidden data and please, please please please please …”
 
I am dome with that shit. But, I am not a revolutionary and hate violence and bloodshed. I also hate being an elected politician or the compromises that one needs to make in order to gain political office. I am also a serious disbeliever of the political party system. To me, political parties should be banned and only independents allowed to stand for election. That way, theoretically, each elected official works only according to wishes of his or her constituents and not according to any party leader or party whip. The very notion of a political party is, to me, unconstitutional and anti-democratic. Anyhow, hating politics as a profession and refusing anything outside the law, and fed up with “raising awareness” to a comatose citizenry, my options are limited as an activist.
 
What we have here is a failure of democracy not because politicians are crooks, which they generally are, but because the citizens are in coma. In democracy, even in a failing democracy, every fault of the system lies at the feet of the citizens, no matter how much folks may like to blame politicians or Monsanto or the devil. It is always the fault of the people to allow things to come to whoever it has come. And our citizens, in North America, are are almost incapable of rational thinking. It is as if they are in a coma or has already gone autistic and are incapable of any rational thinking.
 
I want other citizens to grab their politicians by the scruff of their necks, metaphorically, and give them one issue options – “ban glyphosate or your rear end is mine to kick”.
Meanwhile, here is a chart about “Chlorothalonil in foods as tested by CFIA, consolidated from over 65,000 tests and plotted on a logarithmic scale. I have not had the time to look deeper into it, but Canada and USA ranks high in these along with a few others like Guatemala, Mexico and China etc. Some of the worst individual samples have over 50,000 ppb of Chlorothalonil, such as Chinese Cabbage grown in Canada.
 
I shall eventually have time to break these down by nations and food types better. All this would be in my book, which may bloat from the current 400 pages to either closer to 1,000 pages, or be split into volume two.
 
This chart is only covering food types that had chlorothalonil average contamination level of over 20 ppb, and shows both the average contamination and the percentage contamination. So, for items that have very low percentage contamination and yet rather high average contamination – those foods have only a few samples with extremely high levels of Chorothalonil while the rest where clean. Good examples of these might be Fine Herbs, Chinese Cabbage (this was make in Canada), Plum, Apricot and Beet. It would therefore make sense to check if those very high levels of contamination in a few few samples are an indication of where they were grown etc etc.
 
Other food items where the percentage contamination is also high, might be candidates that folks aught to consider rejecting, or growing themselves, or buying organic.
 
Incidentally, all items in this chart are conventional. Lots of organic food types were also tested by CFIA. They all had zero or negligible amounts of Chlorothalonil. So, in this particular case, going organic only is safer. All that will appear in my book eventually. Its a work in progress.
 
The green line represents the concentration in ppb, in descending order from left to right, with corresponding percentage contamination in blue for each of these food types.
 
All that will come in due course. Meanwhile I have to figure out how to kick some more political rear ends and how to goad them, shame them, insult them, till they start responding. 
 
There are some animals that turn over and play dead when in trouble. If you take a stick and turn the animal right side up, it immediately turns over belly up again, to convince you that it is really dead. Our politicians are a master of that act.
 
Some of these should end up in my blogs but I am having some malware issues with the wordpress platform and need to solve those first so that future blogs come out OK.
 
PS I hope to catch up with Anthony Samsel sometime to catch up on the implications of having much chlorothalonil in food, especially what we consider as vegetables.
 
Tony Mitra

Judy Hoy on Glyphosate and Wildlife

I had a telephone interview with Judy Hoy on January 24, 2017, regarding effect of glyphosate (RoundUp) on wildlife. Judy is a wildlife biologist that has cared for wildlife all her life and is 77 years old.

She had a lot more to say beyond what is covered in this eight and a half minute video, regarding birth defects through glyphosate affected newborns, and how some of the deformation can be cured through the right kind of treatment, though the doctors do not like to acknowledge that, and claim the deformations are genetic, from the parents and cannot be cured. That conversation has not been recorded for inclusion in this video.

Here is her statement, and the talk recorded over the phone and converted into this video


I would like to address atmospheric transport of pesticides (an umbrella term that includes herbicides, insecticides and fungicides) and the consequences of those pesticides falling in rain and snow downwind of where they are applied. With regard to so called organic crops, rain containing pesticides, especially those extensively applied, like Roundup with its primary ingredient glyphosate, contaminate all of the foliage on which the rain falls, including organic crops. Such pesticides also contaminate the surface water used for irrigation of all crops, including the otherwise organically grown crops. This causes most organic crops to have measurable levels of glyphosate and/or metabolites, but much less than crops that are directly sprayed with Roundup. With regard to pesticides sprayed by aircraft, studies have shown that approximately 20 percent of the chemicals fall on the area sprayed. The rest of the chemicals are carried by the winds far from where they are initially sprayed, sometimes hundreds of miles in just one day.

Studies have shown that the environmental toxins travel across North America in a northeasterly direction so a large amount of the pesticides sprayed here in Western United States goes across the United States and north into Eastern Canada. It has also been shown that most pesticides sprayed in the Northern Hemisphere north of the equator travel around and around the earth towards the north, eventually ending up in the snow and ice above the Arctic Circle. Environmental toxins sprayed in the Southern Hemisphere go around the earth in a southern direction ending up in the snow and ice in the Antarctic.

Animals all over the world now have the same birth defects, many being far from sprayed cropland. For example, Roundup is not used in the extreme backcountry of Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks, but the animals in remote areas of both parks have the same facial and male reproductive malformations reported in studies of big game animals and documented on domestic grazing animals here in the valleys of Western Montana. This observation is based on pictures of the animals in documentaries and photos taken by photographers who hike far from roads in the national parks to photograph wildlife.

The Forest Service person I contacted by phone emphatically stated to me that they do not and have not used Roundup on the National Forest here in Western Montana. That is because Roundup kills everything and the forest service does not want to kill the native plants and trees. Yet, the examined hunter-killed deer and elk that live on the Forest Service land full time, well away from the valley where sprayed fields are, have the same birth defects. And the birth defects there appear to be at the same high prevalence as the animals living in the valleys. I would like to state that when collecting the study data from accident-killed big game animals, I didn’t separate the animals I examined into valley animals and forest animals.

My biologist colleague and I have examined a fairly large number of mule deer and pronghorn antelope from Eastern Montana and the same birth defects were higher in prevalence on those from Eastern Montana than on our Western Montana mule deer. We don’t have pronghorn antelope here in extreme Western Montana where most of the white-tailed deer I examined came from. White-tailed deer from Central and Eastern Montana brought to my colleague or to me to examine have an equally high prevalence of underbite and a much higher prevalence of overbite than our white-tailed deer here in Western Montana. My colleague examines the bite of each animal when he cleans the skull for the hunter. Those animals lived on the open prairie or in small isolated mountain ranges until the hunter harvested them, so we don’t find much difference in the birth defects with regard to where the animals live. They all have the same birth defects at very high prevalence. Some birth defects, especially underdeveloped premaxillary bone and male reproductive malformations are close to or over 50%. Biology books state that any birth defect with a prevalence of over 5% should raise a red flag, so the prevalence of those birth defects on wild ruminant species here in Montana is 10 times more. It is far past time to raise that proverbial red flag.

Severely underdeveloped lower jaw or overbite was found on over 5% of the white-tailed deer taken to a butcher shop in New Brunswick, Canada. The butcher who reported the overbite on the deer did not look for underbite on other deer brought to his shop.

The evidence shown by the extremely widespread identical birth defects on the wild and domestic animals and the evidence that Tony Mitra reported was found in the Canadian glyphosate test levels, indicates a high level of contamination in the rain and snow. Most of the pesticides in the weather fronts that come through our area are on dust picked up by the winds as they move across the bare fields in the states to the west of us. The millions of acres of bare fields in states upwind of our Western Montana valley are the source of large dust storms when the autumn months are dry. Even if there aren’t large dust storms, when the wind in the weather front passes over the bare fields, the soil particles on the very top of the dirt in the field is blown up into the air. When Roundup is used as a desiccant and applied just prior to harvest, glyphosate and other chemicals in the Roundup are still on the top layer of soil just prior to winter. When the weather front carrying the pesticide laden dust particles hits the high mountains, it slows down, dropping the contaminated snow or rain on the mountains and into our Western Montana valleys.

The snow is especially significant because the toxins that melt out of the snow during the spring and early summer are released into the creeks, rivers and dams that provide the irrigation water. When the water evaporates after the crops are sprinkled with the contaminated water, it concentrates the Roundup and other toxins on the leaves and in the top surface of the soil. In the winter the highly contaminated soil from organic fields and directly sprayed fields is picked up by winds and carried in the weather fronts to be deposited in the snow and surface water downwind and the whole contamination cycle begins again. It will take years to rid the environment of biologically significant levels of Roundup if they never spray another drop for the rest of time.

As many researchers have stated and shown so emphatically in studies, the biologically significant levels of glyphosate that cause birth defects and health issues in developing young animals are hundreds or even thousands of times lower than what is present on the foliage, in the rain and snow, and in the air throughout North America and now likely throughout the world.

Judy Hoy


Meanwhile, for those interested might read up on a dozen year old report from environment Canada on the spread of pesticides through the Canadian estuarine and aquatic environment, and results of its presence from various such samples.

Click on the image for browsing the file from Environment Canada

Charts on glyphosate

Glyphosate content in ppb.

Above chart with partial data (2,000 test results out of over 7,000 from CFIA so far looked at) is for buckwheat only. For those who like to eat buckwheat for health or other reasons, but do not like to have glyphosate with it, may consider a few options – consider buying buckwheat from China or Russia and avoid the other sources, or alternately go organic.

Glyphosate contamination in ppb in legumes produced in Canada and US (out of the first 2,500 records)

And above is the chart for legumes produced in just two countries. Samples of legumes tested elsewhere gives a different story. Some countries have far less glyphosate in them, but only a few samples tested. Some countries have very high glyphosate figures in some categories but not others, also with low sample number. Canada and USA stand out as particular bad example for legumes with regard to glyphosate contamination, and garbanzo is the worst.

There is so much data to go through, covering the CFIA test of foods collected in Canada for glyphosate content, that analyzing it meaningfully is a task that demands attention and also an effort to look at it from different angles and present views that might be easier to understand.

I wonder if I might some day have a book on the topic of glyphosate in food as collected in Canada. Some of the details are revealing, while absence of some foods from test is equally galling. Therefore there is likely a need for some effort that fills the gaps. Getting Municipalities to start testing foods is believed to be an excellent opportunity to fill the blanks.

And, here are a few charts from the data so far transcribed, about the CFIA test records.

This is a partial country breakdown, after transcribing 2,000 records. Some countries have low sample numbers so their indications may not be true representation. Canada & USA have high sampling numbers.

And then the table below. Food samples marked as Canadian are turning out less than American foods. I find that hard to believe when samples are being drawn from al corners of Canada. Equally puzzling is the largest chunk of the samples coming under “unknown” origin. I suspect these unknown foods are unlabelled bulk foods picked up from local stores all over the country, and are likely to be more of Canadian origin than any other. Also that makes the Canadian sample count to be almost twice as many as US samples. So I created a row with the combined Canada+Unknown items, and consider that to be a better representation of Canadian foods. This also brings the average glyphosate (and AMPA) count o the foods from Canada and USA closer to each other, which seems logicals since both have similar agricultural practices and Canada is so heavily (and in my view negatively) influenced by American agro-industrial influence.

The table below gives some of the basics.

One kind of presumably healthy food category that has really surprised me with astonishingly high glyphosate content – is gluten free food. So much so that I had to try and separate them from the rest and see how the figures play out.

Out of the first two thousand odd records, I find very very few gluten free items from any country except USA and Canada, so I ignored them and focussed on just these two. USA has 130 samples and Canada 99, that have “gluten free” in their description. Average glyphosate + AMPA readings for the US produced gluten free product is 248 ppb and that for Canada is 286.

These readings are between two and three times the national average for USA and Canada, which are already hight to start with. Somehow, anything that has “gluten free” mentioned has become suspect- in my mind.

This is but a preliminary report. I shall later check if Organic-Gluten free is any better, and if it is any better than standard, non-organic, non-glutens free, off the shelf conventional food.

Gluten Free foods have been among the most baffling due to high glyphosate concentration.

But when you break it down to organic and non-organic of the gluten free foods produced in USA and Canada, the pictures changes dramatically, as below.

Non-organic gluten free stuff is way worse than national averages, and out of the two, the Canadian product sucks more

The confusion regarding Organic stamp and gluten free food

If you go to my blog, and download the initial 803 records, in searchable pdf, you can check each record that has the words “gluten free” and see the test results and what kind of food.

There still will be a problem. CFIA has removed the label and the true description of the source of the food sample.

So, if you find ten cases of gluten free flour of some kind, and see that nine out of those ten are having high glyphosate and only one is clean, it might be impossible to ascertain which specific brand, or store or place one must to to pick up the clean variety and not the nine dirty types. This is one reason I would say that gluten free this or that item is in general suspect, because the average glyphosate content (adding the glyphosate amount of the nine positive samples and dividing by ten total samples) gives a pretty high glyphosate parts per billion figure and chance of me getting a good doze of it from this item is high.

For those that are gluten intolerant, the problem is amplified and becomes circular. eating high glyphosate gluten free food on one side removes the pair or discomfort of taking in gluten, on the other side perhaps ensure that the gluten intolerance (it is now more or less established that gut bacteria damage is one of the root causes of gluten intolerance, and that glyphosate hurts gut bacteria) problem is likely to continue or worsen instead of get better, because of continued intake of more glyphosate.

It just so happens that “Organic” gluten free food, in general, are a lot cleaner than conventional gluten free food.

One could download the pdf file and check it for any kind of permutation and combination to arrive at suitable decisions that address one’s particular need.

As and when more data is transcribed, cross checked and error-corrected, more of it will be published on line.

Time to time I take a break and make a chart or two to address some things that appear puzzling or surprising to me.

Finding glyphosate content so much higher in gluten free food that the general average of all foods, came as a surprise since I used to think of gluten free as a healthier kind of food. I personally do not buy gluten free, do not have allergy to gluten and do understand that keeping my gut bacteria healthy has gotten to be very important for my immune system and general health.

We are living in a very difficult world, where the US and Canadian Government is constantly changing definitions of food stamps. Today they accept certain kind of contamination even within certified organic label and has invented multiple kinds of USDA-Organic stamp, with different colours accepting different percentage of the food to have non-organic content.

For example, I just learned from a scientist in USA that the “green label” USDA organic stamp allows 5% non-organic food to be within it. The black USDA-Organic stamp will allow 30% non-organic content in it and still have that black circular USDA Organic stamp.
I am trying to figure out Canadian Government standards on this. As far as CFIA records go, the foods are only described “organic” without any clarification.

For any that wish to investigate and help us with the general work, you may wish to read through the Canadian Safe Food (read Organic) regulation standard for 2017 and see if the Canadian Government is also following the US counterpart in allowing various levels of impurity into the food and yet agreeing to stamp it with different flavours of the circular “CANADIAN ORGANIC – BIOLOGIQUE CANADA”stamp. Click on the image below for the full pdf document and download for your study.

Click on image for the full pdf document


Some text here might appear long winded or a bit out of context. That is because I am aiming to eventually prepare a book or an e-book on the topic and am using some of these blogs as a store of some of my off the cuff write-ups.

I know the pro-Monsanto and pro-glyphosate lobby will snigger and pass condescending notes that the amounts mentioned are tiny, irrelevant and is not harmful to humans, based on yada yada yada reports.

But this blog, or my efforts, are not to engage in any argument with these characters. To me, no amount of glyphosate is desirable, because:

  1. Safety test records and data, based on which Health Canada approved glyphosate, is still kept hidden from the people, illegally I might add, and I am having a multi-year long battle to get them to disclose the data, without which I am unprepared to listen to these industry cronies.
  2. Science has been hijacked by industry. We need science funding to be taken away from industry, restriction removed so that Universities can test for both good points as well as potential dangers of glyphosate, without any interference from promoters, and let all the findings be part of the body of science. Let chips fall as they may. Let twenty years pass and enough material be collected to highlight both sides of the argument. Only then am I willing to even consider listening to reports or evaluations of the scientific community, on safety of glyphosate.
  3. Let someone prove Anthony Samsel and Stephanie Seneff wrong by showing that glyphosate is NOT an analog (mimic) of glycine and it does NOT get picked up by our biology into the extra-cellular matrix, does NOT get into our cells, does NOT get used by our RNA to produce peptides or peptides which eventually end up as new proteins where glyphosate replaces glycine with disastrous consequence to the function of the protein. If such a proof is not produced, I am prepared to ignore all comments on mere toxicological tests and studies on safety of glyphosate.

Meanwhile, I intend to analyze the CFIA test record data with my own assumption that the only safe limit for glyphosate is ZERO, irrespective of what guideline CFIA, Health Canada, EPA or anybody else follows. This analysis is based on that assumption. Those that follow my reasoning, they may continue to read them Those that do not believe my reasoning – go someplace else. I have no time nor any inclination, to argue with you all. Just go.

Lentils and Chickpea/ Garbanzo beans

These have been a nightmare – since these readings are so high, often going into several thousand ppb (parts per billion – which is derived by multiplying the ppm or µg/g figures by CFIA) on some of the samples. I shall address those items later on on this blog. Meanwhile, I prepared some charts for India, since lentil is a heavily consumed group of seeds in India and since this is increasingly popular in the west and since North America is beginning to produce a lot of it, perhaps hoping to re-export back to India where production is falling behind rising demand.

Indian lentils seem to have rising amount of glyphosate, but nowhere as high as lentils produced in Canada (not shown in this chart)

The chart below shows, among all the foods imported from India into Canada, nearly seventy such samples so far seen out of 2,000 odd records, the worst group is the lentil + Chickpea group, compared to say, rice, or any other item.

Canadian grown lentils are way worse than the Indian grown. I shall show them later. Meanwhile, here is another chart about India, or rather, about the foods imported from India into Canada and tested by CFIA. Its the percentages of samples that contain glyphosate/AMPA.

Percentage of bad food among imported Indian samples. You may click on the image to get to the pdf file of the 800 odd records so far transcribed and put on line.

The above chart means, out of all the lentils imported from India, 50% are having glyphosate. Over 12% of the rice has glyphosate, though mostly trace amount, and among the rest – which include a whole gamut from pickles to snacks, over 71% have some glyphosate. However, the averages as you can see in the previous chart above, are still low compared to foods grown in North America.

I shall come back with more shortly. I am also trying out various chart types to practice on them, for perhaps putting in an e-book I might publish on Amazon kindle, about glyphosate in food.


General North American Food

Since readings between USA and Canadian food samples appear more or less similar when compared to foods imported from anywhere else, I have also combined to two for a general idea of glyphosate contamination in certain categories that appear to have high glyphosate contamination, without separating organic from non-organic labelling. The graph below shows that.

Suspect categories of North American food with regard to glyphosate contamination.

More later.

Gluten Free Food maybe suspect

Over 1600 records so far have been transcribed, but error correction going on, and only around 800 of them so far placed on line in this blog.

The details are shedding light on many issues, but raising as many questions. So far, there seem to be no standard wheat, nor flour made from the wheat, nor standard bread, or Asian flat bread, or Pasta, made out of that wheat, has apparently beed tested. If I was a political analyst, a Psephologist and involved in tracking of trends, I might have concluded that CFIA has not tested any wheat or wheat product on purpose, to keep the people and the government in the dark about the one food item that is suspected to have the most glyphosate.

However, I am just an engineer and do not fully understand nor sure about political analysis or psephology. So I shall wait till I have transcribed all the near 8,000 records before I conclude if wheat and wheat products have at all been tested or not. I shall likely be having further communication with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency about it, once the preliminary analysis of all data received is concluded.

One kind of presumably healthy food category that has really surprised me with astonishingly high glyphosate content – is gluten free food. So much so that I had to try and separate them from the rest and see how the figures play out.

Out of the first two thousand odd records, I find very very few gluten free items from any country except USA and Canada, so I ignored them and focussed on just these two. USA has 130 samples and Canada 99, that have “gluten free” in their description. Average glyphosate + AMPA readings for the US produced gluten free product is 248 ppb and that for Canada is 286.

Gluten free foods may be suspect – due to much higher glyphosate content. You may also click on this image for the PDF file uploaded with the transcribed data comprising of the first 803 records. The remaining records going to around 2,000 are still being proof read. There are yet another five thousand odd records to be transcribed, before this lot will be over.

These readings are between two and three times the national average for USA and Canada, which are already hight to start with. Somehow, anything that has “gluten free” mentioned has become suspect- in my mind.

This is but a preliminary report. I shall later check if Organic-Gluten free is any better, and if it is any better than standard, non-organic, non-glutens free, off the shelf conventional food.

Here is a two and a half minute video about eggplants. I made it because so far it looks as if this is one vegetable that somehow has avoided being contaminated with glyphosate.

And then below is a 16 minute video of the first 803 records analysed.

 

A few of the issues and tems I have so far found puzzling, are:

Wheat – so far, I have not yet found a single record of normal wheat grain, or popular items made from wheat flour such as bread.n The only wheats so far mentioned are esoteric varieties and special grains that carry “wheat” in its name, such as buckwehat flour,  Buckwehat kernels, gluten free buckwheat, and more buckwheat this or buckwheat that. Most of the stuff, even organic varieties, appear to have glyphosate. But regular no-fancy basement variety wheat grain, and the vast type and name brand of bread that is made from such bargain basement varieties of wheat grain – are so far completely absent from the records. Thus, a major part of human food in these regions, are without a test result. Meanwhile, all sorts of foods that are wheat-like, are tested, and their results do not look good. I am getting increasingly careful and worried about where I get my bread from and how much of it I should consider consuming regularly. My bread intake has been cut from two slices a day to three slices a weak, and I only buy organic bread, but at this point, I am not sure what they contain.

Chickpea and Garbanzo : These are turning out to be, nasty stuff. There are hardly any sample containing these foods have good readings. There are 20 samples tested with Garbanzo – not one of them are organic and all of them have glyphosate – a 100% record. Many have astronomically high glyphosate content and categorized as in “Violation” of whatever standard that CFIA is following. All these samples are picked up in only two regions of Canada so far – The Atlantic and Ontario. No samples from Quebec or West. Some of the very worst samples have been collected from Ontario and originate from the US. I have already gotten rid of unmarked chickpea and Garbanzo we had, and decided to either get organic versions, or do without them.

Brand Name and labels are missing from processed and packaged food. This makes it hard for people to distinguish one sample from the next, when their descriptions are very similar but their glyphosate content may not be.

Above is a good reason municipalities to test foods sold in local stores and make the data, including brand names, available to the people along with the test result. Ref: https://www.change.org/p/let-our-government-test-food-for-glyphosate?\

Regions within Canada have food growing provinces areas missing. The sample data, containing over 800 records so far transcribed – gives the areas within Canada where the samples were picked up. There are only four such areas mentioned so far – Atlantic, Quebec, Ontario and West. I presume Atlantic to mean the east coast maritime provinces of Lewfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edwards Island, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. I presume West to mean the land west of the Rockies, but basically British Columbia. This leaves aside Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba as the three major food growing regions of Canada. While many of the samples picked up elsewhere must have originated there, I wonder why no local collection has so far shown up in the records. Is there a story here or I just have to wait till those turn up too. Its very odd that these three provinces are missing, as are the northern territories. Not much food may be growing there, but one aught to pick up what food is being sold there, transported from elsewhere. I have been to White Horse, Yellowknife and Tuktuyaktuk. Most foods are packaged and processed, and there are not much food labelled organic there anyway. What are the average glyphosate intake in those foods? I would have wished those to be showing up in the tests too.

Atlantic and Ontario stand out negatively with some of the high glyphosate food items. This has been another major ensuing puzzle for me. Food items that appear to contain measurable and high amount of glyphosate, seem to only appear in samples collected i Ontario and Atlantic. The other two regions so far identified as sollection points – Quebec and West, seem to contain a few items with “trace” glyphosate content and zero measurable amount. How come? Also, where do the missing provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta fit in? The data so far transcribes answers some questions, but raises many more, and presents quite a few major puzzles.

USA & Canada: There are always more samples showing up from the US than Canada. This is extremely odd when all samples are collected in Canada,s since Canada is a major food producing nation, just as the US. Also, the foods identified as of “unknown” origin number higher than both USA and Canada. This is also very odd. I therefore suspect, but cannot prove at this point, that most all of the “known” (meaning unidentified) foods were picked up in food stores where origin was not mentioned, especially for unpackaged bulk food, such as some grains, seeds, flour made from ground seeds etc that were being sold in stores in bulk and without packaging.

I suspect most of these are of Canadian origin. Therefore I have also combined both the Canadian Origin and those that were entered as of “unknown” origin. This way, the total samples in Canada overtakes US samples, which makes sense for foods collected in Canada. This also brings the average glyphosate content below that of USA. The average glyphosate content should be of great interest for Canadians, but the US value is, I suspect, not a true representation of foods in USA. They at best represent American Grown foods that are available in Canadian stores. To get a better idea of what kind of food Americans are buying and eating, one would need to collect similar high number of food samples, local and imported, that are available in American food stores, and then analyze them for glyphosate and AMPA.

I am told EPA had started testing local foods in USA for glyphosate, but stopped its efforts soon after. The reason for stopping it, I am told, is that it ran out of funds and would need more money from congress. I find it strange that USA would not have funds to test its own food. Something very strange going on.

Meanwhile, I am extremely thankful that I managed to get this Canadian food test result treasure trove, and aim to do as good a job as possible, to bring it out to the people.

Tony

An older 10 minute quick update after 500 readings out of 7,000 transcribed.


Thanks and best wishes to all. Comments welcome.

About New Brunswick Herbicide Spray

IN the last few days, I have had a number of exchanges from people in New Brunswick, regarding a near collapse of big game wildlife, suspected through herbicide spray over the forests on one side, and a long lasting sad story of people getting sick from the same as power companies spray the ground under power lines that border human habitation. Here are a few quick observations and calculations. New Brunswick is under a peculiar and undesirable condition of a single corporation having a stranglehold on the province and able to manipulate government regulations to suit its business model. It is also alleged that the spray chemicals might actually be paid for through taxpayer dollars.

Wall mounted deer head with overbite

Meanwhile, people of the province are pushing for a ban on spray and the effort is going door to door, having garnered tens of thousands of signatures in a province that is low in population.

Wild game meat cutting shops in Fredericton are reporting strange cases when they receive animals that were killed by hunters for butchering, where the deer heads show lower jaw severely under developed (having an overbite). Others have seen similar animals in the wild, including animals with only one horn developed. Same is also observed and a few of such heads are also collected by wildlife scientists, looking to have them meaningfully tested somewhere.

Then there is the case of continuing and long lasting history of the province under a crippling history of a higher percentage of people being sick and dying of all kinds of  ailments suspected from exposure to toxicity that are much less prevalent elsewhere. Some areas are so bad that almost every single family has dear ones that died, or are dying, or are suffering from severe illness, including permanent disabilities, even in young children and youths. And the suspected culprit is excess use of herbicides too close to these habitations for too long.

Deer killed by hunters with great overbite

The area is also well known for military testing of nasty chemicals such as agent orange and others that have been for decades and reportedly are still being tested over the ground in secret locations out of bounds for the people or media, and the effects may be spilling over to the local flora, fauna and humanity.

To make things worse, the province is under a sustained recession. There are no jobs except with the Government and a single corporation that owns everything, including involvement in the forest management and herbicide application. So, the people have nowhere to complain without risk of losing their job, and nowhere else to go. They are suffering silently.

It almost sounds like wilful genocide being committed on the Canadian people of the province through a sustained chemical attack ongoing for multiple generations.

Some of them contacted me.

My thoughts – it is neither easy nor perhaps the best idea to have the deformed deer heads sent off for some lab test for presence of Glyphosate. Why? Because:

  • Canadian labs are not offering testing of animal tissue or body fluids for glyphosate, to the best of my knowledge. They only offer glyphosate testing on soil, water and some kinds of food and plant matter (foliage might be tested by labs that test plant matter, but if they will accept samples from the public or only from Govt needs to be investigated, since only one lab does this plant matter test and I am not sure if they only do it for the Govt or also for the people)
  • The bone malformation in the deer are suspected to be caused through epigenetic effects from toxic influence while in embryonic stage in mother’s womb, or soon after birth while still going through major development process and before they have had time to develop a robust immune system. Therefore, testing for presence of glyphosate on an adult dead deer might not point to the root cause.
  • Glyphosate might not be the only chemical involved in this malady, although it is the most used herbicide and suspected to be linked to a whole swath of ailments in humans and the living planet. Other chemicals equally suspect could be Killex, Mecoprop-P, 2,4-D etc.

Next – it may be a better idea to actually start a practice of measuring pollution levels of these chemicals in soil, water, and plant foliage periodically over some suspected areas.

Average test using Liquid Chromatography (HPLC-MSMS), for glyphosate goes to say around CAD 300 to 400 per sample, and cost for ELISA test goes to just over CAD 100. So, a mix of the two systems used might result in an average cost of say CAD 200 just for a rough estimate. ELISA test is indicative but considered not accurate or consistent (repeatable) enough to hold up in court. However, if the results also show up similar in multiple tests or also show similar results in LCMS methods, they will be good enough. Also, any suspect results can then be cross checked and verified by a more costlier test.

So, with an average cost of CAD 200, if sample of ground water, soil and foliage is collected from a sample test area (three samples) and if tests are done say four times a year, to see seasonal variation depending on spraying cycle, foliage growth period, pregnant animal foraging period, and newborn period (say four seasons in a year), then a single area will have 3×4 – a dozen samples to be tested. At CAD 200 that makes it CAD 2,400 annually – from one area and for one chemical (glyphosate). This breaks down to a budget of say CAD 2,000 per month.

Now, if one wishes to check against five chemicals and not just Glyphosate alone, and assuming test costs will be very similar for other chemicals too, then a single area would need a budget of 2,000×5 = 10,000 per month.

If ten such places need to be placed under continuous monitoring, in order to get an idea of the degree of chemical pollution to environment, then a monthly budget of 10k x 10 = 100K is needed.

In other words, a million dollars will cover ten years of data accumulation, covering ten test areas, for five pollutants, from three kinds of samples, tested four times a year.

This kind of money is unlikely to come from volunteers or the people. This can however be made available from provincial government, even if started small and then expanded.

The trick might be gathering enough public support to lean on their government to cough up with this testing regime.

At the end of the day, this problem may not be dealt with purely on a scientific platform because of two basic problems with science today:

  1. Independent study and verification of the safety of the industrial biocides are not being allowed, on various pretexts.
  2. Scientific institutions by and large are no more public funded, and are supported by the same industry that benefits from the production, sale and application of these biocides. And industry is not interested in funding any science project that might find a problem with their herbicides. Therefore science has become biased, and has lost its neutrality and objectivity.

So, if it cannot be solved within the ambit of science, how might it be addressed? A million dollar question, but I suspect it cannot also be solved by money. In other words, people donating to a good cause will not solve the problem. Why ? Well, if money could be the deciding factor then the people have already lost the battle because the herbicide pushing corporations and lobby have far more money than the people, and can easily outspend the public and also buy the government if the government is for sale.

So then, in my thinking, the only ace that the public has that has not yet been taken away, is their vote – at the federal, provincial and municipal level. How the people might get together on this issue – remains a million dollar question. But building a grassroots movement to resist this chemical attack seems to be a good place to start.

The people of New Brunswick already have performed a near miracle – they have dedicated people working towards the petition to ban spraying in NB, and have garnered over twenty thousand signatures, going literally door to door. That is a support base that, if used properly, should begin to make a difference.

My heart goes out to the people of New Brunswick, and I stand in solidarity, helping them in whichever way I can, starting with, but not ending with, this blog.


Meanwhile, I am looking for people in New Brunswick who have a story or  an observation, or a personal statement, for making the rest of us more aware and alarmed at what appears to be a sustained chemical attack that the people of the province might have been subjected to, and how to find ways to stop this madness, and how initiate a public funded and transparent scheme of measuring the levels of toxic pollutants in the forest and residential environment, and how to trigger an independent analysis and study of the effect of such practices on the flora, fauna, people and biological diversity of the land, skies the estuaries and the oceans around New Brunswick. Everybody stands to benefit from such an endeavour, but most of all, it helps the people and the wildlife of NB who are at the front line of this chemical assault.

Any interested person – feel free to contact Tony Mitra by email.


Recent Blog attendance map.

Above blog attendance map shows degree of interest in the New Brunswick story. The red areas are sort of “hot” meaning multiple hits from them since this blog came up. Clearly, there is high level of interest from both coasts in Canada and also USA. It also shows some noticeable interest from pockets in western Europe as well as some of the eastern block nations such as Poland and also from the western part of Russia. This shows that some of the issues faced in New Brunswick might have a parallel, perhaps at a lesser extent, in matters of forest management in Northern Europe and Russia.

India has a long and sustained grassroots movement against GMO in general and a rising awareness about the herbicide that goes with GMO, though they are not, far as I know, too aware of herbicide use in forests. Anyhow, India has a healthy grassroots activism against chemicals in environment, who are also curious on similar goings on across the world. That might explain their level of curiosity here.

Then there are isolated points of interest in Taiwan, Malaysia, New Zealand, and the populated arc of south western Australia. Add isolated points of interest from Panama, Antigua, Colombia and Brazil – and that covers up central and south America. One would have to post in Spanish or Portuguese to get more response from there.

In the middle east, there is some interest from Israel and Iran – an indication that hazards of herbicide spray can find common ground among even arch enemies.

Africa is mostly missing, perhaps due to lack of internet access, or preoccupation with more pressing issues of their lives. Cape Town is the sole exception.

That’s all for today. So far so good.

Ag Ministry of Saskatchewan joins the glyphosate testing deniers

The petition for local governments to test local food for glyphosate is slowly gaining ground. As more people are joining up, I am getting more feedback on potential decision makers to enter into the petition. One such recent entry has been the minister of agriculture for the Canadian province of Saskatchewan.

I was impressed by the promptness of the response, but not by its content. Passing the buck and sidestepping the demand to test local food for glyphosate and not depend on another branch of Government which is obviously not testing anything for the people – seems to be the preferred method used by politicians to tap dance around the burning necessity for letting the people know the quantity of glyphosate in their food, and to deal with it in anyway they like.

These answers are not considered to be depressing. It gives us knowledge of what to expect from the fence sitting governments. It also bolsters the notion that the petition is needed more as a tool to develop grassroots movement, where people pressure begins to trump corporate lobby, and clean food trumps toxic one.

Anyhow, I wished to preserve this piece of information, not only because it deserves to be in the general body of information attached to the petition, but also as a blog and perhaps a near future book of essays, on my experience as a food security activist, and the journey of trying to push back from the toxic avalanche we are all subjected to.

tony mitra

Kickstarting a grassroots movement on testing our food

This is a movement in need and in waiting.
This was not possible a year or two ago, cause we did not have enough labs, but is possible today.Here is something this movement is NOT about:
Its NOT about debating if glyphosate is safe or unsafe to be in our food.
Its NOT about what the “science” might say about it.
Its NOT about passing new laws by federal or provincial Government about labelling.
Its NOT about if our farmers can or cannot do without Glyphosate.
So, what is it about ?
Its about people’s right to know if Glyphosate in in their food and how much.
Its about recognizing that labelling GMO does to give the full picture since non GMO crops are now desiccated with glyphosate and people can be more poisoned by some of these non-GMO crops than even GMO crops.
Its not about labelling – its about measuring and disclosing the contamination.
In order to kick start the movement, which should have a corresponding petition on change.org, it would be necessary to influence people that this is supposed to be a people’s movement that needs more than arm-chair activists.
Signing petition and sharing them on Facebook is not the goal. The goal is to appeal, for each of us, to our respective municipalities, to set aside a budget and start testing food, both locally grown and/or sold in stores, for glyphosate content, using Canadian labs, and to make the results public.
Irrespective of the debate, the science and the politics around Glyphosate/ RoundUP, the people will decide if they like some of the food brands that have more glyphosate or they like other brands that have less. Its about people’s right to choose without ever having to explain to any politician or scientists why they prefer to have one kind and not the other. That is their right.
Municipalities do not have the authority to get involved in scientific debate. Their job is to fulfil people’s wish. People wish to know which brands of their bread or other food items have how much glyphosate – and the MUnicipality’s job is to provide the answer. Thats it.
In order to kick start this effort, we wish to have a short 10-15 minute video where committed grassroots activists are ready to discuss this under a camera. Once it is done, we shall make more from others around our country that have found novel ways to approach their municipalities. How some of our compatriots manage to get our largely do-nothing municipalities to get off their hind quarter and start testing food.
Anyhow, for the first brainstorming, idea-exchanging video, I am inviting like minded and committed food security activists from nearby to respond, so we can arrange a date, time and venue, to get this off the ground.
Mind – we are not looking for arm-chair activists, but real people committed to approach municipalities and stubborn enough to be at it.
Interested parties please contact. My email – tony.mitra@gmail.com. my phone 604-649 7535.
Thank you

Relevant links:

E-413

Updates on Glyphosate Petition

Hello friends,

It has been an exhilarating time since I opened two separate channels for my Government, in Ottawa, Canada, to address the issue of rising use and presence of the weed killer RoundUp and in particular the chemical Glyphosate in our environment, and the fact that the people do not have either access to information on how much of the toxic chemical is in our food, water and soil, or access to the safety test that is supposed to prove that the chemical and the formulation is actually safe for people or for the environment.

This matter has now reached a turning point since Canada is now having a lot of labs accessible to the public that will test our food for Glyphosate, something that was not the case a few years ago, and something on which I had already butted head with the previous Government under Harper, and where my letter was carried by the then MP Mr. Atamanenko to the then Health Minister Ms Rona Ambrose, to respond to. This is a good sign that labs are now beginning to offer this service.

One of my current multi-channel dialogue with the Government included an application to Health Canada, which is Canada’s way of describing the Ministry of Health, to disclose to me if it actually has seen safety test data on Glyphosate, and if so, to disclose to me all such data and reports. This application was made through the official system known as “Access To Information” act of the Government of Canada. Similar acts are also known as “Freedom of Information” act or “Right to Information” act elsewhere, such as in Canadian provincial Governments or elsewhere in the world.

Another parallel effort was the creation of an online petition for Canadians to support a motion, for our Government to disclose all hitherto hidden safety documents on Glyphosate or RoundUp, to the Canadian people, so that people can independently verify if the product is safe and if the Canadian Government has been diligent in its study and analysis. Further, it is the right of the Canadian people to see such documents and it is in effect be illegal to deny public access to such data.

Why exhilarating? Well, first of all, the correspondence that generated from the “Access to information” act appeal, confirmed a few things,

  • that the Canadian Government has in fact seen a lot of safety test data and documents
  • that they are in possession of over 130,000 pages of such material
  • that I indeed have a right, as a citizen of Canada, to see such data

And in spite of that, the Government has unfortunately been dragging its feet, citing reasons why it needs more time to provide me with the information requested. One of the reason is that they need to cross check with the parties that conducted that safety test, if the details may be divulged to me and under what condition.

The very facts that the Canadian Government acknowledges it has the data, and that I have a right to it, are positive development. That I cannot see it yet unless third parties that provided the data agree to the arrangement – is in my view illegal. If such data cannot be shown to the people, then the product (Glyphosate) cannot be approved for use among the people either. That is how I read the law.

The second part – the petition, has 30 updates so far, has generated almost 23,000 support, over 98% of them being Canadian. This is far and away more support than I had anticipated. For a country with a very small population of 35 million, this is an unprecedented level of support on a subject not so easy to understand and one that has not been covered by the mainstream media at all. The sheer volume of support, I suspect, has influenced my MP Carla Qualtrough, who also happens to be a federal minister, to agree to see me on April 27th for 45 minutes, so I can hand over all the documentation on the petition, which runs to over 1,000 pages, to her in a CD or a flash drive, to be taken to Ottawa and handed over the Health minister.

I asked if I might bring a delegation of six other persons, to which the Minister Qualtrough’s office that I may. The petition itself can be visited by clicking on the image below.

It has many interesting updates. One of which is a comment by India’s noted supreme court advocate Mr. Prashant Bhushan, who is representing petitioner Ms Aruna Rodrigues in her public interest litigation against the Government of India on account of GMO, where legal precedence is already set, that obliges the Government to disclose biosafety data of transgenic products to the people before the product is to be approved for release. In other words, intellectual property rights, or agreement on Confidentiality or or non-disclosure clauses cannot be used to trump public safety. Click below for that video.

My request to the Honourable minister is going to be in three parts, of which one would be to personally carry the petition documents to Ottawa and hand over same to Health Canada and to ask them to respond. The second is to have a personal talk with Prime Minister Trudeau, requesting him to drop in at the secretarial office of the UN Convention on Biodiversity, located in the same home turf of the Prime Minister, in Montreal, and to ask the staff in that office about how Canada is doing in comparison with the rest of the world with regard to Cartagena Protocol. The third is to look into ways to kick start testing of local foods in Delta, her constituency, for presence of Glyphosate.

 I have added information on a few UN platforms for Canadians in the latest update. These are:

There is also an effort on my part to convert a condensed form of the petition material and references into an interactive e-book on Apples’s iTune store and/or Amazon’s Kindle for around $3 in the next few weeks.

There are perhaps a few more updates that will go into the petition before it is closed. These might include:

  • A talk with the president of the Canadian Farmers Union
  • How to engage citizens into coaxing our Municipalities to start testing local food, water and soil, for presence of Glyphosate and to make the data public.
  • An update on the coming meeting with Minister Carla Qualtrough about this petition.

Stay tunes and feel free to add your comments below.

Thank you.

Tony

Publishing a few books

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Writing is a gift – or is it?

Somewhere down the track where we evolved from apes to hominids with a brain that could handle complex sentences and a language, the basic tools for being a speaker were hardwired in.

I am told that this change essentially distinguishes anatomically modern humans from archaic forms, and that this development is rather recent, perhaps under a hundred thousand years old.

And then, much more recently, a mere five to ten thousand years back, folks started scratching around on the sand, of the walls of their caves, to describe something or other – passing phase of the moon, or the tide, or animals that were around them. And as humans discovered pastoralism and agriculture, experienced perhaps the first population spurt, and started building their own homes and not depend on caves, they managed to figure out how to use those scratchings for record keeping and identification. Written text, or script, was on the way.

And thus, although we have not yet evolved to the point where ability to speak in a language or read and write is hardwired into our genetic construct, and we have come  some distance towards it. A normal child will automatically pick up a language without being expressly tutored, simply by being around others speaking a specific tongue. Writing or reading, unfortunately is something that a human needs to specifically learn. It does not come automatically by hanging around people, or books, or a pencil.

Nonetheless, it is perhaps a fair assumption that a lot of people around the world can read some and write some, in some language. A few fortunate ones are comfortable in two languages, and some in more than two.

And that brings me all the way to my own situation. I had mentioned I knew three languages – Bengali, which is my mother tongue, Hindi, which is India’s national language, and English, which is the language I used in my profession as well as one of the two working languages of my adopted nation – Canada.

The problem these three languages each uses its own distinct script. This means, even if I am conversant in speaking in those languages, I would need to be familiar with three distinct scripts, or letters, to be able to read or write in any of them. This can be better understood if one considers differences between European languages such as English, Spanish and French. They use the same script, with perhaps a small number of special characters in each. If one is proficient in any language, one could more or less read the other, even if he fumbled with the exact meaning of grammar of it. Not so in my case. The three languages use three different scripts. Hindi and Bengali are both derived from a common mother language – Sanskrit and fall in the same language family, and yet their script separated from each other early on, and now one needs to be totally familiar with the different scripts to be able to read a sentence.

Anyhow, I write very little in Hindi, although I did part of my early schooling in that language and my first tentative writings and childhood poems were composed in Hindi.

My later years in a different part of India in a different school system let me lose familiarity with  writing Hindi, while picking up two others – Bengali and English. Today, I can read Hindi and converse in it, but would struggle to write in it.

I type the fastest in english, but that is primarily because the computer keypad is designed for english, and adapting that keypad to other scripts has its hassles, and sometimes I have to press multiple keys to generate a single letter in Bengali, which automatically slows things down and increases chances of mistake. While I can usually type in English without looking at my fingers, I cannot do that easily for Bengali using the same keyboard.

Anyhow, I have a lot of writings done in English and Bengali. And now the time has come I feel, to start publishing some of them since self publication is reasonably easy.

Some years ago, I tried to write a novel, but it turned out to be more a musing of an opinionated immigrant that observed the world around not superficially at the surface, but using What could amount to be a maverick effort at penetration below the surface and check if what we see at the surface is sustainable, or if the root is getting rotten, or in indeed the surface is shiny but is blocking out other parts of our world intending to insert an element of romance, the guy had a Canadian girl with him as they travelled across western Canada. But it was not really up to him to write a romance, and the continuing novella turn out to be a conversation between the two, mostly covering the land, its geological transformation, and evolutionary track of the living world, including man’s involvement is it.

Nonetheless, the total writings might appear to be somewhat curious and did include musings that I believe deserve to be preserved.

Due to sheer bulk of material, the writings needed to be split into multiple volumes. The first volume, covering 133 pages, was put up today. Its sections went as follows :

Captor description : Early writings
Section 1: A vanishing world
Section 2: Missing the world of his father’s paintings
Section 3: Golden
Section 4: An universe for an anchor
Section 5: Quantum mechanics of mass hysteria
Section 6: Storm warning
Section 7: Wish I could write like them
Section 8: Miguel, the Everglades and Lovelock’s warning
Section 9: Eocene Thermal maximum in a bowl of soup
Section 10: When you are right and wrong at the same time
Section 11: Rice in the Vedas
Section 12: Autobiographic blues
Section 13: At the water’s edge
Section 14: How green was my Facebook
Section 15: Suta at the riviera
Section 16: Coffee with a giant rhynoceros
Section 17: Considering Mabel
Section 18: Overload
Section 19: A sunset, mitochondria, peat bog, and a kiss
Section 20: A few pages on a leap year day
Section 21: The ten thousand year old woman
Section 22: The vanishing Y chromosome
Section 23: Cult of Tagore
Section 24: Old woman sacrifices herself.
Section 25: Hello world

And so, I compiled these twenty five blogs into 25 sections of chapter 1 of the book. The book has only one chapter but 25 sections, and is 133 pages long.

And then I converted it into an iBook (epub) format and uploaded it in Apple store.

Next, I exported it to pdf, reimported that for kindle and uploaded it again at Kindle.

Now, I can go have a coffee and plant some more seeds.