Bt and GMOs

Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) puts out toxic compounds that cause inflammation and tissue damage in the organs of specific insect pests such as caterpillars.

The genes from Bt have been inserted into several genetically modified crops so that the plants produce pesticides themselves. The GM industry argues that this is no different from what organic farmers do when they spray Bt bacteria; however, this is a massive distortion of the facts. Organic farmers spray live bacteria onto the crop, not the Bt toxins. During the night and early morning, pests eat the bacteria, infecting them so that the bacteria release their toxins and eventually kill the pests. It is destroyed by ultraviolet light, so usually, none will survive more than a day or two, and consumers will not be affected by the toxins produced by Bt.

On the other hand, every cell of a Bt GMO plant and its produce contains the Bt toxin, so livestock and people are consuming these pesticide compounds. Despite assurances that they have been tested for safety, most Bt GMOs receive no or minimal testing. The assumption is that because the Bt toxin is considered safe for non-target species, the Bt in the GMO produce is also safe.

However, there are several published, peer-reviewed scientific studies showing that the process of inserting the Bt gene from the bacteria into the plant changes the way Bt works. These studies show that it causes organ damage and inflammatory diseases in the animals that consume the plant. A Canadian study published in the scientific journal Reproductive Toxicology found the pesticide toxin from GMO crops in the blood samples of women and their unborn babies. The GMO toxin was found in 93 percent of maternal blood samples and 80 percent of fetal blood samples. These women were eating the typical Canadian diet. The products of these pesticide-producing plants have been permitted in the diets of people, especially children, without any peer-reviewed, evidence-based testing to show that they are safe. An extensive body of published scientific studies shows that these toxins are linked to numerous adverse health events in animals.

Farming without Herbicides

Crops have been genetically modified (GMOs) to resist herbicides while they kill weeds. An immense body of published science shows the multiple ways these synthetic poisons cause numerous health problems in people and adverse environmental effects.

GMOs have failed as a technology as the constant use of herbicides as the only weeding strategy has caused the development of many species of herbicide-tolerant super seeds. The response has been to genetically modify more crops to be tolerant of multiple toxic herbicides. This has dramatically increased the use of these pesticides with all their adverse health and environmental outcomes.

There is no need to use herbicides in farming. There are multiple cost-effective strategies to manage weeds without them.

Herbicides are pitched as the basis of no-till farming systems where the poison kills the weeds instead of them being tilled out. The advocates of these systems state that these herbicide no-till systems are better for the environment than systems that till the soil as they can sequester carbon dioxide (CO2), the main greenhouse gas (GHG), and store it in the ground as soil organic matter (SOM). Studies show that these systems have better SOM levels than industrial tillage farming, which mostly loses SOM, releasing it into the atmosphere as CO2. However, studies also show that certified organic tillage systems have better levels of CO2 drawdown than most herbicide-tolerant GMO no-till systems.

The best regenerative agricultural systems can sequester more significant amounts of CO2 without killing the weeds than any other farming system.

Pasture cropping is an innovative regenerative agriculture system where the crop is planted into a perennial pasture instead of bare soil. There is no need to till the pasture species or kill them with herbicides before planting the cash crop.

Colin Seis, in Australia, first developed this technology. The principle is based on the sound ecological fact that annual plants grow in perennial systems. The key is to adapt this principle to the appropriate management system for the specific crops and climate.

Another Australian farmer, Neils Olsen, further innovated pasture cropping. He developed equipment that combines cultivation, mulching, aeration, and mixed species seeding into narrow tilled strips in the perennial pasture in one pass. The field is grazed down or mulched before planting to reduce competition with the crop.

Pasture cropping is excellent at increasing SOM. Olsen was paid for sequestering 11 tons of CO2 eq per hectare per year (11,000 lbs per acre) under the Australian government’s Carbon Farming Scheme in 2019. He was paid for 13 tons of CO2 eq per hectare (13,000 lbs per acre) in 2020. He was the first farmer to be paid for sequestering soil carbon under the Australian or any other government-regulated system in the world. His figures for sequestering CO2 are significantly greater than those of any herbicide-tolerant no-till GMO system.

Pasture cropping can be used on permanent pastures and arable cropping lands. Regenerative systems such as this should be the future of agriculture rather than herbicide-tolerant no-till GMO systems.

 

Oats are grown in the perennial pasture.
Picture Courtesy of Colin Seis.

 

Niels Olsen with a multi-species cover crop of legumes, grasses, and grains for livestock. This mix thrives mid-winter in Mediterranean and warm temperate climates and spring/summer in cooler climates. Cereals, pulses, and other cash crops can be planted into the pasture to produce high-value cash crops.
Picture: Andre Leu

 

A perennial pasture a few days after the Soil Kee was used to break up the root mass and plant the cover/cash crop seeds.
Picture: Andre Leu

A Cut Above: The Many Benefits of Grass-Fed Meat

(originally published on The Epoch Times)

When you buy beef, if you have visions of the meat coming from cattle that have grazed exclusively on pasture, like our great-grandparents had, it’s time for a reality check.

Most cattle in the United States are fattened on grain and soy in confined conditions in feedlots or factory farms until they reach market weight. This practice, which has only occurred in the past 70 years or so, is stressful and damaging to animals’ health, destroys healthy soil, pollutes the environment, and makes the animals’ meat less nutritious.

There’s a growing trend for people to want clean, health-promoting food and a back-to-nature approach for raising animals. As more people learn compelling nutritional, environmental, and agricultural reasons for choosing meat from animals raised exclusively on pasture, the demand for and sales of 100 percent grass-fed and grass-finished meat have risen.

In the United States, for example, retail sales of pasture-finished beef rose from $17 million in 2012 to $272 million in 2016. According to Technavio research published in 2020, the market for grass-fed beef is predicted to grow by $14.5 billion between 2020 and 2024.

Nutritional and Health Benefits of Grass-Fed Meat

One of the key reasons for the increased demand for grass-fed, grass-finished meat is nutrition. Compared with feedlot meat, meat from 100 percent grass-fed beef, bison, sheep, lamb, and goats has less total fat and fewer calories, and has more vitamin E, beta carotene, and vitamin C.

With less fat and fewer calories, a six-ounce steak from a grass-finished steer can have 100 fewer calories than a six-ounce steak from a grain-fed steer. Investigative journalist Jo Robinson, author of “Why Grassfed is Best!”, estimates that if you eat a typical amount of beef, 66.5 pounds a year, switching to lean, grass-fed beef will save you 17,733 calories a year. If everything else in your diet remains the same, you’ll lose about six pounds a year.

Regeneration Revolution – The Formation of Regeneration International and Regeneration Health International

Originally published in Masters of Health Magazine

Hardly anyone had heard of regenerative agriculture before 2014. Now it is in the news every day all around the world. A small group of leaders of the organic, agroecology, holistic management, environment, and natural health movements started Regeneration International as a genuinely inclusive and representative umbrella organization.

The concept was initially formed at the United Nations Climate Change Meeting in New York in October 2014, at a meeting in the Rodale headquarters. The aim was to establish a global network of like-minded agricultural, environmental, and social organizations.

The initial steering committee meetings included Dr. Vandana Shiva from Navdanya, Ronnie Cummins from the Organic Consumers Association, Dr. Hans Herren from The Millennium Institute, Steve Rye from Mercola, and myself, Andre Leu from IFOAM-Organics International. It was soon expanded to include relevant leaders from every continent.

Our founding meeting was held on a biodynamic farm in Costa Rica in 2015. We deliberately chose to hold it in the global south rather than North America or Europe and include women and men from every continent to communicate that regeneration was about equity, fairness, and inclusiveness.

Ronnie Cummins raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to pay for the travel, accommodation, food, and other expenses for all the representatives from the global south. It was a truly international and inclusive start.

RI has a mission to promote, facilitate and accelerate the global transition to regenerative food, farming, and land management to regenerate the environment and end world hunger. Rebuilding deteriorated social, ecological, and economic systems.

RI has grown to around 400 partner organizations in over 70 countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America, Oceania, North America, and Europe in six years.

Organic 3.0: the third phase of the Organic sector

The need to form an international regeneration movement was inspired partly by the development of Organic 3.0 by IFOAM – Organics International.

Organic 3.0 was conceived as an ongoing process enabling organic agriculture to engage with social and environmental issues actively and has been seen as a positive change agent.

CONTINUE READING IN MASTERS OF HEALTH MAGAZINE

Many Factors Fuel Demand for Transformation of Our Food System

Originally published on GMOScience

At-A-Glance

•A convergence of factors is fueling increasing demand for regenerative change in our food system.

•There is recognition and acceptance that we have a problem with poor soil health.

•Improving soil health is a unifying and galvanizing topic that gets people engaged and willing to act. Farmers see results that improve their bottom line.

•There is a need for the American people to get involved, band together, and speak to their elected officials to support and promote regenerative agriculture, which is focused on soil health.

In a multi-disciplinary online conversation about glyphosate, the world’s most widely used pesticide, a panel of five experts said there is a convergence of factors fueling more people from all walks of life wanting to see a profound transformation of our food system from pesticide-based industrial to soil-health- based regenerative agriculture.

Factors Fueling Demand for Regenerative Change

The factors include:

•Loss of soil health;

•Loss of water quality;

•Loss of air quality;

•Loss of biodiversity;

•Rising food prices;

•More frequent shortages of specific types of food;

•An increase in chronic health problems in humans that correlates with the dramatic increase in the use of glyphosate and other herbicides since the introduction of herbicide-resistant genetically modified foods in 1996;

•An increased risk of serious health problems including cancer that are linked to the use of glyphosate and other pesticides in farmers, farmworkers, groundskeepers, landscapers, and others.

U.S. Senator Cory Booker who sits on the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry said that many people simply aren’t aware that we have “a food system that is broken for everyone.” He feels that we are at a crisis point in America where one out of every three U.S. government dollars right now are spent on health care, and our country has what he terms “outrageous” amounts of diet-related diseases. In addition, the United States has a little more than 4 percent of the global population, but it uses about 20 percent of the world’s usage of pesticides. Many of the pesticides used are so harmful to health that they are banned in the European Union. Polling reveals that more people than ever want fewer pesticides in their food, and because of the Covid-19 health issue in the last few years, more people realize the importance of taking action to dramatically improve their health.

Even from the viewpoint of conventional farmers, current economic factors are making it difficult to stay in business. The market prices of many pesticides and other chemical inputs have risen to extreme levels, and continued use of pesticides leads to the development of hard-to-get-rid-of super-weeds, super- insects, loss of soil health, and loss of water retention in the soil; all of which drain financial resources often to the breaking point. Six thousand to 8000 family farms are lost every year.

Never have we had more awareness that we need fundamental change in our food system, said Zach Bush, MD, an integrative medicine physician and thought leader on how food systems relate to health and disease.

The discussion entitled “Context and Convergence: A Dialogue on Glyphosate, Human and Planetary Health,” was moderated by investigative journalist Carey Gillam and organized by Farmer’s Footprint, a coalition of farmers, educators, doctors, scientists, and business leaders. This collaboratory of thought leaders came together to expose the human and environmental impacts of chemical farming and offer a path forward through regenerative agricultural practices. To view a replay of the discussion that took place on July 19, 2022, click here.

Improving Soil Health is a Unifying Topic

The solution to the many problems with our food and agricultural system and medical (sick-care) system literally lies right underneath our feet. There is an urgent need to focus on improving soil health and a willingness, eagerness, and ability to do it.

About two tons of topsoil are now lost from every single acre in the United States per year, according to Dr. Bush. The solution is to “…build an education and toolbox system in which our farmers can be supported in their transition to a non-chemical-dependent agricultural system,” he explained.

Calla Rose Ostrander, an agricultural policy strategic advisor to the state of California, agreed, saying there is recognition and acceptance that we have a problem with poor soil health. Improving soil health is a unifying and galvanizing topic that gets people engaged and provides farmers positive results, even when they start taking just small steps.

“We’re talking about improving (farmers’) bottom line in the short term and long term,” said Matt Nicoletti, Director of Business Development for Penny Newman Grain Co., an international grain and feed ingredient company. Toward that end, his company helps growers use simple and obtainable methods to make incremental changes in soil health and soil structure over time. By doing this, the company essentially helps farmers take steps to move toward regenerative agriculture without their even knowing they’re doing that, and farmers see both soil fertility and financial benefits from making those changes.

The Need for More Awareness and Engagement

Sen. Booker said it’s important to help raise awareness of our broken food system and to join with others to form a coalition to band together to fix it through a focus on soil health. Two of the bills he has introduced include the following:

Protect America’s Children from Toxic Pesticides Act, which would ban dangerous pesticides including glyphosate, and

Climate Stewardship Act, which would help support farmers to transition to regenerative agricultural practices that focus on soil health.

ACTION ITEM

However, he said: “Change doesn’t come from Washington. Change comes to Washington.” So, the American people need to do their part and get involved, speak up, and demand that elected officials support bills and enact laws that support regenerative agriculture in the United States.

***Melissa Diane Smith is a respected author, health journalist, holistic nutritionist, and advocate for health-promoting real food.

Turning Sewage Sludge and Food Waste into Carbon Free Vehicle Fuels

Highlights
•Sewage dumped into the ocean harms sea life
•Sewage sludge converted to fertilizer has too many harmful chemicals in it
•Food waste and sewage sludge can be turned into valuable fuel, but toxic chemicals (e.g., glyphosate, prescription drugs) are still problematic
•Acid-loving microbes from Yellowstone Park produce versatile enzymes capable of breaking down toxic chemicals
•Hydrogen gas can be extracted during processing and combined with nitrogen from the air to produce ammonia, a convenient storage form of hydrogen gas
•Electric vehicles fueled by hydrogen gas are fast becoming a practical reality

Brett Danson is an entrepreneur who lives in Kauai, Hawaii, and his life passion has become seeking ways to improve the environment in order to safeguard human health and the health of the ecosystem. His fascinating life story reveals how adversity can lead to a new focus of life energy, ultimately resulting in both personal and financial success, and even great achievement.

Brett’s life-changing moment took place on a day in 2010 when he was innocently walking his dog along a street on the west side of Kauai, when a pick-up truck drove by with men in the back, dressed in hazmat suits spraying weed killer along a 2-mile long seawall. Even though Brett and his dog were across the street, the foul smell of the herbicide permeated. The sprayers were paying no attention to the man with his dog. While Brett was watching them, the dog soon passed out, and Brett tripped over the dog just as it collapsed to the ground. Shortly thereafter, both Brett and his dog became sick. Through some investigations, Brett found out that the chemical was a mixture of glyphosate and 2,4-D, which had been incorrectly formulated at double the specified concentration in the instruction manual.

That was bad. But there was more — a much darker secret. Nearly all the homes on the west side of Kauai have cesspools. Cesspools are simply open holes in the ground where sewage from the home or businesses collects. Cesspools leak into the ocean throughout Hawaii and many other parts of the world. It’s a worldwide problem causing millions of deaths and illnesses every year. Sewage is a problem and food waste is a problem, worldwide. Sewage and food waste unchecked create unsanitary conditions that damage the entire ecosystem.

Brett’s condition continued to deteriorate, and he was eventually diagnosed with severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD). His doctor gave him a very discouraging prognosis, recommending that he “get his life in order” and prepare to die.

Instead, Brett got on the Web and started researching any information he could find on how to heal from COPD. He eventually settled on several natural supplements that he took in high doses, including essential oils such as red thyme, quercetin and N-acetyl cysteine. It took several years, but finally he was able to fully heal.

Brett’s experience had a lasting effect on his perspective on life. He decided to set up a nonprofit foundation which he called the “Global Environmental Legacy Foundation,” whose main focus initially was to try to figure out how to use advanced sciences to remove pathogens and chemicals like glyphosate from water supplies. In 2015, the foundation created a short video [1] describing an idea involving magnetic nanoparticles using a method called capacitive deionization.

Brett is a natural-born leader, and he is not shy about reaching out to experts to share his novel ideas and to expand his knowledge domain. One by one, he slowly grew a network of like-minded individuals, all broadly interested in the topic of turning waste into useful products, while detoxifying water. He also became mindful of the fact that human waste and food waste, if not properly managed, not only causes severe illness and death but can contribute to the carbon footprint that is affecting climate change, through the release of greenhouse gases such as methane, carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxides.

Unfortunately, today, because of the chemical age that we live in, both sewage and food waste are contaminated with many toxic chemicals, such as glyphosate and polychlorinated bisphenols (the forever chemicals), but also toxic metals and many unmetabolized prescription drugs present in human waste. Handling waste is a much more difficult and challenging problem than it was back in the day before all these synthetic chemicals had been invented.

For example, many of the drugs used in chemotherapy to treat cancer are not metabolized by the patient and can end up in the waterways. A good example is methotrexate, which is used to treat not only cancer and leukemia, but also psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory diseases [2]. A great number of these cytostatic drugs are not significantly removed by standard processing methods, suggesting their high persistence in wastewater treatment plants [3, 4]. Metformin is another drug that is widely prescribed to treat type II diabetes. It is thought to be the most highly deposited pharmaceutical in the aquatic environment by mass [5]. It is also a known endocrine disruptor, and it is likely one of the factors causing the appearance of “intersex” fish in waterways that receive abundant sewage effluent. These fish are genetically male with testes, but they also produce eggs and have other features of female gonads.

And, of course, glyphosate is another very common chemical present in sewage sludge and food waste. A study has shown that, when glyphosate is added to water that has abundant biofilms present, the glyphosate quickly adheres to the biofilms and becomes concentrated there at levels two to four orders of magnitude higher than the levels found in the surrounding water [6]. Juvenile fish and amphibians dwell in the biofilms, and the bioconcentration of glyphosate there does not bode well for them. Glyphosate is increasingly being recognized as an endocrine disruptor, so it too could be contributing to the plight of the gender-confused fish [7].

It is interesting to reflect on the long history of managing human waste. Long ago, as people began to crowd into metropolitan areas, it became apparent that something needed to be done, and this led to the invention of indoor plumbing linking to a network of pipes to deliver effluent from a large number of homes into a catchment basin, where it could be treated by reactive agents like chlorine and ozone to kill pathogens before releasing the waste into waterways. But, as always, things are more complicated than they seem. It turns out, for example, that ozone and chlorine treatment can combine to cause certain stimulants such as ephedrine and methamphetamine, as well as certain antidepressants, to metabolize to dangerous carcinogenic products such as chloropricin [8]. Chloropricin is actually used as a broad-spectrum antimicrobial, fungicide, herbicide, insecticide, and nematicide. On the other hand, both chlorine and ozone are somewhat effective at breaking down glyphosate, and this has probably led to a much lower glyphosate contamination level in the wastewater.

Over time, strange marine die-offs made people aware that sewage runoff was becoming a problem affecting the health of marine life. This caused scientists to focus on developing ways to repurpose the sewage sludge as “biosolids” for land-based use [9]. It seems reasonable to think of converting biological waste into fertilizer, and this could be a good idea if not for all the toxic synthetic chemicals it contains today. Dr. David Lewis is an internationally renowned microbiologist who formerly worked as a senior research microbiologist with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s Office of Research and Development. He is known as a whistle-blower who found that agricultural use of processed sewage sludge promoted by EPA programs was linked to illness and death. He recently published a long and fascinating article summarizing his findings over the past several decades [10]. He even argues that widespread land application of sewage sludge (biosolids) may be an overlooked factor in the autism epidemic.

Returning to Brett Danson’s story, it turns out that his idea with the magnetic nanoparticles did not reach a practical solution, because the particles were too expensive, and the chemicals they removed from the water were not getting broken down. But he was not discouraged by this. In collaboration with his network of experts, he eventually worked out an elegant solution that could turn food waste, sewage sludge and agricultural waste into ammonia, which would then serve as a storage form of “green” hydrogen fuel. His small non-profit has now morphed into a bigger commercial operation with several employees, and he has an ambitious plan of assembling a complete ecosystem involving a multi-step process to convert waste into fuel while minimizing the release of greenhouse gases. His company is called GELF Sciences [11], and it promotes the concept of the “AINA Zero-Discharge Wastewater Treatment System.”

Eventually, Brett joined forces with John Sabo of Arizona State University, and the two decided to become business partners. Brett and John successfully transferred a technology invented by Dr. Bruce Rittmann and Dr. Cesar Torress. Brett and John opened GELF Energy Corp. The patented technology, licensed exclusively to GELF Energy Corporation, converts organic waste into electricity 10 times faster than any other technology. The basic idea in simplistic terms was to take advantage of electrogenic microorganisms, capture the electrons in the cathode, and then use the electrons to generate large volumes of gas that can be turned into electricity. Then, the electricity is combined with air and water to make ammonia. It requires a carefully choreographed sequence of processing steps with feedback loops involving the use of microorganisms in a first step followed by high temperatures and pressures to further break down the organic matter, including the toxic chemicals. Simplistically speaking, a so-called microbial energy device ™ takes advantage of microbes that produce electrons while degrading organic matter. The electrons are then shuttled to a cathode, where they are combined with protons to form gas, which is captured. The process also makes fertilizers. Most of the ammonia is generated via an ammonia electrolyzer, which simply combines water, electricity and air to make the ammonia. Some of the ammonia is used in fertilizers. There are also by-products that can be used as fuel to heat the biomass.

One of the big breakthroughs came when Brett’s team from New Mexico State University became aware of algae that grow in the hot springs of Yellowstone Park under extremely acidic conditions. These algae love acid so much that they immediately die in an environment that is too basic. This eliminates any worries of them escaping from the production plant. And the acidic environment they live in is very effective for assisting in the breakdown of toxic chemicals, supported by their remarkable repertoire of versatile enzymes.

Ammonia turns out to be an excellent “storage form” of hydrogen gas. Hydrogen gas is becoming increasingly viable as a fuel source for fuel cell vehicles – hydrogen gas is easily converted to electricity to fuel electric cars, and it is a very clean energy source. But hydrogen bulk storage presents an expensive challenge [12]. Since it is a gas, we must rely on high-pressure compressed gas cylinders made out of steel or composites to maintain pressure up to 1050 bar to condense the gas for storage. An attractive alternative is to take advantage of nitrogen to make liquid ammonia (NH3), where the hydrogen atoms, securely bound to nitrogen, are naturally much more crowded. It’s a fairly straightforward step to extract the hydrogen from the ammonia after distribution.

We are a long way from a practical solution for all the problems associated with hydrogen gas as a fuel source for vehicles. In the formative stages of industry development, the public sector will need to support the common infrastructure required to produce, store, and distribute hydrogen. Luckily for Brett, Hawaii is playing a leadership role in the development of solutions using hydrogen gas as a fuel, in part because gasoline is considerably more expensive in Hawaii than on the mainland. In a recent ceremony honoring a launch of Hawaii’s first “hydrogen station,” governor David Ige boasted that Hawaii “is the only state in the country committed to a 100% clean, renewable energy future.” [13] Despite the fact that much more research is still needed, it is reassuring to know that many brilliant minds are working hard to solve both our energy needs and our needs to reduce toxic chemical exposures in an enterprise that involves a joining of forces between the renewable fuels industry and the wastewater treatment industry.

References
[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0jdVXejSpXg Glyphosate Removal in Water. September 11, 2015.
[2] https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/01/210119085240.htm University of British Columbia Okanagan campus. New tool removes chemotherapy drugs from water systems. ScienceDaily 19 January 2021.
[3] https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/es0609405 IJ Buerge, HR Buser, T Poiger, MD Mu ̈ller. Occurrence and fate of the cytostatic drugs cyclophosphamide and ifosfamide in wastewater and surface waters. Environ Sci Technol 2006; 40(23): 7242-7250.
[4] https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S001429991930768X#bib10 M Jureczkoab, J Kalkaa. Cytostatic pharmaceuticals as water contaminants. European Journal of Pharmacology Volume 866, 5 January 2020, 172816
[5] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25898388/ NJ Niemuth, RD Klaper. Emerging wastewater contaminant metformin causes intersex and reduced fecundity in fish. Chemosphere 2015; 135: 38-45.
[6] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33310222/ Laura Beecraft, Rebecca Rooney. Bioconcentration of glyphosate in wetland biofilms. Science of the Total Environment 2021; 756: 143993.
[7] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33131751/ Juan P. Mun ̃oz, Tammy C. Bleak, Gloria M. Calaf. Glyphosate and the key characteristics of an endocrine disruptor: A review. Chemosphere 2021; 270: 128619.
[8] https://www.acs.org/content/acs/en/pressroom/presspacs/2020/acs-presspac-february-5-2020/treating-wastewater-with-ozone-could-convert-pharmaceuticals-into-toxic-compounds.html ACS News Service Weekly PressPac: February 05, 2020 Treating wastewater with ozone could convert pharmaceuticals into toxic compounds.
[9] https://extension.psu.edu/what-is-sewage-sludge-and-what-can-be-done-with-it R Stehouwer. What is sewage sludge and what can be done with it? September 15, 2010.
[10] DL Lewis. The autism biosolids conundrum. International Journal of Vaccine Theory, Practice, and Research July 15, 2020; 1(1): 51-74. https://ijvtpr.com/index.php/IJVTPR/article/view/4
[11] https://gelfsciences.com/ GELF Sciences, Inc.
[12] https://reader.elsevier.com/reader/sd/pii/S0360319919310195 J Andersson, S Grönkvist. Large-scale storage of hydrogen. International Journal of Hydrogen Energy 2019; 44: 11901e11919.
[13] https://www.forbes.com/sites/dougnewcomb/2018/07/21/hydrogen-fuel-for-passenger-cars-comes-to-hawaii/?sh=3b4e5ac81546 D NewcombFormer. Hydrogen Fuel for Passenger Cars Comes To Hawaii. Jul 21, 2018.

Press Release: Regeneration Health International – Who We Are

Contact after June 1, 2022:
Michelle Perro, MD at michelle@rhi.bio
Ruth Westreich at ruth@rhi.bio

Regeneration Health International
Who We Are

In 2021, a team of scientists, farmers, activists, artists, physicians, and lawyers came together to facilitate and catalyze a global movement and alliance dedicated to regenerating personal and public health, based on the fundamental principle that food is medicine, and that human health, both mental and physical, is directly related to societal, environmental, and planetary health.

We call this “collaboratory” Regeneration Health International (RHI), a sister organization to Regeneration International, dedicated to the principles and implementation of regenerative, organic food, farming and land use. We are totally a solutions-based global organization supplying solutions on how to heal yourself, your family and our planet that are desperately needed.

We believe that a global network of Regeneration Health educators, advocates, practitioners, consumers, businesses, and organizations can come together to create a qualitatively more powerful and effective synergy between movements that are currently doing good work, but that are generally working in relative isolation from one another including organic and regenerative food and farming networks and organizations, organic food and natural health practitioners, consumers, businesses, and environmental, environmental health, and climate movements.

Regeneration Health on an international and planetary scale is obviously a long-term, world-changing project. We believe that our primary first task as RHI is to concentrate on changing the global conversation on health and health care, utilizing and amplifying preexisting voices, media, and institutions, as well as creating new media and educational outlets and platforms. Our goal is to educate and mobilize a crucial mass of civil society and the body politic to understand that healthy, nutrient dense organic food is medicine, and the human health is directly linked to planetary health.

On a local-to-global scale, we must educate and demonstrate the fact, based upon mounting evidence, that modern industrial, Big Pharma medicine, just like industrial agriculture, has failed to regenerate our health. An overemphasis on maximizing corporate profits and treating under the principle of pill for ill medicine, primarily utilizing patented pharmaceutical drugs, ignoring dietary, lifestyle, and environmental factors, has brought us to our present predicament.

In regard to identifying, publicizing, financing, and scaling-up regenerative best practices, we’re not only referring to the techniques and modalities that work best, but also to the projects, organizations, products, public policies, and financing that have the greatest potential to expand and scale these best practices up so that Regeneration Health International and regenerative practices become the norm, rather than the alternative.

Regeneration Health International’s (RHI) website will go live on June 1st.
The website is www.rhi.bio

Please join us as we move forward to regenerate our health and the health of the planet.

###

Can we talk about Regenerative Agriculture?

As an organisation, we’ve always had a complicated relationship with regenerative agriculture; this is probably no surprise to anyone who has followed our work for any length of time. But in some ways, we’ve shied away from really diving into the conversation, partly just because it’s really complicated and difficult to talk about things that fall into so many grey areas. We wanted to wait until we had found some more of the language to talk about it productively, but with time, we’ve realised that there will probably never be a time where our views on the subject feel ‘complete’ or neatly packaged and ready to share. So why not talk about it now?

Anyone who is even remotely tuned into the food system knows that regenerative agriculture is having a moment. Regenerative agriculture, for those who don’t know, is an idea and set of practices that promise to reverse climate change by returning atmospheric carbon to soil. Worldwide, millions of dollars are flowing into new regenerative agriculture projects. Celebrities are rallying behind it. Organisations have cropped up to promote its uptake. Schools have opened across the world teaching its principles. And it’s not hard to understand why—soil depletion and environmental degradation in agriculture are real and pressing issues, and there’s also something intellectually appealing about ‘regeneration’ as a concept in this particular moment in history. We’re becoming acutely aware of how extractive and degenerative our relationship with the planet has become. An alternative like ‘regeneration’ that evokes renewal, rebirth, and reciprocity is undeniably attractive. There’s a spiritual element to it—the restoration of a severed relationship to the earth—that adds to the appeal. It’s easy to rally behind, partly because the picture it paints is a beautiful one—the dream of living in alignment with the earth’s systems, of restoring ecosystems, of healthy soil, healthy food, healthy lives.

CONTINUE READING ON A GROWING CULTURE

What is Regenerative Agriculture?

At-A-Glance

•Unlike industrial agriculture, regenerative agriculture improves the land rather than depletes it.
•Regenerative agriculture uses practices that regenerate and revitalize the soil and the environment.
•Regenerative agriculture sequesters carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to convert into soil organic matter, thereby mitigating climate change
•Regenerative agriculture increases levels of soil organic matter, which leads to multiple positive outcomes in food, nutrition, farming, the environment, and biodiversity.
•Soil health is the key principle of successful regenerative farming.
•The practices used to improve soil health can vary from farm to farm.

Imagine turning the Earth into a Garden of Eden where all life flourishes in diversity for the well-being of all. This vision can become a reality by embracing, fostering, adopting and expanding regenerative agriculture, which takes farming to a remarkably beneficial new level.

Industrial Agriculture Degrades Soil

Our current modern industrial agriculture system uses chemical fertilizers, pesticides, tilling, and other practices that deplete and degrade soil. Over time, living, fertile soil becomes dirt.

Because dirt is depleted in nutrients and important microorganisms, it doesn’t efficiently absorb and hold water. It floods easily, can’t withstand weather extremes such as drought, heavy rain and wind, and produces poor-quality food or no food at all.

Industrial agriculture is a degenerative form of agriculture. Picture the Dust Bowl in the U.S. Great Plains in the 1930s. This is happening in many places throughout the world on a much greater scale.

Regenerative Agriculture Improves Soil

By contrast, regenerative agriculture is a set of practices that works with nature, using photosynthesis to capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to build organic matter—mostly composed of carbon—in the soil, which leads to multiple positive outcomes. These benefits include:

•Increased efficiency in the soil’s water-holding capacity, so less watering is needed;
•Better resilience to droughts, floods, wind, and other extreme weather events;
•Fewer diseases due to beneficial soil microorganisms controlling pathogens;
•Increases in the bioavailability of the nutrients that plants, animals, and humans need.
•Drawing down carbon dioxide from the atmosphere (the main greenhouse gas) to mitigate climate change

Regenerative agriculture is about developing dynamic living systems, rather than a system that is reliant on non-living—and in many cases, toxic—inputs such as synthetic chemical fertilizers and pesticides.

Soil Health the Key to Successful Regenerative Farming

Soil health is the key principle to successful regenerative farming. In Growing Life: Regenerating Farming and Ranching, the first in a series of books on regenerative agriculture, André Leu, the international director of Regeneration International, writes:

Soil health is defined by good levels of soil fertility, soil structure, aeration, water infiltration, and holding capacity, and by low levels of pests, weeds, and disease cycles.

For too long, soil has just been seen as chemical medium to feed nutrients to plants. However, it is time to understand that soil is a complex, living microbiome. It needs to be managed as a living system, not as a dead inert mixture of chemicals.

The Practices Used to Improve Soil Health Can Vary

There is no one-type-fits-all recipe for improving soil health. Farmers have to do their own observing, research, and innovation. Every farm is different due to its soils, microclimates, access to markets, and the individual preferences of farmers and ranchers, Leu says. This means that the practices used to improve soil health can vary from farm to farm. They can include:

•Composting
•Cover crops
•Crop rotations
•Holistic grazing
•Organic farming practices
•Permaculture
•Agrofestry
•Mobile animal shelters
•No-kill no-till and low-till

Why Regenerative Agriculture?

When soil health is improved, the soil not only stores more water, but it also takes excess carbon from the atmosphere, where it doesn’t belong, and through photosynthesis, puts it back in the soil where it does belong. Formerly barren land then transforms into fertile land filled with a diversity of vegetation—and healthy soil, which draws down carbon from the atmosphere, becomes a powerful tool for helping to cool the planet and counteract or mitigate extreme changes in climate caused by global warming.

According to soil scientists, there are many contributors to soil destruction, including erosion, desertification, and chemical pollution, which have led to a low-quality food supply characterized by a loss of important trace minerals that has adversely affected public health. However, within 50 years, we will literally no longer have enough arable topsoil to feed ourselves.

It’s vital that we go regenerative now. As the name implies, regenerative agriculture holds the key to regenerating our health, our farming system, and our planet. By working hand in hand with the miraculous power of nature, regenerative agriculture takes farming to the next level and to a higher stage, bringing the earth’s living processes, farmers’ knowledge and ecological sciences of living systems back to the heart of growing foods.

In so doing, it provides the superior path for farmers producing high-yielding, nutrient-dense foods while simultaneously improving, rather than degrading, the land, and ultimately leading to productive farms, healthy communities and economies, and a healthy environment. As food sovereignty advocate Dr. Vandana Shiva states:

Regenerative agriculture provides answers to the soil crisis, the food crisis, the climate crisis and the crisis of democracy.

Melissa Diane Smith is a respected author, health journalist, holistic nutritionist, and advocate for health-promoting real food.