The Noah Project

Rebuilding a sustainable world.

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Vote With Your Wallet

Spencer Bath

Spencer Bath admits, in the coloradoan, that when discussing fertilizer options with his customers he asks loaded questions such as, “Are you looking for conventional chemical salts or something organic that is safe for children and pets?” He notes that:

A rapidly growing number of consumers are either already seeking organic products, or sit on the fence in such a way that the loaded question clarifies for them their desire to reduce the toxicity of their immediate environment. The chemical salt fertilizers combined with herbicides, or “weed and feed” are typically loaded with 2,4-D, a selective broadleaf herbicide discovered during development of chemical warfare agents during World War II. Though 2,4-D has been determined relatively safe by the EPA, further investigation finds numerous contradicting studies.
Historically, 2,4-D herbicides were contaminated with dioxins, but we are told that today they are “clean.”
We should be clear, dioxin is an umbrella term for hundreds of chlorine-based compounds, defined collectively as the most toxic chemicals known to science. Dioxins are stored in fat cells in humans and animals and work their way up the food chain (bioaccumulation), or pass from mother to fetus. Dioxins act as exogenous estrogen mimickers in the body and have proven to be highly carcinogenic. Other significant effects of these toxins include reproductive, developmental and neurological disorders, birth defects and immunological conditions.
Levels of dioxins pervading the environment have been decreasing according to the EPA in a recently released report which also stated that “generally, over a person’s lifetime, current exposure to dioxins does not pose a significant health risk.” The malleability of government agencies charged with protection of public health while demonstrably in service of corporate interests begs concerted skepticism.

Bath encourages us to make informed decisions about the products we buy and to employ our purchasing power to effect change.  (The emphasis below is mine.)

Acute self-awareness regarding the seen and unseen effects of the products we employ is more effective than relying on lobby for legislative change or jaded science. Every dollar spent is an immediate vote for increased or decreased exposure to chemicals, it’s that simple. National impetus for the adoption of chemical alternatives is more effectively energized from our own front lawns, as opposed to the White House or ballot box.
Choosing even a lawn fertilizer has drastic ramifications; we can either support a multinational corporation with a history as an unapologetic environmental catastrophist and war profiteer or purchase completely safe, natural materials without looming known and unknown toxicity.

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Rural Folk Poetry of Afghanistan

Poetry magazine is devoting its entire June issue to Journalist Eliza Griswold and London Filmaker Seamus Murphy’s project which portrays “Afghan life through the prism of oral folk poems…”

For 10 years, journalist Eliza Griswold reported from Afghanistan and Pakistan for publications like The New York Times and The New Yorker. But she was frustrated that in pursuit of the headlines, some of her most interesting stories were left on the cutting room floor. Too often, she felt, she wasn’t able to convey the humanity and humor of the Afghan people who were living with the daily realities of war.Last year, she embarked on a project to tell those stories by collecting oral folk poems shared mostly among Pashtun women.

I dream I am the president.
When I awake, I am the beggar of the world.

The poems are called landays. Just two lines long with 22 syllables, they carry a bite. (One meaning of the word landay is short, poisonous snake.)

“This is rural folk poetry. This is poetry that’s meant to be oral. It’s passed mouth to mouth. Ear to ear. And the women have recited these poems for centuries,” said Griswold.Over the past decade, many of the landays have also expressed anger about the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan:

May God destroy the White House and kill the man
who sent U.S. cruise missles to burn my homeland.

Others are filled with sorrow:

In battle, there should be two brothers:
One to be martyred, one to wind the shroud of the other.

The article can be found here.