Posts Tagged ‘nature’

Reuters  |  By Posted: 10/01/2012 9:18 pm EDT

By Carey Gillam

(Reuters) – U.S. farmers are using more hazardous pesticides to fight weeds and insects due largely to heavy adoption of genetically modified crop technologies that are sparking a rise of “superweeds” and hard-to-kill insects, according to a newly released study.

Genetically engineered crops have led to an increase in overall pesticide use, by 404 million pounds from the time they were introduced in 1996 through 2011, according to the report by Charles Benbrook, a research professor at the Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources at Washington State University.

Of that total, herbicide use increased over the 16-year period by 527 million pounds while insecticide use decreased by 123 million pounds.

Benbrook’s paper — published in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Sciences Europe over the weekend and announced on Monday — undermines the value of both herbicide-tolerant crops and insect-protected crops, which were aimed at making it easier for farmers to kill weeds in their fields and protect crops from harmful pests, said Benbrook.

Herbicide-tolerant crops were the first genetically modified crops introduced to world, rolled out by Monsanto Co. in 1996, first in “Roundup Ready” soybeans and then in corn, cotton and other crops. Roundup Ready crops are engineered through transgenic modification to tolerate dousings of Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide.

The crops were a hit with farmers who found they could easily kill weed populations without damaging their crops. But in recent years, more than two dozen weed species have become resistant to Roundup’s chief ingredient glyphosate, causing farmers to use increasing amounts both of glyphosate and other weedkilling chemicals to try to control the so-called “superweeds.”

“Resistant weeds have become a major problem for many farmers reliant on GE crops, and are now driving up the volume of herbicide needed each year by about 25 percent,” Benbrook said.

Monsanto officials had no immediate comment.

“We’re looking at this. Our experts haven’t been able to access the supporting data as yet,” said Monsanto spokesman Thomas Helscher.

Benbrook said the annual increase in the herbicides required to deal with tougher-to-control weeds on cropland planted to genetically modified crops has grown from 1.5 million pounds in 1999 to about 90 million pounds in 2011.

Similarly, the introduction of “Bt” corn and cotton crops engineered to be toxic to certain insects is triggering the rise of insects resistant to the crop toxin, according to Benbrook.

Insecticide use did drop substantially – 28 percent from 1996 to 2011 – but is now on the rise, he said.

“The relatively recent emergence and spread of insect populations resistant to the Bt toxins expressed in Bt corn and cotton has started to increase insecticide use, and will continue to do so,” he said.

Herbicide-tolerant and Bt-transgenic crops now dominate U.S. agriculture, accounting for about one in every two acres of harvested cropland, and around 95 percent of soybean and cotton acres, and over 85 percent of corn acres.

“Things are getting worse, fast,” said Benbrook in an interview. “In order to deal with rapidly spreading resistant weeds, farmers are being forced to expand use of older, higher-risk herbicides. To stop corn and cotton insects from developing resistance to Bt, farmers planting Bt crops are being asked to spray the insecticides that Bt corn and cotton were designed to displace.”

(Reporting By Carey Gillam; Editing by Ken Wills)

Ilbe the Retriever

Office of Unclaimed Property, Hopes, and Wishes. Loyalty.

While writing this, I was having a little trouble with Ilbe – not for the first time. I couldn’t find my keys anywhere. He thinks it would be greatly to my benefit to be more organized and tidy, so he smears not-quite-visible juice on things that are out of place. Or he encourages the resident cats to hide things. (Cats seem remarkably willing to cooperate with these little bits of faery helpfulness.) Then I have to hunt and hunt for them, and Ilbe hopes I shall be more organized the next time. You may have encountered him in this guise. When he has done something like this, my son observes, he just looks at us with that “Who? Me?” look. My son also advises, “Keep your eye on him and whatever isn’t nailed down. And if you scold or contradict him, he just gets huffy and insists on having his own way.”

This sort of busybody helpfulness is just one of Ilbe’s tasks, however. He also has more important things to do.

Ilbe is a protector. He retrieves and safeguards our lost hopes, forgotten dreams, and mislaid keys. (My keys were under a stack of papers, stuck to the floor with peach juice – not a place that I’d put them myself, but certainly safe from most key thieves.) He holds these seeds of our potential futures carefully and delicately until we are ready for their return. Sometimes we don’t think we are ready for them or we have given up hope altogether, and then he may arrange reminders for us – events or people in our lives that bring back memories of our past hopes and dreams. When that happens, we need to look at them again and consider how we might manifest them in reality.

Ilbe is trying to remind you of something you’ve lost – a hope, perhaps, or a dream. You may have thought it gone forever, but he is holding it out to you for reconsideration. He thinks you can do something with it now. The way may not be obvious, but his clever nose has scented a path, a potential opening for bringing this into your life. Sometimes, Ilbe may be saying that a long-awaited dream is at last arriving on the scene and there is nothing we need to do but open our hearts and minds to it. However, we usually have to work for it.

Another attribute of Ilbe is loyalty.

REVERSE

Is it time to stop saying “I can’t” and take a look at “I can” instead? Perhaps something important in your life is being held back by negative attitudes, but we have choices about our attitudes and can change them when they are not helping us.

Alternatively, Ilbe may be saying that this is not yet the time for the germination of this seed. It may be that other things need to be dealt with first. What might you need to clear out or finish up before being able to properly plant and nurture this seed? Are the things in the way weeds, which should simply be pulled, or valued growing things that we would wish to care for before planting something new in that space in our lives?

Festival of Diana (Rome)

Diana

Themes:

Fertility; Children; Providence; Abundance; Harvest

Symbols:

Moon; Water; Forest Items; Sun

About Diana:

This Roman goddess embodies the moon’s fertility and watery aspects, along with the sun’s protective and nurturing power over the forests and its creatures. On this day she was celebrated in Rome, and she will be remembered in our hearts as the huntress who helps us capture the spiritual “food” we need.

To Do Today:

Starting on August 13, the Romans had a weeklong festival for Diana, praying to her for the harvest’s bounty, and to turn damaging storms away. The traditional place to leave an offering of fruit or vines for her is in the forest, or at a crossroads. As you do, if any stone or leaf catches your eye, pick it up and carry it as a charm that will keep Diana’s power with you that entire day. Come night, release the gift to flowing water or back to the earth with a prayer of thanks and a wish for one of Diana’s attributes that you wish to develop in your life.

It is also customary to light some fire source to honor her on August 15 or anytime during the festivities. Afterward, to generate this goddess’s physical or figurative fertility within you, follow Roman convention and wash your hair with specially prepared water (water to which just a little milk is added so that it looks white, like the moon). If you have children, doing this for them incurs Diana’s protection over their lives.

Khordad Sal (Persia)

Anahita

Themes:

Honor; Love; Fertility; Pleasure; Cleansing

Symbols:

Water; Lunar Objects and Colors; Green Branches

About Anahita:

Anahita is the Zoroastrian moon goddess who shines upon the darkness in our lives, replacing loneliness with true love, barrenness with fertility, and impotence with pleasurable unions. She is the Lady of Heaven, the flowing force of the cosmos, whose name means “pure.” A traditional offering for Anahita is green branches, which represent her life-giving power.

To Do Today:

Today marks the birthday of Zoroaster, the founder of a religious sect that influenced the Maji of the Bible. Amidst Zoroaster’s pantheon we find this goddess, radiating with the beautiful things of life, but only after a good “house cleaning.” Honor her by washing your floors with pine-scented cleaner (i.e., green branches) so her energies can purify the sacred space of home. Afterward, light a white candle to represent Anahita’s presence therein. Add a simple invocation like this one:

Lady of Purity, Lady of Light, be welcome in my home and my heart.

Purify yourself, too, so that Anahita’s passion can flow unhindered. Take a ritual bath, adding any woodsy aromatic to the water. As you wash up, say,

Anahita, carry the darkness away,

so my body and spirit may revel in your pleasures,

giving and receiving them equally.

Then spend time with your loved one, letting nature take its course.

Teej (Nepal)

Parvarti

Themes:

Fertility; Feminity; Cleansing; Devotion

Symbols:

Lotus; Elephant; Dance

About Parvarti:

The celebrated Hindu goddess of women is the center of festivities in Nepal today. Parvarti’s domain is that of faithful companionship and fertility, as she is the consort of Shiva. Art often shows Parvarti dancing, in the company of Shiva, or with an elephant’s head.

To Do Today:

Try following Nepalese custom. Wash your hands and feet with henna (or a henna-based soap product) for Parvarti’s productive energy. Or, go out and swing on a swing set singing sacred songs; this draws Parvarti to you.

Another way to invoke Parvarti is by giving a special woman in your life (a friend, lover, relative, etc.) a gift in thankfulness for her companionship. The goddess exists within that friendship and will bless the relationship. Take a ritual bath to cleanse yourself of negativity and problems of the last year. Water offerings are also a suitable gift to this goddess. Pour out a little bit on the ground and then drink some to internalize any of her qualities that you need.

Wearing fine clothing and flowers is also customary, because all things of beauty please Parvarti. So get out your finery for your celebrations, and put on a boutonniere! Or wear something with a flower pattern to draw Parvarti close to your side.

Hiroshima Peace Ceremony (Japan)

Nakisawame-no-Mikoto

Themes:

Peace; Honor; History; Death; Forgiveness

Symbols:

Trees

About Nakisawame-no-Mikoto:

The goddess of mourning in Japan, Nakisawame-no-Mikoto weeps with the memories of the many innocent people who have died in wars throughout the ages. She comes into our hearts today in the hope that we will learn from our collective past.

According to tradition, Nakisawame-no-Mikoto lives in the base of trees, her roots holding firm to the earth and its history. This also speaks strongly of our family trees and the importance of kinship.

To Do Today:

On August 6, 1945, the atom bomb landed in Hiroshima, resulting in the loss of thousands of lives and many years of radiation sickness. In the spirit of Nakisawame-no-Mikoto, today acts as a memorial to the people who died and a celebration of the peace that has since been maintained. Traditionally, tiny paper lanterns are floated on flowing waters as wishes for the dead. So, light a candle today for someone you know who died needlessly, or fighting for a just cause. The flame of the candle represents the goddess and the memory of that person whose efforts light the way for a better future.

To encourage peace between yourself and someone else, plant a token that represents your desire beneath a tree so that this goddess can begin helping you achieve harmony.

Doris ~ August 5

Posted: August 5, 2012 in 365 Goddesses
Tags: , , , , ,

Fairhope Jubilee (Alabama)

Doris

Themes:

Abundance; Providence; Water

Symbols:

Seawater, Plants, and Animals (especially fish)

About Doris:

The daughter of Oceanus, this Grecian sea goddess is associated with the sea’s gifts and its wealth. She joins in today’s festivities by bringing an abundance of seafood to nourish the body, as well as spiritual sustenance to fulfill our souls.

To Do Today:

The Fairhope Jubilee takes place in Mobile Bay, Alabama, sometime in August when there’s an overcast sky, an easterly wind, and a rising tide. When these three factors are in place an odd phenomenon occurs: bottom-dwelling fish get trapped between the shore and low-oxygen water. So people rush out with any containers they can find and gather up Doris’s plenty! For us, this equates to gathering up the sea’s plenty figuratively, perhaps by having fish for dinner. Remember to thank Doris as you eat so that you internalize her providence.

To make a Doris charm that will draw abundance into any area of your life in need, find a seashell, a tumbled sea stone, or something similar that comes from the ocean. Place the token in seawater for three hours by a waxing moon so that abundance will grow like the moon. Bless it saying,

Doris, by this gift from your seas, draw abundance and wealth to me.

Like a wave upon high tide, let your blessings here abide.

Carry the token regularly.