Monday, July 25, 2011

Thoughts after the Protest March

As Lisa Brown banged on her recycled container-drum and followed Cape Cool’s Jerusha, on crutches, down the hill beneath the powerlines yesterday, I was already thinking ahead, asking myself what we could do next to stop the contamination of Cape Cod’s sole source aquifer. I wish you could have been there to feel the powerful energy of taking back the land. With quiet dignity, we held high the amazing banners, created by Femke and Roxana for CWAACC (Clean Water Art Action Cape Cod). Jerusha was singing her marvelous new song, Powerlines For the People, with the two dozen Wellfleetians chanting refrains like “Don’t spray it.”

Afterwards, there was a neighborhood potluck. As I looked around at the copious amounts of yummy food, I could not help but wonder whether any of it contained high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) or GMOs. Eating food has become dangerous. H2O on Cape Cod may soon no longer be safe to drink. How does our government allow this craziness?

Last week Michelle Obama announced a new initiative, the encouragement of fresh foods for children. We should all applaud her having taken action, but I fear the measure will not be enough to stem the obesity epidemic. The real culprit is high fructose corn syrup. If you have an hour and a half to spare, watch Sugar: The Bitter Truth, a video featuring Dr. Robert H. Lustig, UCSF Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Endocrinology. Then, go into your pantry and examine labels. I have no doubt HFCS will be on at least one. I became aware of the need to read labels thanks to Susie, a repeat guest at Chez Sven, whose daughter is allergic to peanuts and HFCS.

It’s a fact that food allergies are on the rise in children. The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology found that visits to the emergency room at Children's Hospital Boston for allergic reactions more than doubled from 2001 to 2006. The number of children with food allergies has increased 18% in the past decade, according to USA Today. I’m afraid this crisis will only worsen with the introduction of more GMOs into the fields of America.

So there I was, sitting in the neighbor’s garden, thinking about toxic free living and how different the world is today, compared to thirty years ago, during my kids’ childhood, when one of the other guests broke into these morose thoughts.

“My neighbor sprayed Roundup this close to my organic garden, right on the other side of the fence,” Catherine snorted. “He was wearing a gas mask. He called me a nut job when I protested.”

Roundup is the retail name of glyphosate, one of the five herbicides NStar intends to spray. For a few minutes we discussed how to behave in such a ludicrous situation, a neighbor spraying poison that nullifies an effort to grow organic food.

“Is NStar backing off at all?” Catherine asked me.

“Unfortunately, no,” I said.

I thought about what it takes to stop a utility company from contaminating ground water. How do we get NStar to acknowledge the new academic-science findings with regard to herbicides, including glyphosate, intended for our powerlines?

Any suggestions?