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Revealing News For a Better World

Inspirational News Stories
Excerpts of Key Inspirational News Stories in Major Media


Below are highly engaging excerpts of key inspirational stories reported in the mainstream media. Links are provided to the original stories on their major media websites. If any link fails to function, read this webpage. These inspirational stories are ordered by date posted to this list. You can explore the same stories listed by order of importance or by article date. Enjoy your inspirational reading!

Note: This comprehensive list of news stories is usually updated once a week. Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news stories on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.


The power of contact in the rehumanization process
2023-09-12, Waging Nonviolence
Posted: 2023-10-08 19:30:06
https://wagingnonviolence.org/metta/podcast/the-power-of-contact-theory-rehum...

‘Contact theory' has been shown to lead to harmony and an enlarged sense of a common good, even when there are limited resources and competing interests. It's a theory that suggests that the more contact that people have, the more willing they are to rehumanize and understand each other, even across their personal differences. It originated in the 50s with the work of Gordon Allport. After World War II, he asked himself, how can we reduce conflict in society? He put forward that, under the right conditions, having positive experiences with people of another social, ethnic, cultural, religious backgrounds could improve our tolerance and reduce our prejudice against them. 50 years later, the vast majority of studies show that it does work. If you talk about moving beyond past violence and having a harmonious society, one of the biggest things that could hamper having these contact experiences [is] the homophilia principle, where you go with your own group. It's easy to avoid having experiences with other groups. But once we do, they're very beneficial. We spoke with someone named Ali Abu Awad [who] is a Palestinian activist. He said he never had contact with an Israeli ... until he was in his 30s. And they were brought together into a group. This Israeli woman was crying, and he was crying. They were both grieving the loss of family members of the conflict. That moment of contact actually changed the whole direction of his life because he realized that this Israeli woman was human like he was. He ended up becoming an activist working toward a solution that humanizes Israelis and humanizes Palestinians at the same time.

Note: This summary is a transcript of an interview with Jasper Van Assche, professor at the University of Ghent in Belgium. Explore more positive stories like this in our comprehensive inspiring news articles archive focused on solutions and bridging divides.


The Norwegian secret: how friluftsliv boosts health and happiness
2023-09-27, The Guardian (One of the UK's Leading Newspapers)
Posted: 2023-10-08 19:28:45
https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2023/sep/27/the-norwegian-secret-how...

Friluftsliv [is] a way of being that is part of the Norwegian national identity. The term was coined by the playwright Henrik Ibsen in his 1859 poem On the Heights, although the concept is much older. Its literal translation is "free-air life", but Ibsen used it to convey a spiritual connection with nature. To modern Norwegians, it means participating in outdoor activities, but also has a deeper sense of de-stressing in nature and sharing in a common culture. An astonishingly high percentage of Norwegians report spending time outdoors. A survey in June by the market research company Kantar TNS found that 83% are interested in friluftsliv, 77% spend time in nature on a weekly basis and 25% do so most days. At many nurseries, toddlers spend 80% of their time outside; at school, there are special days throughout the year when children go out in nature and build campfires. Studies show that being in green spaces helps reduce anxiety and improve cognition. In a 2020 survey, 90% of Norwegians said they felt less stressed and in a better mood when they spent time in nature. Helga Synnevåg Løvoll, a professor of friluftsliv at Volda University College, says the five documented ways to wellbeing can be achieved through friluftsliv (they are "connect", "be active", "take notice", "keep learning" and "give"). This nature-induced wellbeing could be one reason why Norway ranks among the happiest countries in the world. It came seventh in the UN's World Happiness report in 2023.

Note: Read about the rise of "green prescription" programs in different healthcare systems around the world. Explore more positive stories like this in our comprehensive inspiring news articles archive focused on solutions and bridging divides.


Can a map of the ocean floor be crowdsourced?
2023-10-01, BBC News
Posted: 2023-10-08 19:26:56
https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20230929-can-a-map-of-the-ocean-floor-be-c...

In 2023, Seabed 2030 announced that its latest map of the entire seafloor is nearly 25% complete. The data to make the world's first publicly available map is stored at the International Hydrography Organization (IHO)'s Data Centre for Digital Bathymetry. 17 research vessels owned by American universities ... constantly circle the globe studying the deep ocean. The ocean mappers came up with a new plan: crowdsourcing. By attaching a data logger to a boat's echosounder, any vessel can build a simple map of the seafloor. Tion Uriam, the head of the Hydrographic Unit at the Republic of Kiribati's Ministry of Communications, Transport and Tourism Development, recently received two data loggers that he's planning to install on local ferries. "It's a win to be part of that initiative," he says. "Just to put us on the map and raise our hands [to say] we want to be part of a global effort." The military or commercial value of nautical charts will always be a barrier. "Sea charts were destined to be removed from the academic realm and from general circulation," wrote the map historian Lloyd Brown. "They were much more than an aid to navigation; they were the key to empire, the way to wealth." [Marine geologist Kevin] Mackay experienced this on a scientific-mapping expedition. He received a call from a military he chooses not to name and "they said 'you need to destroy that data because there was military value ... it's a place where submarines like to hide'," he recalls. "Obviously, we ignore them because we're [mapping] for science, we don't care."

Note: Explore more positive stories like this in our comprehensive inspiring news articles archive focused on solutions and bridging divides.


The Backyard Farmers Who Grow Food With Fog
2023-09-18, Reasons to be Cheerful
Posted: 2023-10-03 15:13:48
https://reasonstobecheerful.world/lima-fog-catchers-water-scarcity-irrigation/

At the highest point of Los Tres Miradores, a terrifyingly steep urban settlement with soaring views across Peru's capital, Lima, there is a curious set of large structures that resemble a fleet of ships in the sky. They are so-called "fog catchers." About 40 of these netted devices, made of high density Raschel polyethylene and spanning several meters wide, are lined up atop a misty mound and linked by a network of tubes that lead to storage containers. Home to a population of more than 10 million, Lima is one of the driest cities in the world. [The nonprofit] El Movimiento Peruanos sin Agua has helped install 600 fog catchers across Lima and a total of 2,000 across Peru, including in the regions of Arequipa, Iquitos and Cuzco. According to [founder Abel] Cruz, one man he supported is even able to raise 1,000 chickens thanks to fog catchers. In June, the project received a significant boost when it signed an agreement with the Mayor of Lima to install 10,000 more fog catchers in the hills surrounding the city in the next four years. The municipality ... said the project has the potential to "reforest, create ecological lungs, ecotourism and at the same time provide water for human consumption, for bio-orchards, botanical gardens, washing clothes, utensils and more." In Los Tres Miradores, the 40 fog catchers – which were installed in 2021 – provide enough water for 180 families, whether to bathe, clean, drink (after being filtered at home) or to irrigate crops on small garden patches.

Note: Explore more positive stories like this in our comprehensive inspiring news articles archive focused on solutions and bridging divides.


Getting the Soil Right: How Carbon Farming Combats Climate Change
2023-09-15, Reasons to be Cheerful
Posted: 2023-10-03 15:11:59
https://reasonstobecheerful.world/carbon-farming-climate-change-regenerative-...

The solution to stopping climate change might be buried on 10 acres in the Pauma Valley of California. "The idea is not just to produce food but to improve the soil," says Alvarez, Solidarity Farm's Climate Resilience Specialist. "We stopped using the plow to turn the soil, and we do a lot of composting and mulching to improve our soil health." Solidarity Farm had used organic principles in the 10 years since its inception, but it pivoted to carbon farming after the extreme heat in the summer of 2017. Carbon farmers cultivate plants and trees in a way that maximizes carbon sequestration in the soil. Among the most important practices for carbon farmers are minimizing soil erosion by planting perennials and ground cover, which also lowers soil temperatures, and only working the land by hand or with low-tech solutions. "The soil has the capacity to store more carbon than all plants on the planet together," Alvarez says. Solidarity Farms produces a diverse range of about 60 different fruits and vegetables, at least 70 percent of them perennial crops such as plums and pomegranates. Stacks of organic chicken manure in front of the vegetable beds wait to be distributed. The farmers enrich the soil with compost and mulch, while deterring pests with diverse crop rotation. According to soil tests, the Solidarity farmers have tripled the amount of carbon in the ground since 2018. "This equates to a drawdown of nearly 600 metric tons of CO2 per year, offsetting the emissions of 80 American households," Alvarez says.

Note: Have you seen the groundbreaking and inspiring movie Kiss the Ground? In a time where we're told hopeless and divisive narratives about our current environmental challenges, people all over the world are reversing the damage from destroyed ecosystems, regenerating the world's soils, and creating abundant food supplies. Don't miss this powerful film on the growing regenerative agriculture movement and its power to revive global community and our connection to the natural world.


Navigating the Waves
2023-08-21, Reasons to be Cheerful
Posted: 2023-10-03 15:10:27
https://reasonstobecheerful.world/navigating-the-waves/

Natalie Small looks at the ocean. "How high are the waves today – the ones out there on the water and the emotional ones within me? These are questions she likes to ask at the start of every group therapy session on Ocean Beach in San Diego, California. Small ... is part of a burgeoning niche of psychotherapy that blends traditional therapy with a sport proven to build resilience, confidence and well-being. More than a hippie wellness novelty or New Age fad, surf therapy is being embraced by psychologists and government agencies alike as a way to increase access to mental health care while delivering evidence-based, lasting results. Kristen Walter ... received a $1 million grant from the Navy to research surf therapy for military personnel. "We see immediate benefits," Walter confirms. "Post-traumatic stress, depression and anxiety decrease significantly." Walter's research has shown that the effects of surf therapy are lasting: When she randomly assigned 96 military participants with mental health diagnoses to either hiking or surf therapy, both groups spent three to four hours per week in nature. After six weeks, both groups showed improvements – 55 percent of the surfers and 46 percent of the hikers were no longer considered clinically ill. "But when we checked again three months later, the improvements in the surfer group lasted significantly longer," Walter says. "74 percent of the surfers were considered healed versus only 47 percent of the hikers."

Note: Explore more positive stories like this in our comprehensive inspiring news articles archive focused on solutions and bridging divides.


Psychedelic drug MDMA moves closer to US approval following success in PTSD trial
2023-09-14, Nature
Posted: 2023-09-24 16:48:44
https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-023-02886-x

The psychedelic drug MDMA, also known as ecstasy or molly, has passed another key hurdle on its way to regulatory approval as a treatment for mental illness. A second large clinical trial has found that the drug – in combination with psychotherapy – is effective at treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In June, Australia became the first country to allow physicians to prescribe MDMA for treating psychiatric conditions. MDMA is illegal in the United States and other countries because of the potential for its misuse. But the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) ... has long been developing a proprietary protocol for using MDMA as a treatment for PTSD and other disorders. MAPS has been campaigning for its legalization. In 2021, researchers sponsored by MAPS reported the results of a study in which 90 people received a form of psychotherapy developed by the organization alongside either MDMA or a placebo. After three treatment sessions, 67% of those who received MDMA with therapy no longer qualified for a PTSD diagnosis, compared with 32% of those who received therapy and a placebo. The results of a second trial ... were similar: 71% of people who received MDMA alongside therapy lost their PTSD diagnosis. A MAPS spokesperson says that the organization plans to seek formal FDA approval before the end of this year, and that because the agency has already designated MDMA as a ‘breakthrough therapy' ... it will be evaluated quickly.

Note: Read more about the healing potentials of mind-altering drugs. Explore more positive stories like this in our comprehensive inspiring news articles archive focused on solutions and bridging divides.


The History And Potential Of MDMA
2023-06-29, NPR
Posted: 2023-09-24 16:47:21
https://www.npr.org/2023/06/29/1185170371/the-history-and-potential-of-mdma

Stuck indoors during the peak of COVID lockdown, science journalist Rachel Nuwer found herself at a professional crossroads. She had already published a nonfiction book on the dark world of wildlife trafficking and was looking for her next subject. A moment of clarity came at a surprising time. She and her partner, at home with nothing much to do, ingested MDMA. MDMA, also known as ecstasy or molly, is illegal. It is listed as a Schedule 1 drug by the U.S. federal government (the same group as marijuana and psilocybin, or magic mushrooms). A growing body of academic research has suggested potential benefits of MDMA beyond the recreational ecstasy some partygoers are familiar with. One study found that MDMA-enhanced therapy dramatically reduced PTSD symptoms. Another showed that psychedelics like MDMA could reopen so-called critical periods of time when brains are especially impressionable and open to learning. A scientific case study profiled a former white supremacist who reformed his extremist views after taking MDMA. Nuwer experienced similar clarity while on the drug. Her new book, "I Feel Love: MDMA and the Quest for Connection in a Fractured World," is the result of her epiphany. She explores the history and potential of the so-called love drug.

Note: Read more about the healing potentials of mind-altering drugs. Explore more positive stories like this in our comprehensive inspiring news articles archive focused on solutions and bridging divides.


Can a Tiny Restaurant Surcharge Move the Needle on Climate?
2023-09-19, Reasons to be Cheerful
Posted: 2023-09-24 16:45:50
https://reasonstobecheerful.world/zero-foodprint-changing-the-food-system/

When Anthony Myint and his wife Karen Leibowitz opened their San Francisco restaurant The Perennial in 2016, they had big ambitions: They wanted it to be the first carbon-neutral restaurant in the world, and they succeeded. From the recycled floor tiles and reclaimed lumber to the aquaponic herb garden and compostable paper menus, the culinary duo designed every part of the diner with the climate in mind. "We shifted the menus, reduced food waste, switched to renewable energy, started composting and bought carbon offsets," Myint says. They were motivated by the knowledge that agriculture and food systems contribute nearly a third of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. The Perennial's menu championed sourdough loaves baked with perennial Kernza grains, and the chefs bought their steaks from regenerative ranches associated with the Marin Carbon Project, the country's foremost center for regenerative farming. The more Myint learned about regenerative agriculture, the more he became convinced that this was the global solution he needed to champion. "It became clear to me that this is the future of food, similar to the way renewable energy is the future of energy," he says. "The whole food system needs to gradually transition." Zero Foodprint is asking restaurant customers and other participating businesses to give one percent of their sales to a pool that funds regenerative agriculture. More than 80 businesses have signed up.

Note: We've summarized a handful of stories about the power of regenerative agriculture practices to reverse and heal global ecological destruction. Explore more positive stories like this in our comprehensive inspiring news articles archive focused on solutions and bridging divides.


A Canadian study gave $7,500 to homeless people. Here's how they spent it.
2023-09-02, Vox
Posted: 2023-09-18 14:05:43
https://www.vox.com/future-perfect/21528569/homeless-poverty-cash-transfer-ca...

Ray, a man in his 50s, used to live in an emergency homeless shelter in Vancouver, Canada. Then he participated in a study that changed his life. The newly published, peer reviewed PNAS study, conducted by the charity Foundations for Social Change in partnership with the University of British Columbia, was fairly simple. It identified 50 people in the Vancouver area who had become homeless in the past two years. In spring 2018, it gave them each one lump sum of $7,500 (in Canadian dollars). And it told them to do whatever they wanted with the cash. Over the next year, the study followed up with the recipients periodically, asking how they were spending the money and what was happening in their lives. The recipients of the cash transfers did not increase spending on drugs, tobacco, and alcohol, but did increase spending on food, clothes, and rent. What's more, they moved into stable housing faster and saved enough money to maintain financial security over the year of follow-up. "Counter to really harmful stereotypes, we saw that people made wise financial choices," Claire Williams, the CEO of Foundations for Social Change, [said]. What's more ... giving out the cash transfers in the Vancouver area actually saved the broader society money. Enabling 50 people to move into housing faster saved the shelter system $8,277 per person over the year, for a total savings of $413,850. That's more than the value of the cash transfers, which means the transfers pay for themselves.

Note: Explore more positive stories like this in our comprehensive inspiring news articles archive focused on solutions and bridging divides.


How rhythm shapes our lives
2023-05-26, BBC News
Posted: 2023-09-18 14:04:23
https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20230526-how-rhythm-shapes-our-lives

Why do we care about rhythm? It connects us to the world. It plays a role in listening, in language, in understanding speech in noisy places, in walking, and even in our feelings toward one another. Rhythm is much more than a component of music. We experience the rhythmic changes of the seasons. Some of us have menstrual cycles. We have circadian rhythms – daily cycles of mental and physical peaks and troughs. Tides, 17-year cicadas, lunar phases, perigees, and apogees are other naturally occurring rhythms. Human-made rhythms include the built world – street grids, traffic lights, crop fields, mowed designs in baseball diamond outfields, the backsplash behind the kitchen counter, spatial patterns in geometric visual artforms. Rhythms in the brain have been called out as a basis for consciousness itself. Even in very young children, being (literally) "in sync" with another person engenders positive feelings toward them. Music in general, and rhythm in particular, does an uncommonly good job fostering a sense of community. Indeed, music being played at negotiation sessions helps to smooth the conversations and leads to breakthroughs and compromisesMusicians Without Borders is used to form relationships in troubled regions around the world, to bring hope, comfort, and healing to diverse populations. The Resonance Project and the Jerusalem Youth Chorus, which are forming bonds between Israeli and Palestinian children, are other examples of using musical rhythm to overcome differences.

Note: Explore more positive stories like this in our comprehensive inspiring news articles archive focused on solutions and bridging divides.


I was every woman's worst nightmare. Restorative justice changed me.
2023-04-26, Waging Nonviolence
Posted: 2023-09-18 14:02:18
https://wagingnonviolence.org/2023/04/restorative-justice-changed-me-every-wo...

There are over 4,100 private companies in the U.S. profiting off of mass incarceration, which is a multi-billion-dollar business. With an incarcerated population of 2.2 million, the U.S. does not have a system premised on reform or creating model citizens. Most return to public life worse than when they began their prison sentences, only to be overshadowed by a national recidivism rate that's staggering – as high as 70 percent within the first five years out and 80 percent for prisoners with juvenile records. In the restorative justice theory of change, prisoners self-identify with new, positive identities, replacing old negative self-identities. As a result, they develop healthy social support that reinforces these new identities. The concept: If you think you are scum, you will act like scum. However, if you think you are gifted, with talents, abilities and a positive identity, that's how you will more likely act on a regular basis. Restorative justice views crime not simply as the breaking of a law, but as damage to individuals, property, relationships and the community. It represents a holistic approach to addressing criminal behavior. And it becomes a great tool toward healing the communities harmed. When we build relationships, we humanize each other and rather than simply being faceless people, we become friends, family members, students and mentors. It then becomes easier for participants to understand the harm they caused and to take responsibility. It's a chance for the offenders to examine themselves, and understand why they made the choices they did, how they harmed the victim, family and community, and what they can do differently in the future.

Note: We've summarized many articles about the power of restorative justice. Explore more positive stories like this in our comprehensive inspiring news articles archive focused on solutions and bridging divides.


School Diet Change Brings Improved Behavior, Healthier, More Focused Students
2020-05-05, WantToKnow.info
Posted: 2023-09-15 11:59:47
https://www.wanttoknow.info/050520schooldietchange

"Before the Appleton Wisconsin high school replaced their cafeteria's processed foods with wholesome, nutritious food, the school was described as out-of-control. There were weapons violations, student disruptions, and a cop on duty full-time. After the change in school meals, the students were calm, focused, and orderly. There were no more weapons violations, and no suicides, expulsions, dropouts, or drug violations. The new diet and improved behavior has lasted for seven years, and now other schools are changing their meal programs with similar results."
  ~~  Jeffrey M. Smith, Author of Seeds of Deception

The informative article below clearly demonstrates the importance of a healthy school diet for our children. Diet is being shown to clearly influence both behavior and mood. A healthy diet fosters calmer, healthier, more focused behavior. Studies like the one below demonstrate that excessive amounts of fast food can lead to severe behavior changes, and suggest that avoiding genetically modified foods may be a very healthy option. Links at the bottom of the article provide lots more information on this topic for those interested.

Two excellent, humorous videos also reveal important health-related information. First, "Store Wars" is hilarious! This incredibly well done, five-minute spoof on the movie Star Wars is available here. Have fun watching Cuke Skywalker battle Darth Tater and lots more. A second fun one is a spoof on the Matrix called "The Meatrix," available here. A little humor goes a long way in delivering a great message. Spread the humor and spread the news by forwarding this great information to your friends and family. Have a great day, and may the force be with you!

Why Schools Should Remove GE-Tainted Foods from Their Cafeterias

Institute for Responsible Technology
Newsletter on GM Foods, Spilling the Beans
By Jeffrey M. Smith, author of Seeds of Deception

Before the Appleton Wisconsin high school replaced their cafeteria's processed foods with wholesome, nutritious food, the school was described as out-of-control. There were weapons violations, student disruptions, and a cop on duty full-time. After the change in school meals, the students were calm, focused, and orderly. There were no more weapons violations, and no suicides, expulsions, dropouts, or drug violations. The new diet and improved behavior has lasted for seven years, and now other schools are changing their meal programs with similar results.

Years ago, a science class at Appleton found support for their new diet by conducting a cruel and unusual experiment with three mice. They fed them the junk food that kids in other high schools eat everyday. The mice freaked out. Their behavior was totally different than the three mice in the neighboring cage. The neighboring mice had good karma; they were fed nutritious whole foods and behaved like mice. They slept during the day inside their cardboard tube, played with each other, and acted very mouse-like.

The junk food mice, on the other hand, destroyed their cardboard tube, were no longer nocturnal, stopped playing with each other, fought often, and two mice eventually killed the third and ate it. After the three month experiment, the students rehabilitated the two surviving junk food mice with a diet of whole foods. After about three weeks, the mice came around.

Sister Luigi Frigo repeats this experiment every year in her second grade class in Cudahy, Wisconsin, but mercifully, for only four days. Even on the first day of junk food, the mice's behavior "changes drastically." They become lazy, antisocial, and nervous. And it still takes the mice about two to three weeks on unprocessed foods to return to normal. One year, the second graders tried to do the experiment again a few months later with the same mice, but this time the animals refused to eat the junk food.

Across the ocean in Holland, a student fed one group of mice genetically modified (GM) corn and soy, and another group the non-GM variety. The GM mice stopped playing with each other and withdrew into their own parts of the cage. When the student tried to pick them up, unlike their well-behaved neighbors, the GM mice scampered around in apparent fear and tried to climb the walls. One mouse in the GM group was found dead at the end of the experiment.

It's interesting to note that the junk food fed to the mice in the Wisconsin experiments also contained genetically modified ingredients. And although the Appleton school lunch program did not specifically attempt to remove GM foods, it happened anyway. That's because GM foods such as soy and corn and their derivatives are largely found in processed foods. So when the school switched to unprocessed alternatives, almost all ingredients derived from GM crops were taken out automatically.

Does this mean that GM foods negatively affect the behavior of humans or animals? It would certainly be irresponsible to say so on the basis of a single student mice experiment and the results at Appleton. On the other hand, it is equally irresponsible to say that it doesn't.

We are just beginning to understand the influence of food on behavior. A study in Science in December 2002 concluded that "food molecules act like hormones, regulating body functioning and triggering cell division. The molecules can cause mental imbalances ranging from attention-deficit and hyperactivity disorder to serious mental illness." The problem is we do not know which food molecules have what effect.

The bigger problem is that the composition of GM foods can change radically without our knowledge. Genetically modified foods have genes inserted into their DNA. But genes are not Legos; they don't just snap into place. Gene insertion creates unpredicted, irreversible changes. In one study, for example, a gene chip monitored the DNA before and after a single foreign gene was inserted. As much as 5 percent of the DNA's genes changed the amount of protein they were producing. Not only is that huge in itself, but these changes can multiply through complex interactions down the line.

In spite of the potential for dramatic changes in the composition of GM foods, they are typically measured for only a small number of known nutrient levels. But even if we could identify all the changed compounds, at this point we wouldnąt know which might be responsible for the antisocial nature of mice or humans. Likewise, we are only beginning to identify the medicinal compounds in food. We now know, for example, that the pigment in blueberries may revive the brainąs neural communication system, and the antioxidant found in grape skins may fight cancer and reduce heart disease. But what about other valuable compounds we donąt know about that might change or disappear in GM varieties?

Consider GM soy. In July 1999, years after it was on the market, independent researchers published a study showing that it contains 12-14 percent less cancer-fighting phytoestrogens. What else has changed that we donąt know about? [Monsanto responded with its own study, which concluded that soyąs phytoestrogen levels vary too much to even carry out a statistical analysis. They failed to disclose, however, that the laboratory that conducted Monsantoąs experiment had been instructed to use an obsolete method to detect phytoestrogens results.]

In 1996, Monsanto published a paper in the Journal of Nutrition that concluded in the title, "The composition of glyphosate-tolerant soybean seeds is equivalent to that of conventional soybeans." The study only compared a small number of nutrients and a close look at their charts revealed significant differences in the fat, ash, and carbohydrate content. In addition, GM soy meal contained 27 percent more trypsin inhibitor, a well-known soy allergen. The study also used questionable methods. Nutrient comparisons are routinely conducted on plants grown in identical conditions so that variables such as weather and soil can be ruled out. Otherwise, differences in plant composition could be easily missed. In Monsanto's study, soybeans were planted in widely varying climates and geography.

Although one of their trials was a side-by-side comparison between GM and non-GM soy, for some reason the results were left out of the paper altogether. Years later, a medical writer found the missing data in the archives of the Journal of Nutrition and made them public. No wonder the scientists left them out. The GM soy showed significantly lower levels of protein, a fatty acid, and phenylalanine, an essential amino acid. Also, toasted GM soy meal contained nearly twice the amount of a lectin that may block the body's ability to assimilate other nutrients. Furthermore, the toasted GM soy contained as much as seven times the amount of trypsin inhibitor, indicating that the allergen may survive cooking more in the GM variety. (This might explain the 50 percent jump in soy allergies in the UK, just after GM soy was introduced.)

We don't know all the changes that occur with genetic engineering, but certainly GM crops are not the same. Ask the animals. Eyewitness reports from all over North America describe how several types of animals, when given a choice, avoided eating GM food. These included cows, pigs, elk, deer, raccoons, squirrels, rats, and mice. In fact, the Dutch student mentioned above first determined that his mice had a two-to-one preference for non-GM before forcing half of them to eat only the engineered variety.

Differences in GM food will likely have a much larger impact on children. They are three to four times more susceptible to allergies. Also, they convert more of the food into body-building material. Altered nutrients or added toxins can result in developmental problems. For this reason, animal nutrition studies are typically conducted on young, developing animals. After the feeding trial, organs are weighed and often studied under magnification. If scientists used mature animals instead of young ones, even severe nutritional problems might not be detected. The Monsanto study used mature animals instead of young ones.

They also diluted their GM soy with non-GM protein ten- or twelve-fold before feeding the animals. And they never weighed the organs or examined them under a microscope. The study, which is the only major animal feeding study on GM soy ever published, is dismissed by critics as rigged to avoid finding problems.

Unfortunately, there is a much bigger experiment going on one which we are all a part of. We're being fed GM foods daily, without knowing the impact of these foods on our health, our behavior, or our children. Thousands of schools around the world, particularly in Europe, have decided not to let their kids be used as guinea pigs. They have banned GM foods.

The impact of changes in the composition of GM foods is only one of several reasons why these foods may be dangerous. Other reasons may be far worse (see http://www.seedsofdeception.com).

With the epidemic of obesity and diabetes and with the results in Appleton, parents and schools are waking up to the critical role that diet plays. When making changes in what kids eat, removing GM foods should be a priority.


Note: For an inspiring video showing the dramatic results from a change in school diet, click here.


The above article about genetically modified foods was written by Jeffrey Smith. Individuals may subscribing to his excellent, free newsletter. For a powerful, engaging, ten-page summary of Jeffrey's book on GM foods, Seeds of Deception, click here. For more, see our information-packed Health Information Center.


Study finds yet another potential use for aloe plants–Natural insecticide
2023-08-24, Optimist Daily
Posted: 2023-09-10 21:23:50
https://www.optimistdaily.com/2023/08/study-finds-yet-another-potential-use-f...

Aloe vera unveiled a new weapon in its arsenal: its discarded peels. Previously discarded as agricultural trash, these peels are now set to become nature's response to crop-munching pests. Scientists at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley developed a mechanism for converting this underutilized resource into a powerful natural insecticide, presenting a novel approach to pest management. Humans have already used aloe vera for a plethora of reasons. However, none of these applications takes advantage of the peel. "Millions of tons of aloe peels are likely discarded globally each year," the driving force behind this botanical discovery, Dr. Debasish Bandyopadhyay, stated. The idea came to Bandyopadhyay after he noticed bugs biting plants at an aloe manufacturing center but leaving the aloe vera leaves alone. Based on this discovery, the team embarked on an adventure to unearth the hidden potential of aloe peels. Bandyopadhyay emphasizes the dual benefit of inventing a pesticide that avoids dangerous synthetic chemicals, which not only maintains agricultural output but also saves public health. The researchers ... extracted a number of compounds, each with its own set of properties. Octacosane stood out among these for its ability to repel mosquitos. In terms of insecticidal activity, DCM, a separate molecule, outperformed hexane extract. During this procedure, more than 20 compounds were isolated from aloe vera peels, six showing considerable insecticidal activity.

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Microplastic pollution: Plants could be the answer
2023-08-16, University of British Columbia
Posted: 2023-09-10 20:33:00
https://news.ubc.ca/2023/08/16/microplastic-pollution-plants-could-be-the-ans...

Could plants be the answer to the looming threat of microplastic pollution? Scientists at UBC's BioProducts Institute found that if you add tannins–natural plant compounds that make your mouth pucker if you bite into an unripe fruit–to a layer of wood dust, you can create a filter that traps virtually all microplastic particles present in water. While the experiment remains a lab set-up at this stage, the team is convinced that the solution can be scaled up easily and inexpensively. For their study, the team analyzed microparticles released from popular tea bags made of polypropylene. They found that their method (they're calling it "bioCap") trapped from 95.2 per cent to as much as 99.9 per cent of plastic particles in a column of water, depending on plastic type. When tested in mouse models, the process was proved to prevent the accumulation of microplastics in the organs. Dr. Rojas, a professor in the departments of wood science, chemical and biological engineering, and chemistry at UBC, adds that it's difficult to capture all the different kinds of microplastics in a solution, as they come in different sizes, shapes and electrical charges. "There are microfibres from clothing, microbeads from cleansers and soaps, and foams and pellets from utensils, containers and packaging. By taking advantage of the different molecular interactions around tannic acids, our bioCap solution was able to remove virtually all of these different microplastic types."

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How gardens enable refugees and immigrants to put down roots in new communities
2023-09-06, PBS News
Posted: 2023-09-10 20:29:31
https://www.pbs.org/newshour/arts/how-gardens-enable-refugees-and-immigrants-...

Gardening and community gardens can be ways for immigrant and refugee communities to supplement their pantries by growing their own food, especially culturally appropriate food that is not readily found in grocery stores. It also helps people send literal roots down into a new place while maintaining a connection with their homeland. The Arab American National Museum (AANM) has created a new heritage garden on its roof with donated seeds, cuttings, and plants from local Arab American community members around Dearborn, Michigan. These include plants with a connection to the Arab world, but also plants from Michigan that have become meaningful to the Arab American community here. Accompanying the plants in the garden are oral histories of those community members about what gardening means to them, collected by the museum's community historian. In Ann Arbor, Michigan, Phimmasone Kym Owens ... said, ‘Why don't I create a garden for refugees?'" In 2021, Owens reached out to Jewish Family Services of Washtenaw County. They formed a partnership to create an innovative refugee-to-refugee community garden program ... and to work with refugees and grow culturally appropriate vegetables. "What sold this as being different is giving autonomy to the clients," Owens said. "So we had a vote. They voted [for] Freedom Garden. And that's a name that says it all. The fact that they chose Freedom Garden says exactly what you know, being a refugee, what you want."

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How worker ownership builds community wealth and a more just society
2023-02-03, Waging Nonviolence
Posted: 2023-09-03 13:51:28
https://wagingnonviolence.org/2023/02/how-worker-ownership-builds-community-w...

Community wealth building initiatives are taking hold in cities across the world, strengthening worker pay, local economies and democracy. A recent help-wanted ad for a laundry worker in Cleveland contained some unusual language, asking prospective candidates: "Have you ever wanted to work for a company that is 90 percent employee-owned?" The ad went on to identify Evergreen Cooperative Laundry as the only employee-owned commercial laundry firm in the country, citing a commitment to building the wealth and careers of its employees. The cooperative movement in the Rust Belt city of Cleveland has deep roots in community struggle for shared wealth. Its earliest origins are in the Mondragon co-op movement of the Basque Country in northern Spain, where tens of thousands of workers are organized into a vast co-op network that has flourished since the 1950s. Here in the U.S., when steel companies were closing down throughout the Ohio Valley in the 1970s ... a small band of activists promoted the idea of worker ownership. The model is a simple one: First, identify anchor institutions – hospitals, universities, seats of government – that are not going to relocate in search of higher profits and incentivize them to do their procurement of supplies and services locally, so that those dollars stay at home. Then, make regulatory, financing and policy changes that support the growth of cooperatives to supply their needs, so that the business profits stay with the workers.

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Beyond Banking Scandals: The Blockchain Promise of Transparency and Trust
2023-08-10, The Street
Posted: 2023-09-03 13:49:57
https://www.thestreet.com/cryptocurrency/beyond-banking-scandals-the-blockcha...

In a recent discussion on the implications of blockchain technology and its democratization of finance, Roundtable anchor, Rob Nelson and Jordan Fried, CEO of Immutable Holdings explored the depth and magnitude of the possible changes ahead. Jordan Fried ... discussed the roots of Bitcoin, stating it was a direct protest against institutions like BlackRock and the financial systems that seemed to work only for the wealthy. Recalling the 2008 financial crisis, Fried expressed the sentiments of many who wondered why banks were bailed out while average individuals suffered. Bitcoin arose from this frustration, offering a transparent financial system unlike anything before. Expanding on this, Fried emphasized the transparency of Bitcoin in comparison to traditional currencies. In Bitcoin's blockchain, every transaction is traceable, unlike the ambiguous dealings within the current banking system. Contrary to common misconceptions ... only a fraction of crime occurs in crypto, as compared to the US dollar. Most financial crimes, including money laundering, are committed in US dollars. Rob Nelson humorously highlighted the recurring financial scandals of banks like Wells Fargo, suggesting that these financial giants often factor in their fines as just another "cost of doing business." In this evolving era of blockchain and cryptocurrency, one thing is clear: the potential impact on the financial world is vast. The very essence of how we view and interact with money is on the cusp of profound change.

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Private Banks Are In Crisis. What If They Were Public Banks?
2023-03-20, Vice
Posted: 2023-09-03 13:47:36
https://www.vice.com/en/article/3akzbb/private-banks-are-in-crisis-what-if-th...

Public banks are typically operated by government or tribal authorities and, in theory, would be chartered to achieve social good and invest in communities. Only two public banks currently operate in the United States: the Bank of North Dakota, founded in 1919, and the Territorial Bank of American Samoa, founded in 2018. Organizations pushing for a public banking option exist in 37 states, according to the Public Banking Institute. In contrast to private banks, which are responsible to their shareholders, public banks are responsible to their boards and are chartered to invest in public needs. The Bank of North Dakota, for instance, is chartered to offer a "revolving loan fund" to farmers, and profits from loans are directed back into the fund to keep interest rates low. The modern movement to invest in public banks grew out of the 2008 financial crisis and was galvanized during the pandemic, fueled by a populist distrust of the banking and finance sectors. In October 2020, Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib introduced the federal Public Banking Act, which would allow state and local governments across the country to create public banks. In the first two months of 2021 there were sixteen bills across the country designed to pave the way for public banks. Supporters of public banks are hoping that any deposits from state and local governments can be used to fund community-based projects that have trouble getting funded by private banks.

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Japan can teach the world a better way to age
2023-08-15, Washington Post
Posted: 2023-08-28 16:19:45
https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2023/08/15/japan-elderly-care-dignity...

If you want a glimpse of the future, go to Japan. What lies ahead for many other countries, including the United States, is in rural areas and regional cities outside greater Tokyo: lots of people aging and dying, and relatively few giving birth and raising kids. In today's Japan, the young and middle-aged are consumed by caring for the old, and small-town resources are overstretched. Japanese innovators are already demonstrating what's possible – and, in many cases, not with high-tech fixes but by showcasing design thinking, dignity and respect. Instead, they would be invited to share their wisdom and skills to help them stay active, sharp and socially engaged. Old people at the center cook for one another and teach young people how to grow vegetables and make art. The city [of Toyama] repurposed old train and tram lines into a sleek light-rail system, with platforms placed at the level of the train cars so that people would not need to climb or descend stairs. Public transit ridership among people in their 60s and 70s has since more than tripled, and this has helped seniors maintain active and social lifestyles. Other social entrepreneurs in Japan have focused on food – for instance, bringing children and the elderly together in cafeterias that serve traditional dishes. One Tokyo pop-up eatery, dubbed the Restaurant of Mistaken Orders, has employed people with dementia as its waitstaff. [Japanese innovators have] yielded ideas that prioritize helping old people flourish, not just managing their illnesses, disabilities and deaths.

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