Odds and Ends: Eucalyptus and Climate; That CDC MN Raw Milk Study; Dairy Footprints; NOFA-NJ Conference
I love eucalyptus trees, both their smell and their look. But I didn’t like learning about how they are being used to supposedly fight global warming.
Vast eucalyptus forests have been planted in Brazil, and the trees are harvested for charcoal. Same with palm trees in Honduras, there to extract bio-gas.
It’s much worse than simple extension of the monoculture mindset, according to a disturbing documentary I saw earlier this week, “The Carbon Rush”. It dramatizes how the Brazilian and Honduran projects, along with others in India and Panama, are receiving carbon credits for offsetting pollution created in the developed world.
But, irony of ironies, these carbon-credit projects are not only not reducing carbon emissions, but they are destroying indigenous communities where they have been set up. Local people are barred from accessing the woods and fields that have been planted as eucalyptus or palm farms. Indeed, these projects are heavily guarded by corporate police to keep local people out or, in some cases, like Honduras, to confiscate their land, and murder those who object.
It’s a discouraging film, but extremely informative about how seemingly rational incentive-based global policies (part of the Kyoto Protocol) get twisted out of shape by corporate manipulation. Well worth seeing.
I have re-visited that Minnesota study on raw milk illnesses sponsored by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, in an article for Alternet.
As I suggest in the article, the research methodologies underlying the study are very dubious. But beyond that, there’s also the matter of a missed opportunity. The researchers had the opportunity to explore with raw milk drinkers their experiences consuming raw milk (whether they are regular or occasional consumers, for example), their long-term health experiences, and their challenges in obtaining regular supplies. Going more in-depth with their subjects would have required a more careful study, and a study geared toward informing.
But, of course, the study wasn’t about offering positive guidance in any shape or form. It was only about trashing raw milk, so it couldn’t go in any other direction.
Mark McAfee of Organic Pastures Dairy Co. sent along a couple of examples of dairy filters to highlight the differences in milk intended to be served raw and that intended to be pasteurized. Here is his explanation for the photos below:
“My son Aaron took a picture of this milk filter (first photo below) during a random visit to a local 'Grade A Dairy' this last week. It may not be everyone’s dairy….but it is a CDFA (CA Dept of Food and Agriculture) Grade A dairy and milk that flowed through this filter....gets commingled and supplied to consumers everywhere. The very clean filters (second photo below) are from OPDC RAWMI RAMP audits we do every week. These are common OPDC milk filters that show the negligible effects of milking hundreds of OPDC organic raw milk cows....Our RAMP team classifies, grades and places our filters into individual plastic bags. They are frozen for collection and testing each week and that is why they have clumps of ice-milk on them. Filters are as much as ten times more sensitive to pathogen tests as finished raw milk samples.
“When you consider that not all PMO (Pasteurized Milk Ordinance) Grade A raw milk filters may look this bad….all comingled CAFO milk is this bad. Why….because the better raw milk ( if there is any) and bad raw milk (like that which flowed through this filter) all gets dumped and commingled into one bulk tank at the FDA-approved creamery that then cooks it to death.”
Shades of pink slime.
Compliments to all here on the tone of the debate and discussion following my previous two posts. While some individuals acknowledged temptations to get personally nasty to others, the tone has been generally restrained and issues oriented This is a positive change from past discussions involving public health people, where some have been run off the blog.
It’s not that the public health people I quoted have radically changed their views, but I’d say they’ve both moderated their tone and shown more willingness to engage in discussion. Who knows where it leads, but it is progress in the context of the highly-charged raw milk controversy.
As I go around and speak about food rights, I am struck by the deep desire many people feel to organize and fight the conventional food system. It was the same this past week at Groton Wellness, in Groton, MA. We had about a dozen people on a frigid evening, and pretty much everyone stayed around for an hour-long discussion following my talk, on possible ways to organize their communities, initiate food sovereignty ordinances, get young people involved in farming, and take on legislative missions.
People are definitely feeling beaten down, and ever more radicalized, by seeming coordination between the mainstream media and government agencies like the CDC and FDA, to misinform on food issues, and want to organize.
I’ll be in Lincroft, NJ, on Sunday (speaking at 2:30 pm), at the NOFA-NJ Winter Conference. There seems to be a huge amount of enthusiasm for the gathering, and I’m very much looking forward to participating.