'If you find a seminarian, priest, nun, with a long, sad face, if it seems as if in their life someone threw a wet blanket over them,'' then one should conclude `'it's a psychiatric problem, they can leave - `buenos dias’". And he highlighted the fact that he wasn't talking about superficial joy - `'the thrill of a moment doesn't really make us happy,'' warning against the temptation to seek `'the joy of the world in the latest smartphone, the fastest car.'' "It hurts my heart when I see a priest or a nun with the latest model of car" he said. And Francis continued saying "cars are necessary. But take a more humble one. Think of how many children die of hunger' and dedicate the savings to them". Pope Francis told future nuns and priests and consecrated laypeople to keep "freshness" and "joy" in their lives
Killer Pesticides and Cancer
By Dr Lavina Noronha
Pesticides, by their very nature, are designed to kill living organisms. They include insecticides, herbicides, fungicides and biocides. A number of studies have clearly demonstrated a direct link between chemical pesticides and the development of cancer. Two kinds of chemical pesticides have been found to be directly related to the incidence of cancer all over the world.
Some of the commonly used pesticides like organochorines, creosote and sulfallate are described as ‘carcinogenic’ (cancer-causing) while dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT), lindane and chlordane have been identified as ‘tumor promoters’. They are also known to disrupt hormonal balance in the body and disturb the immune system.
The predominant sources of exposure to these pesticides are air, water and food. Inhalation, oral ingestion, dermal absorption are the common routes which then carry the chemicals throughout the body. International Agency for Research on Cancer has even classified some arsenic compounds and occupational insecticides as cancer-causing. Soft tissue sarcoma, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, leukemia, myeloma, melanoma, breast, prostate, skin, stomach, lung and esophageal cancers are ascribed to long-term direct as well as indirect exposure to these killer chemicals.
Who are at a higher risk?
Higher exposure to pesticides among farmers, applicators, manufacturers, and crop dusters has been identified as one of the main causes of lung, stomach, esophagus and blood cancers in this population. This does not mean that the general public is spared from pesticide exposure. Low doses of pesticide residues on fruits and vegetables from the open market or from supermarkets; use of contaminated ground water can also be damaging over the years. Insecticides and fungicides used in household fumigation are not safe either.
It is a fact that these killer chemicals are in our blood stream, in our kidneys and even in the air that we exhale. Many scientific studies have demonstrated this. For example, the traces of
pesticides found in breast-milk and the amniotic fluid have proved that a child’s risk of developing cancer increases if the mother-to-be is exposed to them. Girls who were exposed to DDT before they reach puberty are five times more likely to develop breast cancer in middle age.
Endosulfan sulphate is a “kill on contact” pesticide sprayed on crops like coffee, tea, cashew, tobacco, fruits and vegetables. Breathing the air where it is sprayed, eating fruits and vegetables laced with it or drinking water contaminated by endosulfan is reportedly hazardous to humans and animals.
Apart from congenital birth defects, neurological anomalies, and miscarriages, endosulfan is responsible for a number of respiratory and digestive tract cancers. The application of this pesticide has been reportedly discontinued in the last few years but thousands of people are still suffering the long-term effects of this killer pesticide in south India especially in Karnataka and Kerala.
In the developed countries like the U.S.A, U.K. and the European Union, systematic measures have been put in place to protect the environment from these toxic chemicals and in turn safeguard the interests of the public. In the developing countries however, despite the growing body of evidence about the health risks associated with pesticides there is an increase in the manufacture and use of these killer chemicals.
Prevention is better than cure!
Yes, the best solution is to popularize and promote non-chemical alternatives to chemical pest control.
Protective gear like gloves, masks, body suits may prevent direct exposure in high risk occupations like farming and manufacture. It is important to follow application and storage directions.
For the consumers, it is possible to remove the final layer of pesticide application by soaking the fruits and vegetables in salt water for 15 minutes and then washing the same with running water before using them.
Household insecticides like Ant, roach, termite, mosquito repellants are not safe either. Make it a point to read the fine print on the labels and know the chemical composition on each pack before you buy them or use them.
A regulatory system needs to be in place similar to EPA (Environment Protection Agency) in the U.S. to minimize the health hazards of pesticides and insecticides.
Proactive measures like awareness and education will go a long way in saving the lives of both the consumers as well as producers of these pesticides.
GEM INSPIRATIONAL SERIES
INDIA : From the mosque, a sermon of different kind By J. S. Ifthekhar (The Hindu via CNUA) The faithful listened with rapt attention to the importance of skill development, spoken English and the employability factor at the Masjide Azizia in Humayun Nagar The twain shall never meet – the celestial and the mundane. Worldly talk is a strict no-no in mosques. That’s the general perception. But the Masjide Azizia in Humayun Nagar begs to differ. The faithful were in for a surprise on Friday when they saw speakers waxing eloquent about the changing trends in education. Devotees listened with rapt attention to the importance of skill development, spoken English and the employability factor. "There is no difference between the spiritual and worldly knowledge. If the latter is acquired with the intention of benefiting mankind, it also amounts to fulfilling the religious obligation," says Aijaz Mohiuddin Waseem, Khateeb, Masjide Azizia. With the academic year having just begun, the Students Islamic Organisation of India, Hyderabad chapter, organised a symposium on Our approach towards education for the
benefit of Muslim youth. "The general trend is to memorise some answers just before the exams and somehow pass. We want to instil the real concept of education," says Farhan Sumbul of the SIO. "Masjid is not just a place of worship but also a centre for looking into the general well-being of the community," remarked Abdul Majeed, a parent, welcoming the initiative. Moulana Waseem, who is all for striking a balance between religion and worldly affairs, feels students can succeed only if they imbibed the 3 Ds – discipline, determination and devotion. Quoting Quranic verses, he said reflecting in the creation of skies and earth is worship but the inquisitive spirit is lacking today. Telangana University Vice-Chancellor Akber Ali Khan gave tips to the youth to increase their employability quotient. "Being on the Facebook is not enough. You ought to have the right communication and behavioural skills, whatever degree you may hold," he advised. "Be a job-giver rather than a job-seeker," he told the youth. The Masjide Azizia plans to open a regular career guidance cell after Ramzan. - http://www.thehindu.com
Hi Fr. Felix,
Thanks for you latest mail titled, Ecological Sin. I enjoy reading the articles that you send me. From your articles, I guess you are a lover of nature. I too, love nature and its beauty which no one can give us except God. Are you connected to any body that works for preserving natural beauty? If so, I would like to help in any way within my capacity.
Best wishes to you
Very very helpful information Father Felix. I hope to be able to use the information to spread the same good news as best as I can.
IIBM Patna: <email@example.com>
Honble sir, great work! i am with u and team. i have been promoting awareness campaign since 1985 and established indian institute of ecology and environment at patna and new delhi. great persons like u alone can change the mindset of common people and our so called policy makers. only capables in all respect are resonsible for all such disasters. let us join hands with god to our mother earth.
with warmest regards,
prof u k singh, pro chancellor,
the global open university, nagaland
Dear Fr Felix
I thank you sincerely for your thought provoking thoughts and ideas sent through email. May God bless your selfless and generous efforts.
The Green Thing……..
Thought you might appreciate this!
Checking out at the supermarket, the young cashier suggested to the older shopper that they should bring their own shopping bags because plastic bags weren't good for the environment.
The shopper apologised and explained, "We didn't have this green thing back in my youth."
The cashier responded, "That's our problem today. Your generation did not care enough to save our environment for future generations."
She was right - our generation didn't have the green thing in its day. In the old days we returned milk bottles, pop bottles and beer bottles to the shop. The shop sent them back to the factory to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and over. So they really were recycled. We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and we replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull.
But we didn't have the green thing back in our day.
We walked up stairs, because we didn't have an escalator in every shop and office building. We walked to the grocery shop and didn't climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two streets away.
But she was right. We didn't have the green thing in our day.
In those days we washed the baby's nappies because we didn't have the throw-away kind. We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy gobbling machine burning up 220 volts -- wind and solar power really did dry our clothes back in our early days. Our children got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing.
But that young lady is right. We didn't have the green thing back in our day.
Back then, we had one TV, or radio, in the house - not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief (remember them?), not a screen the size of the county of Yorkshire. In the kitchen, we blended and stirred by hand because we didn't have electric machines to do everything for us. When we packaged a fragile item to send in the post, we used wadded up old newspapers to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap. Back then, we didn't fire up an engine and burn petrol just to cut the lawn. We used a push mower that ran on human power. We exercised by working so we didn't need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity.
But she's right. We didn't have the green thing back then.
We drank water from a fountain or a tap when we were thirsty instead of demanding a plastic bottle flown in from another country. We accepted that a lot of food was seasonal and didn’t expect that to be bucked by flying it thousands of air miles around the world. We actually cooked food that didn’t come out of a packet, tin or plastic wrap and we could even wash our own vegetables and chop our own salad.
But we didn't have the green thing back then.
Back then, people took the tram or a bus, and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their mothers into a 24-hour taxi service. We had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And we didn't need a computerised gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 2,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest pizza place.
Isn't it sad that the current generation laments how wasteful we old folks were just because we didn't have the green thing back then?
Please forward this on to another selfish old person who needs a lesson in conservation from a smart arsed young person.
Remember: Don't make old people mad. We don't like being old in the first place, so it doesn't take much to stir us up.
Dr. Leo Rebello : firstname.lastname@example.org
YOUR PPT ON ORGAN DONATION AND BODY DONATION.
Your PPT on Organ Donation is excellent. Here is my poem on subject written and published in 1985 and read by millions since then
Rebello family was also the first to register for the Eye donation when the Times of India spearheaded this campaign in late Eighties.
I am still for Eye Donation as it gives sight to the sightless inspite of my bad experience in that field.
BUT NOW I AM TOTALLY AGAINST ORGAN DONATION AND BODY DONATION. I will write on that in second installment.
Dr. Leo Rebello
FOOD ORDINANCE IS A THREAT TO FOOD SECURITY.
Large scale diversion of Agricultural Land is the biggest threat to food security, says the former Agriculture Secretary EAS Sarma, with which we agree.
Therefore, I am circulating this report forwarded to me (after cross-checking facts and proof reading). GEM may publish this prominently. Authorities receiving this email should sit up.
If the authorities concerned do NOT sit up and re-consider this, the Supreme Court of India may take suo motu action to Right the grave Wrong and not wait for things to worsen.
Already the effects of Manmohan's Economic Model is casting long shadows of doom on Indian economy, whose base so far was Agriculture, which is now being replaced by Uglicuture of USA here. We do NOT need commercial crops like Cotton (of Monsanto brand), but biodynamic Agriculture that gives food sufficiency. We do not want defrauding schemes like Biometric Card called the Useless Aadhar Card which is being forced on everyone to control people, but we want our Adhikars (Rights) restored. We will NOT allow the erosion of our Rights by the corrupt regime.
Prof. Dr. Leo Rebello
It is ironic that the government has enacted an ordinance for food security and at the same time it is ignoring large scale diversification of agricultural land says the former secretary, EAS Sarma
EAS Sarma, former Secretary of the Government of India has raised his voice against large-scale diversion of agricultural land in different parts of the country. He suggested that necessary steps be taken on this serious issue without any delay as it can adversely affect food security.
Mr Sarma, in his letter to secretary of the ministry of agriculture suggested that, “The Planning Commission should have necessary vision to anticipate this worsening situation and under the business rules, the ministry of agriculture should take up this matter concerning land-use changes, evolve a national land-use policy and get it approved at the highest level. Every day’s delay will weaken India's agrarian economy that much.”
The Bill aims to provide subsidized rice, wheat and coarse cereals to 67% of the population. However, the consumption pattern across the country is different. In fact, some states like Rajasthan do not sell wheat in its PDS shops. In Jharkhand, the quantity of rice consumed by a rural BPL household is 3.6 times its consumption of wheat. By contrast, in Rajasthan foodgrain consumption under PDS almost entirely comprises of rice. (Read Food Security Bill: Who will plug the loopholes in PDS?)
However, according to Mr Sarma, “The food security of the country will be threatened as it adversely affects environment. It will also create food inflation, expensive food imports, turning small farmers into workers and urbanization of farmers for their livelihood, which can increase poverty, while many cultivators are forced to give up farming either due to uncertainties in water availability, increasing cost of inputs, or acquisition of lands for industry, including thermal power projects,” the former secretary said.
EAS Sarma emphasized the need of the ministry of agriculture to put in place a land-use policy to conserve agricultural land and factor the same into the ministry of environment and forest’s (MOEF) Environment Appraisal process for clearing projects. “A taluk-wise minimum threshold for agricultural land needs to be worked out,” he said.
Mr Sharma explained, “The ministry of agriculture should take note of this disturbing trend and go to the rescue of the dwindling agricultural lands in the country. Diversion of agricultural land will have the following adverse implication:
The food security of the country will be threatened, pushing India into expensive food imports. It will have national security implications. In fact, if the above trend continues, the cost of Public Distribution System (PDS) will progressively increase and finally weaken the food security supply chain.
In the long-run, this will push up the price of food items, creating an enormous scope for inflationary pressures to build up.
It will adversely affect the nutrition levels for the poor who are already undernourished, affect their productivity and income levels, worsening the poverty situation in the country.
As the Tamil Nadu report has shown, the benefits of increased food prices will be cornered by absentee landlords at the expense of the tillers of the soil.
The latest land acquisition law is aimed at transferring agricultural lands for non-agricultural purposes. It is therefore regressive and counter productive, devoid of any foresight.”
Mr Sharma, in his letter to the secretary of the ministry of agriculture shared the report on Tamil Nadu which explained how large scale agricultural land diversion adversely affected people of Tamil Nadu region the facts and figures shows…
Tamil Nadu The average size of landholdings in Tamil Nadu declined from 0.83 hectares in 2005-06
to 0.80 hectares in 2010-11. The number of cultivators declined by 8.7 lakh while the number of farm workers increased by 9.7 lakh between years of 2001 and 2011.
“What happened largely in the Tamil Nadu’s fertile region Cauvery delta is a threat to food security of the region. It is unfortunate that due to unprofitable farming many cultivators are forced to give up farming and sell their lands. As an effect they are migrate to urban areas to become daily wage labors, slum dwellers, and some small farmers are selling their piece of land and become agricultural workers,” added Mr Sarma.
He also enclosed another disturbing report on diversion of agricultural land around Hyderabad and the manner in which the prices of vegetables have doubled. The report gives facts to explain the reasons.
The report shows it happened due to many factors including change in crops as farmers are taking to cotton farming, but one of the main reason is less agricultural production due to diversion of agricultural land, the fast developing IT sector creates real estate boom in recent years around Hyderabad region as an effect, it leads to large scale diversion of agricultural land.
In the name of development lands were given to Special Economic Zones (SEZ). Cities also widened their boundaries many folds as many new residential and industrial developments took place in fertile agricultural land. A total of 20lakh acres of agricultural land was lost due to diversion in past 10 years as Andhra Pradesh does not have a law in place against the sale of agricultural lands while, states such as UP, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Gujarat have.
“These reports relevant to Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh must be valid for several other states. What these two reports describe represents only the tip of the iceberg of an agrarian economy that is facing a serious threat” said EAS Sarma.
While ignoring large-scale diversion of agricultural land and falling agricultural production, on the other hand president Pranab Mukherjee signed the ordinance on Friday on Food Security to give the nation’s two-third population the right to get 5 kg of food grain every month at highly subsidised rates of Re1-Rs3 per kg. The Food Security programme will be the biggest in the world with the government spending an estimated Rs.1,25,000 crore annually on supply of about 62 million tonnes of rice, wheat and coarse cereals to 67% of the population. (Read President signs food security ordinance)
“What happened in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh is representative of the larger picture of displacement of agricultural communities all over the country. If the government fails to contain this trend by regulating undesirable changes in the pattern of land-use at the regional and sub-regional levels, we will soon confront a situation of moving away from self-sufficiency in agriculture towards dependence on food imports,” added by the former secretary.
Where There is a Will, There is a Way
Fr. Joseph and his biogas unit
Fr. P. J. Joseph, svd, is a psychotherapist who provides training in dream analysis in Panchmarhi, a hill town of Madhya Pradesh. Through a mutual friend, he became aware of the ecological house of Narendra Jindal in Bhopal, which, among other things, featured rainwater harvesting, biogas, and solar water heating.
Impressed with Narendra’s work, Fr Joseph decided to install a biogas plant at Panorama, his retreat house in Panchmarhi. The cost of the 1 cubic meter unit worked out to Rs 15,000, a substantial amount for this Catholic priest. So, Mr Jindal, a retiree from the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (nabard) arranged a contribution of Rs 5,000 from the Community Renewable Fund (see below). A similar amount came from Dr Christian Schmidt from Germany. Dr Schmidt wanted to offset his carbon emissions from his travel to India last year. By burning methane, the biogas unit substantially reduces the greenhouse gas.
With financial constraints out of the way, Mr Jindal got to work. With the help of a local plumber, he installed a gas holding
tank of 750 liters and a digester tank of 1,000 liters capacity in an upside-down format. Gas began to flow for the first time on March 14, 2013 from 10 kgs of kitchen and animal waste inserted in the digester daily. Fr Joseph is happy with the two to three hours of gas he receives daily, with which he cooks his food, makes tea and boils milk. He saves about Rs 3,000 per year, or the cost of three cylinders of commercial LPG. In addition, he uses the 4 tons of slurry to fertilize trees and plants.
Fr. Joseph expressed his feelings thus: “Panorama’s mission is to offer accompaniment and care on life-pilgrimage ...leading to wholeness, healing and ecologically sound lifestyle. We try to follow sustainable development, keeping the Mother Earth clean and beautiful, and eating vegetarian food. Of late, solar lighting system, rainwater harvesting, roof water harvesting, organic farming and biogas plant have been added to the list of specialties of Panorama, highlighting an ecologically sound lifestyle.”
-Dr Emmanuel D’Silva,
Community Renewable Fund
Two retired bankers have launched a personal fund to support activities that convert waste into useful products or services to society. The Community Renewable Fund will start by supporting biogas, composting, and wastewater recycling projects in India with an initial corpus of Rs 1 lakh.
Dr. Emmanuel D’Silva, Environment Scientist formerly with the World Bank, and Mr. Narendra Jindal , former Manager at the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (nabard) are the initiators of the fund. “We hope to support small projects that can have a big impact on local communities,” said Dr. D’Silva. “Since the money comes from our pocket, there are no rules, no application forms, no paper work. We will examine each case on its merit.”
The two friends have supported a number of development projects in the past. Starting with his own house in Bhopal, Mr. Jindal has developed expertise in wastewater recycling and converting kitchen waste into biogas. Dr. D’Silva’s interest is in composting, organic agriculture, and covering wastelands with trees.
For details contact Dr D’Silva at email@example.com or Mr Jindal at firstname.lastname@example.org
Mumbai: Piling waste forces BMC to consider mini-dumps
http://www.indianexpress.com/news/piling-waste-forces-bmc-to-consider-minidumps/1139302/0 The ever-increasing waste generated in the city that just has three dumping grounds has now forced BMC to consider decentralisation, with mini-grounds at various locations.
While the city's largest dumping ground at Deonar has been receiving over 6,000 metric tonnes of waste daily, including the diverted waste from the Kanjurmarg site, the third one at Mulund has almost reached its intake capacity. Kanjurmarg has been plagued with operational issues for the last three months.
"We are planning to invite private players who can operate dumping grounds with a capacity of about 800 metric tonnes of waste daily," said a senior civic official.
"Though BMC has not finalised the number, it is considering five to 15 spots across the city," the civic official said. These dumping spots will also process waste.
"We will invite expressions of interest from various private firms in a few days,
following which we will prepare the tenders," said M Pimple, deputy chief engineer in charge of solid waste management (projects).
"Once we have dumping grounds across the city, the burden of dumping and treating waste would not be on just a couple of operators. In case of an operational failure at a spot, the waste can be easily diverted to another," said a senior civic official.
The civic administration is seeking proposals from companies that have around five hectares to spare and necessary technology and experience to operate dumping and processing plants, officials said.
BMC's environment status report for 2011-12 pegs the waste generated in the city every day at 9,200 metric tonnes. Of this, about 15 per cent lies uncollected for want of resources, the report states.
BMC had closed the city's oldest dumping ground at Gorai more than 15 years ago. At that time, it was the largest. The one at Deonar is partially closed. Of the 25 hectares at Mulund, 12 will go for closure, leaving little land for BMC to dump waste.
HERE ARE SOME OF COMPANIES, NGOs & INDIVIDUALS FROM VARIOUS INDIAN CITIES WHO MAY BE CONTACTED FOR TRAINING/GUIDANCE ON WASTE MANAGEMENT
HELLO MY FRIENDS!
I am a Managing Committee member of my housing society. In the past I have not heard much about things like ‘Zero Garbage’.
But after reading the GEM issues, now I am really convinced that, we must do something about the garbage menace, especially by working for a garbage free society. I would like to convince the residents of my housing society to start segregation of garbage at every home. There are many advantages in it. Just to put in nutshell:
1] We can keep our housing society clean as the society workers can handle the segregated garbage (wet and dry) more efficiently.
2] We do not have to daily wait for the ‘Ghanta Gadi’. Even if ‘Ghanta Gadi’ fails to come one or a few days, we will not face much problems, such as stench from piling of the garbage.
3] The compost produced from the wet garbage can be used for our society garden, trees and plants or can be sold and fetch some money for our society activities.
4] Our society workers can live a healthier life as they do not have to put their hands in the mixed garbage to retrieve saleable items.
5] Poor people, like sweepers of our society can earn some extra money as they will able to sell the recyclable/reusable items to the scrap dealers, instead of sending them to dumping grounds.
These are some of the immediate fruits your residents can reap by opting for ZERO GARBAGE SOCIETY. Imagine, if more and more housing societies take up ‘Zero Garbage’, what a difference it will make to the society, city and country as a whole?
Please help in this mission. Even if you are not a managing committee member, you too can convince your residents to work for a garbage free society. Gem can help you to spread this news. Therefore forward the GEM to all your residents.