WYSONG HEALTH LETTER
Dr. R. L. Wysong
February 1991
Weight Problems - The Bigger Issues
 
    All things have a price.   The safety, security, convenience luxury and ease of the industrial/technological era have a price.  This price is in part monetary, since we all must pay for the goods of modern life.  But this is only a partial payment, and at that, a discount.
    Most of us feel that we work hard for a living.  This may be true, but the living we get is often disproportionate to the hard work we do.  One middle income person’s wage from forty hours of work per week might feed and clothe a family of five, provide a 2500 square foot home, a vacation cabin.  furnishings, two cars, a recreational vehicle, snowmobile, insurance to replace it all if lost, taxes to support public services, bureaucracy, social aid and defense, support a part of a 600 billion dollar a year medical industry, pay to college educate three children, create cash to dabble in the stock market, and generate revenues for retirement by age 55.
    The modern ability to harvest the resources of the Earth at an incredible pace has resulted in us all living at bargain prices.      Compare what could be done by axe to the present ability to harvest and mill acres of timber in a single day.  Compare farming by hand to that possible with today’s awesome equipment.
It would appear that we get more than we earn.   We do.  If so, who or what is making up the difference?
It is the Earth itself and its resources which are being reaped in excess of the price paid.  What is the proper price? Whatever is necessary to assure the sustenance of the resource for use by future generations.   $1.39 is not a proper price for an eight foot 2 x 4 board, unless that price also covers the cost to renew the forest from which it came, to clean pollutants which may have resulted from its milling, and replace the energy required for its production and transportation with a clean renewable source.
    If the Earth was infinite, or this generation was the only one to which an ethic need be applied, then our present course of seeking ever more efficient ways to harvest Earth’s resources would be proper and right.  But neither is the case.  The Earth’s reserves are finite, and morally this generation has no right to steal and squander the sustenance required for the next.
    Not only is modern voluptuary living a tremendous bargain but also it shifts much of its environmental costs to future generations.  It is as if we mine the Earth, put it through a factory to produce our products of ease, and directly hook the chimneys and effluent pipes into a future generation.  We are cheating.  Not only do we steal the toys of our children to play with, but also we leave the mess for them to clean up.  The environmental toll is therefore the other part of the price equation, which we’re not paying.
    We have, however, been unable to steal without being caught, or to totally seal the pipes exhausting environmental damage into our children’s generation.  Some is leaking out.  We are suffering some of the consequences of our myopic excesses.  Acid rain, oil spills, Chernobyls, Love Canals and Bhoepal represent only headlined tips of the iceberg.
             Soil erosions from treating living soil as if it were a strip mine;
             Toxicants used on crops to attempt ever-larger yields;
             Ever-lower micronutrient levels in food crops harvested year after year with only NPK fertilizer used to replace nutrients lost;
             Food processing designed to increase profits by increasing shelf life and flavor rather than nutrient value;
             An ever-increasing demand for and supply of sybaritic products of ease and luxury, many of which are unnecessary—Does each of us really need three cars, 20 pairs of shoes, a garbage disposal, air conditioner, 6 suits, 30 ties, three TVs, 200 toys or 60 bottles of cosmetics? (Less than 1% of purchases from modern multi-acre shopping malls, often built over natural habitat, are for true necessities);
             A growing dependence on professionals and loss of self sufficiency;
             And an ever-increasing disengagement from the Earth, our natural heritage, as we become more and more insulated from it by “things” and “stuff’...  These are like, but less easily recognized parts of the treacherous iceberg.
    Pretending as if we are separate and apart from nature, and that we can squander its riches is a deadly mistake.   The ultimate consequence of such imbalance is lost health.
    Now what does all this have to do with maintaining healthy weight?
    The bloat of obesity is simply a part of the bloat of society at large.  We’re fat in our garage, car, home, closet, office—about everywhere you look -- —why would we not be fat on our bodies? If modern technology did not present the option for excesses both in food and leisure, if it did not permit the dramatic alteration of our environment and the character of our food supply, if the only food available were that picked raw, fresh and whole directly from nature, and we had to expend considerable effort to find and harvest it as our genetic makeup expects we would, obesity would not exist.  Nor would many other degenerative, environmentally induced or influenced illnesses.
    That’s a lot of ifs, and some big ones at that.  The idea of each of us skipping through the bushes in our loincloths each day collecting berries falls far short of practical possibility.   Much of modern technology was in fact designed to feed and protect from the elements an increasingly swelling population.  What would we do now, for example, without modern sanitation, utilities or food distribution?  Disease would abound and starvation decimate large segments of the population.  We have the apparent dilemma of not being able to live with modern technology, or without it.
    But technology/industrialization has now taken us far beyond assisting us to survive, into the world of frills and excess.  A classic example is the automobile.  That which would be necessary for transportation, comfort, safety and energy efficiency is entirely unlike the chromed, gas guzzling death traps which have flooded the highways for the past decades and go through an unnecessary aesthetic model change every year.  Practical solutions to living problems bave become lost in the excitement of marketing opportunities and profits possible with technological capabilities.
    Technology, like any tool has the capacity for good or bad.  Using technology to solve problems of transportation, food production and distribution, housing, clothing, and so forth, while at the same time preventing waste, pollution or health consequences is one thing; using it to simply create over abundance or frivolous new gadgets in order to create profit and inflated wages (which excess then in turn fuels further consumption and further motivates profiteers in an endless spiral) is another.
Technology Industrialization
Exploit Resources
Protect Environment
Dominate
Optimize Health
Emphasize Quantity
Recycle Resources
Lower Prices
Sustainability
Profit Driven
Functionality
Frivolity
Cost Reflects Value
 
Quality
 
    It is mind that has brought us to the incredible capabilities of altering our environment and manipulating its resources.   It is mind which must direct these alterations to the benefit of this and future generations.  The grocery cart has replaced the spear.       Cunning necessary for sorting through food, consumer products, and lifestyle choices replaces the cunning required to survive in the wild.
    If we allow ourselves to be simply swept along by a society, which is moved primarily by the flow of money, not by beneficence or fiduciary responsibility, we can expect to reap the consequences.   Obesity is simply one consequence befalling some of us.  Others fall victim to stress-related diseases, environmental illnesses, occupational diseases and a host of nutritionally related diseases - - all to a large extent a result of society targeting profits rather than health and sustainability.
    Solving problems of weight, therefore, becomes a matter of taking control and making choices, not simply being led by others who may not have your best interests in mind.  Purchasing and using everything we are urged to buy on a billboard or TV commercial is a certain road to disaster.
    Choices must be made.  If those choices can be made within the synorgonic backdrop of understanding our natural heritage and the need to restore balances, lasting progress can be made.  Weight control approached with these understandings will not only bring the many benefits of increased individual health, but also raise our consciousness about larger issues of social and environmental responsibility.  It will he through such individual awareness, action and pressure on society’s direction makers that our world can progress toward the paradisaic health and peace it is possible to achieve.
 
Sprout Protein
    I have mentioned repeatedly, in the reviews how the nutritional value of sprouts.  Upon germination many seeds dramatically increase their vitamin content, decrease anti-nutritional factors, and increase the digestibility of macro-nutrients such as protein and carbohydrates.  A concern of many that are trying to convert more and more of their diet to vegetation, as opposed to meat, is protein.  Although it is practically impossible to design a varied vegetation based diet which does not contain the full spectrum of amino acids and levels of protein generally understood to be entirely adequate for not only maintenance, but growth, the following data will help increase confidence.
    In a recent issue of a Sprouting Newsletter an interesting comparison was made between alfalfa sprouts, lettuce, and eggs.  This chart was gleaned from the Nutrition Almanac from McGraw Hill and we reproduce it on the back of the summary sheet for this month.  Note how that 1-cup of alfalfa contains 5.1 grams of protein, whereas an egg, generally considered to be a high protein food, contains 5.2.  Also notice the dramatic difference between the nutrients that we want higher in our diets, such as fiber and vitamins, compared to either plain iceberg lettuce or eggs, so the lower values of things we want less of in our diet such as fat and, of course, calories.
    A good thing to try at home, if you have not yet, is alfalfa sprouts.  These can be easily grown by simply putting a couple of tablespoons in a quart jar with a nylon rubber-banded over the mouth.   Allow the seeds to soak overnight in water, and then rinse a couple of times a day and set on an incline so that the water drains out.  In about seven days the sprouts are of sufficient length to eat.  The hulls can either be floated off by dumping the sprouts in a larger bowl and filling with water so the hulls either float or drop to the bottom.  The sprouts at this point can either be put into larger bowls with glass or plastic covers to allow the sprouts to increase in length and greenness.  This is easy to do, and can keep you supplied with readily available, highly nutritious fresh greens on a continuing basis.  Keeping a store of seeds that are sproutable around is an excellent survival tool as well.  Concentrated in small packages, seeds require little room but could virtually permit the survival of an entire family through sprouting for many weeks.
 
Colon Cancer and Fat
    A prospective study performed at Harvard Medical School on 88,751 women between 1980 and 1986 showed positive correlations between red meat intake and the incidence of colon cancer.  There was a particularly high incidence in women who ate beef, pork or lamb daily compared to those who ate fish or chicken.  Additionally, it was found that there was no correlation between higher intakes of vegetable lipids and colon cancer.
    This is a significant study with a mass of data collected over a period of over 512 person years.  For those maintaining there is not evidence for such diet disease links, this is strong evidence to the contrary.
    No one knows for sure why high fat diets lead to increased risk of colon cancer.  Some believe it is due to the increased bile acids secreted to process the fats.  Bite acids are neoplasia inducing by increasing a turnover of mucosal cells.  It is also believed that the micro-flora within the colon change populations under high fat diets and that these new microbial balances can also be cancer inducing.  The level of fiber intake is inversely related to colon cancer.  It may be that decreased transit time through the colon, shortening the time of exposure of the mucosal cells to cancer promoting agents, may also be a mechanism.      Additionally as we have mentioned before in the review, fats are subject to degradation and oxidation with the resultant products being highly toxic and free-radical generating.  If held in the colon for long periods of time the result may be the induction of colon cancer.
    The recommendation is clear: decrease the level of animal fats in the diet, increase vegetation based products.  A tired old theme we continue to repeat throughout the reviews.
    Reference:
        Willett, Walter C., M.D., et. al., “Relation of Meat, Fat, and Fiber Intake To The Risk Of Colon Cancer In a Prospective          Study Among Women”, The New England Journal Of Medicine, December 13, 1990, pp.1664-1672.
 
Recycled Paper
    Let’s look at what happens when a ton of paper is made from recycled fiber as opposed to a ton of paper made from virgin pulp.
    First of all, with that ton of recycled fiber seventeen mature trees are saved.  That alone is a good enough reason to opt for the recycled paper, but that’s not all.  We additionally have significant savings from lower use of electricity and water which is required to make the recycled paper, and we also have decreased air pollutants released and less refuse is created for the local landfill.
    It takes 4,1OO fewer kilowatts hours of energy to produce a ton of recycled paper rather than virgin paper, which is enough energy savings to heat and air condition a home for six months. The water savings to make recycled paper is 7,000 gallons.  Additionally, one ton of recycled paper produce 60 pounds less air pollutant than the ton of regular paper does, and not sending   the recycled fiber to the landfill saved a full three cubic yards of landfill area.
    Recycled paper is something we are now all keyed into looking for and recognizing but we should be sure that even the smallest paper purchase, such as a greeting card or a box of personal stationery, is on recycled paper.  Granted we’re not going to turn the world upside down by buying three greeting cards a year of recycled paper.  But by directing our purchasing dollars and asking retailers for earth friendly options we create a subtle-economic pressure which manufacturers listen to.  Also remember if we pay attention to the small things we’re more likely to do the big things as well.
 
Decreased Medical Care Results In Better Patient Outcomes
    The Diagnosis Related Groups-based Prospective Payment System has been devised to decrease medical costs by getting patients out of the hospital earlier.  A follow-up study in The Journal of the American Medical Association of over 14,000 Medicare patients showed that of five-disease categories studied, the hospital stay dropped 24% and in-hospital mortality declined from 16.1 % to 2.6% after this program was introduced.
    This reminds us of other studies demonstrating instances where physicians going on strike resulted in decreased mortality.  There is the strong suggestion that more conventional medical care does not mean better health care.
    Reference:
        Bentow, Stanley S. et al., “Comparing Outcomes of Care Before and After Implementation of the DRG-Based Prospective Payment 8ystem,” The Journal of the American Medical Association, October 17, 1990. Pages 1984-1988.
 
Ecological Economics
    Modern economics, blind to the limits of the natural world, is in part responsible for hastening the Earth’s demise.   John Maynard Keynes, the father of modern economics, completely left out any mention or factoring in of the environment when he devised economic measurements and functioning.  Working so closely in time to the Great Depression, Keynes naturally focused on unemployment, inflation, and other elements of the money cycle.  At that time, natural resources appeared to be so abundant that scarcity, depletion and environmental damage did not even factor into his picture of the economy’s functioning.      Unfortunately, we are still operating under the economic assumptions and standards set by Keynes, only now a handful of economists see this as a fundamental flaw in their discipline.  There is an almost complete lack of regard for the environment, as if modern economics and the natural world are almost completely separate from one another, rather than being tightly interrelated as they really are.
    Strictly economically speaking—if there could be such a thing, if economics or any persuasion could stand alone—we are making great progress.  It now takes on average only 15 days to produce what it took an entire year to produce in 1900.  Of course damage is appearing in the form of acid rain, ozone holes and greenhouse gases, but if we could overlook these problems, the economics, for now, look good.
    Let’s look at the Gross National Product, every economist’s favorite economic indicator.  A close look at the accounting system used to produce the GNP shows that human welfare and natural wealth are not factored in.  As a country’s factories and buildings age or are allowed to go to ruin, a subtraction is made from the capital accounts of that country to reflect depreciation. However, no such subtraction is made for the deterioration of forests, soils, and so forth.  When trees are cut and sold for timber, for example, the proceeds are counted as income and thus added to the GNP.  However, no subtraction is made for the deterioration of the forest, which is actually an economic asset, which could have provided revenues long into the future if it had been managed well.
    Besides completely ignoring the destruction of natural wealth, the GNP as it is currently calculated, has another major failing: it counts as income, many of the expenditures made to combat pollution and its adverse consequences.  The Alaskan oil spill of March 1989, the single most environmentally damaging accident in U.S. history, actually created a rise in the GNP since much of the $2 billion spent on labor and equipment for the cleanup was added to income.  In another absurdity, much of the $40 billion in health core expenses and other damages incurred by U.S. citizens annually, solely as a result of pollution, is counted on the plus side of the national income ledger.  So, while any rational person would believe that our country certainly would be better off if the Alaskan oil spill had never happened and if people didn’t suffer respiratory ailments from air pollution, our GNP suggests the opposite.  There appears to be reward for environmental damage.
    Under the strictly mathematical logic of discounting, it is perfectly rational to drive a natural resource to extinction if its growth rate lags behind the market rate of interest.  Cohn Clark, professor of applied mathematics at the University of British Columbia says, “If dollars in banks are growing foster than a timber company’s forests, it is more profitable (indeed more economical) to chop down the trees, sell them, and invest the proceeds elsewhere.”  Economic decision-making also fails to account for the many functions which natural systems perform which are either difficult to quantify or less important to the decision-maker than strictly economics.  A forest, for example, which is producing wood for timber is also protecting upland soils from erosion, safeguarding downstream croplands from flooding, providing habitat for countless plant and animal species, and storing carbon which would hasten global warming if it were released.   But the single individual who owns that forest may not be as concerned about all that as about profit.  The primary problem often is that private investors don’t consider these ecological costs to be losses since they are social losses.  We have discussed this before; the privatizing of profit, the commonizing of costs.   Relatively small measurable private gains can thus result in a huge unquantified social loss, and our modern economic rules will detect nothing wrong and send us no warnings.  It is a problem of applying numeracy, the numbers, but not ecolacy (ecological consequences).
    Recalculating the GNP so that it takes into account the depletion and deterioration of natural assets such as forests and water supplies is a critical first step toward lessening the gap between the real and the apparent economics of a country.  So far, Australia, Canada, France the Netherlands, and Norway are among countries which have begun compiling inventories of their natural resources, but they do not yet integrate these figures into the national capital and income accounts.  At this point, only the U.S. and West Germany have plans to calculate an alternative GNP figure which takes environmental damage into account, but probably not until the mid 1990’s.
    Every twenty years, the United Nation’s Statistical Commission revises its System of National Accounts.  Most market economies follow the U.N.’s accounting procedures, and this commission is currently making changes.  Unfortunately, the U.N. Statistical Commission has decided to make only limited reforms this time and won’t reform again until around 2010.   They ore currently drafting guidelines for countries wishing to develop environmental and resource accounts, but the traditional approach to figuring the GNP still will be considered acceptable, and reports given based on that will still be valid.   By the time 2010 rolls around, a growing number of countries will be trapped in economic decline from the destruction of their natural assets.  Without any forests to supply it with timber, a $50-million lumber mill is useless too country.
    A few, but too few, governments are taking the initiative to help solve the disparity between ecological and economical wealth.  The government of the Netherlands in April of 1990 proposed planting a total of 625,000 acres of trees in five Latin American countries over the next twenty-five years to compensate for and offset the estimated carbon emissions tom two coal-fired power plants to be built in Holland during the 1990’s.  They can see that their power plants will take on environmental toll, and they are willing to try to make environmental amends.  Making such investments and compensations mandatory, for both public and private investors would help ensure that future economic activity does less overall harm to the world’s environment.
    Tax policy is another even more broad and effective way to achieve environmental protection. Most governments raise most of their revenues by taxing personal and corporate income, but by systematically taxing economic activities which pollute, deplete or otherwise degrade the environment governments could raise revenue in a way that promotes environmentally sound practices.   In late 1989, Congress passed a tax on the sale of ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons.  Initially, they are being taxed at $1.37 per pound, which is roughly twice their current price, and the tax will rise to $3.10 per pound by 1995 and $4.90 per pound by 1999.  At this time in the United States, just a 1 percent tax on pesticides and fertilizers would initially raise more than $100 million annually.   Taxes could be introduced which would penalize the use of virgin rather than recycled materials, generation of toxic wastes, emissions of acid rain forming pollutants, overpumping of groundwater, and similar environmentally unsound practices. A comprehensive set of environmental taxes could easily reduce the government’s need for federal income taxes—some estimate as much as 25% less income tax could be token—and it would speed the transition to a more ecologically sound economy.  With the public more and more in favor of spending to help the environment, but of course not wanting their own income taxes increased, these seem promising solutions.  Widespread environmental deterioration will lead to environmental downfall and social disruption.   Now is the time to remember that the economy 5 optimum size is not necessarily its maximum size.  As ecologist/philosopher Garret Hardin says, “For a statesman to try to maximize the GNP is about as sensible as for a composer of music to try to maximize the number of notes in a symphony.”
    Reference:
        World Watch, September/October 1990
 
Journals in the Kitchen
    A recent header article in The New England Journal of Medicine entitled “Chemistry in the Kitchen” certainly caught my attention. The authors describe a method by which ground beef can be lowered in its cholesterol and saturated fat content.  They describe heating the meat in polyunsaturated fats first, and then rinsing the product with boiling water to extract the fat and cholesterol, and then recombining the fat-free broth with the meat to add back the meaty flavor.
The National Cholesterol Education Program is making an aggressive educational attempt in getting people to lower fat intake to less than 30 percent of calories, with less than a third of that being in saturated form.   An intake of cholesterol should be less than 300 milligrams per day, as per their recommendation.
    This effort attempts to address the mounting evidence showing a link between certain dietary markers and atherosclerosis, but the approach here discussed misses the mark.  Further processing of meat to extract certain lipid fractions is not the solution.  Nor is the fundamental cause of atherosclerosis the fact the meat has cholesterol and saturated fats in it.  As we mentioned before, it is likely that it is the processing of the meat in the first place which adversely effects the make-up of its contained lipids, which result in atherosclerotic lesions.  It is also the excess consumption of such processed meat that is causing the problem.  Nevertheless, it is remarkable to note in a mainline scientific medical publication a rather extensive discussion of recipes and cooking procedures in the kitchen as a direct link to health consequences.
    In the same issue of that journal are some other very noteworthy remarks.  An editorial by two M.D.s out of Harvard responded to the article about trying to remove the fats and cholesterol out of hamburger, for example, by stating that the optimal intake of cholesterol is probably zero, “meaning the avoidance of animal products.”  Now this is rather remarkable since most mainline nutritional thinking is that the four food groups must be eaten daily, and that anyone consuming a vegetarian style diet is taking a dramatic gamble with their health.  They also make the observation in this rebuttal to that article that conversion of the diet to margarines, which can contain as much as 35 percent of their fat as partially hydrogenated fatty acids, which can compete structurally and functionally with important natural fatty acids, as “suspect until proven innocent.”   They further go on to extoll the merits of a vegetation-based diet by stating “beyond our land of meat and potatoes the world’s vast array of vegetarian containing no cholesterol and little 16:0 and 14:0 fatty acids provides an eating adventure between the occasional meatballs that Americans are only beginning to explore.”
    As one surveys the popular press, however, and the musing of various nutritional and medical experts, and the dictates of food regulatory officials, one can be lead easily to the conclusion that diet is insignificant in health as long as the four food groups are eaten daily, and that diet has little to do with disease at all.
    I just received in the mail today an invitation to a post-graduate course put on by the American Society for Clinical Nutrition.      Now this came along with the premier nutritional journal in this country, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, and this program is a function of this journal.  The remarkable thing is the title of the course, “Diet in Prevention and Treatment of Chronic Disease.”
    Well, as I’ve mentioned before the scientific literature if filled with evidence and testimony demonstrating the dramatic and wide links between diet and disease.  Unfortunately, this information simply has not sufficiently moved out into the professional audience, or to the public at large.
    References:
        Oliva, Cheryl, M.D., et. al., “Chemistry in the Kitchen,” The New England Journal of Medicine, January 10,1991, pp.73-77.
        Sacks, Frank M, M.D., et. al., “Chewing the Fat,” The New England Journal of Medicine, January 10,1991, pp. 121-123.
 
Toothpaste Bronchospasm
    This falls into our weird case of the month category.
    A twenty-one year old non-smoking woman presented to a physician with a six week history of wheezing and dyspnea.  Treatment included the use of theophylline beta-agonists and inhaled steriods.
    It was found that the patient was using Crest Tarter Control Toothpaste and that the symptoms abated when she switched to a gel based toothpaste.  Rechallenged, the wheezing was re-ignited within ten minutes.
    She was sensitive to the artificial spice in the mint and wintergreen flavorings used in this toothpaste. She also recalled that she developed similar symptoms when chewing wintergreen or peppermint artificially flavored gums.
    This is just another example of the almost endless possibilities that exist within our modern environment for enciting disease conditions.
    Reference: 
        Keown, P.A., M.D., et. al., “Shortness of (Fresh) Breath—Toothpaste-Induced Brochnospasm,” New England Journal of Medicine, Volume 323, Number 26, pp.1845.
 
Scale of Change
    So many of the problems we face today in health and the environment are the result of rapid changes that occurred in our modern times.  We’ve talked before about genetic time warp we’re in since the industrial revolution.
    For all those born prior to 1945, consider the changes experienced as described by the International Bakers Services: We were before television, before penicillin, before polio shots, frozen foods, Xerox, contact lenses, Frisbees and the PILL.
    We were before radar, credit cards, split atoms, laser beams and ballpoint pens; before pantyhose, dishwashers, clothes dryers, electric blankets, air conditioners, drip-dry clothing—AND—before Man walked on the Moon!
    We got married first and THEN lived together.  How quaint can you be?
    In our times, closets were for clothes, not for coming out of.  Bunnies were small rabbits—and rabbits were not Volkswagons.  Designer jeans were scheming girls named Jean or Jeanne, and having a meaningful relationship meant getting along well with our cousins.
    We thought fast food was what you ate during Lent, and Outer Space was the back of the local theater.
    We were before house-husbands, gay rights, computer dating, dual careers and commuter marriages.  We were before daycare centers, group therapy and nursing homes.  We never heard of FM radio, tape decks, electric typewriters, artificial hearts, word processors, yogurt, and guys wearing earrings.  For us, time-sharing meant togetherness—not computers or condominiums; a “chip” meant a piece of wood; hardware meant hardware; and software wasn’t even a word.
    In 1940, “Made in Japan” meant junk, and the term “making out“ referred to how you did on an exam.   Pizzas, “McDonalds“ and instant coffee were unheard of.
    We hit the scene when there were 5-and-lO stores where you bought things for five and ten cents.  The corner drugstore sold ice-cream cones for a nickel or a dime.  For one nickel you would ride a street car, make a phone call, buy a Pepsi or enough stamps to mail one letter and two postcards.  You could buy a new Chevy coupe for $600, but who could afford one?   A pity, too, because gas was only 11 cents a gallon!
    In our day, cigarette smoking was fashionable, GRASS was mowed, COKE was a cold drink and POT was something you cooked in.  ROCK MUSIC was a Grandma’s lullaby and AIDS were helpers in the Principal’s office.
    We were certainly not before the difference between the sexes was discovered, but we were surely before the SEX CHANGE; we made do with what we had.  And we were the last generation to think you needed a husband to have a baby!
    No wonder we are so confused and there is such a generation gap!
    BUT WE SURVIVED!! What better reason to celebrate?
    Reference:
        International Bakers Services Inc.
 
Environmental Tidbits
    Ironically enough, one of the main complaints that the employees of the American Automobile Association had about their location in Falls Church, Virginia was frustration with endless traffic jams on area highways—so they moved their headquarters to Orlando, Florida where the automobile isn’t such a problem.
    Should everyday disposables be banned?  Consider that Americans throw away 1.1 million tons of disposable cups and plates per day, which would be enough to serve everyone in the world six times.   Encourage your family to go ‘cold turkey’ and ‘just say no’ to disposable dishes.  It can be done and it’s not that hard! For picnics and such our family has bought sturdy plastic dishes which can be washed indefinitely, yet are not breakable or heavy.  They pack just as well as paper or Styrofoam plates.
    Every day, 3,500 rural acres are bulldozed in America to make way for new buildings and highways. Be wary of all land clearing in your community and become active in zoning issues and the like to help preserve what you can.  Remember: think globally, ACT LOCALLY.
    Consider buying a realistic artificial Christmas tree and encourage everyone you know to boycott real pines.  It seems ridiculous to see Christmas trees loaded onto trucks to be used for a week and then discarded, when we need so many more trees in the world.  There should be a penance: for every tree you cut down, you must plant ten.  Incidentally, thanks to yours and others’ support the Institute has helped plant 5000 trees.  Let us know if you can find an acre to plant some more.
    Of course your children and grandchildren like toys that ‘go’. But consider some alternatives to standard battery-operated toys, since a common disposable battery requires fifty times more power to manufacture than it will ever generate.  Some ‘green’ toy companies are producing solar-powered motorboats, cars and trucks - you just need to hunt a bit to find them. In this manner, a toy becomes a teaching tool for kids too.  After all, this is the world that awaits them once the fossil fuels are all used up - solar power, wind power, etc.  If they play with it now, perhaps they will be better able to work with it in the future.
    On an encouraging note, the Netherlands National Environment Plan includes a proposal to replant more than 600,000 acres of tropical rain forest over the next 25 years in Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador and Peru.  Less encouraging news comes from Japan, a country needing to perhaps more sincerely address environmental problems: 650 species of animals in Japan are in danger of extinction, including 20 percent of Japan’s vertebrates.  Much of this is blamed on a rising resort development rate, which is accelerating deforestation and water pollution.
    Here’s a thought-provoking question: How do you think a person’s body is going to react when it genetically is programmed and prepared to expect fresh, clean spring water and it receives instead 47 gallons of soda pop each year and 37 gallons of chemical-treated water?  That’s the going average here in America.
    How much ore we really consuming here in America?  Looking at steel, per capita we consume 917 pounds per year.  In Bangladesh the per capita consumption of steel is 11 pounds.  Energy consumption is more embarrassing, with the U.S. at the highest per capita in the world, with 140 times more energy consumed per capita than in Bangladesh.  We are behind only one country, East Germany, in the consumption of red meat: per capita we -eat 168 pounds of red meat annually.  The Indians average 3 pounds annually.  What things are we advised to cut back on? What are we most guilty of overconsuming?   Cars, meat and disposables.  Ironically, abundance hasn’t really made people more happy; instead consumption becomes o sort of treadmill with everyone trying to keep up.  Well, as Aristotle said -- 23 centuries ago – “The avarice of mankind is insatiable.”      Let me leave you with a philosophic quote from Henry David Thoreau, who spent much of his time avoiding society and certainly avoiding materialistic things.  Remember, he had three chairs in his home: as he said, one was for himself, two for company, three for society.  In this world of consume, consume, consume, ponder the words Thoreau wrote as he sat by Walden Pond: “A man is rich in proportion to the things he can afford to let alone.”
    Reference:
        World Watch, November/December 1990
 
Hunting
    The book entitled The American Hunting Myth, by Ron Baker discusses the system which perpetuates sport or game hunting.  If you are a hunter or support hunting, these points may not change your mind or impress you to alter your thinking; nevertheless, as is true of almost any issue, a bit more knowledge or information can’t hurt.  Let’s look at some of the issues.
    First of all, the euphamistic language surrounding hunting.  Game wardens write and speak about ‘taking’ so many deer, or ‘harvesting’ a certain number this season.  One of their favorite terms is ‘wildlife management.’  Hunters are called ‘sportsmen.’       Even buying a hunting ‘license’ makes it legal, clean, and official feeling.  Killing off large numbers of any one species is called ‘population control,’ while ensuring that proper species ratios are maintained through hunting is called ‘ecosystem management.’     Eating some of the meat from an animal which has been killed means you are a ‘subsistence hunter’ rather than a trophy or recreational hunter, which somehow makes it more justifiable or benign—even if you do proudly display the antlers above the fireplace in your den, relive the moment of the kill with a grand, oft-repeated tale, and your family didn’t really need the meat at all.  In fact, of course, there are very few true subsistence hunters in the United States, only a few living in primitive conditions and actually hunting the surrounding land for their food.
    Under the term ‘habitat improvement programs’ many herds ore bolstered with lots of extra food provided by the Department of Natural Resources or State Departments of Conservation.  These government wildlife agencies, particularly those on the state level, share responsibility for deterioration of habitats as a cycle develops: deer and other animals are fed excessively by food supplied artificially, then the manipulation results in a greater number of fawns or offspring born in response to the improved food supply, and thus the yield for hunters is higher.  However, as with any time man gets too involved in the matters of nature, it never works cleanly.  Too often there are still too many deer and longer seasons have to be permitted, or the taking of more antlerless deer, to compensate for an overgrown population.  These may be the same people who defend hunting the most common way by asking if you’d rather see the excess deer slowly and painfully starve or be quickly and mercifully shot—one clean blow to the heart.   Of course, a direct perfect hit, no suffering.  What they don’t mention is that there are so many excess deer only because they’ve been fed to encourage increase.  In reality, if we just stayed out of it, very few would starve and only in the most severe winters, once a natural balance was achieved.  Also, starvation claims the weakest and oldest, as a natural way to ensure survival of the fittest and strengthen the species; hunters are after the largest and strongest, thus removing them from the gene pool.  If we were hunting with clubs and ancient weapons, we too would get only the slow and weak ones, and this would not weaken the species.  But we’re hunting with the gross advantage of high-tech, high-powered rifles so we’re able to get at the best.  Some states grow their deer population so intensely to get ready for a big and lucrative ‘harvest’ that car/deer accidents are a very real threat to people on the highways.  Farmers complain of overrunning herds of deer, which would not be a problem if the herds weren’t encouraged to multiply by artificially supplied food and manipulated habitats.
    In fact, the reality of game management usually conflicts with current game management theories.  Game biologists deal mainly with the continuance of individual species; deer, bear, grouse, pheasant, etc.—the species which mean income.  They do not work to establish healthy populations of all native species, interacting harmoniously within wild ecosystems.  Because of the economics of it all, in fact, many game officials could care less about the unprofitable species, and are primarily concerned about the ‘management’ of the species which bring economic rewards to their state in terms of hunting/fishing/trapping licenses purchased and the influx of the sportsmens’ dollars during the seasons.  The bottom line is that in most states, deer ‘management’ is designed to maximize fawn production to maintain deer herds at artificially high levels.
    At the same time, natural predator species are kept at a low, so they don’t interfere with the really important hunting species - man.  This is considered one of the main reasons that wolves are so generally despised - the fear that they could interrupt a blissful human hunter/prey relationship.  Thus, the two main objectives of wildlife manipulators are to keep populations of favored game species at abnormally high levels, and to reduce the number of large natural predators if and when predator populations rise above predetermined levels.   Therefore, large natural predators such as timber wolves, mountain lions and coyotes, and sometimes smaller predators such as lynx and bobcats, are a hindrance to ‘game management’ goals.  New York     State has usually had a five-month coyote hunting season, combined with an additional trapping season.  There is no doubt that they are trying to keep coyote populations as low as possible without introducing the threat of extinction, but this is a very dangerous balancing act for humans to be attempting.  Human hunters also fight among themselves: when a muzzle-loading primitive firearms season was scheduled for deer hunting before the high-tech rifle and shotgun season in New York began, the hunters who did not have primitive firearms were angry that the other hunters got first shot.  The fear was that the population of deer would be reduced too much and the big trophies taken before the ‘real’ deer season got under way.
    Hunting groups have - and use very effectively - extremely strong lobbying abilities with their states’ legislators.  The legislators’ response to the introduction of bills which promote more hunting is often not related to what their constituents want, but more to the pressure of bunting group lobbyists.  Any attempt by wildlife officials to shorten hunting seasons or close off some geographic areas to hunting due to decline of herds is usually met with angry hunting groups lobbying to kill such bills before they become law.   Since some hunters are very verbal , even though they ore a small minority, and non-hunters are generally very quiet through indifference or ignorance, the system is perpetuated.
    Here in Michigan, our deer hunting season begins in the fall with a bow and arrow season, followed by the traditional firearms season.  Hunting is very big business here in the north country, and generally speaking the economic benefits are anticipated most eagerly by small town local merchants.  Nevertheless, car after car has a dead doe or buck draped across the trunk or roof, bloody and gutted abdomen exposed, tongue lolling... my children are horrified as we pass these cars, and it’s not a pretty sight for anyone except perhaps for those who are economically benefiting.  I don’t think too many people actually like to see a dead animal’s body, in fact if we had to see the origin of our prime rib dinner in the slaughterhouse, most of us would have a hard time choking it down.  Did any of us, especially as children, really enjoy the scene in Bambi when the mother deer is shot, and did we empathize with the hunter?  But, my own father was an avid hunter, keeping bird dogs, and I have many relatives and friends who very much enjoy and staunchly defend what they adamantly think of as the ‘sport’ of hunting.  Young boys look forward to hunting almost as a rite of passage.  I have fond memories of hunting with my father, although it was never tasteful for me to actually participate in the killing part, particularly if the animal was only wounded.   Nevertheless, I understand that part of the fascination is quietly stalking wildlife in a natural setting, with family or friends to share the experience.  All pros and cons aside, one thing our family does enjoy is the beautiful herd of deer which come to our back yard pond for water and the food we put out for them.  When we see the survivors after deer season has ended, it’s as if we can breathe a sigh of relief for those who didn’t get killed.  You can’t help but be happy for the hunted if they have managed to elude the hunter, to hang onto their fragile freedom for a bit longer and thus somehow make us believe the wild and nature still exists.
    Reference:
        The American Hunting Myth, Ron Baker