The U.S. Department of Agriculture just released its biannual report on farm incomes, and it looks bleak. Farmers are drowning in debt, and it’s being blamed on a poor dollar and dropping grain prices, but let’s look at some additional factors which may be bankrupting the farmers of the U.S., and some easy ways to save them.
-U.S. farms grow tons of government-subsidized GMO corn to be used for ethanol. This practice is killing our soil, and bankrupting farmers. It is also totally unnecessary since we shouldn’t be relying on oil for energy anymore. Costa Rica, Iceland, and Bonaire are three countries that are already running 100% on green energy. Let farmers grow hemp instead.
-Millionaires receive the largest portion of farm subsidies, not small farms. It’s time for small, organic farms to take their power back.
-Big business is killing small farmers. It’s due to Monsanto’s actions in a nut shell. Stop trying to blame it on the dollar or the cost of grain in China.
-Monsanto is also killing small farm productivity by killing the pollinating insects, and by cross-pollinating organic farms with GM seed.
-Small organic farmers are making millions by connecting with their local communities. If more people took up this business model, they’d be out of debt in a New York minute.
-Forget mono-cropping on thousands of acres. Jean-Martin Fortier, author of “The Market Gardener: A Successful Grower’s Handbook for Small-Scale Organic Farming,” wants to prove that you can. In fact, he already has. Fortier and his wife, Maude-Hélène Desroches, clear $140,000 in sales annually on their 1.5-acre farm, Les Jardins de la Grelinette.
-Retail organic food start-ups doing crazy good business prove there is a market for small organic farmers’ goods. Then there’s the dramatic rise in sales of organic foods and beverages from $1 billion in 1990 to $26 billion in 2013 and still growing. If farmers ditch conventional agricultural practices and go back to how our ancestors grew food, they can be solvent again.
-Some of the newest successful farming models aren’t even on land. They are underground or in abandoned, old car warehouses. It’s time to look at more creative ways of growing food. We’ve got a surplus of vacant buildings in Detroit while decent farm land has become hard to find. There’s a solution in this predicament.
-One Amish farmer has proven he could take his family’s four-generation, bankrupt, dying farm, and make it profitable again by going completely organic. He found out that the healthier his soil is, the healthier his plants are, and now he’s making serious bank. American farmers can learn from his example. Soil holds all the answers – check out how yet another man has crazy production using organic farming methods only in the video below.
-As the WSJ reported, costs for seeds, fertilizer and equipment climbed so high and grain prices dropped so low that some farmers still lost more than $120 an acre. Afraid to come up short again, one farmer, Mr. Scott, decided last fall not to plant 170 acres of winter wheat, close to a third of the usual amount. U.S. farmers sowed the fewest acres of winter wheat this season in more than a century.
When farmers like Mr Scott suffer, perhaps it’s time to rethink farming in America.
Biden to Ban Menthol Cigarettes, Citing Health Impact on Youth and Black People
The Biden administration is reportedly planning to propose an immediate ban on menthol cigarettes, a product that has long been targeted by anti-smoking advocates and critics who claim that the tobacco industry has aggressively marketed to Black people in the U.S.
On Wednesday, the Washington Post reported that the administration could announce a ban on menthol and other flavored cigarettes as soon as this week.
Roughly 85 percent of Black smokers use such menthol brands as Newport and Kool, according to the Food and Drug Administration. Research has also found that menthol cigarettes are easier to become addicted to and harder to quit than unflavored tobacco products, along with other small cigars popular with young people and African Americans.
Civil rights advocates claim that the decision should be greeted by Black communities and people of color who have been marketed to by what they describe as the predatory tobacco industry.
Black smokers generally smoke far less than white smokers, but suffer a disproportionate amount of deaths due to tobacco-linked diseases like heart attack, stroke, and other causes.
Anti-smoking advocates like Matthew L. Myers, president of Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, also greeted the move to cut out products that appeal to children and young adults.
“Menthol cigarettes are the No. 1 cause of youth smoking in the United States,” he said. “Eliminating menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars used by so many kids will do more in the long run to reduce tobacco-related disease than any action the federal government has ever taken.”
However, groups including the American Civil Liberties Group (ACLU) has opposed the move, citing the likelihood that such an action could lead to criminal penalties arising from the enforcement of a ban hitting communities of color hardest.
In a letter to administration officials, the ACLU and other groups including the Drug Policy Alliance said that while the ban is “no doubt well-intentioned” it would also have “serious racial justice implications.”
“Such a ban will trigger criminal penalties, which will disproportionately impact people of color, as well as prioritize criminalization over public health and harm reduction,” the letter explained. “A ban will also lead to unconstitutional policing and other negative interactions with local law enforcement.”
Pollution Is Making Human Penises Shrink and Causing a Collapse of Fertility, Scientists Say
With many still scoffing at the idea of rampant pollution posing a threat to humanity, a new study could drastically change the conversation: the chemicals across our environment could be the cause of shrinking human penises.
According to a new book by Dr. Shanna H. Swan, conditions in the modern world are quickly altering the reproductive development of humans and posing a threat to our future as a species.
The argument is laid out in her new book Count Down: How Our Modern World Is Threatening Sperm Counts, Altering Male and Female Reproductive Development, and Imperiling the Future of the Human Race.
The book discusses how pollution is not only leading to skyrocketing erectile dysfunction rates and fertility decline, but also an expansion in the number of babies born with small penises.
While it may seem like good fodder for jokes, the research could portend a grim future for humanity’s ability to survive.
Swan co-authored a study in 2017 that found sperm counts had precipitously fallen in Western countries by 59 percent between 1973 and 2011. In her latest book, Swan blames chemicals for this crisis in the making.
“Chemicals in our environment and unhealthy lifestyle practices in our modern world are disrupting our hormonal balance, causing various degrees of reproductive havoc,” she wrote in the new book.
“In some parts of the world, the average twentysomething woman today is less fertile than her grandmother was at 35,” she also wrote, noting that men could have only half the sperm count of their grandfathers.
Swan blames the disruption on phthalates, the chemicals used in plastic manufacturing that also have an impact on how the crucial hormone endocrine is produced
However, experts note that the proper implementation of pollution reduction measures could help humanity prevent the collapse of human fertility.
Visualizing The World’s Deadliest Pandemics By Population Impact
Humanity has been battling against disease for centuries.
And while most contagious outbreaks have never reached full-blown pandemic status, Visual Capitalist’s Carmen Ang notes that there have been several times throughout history when a disease has caused mass devastation.
Here’s a look at the world’s deadliest pandemics to date, viewed from the lens of the impact they had on the global population at the time.
Editor’s note: The above graphic was created in response to a popular request from users after viewing our popular history of pandemics infographic initially released a year ago.
Death Toll, by Percent of Population
In the mid-1300s, a plague known as the Black Death claimed the lives of roughly 200 million people – more than 50% of the global population at that time.
Here’s how the death toll by population stacks up for other significant pandemics, including COVID-19 so far.
The specific cause of the Black Death is still up for debate. Many experts claim the 14th-century pandemic was caused by a bubonic plague, meaning there was no human-to-human transmission, while others argue it was possibly pneumonic.
Interestingly, the plague still exists today – however, it’s significantly less deadly, thanks to modern antibiotics.
History Repeats, But at Least We Keep Learning
While we clearly haven’t eradicated infection diseases from our lives entirely, we’ve at least come a long way in our understanding of what causes illness in the first place.
In ancient times, people believed gods and spirits caused diseases and widespread destruction. But by the 19th century, a scientist named Louis Pasteur (based on findings by Robert Koch) discovered germ theory – the idea that small organisms caused disease.
What will we discover next, and how will it impact our response to disease in the future?
Like this? Check out the full-length article The History of Pandemics
Republished from ZH with permission.