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Welcome to the Sacred Earth Newsletter

Happy Autumn Equinox!

Autumn Equinox is upon us and I suddenly realised that unless I get on the case and put this newsletter out, another year might go by before I get around to it again. I am not even going to make an attempt at an excuse. Suffice to say that it has been a busy couple of years; an intense period of growing, learning and exploring. And walking - one of my favourite things to do. I have walked in the Alps, and in Nepal I have walked around Manaslu, the 8th highest mountain in the world. But most of my walks have been more local to my current abode in the Black Forest region of Germany. I wanted to share some of my walks and experiences with other English-speaking folks, and so I wrote a book about it 'Hiking and Biking in the Black Forest (Cicerone Guide) 'Sorry, there is almost nothing about plants in there. That has to wait for another book. Or maybe an experimental plant workshop/vacation, which I am planning for the future. At present I am doing some more hiking, which will be turned into another book by the same great people over at Cicerone Press, but more about that later.

Anyhow, a big 'thank you' to all of you who have joined me on my Sacred Earth page on facebook - it is nice to be in touch with my readers in this way and at least to be able to share some of the cool stuff that I come across on my virtual excursions in cyberspace. Thanks also to all of you who have taken the time to write to me and enquire after the newsletter or to say hello. I greatly appreciate hearing from you and to receive these little nudges. They remind me that there are people out there who want to read my work. (Writing can be very lonely at times.) Well, unfortunately I can't promise you that I will be able to attend to the newsletter any more regularly in the coming months, as life continues to be very busy and I am finding myself less able to devote so much time to providing this resource free of charge. I want to keep the information free and available to all, but I also need to earn a living. Perhaps I should try crowd funding. If anybody out there reading this is hip to that, perhaps you can clue me in. I also want to change the shape of the newsletter to turn it into something that is more like a blog. That way I can add content more regularly without having to wriggle the entire site around every time. But, I am sorry, that is a technical matter which probably doesn't really interest you. I just thought I'd give you a warning that the appearance of the site might change one of these days. I have resisted 'going the way of the blog' as I don't really like the generic look and feel of those things. But, they do make the writer's life a whole lot easier. So, I hope you will forgive me.

autumnAutumn Equinox is upon us. The forces of light and darkness are in balance. Fittingly, this year equinox coincides with the climate march and yet another global climate summit. Will the politicians assembled there make the leap to real cooperation and commit to change, or will they continue with their bickering and power mongering?

The earth is already raging and crying. A radical change is needed to avert the worst, but I fear the business bullies will insist on being allowed to burn every last drop of oil, no matter the environmental cost, and governments, dependent on their money, are in their stranglehold. It is an oligarchy, not a democracy. Meanwhile, we are all taking the heat, literally. Those species that can't take it, or whose habitats are lost and destroyed are becoming extinct - at a staggering rate. According to the WWF we are losing some 10 000 species every year! We could stop this armageddon if we can encite enough political will - if enough of us cared enough to make a stand. Not just once, during climate action week, or when convenient, but every day. It requires a new way of thinking, a new way of relating, to the earth and to each other. Seeing value as something intrinsic, not something that is determined by the fluctuating figures on the stock market. Those figures really don't mean anything. What matters is life. Nothing more, and nothing less. I believe we do have a choice, but it is not an easy one. Will we be bold enough to take it on and to change our paradigms? Will we care enough to rise to the great challenge of our times and make a stand for our future, for our children's and children's children's future and for all the myriad species with which we share this beautiful home?

Bold blessings!


September 2014

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Persimmons (Diospyros virginia)

Persimmon TreeIt is not quite winter yet. For now there are still things to forage out there - Blackberries, Walnuts, Sweet Chestnuts, and various roots as well as mushrooms. But winter will be upon us soon enough, (and who knows when I will next be able to update the site) so I am giving advance notice of a wonderful winter foraging delight. It is sweet, delicious and only really comes into its own after the first frosts. In fact, prior to that it is quite inedible.

I remember well the first time I came upon this mysterious fruit. The leaves had already dropped to the ground and a wintery bite chilled the air. I couldn't believe my eyes when I spotted a handsome little tree, entirely naked of leaves, but beautifully decorated with what at first appeared to be bright orange Christmas balls (baubles). I couldn't imagine a tree that still bore fruit in the middle of winter. You can tell, I was born and bread in more northerly latitudes. Upon closer examination the orange balls indeed revealed themselves as fruit, but a fruit I had never seen before: Persimmons!

Euell Gibbons calls them ‘sugarplums’ and is quite rapturous in his descriptions. American persimmons, which are native from Pennsylvania to the southern states, grow wild even in depleted soils where little else will grow. They are extremely tart and astringent before they ripen, but once bitten by the frost their fruit pulp turns to an almost jelly-like consistency and its flavor takes on a delicate, sweet note, reminiscent of apricot.

Although they mostly lend themselves to sweet dishes, such as pies, cakes muffins and sweetbreads, they can also be used in savory concoctions with a sweet note - for example, spiced with chillies and made into chutneys.

Native Americans made a fruit wine with them, dried them or mixed the pulp with flour to make a fruit bread.

Persimmons are quite nutritious, being rich in vitamin A and C particularly, and an exceptionally rich source of fibre. They also contains some valuable anti-oxidant flavonoids that have anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor properties. It is said to be particularly good for strengthening small blood vessels (e.g. in the retina of the eye).

But don’t be sad if you live in an area where persimmons don’t grow wild. Cultivated varieties from Japan and China can be purchased at the store. There are two main varieties, which mostly differ in terms of their astringency. There are the heart-shapes Hachiya persimmons, which must be fully ripe before they become edible, and the non-astringent Fuyu, which can be used even while still quite firm. As the fruits originate from Japan, Japanese cook books, or websites offer a wealth of suggestions of what to do with persimmons.

Here some simple recipe ideas:


Prepare fruit by cutting into small pieces and then pureé. Measure fruit and water into large kettle.
Stir in pectin and lemon juice. Bring to a full rolling boil and boil for 30 seconds. Add sugar and again bring to a rolling boil for exactly 4 minutes, by the clock. Stir constantly. Remove from heat and pour into sterilized containers. Makes 6 jars of jam.

from: FAO non-wood forest products from temperate broad-leaved trees

Persimmon Pudding


Permaculture - new paradigms for a sustainable way of life

It is easy to get down about the way things are going in the big, wide world out there - ever growing levels of pollution as world population grows and everybody is clambering for ‘a better living’, which seems to be achieved by accumulatingever more 'stuff' designed for the landfill. Resources are dwindling and fierce wars are fought over rare metals in far off places. Those on the frontlines of these wars will likely never benefit directly from the riches of their land, but are paid just pennies for risking their lives.

Even supposedly democratic governments seem to have forgotten that they are meant to be serving the people, not rule them as subjects of a plutocracy.
It is easy to lose hope and resign oneself to ‘that’s just the way it is’ and get on with life. One person alone can’t do much anyway, so why bother worrying about anything, right? Might as well just enjoy the ride, play the game and try to keep a jolly face.

Wrong! It doesn’t have to be that way. Things are changing, quietly and persistently. A movement is growing, resilient, strong and healing, sprouting at the grass-roots level, from one community to the another.


It has been said that the next revolution will be fought in our gardens, and I am beginning to see it that way, too. This non-violent, quiet revolution is called ‘Permaculture’, and it is slowly, but surely spreading, not just across the country, but across the entire globe.
Some of you may have heard of it. Sometimes referred to as the ‘no-dig’ system of gardening, conventional growers, even organic growers, tend to dismiss it as a naive and impractical way to feed the millions of hungry mouths around the world. Perhaps that would be true if the aim was to merely replace industrial farms with permaculture farms and continue with the same economic system that we have been locked into for centuries. But clearly, that is not the answer. It has gotten us into the mess we are currently sitting in.

Industrial farming is on the brink of collapse. Soils are depleted, ecosystems are badly degraded and the ‘working paradigm’ is based on war against nature, war against insects and other ‘competitors’, to get maximum yield for maximum profit. Nutritional value, tasteor diversity don’t seem to come into the equation. Instead of using heirloom varieties that are resistant to pests and diseases and adaptable to different climate conditions, agro-industrialists merely produce ‘biomass’.

To that end seeds are engineered to withstand spraying with toxic pesticides and herbicides - with the predictable result of also breeding resistant ‘competitors’ - weeds and insects that can no longer be kept in check with the conventional chemical weapons that agricultural industry has been relying on in the past. Stronger poisons are needed - but where will they come from? And how will they affect wildlife, and how will they affect our own health and nutrition? Well - I’ll leave you to imagine that.

The paradigms of permaculture are not based on maximum yield for maximum profit, but on abundance, and on co-operation and sharing. It is based on restoring, rather than exploiting ecosystems. The emphasis is on ‘thinking globally and acting locally’ - If excessive yields are produced, these can be sold on the national or international markets, but first, lets produce local food for local people.

Presently the market is based on exploitative cash crop economies in ‘developing’ countries: communities are disenfranchised, their land is ‘grabbed’ by multi-nationals and turned into cash crop monocultures - like palm oil, or coffee, or bananas and a host of other items. Peasants are left with no land, or even the time to grow enough food to feed themselves. Instead they depend on the pennies they earn for their labour in this ‘feudal’ system that has its roots in colonial times.

We can’t change the whole world at once, but we can start in our own back yards. We can create cooperative permaculture farms and yards, sharing yields with neighbors and friends and thus reduce our reliance on industrial agriculture that brings us products flown half-way around the world to fill our supermarket shelves with the same stuff all year round. Think globally - grow locally.


How is Permaculture different from Organic Farms?

Permaculture design is fundamentally different from any conventional agricultural, even organic farming, in that it seeks to imitate and cooperate with nature. Bill Mollison, regarded as one of the fathers of Permaculture, summerised its philosophy in three ethical paradigms and 12 principles.

Read full article

How Permaculture can save Humanity and the earth, but not civilization

Green Gold - John D. Liu


Eco-Travel Feature:

FIXED DEPARTURE: Nov 22 - Dec 1, 2014

weaverSlow Travel is rooted in the idea of engaging with a place, its people and its culture. It is rooted in 'being there' - to taste, feel and smell a place, to meet the locals and to experience the essence of a place - not just snapping photographs for later review.

These are the thoughts and ideas that have inspired us to develop a range of unique travel itineraries - slow travel itineraries that are rich in interaction and experiences - that consider the traveller a participant, rather than just an onlooker. The focus of these journeys will be on 'plants and people' as the fundamental basis of all cultures, and even all life on the planet we all share.

Our first journey goes to Peru, a country with a full spectrum of extreme environments, where people have developed many ingenious ways to cultivate the land and utilise plants for almost all their daily needs.

This special tour is a custom made journey for people who are interested in plants and culture - not the'preserved culture' of centuries past, to be marvelled from behind a barrier of glass, but the real, living cultures of today; traditions that have been passed down through countless generations. Culture that can be experienced and even tasted.

A bilingual local guide will accompany the group and share his knowledge of the agricultural traditions and plant uses of the Andes. You will visit the less touristy islands of Lake Titikaka and stay at rural homes. From here the journey continues to Cusco and the Sacred Valley where you can learn about the uses of plants in the context of the rich textile traditions of the Andes. Explore native highland crops and agricultural methods and cuisine. We will visit the botanical garden of Pisac and a project initiated by the first graduates of the Waldorf Andina Kusi Kawsay School that produces organic vegetables and medicinal plants. You will evenhave the opportunity to learn about Andean cuisine and help to prepare dishes with distinctive local crops.

At the end of the trip we will visit Machu Picchu, the famous sacred citadel of the Inkas. (Those who book early may be able to do this part as a one-day hike to the ruins, depending on availability of trekking licenses at the time of booking. )

Check out the full itinerary

Fixed Departure: December 1 - 5, 2014

ToloacheFor those who have a little bit more time, an extension with the same theme is available to the Amazon Basin. For an even deeper insight into the diversity of plants and their uses in Peru, you can add a 5 days/ 4 nights extension to the Amazon. Here we will travel to Iquitos, and from there take a 4 hour boat ride to reach Tahuayo Lodge where we will be explore the plant traditions of the Amazon. We will visit local villages, learn about planting a garden in the rainforest, meet with local curanderas and shamans who will share some of their plant knowledge with you and learn about Amazonian food plants by preparing a meal with a native family.

Both parts can also be booked independently.

Check out the full itinerary


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plant profile Hemp)

Hemp (Cannabis sp)


Cannabis sp.


Hemp field in EuropeHemp is a beautiful, tall and gracious looking annual plant that can reach heights of up to 4 meters. The only member of its genus, it belongs to the family of Cannabaceae. Taxonomists argue over whether to consider the various strains as subspecies or separate species and there is little consensus at present. For the time being variations are considered simply as that: different strains. Distinctions are made between Cannabis sativa (hemp) Cannabis sativa var. indica (marihuana) and Cannabis sativa var. ruderalis, (wild hemp). These strains are in fact quite different in appearance and in action and in my humble opinion (I am not a taxonomist) would warrant separation into different species. I am not usually one to be so fussy when it comes to classification, but in this case it is of great significance, as we shall see. Cannabis sativa is slightly branched, bearing palmate leaves with 3-9 slender leaflets that are covered in fine hairs. Its inconspicuous flowers grow in a clustered spike, male and female flowers appearing on distinct plants. Its growing cycle is only 120 days. The flower heads especially of C. Sativa are strongly resinous, producing a tar like oily substance rich in THC. The dense clusters of seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and are a favorite bird food.


Apart from the fact that many animals like to forage on the plant, and seeds provide a nutritionally rich bird food, hemp is also excellent for the soil. Its deep roots help to aerate compacted soils. It is relatively resistant to many common viruses and plant diseases and requires little agrochemical treatment. Hemp is a pioneer plant that often grows as a weed. It is extremely undemanding and can be grown in very poor conditions and depleted soils and will actually improve the soil structure over a period of years. In Chernobyl and elsewhere it has been used for phytoremidiation to help clean up polluted lands as it has the ability to absorb various toxic substances from the soil and render them harmless. Its considerable biomass absorbs large quantities of the greenhouse gas CO2.


The story of Cannabis is full of ambiguity, though this confusion is caused by deliberate misinformation with far reaching effects on socioeconomics as well as on environmental matters. Hemp is the most universally useful plant we have at our disposal. The history of mankind's use of hemp can be traced to between about 5000 - 7000 BC. Remains of seed husks have been found at Neolithic burial sites in central Europe, which indicate that they were used in funeral rites and shamanic ceremonies. It is probable that at that time the distinctions between various strains were not as pronounced as they are today. Although some sources claim that all varieties of hemp contain the psychoactive compound THC, the actual percentage of this compound in the different species varies hugely. While there is almost no THC (0.2-0.3%) in the varieties grown for industrial uses such as oil and fibre, strains grown for their psychoactive effect have been bred to contain large amounts of THC (3-15%). Yet, in the eye of the law both varieties are treated as the same plant and in many countries both remain prohibited.

Weedy Hemp in NepalUp until and even during WWII, hemp was a widely grown crop, providing the world with an excellent and most durable source of fibre. Since it is an annual with a growing cycle of only 120 days it can be harvested several times a year, depending on local weather conditions.For many centuries hemp was one of the most important industrial crops which provided the fibres for rope and tough, durable canvass without which the age of exploration could never have set sail. The founding fathers of the United States, including the venerable George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, were hemp farmers. Jefferson apparently had no qualms when he committed a blatant act of biopiracy by smuggling a particularly promising strain of hemp from China into Turkey, which was highly illegal and dangerous - the Chinese valued their hemp highly and made export of seeds a capital offence. To this day, China remains the main producer of industrial hemp.

Hemp also provided the fibre to make a durable paper - a far more sensible solution than the wasteful method of clear cutting old growth forests, or even the cultivation pine plantations that are ecologically speaking dead zones that take 20 years to mature before they can be harvested. Cannabis produces 4 times more fibre per acre and can be harvested several times per year. The first dollar bills were printed on hemp paper, your old family bible is probably printed on hemp paper and even the constitution itself was drafted on hemp paper.

Hemp has the strongest natural fibres, which can be used not just to produce rough cloth, such as sails or canvass, but also durable work clothes, like the original jeans. When the plants are grown closer together the fibre becomes shorter and finer, which allows for finer textiles. Today, there are some fashion designers that are experimenting with a wide range of textiles made from hemp for their stylish, trendy hemp lines, shirts, suits, bags, jeans and more. And, no- you can't smoke them to get high!

Hemp fibres are also finding application as a modern building material, an application that has been spearheaded and exploited successfully in France. Hemp fibres can be blended with water and limestone to create an extremely tough, light-weight, natural cement that has not only excellent insulating properties, but also shows more flexibility than conventional concrete, which makes it particularly useful as a building material in earthquake prone areas.

Henry Ford was eccentric in many ways, but he was also quite brilliant in his innovation. Back in 1941 he built a car that was not only entirely built from 'hemp plastic', but also ran on hemp fuel. Hemp oil, pressed from the seeds is also extremely versatile. It can be polymerized to create a solid plastic-like material, which is extremely durable, yet nevertheless is completely natural and biodegradable, which could replace plastics in numerous industrial processes.

Read full article


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ethnobotany, agro forestry and NWFP news items

Sept 21:Worldwide CLIMATE MARCH

Two days before world leaders once again meet to discuss climate change a global day of action is an opportunity for EVERYONE to make a stand for the single most important issue of our times.

Find an action near you:

Peasants, Scientists ask Pope Francis to Intervene on GM Seeds

At the request of major peasant organizations, and with the permission of Pope Francis, a group of scientists and agricultural experts have now made public a letter and document on the problem of genetically modified seeds that was sent to the Vatican April 30. Signed by eight experts from Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, India and Canada, the letter and accompanying document (attached) call upon His Holiness to speak out against the negative impacts of GM seeds on the world�s peasants and global food security.

The document questions the scientific basis of GM technology, its failure to increase yields, the exponential increase in pesticide use, the dangers of transgenic contamination of peasant crops, the threat to human health and the concern that GM seeds are patented and monopolized by a handful of transnational corporations.

Tasmania scraps 'peace deal' that protects native forests

Tasmania's government has repealed the state's forestry "peace deal", removing around 400,000 hectares of forests from reserves across the state and potentially leaving them open to future logging.

Read more at:

source: BBC - 14 Sept 2014

Brazil builds giant Amazon observation tower

Construction has begun on a giant observation tower in the heart of the Amazon basin to monitor climate change. The Amazon Tall Tower Observatory is expected to rise 325m from the ground. Its instruments will gather data on greenhouse gases, aerosol particles and the weather in one of the largest continuous rain forests on the planet. Brazilian and German scientists hope to use the data to better understand sources of greenhouse gases and answer questions on climate change.



European Citizens� Initiative against TTIP rejected / Alliance announces resistance The Stop-TTIP Alliance, initiator of a European Citizens� Initiative (ECI) against the TTIP and CETA international trade & investment agreements, today announced its opposition to the European Commission�s decision to block the ECI. �Now the battle really begins,� said Michael Efler, contact person of the ECI, which currently represents almost 230 organizations from 21 EU countries. �The rejection of the ECI only confirms the Commission�s strategy to exclude citizens and parliaments from the TTIP and CETA negotiations. Instead of paying attention to citizens, it is just lobbyists that are being listened to.�

See more at:

Source: etc group

With Climate Chaos, Who Will Feed Us?

The Industrial Food Chain or the Peasant Food Web?
19 May 2014

This short report compares the industrial food system with peasant farming. Industrial farming gets all the attention (and most of the land). It accounts for more than 80% of the fossil fuel emissions and uses over 70% of the water supply used in agriculture, but it actually produces only about 30% of the world's food.

In this succinct, illustrated booklet, you'll find the answers to these questions:

Download report

Source: Global Witness | 10 Sep 2014

Palm oil, poverty and �imperialism�: A reality check from Liberia -

by Silas Siakor

The Times recently carried an article called �Let poor countries cut down forests� (04/09/14), documenting journalist Ben Webster�s interview with Sir Jonathon Porritt, former Director of Friends of the Earth and environmental adviser to the Prince of Wales. Reading it, I felt that Sir Porritt seemed to have abandoned his usual analytical rigour and fallen for the spin of the palm oil industry.

Porritt�s notion is that poor countries like mine (Liberia) are being held hostage to what he calls �eco-imperialists� - rich country environmentalists who put pressure on developing countries not to cut down their rainforests, thus keeping us poor. His Forum for the Future charity instead suggests that promoting palm oil, a primary driver of deforestation, is a possible solution to poverty.

As Director of Liberia�s Sustainable Development Institute I have seen up-close the true impact of palm oil, and I can tell you it is more often the problem, not the solution. When Liberia opened up to investment after a devastating civil war, the government struck land deals with companies without the consent of the people who lived on the land, and many communities received a pittance in return for it. In rural parts of Liberia, communities complain that their food is now scarcer than it was before the palm oil companies moved in, and that fertilisers have polluted their fishing ponds and drinking water.

- See more at:

Source: Latinamerica Press - 09 Sep 2014

Peru: Monoculture sweeps Amazon Forests

Recent reports reveal that the regional governments of Loreto and Ucayali, in the eastern part of the country, have sold millions of hectares of virgin forests as rural land for African oil palm cultivation.
Read full article:

Source: Rolling Stone - 28 Aug 2014

Sludge Match: Inside Chevron's $9 Billion Legal Battle with Ecuadorian Villagers

For more than two decades, energy giant Chevron and Ecuadorian activists have been embroiled in a contentious lawsuit about who is responsible for contaminating a vast swath of the Amazon. Very good article that recoups the complicated and drawn out legal battle of Chevron vs the people of the Amazon.

See more at: Sludge Match

Source CIP Americas - 15 Aug 2014

The carrot, the stick, and the seeds: US development policy faces resistance in El Salvador

In May of this year, the U.S. Embassy in El Salvador pressured the Salvadoran government to change its procurement process to distribute seeds to family farmers. The government was buying almost exclusively from Salvadoran seed cooperatives. The Embassy complained that favoring local seed, leaving out transnationals, was not �fair or transparent.� Multinational agrobusinesses like Monsanto previously dominated the industry, and the U.S. found the new conditions disagreeable enough to withhold the $277 Millennium Challenge aid package to El Salvador. See more at:

Argentine researcher confirms scientific evidence on harmful effects of agrochemicals

Source: GMWATCH on 17 September 2014

Preliminary results show severe damage to the human genome in sprayed populations in GM soy-producing areas. The good work of the late Prof Andres Carrasco continues in Argentina, as the interview below with his colleague, the biochemist Raûl Horacio Lucero, shows. Dr Lucero's new research has revealed severe damage to the genome of people exposed to agrochemical spraying in Chaco province.

Prof Carrasco fearlessly supported the people in their struggle against the GM soy model of industrial agriculture, which has led to skyrocketing cases of cancer and birth defects. He often voiced frustration at the lack of government commitment to investigate the problems in proper epidemiological studies.

But as Dr Lucero explains in the interview, recently the Ministry of Health of Còrdoba released a comprehensive report on cancer in Córdoba province, with numbers confirming researchers' worst suspicions. The finding that caused most alarm is that the highest rate of cancer deaths occur in the 'pampa gringa' area, where more GMOs and chemicals are used. Here, the cancer death rate is double the national average. Dr Lucero says, 'This was official confirmation of what we have denounced for years. Cancer cases multiply like never before in areas with massive use of pesticides.'

Last June, the Faculty of Medicine at the National University of Rosario (UNR) unanimously approved the establishment of June 16 as The Day of Dignified Science in honour of Prof Carrasco, as Lucero says, 'based on his commitment and consistency in defence of an undeniable truth'.
Read full article:

Hungry for Pesticides

Independent research shows a large rise in Cancers, Autism, Parkinson�s disease, Infertility and Birth Defects all linked to the widespread use of agricultural pesticides. One of which is the most widely used herbicide on the planet... Available in every high street garden center. These are alarming reports - yet they are all dismissed by the pesticide industry and what�s more the European Commission and the European Food and Safety Authority back them. So who to believe? In 2012 we started an investigation for simple answers, which has led to discoveries of something much more shocking and dangerous. Putting all of our future generations in real danger. A 90' investigative documentary film is currently seeking crowd funding. To find out more visit:!film/c1eib. Ecologist article:

Source: The Guardian, 5 Sept 2014

Large businesses lobbying intensely to undermine safety regime in new trade deal, campaigners warn

Britain and other European Union member states are under increasing pressure from North American business groups to open their borders to imports of genetically modified food as part of negotiations for a new Transatlantic trade deal, environmental campaigners have warned. The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is being negotiated among European governments, the US and Canada, with the active participation of dozens of large businesses. It has already attracted strong criticism from democracy campaigners, who say it could mean the UK could have to open the National Health Service further to private companies, and complaints against large companies could be treated in secret without proper legal recourse. The potential impacts on food safety are less apparent as the negotiations are being conducted without public consultation. Progress on signing the partnership is expected to be hastened later this year when new EU commissioners are appointed.
TTIP: EU under pressure to allow GM food imports from US and Canada

Source IPS - 4 Aug 2014

Will Climate Change Lead to Conflict or Cooperation?

UNITED NATIONS, Aug 4 2014 (IPS) - The headline of every article about the relationship between climate change and conflict should be �It�s complicated,� according to Clionadh Raleigh. Director of the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project, Raleigh thinks that researchers and the media have put too simplistic a spin on the link between climate change and violence. n recent years, scientists and the United Nations have been increasing their focus on climate conflict. The debate ranges from sensational reports that say the world will soon erupt into water wars to those who do not think the topic is worthy of discussion at all. Much of the uncertainty over the connection between climate change and armed conflict exists because it is such a fledgling area of interest. According to David Jensen, head of the U.N. Environment Programme�s (UNEP) Environmental Cooperation for Peacebuilding programme, the relationship between climate change and conflict began receiving significant U.N. attention only in recent years.
Read full article:


Source: The Guardian - 21 August 2014

Handbook of African Medicinal Plants, studies define how bitter kola boosts immunity, others

Garcinia-kolaSeveral studies including the newly published Second Edition of Handbook of African Medicinal Plants have defined how bitter kola protects the human body against destruction by pathogens such as the dreaded Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) as well as comprehensive overview of plant resources available in Africa for medicinal agents, with information about botany, chemistry, pharmacology, and usage. CHUKWUMA MUANYA writes. COMMONLY called bitter kola, Garcinia kola belongs to the plant family Clusiaceae. It is called edun in Bini, efiari in Efik, efiat in Ibibio, akilu in Igbo, and okan in Ijaw. The plant has been in the news in recent times as a possible cure for Ebola Virus Disease (EVD).
Read full article:

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Sept 5-Oct 12, 2014

'Ethnobotany' exhibit fuses plants, art and rich symbolism at Seymour Conservatory

Until now, art exhibits in the Wright Park Seymour Conservatory have mostly consisted of colorful glass art placed somewhat arbitrarily amid the tropical plants, one aesthetic step higher than garden decoration. Not so 'Ethnobotany.'

Opening Friday, Sept. 5, with an artist reception, the 12-artist show is curated by the one person who could pull off something quite unique: Lisa Kinoshita. Her provocative mixed media installations have lately been matched by her funky terraria and plants at Moss+Mineral gallery.

Read more here:

Exhibit opening 6-8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 5, with music by Alex Tapia and Nate Dybevik; then open 10:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday through Oct. 12. Admission $3, and free for 11 and younger and third Thursdays. 316 S. G St., Tacoma. 253-591-5330

Sept 24, 2014

Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations in CanacaWebinar

This webinar will cover Health Canada Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations, steps in establishing a relationship with the Health Canada Office of Controlled Substances, and overview of Standard Operative Procedures, and more.
Venue: Online
1:00 PM - 2:00 PM

More information at

Sept 26-27, 2014

2014 United States Health Freedom Congress, St. Paul, MN

The Congress celebrates dedicated leaders who are daily working for change, protecting access to natural health care practitioners and treatments, the freedom to choose or decline treatments, requiring labeling of genetically modified foods (GMOs) and toxic substances, removal of toxins such as mercury, fluoride and heavy metals from drugs and the environment, raising awareness of harmful impact of electromagnetic technologies, keeping Organic Standards meaningful, protecting our freedom of speech and freedom to heal, and so much more.
For more information see:

Oct 5, 2014

Planting the Future: Stewardship of Sanctuary Rutland, OH (United Plant Savers)

A variety of speakers and presentations will cover topics ranging from saving native seeds to growing American ginseng to brewing beer with herbs.
For more information see:

Oct 4-5, 2014

4th Annual Mid-Atlantic Women's Herbal Conference Near Kempton, PA

This gathering will the honor age-old wisdom of herbal and natural medicines, giving participants the opportunity to learn more about growing, identifying, using, and preparing herbs.
For more information see:

Oct 7, 2014

Agents of Change Symposium and Gala Dinner Washington, D.C.

Celebrating the National Tropical Botanical Garden's 50th anniversary, this symposium and gala will explore the topic of botanical gardens in the 21st century.
For more information see:

Oct 9-12, 2014

150th Annual NIMH Conference Perennial Medicine: Herbal Medicine Past, Present and Future

This sesquicentennial conference will focus on "Perennial Medicine: Herbal Medicine Past, Present, and Future." ABC's Mark Blumenthal will give a keynote lecture on adulteration of herbal raw materials, botanical extracts, and essential oils, as well as a workshop on the evidence of safety and efficacy of various popular herbal remedies and phytomedicines.
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Oct 10-12, 2014

Southeast Wise Women Herbal Conference Black Mountain, NC

This 10th anniversary celebration will feature renowned herbalists Rosita Arvigo, Aviva Romm, and others. Early registration ends Aug. 15, 2014.
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Oct 31-Nov 2, 2014

WFAS World Conference on Acupuncture and Integrative Medicine Houston, TX

Special Guest Dr. Andrew Weil to Present at WFAS World Conference on Acupuncture and Integrative Medicine
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Oct 13-15, 2014

Symposium of Integrative Medicine Professionals in the Land of Enchantment Albuquerque, NM

Symposium of Integrative Medicine Professionals in the Land of Enchantment (SIMPLE) is a state-of-the-art symposium sponsored by the University of New Mexico Section of Integrative Medicine, Continuing Medical Education & Professional Development; the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine and the Gaples Institute for Integrative Cardiology.
We are excited to present Dr. Andrew Weil as our featured speaker for SIMPLE 2014, as well as other internationally recognized leaders in the field. We have included topics such as Integrative Cardiology, Integrative Pain Management, Integrative Medical Education, Women's Health, Botanical Medicine, Functional Medicine, Nutrition, Mind-Body Medicine and various other topics related to integrative health and interdisciplinary patient care. The conference will be preceded by a full day SIMPLY Botanicals workshop and two half day pre-conference workshops on Group Visits and Social Connection and Talking Medicine: The Healing Power of Storytelling.
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Nov 6-10, 1014

American Herbalists Guild 25th Anniversary Symposium Pine Mountain, GA

This milestone occasion will feature more than 45 presentations and plant walks by clinical herbalists and AHG founders. Early registration ends July 31, 2014.
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Nov 12-19,2014

IUCN World Parks Congress Sydney, Australia

Building on the theme "Parks, people, planet: inspiring solutions", this conference will present, discuss and create original approaches for conservation and development, helping to address the gap in the conservation and sustainable development agenda. Early registration ends June 30, 2014
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Nov 17 - 21, 2014

International Congress of Ethnobotany Cordoba, Spain

Key themes of this conference will include underutilized crops, conservation of ethnobotanical heritage, plants used as food and medicine, family farming, and more.
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Dec 3-6,2014

Scientific session topics will include climate change, environmental outreach, contemporary environmental issues, and more. Pre-registration is required
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May 5-8, 2015

15th Congress of the International Society for Ethnopharmacology Petra, Jordan

The goal of this congress is to bring together researchers from all over the world with their recent achievements in ethnopharmacology and medicinal plant science, innovations, and industry. Early registration ends Dec. 15, 2014
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