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Letters and Short Takes : River Valley edition : Monday, 24 February 2020 23:53 EST : a service of The Public Press
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– Norman Douglas

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Letters and Short Takes

     by Stephen Morris

You’re Not So Hip, After All

Dear Stephen:

Regarding your recent experience with traditional medicine:

1.  Synthetic calcium tablets are useless because the human body cannot assimilate them but ground up beef cattle bones are assimilated because they are organic.  Why not ground up human bones?  Any research on this?

2.  I am concerned about your constant need for stool softener.  Vegetarians do not need stool softener or many of the other drugs routinely given at hospitals.  You should develop a questioning attitude when you go into the hospital.  Many of the drugs given are routine and never prescribed by your doctor.  Be careful of the mood and mind altering drugs.  They are necessary to relieve pain but they are addictive and many doses are much more than needed because they want to keep the patients quiet and cooperative.

3.  For example,  why did one of your hips wear out and not the other one?  Who is the doctor to say that "continued pain and deterioration" can’t be reversed?  Many examples of a raw vegetarian diet miracles are on (hacres.com).  The body can repair itself but it must be given help such as colon cleanses and elimination of toxins.  Please read  the book "Skinny Bitch".  Several of my friends have had hip and knee replacements only to have them fail after a few short years.  A replacement hip does not come with a guarantee and they have had many other replacement problems to numerous to mention here.

4.  Perhaps traditional doctors should be questioned more and alternative medicine should be explored more.  Drugs, surgery, and chemotherapy are about all today’s mainstream doctors can do.

5.  Herbal medicine is an alternative to chemical, synthetic, inorganic drug therapy  (www.vcih.com).  Massage therapy and other modalities are also successful.  Europe is miles ahead of the US in this arena.  Allopathic Doctors are NOT GOD although many pretend to be.

6.  I would hope that Green Living Journal would adopt a policy that supports alternative medicine and herbal medicine.  The two philosophies  seem to go hand in hand.

7.  Best wishes for a speedy recovery and a prosperous New Year.

Steve Marshall

Caveat Emptor, not Mea Culpa

Dear Editor:
While valid to a large degree, Bill Schubart's public radio commentary quoted in your editorial fails to point out that the choices we are given in the marketplace are not actually our own. Corporate America has been forever falling all over themselves to give us the impression that they are merely giving us what we have requested. The fact of the matter is that the options we are presented with come from industry. As one who was trained in the twisted world of advertising, on Madison Avenue no less, I can attest to the myth that is constantly fabricated both within-house and to the public at large: advertising simply fills a need. No, the advertising industry, and the corporations they serve, CREATE THE NEED.  This is how they unload Earth-trashing products like SUVs, unneeded electronic gadgets, cheap unhealthy foods, fashions made in China, the list seems endless. The cynical dialogue one encounters on cable shows like "Mad Men" may be entertaining, but it is also spot-on with regard to pushing bad product onto "consumers." Advertising has always created the market to fit the product. The fact that many of the products we are sold are actually waste products from some other product line speaks volumes about the marketplace.

The sort of self-flagellation Schubart and others present readers with needs to be tempered by the realities of Corporate America. The constant mantra of "personal responsibility" spewing from the likes of “Faux News" and the far-right is, for the most part, a cynical ploy, all smoke and mirrors, creating cover for the corporados' destruction of the planet. Yes, we must be educated about our choices in a world gone terribly wrong. Yes, we must use self-control and consciousness in the marketplace. But DO NOT be fooled into believing that the marketplace is some sort of neutral zone of choices. Caveat emptor ! Let the buyer beware.

Don Ogden
Leverett, MA

Farmers Block the Way

To the Editor:

In early November a delivery of nuclear waste en route to a “disposal site” in northern Germany met with some unanticipated obstacles. Dozens of farmers lined the route determined to block roadways with their tractors, trees and stumps cut down by protestors blocked the routes and over 3,000 people gathered in protest outside the site deemed acceptable to bury containers of highly toxic nuclear waste.

Several times police had stop and to clear flocks of sheep and goats from the roadway. A shepherdess who would only give her name as “Evelyn” due to fear of reprisal, expressed the concern of the farmers and other protesters – that the  toxic  waste disposal site represented a poisonous long term threat to not only their livelihoods, but the health of the land and water.

Along the roads hundreds of people gathered to protest the German government’s decision to extend the life of the country’s nuclear power plants for several years.
Organizers stated that the protest was not only an effort to voice ongoing concern and dissent over the use of nuclear power but an effort to show support for local renewable energy sources.

One has to wonder how the fate of energy policy in the U.S. would differ if people who regard themselves as stewards of the earth  played an active role in the decision making process  rather than nuclear industry  “professionals “ and regulators who give precedence to corporate earnings over the well being of the planet.

Amelia Shea
Peterborough, New Hampshire


Praise for the Website


I would just like to thank you for maintaining the resource at greenlivingjournal.com. It's essential that information regarding environmental issues are easily and broadly accessible.

There is another resource that I think would make a good addition to your list. It's a comprehensive consumer guide to energy efficient housing and "green mortgages". It's located at www.mortgageloan.com/environment/ and covers what EEMs are, how they work, the different kinds of EEMs etc.

Take a look at it and see what you think. I hope that we can help others find this information and contribute towards raising environmental awareness.

Anne Butler

Finally ... Dry Cleaning Comes Clean

Gadue’s Dry Cleaning of Colchester, Vermont is at the leading edge of a revolution in dry cleaning technology.  Since April, Gadue’s has been testing a brand new dry cleaning fluid that is non-toxic, biodegradable, and safe for human health—not to mention exceptional at cleaning clothes.

Gadue’s Dry Cleaning was the first company in the world chosen by Kreussler Chemical to test their new dry cleaning system, SystemK4.  SystemK4 includes cleaning fluid SolvonK4, a halogen-free solvent that is highly efficient, environmentally friendly, and absolutely safe.  The testing phase, performed by Gadue’s and three other dry cleaning facilities around the world, was a complete success.  Kreussler introduced SystemK4 to the world in Milan, Italy on October 15, 2010.

Up to now, most dry cleaners have relied on a chlorinated hydrocarbon that is detrimental for the environment if released, particularly for ground water. That solvent is perchloroethylene, or perc.  Alternative solvents have been introduced to the market in the last decade, but Gadue's Dry Cleaning chose not to pursue any of those options because of their lack of effectiveness in cleaning clothes and/or cost associated with capital improvements that would have been necessary for the switch.

By the end of January 2011, Gadue’s Dry Cleaning will have converted all dry cleaning operations to use SolvonK4.  The company is family-owned with eight locations. More info at gadues.com and systemk4.com.

[photo of Dan Rosenberg of Real Pickles]

Real Pickles a Real Winner

Dan Rosenberg and Addie Holland of Greenfield-based Real Pickles joined top artisan food producers from around the country on Friday for the Good Food Awards ceremony at the Ferry Building in San Francisco. At the event, restauranteur and food activist Alice Waters announced the winners and, much to the couple’s delight, Real Pickles’ Organic Garlic Dills was on the list.

“We’re so pleased,” said Rosenberg after the winners had been announced. “When we
started the business in 2001, there was little awareness of the flavor and health benefits of
fermented foods. We think we make great pickles but to be recognized in this national
setting is very exciting.”

Real Pickles uses traditional methods to make its line of fermented vegetables. Their
Organic Garlic Dill Pickles, as with all of their products, are made with certified organic
vegetables from local family farms and are available at more than 300 retail outlets.

The Good Food Awards are given to artisan producers in five regions of the U.S. in seven
categories: beer, charcuterie, cheese, chocolate, coffee, pickles and preserves, and highlight
outstanding American food producers who are making food that is exceptionally delicious
and supports sustainability and social good.

Real Pickles’ winning product was chosen from over 780 entries from around the country. To learn more about Real Pickles, please contact Kristin Howard at Real Pickles: (413)
774-2600 or kristin@realpickles.com.

This Just in ... from Gulf of the Poets

[photo of panoramic view. Caption: Everything about this apartment is small, except the view.]

(Editor’s note: English is not the primary language of the next writer, so please be appreciative of some of the poetic language.)

Dear Green Living:

I could start this story, a story that led me, an architect, to renovate my apartment following green building principles, by telling you about architects and their experimentations in building their own homes.  There are many famous examples. I could acknowledge the education my parents gave me, since the early years of my childhood, and tell you about when I was a small child visiting the first Italian National Parks. I could add something about my elementary school teacher who in the mid-70s involved students and their families in a paper recycling project.
However, these personal stories would be limiting, because we are all citizens of a globalized world who must be aware of a bigger picture.  Being citizens of the human race nowadays requires knowing the consequences of our actions on our fellow humans.
I believe that the choices we make everyday count. I buy local food, use the bicycle or the public transportation system, avoid disposable items in favor of durable ones (including canvas shopping bags and cloth handkerchiefs), and conserve energy and water. When I applied my principles to my own home, I made a wish list: no new construction, save energy with appropriate insulation, use low impact natural materials, and insure access to public transportation.
I found a small apartment (32 square meters, but big enough for my needs) on the hills overlooking the Gulf of the Poets in the Liguria Riviera, which not only meant astonishing views, but also energy gain from the sun.  The apartment needed renovation, so I had the opportunity to apply all green building principles I had used when renovating other peoples’ homes and offices.
Everything needed to be redone. I chose natural materials.  No concrete in plaster, only lime, which needs less energy to be made, and allows breathability.  I used a lightweight and insulating material to even the floor, then covered it with linoleum made from  renewable materials. 
The gabled roof was the biggest challenge.  The structure itself is wood. I used cork panels beneath the terracotta roof tiles.  I also added two skylights, one on each side, to improve the natural lighting of the apartment.
What did I sacrifice? The roof faces north-east and south-west, so neither photovoltaic nor solar-thermal panels were viable options. Also, I haven’t been able to free myself of my car.  On the other hand, there are several nearby trails to reach towns, beaches, hills, and olive groves.
Unfortunately I had to leave my little dream apartment because of an irresistible professional opportunity in another city.  So I am renting this apartment on a weekly or monthly basis so that can enjoy my environmental home.

Valentina Giannini
Gulf of the Poets (Italy)

(for a brochure on renting Valentina’s apartment, contact her at Valentina.Giannini@ymail.com)

Tour “The Town that Food Saved”

For years Hardwick, Vermont (population 3,200) was the definition of “hardscabble.” Located in the sparse, unforgiving Northeast Kingdom of Vermont, Hardwick was a good place from which to escape. But now the town is the poster child for sustainable agriculture and food production, attracting film crews, writers, and even venture capitalists from all over the country. Now, beginning April 17th, the 3rd Thursday of every month until October, you can hear the stories, tour the facilities and meet the people that help make this area so rich in community-based enterprises.

Starting on the S. Main St. office of Center for Agricultural Economy at 10am, Tom Stearns, owner of High Mowing Organic Seeds or Pete Johnson, owner of Pete’s Greens, will lead a group of up to 25 people, caravan-style, to several different farms and/or businesses in Hardwick, Craftsbury, Albany, Greensboro and East Hardwick. The tours will be informative, fast paced, fascinating and a fun way to experience the area. The tour costs $50 per person and is free to children 10 years and younger, accompanied by an adult. For more information, including dates, photos of past tours and tour details, visit hardwickagriculture.org.        quiet zone

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River Valley editor: Stephen Morris
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