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  • Earthling 6:26 pm on 30th December 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , health effects of long-term tocix chemical exposure, long-term danger of toxic chemical, long-term exposure to toxic chemicals, long-term fetus exposure to toxic chemicals   

    Long-term exposure to toxic chemicals 

    By Carroll Colette J. Yorgey
    Toxic chemicals are everywhere – the air, water, food and soil. Exposure to toxic chemicals occurs through breathing, touching and ingesting. The developing fetus is the most vulnerable to toxic chemicals, which can be ingested by the mother when she eats or drinks, or when she breathes contaminated air. She can also introduce toxic chemicals into her system if she applies lotions to her skin, or her skin comes into contact with toxic chemicals.
    Although the developing fetus is the most vulnerable to the exposure to toxic chemicals, any person
    can be highly vulnerable depending on age, health and the length of exposure. Long-term exposure can cause more devastating effects. Also, small children are more vulnerable to toxic chemicals than adults due to their small size and small organs, and the fact that they are growing at a rapid rate.

    Health problems associated with toxic chemical exposure

    The most serious health risks caused by the exposure to toxic chemicals are asthma, childhood cancers, impaired fertility, birth defects and learning disabilities.
    According to Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families, an organization that seeks to reduce the toxic chemicals that people are exposed to, many chronic diseases have increased substantially.
    They state that cancers such as “leukemia, brain cancer and childhood cancers have increased more than 20 percent since 1975.” Cases of asthma doubled between 1990 and 1998 A birth defect causing “undescended testes increased 200 percent between 1970 and 1993.” Autism has increased “tenfold” since the 1990s.

    How people are exposed to toxic chemicals

    Exposure to a toxic chemicals happens when a person has direct contact with a toxic chemical or when a substance they come in contact with is contaminated with the toxic chemical, such as food or drinking
    water, or as in the case of the fetus, the toxic chemical enters the mother’s bloodstream and then is transported to the bloodstream of the fetus. The toxic chemical may have been long-term chemical exposure to the mother, such as her eating contaminated fish for a long period of time.
    People can be exposed to toxic chemicals by breathing, ingesting or through direct skin contact with soil, dust or sediment. Drinking contaminated groundwater or surface water can cause chemical exposure. Showering or swimming in water can also cause chemical exposure either through accidentally swallowing the contaminated water or by skin exposure to the toxic chemical in the water.
    Air contaminants such as hazardous chemical vapors, other chemical contaminants or dust can cause a toxic and long-term chemical exposure.
    Food contaminants happen when food is exposed to direct contact with a contaminant; or food can
    become contaminated through the food chain. The original source of the contaminant can be eaten by fish that are caught by fishermen and then eaten by the consumer with the resulting toxic exposure to the person eating the fish. In the case of the developing fetus, the toxic chemical travels further in the food chain to the developing fetus causing a genetic disorder or genetic mutation.

    Why the developing fetus or young child is more vulnerable

    The developing organs of the developing fetus can be permanently damaged by toxic chemical exposure because the introduction of the toxic chemical will stop the normal development of the developing organs within the fetus.
    Children between birth and six years of age are in a stage of rapid development; and due to this rapid development they may take in a larger dosage of the toxic chemical due to “body chemistry, level of activity and small body size.”
    Chemicals introduced into the developing fetus or small child can “alter many processes essential for normal cell development.” These toxic chemical changes can “cause organs within the body to be altered, impairing proper development to a mature organ.”
    Adolescents are also vulnerable due to their “increased physical activity and curiosity about the world around them.”
    You can find more information about protecting your children from toxic chemical attack on
    the EPA website.


    It is very important to find out as much as you can about the toxins that can invade your environment in order to protect yourself, your unborn children and your young children from the invasion of toxic chemicals. Long-term exposure is more damaging and therefore it is important to find out what you are eating, what you are drinking, and what household contaminants are living in your environment with you
    and your children.
    Copyright © 2018 Carroll Colette J. Yorgey

  • Earthling 5:00 am on 25th December 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: elements of passive solar architecture, how to go solar with your home, living in harmony with mother nature via solar, solar architect, solar architecture, solar architecture factors, solar energy, solar home   

    Solar Energy is an Excellent Alternative 

    By Carroll Colette J. Yorgey
    Solar energy is an excellent alternative energy for heating and cooling homes, buildings, and urban areas and should always be included in the architecture and urban planning of new urban areas. There are important reasons to include solar heating and cooling into urban planning and architecture. The most important reason is that if it is not included and solar energy is decided after the buildings are already built, the building will never be conducive to good solar energy because there are building and design specifications that need to be met to provide for cost-effective and heating/cooling-effective energy.
    There are two kinds of solar energy, active and passive.
    Active solar energy
    Active solar energy is the kind of solar energy that most people think of when deciding to go solar with their existing homes. Active solar energy is mechanical and relies on mechanical equipment and a mechanical distribution system. Active solar can be very expensive, since the building was never built or designed to include solar energy. Solar collectors are expensive.
    Passive solar energy
    Your building becomes the solar collector if it is designed using all solar energy architectural principles. Passive solar energy stands on its own and will not be converted to electricity. Passive solar energy uses non-mechanical ways to collect and transport heat such as radiation, conduction and natural convection.
    When deciding to use solar energy to heat or cool your home, passive solar energy will provide the best source of natural heat and natural cooling at the least amount of cost.
    In order for a home or any building to effectively use and produce passive solar energy, the building must be planned according to certain solar energy architectural principles.
    Location of building
    A passive solar home or building should be built in the north end of a sunny area in order to utilize the south end for solar energy.
    Location of indoor spaces
    Each indoor space must be planned according to how much solar energy is needed to heat and cool that space.
    Climate of the area
    The location and shape of the building will depend on the climate of the area – are the winters cold or are nights cold? If a cold climate the area that receives the most sun during maximum solar radiation will have to be determined.
    Shape of the building
    The shape of the building must be designed for optimum interior sunlight. Usually a building that is elongated on the east/west axis will provide the most sunlight.
    Position of the sun
    Passive solar energy depends on direct sunlight. The more direct sunlight the less conventional energy is needed for heating and cooling.
    Trained solar architects will use different types of sun charts and solar radiation calculators to determine exact positions of the sun on given days and given seasons to help them determine the best shape, position, and location of new buildings and urban construction.
    Therefore in order to build and plan urban buildings and urban areas according to solar principles, there must be an original architectural design that is mapped out according to the location and climate of the area, and positions of the sun. These details must all be worked out in advance of designing the building or urban area. Once there is a plan according to solar architectural principles the building can be designed according to these principles.
    A trained solar architect will be needed for large urban areas or large building complexes such as schools and office buildings. A caring homeowner may be able to build according to passive solar principles if he studies and reads up on passive solar design.
    If you already have existing architecture and want to go solar it is important to utilize all spaces as much as possible for passive solar and then determine how much active solar you will need to make your home or building energy efficient. You may need to use a combination of alternative heating and cooling sources rather than relying entirely on solar heating and cooling. Adding on such as adding a greenhouse can be an effective way to use passive solar in an existing building or urban area, but it will never be as effective as planning the complete solar building right from the beginning.
    Reference: Mazria, Edward. 1979. The Passive Solar Energy Book. Emmaus: Rodale Press.
    Copyright © 2018 Carroll Colette J. Yorgey. Edited and used with her permission. Image from “Bête spatio-temporelle” on Wikimedia Commons is CC 4.0 licensed.

  • Earthling 9:40 am on 23rd December 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: australia bans encryption, chinese spying on autobmobile users, Directive on the Transition of Russian State-Owned Companies to Russian Software, ice violates us constitution, , mass-surveillance in india, ofcom bbc spat, prison corruption exposure in russia, , russia ban on foreign software, russia fines for facebook and twitter, russian central ban block websites, yarovaya package prices   

    December Internet Freedom Update 

    The Central Bank will be empowered to block websites
    The State Duma introduced a bill providing for the possibility of the Central Bank restricting access to internet resources that violate legislation on the financial market
    (Source: https://roskomsvoboda.org/43704/)
    Group Forced to Take Back Prison Corruption Exposure
    The human rights organization “Russia Sitting” (“Русь сидящую”) has been ordered by the governent to refute information published online about prison corruption. This is following a lawsuit by the Sverdlovsk penal colony.
    (Source: https://www.roskomsvoboda.org/43981/)
    The “Yarovaya package” is expected to increase prices on the internet
    Some Internet providers in Moscow are raising prices for their services. In particular, one of the oldest providers in the capital, RiNet, announced that from January 1, 2019, the cost of services will increase by 5%. The company explained this by the fact that in 2018, a number of initiatives requiring “multimillion-dollar costs” came into force: including the law on increasing VAT from 18% to 20%, the “Yarovaya package” (which requires mass storage of data),and amendments to the government resolution on cooperation with bodies engaged in operational investigative activities.
    (Source: https://roskomsvoboda.org/43847/)
    State-owned companies will be forbidden to import software
    First Deputy Prime Minister of Russia Anton Siluanov approved the Directive on the Transition of Russian State-Owned Companies to Russian Software. As reported by Vedomosti with reference to a copy of the document, the enterprises were asked to develop a “clear plan” for such a transition by 2021. These are companies from the No. 91-p list approved by the government back in 2003. It includes Aeroflot, Gazprom, Sheremetyevo, Rosneft, Russian Railways, Channel One, RUSNANO, VTB, etc. Within ten days after receiving the directives, the companies should initiate meetings that include the issue of substituting imported software.
    (Source: https://roskomsvoboda.org/43847/)
    Russia sets fines for Facebook and Twitter
    Roskomnadzor has set a fine for Facebook and Twitter of 5,000 rubles. By January 17, 2019, both companies are required to provide “legally significant” answers about the requirement to localize user databases in Russia, otherwise they will be fined.
    Facebook and Twitter have not yet localized their user databases in Russia and have been notified of the need to comply with the law. Roskomnadzor is waiting for a response by January 17, the Head of the Department Alexander Zharov told reporters. According to him, on December 17 Roskomnadzor sent Facebook and Twitter notifications about the need to comply with the legislation of the Russian Federation in the field of user data.
    (Source: https/roskomsvoboda.org/43902/)
    Russia and UK investigate each other’s media

    (Source: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-46648010)
    Much of above content is translated from RoskomSvoboda
    ICE rises above the Constitution, seizes websites without due process
    India initiates hardcore mass-surveillance
    Australia outlaws encryption, will share the data with US and other former colonies

    Australia’s vague anti-encryption law sets a dangerous new precedent

    Automakers give the Chinese government access to location data of electric cars

  • Earthling 9:06 am on 23rd December 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: animal cruelty, december 2018, , moderation, , too much chicken   

    State of the Modern World Address — December 2018 

    Historically Unprecedented Mechanized Extreme Animal Abuse Plagues Modern Civilizations


    Too Much Chicken Is Bad For You
    Compassion is Good For You

    How compassion is good for your health


    “Moderation in Everything”

  • Earthling 7:03 pm on 20th December 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: alternative lifestyles, , lifestyle, , , sustainability in pre-industrial times, sustainability in pre-modern times   

    Pre-Industrial Lifestyle Proven Better for Environment 

    In the middle ages, there was a higher mortality rate and a much lower population globally. People did not use electricity or modern technology, so the potential for environmental harm was much lower. There was little economic and industrial growth. All the present causes of climate change and mass extinction either did not exist or were at a manageable scale. People had less need for material things to be happy because they were more spiritual. The lifestyle was more difficult in some ways, but also completely sustainable.

    By Edgar Smith

  • Earthling 12:45 pm on 19th December 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: animal and human biodiversity, indigenous people and environmentalism, indigenous rights   

    Human and Subhuman Biodiversity 

    Human and subhuman (flora/fauna) biodiversity are linked by their common enemies, such as the Chinese Communist Party, and the American white supremacists who continue to subjugate Native Americans and trash their land at the same time. It is the indigenous people of a land, the people who have been there the longest, who really care about it the most, and who know it the most intimately. According to Grist.org, “Indigenous peoples comprise only 5 percent of the world’s population, yet their lands encompass 22 percent of its surface. Eighty percent of the planet’s biodiversity is on the lands where they live.”
    Here are some good links:
    Mongabay Conservation News
    Indigenous Environmental Network
    Cultural Survival
    Survival International
    Tribes Risk Exploitation When Sharing Climate Change Solutions
    By Khalil Abdulkareem

  • Earthling 4:42 am on 18th December 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: elements of a green home, elements of an environmentally friendly home, environmentally friendly house, , living in harmony with mother nature   

    The Environmentally Friendly House 


    By Carroll Colette J. Yorgey
    An environmentally-friendly house blends into the environment through design, style, and looks; and incorporates all elements of good green technology. You can remodel your current home to make it more environmentally friendly or you can start from scratch and build a completely environmentally friendly home.
    The environmentally-friendly house will use green technology in the following building areas:
    1) Windows
    2) Heat
    3) Insulation
    4) Roofs
    5) Energy
    6) Building materials
    7) Water
    8) Landscaping
    9) Construction
    10) Appliances
    11) The cellar
    Windows should be chosen for their heat and cold retaining elements. They should be also placed in ways that provide passive solar energy.
    Passive solar energy and solar panels should be used for heating the home. This is the greenest technology
    available for heating the home. Heat pumps are also good for heating and cooling the environmentally friendly home.
    Insulation provides for easier ways to cool and heat the home. Insulation should be made of non-chemical
    Roofs should be slanted to provide easier snow and water run-off. They should be built according to passive solar principles in order to bring in the greatest amount of natural sunlight for solar energy.
    The main energy source should be the sun and passive solar energy technology should be applied to provide for the greatest amount of natural, green energy available. You can back this up with your own personal windmill.
    Building Materials
    All building materials should be environmentally-friendly. Log homes are considered the most environmentally-friendly since if they are built properly they will not use chemicals or sealants that
    emit dangerous fumes into the air. They also blend well into the natural environment.
    However there should be one consideration when building a log home – make sure the trees you are using are replanted so that there is a replacement of trees to keep up the carbon dioxide removal and stop any sort of erosion caused by the removal of trees.
    Water should be supplied by a well and backed up by a cistern. Rainwater can provide a percentage of water used in gardening, washing of clothes, and other water chores. Water can be heated through the use of a solar collector.
    Landscaping for your new environmentally-friendly home is extremely important. Trees should be placed in the proper location to provide shade in the summer and reduce air cooling costs. Also, the correct trees should be planted — those that use up the most carbon dioxide.
    Also landscaping should provide for the garden which will be the source of home-grown organic foods. Each yard could consist of three fruit trees and a few pine trees. The fruit trees will provide organic fruits for the winter. The pine trees will suck up the most carbon dioxide and refresh the air.
    Proper mulching and composting of the soil should also be an option and when building the environmentally-friendly home you can immediately include your plans for the garden. Grass is not necessary and instead the lawn should be planted with plants that attract good insects such as bees and butterflies. If planted properly you won’t have to be mowing lawns or spraying them with chemicals.
    The environmentally-friendly house should be constructed by an able construction crew that is experienced at building an environmentally friendly house. Passive solar energy techniques should be applied throughout the building of the house and only those experienced in this type of building should be hired.
    Before even beginning construction the house should be designed to complete passive solar energy
    specifications by a trained passive solar energy architect. Designing this type of house is technologically very precise and based on measurements that embrace the positions of the sun during seasons and times of the day. It is not unlike charting the course of the seas for the captain of a ship.
    All appliances should be energy efficient. They should be energy star appliances or appliances powered
    totally by solar energy.
    The Cellar
    The root cellar should be part of every environmentally-friendly house. This can be built within the house when building the foundation or it can be built a distance from the house. It will provide a natural cool place for the harvesting of your organic fruits and vegetables. Cool pantries should also be built into the
    environmentally friendly house.
    In conclusion, the environmentally-friendly house is an artistic and technological achievement. If you are good at building and construction and feel you can tackle building an environmentally-friendly house on
    your own, this is the best way to go in the long run. You will save money and also save the environment.
    Copyright © 2018 Carroll Colette J. Yorgey. Edited and used with her permission. Image added by Zebulon Goertzel.

  • Earthling 3:55 am on 14th December 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: connectedness of all things, creation, evolution, food chain, hawaiian creation chant, hawaiian creation hymn, Hawaiian spirituality, indigenous hawaiian religion, kumulipo, liliuokalani, martha warren beckwith, , oneness of all things, Queen Liliuokalani, queen of hawaii   

    The Hawaiian Creation Chant, Kumulipo 

    By Carroll Colette J. Yorgey
    The Hawaiian Creation Chant, also called the Kumulipo describes the birth of the world or of Earth and how the intricate ecosystem web of life continues up through the food chain.
    The Hawaiian Creation Chant was translated in 1897 by the last Queen of Hawaii, Queen Liliuokalani. She translated the Creation Chant while in prison, being imprisoned by the Europeans who took the Hawaiian Islands from the native people of Hawaii. Queen Liliuokalani wanted the native Hawaiian people to forever know and understand the Kumulipo or the native Hawaiian chant of creation/evolution that describes the natural chain of life on Earth.
    All living things need energy to survive and get their energy from other living things in a bio-community of life where animals eat plants to survive and animals eat other animals to survive. This is the food chain.
    Today scientists know and talk of the food chain and how the beginning of life begins with the coral polyps and all the one-celled sea creatures that live with the corals in the seas.
    Hawaii’s creation chant is an epic poem of the food chain and how life began in the sea with the coral
    Hawaiian spirituality embraced the natural order of life and all living things as one whole. All of life was
    connected, and so the Hawaiian Creation Chant goes through the entire evolution of life from the coral polyps to man.
    Hawaiian spirituality describes “nature and culture as one,” how land and sea are connected, and that all creatures were born in pairs.
    Ancient Polynesians navigated the waters by natural means called wayfinding – navigating by the stars, ocean swells, clouds, sun, the seabirds, and the winds. And as with their natural ways they also understood the meanings of the sea creatures and the sea plants and the land creatures and land plants; and how all were connected.
    The Hawaiian Creation Chant is divided up into eras. In the first era it describes the beginnings – “A coral insect was born, from which was born perforated coral” and “…water is life to trees.” The first era also describes the seaweeds and grasses.
    In the second era fish were born and also the porpoise, the eel, and the crab. They were “born in the sea and swam.”
    In the third era the insects, caterpillars, ants, dragonflies, grasshoppers, flies, and birds of the land and the seas were born.
    In the fourth era, turtles and lobsters were born. In the third verse of the fourth era, “the Earth was born and lived by the sea.”
    And so the Hawaiian Creation Chant goes through the entire creation/evolution of life from the beginnings in the sea to the land; and in the final eras, the emergence of man.
    There are fifteen eras in the Hawaiian Creation Chant.
    The Hawaiian Creation Chant has also been translated by Martha Warren
    in 1951.
    Both translations, the one by Queen Liliuokalani and the one by Beckwith, are masterpieces in
    translation of the epic poem, the Hawaiian Creation Chant that describes in detail the beginnings of life in the sea and the beginnings of life on land and how all is connected. The Hawaiian Creation Chant describes the bottom of the food chain, the coral polyps, all the way up to the top of the food chain, man.
    http://www.sacred-texts.com/pac/lku/index.htm (translation by the last
    royal Queen of Hawaii).
    http://www.sacred-texts.com/pac/ku/index.htm (translation by Martha Warren
    Copyright © 2018 Carroll Colette J. Yorgey. Edited and used with her permission.

  • Earthling 1:15 pm on 13th December 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Carlos Montoya, Flamenco guitarist, Hero of flamenco, Inspirer of Eddi Van Halen, Pioneer of flamenco, Solo flamenco music, Spanish guitarist   

    Carlos Montoya 

    Carlos García Montoya (Born December 13, 1903, in Madrid, Spain — Died March 3, 1993 in Wainscott, NY, USA) was a Spanish guitarist and composer who popularized the flamenco genre. He is credited with introducing flamenco to the world as a kind of solo guitar music, rather than only an accompaniment for a singer or dancer. At the outbreak of World War 2, he moved to the US and stayed there for the rest of his life.
    Carlos Montoya was born in Madrid in 1903. He came from a family of gypsy descent. His father, Juan Garcia, was a mule breeder who died when Carlos was two years old. His mother was named Emily Montoya. He was the nephew of the popular flamenco guitarist Ramón Montoya, and his parents took him to flamenco performances from a young age.
    Montoya’s early musical education came from a local barber called Pepe el Barbero. By age 14, Montoya had begun performing alongside various flamenco performers around Madrid. He performed with a number of popular singers and dancers at cafes, notably including Juan el Estampio, and Antonio de Bilbao, and La Camisona. Nevertheless, he had to work during the day for his livelihood, at first at a post office and then at a courthouse. [1]
    Montoya was largely self-taught. It has been reported that in his early career he spent his meager earnings from playing guitar buying wine for other players in exchange for lessons. [2]
    In 1924, Montoya joined the army and served in Morocco for three years. He continued to play the guitar during his service, and returned to Madrid when it was done. In Madrid, he joined the troupe of the dancer Antônia Mercé, known by the stage name La Argentina. Montoya toured around Europe with La Argentina for three years, then started touring with the dancer Vicente Escudero.
    In 1933, Montoya toured the US and East Asia with the dancer La Teresina. He was well-received in Japan and offered a teaching position at the University of Tokyo, which he did not accept. Later he toured the US and Latin America with the dancer Encarnación López, known by the stage name La Argentinita.
    When World War 2 broke out, Montoya moved to the US. He married the American flamenco dancer Sally MacLean in 1940. Montoya settled in Manhattan remained based in the US for the rest of his life, eventually acquiring citizenship. To celebrate his US naturalization, Montoya held a concert at the White House before President Truman.
    Montoya continued to tour with La Argentinita until she died in 1945. In the following years, Sally encouraged Montoya to embark upon a solo career. He began to perform without a singer or dancer. To substitute for the rhythmic element provides by a dancer, he tapped his fingers against the guitar and stomped his feet. He had special guitars built with metal plates that could endure hard tapping. His new style of solo flamenco became very popular and he toured the US extensively.
    In the 1960s, Montoya wrote a concerto, Suite Flamenca, in spite of his lack of a formal musical education. He performed it with the St. Louis Symphony in 1966.
    Montoya performed prolifically even as he grew older. In 1979, he gave 390 performances. [3] He passed away in 1993.
    Musical Style and Legacy
    Prior to Montoya’s career, Flamenco had been a type of gypsy music mainly used to accompany dancers and singers. Montoya was the biggest figure in bringing flamenco into the mainstream as a type of serious solo guitar music. His early music was in a more traditional flamenco style. Later in his life he experimented with elements of blues, jazz, country, and folk. [3]
    Montoya recorded over 40 albums. A number of prominent guitarists have taken inspiration from him, such as Eddie Van Halen, Steve Howe, and Robbie Krieger. [4]
    [1] http://www.anb.org/view/10.1093/anb/9780198606697.001.0001/anb-9780198606697-e-1803802
    [2] http://biography.jrank.org/pages/3684/Montoya-Carlos-Garc-1903-1993-Guitarist-Gypsy-Heritage-Influenced-Music.html
    [3] http://biography.jrank.org/pages/3686/Montoya-Carlos-Garc-1903-1993-Guitarist-Performed-at-Carnegie-Hall.html
    Article written by me for Lunyr

  • Earthling 6:59 am on 13th December 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: agricultural economics, american oppression of asians, american oppression of blacks, american oppression of mexicans, american oppression of native americans, bracero program, clyde ross, coolies, discrimination, enclosure laws, enslavement of colored people, farm workers, farmworkers, hmong, injustice in us food system, marginalization, nafta, natasha bowens, racial injustice in america, , racism in amerca, racism in american food industry, racism in us food industry, redlining, slavery, upside-down triangle politics, white supremacism, wwii   

    Pillars of Racism in the United States’ Food System 

    By Mo Constantine, May 15, 2017
    Through trade agreements, technology, and a strong political economy, the United States’ agricultural system has become a global force, affecting food production, nutrition, and farmer livelihoods across the world. Many present-day farmers and agrarians speak of past generations, when the United States was home to thousands of small, family-owned farms that sustainably produced food to feed their local communities. It was not until the World Wars and the Earl Butz era that agriculture became agribusiness and farms began to consolidate into large, industrial corporations unconcerned with workplace safety, environmental sustainability, or nutrition. However, this narrative is misleading in that it overlooks many predecessors to agribusiness that operated not too differently than the oppressive, industrial agricultural system present today. In order to achieve a fair, sustainable, and equitable food system in the United States, we must understand the origins of our nation’s agricultural system and the foundation on which it stands. This requires understanding our history of exploitation, enslavement, disenfranchisement, and racism. Only once we acknowledge that our current food system is rooted in the systemic discrimination of a designated “other” can we begin the process of effectively dismantling the injustices present in the food system.
    United States agriculture has relied on systems of oppression and racism from its very inception. When Europeans began settling on the coast of what would be the United States, they quickly began conquering the native peoples through massacres, enslavement, and the spread of disease. Colonists arrived to find that “capital could be created out of thin air: one merely had to capture an Indian or find an Indian to capture another” (Gallay 10). In the Carolinas, Virginia, and Louisiana, the enslavement of the Native Americans provided the means through which the colonists began building a booming economy. The slave trade spread west, eventually reaching California, where members of the Apache and Sioux nations were kept as slaves until the nineteenth century (11). Many Native Americans were forced to work on farms that were being developed by the European settlers on their stolen land.
    Without their land, Native Americans went from a population that had survived for thousands of years off the land to one of the most impoverished groups in the United States. Many scholars, including W.E.B. Dubois and Walter Rodney, have pointed out the “importance of land as a source of wealth (and its absence as a source of poverty)” (Norgaard, Reed, Van Horn 26) and also that “the destruction of the land becomes a vehicle for racism and hunger” (43). Beginning with the European colonization of America in the 1600s, the following three centuries witnessed the confinement of Native Americans to increasingly small plots of land with no means to fight unfair land treaties or instances where such treaties were broken to benefit white Europeans. Many natives were forced to assimilate into European culture in order to survive since they could no longer subsist off the land.
    On the stolen land, the settlers began planting barley and peas, among other sustenance crops. The Native Americans they had enslaved were used as agricultural workers with their knowledge of the land, they were key players in ensuring the settlers’ success (Gilio-Whitaker 3; Gallay 2). They introduced the Europeans to corn, among other crops, showed them how to cultivate it, and it quickly became their most important crop. As the agricultural economy grew throughout the 1700s, large cash crop plantations were introduced, on which Native Americans were also used as slaves until the Civil War (Snyder 4).
    Native Americans were not unilaterally freed until the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment in 1865, but their numbers decreased rapidly after the eighteenth century. They were difficult to enslave, as their knowledge of the land and connection to communities outside of the settlers’ provided them with a means of escape, and their lack of immunity to European diseases made them uniquely susceptible to illness. By the 1700s, Native American enslavement had given way to the Atlantic slave trade. Africans were taken from their homelands in West and Central Africa and forced to work the land in the newly established United States. They, too, brought valuable agricultural knowledge and are responsible for the success of the largest agricultural industries of the time, such as cotton and tobacco. They introduced their superior methods of growing certain crops and invented machines that would make agricultural work more efficient and therefore more profitable. According to oral history, “enslaved African women brought okra and rice seeds to the Americans by hiding them in their braided hair. The plants [became] essential to the development of the United States” (Bandele, Myers 3). Through their transportation of crops across the Atlantic and aided by the sustainable and effective agricultural practices learned from ancient traditions, African slaves greatly aided the success of the South’s agricultural economy.
    When slavery was abolished in 1865, the government and white landowners had to find other methods for ensuring the subjugation of people of color if they wanted to continue white domination and maintain their profits that depended on exploitation. Though the government set up what seemed like good opportunities for freedmen, such as the Southern Homestead Act of 1866 which attempted to transfer public land to freed slaves, most freedmen did not have the material means to take up such property, and the efforts were mostly wasted. By 1910, there were 175,000 black farm owners and 1.15 million white farm owners, with the average white-owned farm nearly twice the size of the average black-owned farm (Higgs 150, 162). Those who were able to obtain land often had it seized or vandalized by the government and white neighbors. Clyde Ross, born in Mississippi in 1923 to two former slaves, remembers when his family lost everything to an unjust legal system committed to the oppression of black people: “Mississippi authorities claimed his father owed $3,000 in back taxes. The elder Ross could not read. He did not have a lawyer. He did not know anyone at the local courthouse. He could not expect the police to be impartial. Effectively, the Ross family had no way to contest the claim and no protection under the law. The authorities seized the land. They seized the buggy. They took the cows, hogs, and mules. And so for the upkeep of separate but equal, the entire Ross family was reduced to sharecropping (Coates 5).”
    Though slaves were free, the United States had been founded on principles of racism, which continued to create struggles for freedmen. Racist policies were built into the agricultural system and the “impact [was] cumulative and has created multi-generational exclusions from opportunities that manifest today” (Center for Social Inclusion). Agriculture was not just about growing food, but was a means of power; without property, black citizens were denied the stability and advancement that accompanies the formation of communities, providing the white population with continued control and domination.
    At first, racialized policies were explicit. After slavery came the Black Codes, enacted by southern states during the Reconstruction Era. Varying from state to state, the Black Codes intended to restrict black labor, forcing black people to work for low wages and punishing them if they broke their contract. They enacted heavy penalties for vagrancy, yet required black people to pay an annual tax if they worked as anything other than a farmer or servant. Moreover, some states used the Codes to limit property ownership, forcing black people to work as sharecroppers and enter into unfavorable work contracts (Black Codes 1).
    The Black Codes were quickly deemed unconstitutional, only to be replaced by Jim Crow laws at the end of the Reconstruction Era. Though slightly less harsh, Jim Crow offered little improvement to the situations of black farmworkers. Most remained sharecroppers, unable to own their own land or buy insurance, since black clients were “scientifically” deemed substandard risks (Heen 387). They were also prevented from competing for better wages due to the enticement and emigrant agent laws, which made it difficult and sometimes illegal to change jobs. The vagrancy laws established by the Black Codes were still in place, said to be “reserved almost exclusively for black men” (Blackmon 1), and often resulted in black people being forced into indentured servitude. Douglas A. Blackmon tells the story of Green Cottenham, a man arrested for vagrancy in 1908 and sentenced to a year of hard labor. The police department, through a standing arrangement between the county and the area’s industries, would sell men like Cottenham mostly to local farmers, but also to corporate prison mines. Once there, the owners of the farm or the mine could treat the prisoners however they wished: “The brutal forms of physical punishment employed against ‘prisoners’ in 1910 were the same as those used against ‘slaves’ in 1840” (Blackmon 23). Once again, thousands of black people were forced to work the land as slaves, contributing years of labor to the food system and getting nothing in return.
    The Black Codes and Jim Crow laws were implemented to ensure the continuation of white dominance, especially in the agricultural south. They ushered in a period of neo-slavery, so that the large plantations dependent on slave labor that had shaped the South’s economy could be maintained. It was not until the beginning of the civil rights movement in the 1950s that this form of black neo-slavery ended. Black citizens were still denied equal rights, however, and faced structural racism in the form of job and housing discrimination. A study by the U.S. Civil Rights Commission showed that “the USDA…unjustly denied African-American farmers loans, disaster aid, and representation on agricultural committees…earning it the nickname ‘the last plantation’” (Bell 4). It was not until the very end of the twentieth century when Pigford v. Glickmana class-action lawsuit brought against the USDA by black farmers for unjustly denying them loans was settled, providing some compensation for the discrimination they had faced. However, nearly 60,000 farmers were left out of the settlement, so it was not until 2010 and the signing of the Claims Settlement Act under President Obama that the $1.25 billion owed to the claimants was made available (4).
    Housing discrimination was also common during the 1900s and is still evident today, causing higher rates of hunger and poverty in majority black communities. Many black people in search of home ownership in the early- and mid-1900s were denied mortgages and forced to pay much higher rates than white people. In order to keep neighborhoods segregated, “black people across the country were largely cut out of the legitimate home-mortgage market through means both legal and extralegal; whites employed every measure, from ‘restrictive covenants’ to bombings” (Coates 36). The Federal Housing Administration rated neighborhoods for their supposed stability, or the quality of house insurance available to them, which translated into the number of black people in that area. All-white areas were given a rating of a green “A,” while mostly black areas received a red “D” rating, making them ineligible for FHA backed loans. The practice of drawing a red line around the areas on a map that were home to black families became known as “redlining” and was another way to ensure the oppression of black people (see Figure 1).

    Figure 1: Map of Chicago’s neighborhoods. The areas marked in red were denied FHA-backed mortgages due to the presence of people of color. The Atlantic: Frankie Dintino

    Redlining quickly became the law of the land, with many city officials such as those in Chicago and Baltimore “instructing city building inspectors and health department investigators  to cite for code violations anyone who rented or sold to blacks in predominantly white neighborhoods” (Rothstein 3). Denied mortgages and restricted to certain areas, black neighborhoods became overpopulated, leading to overcrowded schools and diminished education, which in turn gave rise to gangs and crime. Due to the marginalization and discrimination that has left them facing higher poverty rates and fewer resources, communities of color experience food insecurity over twice as high as white neighborhoods (African American Poverty). In an effort to mitigate hunger, the Black Panther Partya community-based, anti-racist organization founded in 1966began the Free Breakfast for Children Program, which was one of the first school breakfast programs in the United States. By 1971, the program was operating at thirty-six different sites across the nation (Potorti 45), feeding over 10,000 children every day before school (Baggins 7). It was one of the most successful programs of its time, not only providing thousands of children with the nourishment they needed to go to school and build healthier communities, but also bringing attention to the hunger and poverty faced by communities across America, something that was just then coming to the public’s attention.
    However, then-Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation John Edgar Hoover was suspicious of the Black Panther Party and its efforts to combat racism. The FBI was concerned with the Party’s self-defense programs meant to “police the police” in order to protect black citizens from being unjustly detained, harmed, or killed by a racist police force. Director Hoover declared the Black Panther Party to be a national hate group and issued a memo throughout the FBI: “The BCP (Breakfast for Children Program) promotes at least tacit support for the Black Panther Party among naive individuals and, what is more distressing, it provides the BPP with a ready audience composed of highly impressionable youths. Consequently, the BCP represents the best and most influential activity going for the BPP and, as such, is potentially the greatest threat to efforts by authorities to neutralize the BPP and destroy what it stands for (Collier 14).”
    After making the Breakfast for Children Program a national target, it was only a matter of time before both the program and the party were dismantled. As a result, disenfranchisement continued and black communities still experience higher rates of poverty, food insecurity, hunger, and crime than white communities. Though slavery and segregation have legally ended, structural racism is present in every institution and system, the food system being one of the most glaring examples.
    Asian and Latino immigrants have also experienced injustice at the hands of the food system. In the 1850s at the beginning of the California Gold Rush, there was an influx of Chinese and Filipino immigrants looking for jobs and money to bring back to their families. Many found employment in California’s agricultural sector, which was the fastest growing agricultural economy in the United States at the time (Minkoff-Zern, Peluso, Sowerwine, Getz 69). However, the Chinese referred to as “coolies” in California which was a rough translation of the Chinese character meaning “bitter labor” were blamed for depressed wage levels because of their willingness to work for less. This led to the passage of the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1882, which was the first United States law prohibiting the immigration of a certain ethnic group. Restricting Chinese immigration minimized competition for white agricultural workers since at the time, seven out of eight farmworkers in California were Chinese (69).
    By classifying Chinese immigrants as nonwhite and noncitizens, it “set the stage for later enclosure laws” (Minkoff-Zern, Peluso, Sowerwine, Getz 66) that negatively impacted the influx of Japanese immigrants in the 1890s. By 1910, the agricultural sector in California housed two-thirds of Japanese laborers (70). Despite the fact that Japanese landowners were paying higher rents than their white neighbors and that there were relatively few Japanese farmers compared to white farmers, white Californians felt that the Japanese were taking away their labor and land opportunities, so in 1913 the state passed the Alien Land Law Act that prohibited Japanese people from acquiring land. This effectively eliminated any possibility of Japanese immigrants owning farms and participating in agriculture as anything but underpaid and marginalized laborers. Matters only became worse in the 1940s: after the internment of the Japanese during WWII, many were never able to regain their lost land. The United States, through its settler colonialist history, developed a pattern demonstrating that “as the state regulates agricultural resources, it creates racial categories that separate lawful members of society from ‘alien’ outsiders” (66) in order to ensure white accumulation and success. This results in the marginalization of people of color to the “unpropertied classes of America” (73)
    In the 1970s, there was an influx of Hmong immigrants after they were deemed political refugees due to the United States’ Secret War in Laos. Many Hmong people had practiced subsistence agriculture in their home countries and so continued their practices in the United States. A large portion of Hmong refugees settled in southern and central California, one of the largest agricultural producing regions in the world. In Southeast Asia, farming was a family practice in which everybody was expected to participate and exchange in-kind services for their extended family, but in the United States it is considered illegal to not pay farmworkers and not provide the necessary benefits. Hmong farmers, who found it difficult to find, much less understand, government regulations, were therefore cited for many Occupational Health and Safety Act (OSHA) violations that required them to pay costly fines (Minkoff-Zern, Peluso, Sowerwine, Getz 77). Hmong agriculture was seen by the United States as problematic and illegal, another example of the difficulties faced by refugees and immigrants that limited their ability to access land and provide their families and communities with nourishment.
    As Asian immigrants were finding it increasingly difficult to own and operate farms, black farmers were moving to other industries, and native tribes were still fighting to regain their land, agribusiness was looking toward Mexico to provide cheap labor. In 1942, the U.S. government initiated the Bracero Program, which allowed contract laborers from Mexico and Central America to come to the United States as agricultural workers in order to solve the labor shortages. It also guaranteed the workers a minimum wage, good living conditions, and safety from discrimination. But because the Bracero workers had no representation on any committee, board, or agency and had little control over their own daily lives, abuses were rampant. Many employers provided low quality food and housing and paid workers irregularly and often below the set minimum wage. And unlike other workers, Bracero workers did not have the freedom to change jobs, so complaints often led to deportation. The U.S. Department of Labor Bracero Director Lee Williams even went as far to call the program was a system of “legalized slavery” (Southern Poverty Law Center).
    The Bracero Program helped open the doors for an increase of illegal immigrants who were quickly hired by employers looking to pay less than the program allowed. The ability of agricultural employers to control immigrant workers with threats of deportation and abuse has led to systemic exploitation, today’s neo-slavery. Immigrant farmworkers are subjected to harassment and mistreatment, exposed to dangerous pesticides and machinery, live in poverty, and are unable to report injuries or obtain health care their many for work-related illnesses and injuries. Even though the Bracero Program was dismantled in 1964 for its abuses, legal immigrants that are imported under the H-2 sections of the Immigration and Nationality Act face equally appalling conditions. Since they are prevented from becoming citizens and must return to Mexico once their temporary work visa expires, H-2 workers are known as “the disposable workers of the U.S. economy” (Southern Poverty Law Center). Most Mexican and Latin American workers, regardless of status, are viewed this way, constituting an invisible majority of the agricultural workforce that provides the food for a nation built and dependent on exploitation.
    In 1994, The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was implemented, eliminating most tariffs on trade between Canada, Mexico, and the United States. This forced the immigration of thousands more Mexican workers as their economy plummeted due to the agreement. Whether this was an intentional or unintentional outcome is up for debate. Through NAFTA, the United States was able to flood the Mexican market with subsidized American corn, among other products, forcing Mexican corn farmers out of business. Corn prices soared, making the nation’s staple crop too expensive to grow and buy. Mexico is where corn originated and the country is heavily dependent on it, hence the saying “Sin maiz, no hay pais”no corn, no country. The United States controls seventy-percent of the global corn market (Bhandari, Sturr 2), so Mexican farmers were destined to go out of business once the trade tariffs were removed under NAFTA. Mexican farmers now earn half the amount for their corn but must pay fifty-percent more for their tortillas (James 33). As a result, 20 million Mexicans live in food poverty, twenty-five percent of the population does not have access to basic food and one-fifth of Mexican children suffer from malnutrition (Carlsen 5).
    Many Mexicans came to the United States, desperately in search of better pay through employment by the very same agribusiness regime that made it impossible for them to earn a living wage in their home country. Forced to leave their homes and families, Mexican agricultural workers were met with horrible working conditions and the xenophobia and racism of the American people who blamed them for stealing their jobs. Discussing NAFTA and the plight of farmworkers in California, Sandy Brown and Christy Getz write, “Immigration policy has historically served as a mechanism, not only for managing labor flow, but also for actively producing an ‘other,’ in this case a labor force that can be viewed as undeserving of the right and benefits afforded citizen workers and that can be scapegoated during periods of economic downturn” (Brow, Getz 125). The racism already built into American culture encourages the creation of an “other,” based on appearance and ethnicity, that then serves to justify the mistreatment and oppression of people of color and immigrants. The efficient and cheap food system of which the United States often boasts is only made possible by a political economic system that seeks never ending accumulation and power at any cost, reliant on a social system that uses racism and xenophobia to erase the existence of the people who, through their exploitation, make America the powerful country that it is.
    Today, immigrants and people of color must contend with environmental racism, a term coined to describe the habit of placing toxic waste dumps, factory farms, and other health and environmental hazards near low-income communities of color who have been rendered unable to fight against it. Black, Latino, Asian, and immigrant farmers are even more food insecure than non-agricultural workers of the same demographics. Those who have been historically discriminated against by the American food continue to feel the effects, facing more subtle systemic injustices such as lack of access to healthy and affordable food, displacement from land due to gentrification, and placement of environmental and health hazards in communities of color (see Figure 2). The food movement is attempting to remedy some of these issues, yet many white “food justice activists,” who constitute a majority of food justice initiatives, fail to see the connection between race and food injustice.
    Many practices of the food justice movement and spaces within it are seen as only white, “not only through the bodies that tend to inhabit and participate in them but also through the discourses that circulate through them” (Guthman 266). This is because white people often have more resources and time to devote to activism and nonprofit work. However, since they are more likely to not have faced the same obstacles as those most adversely affected by the food system, their efforts can sometimes serve to further silence and oppress the very groups they advocate for. For example, many food justice initiatives are focused on sustainability initiatives and its advocates promote the organic and Slow Food movements, which should only become a priority once more pressing issues are solved. For many immigrants and people of color, “it’s hard to think about the sustainability of our farm without land security” (Bowens 6). To suggest that consumers “vote with their dollar” and buy more sustainable, and usually more expensive and more difficult to prepare, food items can be insulting to those who are struggling to access any healthy food at all to feed their families.

    Figure 2: People of color and immigrants experience discrimination at every level of the food system, from unjust agricultural policies, to lack of access to healthy food and the placement of hazardous factory farms and disposal sites primarily in communities of color.

    It would be more inclusive and more effective to prioritize the dismantling of structural injustices that have been built into and continue to operate within the food system. Since racism and food injustice are causes and effects of each other, one cannot be solved without the solving the other. As Natasha Bowens, author of The Color of Food, writes, in today’s world, “the food justice movement and the Black Lives Matter movement are fighting the same beast” (Civil Eats 4). Since the American food system is built on racism and xenophobia, the food justice movement must have anti-racist and pro-immigrant efforts as a center of its focus.
    Such efforts, in the past, have shown that when structures of exploitation and discrimination are exposed and addressed, positive change will follow. For example, in response to the Bracero Program, the United Farm Workers was formed by César Chávez and Gilbert Padilla that transformed migrant labor (Southern Poverty Law Center). They led the charge in demanding better wages and taught farmworkers how to fight for their rights and livelihoods, eventually achieving the passage of a law that protected union activity, the only one of its kind in the nation. Additionally, the Black Panther Party, though dismantled by the government, eventually inspired the USDA to start the School Breakfast Program that now feeds nearly thirteen million students daily (Collier 18).
    To remedy the food injustices prevalent in the food system, the United States needs to make reparations to those it has stolen from, oppressed, disenfranchised, and discriminated against. Native Americans need to be given back enough land to sustain healthy communities, and in fact there has been steps taken by the United Nations correspondent on indigenous peoples, James Anaya, to return land to Native Americans, but Congress has refused to meet with him (UN Official). However, in 2016, under the Obama administration, the U.S. government paid $492 million to seventeen Native American tribes for “mismanaging natural resources and other tribal assets” (Hersher 1), which is one of many steps that should be taken toward full reparations. Additionally, neighborhoods of color, especially majority black neighborhoods, need to be allocated state and federal funds for school education, better access to healthy and affordable food, and improved maintenance of the community. The USDA must also enforce better treatment standards and better pay for agricultural and factory workers to make sure that no worker goes home injured, sick, or hungry. And within the agricultural system, there must be an acknowledgement of different cultural practices among immigrant farmers and enough flexibility to address issues as they arise.
    The government should eliminate NAFTA and ensure that the United States is not a motivator of global hunger and food insecurity through unfair trade agreements and exploitation of international land and workers. Instead of flooding the market with cheap, subsidized American products and incentivising the exportation of crops by hungry nations and communities, the United States should support international food sovereignty. As one of the current world superpowers, the United States has the ability to set up the framework for food sovereignty across the globe simply by making it a goal for America itself. In order to achieve self-sustainability, the United States would have to ensure that it can produce the food needed to feed its citizens and support farmers without relying on imports and profits from an international market. This would require a restructuring or elimination of the agricultural subsidy system and a market that responds to consumer demand. Without the pressure to survive in a market controlled by the United States’ artificially cheap products, developing countries would find it easier to achieve food sovereignty and address hunger. Though it would likely still be challenging until food sovereignty becomes a global objective, the United States could take the first steps in leading us to a more equitable food system.
    We need to form a society that makes live and lets live, an improved version of Foucault’s concept of biopower and one that recognizes that disempowering groups of people in order to support an illusion of unity among the collective body is unsustainable. It collapses as soon as enough of the oppressed and their allies take a stand against the system, realizing that it relies on their continued silence (see Figure 3). The agricultural and food systems rely on their abuses and those they abuse remaining invisible, so the food justice movement’s primary goal should be to spread knowledge of our exploitative history and awareness of the contemporary oppressive politics at play. Those already fighting for food justice should direct their efforts at policy change. Even small changes, such as a redirection of a portion of the subsidies given to commodity crops to instead support the production of fruits and vegetables, can dramatically improve the food system and the health of the nation. In this era of globalization, small changes will quickly snowball, hopefully eventually requiring a restructuring of the global food system, helped along by the crisis of climate change.
    Though such decisions are controlled by powerful corporations whose only goal is profit, history has proven that even in a corrupt market, consumer demand and a few loud voices can lead to change. Rachel Carson and her supporters were able to persuade the USDA to remove DDT, the most harmful pesticide from the market, with the publication of Silent Spring. Cargill, one of the largest meatpacking companies in the world, has recently shifted its focus to more sustainable protein alternatives, responding to consumer demand for “cleaner meat.” Ireland is attempting to create a legal right to food, New Zealand has eliminated agricultural subsidies, and France just renewed its commitment to combating climate change. It will be difficult and will take time that many do not have, but it is possible to believe that the United States government, with enough activists fighting for better policies and enough consumers and citizens demanding change, could begin to address the structural inequalities, racism, and exploitation that remain as pillars of the food system.

    Figure 3: On the left is the traditional view of power, which flows downward from the leadership to the people. The graphic on the right represents the functioning of power that relies on the abuse and oppression of groups and individuals, as is true in the United States. If you remove the pillars of support, you eliminate the power. Source: Daniel Hunter

    This paper represents the views of its author, who does not necessarily endorse the views of other authors on this site.
    Copyright © 2017 Mo Constantine. All rights reserved.

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