Dead Earthworms and the Elephant in the Room
by Dr. Sussanna Czeranko, ND
Many would argue that our modern environment has become more complicated and toxic since our grandparents’ day. In our world, it is intriguing to connect the dots between earthworms, those remarkable tiny aerators, drainers and fertilizers of field and garden, and elephants, those exceptional huge creatures with exceptional temporal lobes and whose brains have three times as many neurons as humans. We’ll return to that connection momentarily, because the image can be very telling when we have a closer look at what is happening to our health, the food chain, and our planet.
At the turn of the 20th century, 70% of people lived rurally. Today that demographic has been inverted with urban populations accounting for over 80% of Canadians. We have lost huge numbers of farmers and their amazing small farms, replaced by agri-business. Traditional farming practices, such as the use of organic fertilizers and the regenerative practices, have been compromised and even abandoned, replaced with practices heavily reliant upon inorganic fertilizers, herbicides, and mono-crops. Urban centres have their problems too, such as smog and related poor air quality, traffic and building density congestion, deprivation of nature, noise, and light pollution.
In such a world, environmental degradation and gross toxicity threaten the food chain and our bodies too. “Environmental medicine” is a relatively new branch of medical research and clinical application that concerns itself with how the environment is impacting our health, especially given the addition of over 100,000 man-made chemicals in recent decades having found their way into our bodies. The average body burden of toxins has accumulated into over 700 different chemicals bound and stored in our fat cells. Our persistent exposure to phthalates from plastics, solvents, dioxins, organochlorides, and much more has made it impossible to escape the bioaccumulation that results. This sharp toxicity has many facets. It is scary enough to realize that our bodies are toxic. Let us return to those earthworms and those elephants to shed some light on how serious a problem this is.
Next, a bit more history. The Green Revolution in the 1940s and 1950s had a simple goal: solve world food shortages. Post WWII, there remained enormous stockpiles of poisonous materials which had been used in combat, that no longer had a use after the war. Rather than waste the abundant stockpiles of these deadly chemicals, scientists conjured a brilliant idea. What if these chemicals could be used to improve crop yields and end world hunger? That was exactly what was done. The nerve gases and destructive chemicals of war were reconfigured into smaller, less toxic doses to make agricultural production more reliable. So was birthed the genesis of pesticides, herbicides, and GMO crops.
Before this agricultural, industrial transformation, farmers in North America had about a dozen primary weeds in their fields, most of which were secondary and not much of a problem. It didn’t take long, though, before there were hundreds of primary weeds in the fields. To combat the weed problem, stronger and more deadly herbicides were needed. Pests before and after the wonders of science had a similar trajectory. Pests became so rampant that toxic measures were taken to eradicate them.
One of the newly invented chemicals deployed to solve the problem of weeds was Monsanto’s (now Bayer) glyphosate-rich product called “Roundup.” Roundup is widely used in North America, not only in crop production, but on urban lawns and gardens too. An off-label use of Roundup is the pre-harvest spraying to help dry crops in a farmer’s field and shorten the time spent before they can be made into foods. Known as crop desiccation, Roundup is found in foods that are led to be thought as healthy. Roundup has become the most widely used herbicide in the world today. The U.S. is the number one consumer, using more than a billion pounds of pesticides every year for agriculture. More than 300 million pounds of Roundup, or nearly one pound for every American, is used each year.
Glyphosate does not spare one body system or part. The exhausting list of diseases associated with this pervasive poison includes every kind of cancer, hormonal disturbances, infertility, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, autism, anxiety, depression, gluten sensitivity, diabetes, kidney and liver diseases, and many more. In fact, data indicate that workers who come into contact with Roundup for two or more days every year are 212% more likely to get lymphoma than people with fewer than two days of exposure. Health Canada has concluded that Roundup is safe for use and even proposed to increase the maximum residue limits for glyphosate last year.
Now, back to the lowly earthworm in this scenario. Roundup kills 50% of the earthworms in the soil. Without earthworms, our soils lose their fertility and power to grow healthy food. The presence of earthworms in soil ensures that the soil ecology is alive and well. Even without all such worrying data, the issue of glyphosate use is the elephant in the room when conversations occur about healthy, sustainable farming practices, and nutritious food.
A recent report by The Detox Project, a privately funded group, examined the skyrocketing increases of glyphosate found in best-selling foods and also in health food products labelled as Non-GMO. When seeing a Non-GMO label, a natural conclusion that the product is free from glyphosates is made. Ironically, some of the highest levels of glyphosate are found in Non-GMO products.
We can choose to cherish and sustain our health. That kind of vigilance is our best investment for vital longevity. Participating in a spring cleanse allows our bodies to clean up the excess matter that is not doing us any good. When we choose health, we are creating vitality and energy.
Manitou Waters is offering a two-week guided cleanse led by Dr. Sussanna Czeranko, ND. You will experience peat mud baths, detoxing hydrotherapies, yoga, co-create in a teaching kitchen, and take away new knowledge about restoring, guarding, and sustaining your health. For more information see the display ad on page 11 of the 28.1 May/June issue of the WHOLifE Journal.