Friday, March 27, 2009


I am a self-confessed recycle junkie. On my morning walks, I look like a bag lady as I pick up trash and recyclable objects. Even though I drink only tap water, my recycle bin looks like I am a big boozer and drink every kind of bottled or canned liquid on the planet.

On trash days, I can be found routing through the trash barrels of those who do not recycle to obtain their treasures for the next available recycle bin.

To diminish my environmental footprint, I live in a small, greenly-remodeled, inner-city home, within walking distance of my shopping needs. My neighbors are hard-working folks, without pretensions or airs. We also have many homeless walking through our neighborhood and, as they see me digging through the trash, they think I am one of them - and I am. As I gather plastic containers, they often ask, "How much do you get for them?" I tell them, "Nothing," and they look disappointed. Their income often comes from the sale of aluminum cans.

One day, as I gathered collectibles from the trash barrel near my grocery store, a man sat on a nearby bench. He obviously hadn't shaved or bathed in the recent past, and his clothes had gone many a day without seeing water. He looked like he could use a helping hand. I offered him money. With dignity, he said, "No, thank you. I'm in the recycling business too."

To say the least, I am passionate about recycling. It is one thing each of us can do to safeguard the planet for future generations. If we recycle all items no longer in use and the packaging in which our purchases are contained, we would add less to the world's trash heaps and diminish the toxic pollution entering the soil and atmosphere.

For your health and the health of the environment, consider buying fewer items packaged in plastic bottles and aluminum and tin cans. These containers release toxic chemicals into their contents. Besides, fresh and frozen juices, fruits and vegetables are much higher in nutrients and are often packaged in biodegradable cardboard containers. In addition, tap water is free and is actually held to much higher quality standards than bottled water.

Recycling decreases the consumption of energy generated by fossil fuels, thereby decreaing emissions of the global warming pollutant, carbon dioxide. Also, when recycled materials are used instead of harvesting and processing virgin raw materials, it conserves natural resources. It also reduces the pollutants derived from the amount of waste that must be burned or buried.

In the search for precious metals, mining companies have destroyed natural ecological systems, gutted mountains and ripped enormous holes int the Earth. Recycling of aluminum food containers, foil and cans diminishes this rape and pillage and reduces energy consumption by 95 percent. Recycling steel has an energy savings of 60 percent.

Recycling plastic has a 70 percent energy savings. Statistics show that about 1.5 million gallons of oil - enough to run 100,000 cars for a whole year - are used to make plastic water bottles. In addition, transporting these water-filled bottles also burns thousands of gallons of oil. Even worse, only about 10 percent of plastic water bottles are recycled. The remainder is deposited in landfills where it takes thousands of years for them to decompose.

As plants consume carbon dioxide and water and harness the sun's energy to produce stems and leaves, they release oxygen. According to the National Resources Defense Council, forests could help save us from global warming. Currently, worldwide, mass deforestation accounts for over 20 percent of the annual greenhouse gas emissions. Recycling sheets of paper, envelopes, newspapers, magazines and cardboard boxes has a 40 percent energy savings and can help prevent deforestation. Furthermore, when we purchase tissues, toilet paper, paper towels and other paper products made with recycled paper, we help save forests.

Each year in the United States, 100 billion plastic bags are used, consuming 12 million barrels of oil. Recycle bins for plastic bags can be found at Wal-Mart and other grocery stores. Or, better yet, don't use plastic bags. Every item manufactured requires and energy expenditure and its associated by-product - pollution. Carry your own cloth bags. China, Taiwan, Australia, and many European countries have outlawed the use of lightweight plastic bags. In the United States, only San Francisco has followed these countries' lead.

There is a 30 percent energy savings in recycling all forms of waste glass. Along similar lines, compact fluorescent bulbs (CFL) use less electricity and therefore effect less greenhouse gas emissions. Because they contain a small amount of mercury, inquire in your community for recycling locations.

Lastly, our quest for the newest, latest model of electronic gadgetry has created a staggering amount of extremely toxic, high-tech trash. There are many hazards of dumped or inappropriately recycled "e-waste," which contains arsenic, beryllium, lead - a neurotoxin, and cadmium - a carcinogen that damages lungs and kidneys.


CELLPHONES: Donation bins can be found at electronics stores, wireless carriers and libraries.
BATTERIES: Often retail stores selling rechargeable batteries will accept used ones, including small, sealed, lead-acid batteries.
COMPUTERS: Many companies refurbish and resell computers. Most makers accept their brand with the purchase of a new one, and the National Christina Foundation connects computer donors with the needy.
PRINTER SUPPLIES: Spent toner cartridges can be refilled or traded for discounts. Collecting used cartridges can be a profitable fundraiser. Many manufacturers include postage-paid envelopes for consumers to return empty cartridges.

To recycle televisions, radios and stereo equipment, inquire at your local distributor and your city's recycle centers.

Our health and the health of our children and the children of future generations depend on the health of the planet. As your hand reaches out to throw an item in the trash, ask yourself, "Can this be recycled?" If the answer is yes, hotfoot it to your recycle bin. While you are at it, separate your recyclable materials. Nobody likes going through the trash of others. But, if you don't recycle, I or one of my friends may be checking out your dumpster.

Monday, March 23, 2009


With our nation war weary and nearing financial collapse, on November 4, 2008, I cast my vote, along with the grassroots of America, to make a change, and "Yes, we can," reverberated across this country. For the first time in decades, especially after the debacle of the Bush years, intelligence, ethics, responsibility and accountability arrived in Washington in the form of our new president, Barack Obama, his family, staff, advisers and cabinet members.

For years, the financially "elite," executives of banks, financial houses and many mega corporations, have bought media coverage to sell us goods, ideas and politicians that catered to their greed. Well, their laundry is now hanging on every economic page in America, and the investigators have yet to find their underwear.

In the 1990s, General Motors destroyed its fleet of all-electric EV1s, which were considered by many as the most efficient American car ever made. Were they destroyed because the automobile and oil industries were bedfellows and stood to lose too much money? With GM and oil prices in the toilet, their day of reckoning is at hand. "Restructuring" is a very polite word for what is about to happen.

Most often, war is based on greed. Bush, Cheney and crew sent another generation of Americans to be maimed and slaughtered for "God and Country." However, many believe our "leaders" sacrificed our nation and its young to protect and propagate the financial interests of people who, like themselves, are and were heavily vested in Middle Eastern oil and companies that contract military services and sell war weaponry.

But the tide has turned. The scrutiny of Obama and staff has turned to government contracts and their associated fraud, bribery, massive cost overruns and absence of oversight. Currently, over 140 investigations are ongoing regarding contracts associated with governmental activities in Iraq, Kuwait and Afghanistan.

President Obama has also pledged to end all combat operations in Iraq by August 31, 2010 and begin a new era of diplomacy in the Mideast. What a concept - diplomacy, instead of the old John Wayne mentality, shoot and ask questions later.

What a welcome sight to see money being allocated for education, for environmental and human health and for rebuilding the infrastructure of our nation. In spite of this most recent Wall Street fiasco, we see attention being directed toward the inhabitants, jobs, homes and businesses of Main Street and Your Street.

For a change, we hear of plans for the wealthy to pay their fair share of taxes. Warren Buffet recently commented that he should be taxed at a higher rate than his secretary. Currently, the converse is true.

Sweeping across our nation is the sound, "Yes, we can make a difference." "Yes, we can promote the health and higher good of all humankind." "Yes, we can, one person at a time, heal our planet."

Monday, March 2, 2009


Our bodies hear every thought we think and respond in kind As I began to understand this fact, I left my work as a pathologist and retrained in psychiatry.

On my departure from pathology, I had spent more than a decade peering through a microscope at body tissues on a cellular level and diagnosing cancer and other life-threatening illnesses. I was ready for a change.

Prior to this decision, I studied the works of Louise Hay and Drs. Bernie Siegel and Gerald Jampolsky. They described miraculous recoveries from often fatal illnesses through the healing power of love, prayer and positive thought and concluded that we can regard any life-threatening illness as a spiritual wake-up call to examine our thoughts and belief systems.

Likewise, I had studied many enlightened masters who had long held that the mind and its thoughts controlled the body. In recent years, cell biologists began to unravel the biological mechanism of this ancient truth.

In his book, The Biology of Belief, Dr. Bruce Lipton describes how our beliefs and thoughts about ourselves and the world around us determine our health. He describes each person's body as an orchestrated ballet composed of trillions of cells, with each cell being extremely sensitive to the mind's thoughts, perceptions and feelings.

For years, conventional scientific thought held that each cell's brain was hard-wired and resided in its nuclear DNA. However, cell biologists observe, in the absence of a nucleus, a cell can live, grow, move and communicate normally for over two months. Therefore, the nucleus cannot be the brain of the cell.

Lipton emphasizes the cell's nuclear DNA has no intelligence and is not the source of life. The DNA's only function is to provide the blueprint sequence for the cell to assemble the 21 essential amino acids to form the 70,000 proteins necessary for the construction, maintenance and health of each cell of the body.

Cell biologists have determined the brain of the cell is its outer covering or cell membrane, and this membrane responds to the human mind's thoughts or beliefs.

Based upon the cell membrane's receipt of a signal or thought perception, it relays a message to activate the genetic DNA necessary to produce proteins to maintain the cell under the human mind's perception of its environment.

In addition, genes cannot self activate so for example, a "cancer gene" cannot turn itself on. The gene's activation is secondary to the cell membrane's response to the human mind's thoughts.

For instance, I frequently hear people describe their various illnesses - such as ulcers, heart disease, diabetes and cancer - and offer as fact, "it runs in my family," as a reason for their illness. In doing so, they take little or no responsibility for the impact of their own thoughts and behaviors on their bodies.

Cell biologists have also demonstrated that through our belief system and our thoughts about our internal and external environments, the body's cell membranes can select and even effect a rewriting of the genetic code to produce the protein necessary to respond to our thoughts about our world.

So our thoughts and perceptions control the behavior of each cell in our body, the expression of each of our cell's genes and can even change the genetic coding within each cell. Translated, our thoughts create the physical state of our bodies.

Lipton's research is astonishing in its impact and validates what the healing community has long observed to be true. The human mind is extraordinarily powerful, and what we choose to think and how we choose to perceive our world determines the behavior of every cell in our bodies in every moment of every day of our lives.

This information is the basis of Lipton's disclosure that 95 percent of cancer is related to our thoughts about our environment and not to heredity.

When we live angry, fearful, stress-filled lives, every cell membrane of each of our bodies' trillions of cells receives signals based on these negative thoughts. Our bodies respond by going into a "fight or flight" mode, which shuts down our immune system and our bodies' potential for growth and health.

Every day, billions of our bodies' cells wear out and must be replaced. When we choose angry, critical or frightening thoughts which result in similar feelings and actions, our bodies' healthy processes of growth, repair and replacement of those worn out cells or parts of cells is suppressed, and our bodies deteriorate.

Lipton also writes that loving and kind thoughts and actions and looking for the positive affirming aspect in all of life's circumstances promotes growth, repair and replacement of cells and enhances our cellular genetic makeup. In essence, our bodies are continually recreating themselves based upon our belief system. So, if we perceive our environment as nurturing and supportive and ourselves as healthy, strong, vibrant beings through all the years of our lives, that is the message our bodies' cells will receive and create.

What we think, which results in our feelings and actions, sends signals to every cell in our bodies. Depending on what we choose to think, our bodies' cells receive life-enhancing signals generated by loving and peaceful thoughts or the toxic, destructive signals generated by thoughts that create anger, fear and self-hate.

When we pollute our bodies with negative emotions, the cell membrane's translate these signals into susceptibility to infections, autoimmune disorders and cancer. In other words, toxic thoughts create toxic feelings that destroy us emotionally, spiritually and - finally physically.

The research of Dr. Masaru Emoto, on the simple water molecule, completes the picture. Seventy percent of the adult human body is composed of water. In his book, The Hidden Messages in Water, Dr. Emoto provides evidence of the impact of our words and thoughts on the crystalline structure of water.

With water exposed to word or phrases, either written or spoken, such as "Love," "Gratitude" or "You're beautiful," it forms beautiful, balanced crystals. The same is the case if the water is exposed to the music of Beethoven, Mozart or Chopin. Whereas, under the same conditions, if the water is exposed to the words "You fool," "Hate," "War" or heavy metal music, the crystals are malformed and fragmented.

Emoto's and Lipton's works emphasize the body's exquisite sensitivity to every thought, spoken or unspoken. Often, we pollute our minds, bodies and spirits with self- or world-negating words or thoughts, which generate similar actions and feelings. Along the same lines, we place ourselves in situations filled with chaos, anger and negative information blasting from radios, computers, televisions and people. Our subconscious minds hear and store this information as fact, and our bodies respond in kind.

Too often, we walk through our lives in hypnotic states induced by our childhood belief systems and media programming. Illness or "dis-ease" is a spiritual and emotional wake-up call to examine our thoughts, the company we keep and the information we allow our minds to internalize.

My work over the last 20 years continues to validate my decision to leave pathology and become a psychiatrist, and I continue to enjoy helping people choose happier thoughts that create healthier bodies.


I grew up on a farm, where we lived off the land and raised cattle. At various times, I slopped hogs, fed chickens, gathered eggs, brought in the cows for milking and worked in the fields. I also helped my mother tend and harvest the garden and can or freeze its produce. As a teenager, I cooked the meals while the rest of the family baled hay.

Much later, I lived for five years in Alasha and spent time in the rugged Bush, where I was definitely back to basics. I lived in a log home with electricity, propane for cooking and a wood stove for heat. I had no indoor plumbing. Instead, I hauled water and had an outhouse for necessities. Believe me - at 20 below - I made quick night-relief runs. However, on my return trips, I often saw an aurora borealis.

In the Bush, warm clothes and food, shelter and a hot bath are premium commodities. With no plumbing, water was heated in a large pot on the stove, and bathing often consisted of a dishpan of hot water.

While in Alaska, my life was synchronized with the ebb and flow of the seasons.

During the sun-drenched summers, my garden abounded in cabbages, cauliflower, broccli, rhubarb and potatoes.

In the fall, I gathered wild blueberries and low-bush cranberries. Bears like berries. I kept a watchful eye.

Also, at this time of year, most Bush residents fish for salmon and hunt moose and bear. Being generous, they shared.

By winter, I had a full pantry and stockpile of wood. When the snow settled in, I sewed in my spare time and made quilts by hand. I was peaceful and content.

Alaska taught me that my needs are few. On my return to the Lower 48, I bought a farm and lived off the grid in my RV. On the farm, my main crops were brush and stray dogs. I kept hens for eggs and a rooster for his morning wake-up call. To avoid the dreaded laundromat, I often washed my clothes by hand and dried them on a clothesline.

During my first summer on the farm, I converted an old cow pen into a garden. The manure from the previous occupants worked its magic. The soil yielded an abundant growth of lettuce, onions, squash, green beans, peas and okra.

While in the Bush, I visited many delightfull simple homes built by their owners. I wanted to do the same on the farm. With hammer in hand, nail by nail and board by board, I did.

Simple ammenities are taken for granted in our society. We rush hither and yon in our quest for activities and possessions, living in the fantasy they will make us happy. However, the ancients taught that happiness could be found in the ordinary stuff of life.

In the United States, we have created an instant and disposable society that pollutes the Earth and squanders Her resources. We have invented a plastic and cellophane existence, with instant food, instant houses and instant messaging. By doing so, we deprive ourselves of the substance of life, such as preparing our food, building our homes and working with wood, metal and the soil. In this lifestyle of instant gratification, we are in disharmony with the Earth and estranged from Her healing and life-sustaining power.

A few years ago, I moved into the city. I now live in a small, greenly-remodeled, inner-city home, within walking distance of my shopping needs.

Last summer, I started an organic garden. The soil was enriched from my compost, and I added a special blend of organic fertilizer. I had a bountiful harvest of green beans, okra, beets, tomatoes, potatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, cantelope and herbs. I canned green beans and froze herbs and other produce. I munched on them all winter and am now preparing for spring planting.

There is a wealth of information on green building, organic gardening, renewable energy sources and recycling. In or out of a recession, one person at a time, we can make a difference. By choosing to fulfill our basic needs, not our wants, each of us can help heal the planet.