The Ecosystem Fights Back...Part Three

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"When the world ends, it will be like when the names of things are changed during the peyote hunt. All will be different, the opposite of what it is now. Now there are two eyes in the heavens, Dios Sol and Dios Fuego. Then, the moon will open his eye and become brighter. The sun will become dimmer. There will be no more differences. No more men and women. No child and no adult. All will change places..." Huichol proverb

I have used this quote before. I use it again because it fits, describes, encapsulates. It is apocalyptic and, more and more, appears to be true. Now, today, the scale has tipped...

If indeed the Earth is a "being, with skin, soul, and organs..." If the "skin [is] the soil," and if it is true that "the soul [is] contained within the rocks and bones of the dead, the organs included rivers (the bloodstream) and wind (the lungs)." We live upon the Earth "as millions of tiny microorganisms live on human skin"

"Consider the difference in size between some of the very tiniest and the very largest creatures on Earth. A small bacterium weights as little as 0.00000000001 gram. A blue whale weights about 100,000,000 grams. Yet a bacterium can kill a whale...Such is the adaptability and versatility of microorganisms as compared with humans an other so-called 'higher' organisms, that they will doubtless continue to colonise and alter the face of the earth long after we and the rest of our cohabitants have left the stage forever. Microbes, not macrobes, rule the world." Bernard Dixon, 1994

Jerry Mander's book In The Absence Of The Sacred, The Failure of Technology & the Survial of the Indian Nations, published by Sierra Club Books, 1991, ISBN 0-87156-509-9, is extraordinary. No one recommended it to me. It was stumbled upon. It is split up into four parts. Parts Three and Four deal exclusively with the First Nations/First Peoples. I include the chapter headings here:

Part Three -

Suppression Of The Native Alternative

Chapter Eleven -
What Americans Don't Know About Indians (The Media: Indians Are Non-News), Prevalent Stereotypes and Formulas, Indians and the New Age, Cultural Darwinsism

Chapter Twelve -

Indians Are Different From Americans, Mother Earth, Table of Inherent Differences, We Are Helping You

Chapter Thirteen -

The Gift of Democracy, Rule Without Coercion, Our Founding Fathers, The Iroquois, The Great Binding Law of the Iroquois Confederacy, Iroquois Nation, 1991

Chapter Fourteen -

Lessons in Stone-Age Economics, Pre-Technological Leisure, Bankers Hours, Dietary Intake, Deliberate Underproduction, The Choice of Subsistence, The Creation of "Poverty," Fast Forward: Leisure in Technophobia, The Alleged Superiority of Modern Resource Management

Part Four -
World War Against The Indians

Chapter Fifteen -

The Imperative to Destroy Traditional Indian Governments, The Case of the Hopi and Navajo, Declaration of Independence, First Came the Hopi, Arrival of the Navajo, Hopi-Navajo Symbiosis, The Americanization of Indian Governments, Current Events

Chapter Sixteen

The Imminent Theft of Alaska, From Communal to Corporate, The Requirements of Corporate Profit, "Social Engineering," ANCSA's Effect on the Yupik Eskimos, Resistance to Cash Economy, Reinstatement of Native Governments

Chapter Seventeen -

The Theft of Nevada (The Case of the Western Shoshone), Land or Money?, Indian Claims Commission:Plot Against the Indians, "We Should Have Listened To Our Old People," The Dann Sister' Case, MX Missile, Wisits with the Government, Current Events

Chapter Eighteen -

Desecration Of Sacred Lands, The Case of the Native Hawaiians, The Fourth of July, 1980, The Great Mahele, The Invasion of Kahoolawe, The Desecration of Pele, Current Events

Chapter Nineteen -

World News Briefs (2): Canada, Europe, Africa, Latin America

Chapter Ten is titled, In The Absence of the Sacred. In this chapter is a section entitled Statement To The Modern World. Exerpts from "A Basic Call to Consciousness, the Haudenosaunee Address to the Western World" which was delived at the 1977 UN Conference on Indigenous Peoples fellow:

"In the beginning...we were shown that our life exists with the tree life, that our well-being depends on the well-being of the Vegetable Life, that we are close relatives of the four-legged beings.

"...When people cease to respect and express gratitude for these many things, then all life will be destroyed, and human life on this planet will come to an end.

"Today the spieces of Man is facing a queston of [its] very survival...The way of life known as Western Civilization is on a death path on which their own culture has no viable answers. When faced with the reality of their on destructivenes, they can only go forward into areas of more efficient destruction.

"The air is foul, the waters poisoned, the trees are dying, the animals are disappearing. We think even the systems of weather are changing. Our ancient teaching warned us that if Man interfered with the Natural Laws, these things would come to be. When the last of the Natural Way of Life is gone, all hope for human survial will be gone with it. And our Way of Life is fast disappearing, a victim of the destructive processes."

We indeed know that the air is foul, we are aware of the Peabody Coal/radioactive mining/Four Corners tragedy. But on another plain a battle is being waged. One doesn't have to be a biologist, virologist, or any other sort of scientific specialist to be able to appreciate that all natural discord, all imbalance is not going to occur before our very non-electronmicroscoped eyes. For the First Nations/First Peoples desperately trying to fight off the New Agers, for those continually combatted by Wasichu's political machinations, it would pay to note that on a grander, albeit microscopic scale a battle for custody of Mother Earth is being waged. It pays to be aware.

"...bacterium can kill a whale...Such is the adaptability and versatility of microorganisms as compared with humans an other so-called 'higher' organisms, that they will doubtless continue to colonise and alter the face of the earth long after we and the rest of our cohabitants have left the stage forever."

IMO it is important to be aware of what is going on on the microbial battle field. Accordingly, I offer the following for consideration.

Parts one and two of the Ecosystem Fights Back post have already flashed through cyberspace. A reference to "the common gut bacterium E. coli, known as 0157:H7, that has acquired the ability to hemorrhage the bowel and kidney..." mentioned in part two prompted a request for more data. Anyone missing the first two post can drop me a line. My core response to this latest request for data is noted below.

As mentioned in my post, the article noted was written by Nicholas Wade. He didn't list his sources re E. coli 0157:H7 but I had done some research on my own after reading his article and turned up the following material. It's taken from The Coming Plague, Newly Emerging Diseases In A World Out Of Balance, authored by Laurie Garrett, published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York, 750 pages, can't provide the ISBN but it was published in 1994.

There are numerous notes and if you're interested in anything more specific just let me know and I'll forward what I can.

BTW, this book makes fascinating reading and I recommend it wholeheartedly.

exerpt start:
One of the clearest and most troubling examples of animal/human cross-species transmission of mutant bacteria was Escherichia coli. The bacteria were ubiquitous, rod-shaped microscopic creatures found in the intestines of all human and many other mammalian species. Most of the time, in most people, they were harmless. And there was no microscopic organism that was better understood than E. coli, as it had been the focus of the majority of the world's molecular and cellular biology research since the 1940's. Scientists liked to work with E. coli because all the complex machinery of life was there to study, packaged inside a predictable tubular structure which, almost like clockwork, stretched itself out every 120 minutes, duplicated its DNA, divided down its middle, and - voila - there were two E. coli. The hearty bacteria would readily perform this feat of reproduction in the laboratory, always doubling their total population every two hours.

Of course, the bacteria were capable of similar feats of reproduction inside human intestines. If unchecked by the host's immune system, or if of a particularly virulent strain prone to producing tough toxins, the bacteria would cause diarrhea and vomiting. Typically, this occurred in small children whose immune systems weren't fully developed, and the ailment was particularly dangerous in malnourished or otherwise seriously ill infants.

In 1982 something new showed up: E. coli 0157:H7. It was an apparently novel organism that was capable of causing dangerous hemorrhages of the colon, bowel, and kidneys of human beings of all ages. And it hit suddenly in several U.S. states, as if out of nowhere.

Ten years later the details of 0157:H7 emergence would remain obscure, but it's source would not: most cases came from contaminated meat. Like most E. coli strains in the 1980's, it was moderately resistant to ampicillin and tetracycline. More important, the mutant bacteria appeared to have acquired the ability to produce Shigella-like toxins. Studies of dozens of emergent bacterial species showed that genes for antibiotic resistance and virulence often resided in the same regions of the microbes' DNA, and could move together from one organism to another. Thus, the same selection pressures that led to the emergence of the resistance - in the case, use of antibiotics on livestock - also promoted greater virulence.

Because of both agricultural and medical misuse of antibiotics, E. coli strains of all kinds were rapidly acquiring broad ranges of resistance during the 1970s and 1980s.

Stuart Levy showed in 1989 that E. coli rapidly spread from pigs and cows to people living and working on a farm. And the resistance factors themselves could move from E. coli that were inhabiting a pig, for example, to bacteria that were infecting other higher animals, including humans.

[From one of the notes: Some remarkable E. coli strains emerged in the early 1990s. For example, outside Cambridge, England, two strains appeared on a hospital transplant ward that were resistant to the antibiotic imipenen, as well as cefotaxime, ceftazidime, ciprofloxacin, gentamicin, ampicillin, azlocillin, coamoxiclav, timentin, cephalexin, cefuroxime, cefamandole, streptomycin, neomycin, kanamycin,tobramycin, trimethoprim, sulfamethoxazole, chloramphenicol, and nitrofurantoin. Only one commonly used antibiotic remained effective: amikacin. If the strains become resistant to that drug, they would be invulnerable to human treatment. Lancet 341 (1993)]

In 1991 in the apple-growing region of Massachusetts there was a small outbreak of E. coli 0157:H7 infection, producing serious illness in twenty-seven people, ten of whom required hospitalization. All the cases occurred during the fall apple harvest months. It turned out that the bacteria were in local apple cider. And the cider was made from apples plucked from trees that were fertilized with livestock manure. Presumably, then, the manure was the excreta of 0157:H7-infected animals.

The stage was set for public health disaster.In January 1993 more than 500 people from Washington State became seriously ill after eating hamburgers prepared in ninety-three Jack-in-the-Box fast-food restaurants. Fifty of the hamburger consumers developed the E. coli hemorrhagic syndrome, and four of them - all small children - died. The culprit was E. coli 0157:H7, which had arisen in the cattle and was in the hamburger.

Three months later a smaller outbreak occurred in a Sizzlers restaurant in Grants Pass, Oregon. Five diners were hospitalized in that E. coli 0157:H7 incident.

Politics immediately entered the picture, as consumer and legal groups demanded that the U.S. government takes steps to ensure public safety. They claimed that upward of 25 million American suffered food poisoning each year, 6,000 of whom were victims of E. coli 0157:H7. The Clinton administration responded by ordering increased meat inspections. But the administration took no steps to get to the source of the problem: the unregulated use of antibiotics on livestock.
exerpt end

"Neither rat nor man has achieved social, commercial, or economic stability. This has been, either perfectly or to some extent, achieved by ants and bees, by some birds, and by some of the fishes in the sea. Man and the rats are merely, so far, the most successful animal of prey. They are utterly destructive of other forms of life. Neither of them is of the slightest use to any other species of living thing." Hans Zinsser - 1934

Note - This book has an excellent chapter entitled "All in Good Haste, Hantavirus in America" which chronicles an outbreak of Hantavirus in the Four Corners area of the United States. Dine were dying. And, no one had any idea as to why.

Chapter opening paragraphs follow:

Long-distance runner Merrill Bahe was on his way to his girlfriend's funeral on May 14, 1993, when he found himself gasping for air. Suddenly, and quite dramatically, Bahe was overcome with fever, headache, and respiratory distress. In the presence of his grief-stricken relatives, Bahe gulped desperately for air in their car, en route south to Gallop, New Mexico.

Minutes later the nineten-year-old Navajo athlete was dead.

His twenty-four-year-old girlfriend had died in a small Indian Health Service clinic located sixty miles away from Gallop a few days earlier after an identical bout of sudden respiratory illness. And within the week her brother and his girlfriend, also young, athletic Navajos, who lived in trailers near Bahe's, fell mysteriously ill; the young woman died.

Word spread across the Navajo Nation of 175,000 people, living in an area of seventeen million acres spanning four states - Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and Utah. Because the borders of the four states met in the area, the region was called the Four Corners. The locale for many John Wayne Westerns, Four Corners was surrounded by massive tracts of sparsely populated sandstone landscape that plunged into majestic canyons and arched upward forming dramatic ridges and peaks. It was a place where people spoke of the "big sky" as they gazed across the psychedelically colored desert to the wide expanse that reached to the horizon.

The entire Navajo Nation was soon buzzing with th new of three strong, young members of the community who suddenly found themselves gasping in vain for air.

exerpt end

As is self-evident to the First Nations/First Peoples,

"Man is embedded in nature. The biologic science of recent years has been making this a more urgent fact of life. The new, hard problem will be to cope with the dawning, intensifying realization of just how interlocking we are. The old, clung to notions most of us have held about our special lordship are being deeply undermined." Lewis Thomas - 1975
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Ecosystem Fights Back...Part One

Ecosystem Fights Back...Part Two

First Nations