In today’s On the News segment: If approved, House Resolution 1599 would make it nearly impossible to regulate GMOs in any way, even if and when those crops are deemed dangerous for consumption; Pope Francis obliterated Republican talking points on the climate; scientists think cinnamon may be the next new way to fight cancer; and more.
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You need to know this. Pope Francis doesn’t take his cues from Rick Santorum. Not only did the Pontiff flat-out ignore the 2016 Republican hopeful’s comments about leaving climate change to the scientists, the Holy Father just obliterated Republican talking points on the climate. Those comments came directly from a leaked copy of Pope Francis’ latest encyclical on the environment, which addresses the claim that God gave us “dominion” over the Earth to exploit however we’d like. The document refutes that claim, which is often touted by Conservatives. The Pope wrote, “it has been said that, from the story of Genesis, which invites us to subjugate the earth, the savage exploitation of nature would be encouraged, presenting the image of human beings as ruler and destroyer.” In no uncertain terms, he added, “This is not the correct interpretation of the Bible as intended by the Church.” Just like the various other Christian groups who have called for action on climate change, Pope Francis says that every community has the duty to protect our planet and “ensure the continuity of its fertility for future generations.” So, while the Republican party continues to shill for the fossil-fuel industry, they can’t continue to claim that it’s what God wanted for us and our planet. Whether you prefer to listen to scientists or religious leaders – or the Pope, who happens to be both – the message is the same when it comes to our climate crisis. We don’t have much more time to prevent the worst-case climate scenarios, and we should be doing everything we can to make the switch to clean energy. We only have one planet to call home, so let’s listen to anyone and everyone who honestly wants to protect it.
Colorectal cancer is the third most-commonly diagnosed form of cancer, so it’s only fitting that the third most-common spice may prove to be an effective treatment. According to a recent study published in the journal Cancer Prevention Research, scientists think cinnamon may be the next new way to fight cancer. To test their theory, researchers added a compound called cinnamaldehyde to the diet of mice and found that it protected the mice from colorectal cancer. Because that compound is derived from cinnamon, scientists think that the spice may protect people from developing this deadly disease. One of the researchers said, “This is a significant finding. Because colorectal cancer is aggressive and associated with poor prognoses, there is an urgent need to develop more effective strategies against this disease.” Although these scientists are not yet saying that cinnamon will treat or prevent colorectal cancer, they know that pure cinnamaldehyde can fight off the disease. It’s only a matter of time before scientists find a cure this and other cancers, and it would be great if it came in the form of a natural spice like cinnamon.
Back in September of 2013, public pressure forced Congress to block the so-called “Monsanto Protection Act” from becoming law. But, the GMO industry didn’t give up on their fight to deny Americans the right to know what’s in our food. Last week, the Center for Food Safety issued a press release warning that “the Monsanto Protection Act is back, and [it’s] worse than ever.” The original legislation would have stripped federal courts of their power to block the sale or planting of genetically-modified crops. The new language would also ban GMO labeling and prevent state and local governments from restricting genetically-engineered crops in any way. If approved, House Resolution 1599 would make it nearly impossible to regulate GMOs in any way, even if and when those crops are deemed dangerous for consumption. No matter what your views are on genetically-modified crops, We The People should never give up our rights to monitor and control what ends up in our food supply. We stopped the Monsanto Protection Act once, and we can do it again. Call Congress and tell them to say “No” to H.R. 1599.
Fifteen years ago, California faced an energy meltdown that left that state dealing with rolling blackouts and skyrocketing electricity prices. Fast-forward to today, and that state is leading our nation in renewable energy, energy efficiency, and greenhouse gas reduction. And, all of those achievements are the direct result of substantial clean energy investments and ambitious renewable energy standards. A decade ago, state lawmakers enacted the Renewables Portfolio Standard, which requires 33 percent of electricity sold in that state to come from renewable sources by 2020. That act has performed so well that nearly a quarter of all California’s electricity comes from renewable sources, and Governor Jerry Brown wants to raise the requirement to 50 percent by 2030. California made the investments to reach their current clean-energy achievements, and that prompted private investment to expand as well. Companies like Apple and Google are developing clean-energy grids in that state, and small, local clean-energy companies are popping up to help fill demand. The Golden State is showing us all that it’s possible to make the switch to clean energy, and proving that investing in good science is good business for companies and consumers alike.
And finally… We’ve all heard that dogs are man’s best friend, but now we have some science to prove it. According to new research from Kyoto University, dogs are so loyal to their masters that many of them will refuse to take food from strangers who are unkind to the dogs’ owners. In order to research how strong the ties are between dogs and their humans, researchers tested three groups of 18 dogs. The scientists put the dogs in a room with their owners and two strangers, who were told to help or ignore the pet-owners while they tried to open a box. After watching the interactions, dogs were offered treats by the strangers, and most refused the food from the individuals who ignored their owners. The researchers witnessed the same result regardless of whether the dogs were chihuahuas or golden retrievers, and regardless of their age. One of the study’s authors said, “We discovered for the first time that dogs make social and emotional evaluations of people regardless of their direct interest.” In other words, they discovered the incredible loyalty that dog owners have known about all along.
And that’s the way it is for the week of June 22, 2015 – I’m Thom Hartmann, on Science & Green News.