Archive for the Nature Studies Category

Covid Crisis Cover for Poisoning

Posted in Artificial Chemical Products, biology, Commercial Corporations, Critical Commentary of Civilization, Ethics & Morals, news, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on March 29, 2020 by Drogo

The COVID Virus pandemic outbreak and quarantine period is exciting because it is exposing and increasing related economic and social issues that were under corporate media radar. Yes the Covid virus is real and dangerous and has plenty of attention with statistics, but corporate corruption is real too. Environmental pollution is not just a conspiracy theory, it is quite often a result of actual corporate conspiracies. In this case industrial companies wrote to Trump begging to be allowed to pollute more, and so he complied by shutting down the EPA, rather than giving the EPA proper hazmat suits for inspections.

“The EPA has been under pressure from a number of industries, including the oil industry, to suspend enforcement of a number of environmental regulations due to the pandemic. In a 10-page letter to EPA earlier this week, the American Petroleum Institute (API) asked for a suspension of rules that require repairing leaky equipment as well as monitoring to make sure pollution doesn’t seep into nearby water. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a sweeping suspension of its enforcement of environmental laws Thursday, telling companies they would not need to meet environmental standards during the corona-virus outbreak. The temporary policy, for which EPA has set no end date, would allow any number of industries to skirt environmental laws, with the agency saying it will not “seek penalties for noncompliance with routine monitoring and reporting obligations.”” – The Hill

“The Environmental Protection Agency is planning to waive compliance requirements and deadlines for a range of industries, including oil refiners, water utilities and sewage plants, as it seeks to help businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic, according to Trump administration officials.” – March 24, 2020 Wall Street Journal

Oil Companies will be poisoning more [Article].

Coal Companies will be poisoning more [Article].

And many other companies like Dupont and Monsanto will have more lawsuits against them for poisoning us with their chemicals.

The are also several recent books and films made about these issues [‘The Devil We Know‘, ‘Dark Waters‘, ‘Conspiracy of Fools‘]

The point being an emergency like this is time to gear up with hazmat suits for inspections, not give them a free pass to poison us. Trump is worse than other corporate politicians, but they have given similar passes before. Let us hope this is the climax for the worst, and let us take responsibility by increasing democracy and regulations that protect us.

more later…..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pokeberry Plant

Posted in Crafts, Food & Drink, Nature Studies, Organic Gardens, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 20, 2019 by Drogo

Pokeberry plant leaves are edible when young, but most toxic when mature (like rhubarb). Many people are allergic to the toxins so all parts of the plant are poisonous to them. The roots are the most toxic. The leaves are edible when young after being boiled 3x in water changes, or for those of us not allergic to poke frying in oil or butter is fine. Documented cases are common for people allergic to poke, but there are people like me who have been around poke their whole lives, handled the plants often, and squished the berries for stain and ink without any problems beyond our skin getting stained crimson for a day or two. I have heard of someone getting a skin rash from poke (like poison ivy), as they are allergic to touching it; but I am not. My mother had us paint and print with poke berry ink on water-color paper as children, with no problems.

Poke berries are not edible, but when used with vinegar and salt (and other blends) can make ink for writing pens and printing on paper. Pokeberry ink is not archival because it fades over time on paper, even when not exposed to sunlight everyday. However pokeberry ink is a interesting local organic native alternative to industrial toxic inks, but modern use is still experimental although the chemicals in it are known. In gardens they are beautiful in full maturity, with their ornate ‘goblin’ fruits.

“Indians and early settlers used the root in poultices and certain drugs for skin diseases and rheumatism.” – Michael Owen, ISU

The late 19th century herbal, the ‘King’s American Dispensatory’, describes various folk medical uses that led individuals to ingest pokeberry products. Modern commercial medical companies (big pharma) snubs remedies that are found commonly, for obvious pharmaceutical sales reasons, and so serious testing might be hard to study at length with funding for the purposes of common good, for free but cautious home use.

CAUTION:  Many people are allergic to poke toxins, so limit your exposure to the plant to reduce possible effects. There are many medical claims that eating poke roots, berries, or anything from the adult plant can kill in sufficient quantities.

Other articles: ‘Making Pokeweed Ink‘; ‘Pokeberry Ink‘;

For safer printing for all people, perhaps black-berries or mul-berries or huckle-berries are better? For long-term organic industrial printing, using a weed like poke which is not used for human food would make more sense for sustainability though. [Link Process for making any type of berry ink]

[photo from Wikipedia]

Phytolacca_pokeberries

War on Pollution

Posted in Artificial Chemical Products, Climate Change, Commercial Corporations, Critical Commentary of Civilization, Science & Math, Sustainability, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 11, 2019 by Drogo

War on Pollution – Some may boycott some industrial products, but the challenge is to replace them with less polluting alternatives that are better in all ways. We are doing it with meat, as those of us who like the taste can have those options; we need to keep pushing for system change. I am very satisfied eating less meat for 19 years, and still able to taste it and get protein. It is so important not to shame allies, because we all do what we can and have our limits of stress and tolerances for peer pressure. I do plenty of things that purist Vegans or Pacifists disdain, but i do other things that they may not do. There will be some environmentalists that do not support Bernie’s Green New Deal, but forcing people to do what we each want is not democratic freedom, but is simply chaotic egotism. I can get very irate when people do not do what i think they should, but if i can channel my anger into something constructive it becomes productive. Strikes, protests, and boycotts do help; but we cannot all do everything, or agree on everything, so it is important to focus on what we want to do. If we are each doing more to help our environment than we would do if we were not aware or motivated, than we are doing good. Some will say we are not doing good enough, but the War on Pollution should be at least as long as the War on Terror, and over time the numbers add up.

Over 130,000 veterans have committed suicide since 9/11, in part because we feel there is no hope for the future, and that we have failed to win victory over ‘the bad guys’, and that in fact we feel guilt for our national and personal crimes as well. I speak as a veteran survivor, who lives every day with ptsd, depression, and anger management. I continue SCOD work because i believe my work matters for some people in the future, which is why i enjoy what i do, even if my own joy is only internal now.

Trumpism: Symptoms of Corporate Crisis

Posted in Artificial Chemical Products, Climate Change, Critical Commentary of Civilization, Ethics & Morals, Legal / Laws, news, Sustainability, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 25, 2019 by Drogo

Trump is a symptom of a larger crony corporate problem.

Sanders earns votes from workers because he gets the problems.

This economy really sucks, and has gotten worse every year since the 1990s for most people as far as cost of living and flow of lower and middle class income goes. The unemployment rate does not account for the larger numbers of people under-employed, unemployed and do not get unemployment benefits, and those not included in those other categories in Federal Records, so the real number of people in America who cannot pay their bills is much higher than is officially recognized.

Global Warming means mass murder. People need to know that industries who fuel Global Climate Change are committing mass murder, due to the political and environmental destabilizing that happens in extreme conditions on all levels of civilization, into the future for as long as the artificially caused imbalance happens. Overall global temperatures rise, climate pattern become more erratic, polar ice melts, sea levels rise, coasts go under water, political migrant crises and harder working conditions for outside labor cause economic and social civil wars, and the problems compound over decades and generations (see Bill Nye or scientists who can speak to non-scientists about it, if you don’t like Al Gore).

 

How does Trump compare to other presidents? Who else dismantled safety regulations and protection studies for the environment and all products (cutting EPA, USDA, NASA, NOAA, NPS, Dept of Education)?? Trump publicly sides with Nazis against Peace Activists which makes him worse than most modern presidents, and possibly Nixon considering Nixon gave in and created the EPA from public pressure to try to control pollution. Trump is an inside trader, con man who has committed fraud multiple times on large scales, profiting from being president in violation of the emoluments clause of the constitution, and then there are his cases of rape and pedophilia that are on official court record by the victims. People accuse Hillary of murder based on a theory I looked into, but it did not seem worse than what Trump may have done (Epstein) as he is clearly capable and has incited violence at his rallies and in tweets, and there is senate testimony that he threatens people mafia style in his regular business deals. Oh yeah he signed the Dakota Pipeline into effect as soon as he got in office, despite the victory of Standing Rock, and promotes continuing global warming, which means mass murder due to worsening conditions combined with race wars he promotes (Border Concentration Camps & Wall & Ice Raids).

Trumpism is not just about Trump, he is just the chump puppet face of corporate corruption for a world wide phenomenon of nationalist unrest and economic inequality. Other countries already had nationalist reactionary problems, and now have their own versions of Trump, emboldened by his words and actions. Fascism is in power and on the rise in more and more other nations. Italy, Greece, England (Brexit), Spain, China, Hong Kong, Central and South America… all have conservative nationalist movements that want to use violence on minorities and migrants (bigotry) as red herrings for systemic problems that have other causes. Even countries like Mexico and Canada have neo-liberal corporate politicians that want to cut down more forests and keep polluting (more oil pipe-lines) for Capitalism, although they do not want to use violence as much as neo-conservatives. Therefore it is clear that grassroots democracy and Green New Deals are the only way ahead for progressive humanists, regardless of party politics.

[ AUDIO Recording of this Essay ]

Datura: Moon Flowers & Jimson Weed

Posted in Nature Studies, Organic Gardens, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on August 3, 2019 by Drogo

Moon-Flower, [Datura Inoxia]; leaves are soft & rounded, with one point.

Jimson Weed [Datura Stramonium]; leaves are spiky, with a few points.

Both types of Datura have spiky seed pods. Folk names: Devil’s Trumpet, Thorn-apple, Hell’s Bells

Datura_stramonium_2Datura_innoxia_moonflower

The 3 most toxic chemical agents (tropane alkaloids) in datura plants seem to be: Atropine, Hyoscyamine and Hyoscine (Scopolamine); which are used in industrial medicines as an Anti-Cholinergic to treat some conditions, but the side effects can be as bad or worse than what they claim to treat, as with most powerful medicines it seems (as commercials are required to list for industrial medicines).

There are many cases of reported poisonings on Public Medication websites; here is a fatal example:

“Fatal poisoning from ingestion of Datura stramonium seeds.

Department of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology, Medical School, University of Ioannina, 45110 Ioannina, Greece.

Citation

Vet Hum Toxicol. 2004 Apr;46(2):81-2.

Abstract

A 19-y old male who intentionally ingested an unknown quantity of Datura stramonium seeds to experience its hallucinogenic effects was found dead. Hyoscyamine and scopolamine were detected in postmortem blood and urine. Blood concentrations of hyoscyamine and scopolamine were 1.1 and 0.2 microg/mL, respectively; in urine only hyoscyamine at 14.2 microg/mL was found. This fatality presents the highest blood concentrations ever reported and confirms that death was due to Datura Stramonium seed ingestion.

These plants are known to contain high concentrations of anticholinergic substances; ingestion can result in anticholinergic intoxication. Signs and symptoms that commonly occur include hallucinations, tachycardia, dilated pupils, and disorientation. In our patient, use of the Naranjo probability scale indicated a possible relationship between the moonflower seed ingestion and the patient’s signs and symptoms.

CONCLUSIONS: Ingestion of the Datura species can result in severe toxicity. Each plant varies in the concentrations of alkaloid substances. For this reason, it is very important for individuals to become educated on the toxicities and potential risks associated with recreational use of these plants.”

 

Wikipedia –

Anticholinergic drugs are used to treat a variety of conditions:

 

Toxicity

Acute anticholinergic syndrome is reversible and subsides once all of the causative agent has been excreted. Reversible Acetylcholinesterase inhibitor agents such as physostigmine can be used as an antidote in life-threatening cases. Wider use is discouraged due to the significant side effects related to cholinergic excess including: seizures, muscle weakness, bradycardia, bronchoconstriction, lacrimation, salivation, bronchorrhea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Even in documented cases of anticholinergic toxicity, seizures have been reported after the rapid administration of physostigmine. Asystole has occurred after physostigmine administration for tricyclic antidepressant overdose, so a conduction delay (QRS > 0.10 second) or suggestion of tricyclic antidepressant ingestion is generally considered a contraindication to physostigmine administration.[17]

Piracetam (and other racetams), α-GPC and choline are known to activate the cholinergic system and alleviate cognitive symptoms caused by extended use of anticholinergic drugs.

Hyoscyamine (also known as daturine) is a naturally occurring tropane alkaloid and plant toxin. It is a secondary metabolite found in certain plants of the family Solanaceae, including henbane (Hyoscyamus niger), mandrake (Mandragora officinarum), angel’s trumpets (Brugmansia spp.), jimsonweed (Datura stramonium), tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) the sorcerers’ tree ( Latua pubiflora ) and deadly nightshade (Atropa belladonna). It is the levorotary isomer of atropine (third of the three major nightshade alkaloids) and thus sometimes known as levo-atropine.

Hyoscyamine is used to provide symptomatic relief of spasms caused by various lower abdominal and bladder disorders including peptic ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome, diverticulitis, pancreatitis, colic, and interstitial cystitis. It has also been used to relieve some heart problems, control some of the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, as well as for control of abnormal respiratory symptoms and “hyper-mucus secretions” in patients with lung disease.

It is also useful in pain control for neuropathic pain, chronic pain and palliative care – “comfort care” – for those with intractable pain from treatment resistant, untreatable, and incurable diseases. When combined with opioids it increases the level of analgesia (pain relief) obtained. Several mechanisms are thought to contribute to this effect. The closely related drugs atropine and hyoscine and other members of the anticholinergic drug group like cyclobenzaprine, trihexyphenidyl, and orphenadrine are also used for this purpose. When hyoscyamine is used along with opioids or other anti-peristaltic agents, measures to prevent constipation are especially important given the risk of paralytic ileus. Side effects include dry mouth and throat, increased appetite leading to weight gain, eye pain, blurred vision, restlessness, dizziness, arrhythmia, flushing, and faintness. An overdose will cause headache, nausea, vomiting, and central nervous system symptoms including disorientation, hallucinations, euphoria, sexual arousal, short-term memory loss, and possible coma in extreme cases.

Atropine is a medication used to treat certain types of nerve agent and pesticide poisonings as well as some types of slow heart rate and to decrease saliva production during surgery. It is typically given intravenously or by injection into a muscle.Large doses may be required to treat some poisonings. Common side effects include a dry mouth, large pupils, urinary retention, constipation, and a fast heart rate. It should generally not be used in people with angle closure glaucoma. While there is no evidence that its use during pregnancy causes birth defects, it has not been well studied. It is likely safe during breastfeeding. It is an anti-muscarinic (a type of anti-cholinergic) that works by inhibiting the parasympathetic nervous system. It is on the World Health Organization’s List of Essential Medicines, the most effective and safe medicines needed in a health system.

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These night-shades are toxic, but not well understood for medicinal purposes, although the toxic chemical is used in industrial medicine. I have eaten many seeds from both varieties over a few years, and felt no ill effects from them. I stopped trying them years ago because I felt no benefit either. They did not seem to even alter my consciousness as much as coffee or mugwort, after repeated weekly eating of several seeds a day. Obviously people react differently to any organic substances, due to digestive variations and allergies, so this plant is still very mysterious and therefore considered dangerous until substantial studies can be conducted by biologists and chemists. I have no idea why I was immune to moderate doses of seeds, but other people have told me they were affected greatly and it scared them. – Firewalker

SCOD Flora Survey Project

Posted in Nature Studies, Organic Development, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 4, 2019 by Drogo

Volunteer efforts to make a ‘Washington DC Metropolitan Area’ survey map of identified flora species will be documented by SCOD over the course of several years, starting in a few local areas the team can access easily. Frederick and Thurmont are the first areas we are beginning with because of access and pre-existing information by naturalists.

Methodology:  Data Collection (field & archives); Digitizing Process; Database Analysis for Uses (historic land use, planning, locating existing species)

The SCOD Frederick Area Flora Species Mapping project has begun! Node 1a Block 1 of Spiral 1b is surveyed in my notebook. It will take several years to complete the region map, but more than 3 people will be working on it (Drogo, Christine, & Drumwise), and will focus on trees and shrubs estimates, but will include any info donated.

Please contact Drogo Empedocles, Chris Drumwise Ousse, or Christine Maccabee if you are interested in helping or contributing to our project. We are searching for partners to help us with GIS about trees and other plants. Find us on Facebook or leave a comment below. Thanks for your support!

References so far include: Frederick County MD Property Explorer, Arbor Pro USA, Science Direct Procedia, MD Department of Natural Resources, MD Forest Service, Garden Clubs, Nature Clubs, Park Groups, …

Arbor Pro USA – urban forest management for municipalities, universities, and you. 15 years of GPS tree inventories for risks and planning. Team members: Scot, William, Jeff, Ken

Science Direct – Procedia social and behavioral sciences: GIS for benefits and hazards of urban trees.

Tree-Keeper GIS for Frederick, MD – PDF11,158 Calculated Trees; Total Yearly Eco Benefits = $692,169

Frederick City of MD, Park Division Urban Forestry Program – Arborist

Maryland Manual On-Line: Plants & Trees

Frederick County Government, Maryland – GIS / Public Safety

Maryland I-Map – Mapping & GIS Data Portal

Frederick County, MD – Parks & Recreation Locations

Frederick County, MD – Property Explorer

 

Frederick County GIS Data [from email]:

  1.       We have Forest Polygons, they are available here:  https://www.frederickcountymd.gov/5969/Download-GIS-Data

The latest Forest Polygons are from 2017, we have and will update them about every 2-3 years, we started in 2005.

  1.       We have a Forest Canopy layer, made in 2011 by NASA and U of MD.  It is available for everywhere in the State of Maryland, https://www.arcgis.com/home/item.html?id=f70ada30bd29428395186ce5f3a618c5 .  I have a copy of the data if someone needs a copy of the GIS files feel free to send them my way.

 The County Tree Canopy Report can be downloaded by the link below  There are others for example Frederick City and Brunswick available here: https://www.nrs.fs.fed.us/urban/utc/pubs/ .  I also included in the download a map of our Green Infrastructure.  If you have further questions feel free to reply or email me. Download Link:  https://frederick.sharefile.com/d-s13e6f8f52834481a

Mary McCullough – GIS Analyst / Interagency Information Technologies

Frederick County Government Office: 301-600-2324

Website: Frederick County GIS

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Evan Keto  – Maryland Licensed Tree Expert #2221, ISA Certified Arborist SO-6594AM, and Owner / Fruitful Trees and Gardens, LLC  240-763-0764

The options are limitless, although resources always are. Personally, I think a handful of people in Frederick could have the greatest impact by plugging data into existing systems, like this map where you can document edible plant species: https://fallingfruit.org/

Even if you only focused on public areas where foraging would be allowed (or at least not prosecuted), documenting all the walnuts, hickories, persimmons, pawpaws, blackberries, serviceberries, etc. would still take quite a long time. But by trimming your plants list, geographical area, and eliminating the technological issues, you could just start creating a very valuable map, and perhaps get other people on social media to volunteer to add to your efforts. In the end you’d have a resource that would help increase environmental, social, and economic sustainability. Just one of many ideas.

A map of trees and shrubs in Frederick or the greater DC area would take dozens of volunteers years to complete. For example, Casey Trees has been working on a map of the trees in DC, and that has taken many volunteers many years, and as they keep it updated, it will never be finished:  https://caseytrees.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=932aa4d49bfa45b39ecf3321cbb6cdbc

Eventually, hyper-spectral satellite imaging will be able to tell us what every tree is by its unique light signature. That way, we could instantly identify each tree species for an entire region, but that’s not going to be available for a while: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1186/s40490-018-0123-9

For instance, if you wanted to ask, “What species of trees and shrubs are growing in the DC area?”, that could be more of a list than a map, and can be compiled by cross referencing multiple resources, including – The City of Trees:

https://www.amazon.com/City-Trees-Complete-Washington-Center/dp/0813926882/ref=asc_df_0813926882/?tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=312065538926&hvpos=1o1&hvnetw=g&hvrand=4121470300927145656&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9007790&hvtargid=pla-493397652405&psc=1

Maryland Champion Tree Listing

http://www.mdbigtrees.com/view_tree.aspx

C&O canal species lists: https://www.nps.gov/choh/learn/nature/plants.htm

 (Monocacy battlefield, National Capital Parks, and other NPS units would also likely have species lists)

Towson Arboretum: https://www.towson.edu/campus/landmarks/glen/trees.html

National Arboretum: https://www.usna.usda.gov/

University of Maryland campus arboretum https://arboretum.umd.edu/

In the end, I think you’ll find hundreds of different species of woody plants, as I learned 200+ and those were just on the UMD campus. If you widen your interest to all plant species, then be prepared to learn to identify thousands and thousands of potential species in this area: https://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/PlantFinder/PlantFinderProfileResults.aspx?z=7 

Or, if you did want to create a map, you might want to focus on a particular geographic area, such as some of the local parks, and perhaps with focus on the largest and most interesting trees. It might be worth contacting the city’s Sustainability Coordinator and the County Forestry Board, who may already have some items mapped and/or resources to help:

http://www.cityoffrederick.com/891/Sustainability

https://sites.google.com/view/fcfcdb/bigtreeprogram#h.p_vluyI_xWVRDU

Also, you might be interested in seeing the USFS iTree Tools suite, which is all free:

https://www.itreetools.org/

Hope this helps,

Evan

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Frederick County Planning Dept. – Tim Goodfellow (600-2508) spoke with me on the phone and mentioned more contacts:

DNR MD Forest Service, Local Forester at Gambril Park – Mike Kay

DNR MD Wildlife & Heritage Service

Frederick County – Office of Sustainability

Frederick County – OSER (Office of Sustainability) Shannon Moore SMoore@FrederickCountyMD.gov

Tom Rippeon – Arborist, Parks & Recreation, Frederick MD – 301.600.1233; C 240.409.4410

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SCOD Flora Project will be updated here as more data is processed.

To be continued…

Pot Bib – Corn King Sparrow

Posted in Biographies, Nature Studies, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on May 25, 2019 by Drogo

Last winter a loud male house sparrow spent most of his waking time sitting in the potted plant where we put small bits of corn. Other sparrows would come, but he would usually chase them out, and get into fights with other males (one time wounding him). We call male sparrows ‘bibs’ because of their black beard-like feathers, and birds that sit in pots for long hours we call ‘pot birds’ (it happens occasionally). So we named him Pot Bib, because he seemed to prefer sitting in the pot to all else.

Pot Bib’s first goal in life seemed to be to claim the pot as his home during the day, and at night he would sometimes sleep in a nearby abandoned robin’s nest. I had witnessed the robin’s nest getting raided by a crow, who looked for nests under gutter-down-spout corners in between balconies like that one. Pot Bib added grass to the nest, and slept in it for many early spring nights; so he could wake up and be right in the pot again. Starlings also raided the nest just for materials, and still Pot Bib would often sleep there, but also at another roost somewhere else. After a few weeks, Pot Bib lost interest in the nest as no mate wanted to risk the location probably.

Pot Bib’s second goal in life was to have a mate, and he did have a girl-friend who he allowed to eat corn, hang around, and chase him out of the pot. When the weather got warmer, Pot Bib got another life-style away from the pot; but still returns and chirps in his insane way every day.

I made a nest in a small wooden basket with a handle for Pot Bib on Easter (Ostara). In the basket I put mud half way up, then stuck in tiny twigs, wove in grasses and pine needles, and cushioned with chick-weed and yarrow. I thought that either Pot Bib or the house finches that come would take it, but our familiar mourning doves claimed it instead; but that is the story of Lucky the Dove.

potbib basket nest