21 Jun 2013

Early Summer Buzz

Early summer is prime time in the journey to the ground at our feet with warming days to stir both soil and soul. With summer solstice upon us, the dirt–under my fingernails, on my fresh produce–is as common as longer hours of daylight.

How healthy is your strawberry season?2013 June strawberries growing

Strawberries, with cream and shortcake is a highlight of early summer. Even when I pass on the shortcake, I enjoy the berries—from the farmer’s market, the farm, the home garden or the organic produce section of the supermarket. Since eating toxic-free fruit is especially important with berries, I invite you to read the latest on California strawberry fields and fumigation at “Speaking out for safe strawberry fields” posted by Pesticide Action Network (PAN).

Then bookmark the PAN pesticides primer  as your source for up-to-date information on how and where pesticides are impacting our health and to explore the full scope of their work to “replace the use of hazardous pesticides with ecologically sound and socially just alternatives.”

And while the season lasts, enjoy the fruit–strawberry fields forever!

 What would your grocery store look like without bees?  

In the buzzing aspect of the garden, I lookout for honeybees on the clover and other flowering plants in my garden, feeling concerned for their ability to produce honey. I rely on local honey to alleviate some of my symptoms from seasonal allergies—and it works!

Yet the well-publicized plight of bee-hives raises concern far beyond the honey. Recently Whole Foods in Providence, RI, removed from their display all produce dependent on pollination by bees to dramatize the impact of the alarming decline in bees: over half the stock in the produce section disappeared!

This event served to raise funds for the Xerces Society which works to restore habitats for bees and other pollinators and offers great browsing resources on this subject with ways you can help.

Are you looking for Science on Aging Healthy…  

2013 June grandparents-laughing-grandchildren-5469847PAN also referred us to the AgeHealthy page from Greater Boston Physicians for Social Responsibility, featuring a closer look at Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease. In later decades we face a window of increased vulnerability from our history of exposure to pesticides and other chemicals. Our chemical body burden may be at its peak just as our biological systems gradually begin to weaken and slow. Of course, our grandchildren and great-grandchildren are particularly susceptible to chemical harm in their early years of life as well.

To zoom in on the science related to specific health issues, the Collaborative on Health and Environment (CHE) maintains the searchable Toxicant and Disease DatabaseConsult this source for scientific findings related to approximately 180 human diseases and conditions and their links to chemical contaminants.

…and perhaps a good book?   

If you are interested in the long view of the environmental health movement, see The Rise of the US Environmental Health Movement by Kate Davies (2013 Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, Inc.) for an insightful treatment of this subject.

Finally, a new resource on Climate Change…

2013 June grandparents and grandchildrenOf course, we older adults also share with our grandchildren and great-granchildren increased vulnerability to adverse health impacts of climate change. So we have questions about many weather events and climate patterns: floods, droughts, fires, tornadoes, hurricanes, changes in growing seasons, habitat conditions for mammals, birds and pollinators—are they related to climate change?

I am pleased to share a new online resource: Climate Nexus,  a Project of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors.  This website is easy to navigate and provides accessible information to guide your guide your inquiry or assemble information to convey to your audiences. I suggest you start with the Climate Change Primer  which you can view online or print as a PDF file.


Out and about  

Gray Is Green has accepted an invitation to be part of the Conscious Aging Alliance .

Rick Moody, Board President, represented Gray Is Green at the Commonweal Conference Center, Bolinas, CA, in May with 18 other invited guests, for a series of in-depth discussions on “Ecological Health Across the Lifespan.”  The Collaborative on Health and the Environment (CHE), led by Ted Shettler, M.D., convened this event.

Kath Schomaker, Executive Director will represent Gray Is Green at “The Village in You” hosted by New Haven-based Co-Creating Effective and Inclusive Organizations (CEIO), June 23-25.  She is also participating in GreenFaith [    Fellowship Program as part of the 2013 cohort.

Rick Moody, President, will be leading a seminar on “Environment and Aging” as part of Fielding Graduate University summer session in Washington, DC, in July.

We are grateful to Gray Is Green Board members Robert Lane, Neva Goodwin and Rick Moody for seed funding for our CURRICULUM PROJECT and website update.  Watch for more in the months ahead.



June 2013 grandparent-and-grandchildThe wind one brilliant day called to my soul with an odor of jasmine.
The wind said, “In return for the odor of my jasmine, I’d like all the odor of your roses.”
I said, “I have no roses; all the flowers in my Garden are dead…”
The wind said, “Then, I’ll take the withered petals and the yellow leaves”
And the wind left.
And I wept.
And I said to myself,
“What have you done with the garden that was entrusted to you?”

–Antonio Machado




  1. SR Christie Says: June 21, 2013 at 5:49 pm

    I so miss the scent of the roses my father grew when I was young!

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