Category Archives: rainforest

All that glitters is probably aluminum

Brokopondo Reservoir

The whole lake is filled with dead stumps like these

In the 1960’s a dam was built in Suriname.  It crossed the Suriname River and created a reservoir covering over 602 mi² (1,560 km²). It resulted in the oddity that in one of the world’s tiniest countries with a population of less than 500,000 inhabitants, we had created one of the world’s largest reservoirs.

It flooded the rainforest swallowing up villages and displacing more than 5,000 rainforest dwellers. It was touted as a great advancement for the country, bringing badly needed electricity to the majority of the country’s inhabitants who lived in the capital city of Paramaribo.

If nothing else, the dam was a huge boon to mining the country for bauxite and processing it into aluminum. Indeed, pretension aside, the dam was constructed to bring electricity to plants operated by Suralco, a daughter company of Alcoa Aluminum. Bauxite processing is an energy hog. Bauxite is the essential ingredient of aluminum.

So 75 % of the hydropower from the huge dam went to Suralco  and Paramaribo got the leftovers. Looking back some 45 years later, Suriname has been pretty much cleansed of all the bauxite mother earth had to offer, and Paramaribo still suffers from lack of energy, with rolling blackouts a common occurrence.

When I was on the reservoir a few weeks ago, what I mostly saw was death. The enormous lake is dotted with islands and bordered by rainforest. Were it natural, it would have been magnificent.    Instead, as our boat headed out to Tonka Island and negotiated the dead treetops that were once a living canopy, I felt embarrassment at the cavelier shortsightedness of humans.

The Rainforest of Suriname is a westward continuation of the Amazon Rainforest that blesses Brazil, Suriname’s gigantic neighbor to the east.

I don’t know, maybe we really can be excused that tiny Suriname didn’t get the consequences of Brokopondo in the 1960’s. But what do you say about the world’s 5th largest economy in 2010? Other than @#%@!

I heard an interview with James Cameron (yes, that James Cameron of Titanic and Avatar) on Al Jazeerah, which they show in English on Suriname TV. If you can find it, I suggest you listen. He was articulate, well-informed, and — here’s a news flash – really smart.

He was interviewed about his activities in opposing Brazil’s push to build the world’s 3rd largest dam. This is the controversial Belo Monte dam on the River Xingu, which will damn (and dam up) one of the largest tributaries of the Amazon River. It is being fought against by the indigenous people, environmentalists, and some high profile folks like Sting, Sigourney Weaver and Cameron.

Brokopondo Reservoir

Another view of the former Amazon Rainforest canopy

It turns out that we’re getting a second chance 50 years later. A chance to use solar power instead of damming up a major tributary of the Amazon River. A chance in a 24/7 media world to see through the lie that says one dam will do it. It won’t. It will need 5 or 6 dams – displacing tens of thousands of rainforest dwellers.  Or the lie that this is for the folk of Sao Paulo who need more electricity. They do, but this is, once again, for processing bauxite.  It will not come close to getting Sao Paulo out of its electricity problems.

The Government of Brazil is setting aside billions of dollars for this project. Cameron suggested instead using a part of it for solar power development. It’s a great idea that could turn this world power into the world’s first super solar power.  With that kind of money and five times as much sun as Germany, the Rainforest and its people can thrive.

If business-as-usual has its way, the people and the rainforest will be dammed. The teeming living rainforest and its ancient culture will give way to a watery 21st Century graveyard.


This article lists some of the groups opposed to this:

This is an in-depth explanation of the lies & myths:


water under the bridge

Make that 7 months worth of water flowing under that particular bridge. The one everyone talks about in the past tense. Lots and lots of change, growth and water. I just wanted to say I’ve been like really, really busy. And I wanted to say I’m back.

Did get my rainforest book written and published, which is totally cool. It’s even on Amazon — ABC’s of Natural Healing: better health for you and the planet through Amazon rainforest herbs I’m pleased. I’d add stuff in the next addition, but it was good.

I’m almost done with my second book, but that’s for another post. For now I can say my herb business and the herbs themselves have proven their value to my sanity many times over.

Rainforest herbs are finally gaining in recognition, and I say Yay! Maybe, just maybe, if we find value to our own health in preserving the remaining rainforests, well perhaps we might could see our way to preserving them.

Wouldn’t that be a kick!


Once were citizens

Once we Americans were citizens first. Now we’re consumers. Some economists are petrified we might start saving just when they want us to spend so we can heal the economy. Like we’ve been doing for the last few decades. Even if they’re right it justs sounds ridiculous. Let’s keep doing what hasn’t worked? 

If a spending spree is not the way out of this mess, what else do we have? How’s about change. 

I’m amazed that on prime time some of the talking heads are asking us to live more consciously. Now that’s headline news! I heard a panelist actually ask the media to stop referring to us as consumers. We’re citizens first, she said. I like it. I prefer the word steward or Earth citizen, but I think we understand each other.  

We elected a president of change, now what about us? Are we willing to take it on?  I mean what if we weren’t the toughest kid on the block, or the richest anymore.  Then who are we, as individuals and as a nation? Are we willing to reconsider how we as individuals and as a nation tread on this earth and do different? 

We and other nations know how to use religion, land, oil, water, and culture as justifications for war. Can we regroup and breathe out life force instead of fire power? Can we turn technology, science and construction green?  Can we listen to the rhythms of the Earth and learn its dance?

We’re in a time of Big questions, and even if we don’t come up with the Big answers, we have a moral imperative to keep asking. There has been a sleepiness in our collective soul and our national conscience that is struggling into awareness.  If we cut our hand, our bodies leap into healing mode the moment we are wounded. Life seeks healing. Our national invincibility cloak is in tatters. Let that be a good thing, and let the healing begin.  

As we heal ourselves we will also heal our planet. That is how we create the collective moment that transforms ‘yes we can’ into a universal yes! so strong and so broad it rebuilds ghettoes and shanty towns and favelas, it draws lines around our rainforests and coral reefs and holds them safe, it criss-crosses borders with ideas and support, with cures and care.  And you?  “You may say I’m a dreamer, but…”  Let me cut you off right there. Yes I am a dreamer. What else has ever changed the world?


Tears for Fears

aThe future is now.

The future is now.


Or not. That is the question. First the context — Did you know the group’s name referred to primal scream therapy after John Lennon became Arthur Janov’s patient? Cool bit of trivia, eh. The idea is that neurosis is caused by repressed pain resulting from childhood trauma. Janov believes that when you dive into all that pain and release it you can become a non-neurotic.

I don’t know about your childhood pain, but even to become a super non-neurotic I wouldn’t go swim in that soup again. No way. No how. My point, however is other. Barack Obama makes me cry. I think I’m not the only one. I’ve seen many tears wherever he appears. It’s the weirdest thing. I have two really powerful feelings when I see our 44th president. One is to feel the thrill of seeing a friend you know well and dearly love, and the other is to be reduced  ever more rapidly to an emotional cry baby. 

I know we all connect Obama with hope. It’s one of the explanations for Obamamania. Our nation is in desperate need of hope. But we are a nation living in incredible angst. As a people, our fears are perhaps greater than ever.  We each have our own and we share some collective ones: poverty, global warming, loss of – fill in the blank here — home, job, life style….  

And then comes this man with the million dollar smile and all seems well again. The angst melts even quicker than the polar ice caps. We collectively crawl into his lap and he pats us all and we know all will be well in the world.

But wait! That means he’s like the dad and we’re like the kids. Yikes! I want to start this again. I want to say look at Obama as someone who never quit and never settled. He took on his passions and devoted himself heart and soul to them.

Mine, as you know is Gaia. It’s saving the rainforest. Saving the amazing healing plants of these ancient acres forever. It’s saving the ocean and preserving marine mammal life.

What’s yours? Isn’t that what Obama is really asking us all? Isn’t he really smiling sweetly and saying “people, I love you. Now get over yourselves and follow your passion. Every day. Forever.

These tears of mine. Maybe they’re an energetic exchange. Maybe I’m just trading in my fears for tears.


Jangled, fixed quick, and then forgot to remember…

Today I had one of those days. Everything got on my nerves. Dogs barks sounded louder. People bumped into me in the store. Cars and trucks sounded like they were in high gear. I could hear my thoughts whirling around, and my neck hurt. What the??? This was not typical for me.

So the weather was wierd. Granted. It’s mid-November and here it was in the mid-60’s (that’s about 20 degrees warmer than expected) and winds going between 10 and 30 miles an hour. And all day it went back and forth between fog, sunshine and pouring rain!

Was I reacting to the crazy weather? Or did the weather feel so crazy because I was? Can’t say. All I know is I was so bent out of shape I felt like a pretzel. Then I remembered. Hey, I’m the 21st Century Medicine Woman. I know what to do. I make this stuff. I went and opened myMellow Monkey, slurped some and raced off to an appointment. I actually had a really productive meeting, came home and realized the kitchen was a mess and it was time to get a few things in shape. I cleaned for a while, then went out to take care of the chickens (not a joke. We have six of them). I gave the dog fresh water (one dog). The ducks were fine (three — all girls). They love the rain. That done, I sat down at the computer and as I focused on my work I realized I was feeling good. Sounds were back to normal and I wasn’t getting jangled. We’re talking now more than four hours after I took a dropper full of the Monkey, and I finally remembered I had taken it! I felt solid. If not great, definitely good. It reminded me of many times feeling better after an acupuncture treatment, yet feeling so naturally better I didn’t even relate it to the treatment.

With that I not only remembered that I had taken my own medicine, so to speak. Most importantly I remembered why I made it, why I sell it, why I believe in it.

It’s just there, patiently, mellowly, waiting to help me be better to myself.


7, 610,918 and counting

That’s the historic difference between Obama’s 64 million votes and McCain’s! Or try  365. These are numbers your children and theirs will learn about in school. The drama of President-Elect Barack Obama’s historic win has moved our country and the world. I know I’m not supposed to be talking politics here, but I did mention a while ago that I had devolved into a nail-biting news junkie glued to the election. Come to find out I was oh so not alone in that. A bunch of you were too, and wasn’t it all worth it? 

Finally, on election night for a few hours we could all forget blue and red states, we could forget blue, red or inde political party. In this fleeting, stunning moment of history we had a human party. Not only the millions of Americans who spontaneously filled the streets with years and decades of hopes and tears, but the millions around the world who, this time in a happy way, were “all American.” It seemed as though time stopped just long enough to allow the planet to become the Human Party of the United Globe of Earth. Transitory though it was, hope and hearts ruled the world for just a few hours.

I had to say that. It was too big, too beautiful to let pass. Does it relate to OnePlanet Herbs? Does it relate to the rain forests of the world? Well of course I’m going to say yes. I don’t even need a segue because I believe we now have a far better chance of saving the flora and fauna of the world. I believe we may now be able to save the Arctic Wildlife Refuge, we may be able to find alternative fuels and economies and create alternatives to the the slash-and-burn of rainforest destruction. 

That said, just like this election, the choice is always individual. Fueled by our personal mythologies and beliefs we will pick our presidents and medicines, lifestyles and policies, religions and causes. Yet some facts are not choices. They are simple truths: more than 20 percent of the oxygen we breathe comes from the Amazon Rainforest. For more than 80 percent of the world’s population herbs are the first line of medical care.  Most of our western pharmaceuticals are derived from rainforest plants. 

While it is my hope that supporting rainforest preservation will transcend our individual mythologies, its survival matters beyond any individual belief system.  Whether our choice is pharmaceuticals or plants whether we’re living in the rainforest or in a distant city, we — and our children — still need oxygen to breathe, we still need medicines to heal, and we still want to find cures as yet out of reach.


Herbal remedies should be safe and work too!

A friend recently got The Lion’s Roar and raised the issue of safety. I’ve written about this before, but it bears repeating. Herbs are powerful agents. That’w why they’ve been used around the world for thousands of years. That’s why they are the basis for many of our western pharmaceuticals. It’s why plants in completely unconnected parts of the world with similar chemical structures are used for the same conditions. They work and they work well.

That should not be confused with their having no drug interactions, nor should it be confused with irresponsible consumerism.  So when Kev asked about potential drug interactions with medicines he was taking I was glad. He will double check with his doctor, of course. 

Anyway, what struck me about this asthma and upper respiratory remedy was the amazingly high level of safety and overall health benefits. 

Bottom line was this: the worst any of these herbs do is strengthen the heart muscle, lower blood pressure and blood sugar levels and thin the blood.  Duuh.

Potential drug interaction is not necessarily a bad thing. It’s just not an area where you want any surprises! If you’re already on high blood pressure medication it might be good to have a natural remedy that has been scientifically proven to do the same thing.  To do that, you need to be working in conjunction with your doctor for sure, and perhaps other health care professionals as well. And you personally need to stay informed and act accordingly.

Natural health care, handled properly can sometimes take a village. 



The Beginning of OnePlanet Herbs

It just occurs to me, so many months into my business — OnePlanet Herbs ( — that I never mentioned how it started. It came to me as a dream in the middle of the night. I had been struggling to put all the pieces of my interests, knowledge and  experience together into something I’d want to do forever. In waking time all I was getting was frustrated.

Then this idea hit. It brought together my love of plants, of herbs, of the rainforest, my years of trial and error and of study, my work in sustainability, and my business and writing experience.  I went to sleep wondering, jeeezzz, what next; woke up one complete person with a plan, a company-to-be, and ready to roll! I woke with images of baby boomers and younger  It brought together my love of plants, of herbs, of the rainforest, my years of trial and error and of study, and my business and writing experience. There I was, one complete person ready to roll.

When I woke I had images of baby boomers and other discovering brand new and powerful herbs. Of helping people cope with pain from sore joints and arthritis in a natural way. What became Leaping Lizard was a way to help my sister who I had watched swallow pills and suffer with arthritic pain for years. That was a very personal search for me.

And so many of my friends telling me they were tired and needed more energy — that became Sloth-No-More. Or totally stressed out and couldn’t sleep … yay for Mellow Monkey.

And so it went. After months of uncertainty, it just rolled itself out in front of me.  After months of uncertainty, it just rolled itself out in front of me. I felt so lucky. Then I remembered how much went into that moment and my buddy Joe’s favorite quote floated up: “The harder you work, the luckier you get!”


Rainforest Herbs Promote Stress-free Relaxation

It’s often said that misery loves company. But if you have ever experienced anxiety, stress, sleep problems or insomnia, you’ve probably noticed only the misery and felt no company at all. In which case it might surprise you to learn that millions of people suffer from anxiety, sleep problems and insomnia.  Anti-anxiety medications and sleeping agents are among the leading prescriptions in industrialized nations around the world.  These prescriptions don’t come alone. They come with serious warnings about possible side effects and the potential for addiction.  


Although many people rely on them to relieve stress, anxiety, sleep problems and insomnia, others are seeking alternative solutions.  No prescription or herbal remedy substitutes for good diet, exercise and stress-free living. That said, we all need help sometimes! That’s why more and more people like you are turning to natural ways to relieve stress-related problems.


Dynamic well-balanced formula to support stress-free relaxation


Mellow Monkey has been specially formulated to target the physiology of stress and combat it in a healthy, balanced way. Mellow Monkey helps with stress, anxiety, sleep problems and insomnia. It promotes relaxation, rest, deep sleep and well-being.


Some of the plants included in Mellow Monkey have anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving qualities. This additional benefit is intentional. We are sometimes nervous or unable to take proper relaxation or sleep because of generalized discomfort or pain, yet don’t recognize it for what it is. When our bodies are relaxed and comfortable our minds have the opportunity to let go of the stresses and tensions of daily life.


Mellow Monkey combines well-documented rainforest herbs with both a long history of indigenous use and much research from western science.


Mellow Monkey supports relaxation, combats nervousness and anxiety and promotes a natural peaceful sleep: all the benefits without harmful side effects or risk of dependency.  With OnePlanet Herb’s special blend of rainforest herbs, stress and anxiety can bre smoothed away helping you feel focused and good again. 


The Importance of Reducing Anxiety, Stress, Sleep Problems and Insomnia


It is not uncommon for these conditions to travel together and become a package deal of unpleasantness.  Over time this can wreak havoc on our physical, emotional and mental states. 


Many people find that even small life-style changes can lead to big changes. Sometimes just a little more fresh air and a little less of stressful situations can add up to big changes. Mellow Monkey is a  support in making change big and small. We all deserve the opportunity to fully enjoy life. Mellow Monkey is a great way to turn things around – get the company without the misery. 



Rainforest Herbs Improve Digestion

Try putting sugar in a gas tank and what happens? Your engine pops, belches and ultimately can ruin your engine. It’s like bad health — disappointing, disruptive and expensive. Our physiological gas tanks – our digestive systems – are more sophisticated and can handle a lot more abuse. But ultimately they too can spiral out of control and really ruin our day.

Too often we neglect the all-important fuel we put into our bodies. We may be too busy, too tired, too stressed, or too hungry to bother with a good meal. While there’s no substitute for good nutrition, sometimes we just don’t get there. That’s when it makes sense to support our systems with the next best thing – natural, well-balanced herbs to support our digestion. Tiger Tummy helps our body maximize energy and nutrition, and helps with the common symptoms of tummy trouble — acid reflux and poor digestion.

The secret is a blend of herbs that work simply and effectively by supporting the key organs important to digestion: The liver and gallbladder so they produce bile. The stomach so digestive juices are strong. Protection against acid reflux, maximizing the breakdown of food in the stomach, supporting the intestinal tract and helping things move efficiently and quickly. Our bodies are designed to keep what we need for the best possible nutritional results. Tiger Tummy supports that process. By doing so it turns regular into super so our digestive engine works at maximum capacity.

The Herbs in Tiger Tummy

Tiger Tummy blends together well-known and well-researched rainforest herbs to stimulate healthy digestion — carqueja, artichoke, fedegoso, quinine, gervâo, and picão preto.

Improved Digestion with Rainforest Herbs

Tiger Tummy is nature’s digestive aid, helping the body break down food for proper absorption. The herbs help prevent acid reflux, contain bitters to aid absorption and protect the digestive tract and organs. Many health professionals believe good digestion is the key to better health. We know how much better we feel when our digestion works well!

Tiger Tummy’s natural herbs aid the body’s digestive process, strengthens the liver to filter toxins. This helps guard against the many afflictions that can be caused by poor digestion. Our body is our most important asset and fueling it properly as well as aiding digestion and nutrient absorption helps ensure our bodies serve us well. Unlike the skyrocketing price of gas for our cars, Tiger Tummy remains affordable!

Natural Digestive Support for Better Health

Digestive remedies and antacids account for some of the biggest pharmaceutical sales in America. Yet too often drugs bring their own problems. Imagine Tiger Tummy. Here in the combined power of natural plants is a remedy that improves digestion and relieves pain while it protects, tones, and supports your body’s digestive organs and improves your health.

Put Tiger Tummy in your digestive engine today and turn regular to super!

Twitter Updates

follow me on Twitter

Biznik - Business Networking