“America has become a nation of drug addicts...
this is having a huge impact on our environment.”
By Kosa Ely
In the following interview, John Easterling — treasure hunter, rainforest explorer and founder of Amazon Herb Company, shares with us what is happening to our environment and why people are returning to the plant medicines of the earth.
Kosa: I know one of your degrees is in environmental studies, and you have been sharing with me some of the shocking news about what is going on in our environment, and its impact on our health.
John: Yes, very shocking. I’ve always been interested in environmental studies, and I am involved on a daily basis with plants and their relationship with people. Not too long ago I read Stephen Harrod Buhner’s book, “The Lost Language of Plants.” In his book, Buhner exposes how we are polluting our environment with the pharmaceuticals that are intended to heal us. In addition to the billions of pounds of industrial waste that is going into the environment, there is a new and frightening generation of environmental toxicity that is upon us: America has become a nation of drug addicts.
In 1991, for example, there were 42 billion dollars of pharmaceuticals sold. A short eight years later, in 1999, that number rose to 113 billion. It’s an exploding business — the amount of pharmaceuticals that are consumed by people in this country. This drug use is in epidemic proportions. There were 2.8 billion prescriptions written last year, yet there are only 280 million people in America. That’s 10 prescriptions for every man, woman and child in America. This is shocking. Antidepressants, tranquilizers, psychiatric drugs, chemotherapy drugs, pain killers, fungicides, antibiotics and so on.
The toxic waste from the pharmaceutical drugs is beginning to show enormous repercussions in our environment. After these pharmaceutical drugs are eaten, where do they go? They return to our environment, to the soil, to the water table.
There are more than one million chemotherapy patients in the U.S. right now. 650,000 tons of chemo bodily waste go into the sewage system each year. These chemotherapy agents are not easily biodegradable, so as they are excreted back into the environment they are still very, very toxic. 650,000 tons is 1300 million pounds of toxic waste that is excreted, directly back into the environment, into the sewage system, and it ends up in the water table.
Kosa: That’s almost inconceivable, especially when you add up the numbers over, say, ten years.
John: It is almost inconceivable. And then of course, everyone knows about the over use of antibiotics. I had antibiotic treatments as a child that were considered normal. People go to the doctor and feel almost cheated if they don’t get antibiotics before they leave. We have declared a war on bacteria, and antibiotic is of course something to kill life — anti biotic.
Bacteria is not something that is a foreign agent. In fact, our bodies have, at any given time one to two pounds of bacteria; there’s bacteria on the outside of our skin, there’s bacteria living inside of us. Not all bacteria is bad. Yet somewhere along the line we declared war on bacteria. Perhaps when microscopes came along and we could actually see them, we thought, “Oh, this is a germ — this is the enemy.” So, we declared war on bacteria and have gone on a rampage of antibiotics, of killing bacteria.
In 1949 there were 156,000 lbs. of antibiotics produced. By 1999 there were 50 million lbs. of antibiotics produced. 20 million lbs. goes into the animal feed — to the pigs and chickens and cows they are trying to keep alive long enough to eat. Because these animals are really sick, they’re in real small pens and can barely stand up. Who cares? They’re going to kill them anyway and then they’re going to eat them.
These animals are saturated with antibiotics to keep them alive and those antibiotics again are consumed by people. The antibiotics end up back in the water supply, back in the sewage system, back in the water table. So the American soil today is awash with antibiotics. These antibiotics are not biodegradable. They are still killing bacteria — they’re killing bacteria in the soil.
In the soil — that’s where bacteria has one of its biggest positive roles. The cycle of life requires bacteria. When leaves fall from the trees, the bacteria convert those leaves into mulch, into nutrient material that the next generation of plants utilizes to grow. So when you’re killing off the bacteria, this is creating something new that is unparalleled in recorded biologic history.
There’s another area of biological concern — if you look at fish. Where do all of these drugs end up? Look at the two top prescription drugs in America — by number of prescriptions that are written. The two top ones are Premarin, which is a conjugated estrogen hormone, and Synthroid, which is a synthetic thyroid hormone.
Chris Metcalf, Trent University in Canada, found 400 parts per trillion of Estrone in local waste water. 400 parts per trillion. So that kind of rang his bell, and he started thinking we had better take a look to see how this might affect the population, because when it’s in the waste water it ends up in sewage systems, it ends up in the water table, it ends up eventually being recycled into tap water, ground water, and being consumed.
Metcalf found that the Japanese fish he used as study subjects, when exposed to different levels of Estrone in water, at 10 parts per trillion the fish began to exhibit intersexual changes — they started showing both male and female characteristics. At 1000 parts per trillion, every male fish in his study transformed into a female.
Kosa: Wow, that’s scary!
John: That’s going to be really scary to half the population who are males and not necessarily interested in undergoing a gender change. But, that is what is happening in the real world. Americans are eating hundreds of millions of prescriptions that are ending up back in the water supply and being re-consumed by the population. German scientists found from 30 to 60 pharmaceuticals present in the tap water and ground water samples they tested. Think about it, 30 to 60 pharmaceuticals are in the everyday water supply.
Kosa: So, that means that even those of us who are not taking prescription drugs are still getting drugs in our water?
John: Yes, if you’re not taking prescription drugs, you’re still taking prescription drugs. You’re taking it in proportions that actually have a physiological effect, a physiological change. This is the environment we’re living in today and it is very frightening. And again I say it is brand new — this has happened just in our generation. So, we’re just now beginning to experience the side effects. We’re seeing all of the degenerative issues, the degenerative disease, the new things coming along. Here in Florida you’ve got alligators being born with no sex organs. This is pretty scary stuff.
Kosa: How do you see individuals making a difference? How do they educate themselves, and what choices can they make?
John: There are going to be millions of people who will tune into this message and there are books being written, and information is on the internet. This information will spread very quickly, and because we’re such an information-oriented society now, many people are becoming more aware.
A recent study by Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability (LO-HAS) Journal showed that 68 million Americans consider environmental and social issues when they are making buying decisions. So this is on the minds of a lot of people. 91% of the people they surveyed are interested in protecting the environment, 59 % said they would prefer products that are made in a sustainable manner, and 83% said they support sustainable business practices.
So, there are very strong social consciousness trends that have evolved. That shift has already started. You’re asking about a solution, it has already started; people are aware and are beginning to make more intelligent choices.
Kosa: How is this awareness affecting businesses? How are they responding to the desire of the people to be more conscious towards the environment and to be better stewards of the earth?
John: As a demand is created, that demand is filled. People are interested in their health, they’re interested in longevity, they’re interested in looking good, being strong and vital members of society — they’re driving a new trend in natural products. They’re driving a huge industry that’s evolved into dietary supplements; vitamins, minerals, herbs and supplements.
The low nutritional content in the food supply and the high degree of environmental toxicity is driving the natural health industry. It is critical that we protect ourselves from these environmental toxicities and build our immune systems so we are not affected.
People are no longer thinking whether they should supplement or not, now they’re thinking what is the best supplementation in the market place. The best supplementation we are finding are plants that are not grown in the United States, not grown in soil that is awash with antibiotics, not cultivated, not genetically engineered, but wild plants.
When you go looking for wild plants eventually you end up in the Amazon rainforest, because that is the highest concentration of pure life energy left on earth. The plants coming from the Amazon are strong, vital plants, plants that haven’t been cultivated. They’re beyond organic — we’re talking wild plants.
A plant in its natural habitat is the strongest of the species. It’s got the density, the chemistry, the phyto-nutritional factors. And our bodies have been geared from the beginning of time to extract our nutrient matter from plants. So when you have wild plants with their full profile of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and enzymes completely built in — you have a life force that is capable of detoxifying, nourishing, and rebuilding your body. Wild plants are what conscious people are looking for, and the Amazon rainforest is our greatest source on Earth.
Kosa: Thank you for your time and valuable information.
Readers who would like more information on the Amazon rainforest herbs, please call (800) 362-3975, or visit their website www.AmazonProsperity.com.
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