Animal agriculture is choking the Earth and making us sick. We must act now | James Cameron and Suzy Amis Cameron

Film-maker James Cameron and environmentalist Suzy Amis Cameron writes that to preserve Americas majestic national parks, clean air and water for future generations leaders must be pressed to address foods environmental impact

Our collective minds are stuck on this idea that talking about foods environmental impact risks taking something very intimate away from us. In fact its just the opposite. Reconsidering how we eat offers us hope, and empowers us with choice over what our future planet will look like. And we can ask our local leaders from city mayors to school district boards to hospital management to help, by widening our food options.

On Monday and Tuesday, the city of Chicago is hosting a summit for the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy to discuss climate solutions cities can undertake. Strategies to address and lower foods impact should be front and center.

Animal agriculture is choking the Earth, and the longer we turn a blind eye, the more we limit our ability to nourish ourselves, protect waterways and habitats, and pursue other uses of our precious natural resources. Raising livestock for meat, eggs and milk generates 14.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions, the second highest source of emissions and greater than all transportation combined. It also uses about 70% of agricultural land, and is one of theleading causes of deforestation, biodiversity loss, and water pollution.

On top of this, eating too much meat and dairy is making us sick, greatlyincreasing our risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, several major cancers (including breast, liver and prostate) and obesity. Diets optimal for human health vary, according to David Katz, of the Yale University Prevention Research Center, but all of them are made up mostly of whole, wholesome plant foods.

So what gives? Why cant we see the forest for the bacon? The truth can be hard to swallow: that we simply need less meat and dairy and more plant-based options in our food system if were to reach our climate goals.

Still
The Avatar movie set had plant-based menus. Photograph: 20th Century Fox/Everett/Rex Features

This can start with individual action. Five years ago, our family felt hopeless about climate change, and helpless to make meaningful change. But when we connected the dots on animal agricultures impact on the environment, coupled with the truth about nutrition, we took heart because it gave us something we could actually do.

To create change at the scale needed, this will take more than individual choice we need to get climate leaders on board about the impact of food. Cities and counties have used their buying power to transition fleets from diesel to electric, and we need to do the same with how we purchase food. We have done this in our own community, moving the lunch program of Muse School, in Calabasas, California, and the Avatar movie set to plant-based menus. Scaling up initiatives like these can make a big difference: if the US reduced meat consumption by 50%, its the equivalent of taking 26 million cars off the road. We think thats damn hopeful.

Decision-makers on all levels can make it easier for us to eat better, by expanding access to food options that are good for our health, affordable, and climate-friendly. Nationwide, cities and school districts have adopted food purchasing policies that include environment, health and fair labor standards. The city of Chicago is a recent adopter of this Good Food Purchasing Program, and so the solutions-focus of the summit is the perfect place to discuss how food can move us toward climate goals. In the same breath that we discuss fossil fuels, we should be talking animal ag, or were missing a big part of the problem and a big part of the solution.

Yes, food is inherently personal. Its the cornerstone of holidays, it fuels high school athletes and long workdays, and it nourishes nursing mothers and growing children. And yes, Americans love meat and cheese. But more than that, we love our majestic national parks, family beach vacations and clean air and water for our children and grandchildren.

As individuals, we can make choices on how to better nourish our families, and as citizens, we can encourage local leaders to make choices that will allow us to enjoy our land and natural resources now and in the future.

James Cameron is a film-maker and deep-sea explorer. Suzy Amis Cameron is a founder of Muse School and Plant Power Task Force.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/dec/04/animal-agriculture-choking-earth-making-sick-climate-food-environmental-impact-james-cameron-suzy-amis-cameron

The 4 Crises Every Marriage Must Make It Through

Marriage is a marathon, not a sprint. It is a very long journey passing through a great many twists and turns. To make it to the end with love and joy intact you will almost certainly have to pass through each of the following marital crises.

The Crisis of Sin

Dating is all about seeing and loving the best in each other, and so it should be. Dating is about discovery and delight but marriage is about disclosure and reality. It doesn’t take too long together under the same roof and under the same covers before we discover the imperfections in our partner. It can be devastating to learn that your loved one is a sinner.

Mark this down: Your husband will sin. He will not live up to his own best intentions.

Note this: Your wife will sin. She will love you less than she should, and she will love other things more than is good for her or for your marriage.

You married a sinner. Now deal with it.

Don’t let the sin you should have known was there steal your joy or rob you of commitment.

The Bible is very clear: “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23 ESV). “All” have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

If that verse is true, and it is, then sooner or later you will discover that it accurately predicts the behavior of your loved one. He or she will sin. You will be disappointed. You will be hurt. But you can forgive.

Jesus said: “If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, 4 and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.” (Luke 17:3–4 ESV)

Before you are husband and wife, you are brother and sister in Christ. Your brother will sin. If he repents, you must forgive him. If he sins against you seven times in the day and turns to you seven times saying, “I repent”, you must forgive him.

That verse is theoretically difficult when you are single; it is a full-blown crisis when you deal with it in your marriage.

Sin will come. You will face it in your marriage and to get past it, you must learn to forgive.

The Crisis Of Conflict

Dating is all about discovering and enjoying your commonalities and complementarity. You love how she gets your sense of humor, you like how he is good with the little details. This is as it should be, but marriage brings you inevitably into the realm of conflict.

There are no perfect people and there are no perfect matches—there are only marriages made out of two sinners at various stages of growth and rehabilitation. Therefore, there will be conflict. There will be places where sin rubs up against imperfection. There will be times when sin is exposed by new challenges, new deprivations and new responsibilities.

Don’t panic, and don’t beat each other up.

This isn’t proof that you married the wrong person. This is just proof that you aren’t a perfect person. You are in process, your partner is in process; therefore, conflict is inevitable.

Don’t let the conflict that you should have anticipated steal your faith or threaten your commitment. The Bible says that conflict can be a good thing: “Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Faithful are the wounds of a friend” (Proverbs 27:5–6 ESV) and “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17 NIV11).

The Bible is not conflict averse. It recognizes that conflict – in the context of a committed loving relationship – can serve to refine and sanctify both parties. Conflict reveals our hidden idols. James 4says:

What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. (James 4:1–2 ESV)

When we get angry at each other and when we yell and stamp our feet, we reveal the things we love too much. Perhaps it is our own dignity. Perhaps it is our possessions. Perhaps it is getting our own way. Perhaps it is our kids. Perhaps it is sex. Perhaps it is our career. Perhaps it is privacy.

One thing is for sure, if you live in close confines with another human for any length of time you will find out what it is. You will get angry. You will become irrationally upset and you will lose your temper. That can be a good thing. It tells you where the bodies are hidden and it shows you where to dig.

When conflict comes, and it will, work together to uncover and break down your hidden idols.

The Crisis of Children

Children are a blessing from the Lord, but they begin as a burden on the marriage. There is no way around that and there is no embarrassment in admitting that.

Children are a load.

They are very demanding. They require constant attention and they will not be ignored.

If you were selfish when you got married (and you almost certainly were), children will fix that in a hurry. You will be pushed to the curb of your marital world faster than you can say ‘dirty diaper’. That will be a crisis.

But you will recover.

It doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have had kids. It just means that you have to stop being one.

Don’t let the children you prayed and longed for steal your intimacy or rob you of your commitment.

Receive any child that the Lord brings into your marriage as a gift and a blessing from God’s hand – but take care that they do not become your idol. The Bible says: “Children are a gift from the Lord” (Psalm 127:3 NLT)

Receive them as such; treat them as such. But do not let them become an idol. The Bible also says:

“Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” (Matthew 19:4–6 ESV)

Children should never be allowed to threaten the primacy of the one flesh relationship of marriage. Children come from that union, but they must not be allowed to come between it. Neither should they be allowed to come between you and the Lord. Jesus was equally clear about that. He said: “whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me” (Matthew 10:37 ESV).

The gift of children can create a crisis in your marriage and a crisis in your spiritual life. If you receive them as they were given, they will bring a blessing – but if you allow them to become an idol, they will bring a curse.

Work together to keep your children in their place.

The Crisis of Loss

The morning of your wedding day will likely represent the high water mark in terms of optimism and hope – and so it should! So much lies before you on that day – the possibility of children, the anticipation of a new home and the prospect of life, mission and work with the one you love and adore. You should be excited and you should be giddy with hope and possibility! But be prepared for loss and disappointment.

It will come.

Jesus said, “In this world you will have tribulation” (John 16:33). That is a disturbingly unqualified statement. You will have. Not you might have. You will have. You will have tribulation, loss, frustration and hardship. Unless Jesus comes, loss, hardship, suffering and pain surely will.

When it comes—and it will—it doesn’t mean that God has stopped blessing you; it doesn’t mean that he has stopped loving you. It just means that you live on planet Earth.

Don’t let the loss and pain that you prayed wouldn’t come rob you of hope and commitment.

In the Old Testament, Job faced the worst pain and loss that any human could imagine. He lost all of his children in a single day. All 10 of his children died in a natural disaster, and when Job got the news the Bible says:

Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped. And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” (Job 1:20–21 ESV)

I have heard parents quote this passage from memory at the funeral of their teenage son. I have heard it sobbed out in faith, through tears by a husband and wife whose baby died in the delivery room.

There is no greater loss than this and no greater crisis to be faced in your marriage.

Whether it is the loss of a child, or the inability to have a child, or the spiritual death and apostasy of a child, or whether it is the loss of health, the loss of a job or the death of a dream—sooner or later the crisis of loss must be faced in your marriage.

When it comes, don’t turn on one another. Don’t blame one another and don’t pull back from one another. Come together. Find comfort and shelter in one another.

This is what friendship is for! This is what marriage is for, most of all!

though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken. (Ecclesiastes 4:12 ESV)

I love what Matthew Henry says about this verse: “Two together he compares to a threefold cord; for where two are closely joined in holy love and fellowship, Christ will by his Spirit come to them, and make the third.”1

When crisis visits your marriage; when you are assaulted by sin or conflict or change, or children or loss – do not surrender your bonds of holy love and fellowship! Hold on! Hold fast and wait for Christ by his Spirit to come and make the third!

A three-fold cord is not quickly broken. You will endure. You will pass through and by his grace you will give him glory when you reach the other side.

Even still, come Lord Jesus.

Read more: https://faithit.com/4-crises-every-marriage-must-make-paul-carter/

Gut-Wrenching Footage Shows Abandoned Baby Being Rescued From Plastic Bag

While parenthood can be one of the greatest sources of joy in one’s life, not everyone is prepared for such a commitment and thus upon hearing that they are expecting, go to some rather disturbing means to get out of it.

And in places where access to family planning health services is low, mothers can get truly desperate after the baby arrives. Worse still is when cultural norms surrounding single motherhood make that status so frowned upon that their lives become unlivable. Sadly, this often ends in people taking drastic and devastating measures.

After a late night of partying and celebration, a group of friends from Caloocan City, Philippines, heard distant crying sounds in the early hours of the morning. Upon further inspection, they made the heartbreaking discovery of a small baby covered in blood and stuffed inside of shopping bags. The infant was discovered in the sidecar of a motorcycle and still had the umbilical cord attached.

Medics confirmed that had the group of friends not discovered the child when they did, it is incredibly likely that the baby would have suffocated inside the plastic bags.

(via Daily Mail)

This is truly tragic for the child. I hope that this baby gets a fresh start after enduring something so terrible.

Read more: http://www.viralnova.com/plastic-bag-baby/

Mesh risks not passed on to doctors

Image caption The mesh implants are used to ease incontinence and to support organs

One of the world’s biggest medical companies failed to tell doctors and patients of the full extent of some of the risks posed by mesh implants.

A BBC Panorama investigation has seen documents that show one of Ethicon’s own in-house doctors warned it had not updated information on complications.

Ethicon is wholly owned by pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson.

It said doctors were informed of the risks and that the company cared deeply about patient safety.

Over the past 20 years, more than 100,000 women across the UK have had transvaginal mesh implants, which are used to treat prolapse and incontinence, often after childbirth.

Chronic pain

The vast majority of women suffer no side effects but others have reported chronic and debilitating pain, with some being left unable to walk.

The plastic meshes, which are made of polypropylene – the same material used to make certain drinks bottles – are used to support organs such as the vagina, uterus, bowel, bladder or urethra which have prolapsed.

The Panorama investigation obtained insider emails that show Ethicon was warned repeatedly by one of their own in-house doctors, about the risks of mesh.

Post-market knowledge

In 2008, Ethicon’s associate medical director wrote to managers at the company with her concerns about the fact the information provided by Ethicon to surgeons had not been updated since 2005.

She said “post-market knowledge” of the products had provided much more information than was given to doctors.

Image caption Ethicon’s own in-house doctor advised updating the information for users

The associate medical director recommended updating the “potential adverse reactions” section of the Instructions for Use (IFUs) for all types of TVTs (tension-free vaginal tape) it had on the market at the time.

In January 2009, she wrote again to say the information for doctors had not been updated and still referred to several complications as “transitory”.

“From what I see each day, these patient experiences are not ‘transitory’ at all,” she wrote.

Constant pain

Image caption Claire Daisley says she is in constant pain

Claire Daisley, from Greenock, is 48.

She struggles to walk after a simple operation to treat a weakened bladder.

She is in constant pain.

Claire had the mesh surgically removed but it can be difficult to take out and after the operation her pain got worse.

She now faces having her bowel removed.

“I don’t want to be here any more,” she said.

“That’s how far it’s taken me because sometimes you don’t know if you can take the next day.”

She is one of 501 women in Scotland now taking legal action.

Image caption Dr Agur addressed the Scottish Parliament on the issue of mesh implants

Dr Wael Agur, a consultant urogynaecologist, told Panorama that the information for use leaflet was vital for doctors.

“It’s so important for me as a surgeon to understand full the risks of a medical device I’m about to implant during a surgical procedure and my first resource would be the instructions for use,” he said.

“I would expect the manufacturer to have a comprehensive list of the adverse events and the risks within the instructions for use so I fully understand these and communicate them.”

A spokeswoman for Ethicon said: “The risks associated with the use of a permanent mesh implant were properly identified in Ethicon’s Instructions for Use (IFUs).”

Clinical testing

Documents seen by Panorama also show that the clinical testing of the vaginal tape TVT Secur before it was put on the market only included trials in sheep and five weeks’ monitoring in 31 women.

Carl Heneghan, professor of evidence-based medicine at Oxford University, said: “It’s just unacceptable and outrageous.

“It just blatantly says we don’t care about patients. We don’t care about safety, we just want to get out and start making money.”

Image caption Claire Daisley struggles to walk after surgery to remove the mesh

Ethicon said that it empathised with those women who had suffered complications but said the company had always had the best interests of patients at heart.

The firm said that all pelvic floor surgery came with a risk and that millions of women had benefited from having treatment for incontinence and prolapse.

Millions of women around the world have had transvaginal mesh implants.

For the vast majority, the surgery has been a success but thousands of women have suffered devastating consequences as a result of mesh surgery.

In some cases the damage is irreversible.

More than 100,000 women around the world are now suing the manufacturers, including Ethicon.

That includes more than 1,000 women in the UK – many of whom are also taking legal action against the NHS who they will claim failed to inform them of the potential risks.

Figures compiled for Panorama show that more than 6,000 women in the UK have had mesh surgery removals in the past decade.

BBC Panorama’s The operation that ruined my life can be seen on the BBC iplayer.

Related Topics

Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-42307953

The Invisible War Zone: 5 Ways Children Of Narcissistic Parents Self-Destruct In Adulthood

“Adverse childhood experiences are the single greatest unaddressed public health threat facing our nation today.” – Dr. Robert Block, MD, former President of the American Academy of Pediatrics
God & Man

Much of society associates the terms “trauma” and “PTSD” with war veterans. Yet we forget about the children who grow up in war zones at home, who suffer psychological scarring at vulnerable developmental stages of their lives. Neglect, mistreatment, abandonment and/or any form of sexual, emotional and physical abuse (such as the type imposed by toxic, narcissistic parents) have been proven by research such as the Adverse Childhood Experiences study to leave an impact that is destructive and long-lasting.

As trauma expert Bessel van Der Kolk, author of notes, our brains can literally be rewired for fear when it comes to childhood abuse. Studies have confirmed that parental verbal aggression has an impact on key areas of the brain related to learning, memory, decision-making and emotional regulation (Choi et. al, 2009; Teicher, 2009). Childhood trauma can affect our impulse control, increase our likelihood of substance abuse, shape the way we examine our environment for threats, and leaves us exposed to a plethora of health problems in adulthood (Bremner, 2006; Shin et. al, 2006).

According to researchers, early childhood trauma can affect our brains in the following ways:

  • Our amygdala, which controls our fight/flight response, emotional regulation, and our moods, becomes hyperactive and enlarged as a result of trauma. We can become extremely emotionally responsive and hypervigilant to potential threats in our environment due to trauma.
  • Our hippocampus, the part of our brain that deals with learning and memory, shrinks. This makes integrating traumatic memories a lot less effective. The traumatic impact of those memories remain a great deal more impactful.
  • Trauma can inhibit the prefrontal cortex, the center of our executive functioning, decision making and judgment. This can affect our ability to regulate our emotional responses as well as plan, focus and organize.

The good news is, healing can help to mitigate some of these effects. Brains can also be rewired in the other direction – meditation, for example, has been shown by studies to produce the opposite effects in the same areas of the brain that trauma affects. Yet the brains and psyches of children are so malleable that the effects of chronic emotional/verbal abuse, let alone physical abuse, leaves a frightening mark beyond childhood. It creates the potential for complex trauma to develop, especially when one is later re-violated in adulthood.

Without proper intervention, support, validation and protective factors, this form of violence has the potential to shift the course of one’s life-course trajectory.

Here are five ways having toxic parents can shape you as an adult:

1. Your life resembles a reenactment of old traumas.

Freud dubbed it “repetition compulsion,” psychologists refer to it as the effects of childhood “conditioning” or “trauma reenactment” and survivors call it, “Oh God, not this again.” The trauma repetition cycle is real. It’s destructive. And it’s birthed in the ashes of a violent childhood.

Ever wonder why some people always seem to be drawn to toxic people, yet perceive more stable individuals as “boring”? They may have a history of childhood trauma.

For childhood abuse survivors, chaos becomes a new “normal” as they become accustomed to highly stimulating environments which shape their nervous system and their psyche. Their fight for survival in childhood leaves a void in adulthood that is often filled with similar struggles.

Chaos becomes our new normal.

What we have to remember is that narcissistic parents aren’t all that different from narcissistic abusers in relationships. They love-bomb (excessively flatter and praise) their children when they need something from them, they triangulate them with other siblings by pitting them against each other and they devalue them with hypercriticism, rage attacks, verbal and emotional abuse.

They engage in intermittent reinforcement as well – withdrawing affection at critical periods while also giving their children crumbs to make them hope that they’ll receive the love they always desired.

As children, our bodies become so addicted to the crazymaking effects of emotional abuse that we find ourselves more intensely attached to partners who tend to replicate a similar chaotic effect on our bodies as our narcissistic parents.

We feel biochemically attracted to those who resemble our early childhood predators because they mirror the severe highs and lows our bodies went through in childhood. When love-bombing turns into devaluation, our body becomes biochemically bonded to our abusers.

This biochemical addiction leaves us reeling.

In the realm of relationships in adulthood, there are all sorts of chemicals being released when we’re in a bond with a predator. They create a very powerful attachment that’s actually strengthened by intermittent cruelty and affection, pleasure and punishment.

Dopamine, oxytocin, adrenaline, cortisol and our serotonin levels are being affected; these are involved in attachment, trust, fear, and stress. In fact, children who have endured maltreatment tend to have lower oxytocin levels due to the abuse, which leads to a greater number of indiscriminate relationships in adulthood (Bellis and Zisk, 2014).

There’s also a psychological component to this addiction.

When we are the children of narcissistic parents, emotionally abusive people fit the profile of what our subconscious has been primed to seek. Yet they often come disguised as our saviors.

Complex trauma survivors, as trauma expert Dr. Judith Herman notes, are in a ‘repeated search for a rescuer.’

“Many abused children cling to the hope that growing up will bring escape and freedom. But the personality formed in the environment of coercive control is not well adapted to adult life. The survivor is left with fundamental problems in basic trust, autonomy, and initiative. She {or he} approaches the task of early adulthood―establishing independence and intimacy―burdened by major impairments in self-care, in cognition and in memory, in identity, and in the capacity to form stable relationships. She {or he} is still a prisoner of childhood; attempting to create a new life, she re-encounters the trauma.”
Judith Lewis Herman, 

Love-Bombing Pulls Us In And Keeps Us Trapped In Loveless Relationships

The children of narcissists are drawn to narcissists in adulthood to fill a void. They are looking for the validation they never received in childhood and narcissists, on the onset, present us with a lot of it in the love-bombing stage when they are “grooming” us into believing that we’re the perfect partners for them. We crave their excessive praise because we lacked the unconditional positive regard we deserved in childhood but never received.

As children, we learned to associate betrayal with love, and were conditioned to see mistreatment as a form of connection. In fact, it was the only form of connection offered to us. Survivors of narcissistic parents have an extra layer of healing to undergo. Not only do we have to unlearn all of the unhealthy belief systems, we also have to clear our bodies and our minds of its familiarity with toxicity.

When the fears from our childhood are finally removed, we meet peace and stability with resistance; our bodies and our minds have to readjust to baseline levels of safety and security before we find healthy relationships appealing.

“The drive to complete and heal trauma is as powerful and tenacious as the symptoms it creates. The urge to resolve trauma through re-enactment can be severe and compulsive. We are inextricably drawn into situations that replicate the original trauma in both obvious and nonobvious ways…Re-enactments may be acted out in intimate relationships, work situations…adults, on a larger developmental scale, will re-enact traumas in our daily lives.” Peter A. Levine,

For example, a daughter who is unloved by her abusive father may end up with emotionally unavailable – or even sociopathic – partners in adulthood due to an instilled sense of unworthiness. To her, cruelty is all too familiar and abusers feed on her resilience and ability to ‘bounce back’ from abusive incidents. She is used to taking a caretaking role – catering to someone else’s needs while neglecting her own. She has been subconsciously “programmed” to seek dangerous people because they are the “normal” that causes her to associate relationships with torment.

Survivors who are abused as children can later get married to and have children with abusive partners as adults, investing time, energy and resources into people who ultimately seek to destroy them. I have read countless letters from survivors who have been raised by toxic parents and ended up in long-term abusive marriages.

If these wounds are not addressed and the cycle is never disrupted, the first eighteen years of life can literally affect the of your life.

2. Verbal and emotional abuse has conditioned you towards self-destruction and self-sabotage.

Narcissistic parents subject their children to hypercriticism, cruel punishment and a callous disregard for their basic needs as human beings. In order to survive, children of narcissists have to depend on their caretakers for food and shelter – which means they have to play by the rules of their toxic parents if they want to live. This creates what Dr. Seltzer calls maladaptive “survival programs” that we carry onto adulthood – habits like people-pleasing, sacrificing one’s needs to take care of others, feeling “selfish” when pursuing our goals and dimming our light so we don’t become noticeable enough to be targeted.

“You may have internalized early in your life that your needs were not as important as others’ needs were. Lack of empathy from a parent or caretaker, neglect, blame, criticism, failure to accept you as you are and appreciate your qualities and other such experiences have shaped your belief that others’ needs should come before your own.” Nina W. Brown,

A lack of safety and security in the crucial developmental stages of life can create destructive, insecure attachment styles when we are adults, causing us to gravitate towards people who will fail to meet our needs and disappoint us, time and time again.

It can also drive children of narcissists to sabotage themselves, due to the put-downs experienced during a time when the brain is highly susceptible to the harmful effects of trauma. In response to psychological violence, children of narcissistic parents develop a sense of toxic shame, self-blame and an unyielding inner critic that makes them feel as if they’re not worthy of the amazing things life has to offer.

Children of narcissists may be convinced they’re not good enough, or they may go in the other direction: they may become overachieving perfectionists in an effort to prove themselves. Either way, they are lacking self-validation and an internal sense of stability that can only come from healthy self-love.

3. Addictions and dissociation become default coping mechanisms.

Trauma can affect the reward centers of our brain, making us more susceptible to substance abuse or other addictions (Bellis and Zisk, 2014). When we’ve been traumatized at such a young age, dissociation, a survival mechanism which detaches us from our experiences, our bodies and the world – can become a way of life. Depending on the severity of the trauma, survivors of childhood abuse may also struggle with addictive behavior as adults.

“The human brain is a social organ that is shaped by experience, and that is shaped in order to respond to the experience that you’re having. So particularly earlier in life, if you’re in a constant state of terror; your brain is shaped to be on alert for danger, and to try to make those terrible feelings go away. The brain gets very confused. And that leads to problems with excessive anger, excessive shutting down, and doing things like taking drugs to make yourself feel better.

These things are almost always the result of having a brain that is set to feel in danger and fear.  As you grow up an get a more stable brain, these early traumatic events can still cause changes that make you hyper-alert to danger, and hypo-alert to the pleasures of everyday life…

If you’re an adult and life’s been good to you, and then something bad happens, that sort of injures a little piece of the whole structure. But toxic stress in childhood from abandonment or chronic violence has pervasive effects on the capacity to pay attention, to learn, to see where other people are coming from, and it really creates havoc with the whole social environment.

And it leads to criminality, and drug addiction, and chronic illness, and people going to prison, and repetition of the trauma on the next generation.”Dr. Van der Kolk,Childhood Trauma Leads to Brains Wired for Fear

This addictive behavior is not just limited to alcohol or hard drugs; it can range from gambling to sex addiction to unhealthy relationships or even self-harm. Survivors of toxic parents can overeat or undereat as a way to regain control and agency over their bodies; they may develop eating disorders, a penchant for risky sexual behavior or other compulsive behaviors to soothe their unresolved grief.

It’s not necessarily about the specific addiction, but the fact that the addiction provides a convenient escape from the day-to-day realities of immense pain, depression, anxiety and rage that often lie in the aftermath of unresolved childhood wounding.

4. Suicidal ideation is devastatingly common and pervasive among childhood abuse survivors.

Suicidality increases as ACEs score (Adverse Childhood Experiences score) increases and so does the risk of developing chronic health problems in adulthood.

When one has been traumatized as a child and then later re-victimized multiple times in adulthood, a pervasive sense of hopelessness and perceived burdensomeness can result. Survivors of chronic, complex trauma are especially at risk for suicidal ideation and self-harm as adults, because they have witnessed time and time again the cycle repeating itself. In fact, survivors who have four or more adverse childhood experiences are twelve times more likely to be suicidal.

This learned helplessness lends itself to belief systems that cause survivors to feel as if nothing will change. They may feel “defective” or different from others because of the immense adversity they experienced. The future may look bleak if a survivor has not been properly validated or gotten the professional support needed in order to heal.

5. There are disparate inner parts that develop which seem out of alignment with your adult self.

While many people have heard of the “inner child,” fewer people address the fact that there can be inner parts that can develop as a result of chronic abuse. Some of these parts are those we’ve hidden, sublimated or minimized in an attempt to mitigate the risk of being abused – for example, when victims of abuse shy away from the limelight to avoid being punished or criticized for their success.

Then there are “parts” which are defensive responses to the trauma itself. These parts manifest in self-sabotaging ways, but they are actually misguided attempts to protect us. Complex trauma survivors may be so protective of sharing who they really are with the world that they close themselves off from the people who might really “see” and appreciate them. This ruins the possibility of authentic connection or vulnerability with others. This defensive strategy may have been a survival mechanism they developed when younger to avoid the threat of being harmed by a violent parent. It served them as helpless children, but it can cause them to shut out the possibility of intimacy with others as adults.

That being said, there are many ways in which self-sabotage can present itself depending on context and even the type of abuse endured. For example, a male complex trauma survivor may find himself developing a hypermasculine side to himself to ward off memories of sexual abuse. The daughter of a hypercritical narcissistic mother may develop an inner part that is overly angry and defensive to criticism, whether constructive or destructive.

Whether they stemmed from childhood or adult traumas, these ‘parts’ have much to tell us. Silencing or repressing them only makes them stronger in their resolve to protect us – so instead, we have to listen to what they want us to know. Integrating these parts in a healthy manner requires that we learn what they are trying to protect us from and find alternative ways to create a sense of safety in the world moving forward.

Cutting the Emotional Umbilical Cord

The children of narcissistic parents can begin their healing journey by working with a trauma-informed professional to navigate their triggers, process their traumas and learn more about healthier boundaries. Using mind-body healing techniques can also be helpful to supplement therapy; trauma-focused yoga and meditation have been scientifically proven to help heal parts of the brain affected by early childhood trauma. A daily exercise regimen is also a great way to replace the unhealthy biochemical addiction we developed to toxicity. It’s a natural way to release endorphins and gives us that “rush” of feel-good chemicals inviting toxic people into our lives.

There are tremendous benefits from going No Contact or Low Contact with toxic parents as we heal. Minimum contact with a narcissistic parent along with strong boundaries can help us to detox from the effects of their cruelty and in essence learn how to breathe fresher air. Grieving our complex emotions is also necessary to recovery, as we are likely to feel a very powerful bond to our parents despite the abuse (and in fact to the abuse) we endured. Seek positive role models, especially of the gender of your toxic parent, that can help remodel what you are looking for in an intimate relationship.

Address subconscious behavior patterns by bringing the true beliefs underlying them to the surface. Many children of narcissistic parents are trained to believe in their unworthiness; it’s time to start rewriting these narratives. Use positive affirmations, journaling, and speak directly to any repressed inner parts that may be sabotaging your success. It is only when you feel truly worthy of respectful, compassionate love on a subconscious level, that you will be able to run in the other direction when you encounter toxicity.

Despite the challenges on their journey, childhood abuse survivors of narcissistic parents have incredible potential to lead victorious lives. They can channel their adversity into freedom, peace, and joy. They have tremendous resilience, an extraordinary ability to adapt and a knowledge of coping mechanisms that will serve them well as they begin to heal.

To learn more about narcissistic abuse and the effects of childhood trauma, be sure to also read:

by Pete Walker

By Karyl McBride

by Bessel Van der Kolk

by Patrick Carnes

by Peg Streep

by Susan Forward and Craig Buick

by Nina W. Brown

References
Bremner, J. D. (2006). Traumatic stress: effects on the brain. , (4), 445–461.
Bellis, M. D., & Zisk, A. (2014). The Biological Effects of Childhood Trauma. (2), 185-222. doi:10.1016/j.chc.2014.01.002
Brown, N. W. (2008). Children of the self-absorbed: A grown-up’s guide to getting over narcissistic parents. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications.
Choi, J., Jeong, B., Rohan, M. L., Polcari, A. M., & Teicher, M. H. (2009). Preliminary Evidence for White Matter Tract Abnormalities in Young Adults Exposed to Parental Verbal Abuse. Biological Psychiatry, 65(3), 227-234. doi:10.1016/j.biopsych.2008.06.022
Harris, N. B. (2014, September). How childhood trauma affects health across a lifetime. Retrieved November 15, 2017.
Herman, Judith Lewis. . Basic Books, 1997.
Levine, P. A. (1997). . Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books.
Lazar, S. W., Kerr, C. E., Wasserman, R. H., Gray, J. R., Greve, D. N., Treadway, M. T., . . . Fischl, B. (2005). Meditation experience is associated with increased cortical thickness.  (17), 1893-1897. doi:10.1097/01.wnr.0000186598.66243.19
Schulte, B. (2015, May 26). Harvard neuroscientist: Meditation not only reduces stress, here’s how it changes your brain. The Washington Post. Retrieved September 5, 2017.
Shin, L. M., Rauch, S. L., & Pittman, R. K. (2006). Amygdala, Medial Prefrontal Cortex, and Hippocampal Function in PTSD.  (1), 67-79. doi:10.1196/annals.1364.007
Seltzer, L. F. (2011, January 07). The “Programming” of Self-Sabotage (Pt 3 of 5). Retrieved November 15, 2017.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2017, September 5). Adverse Childhood Experiences. Retrieved October 10, 2017.
Teicher, M. (2006). Sticks, Stones, and Hurtful Words: Relative Effects of Various Forms of Childhood Maltreatment. American Journal of Psychiatry, 163(6), 993. doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.163.6.993
Van der Kolk, B. (2015). . NY, NY: Penguin Books.
Van der Kolk, Bessel. Childhood Trauma Leads to Brains Wired for Fear. 3 Feb. 2015. Accessed 15 Nov. 2017

Want more writing like this? Read the book 

“Shahida Arabi is ahead of our time. I couldn’t have been in a darker place in my life when I found this book, after suffering at the hands of an abuser who was also a narcissist. This book gives you hope above all else, and it’s easily relateable if you have gone through abuse. Arabi is a talented, strong, real force of nature kind of writer. I have learned, survived and thrived in the time that I have made this purchase.” – Desiree

Read more: https://thoughtcatalog.com/shahida-arabi/2017/11/the-invisible-war-zone-5-ways-children-of-narcissistic-parents-self-destruct-in-adulthood/

Are veggie burgers and cheese-less pizza the solution for a sustainable future?

Image: pixabay

Eco-conscious consumers may want to practice portion control before chowing down on that cheeseburger.

Recent studies about the environmental impact of agricultural industries like meat and dairy have produced worrying statistics. Widely cited research suggests that red meat products are responsible for as much as 40 times the amount of greenhouse gas emissions compared to vegetables and grains. The dairy industry is a culprit as well, with traditional dairy farming contributing to greenhouse gas emission through cow manure, feed production, and milk processing. Practices within both industries can contribute to soil degradation, water waste, and harmful runoff.

The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals outline top-priority objectives for tackling global issues like climate change, food waste, and sustainable agriculture. Major corporations and small startups alike are taking steps toward making these goals realities — and a few companies are specifically focusing on responsible consumption.

Here’s the good news: You don’t need to pare down your diet to carrot sticks in order to make an impact. Maintaining an environmentally friendly lifestyle is less about going completely meat-free, and more about responsible choices. Below are four organizations proving that an eco-conscious lifestyle is easier than you might think.

Beyond Meat

Companies like Beyond Meat want to ensure that carnivorous consumers can have it all: Big, juicy burgers and a sustainable diet. The company produces plant-based products that look and (more importantly) taste like real meat. Beyond Meat’s burgers are so realistic that some grocery stores have even started stocking them in the meat aisle.

Much of the meat industry’s environmental impact revolves around problematic livestock practices, which is why plant-based foods are a more sustainable option. Companies like Beyond Meat can help mitigate many problems inherent in the meat industry — without asking consumers to completely forego their beloved burgers.

Sabra

Sabra’s Plants with a Purpose initiative is a program launched in 2016 that combats food deserts — or areas/neighborhoods that lack access to fresh, healthy, and affordable fruits and vegetables. According to the company’s estimates, more than 23 million Americans live in such deserts. Many of these families ultimately end up turning to less environmentally conscious (and not to mention, less healthy) meals simply due to lack of access and affordability.

Image: sabra

Plants with a Purpose establishes organic work-share gardens in locations like Richmond, Virginia, where Sabra’s Gold LEED certified hummus-manufacturing facility is headquartered. Alongside community education efforts, these types of gardens help improve urban agriculture in underserved communities. 

“This is the land of plenty, but there are plenty who lack far too much including access to the necessity of fresh fruits and vegetables,” said Sabra CEO Shali Shalit-Shoval on the Sabra website. “As a brand dedicated to creating a fresh new way of eating and connecting, we are uniquely positioned to help address this very real and sometimes surprising challenge facing communities across the country.”

Daiya

“Find your happy plate,” riffs plant-based foods brand Daiya

Much like Beyond Meat offers a burger alternative to consumers who crave their daily dose of beef (but want to skip the side of guilt), Daiya offers a slew of dairy-free foods that taste about as close to the real deal as possible: We’re talking pizza, mac and cheese, and even gooey grilled cheese sandwiches. Better yet, the company ensures that every step of their supply chain — from the way ingredients are grown to packaging materials — are sustainable.

Image: daiya

The brand offers a variety of dairy-free dishes for eco-conscious consumers and for people with dietary restrictions. Their products are also free from common allergens like gluten, soy, eggs, peanuts, fish, and shellfish. On Daiya’s website, the company also provides a variety of plant-based living tips and recipe suggestions for getting the most out of their products.

Worldwide demand for milk products is skyrocketing. While the dairy industry is evolving in its own right, companies like Daiya that provide plant-based alternatives are another option for environmentally savvy consumers who hope to cut down their carbon footprint.

Beauty Without Cruelty

It’s not just what we put in our bodies that can have a detrimental environmental impact: What we put on our bodies counts, too. The cosmetics industry is often a perpetrator of ecologically harmful pollutants like some preservatives (including parabens and triclosan), microplastics, and UV filters.

Image: pixabay

A member of the Vegan Society, BWC makes beauty products that are 100% suitable for vegans and vegetarians; in addition, the brand uses recycled materials and responsible sourcing methods to minimize its environmental footprint. Their products range from hair and skincare treatments to nail polishes and makeup. Many of the company’s products are fragrance-free and others are gluten-free, too, for consumers with particularly sensitive skin.

Living an eco-conscious lifestyle doesn’t have to be tedious or difficult. With the rise of sustainability-focused startups as well as concerted efforts from established brands, the bar for responsible consumerism is being raised every day.

The value of investments can go down as well as up. Your capital and income is at risk. Assets used for secured borrowing are at risk if you do not keep up with repayments. In the UK, UBS AG is authorized by the Prudential Regulation Authority and subject to regulation by the Financial Conduct Authority and limited regulation by the Prudential Regulation Authority. © UBS 2017. All rights reserved.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/12/06/companies-reducing-meat-consumption/

The Shirk Report Volume 448

Welcome to the Shirk Report where you will find 20 funny images, 10 interesting articles and 5 entertaining videos from the last 7 days of sifting. Most images found on Reddit; articles from Facebook, Twitter, and email; videos come from everywhere. Any suggestions? Send a note to submit@twistedsifter.com

20 IMAGES

Friday!
When he pauses and takes a deep breath (might be my fav gif this year)
Oh look a balloon!
I wonder what my cat looks like up close?
When Halloween ends and your wife asks you to put out the Christmas decorations
Bro showing a gorilla photos of other gorillas
I’m with them
Wait, what?
“I’m saving my legs for the game”
Dad reflexes
Wait for it
What is this blasphemy
Oh yeah! Oh no!
Thanks Facebook!
Just another glitch in the Matrix
Man, even dogs get left hanging
When the game is on but you’re at a wedding, so you pretend to take a photo
Damn, a whole case of them
That’s gangsta
Until next week

10 ARTICLES

Two Stars Slammed Into Each Other And Solved Half Of Astronomy’s Problems. What Comes Next?
Your boss might be better as an algorithm
First Digital Pill Approved to Worries About Biomedical ‘Big Brother’
The forgotten art of squatting is a revelation for bodies ruined by sitting
America’s Wildest Place Is Open for Business
It’s time to stop trusting Google search already
How the Zombie Fungus Takes Over Ants’ Bodies to Control Their Minds
Are Honey Nut Cheerios Healthy? We Look Inside the Box
Tragedy of the Common
Amazon’s Last Mile

5 VIDEOS + awesome people

HERE’S TO A CONVENIENT WEEKEND!

Read more: http://twistedsifter.com/2017/11/the-shirk-report-volume-448/

4 WTF Lessons The World Teaches Us About Sexualizing Teens

I’m not surprising anyone by saying that the world sexualizes teenage girls. If I printed out all of the articles and books on that subject, we’d have to build a library on the moon to contain them. And now that I said that, I really want to Google “sexualized teen moon library” to see what comes up. But I’m not going to. I don’t think my brain could handle the results.

What fascinates me (and equally creeps me out) are the unspoken messages behind this sexualization. I mean, it’s bad enough on its own, but when you start breaking down the lessons girls are being taught, shit gets weird. Lessons like …

4

Young Girls Are Sexually Valuable Because They Are Virgins

Virginity is elevated and mystified in our society to the point of practically being a superpower. An innocent virgin is sacrificed in adventure stories to summon a demon or appease a god. An uppity unicorn only allows virgins to touch it because it’s the judgiest pointy horse in the universe.

Did you know there’s no solid, medical definition of virginity? It’s literally not a physical thing. It’s just a concept somebody came up with to add or subtract value from a woman. Because women used to be products, sold from one man to another for a couple of pigs and some farmland. “Virginity” is just a buzzword someone came up with to help advertise their product. “Girl: Now with 50 percent more virginity!”

We have this picture of women being hermetically sealed from birth until some lucky guy gets in there to pop the Lord’s soda tab, but that’s completely wrong. The hymen isn’t even a total seal — it’s just an extra bit of tissue that naturally has a hole in it, which can sometimes be stretched the first time someone has vaginal sex. Or riding a bike, using a tampon, a jousting accident … pretty much anything you do in a normal day.

Taking a woman’s virginity has always been coveted as an achievement for men, but with modern women actually getting to choose when they have sex, the best chance a man has to get with a virgin relies on him being the very first mistake a girl makes. That coveting and sexual value is one of the many disturbing reasons girls are pursued at such a young age.

To see it in action, you don’t even need to pull up studies or do heavy research or even go to a porn site. Just type “school girl” into Google. Not sexy school girl. Just “school girl,” as in “a girl who is in school.” I don’t even need to tell you what you’re going to get. Hell, most of you won’t type that in, because you don’t want the results on your search history. You didn’t ask it for a bunch of half-naked women, but like an insane tweet from Donald Trump at 4 a.m., it’s just inevitably there. The top web searches that come up for me are all for sexy schoolgirl costumes. The only outlier is a link to the “schoolgirl” hashtag on Instagram, which populates the same collage of young girls, porn, and anime porn. You know … classic school activities.

Are these portrayals meant to be graduate students of consenting age? Hell no, they’re not. They’re wearing a parody of the uniforms once worn by girls in religious middle and high schools. A uniform so highly sexualized that most religious institutions now require students to wear khaki pants. Try to make those sexy, creeps.

3

Girls Want To Look Pretty In Order To Attract Men

Recently, Stranger Things and IT have given us a crop of talented young actors entering the public eye, which can be a nightmare for those actors. Mara Wilson wrote a great piece for Elle about the way 13-year-old Millie Bobby Brown is discussed in the public. Here’s an article from The Today Show‘s website which pronounces Brown “all grown up” right in the title. But she’s not all grown up. She’s a 13-year-old girl who looks like a very pretty 13-year-old girl. She’s not a sex object; she’s a young girl who put on a nice dress and fun makeup for a movie premiere. She’s following the exact standards her industry demands. She’s wearing Hollywood’s version of a uniform.

So why do we feel the need to pronounce her “all grown up”? It’s because she looks good. There’s a problem with that, and it has nothing to do with her — it’s with us. We think that if a woman is dressing up, it must be to impress a man. So when teenage girls dress up, they must be impersonating grown women in an attempt to entice men. The reality is that there isn’t a separate clothing style for young girls that marks them as not being objects for sexualization. We’re supposed to do that with our grown, adult brains. That’s our job, not theirs. And apparently, we’re bad at it.

Take, for instance, school dress codes. For boys, the dress code is “Are you wearing pants? You’re good.” For girls, it involves a myriad of yeses, nos, and maybes that are almost always enforced by adult men. Even though teaching is a largely female-dominated profession, women are in leadership roles less than 25 percent of the time … which is actually a recent improvement.

This leads to an adult man telling girls in school that they have to go home and change their leggings because men can’t even think straight when they wear them. As if they are dressing with seduction in mind, and not comfort. Remember a few years ago when all those articles were being written about whether it was appropriate for girls and women to wear leggings in public? If not, Google it real quick, and then try not to punch the next human you see.

It was a debate that was quickly settled by women not giving a shit, because leggings are comfortable as hell. They weren’t popularized because they make us look good. Leggings are one of the few instances of comfortable, wearable fashion that have been coming into style lately, along with rompers and, yes I’ll say it, UGG boots. Every winter, people get up in arms about “basic bitches” in their UGG boots and leggings, but guess what? UGGs, and even the cheap knockoff UGGS that I wear, are essentially slippers. It’s winter. Women and girls are cold, and we want to be comfortable, so we dress accordingly.

Now you can essentially wear pajamas and slippers in public, and it’s acceptable. I’ve never loved fashion this much, and not one reason for the clothing I choose is “to entice men.” At any age, women are mainly dressing for our own comfort.

2

Romance Between An Older Man And A teenage Girl Is Just Sexy Forbidden Love

I’ve written before about the way teen shows portray teacher/student relationships as both super sexy and super not-problematic … but they’re not the only culprit. Let’s talk about music again for a second. What do you think these songs have in common? “You’re Sixteen, You’re Beautiful And You’re Mine,” “Sixteen Candles,” Happy Birthday Sweet 16,” “Sweet Little 16,” “Only Sixteen.” If you said that all of them are songs by grown men about how hot 16-year-old girls are, congratulations! Your prize is sadness.

What is it about 16 that makes it such a desirable age? Could it be because that’s the lowest age of consent in the United States? Let’s ask the lyrics of “Happy Birthday Sweet 16”: When you were only six I was your big brother. Then when you were ten we didn’t like each other. When you were 13 you was a funny valentine. But since you’ve grown up your future is sewn up. From now on you’re gonna be mine. That sounds like a threat the Riddler sends to Batman.

That’s not a song about a grown man looking back on teen romance fondly. It’s about watching a young girl grow into … a slightly older girl whom society now says it’s OK to fantasize about. It’s not a coincidence that all of these songs focus on this very young age.

Now, most Americans consider the age of consent to be 18 (even though that’s actually only the case for a fifth of the states). Remember the countdown clocks to when Emma Watson turned 18? Or how about this article from CNN, “Countdown For Kendall Jenner Turning 18: Gross Or Fair Game?” Let me go ahead and solve that Rubik’s Cube for you, CNN: It’s gross.

We’re obsessed with the age of consent because a relationship between a young girl and an older man is seen as romantic, forbidden love. The younger the better! But it has to be legal, of course. So we stick to that magic number and try not to be creeped out by the idea of a 33-year-old Benny Mardones promising a 16-year-old girl “a love like you’ve never seen.”

1

Men Just Can’t Help Themselves Around Attractive Women Of Any Age

The idea that men are incapable of controlling themselves around an attractive woman is disturbingly common. Look at any femme fatale in a spy movie. She uses her sexuality to get what she wants, because men just can’t resist her. Remember when Lucy Liu incited a riot with her butt in Charlie’s Angels?

If you’re not well-versed in Lucy Liu’s leather-clad butt, let me paint you a picture: Liu walks into an office building full of men who follow her around, even though no one has told them to. She then uses a riding crop to whip them up into a horny frenzy, and unleashes them on the company as a distraction so she can do spy things. The poor men can’t help themselves. It’s a butt! They are powerless to resist Liu’s command. Except they totally aren’t. There’s a surprising amount of movie problems that could be solved with masturbation.

This idea is just as insulting to men as it is to women. Of course they can control themselves! They’re people, not animals. It’s not difficult to tell a woman no. If it is a problem for you, practice by pretending she’s asking for equal pay.

This kind of logic isn’t just insulting; it’s dangerous. Liu is an adult woman in this case (and yes, I’m aware this this scene is supposed to be comedic), but even the core of the joke is “Men are powerless to resist.” But this seeps into the real world as a genuine belief. What if a man is attracted to a 13-year-old girl? He can’t help himself, right? He has no agency over himself if a woman he finds attractive is around, wearing clothes, and walking. What happens next is out of his control.

So if you’re one of those people who think women are overreacting to “beauty standards” or “objectification,” understand that this is why. It’s why we take offense to the word “overreacting.” Kids should be worrying about kid things, and not Benny Mardones.

Follow Lydia on Twitter.

Give your kids a leg up against society with some science, and have them try out a Circuit Kit to hone their electrical engineering skills.

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For more, check out 5 Horrible Life Lessons Learned from Teen Movies and 5 Problems in Movies You Only Notice If You’re Old.

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Read more: http://www.cracked.com/blog/4-wtf-lessons-world-teaches-us-about-sexualizing-teens/

Mass starvation is humanitys fate if we keep flogging the land to death | George Monbiot

The Earth cannot accommodate our need and greed for food. We must change our diet before its too late, writes Guardian columnist George Monbiot

Brexit; the crushing of democracy by billionaires; the next financial crash; a rogue US president: none of them keeps me awake at night. This is notbecause I dont care Icare very much. Its only because I have a bigger question onmy mind. Where is all the food going to come from?

By the middle of this century there will be two or three billion more people on Earth. Any one of the issues I am about to list could help precipitate mass starvation. And this is before you consider how they might interact.

The trouble begins where everything begins: with soil. The UNs famous projection that, at current rates of soil loss, the world has 60 years of harvests left, appears to be supported by a new set of figures. Partly as a result of soil degradation, yields are already declining on 20% of the worlds croplands.

Now consider water loss. In places such as the North China Plain, the central United States, California and north-western India among the worlds critical growing regions levels of the groundwater used to irrigate crops are already reaching crisis point. Water in the Upper Ganges aquifer, for example, is being withdrawn at 50 times its recharge rate. But, to keep pace with food demand, farmers in south Asia expect to use between 80 and 200% more water by the year 2050. Where willit come from?

The next constraint is temperature. One study suggests that, all else being equal, with each degree celsius of warming the global yield of rice drops by 3%, wheat by 6% and maize by 7%. These predictions could be optimistic. Research published in the journal Agricultural & Environmental Letters finds that 4C of warming in the US corn belt could reduce maize yields by between 84 and 100%.

The reason is that high temperatures at night disrupt the pollination process. But this describes just one component of the likely pollination crisis. Insectageddon, caused by the global deployment of scarcely tested pesticides, will account for the rest. Already, in some parts of the world, workers are now pollinating plants by hand. But thats viable only for the most expensive crops.

Then there are the structural factors. Because they tend to use more labour, grow a wider range of crops and work the land more carefully, small farmers, as a rule, grow more food per hectare than large ones. In the poorer regions of the world, people with fewer than fivehectares own 30% of the farmland but produce 70% of the food. Since 2000, an area of fertile ground roughly twice the size of the UK has been seized by land grabbers and consolidated intolarge farms, generally growing crops for export rather than the food needed by the poor.

While these multiple disasters unfoldon land, the seas are being sieved of everything but plastic. Despite a massive increase in effort (bigger boats, bigger engines, more gear), the worldwide fish catch is declining by roughly 1% a year, as populations collapse. The global land grab is mirrored by a global sea grab: small fishers are displaced by big corporations, exporting fish to those who need it less but pay more. About 3billion people depend to a large extent on fish and shellfish protein. Where will it come from?

All this would be hard enough. But as peoples incomes increase, their diet tends to shift from plant protein to animal protein. World meat production has quadrupled in 50 years, but global average consumption is still only half that of the UK where we eat roughly our bodyweight in meat every year and just over a third of the US level. Because of the way we eat, the UKs farmland footprint (the land requiredto meet our demand) is 2.4 times the size of its agricultural area. If everyone aspires to this diet, how exactly do we accommodate it?

Graph from Our World in Data.

The profligacy of livestock farming is astonishing. Already, 36% of the calories grown in the form of grain and pulses and 53% of the protein are used to feed farm animals. Two-thirds of this food is lost in conversion from plant to animal. A graph produced last week by Our World in Data suggests that, on average, you need 0.01m2 of land to produce a gram of protein from beans or peas, but 1m2 to produce it from beefcattle or sheep: a 100-folddifference.

Its true that much of the grazing land occupied by cattle and sheep cannot be used to grow crops. But it would otherwise have sustained wildlife and ecosystems. Instead, marshes are drained, trees are felled and their seedlings grazed out, predators are exterminated, wild herbivores fenced out and other life forms gradually erased as grazing systems intensify. Astonishing places such as the rainforests of Madagascar and Brazil are laid waste to make room for yet more cattle.

Because there is not enough land to meet both need and greed, a global transition to eating animals means snatching food from the mouths of the poor. It also means the ecological cleansing of almost every corner of theplanet.

A
I see the last rich ecosystems snuffed out, the last of the global megafauna lions, elephants, whales and tuna vanishing. Photograph: Douglas Klug/Getty Images

The shift in diets would be impossible to sustain even if there were no growth in the human population. But the greater the number of people, the greater the hunger meat eating will cause. From a baseline of 2010, the UNexpects meat consumption to rise by70% by 2030 (this is three times the rate of human population growth). Partly as a result, the global demand for crops could double (from the 2005 baseline) by 2050. The land required to grow them does not exist.

When I say this keeps me up at night, I mean it. I am plagued by visions of starving people seeking to escape fromgrey wastes, being beaten back byarmed police. I see the last rich ecosystems snuffed out, the last of the global megafauna lions, elephants, whales and tuna vanishing. And when I wake, I cannot assure myself that it was just anightmare.

Other people have different dreams: the fantasy of a feeding frenzy that neednever end, the fairytale of reconciling continued economic growth witha living world. If humankind spirals into societal collapse, these dreams will be the cause.

There are no easy answers, but the crucial change is a shift from an animal- to a plant-based diet. All else being equal, stopping both meat production and the use of farmland to grow biofuels could provide enough calories for another 4 billion people anddouble the protein available for human consumption. Artificial meat will help:one paper suggests it reduces water useby at least 82% and land useby 99%.

The next green revolution will not be like the last one. It will rely not on flogging the land to death, but on reconsidering how we use it and why. Can we do this, or do we the richer people now consuming the living planet find mass death easier to contemplate than changing our diet?

George Monbiot is a Guardian columnist

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/dec/11/mass-starvation-humanity-flogging-land-death-earth-food

9 Scientific Ways To Fix Your Most Common Sleep Problems

Trouble sleeping at night? Whether it’s stress, body pain, or a shiny blue screen keeping you up, not getting those 7-9 recommended hours of shut-eye can throw off your entire day. Thanks to the awesome power of science, however, we now know some easy ways to tweak our sleeping habits that can remedy the 9 most common problems people face.

No, we’re not talking about melatonin supplements or chamomile tea (though if those work for you, carry on). It’s as simple as setting a morning alarm, or being careful of what time you drink caffeine, or knowing where to place pillows to alleviate certain ailments. Even the temperature of your room plays a role in how well you sleep.

Well, we can’t tell you all of these great tips just yet. Scroll down to find out how to get on your way to sweet dreams tonight – or now, if your eyes are getting heavy just reading this.

(h/t: Tech Insider)

Source: Mayo Clinic

Source: Mayo Clinic

Source: Healthline

Read more: http://www.boredpanda.com/sleep-problems-science-fix-illustrations/