New River gorges in flatland as rainfalls persists Ana Risatti woke to an ominous roar outside her home. Thinking noise was continuation of night’s downpour, she stepped outside to look. “I nearly fainted when I saw what it really was,” said Risatti, 71. Instead of falling from sky, the water she heard was rushing down a deep gully it carved overnight beyond wire fence around her home. Sudden appearance of a network of new rivers in Argentina’s central province of San Luis has puzzled scientists, worried environmentalists and disheartened farmers. It raised urgent questions over the environmental cost of Argentina’s dependence on soya beans export crop.Ana Risatti: ‘I nearly fainted when I saw what it really was.’ Photograph: Uki Goñi for the Guardian. “The roar was terrifying,” said Risatti, remembering that morning three years ago. “The land had opened up like a canyon. Water was pushing through far as I could see. Huge mounds of earth, grass and trees were being carried along the water surface.” The ravine carved its way dramatically across Risatti’s farm that night is grown to 15-miles (25km) long. Deepest point measures more than 60 metres wide and 25 metres deep. The largest several new water courses, the Río Nuevo (New river) runs through Cuenca del Morro, a groundwater basin mild incline covers 373,000 hectares (nearly 1,500 sq miles) of flatlands in San Luis province. Until early 1990s, Morro basin a patchwork of water-absorbing forests and grasslands, but mostly gone, replaced by maize and soya beans. Argentina’s transformation into a soya bean powerhouse resulted in widespread deforestation to make way for the crop, now covering 60% of the country’s arable land. Some 2.4m hectares of native forest lost in the last 10 years, according to Greenpeace.Esteban Jobbágy: ‘Argentina is a banana republic so soya bean is new banana. As Esteban Jobbágy, environmental expert at University of San Luis, said a sudden appearance of new rivers is due to the convergence of three factors: “Number one, rainy years in recent past climate has been changing. Next, the nature of the soils are quite unstable. Third, this watershed is hosting a lot of agriculture the first time. Argentina is world’s third largest soya bean producer after US and Brazil and accounts for 18% of global production. In 2016, combined exports of soya beans, soya meal and soya bean oil made up 31% country’s total exports. “Argentina is a banana republic, soya bean new banana, says Jobbágy without soya bean our farms could not survive and the country couldn’t survive.Unlike deep-rooted forests replaced that absorbed large amount of groundwater all year round soya bean has short roots and grows a few months of the year. So caused aquifer beneath Morro basin to rise, increased speed of subterranean flow in turn triggering collapse of area’s permeable soil. Around 2008, farmers started to report appearance of shallow run-off channels, but in last five years, pace of erosion quickened dramatically those streams became deep trenches. Climbing down side of the new gullies, Jobbágy claws at cliff wall and a clod of soil dissolves in his hand. “It’s basically dust,” he says. “When it gets soaked, it is really unstable so what looks like a solid becomes liquid. So humble river moves a lot of sediment despite the relatively gentle incline,” Jobbágy explains. That leads to a second problem for farmers: sometimes entire fields downstream disappear overnight when rivers dump layers of sediment as metre (3ft) thick.Alberto Panza this used to be totally flat pasture land.’ Photograph: Uki Goñi for the Guardian. Alberto Panza, a 41-year-old cattle rancher is one of few holdouts refusing to lease land to giant soya-bean conglomerates that largely replaced Argentina’s small farmers. Driving his battered pick-up truck along a dirt road, Panza remarks how deserted land looks today: no longer gauchos Argentina’s cowboys riding bareback through fields. Farmhouses are demolished to open up more land to lease to soya producers. So many farmers live in city,” says Panza. “It’s easier to move out and lease your land to company than to farm yourself.” Arriving at his ranch, Panza walks into land described as a Martian landscape. In the middle of a field, a giant canyon more than 60 metres wide, 25 metres deep drops abruptly away, slow current of water at the bottom. Panza’s farm cut in two by canyon. This used to be totally flat pasture land, he says. An electricity pole lies on its side on the river bed, its cables still attached to poles standing on the other side. Because the river keeps changing course so unable to build a bridge or a path across water to reach the other side of his land. With less than one third of Morro basin left covered in forest or grasslands, nearly half devoted to soya and maize government of San Luis has finally stepped in to try to save the basin from becoming a river delta.The Río Nuevo carves out a canyon. The government after new water courses started controlling outskirts of the city of Villa Mercedes and two major roads that carry international overland trade between Argentina and neighbouring Brazil. At San Luis office of the National Institute for Agricultural Technology (Inta), 3 scientists Claudio Sáenz, Juan Cruz Colazo and Mario Galván studying the Morro basin for the last 10 years. So partly due to their efforts, the province passed emergency law in 2016 obliging landowners to preserve 5% of farms as forest, pasture, plant water-consuming winter crops if land not used for soya bean. The government tells so far about 60% of farmers in the basin have made a commitment to meet the obligations,” says Galván. But is just a grain of sand, cautions Sáenz. Loss of small farmers compound problem agri-conglomerates have little incentive to rotate crops or preserve sustainability of the soil, he said. “If a plot is unusable, they simply move on to lease another area, leaving the owners to deal with the problem. It’s a system that not only erodes the soil, it also erodes the agricultural know-how of landowners.” Jobbágy spends much time on the field, measuring flow of the new rivers, trying to chart their ever-changing courses and developing links with the few remaining farmers. “Many landowners very volatile link with their land,” he says. “With the demolition of so many farmhouses, the soul of the land is being lost. As long as the system works, all is fine. But when nature rears up and says: ‘Enough!’, it becomes a very difficult situation to reverse.”
- This story published with support of European Forest Institute and Lookout Station EFI’s new initiative connecting journalism and science around the topic of climate change
- one took part in group singing
- another took part in in creative play sessions
- a third group received their usual care, which could include family support, antidepressants or mindfulness
The singing workshops saw the mothers learning lullabies and songs from around the world with their babies and creating new songs together about motherhood. And those with moderate to severe symptoms of post-natal depression reported a much faster improvement than mothers in the usual care and play groups. All the groups improved over the 10 weeks, but in the first six weeks, singing group already reported an average 35% decrease in depressive symptoms. The Principal investigator Dr Rosie Perkins said the study, although small, was significant because it was important to tackle the symptoms as quickly as possible. “Post-natal depression is debilitating for the mothers and their families. As research indicates some women think accessible singing with their baby helps speed up recovery at one of the most vulnerable times of their lives,” she said. The lead author Dr Daisy Fancourt at University College London, said singing is another useful therapy to offer women. Many mothers have concerns about taking depression medication whilst breast-feeding and uptake of psychological therapies with new mothers is relatively low,” she said. “These results are really exciting as suggests something as simple as referring mothers to this community activities could support their recovery.” Dr Trudi Seneviratne, who chairs the Royal College of Psychiatrists’ Perinatal Faculty, said: “It’s exciting to hear about the growing evidence base for novel psychosocial interventions like singing to facilitate a more rapid recovery for women with post-natal depression. “I look forward to more work in this area in the future, as it will be enjoyed by both mothers and their babies.”Since the study, Breathe Arts Health Research has started running singing workshops in partnership with the Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust for women with post-natal depression across the south London boroughs of Lambeth and Southwark. Community and socialising helps overcome isolation and loneliness of new mothers. The feel good factor of singing with the babies is definitely a win- win situation lifting the mood and going out of the home helps to lift their spirit too. Isolated mothers can organise own singing sessions with friends in communities and their babies benefit too from a calm, happy, relaxed mother. If child raising is recognised or considered as a valid hardwork and to celebrate mothers and carers the world will become a better and safer place. So families must be prioritised and to help mother’s like Finland pays both parents to raise their children. Depression is caused by loneliness, pressure, stress of modern living without extended family support and children become depressed too. So it is good news to help mother’s and also to improve motherhood as an honourable collaboration with God’s idea to multiply to replenish the earth.
Relax and enjoy Christmas as a time of year to recount your blessings and to celebrate Jesus. Remember to thank God for sustaining your life and providing for you throughout the years. Enjoy this time of year which puts much pressure on people to spend more than ever. It is a good time to reflect and take stock of the year to assess what worked well and how to improve life next year. Above all it is good to keep in mind that Christmas is about love and the birth of Jesus Christ to save mankind. The whole world takes time to celebrate Jesus and give thanks to God for our families and our friends. Enjoy without fussing over the perfectionist details and obsessing over materialistic image, instead value the joyful festive season and be grateful and thankful for life itself. As the world gets worse it is necessary to appreciate favour of God not just material details. Christmas Day can be very difficult day for young care-leavers,” Sissay says.“For some going home for Christmas, painful and there’s arguments and dysfunction. There are young people with nowhere to go feeling sad on their own that day so feel a greater sense of loss. “It’s about making people smile to let them know they matter especially on that day.”
So many people are homeless, or live in squalor, poor, cannot afford privilege of safe environment, in dangerous region of war zones. Thank God for the Prince of Peace Jesus and do not hurt family or friends and colleagues over your selfish bizarre stubborn behaviours that ruins the festive season. The weather affects some so can trigger unusual reactions too. With abundant alcohol and substance use can get some situations out of hand. Yet the purpose of Chtistmas is to bring joy to the world, goodwill and peace on earth. Human relations are challenged as families out of touch assemble under one roof with many shenanigans. And emotions and feeling severely tested it is good to hold tongue for sake of comprise and peace. Ask for help or advise if not sure about presents or gifts to give each person as Jesus received gifts relating to his life, call and destiny. Gifts must be relevant and meaningful to the receiver not just what you insist on giving them whether they like or want it or not. Remember the golden rule of gifts to yourself and how it makes you feel. Be kind-hearted especially with the innocent children around do not to ruin the day for them. If physically present be a part of family or rather stay distant and send presents. instead of stressing all. Some might cite Christmas as a cause of breakdown of a family and their marriage. By fighting each year over Christmas among other issues toxic relationships can reach the tipping point at that time. Yet those who listen, change, adapt to enjoy Christmas but the stubborn ones continue ruining it for loved ones. Without an awareness over behaviour that the obsession with achieving that one, symbolic or perfect family causes misery not merriment. In the Bible, Jesus said in Luke 12:15, Take care and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in abundance of possessions.
One person described themselves as a tyrant in family festive season. Fretting over every last detail for weeks ahead in a bid to make it all extra special. And refusing to delegate anything even the decorating of the tree or laying the table since none else ever got things right in their opinion. Determined everything goes according to their plans only as the control freaks the atmosphere in family home is more fearful than festive. So it seems more like a dictator than a Father Christmas sharing love, joy, happiness and kindness. Looking back, realised its not worth fussing over nitty gritty silly unnecessary details so enjoy Christmas.
Virtual reality lifestyle seekers have so many millions of online friends on their Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, You Tube making them famous and popular. This although good is said to be unrealistic as demands of true friendship requires quality time spent getting to know each other better. Having support of friends online is inspiring, encouraging and can be helpful to isolated people. Professor of a university of psychology and social well-being however says having real life connection with 4 trustworthy friends and reliable people in your lives makes huge difference. Billions bring comfort to people especially in time of need yet as darkest times pass so ‘friends’ move on to their reality and the challenges of their daily lives. The anger, pain, guilt, loss, sorrow, practical grief part of the journey of healing recovery is personal no matter how popular or famous. The private times to deal with life are valid as public life. Having a group of reliable friends listening, supporting necessary in times of suffering. Yet the private processing of vulnerable moments is a serious time of deep reflection alone if even in a crowd among people. As other things are done personally like eating, drinking, bathing, walking, driving or running, unless an infant or incapable, real life experience actions you must do so understand fulfilment, contentment inner joy, strength, personal endurance are resilient qualities. This is a spiritual instruction highly didactic, helpful for personal, business group interactions:
1. *Noah* built the *ark* by faith but, he used measurements. There is a place for rational thinking in walk of faith. Not all decisions should be made with blind hope! God is the Source of direction and instructions to mankind to have good success and be saved.
2. *Sarah’s pregnancy* was a miracle, but it took nine months like any other. God’s plans does not negate importance of process. Sometime you need to wait for things to work it out normally.
3. The *stone* that killed *Goliath* was anointed, but *David’s skill* was also involved. Developing skills does not just mean God anointed, if you play a piano, play it to the fullest. Don’t take people through the agony of listening to mere cacophony in the name of “singing to hear the sound of your voice.” Skills are important but nothing rude with saying “you can’t sing, find something to do in the Glory of God.”
4. *Esther* received favour to become *queen* but she bathed and prepared her appearance. Preparation is key to become fit for occasion. Get knowledge, go to school. Stop blaming auto-correct, check spelling on social media. Rely less on technology. The ease with which we can obtain information today makes our lives much more convenient, but it can also make us stupider. The neural pathways involved in reading maps, for example, are probably much weaker in Millennials’ brains than in the brains of their parents. Millennials rely heavily on GPS navigation to help them find their way, while older generations had to get out an atlas if they got lost. If they can’t remember what a word means, many people quickly Google it than sit down and focus on trying to remember. Instead of strengthening their ability to recall information, obtain information with no thought. Rely on the phone less and your brain more. Prepare, because expect nothing but the best in life!
5. The *promised land* was full of milk and honey, but they also had to plow, feed cattle, and take care of sheep. Miracles are communication tools that God uses to instill trust, faith and the knowledge of his nature. You need to work, don’t expect miracles in a specific area of life all time. No one pays rent for a full year with miracle money. Though we need it, we want it, but God wants permanent regular supply. Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day, teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime.
6. *God* is the one who *created human capacity* to memorize things, yet told many prophets to write their message. Spirituality does not mean we should not use tools to package the message.
7. *Ruth* received favour of God to marry *Boaz*but the coaching of Naomi was necessary. Human coaching is necessary, you need to submit and learn from someone to spare you from silly unnecessary mistakes in life.
8. *Moses* heard directly from God, but he was wearing himself out with work, it was the wisdom of his father in law saved him from dying premature death with exhaustion. It is wisdom to put on seat belt, brush, teeth adhere to medical advise. Being spiritual does not mean asking angels to cook food for you so some things in life God or friends will not do for you.
9. *Namaan* was a mighty soldier and a friend of Kings but acted on instructions influenced by Jewish maiden. Important people are influenced by “insignificant” people. The key thing is proximity that generates influence to save your life.
Mishandling natural world can cause hinderance to progress, a total neglect of the spiritual world definitely causes total failure in all areas of life.
*Balance is the key.*
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments given you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. “Talk about them when you sit at home, when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up says Deuteronomy 6:4–7 in the Bible. Remember God in your youth, in your old age with your family. “As for me and my household we will serve the LORD God Yahweh says Joshua 24:15.
Throughout recorded history majority of humanity has seen existence of the Creator, Who intentionally brought the Universe in to being and sustains all life as an obvious truth. This truth does not stem from doctrine or belief system, but it is at the heart of all religions, and is underlying, indispensible principle of most spiritual practices. In Buddhism, misrepresented as an atheistic tradition, recognizes existence of guiding consciousness. As the Zen Buddhist master, Soyen Shaku, said, “Let me state that Buddhism is not atheistic as the term is ordinarily understood. It has certainly a God, the highest reality and truth, through which and in which this universe exists.” Scientific discoveries have only reinforced this realization, as it becomes even clearer the Universe was carefully designed. Prominent British mathematician Roger Penrose calculated the probably of random chance producing a Universe conducive to life at vastly less than scientifically accepted definition of “zero.” Even if one were to accept arguments from those who claim the Universe is not so “fine tuned,” we must rely on the mind-boggling, and empirically unproven, concept of multiple Universes, and then probability of random events leading to life only budges from staggeringly unimaginable to extraordinarily unlikely. And we are still left with such clearly designed, incredibly complex, mechanisms as DNA and the brain. This is not “God of Gaps” explanation, any more than looking under the hood of a car and deducing a designer is “Engineer of the Gaps.” To postulate a random, undirected, meaningless, existence in the face of unbelievable complexity and purpose of life is, in actuality, the much more irrational, and less logical, conclusion. This has been compared to proposing that a hurricane whipped through a junkyard and randomly assembled a jet plane. Late in his life the previously ardent atheist Anthony Flew famously noted, “What I think the DNA material has done is that it has shown, by almost unbelievable complexity of the arrangements which are needed to produce life, intelligence must have been involved in getting these extraordinarily diverse elements to work together.” For his honesty, courage and humility, Flew was mocked, and even labeled as senile, by many ardent atheists, who saw his statement as an unforgivable, heretical violation of their strict dogma that any hypothesis is acceptable except God.
To make the scientific claim that one will “go where the evidence leads,” and yet consider such utterly unsupported hypotheses as multiple Universes, alien seeding (which, of course, still leaves the questions of where the aliens came from), mind memes (a total fantasy) and lightening strikes animated primordial chemical soup to create life (which has never been scientifically reproduced), while not even considering the obvious possibility of a deliberate Creator, is to be intellectually dishonest at best. What are the reasons for this irrational, and often very nasty, refusal by some to even consider the existence of a Creator as a viable hypothesis? I offer several possibilities:
A Childish Concept of God
For many, the belief in a Creator is rooted in a personal, direct encounter, in God experience, others often is pure consciousness, pure creation, endless love, animating energy of everything, or the Ultimate Reality. For those who experienced God Presence God concept is sophisticated not childish, based on immaturity, knowledge and innate gifts. Jehovah God is a man seated on throne in white cloak, long beard who made the world according to Isaiah in the Bible.” Richard Dawkins, for example, said, “We are all atheists about most of the gods societies have ever believed in; some of us just go one god further,” he showed a childish image of God. And he showed a lack of any experience in the spiritual realm. If he had any direct experience he would have known that all these societies were attempting to describe the mystery of Spirit in human archaic terms and idea of competing gods is a literalistic and immature one. Jehovah is the Most High God Above all gods made by man so must humbly recognize theology is an activity for which, frankly, he has little talent or understanding. Such a childish view of God is not limited to atheists but applies to religious folks who place dogma over personal experience, and for whom any digression from dogma is punished.
Tyranny of the Mind
The human mind is a powerful tool, but can also be a cruel tyrant. While it is skilled at storing and analyzing data, it cannot feel, and so there is much such as art, music, compassion, love, sex or Spirit that it cannot truly know. The mind, though, insists on analyzing these things, and tries to convince us that its analysis is the only way of knowing. It does this because it has little trust or no respect for anything not measurable and linear, and consequently it resists recognizing the other essential human facilities: needs of the body, the wisdom of emotions, and most especially, the guidance of Spirit. For those who have developed strong connections to body, emotions and Spirit, the mind can be managed and used properly. There are those who for a variety of reasons, have weak connections to body, emotions and Spirit. Their mind has free reign, dominating their lives and seeking to eliminate anything it cannot rationally comprehend. Then the mind eliminates anything that challenges its supremacy. For such a tyrannical mind, concept of a Creator God Ultimate Superior Being of intelligence that dwarfs theirs own is completely intolerable.
An Ego Strategy
As I’ve written in several previous blogs, the ego is the software implanted in us to ensure survival. Its job is to scan for threats and devise strategies to avoid pain and death. The ego knows only fear, and it will fiercely fight anything that threatens its survival. And nothing is more frightening to the ego than sharing or ceding control with another, because this feels like death. So the ego’s favorite strategy for protecting itself is the refusal to surrender to anything or anyone. It will even go so far as refusing to acknowledge a mistake, to apologize, to recognize superior abilities in others, to admit a weakness and, most pathetically, to ever express gratitude. I recently heard a man state that he “does not believe in gratitude,” but instead prefers the word “appreciation”: “I appreciate a delicious meal or a beautiful sunset, but I feel no need to say ‘thank you,’” he proudly proclaimed. This is the voice of ego. And to make the claim, as did the late Christopher Hitchens (who I deeply respect for his exposure of injustice), that there is no Creator/Designer because Hitchens did not approve of the way that eyes are designed, is also the pathetic voice of ego; it is the refusal to say “thank you” for the gift of life and miracle of sight. This is sad. Clearly one does not need to believe in God or follow religion to be wonderful, happy, caring, human being. What matters most is how we treat each other. But the refusal to even consider that a Creator may exist often accompanied by the adamant desire to “prove” otherwise and to ridicule those who do especially in the face of much blatant evidence, is an indication that a psychological mechanism is at work. Perhaps what is needed for such irrational position may not be more intellectual investigation, but psychoanalysis.