Bare Bones Biology 336 – Running Canaries

Bitsy and I are returning to the life of runners this winter. I just learned that a “runner” is the name for a canary who can’t stop moving, traveling, looking for a place where she can live without being made sick just from breathing the air, drinking the water and eating the food that have been polluted for profit by our dominant social system. We are lucky still to have a place to move to. (I think there is.) We are the “canaries in the coal mine” who suffer from MCS, multiple chemical sensitivities.



Now wait, suffering from a syndrome is how the corposystem likes to think of us – something wrong with us — a syndrome of abnormalities of which we should be ashamed. For the most part this is not true. Ours are mostly not abnormal responses to poisonous substances. They are, for the most part NORMAL reactions.


That’s what our bodies are for. To protect us from harmful aspects of our environment. Our bodies are SUPPOSED to react negatively to poisonous substances, just as they are supposed to hurt if we cut ourselves — so we won’t. And our bodies are doing a very good job of what living flesh was meant to do; that is, getting the poisons out of our systems, and telling us we should run away from them.


The problem is that our bodies are overworked, and the result is inflammations and reactions of various kinds that make us sick. Yes, we are more sensitive than you are, because the threshold of tolerance varies. Probably if anyone were to study it, chemical sensitivity is expressed in the population as a normal curve; that means it’s a multifactoral genetic response. But it’s very unlikely anyone funded by the corposystem will study it. They don’t want to know. Though there are some actions happening in Europe.


161013-color-asc_7211rssI can hear it now, some people out there thinking: “Survival of the Fittest, let them die, we have too many people anyhow.” (I remember that was also Hitler’s rationale, more or less, and look where it got him). But yes we do have too many people, and that is one cause of the pollution — but now we also have biological and psychological tools to reduce the population without killing people off if we ever really want to deal with our major problems.


And anyhow, evolution doesn’t work that way. Changing our genetic makeup takes many, many generations, and by that time it will be too late for you and your children.


MCS is rather like those thermometers people post during fund drives, with the red part indicating what percentage of a money-making goal has been reached. Regarding MCS, early on, just 5% of the most sensitive or heavily exposed people were affected, but as we add more and more toxins into the air, water and our food and homes, then more and more people are pushed over their personal thresholds. Think of a goldfish in a bowl to which we add every day just a wee bit more of, lets say, a modern detergent, or perfume, or gasoline? And we can’t clean it out. Where is there left to run to?


I have watched this happen during my lifetime, and my guess now is that at least 40% of people in the USA are affected. Most of them don’t know it, and boy will they be angry when they figure out it’s not just us canaries.


And then, as we continue to pour toxic substances into the environment that is already overloaded, eventually 100% of everyone will be suffering one form or another of MCS. They will think it’s “normal” to be sick; they already do think it’s normal. Well, I just said, in these circumstances, it is normal. But I don’t like being sick. So I run. It works. For now.


But why don’t we get ourselves fixed, you say?


Fix what? How? How can you “fix” normal? We do not have an incurable disease. That’s one of the definitions of MCS. Our suffering is cured when/if we can get away from the poisons.


Why don’t you stop making us sick?


If my system is normal and your system is normal, and your system is just a tad more efficient than mine – then my problem is your problem.


You just don’t know it yet.


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Healthy Living

Bare Bones Biology 186 – Freedom

130902-SimpleLife-ASC_5799RLSsMy 2013 was akin to an out-of-body experience with an equivocal ending, neither moving forward to a born-again future nor trudging back in defeat to the septic valley that spit me out.

The quest began the year before, when I finally followed my own advice and faced up to a couple of unpleasant realities, one of which I have known most of my life, I am chemically sensitive, and getting older does not make it better. But I carry on trying to prove to myself that it isn’t so. On the “special problems,” portion of the questionnaire, I always answer “none,” and end up trying to meditate in a cloud of incense; or trying to enjoy a party, or a job, or a lecture or rally, while engulfed in perfume or cigarette smoke, or breathing the air in an airplane, or an elevator, or in Houston, or Northern France, or Southern California.

I tried again in 2012 to prove that it isn’t so. And again I failed. So of course in 2013, I set out once again to disprove the reality and discovered, alas, that I am still me. Such is the weakness of woman. Finally, now, I am very sadly moving myself to a place where I don’t have to feel sick unless I really am sick.

It doesn’t help, trying to discuss chemical sensitivity with physicians or friends or colleagues, because they don’t want to believe it either. We all would much rather attribute the symptoms to stress or some kind of mental pathology. We want to see a straight line relationship between some chemical and me puking in the bathroom, or wiping my bloody nose, or – but I won’t bore you with individual symptoms because the symptoms of chemical sensitivities can be extraordinarily subtle at the lower levels of expression, possibly because it IS stress, the stress of toxic compounds coursing through one’s system. You probably have experienced some yourself and don’t know it: the dreadful draggies; food cravings I have well documented at least for my own body.

130902-Property-ASC_5848RLSThe cause of chemical sensitivities, according to one theory, is that our livers remove toxic chemicals from our blood stream; and some livers, mine for example, do not do a good job of it.

If this theory is correct, it explains, in part, the variability of symptoms, because the many unattural toxins that the liver has been unable to break down for excretion, will instead be carried throughout the body by the blood, and the resulting symptoms will tend to be generalized, diverse, cumulative and easy to blame on the victim rather than on the air she is trying to breath; and – ☺ – for the most part they go away when she removes herself from the source, unless the damage is permanent;but — ☹ — I have been able to find only one location with joyfully clean air.

On the up side, in this one place, after about 6 weeks of breathing clean air in the canyon, I did indeed feel born again. Like when I first moved to Maine; like when I first moved to Texas to escape the toxins of NYC. But because it is very cold there in the winter, and the place is off the grid and not always accessible, it’s not a good winter home.

Therefore Bitsy and I left the lovely valley of good health before we could be snowed in, and spent the rest of 2013 driving around the West, first to southern California and then north, up the coast to the middle of Oregon, and then across the mountains and high plains back to the formerly lovely Texas valley that contains my “permanent” home that is now a focal point of Tar Sands pipelines, Gulf Oil disasters, GMO crops with their heavy loads of fertilizer and plant poisons, coal fired power plants, thousands of oil wells and, more recently, fracking. When we returned “home” in December, the symptoms also returned and progressed.

So, we will be out of here ASAP, healthier but much the sadder for it, and will look for winter quarters with access to electricity and internet, for next year, near our clean-air canyon. There we will relax, enjoy doing one thing at a time, and submit to the God of Life, if not to Man and not to the corposystem.

Wishing the same for your year,


“It is with the coming of man that a vast hole seems to open in nature, a vast black whirlpool spinning faster and faster, consuming flesh, stones, soil, minerals, sucking down the lightning, wrenching power from the atom, until the ancient sounds of nature are drowned out in the cacophony of something which is no longer nature, something instead which is loose and knocking at the world’s heart, something demonic and no longer planned – escaped it may be – spewed out of nature, contending in a final giant’s game against its master.” Loren Eiseley, The Firmament of Time (1960)
“I am now fully aware of what multiple chemical sensitivity, or MCS, is and how it is affecting my life and the lives of my children. I wish with all my heart that I had known 20 years ago so that I could have prevented some of the harm that has come to myself and my family. But how could I have? MCS is a hidden disorder. It is a much maligned and misunderstood disorder. To understand it, one must understand the whole evil underpinnings of our greedy commercial system. Who wants to think about that? Who wants to acknowledge that our entire way of living is toxic, built on lies and greed? That’s a real downer, right?” Quote from blog, Sound as a Crystal

081213-CanyonAnd how many of you who are reading this just don’t feel very good and you don’t even know what it feels like to feel good? So you can’t compare, and you believe it’s something wrong with yourself because nearly the entire medical community – both chemical and “naturopathic” says it is, but all you really need is real air to breath.

Read also: Poisoning our Children, Surviving in a toxic world. By Nancy Sokol Green, The Noble Press Inc.

This is Bare Bones Biology, a production of and KEOS radio, 89.1 FM, in Bryan, Texas. For a podcast of this week’s program go to or click on the link below.