This year marks my 10-year anniversary of having survived breast cancer. Thanks to the support of my wonderful family and friends and some fabulous doctors, I am well today. I was also lucky to benefit from the advice of others who have been through cancer, such as fellow survivor Olivia Newton John who's insight and advice helped me to make it through that incredibly difficult chapter and move back into full health.
One of the "gifts" of cancer has been my accumulated knowledge and understanding about the causes and prevention of this disease. Being on the board of Healthy Child Healthy World for the past several years also enlightened me tremendously.
It doesn't take much digging to start to see the picture of something so insidious that we are all surrounded by in our every day lives: the chemicals, pesticides and preservatives in our midst have reached epic proportions. We've only just begun to scratch the surface on what the long-term effects may be on us. I believe the sheer accumulation of exposure to many of these chemicals in one's lifetime can and does put us at increased risk of illness.
I'm touring at the moment, promoting my new record and the other day we stopped for gas at a convenience store. I needed something to eat and I found myself standing in the middle of several isles of "food." I was aghast to realize that there I was in a room full of products, all of which was laden with additives, processing chemicals, antibiotics (in the milk), food coloring, preservatives, etc. There was simply nothing to eat, or at least nothing I should put in my mouth knowing what I know now after cancer.
How did we get so far off the mark? Even the three or four poor sad looking apples were sprayed with pesticides. I searched through the back wall of glass cases filled with cold plastic bottles, different colored sports drinks and pumped up caffeine drinks with tons of sugar -- a carbonated wasteland -- looking for just a bottled water. I accidentally purchased one that (in the fine print) also included some horrible artificial sweetener. Honestly it tasted like what I imagine drain cleaner would taste like, only worse. Even if I'd found the plain bottled water -- I know too much. I know that it's very possible it traveled long distances in a hot truck and it's entirely possible that what leeches out of plastic into the water during that process is also not something I want to ingest. You really only need to experience chemotherapy once in this lifetime to be ready to avoid having to repeat that.
It's extremely daunting and disconcerting to realize that these outposts of the corporate propagation of the food industry have pretty much taken over as the only option for miles and miles along the exits of America's highways. We are living in a nutritional war zone. Those who know better have to vigilantly search out natural healthy food, and those who can afford to buy organic are the lucky ones.
I don't know what it's going to take. I only know that I believe there is an army growing -- an army of concerned Mothers and Fathers and citizens who are starting to wake up. I have to believe we can create a ground swell and turn this thing around. People who've buried their loved ones far too early and for reasons that are unacceptable are starting to join voices. Our health has been undermined by big inhuman bottom-line-driven companies that are significantly incapable of caring about the repercussions of the use of these products. It's not going to be easy to get out of the grip of this. I feel like we're all like those astronauts in that movie 2001: A Space Odyssey when they realize that "Hal" is slowly taking over control of the ship. But the first part of regaining our freedom is education and awareness. We need to take a lesson from Ghandi in what can be accomplished when the masses exercise the power of a "collective shift."
I'm sorry but a corporation is NOT a person and is NOT entitled to protection as such under the constitution. Until we have laws that reflect that truth we will continue to be under the grip of this siege.
The atrocity of this oil spill in the Gulf can be one of the catalysts for this wake-up call. That, and many other outrageous statistics must be presented, yes, us to ourselves, today, now. This severed artery of Mother Earth is bleeding out. As we scramble in chaos and watch helplessly, let's use the momentum of our pain and anger to shift in every little way we can.
The power of the collective shift IS the power of the individual.
As a songwriter, music is my first line of defense. So I offer this song written by myself and my friend David Wilcox. It's called "Right Downstream" and it is free to the world with the hope that it will shine a little light on the subject of this wild wild west of chemicals we have allowed to seep into our everyday lives. Please pass it along. Let's start the shift. A million micro-protests makes a big shift. Let's start dancing and swinging our weight. We are so much more powerful than we realize.
A dust of malathion just a hint of DDT
Di-ethylhexyl phthalate really makes a recipe
A chemical bouquet with names too long to say
Triclosan and polly tetra flo-ethylene
Arsenic and mercury down the river to the sea
Mixing with dioxins from the plastic trash
Tuna eats the fish that eats the fish that eats the little fish
And soon your tuna sandwich comes to
Bite you on the a---spertame
I know the wind is gonna blow
The clouds can't wait til rain is clean
Round round the earth is turning round
And we all live right downstream
Pressure treated lumber
Poisons where the children play
Baby drinks a bottle tainted with bisphenol-A
Toxins down the drain circle 'round as rain
Popping up around us-never really thrown away
A trace amount of plasticiciser thickens up an appetizer
Right along with tartrazine and msg
Deca brominated diphenyl ethers
Mix with Butylated-hydroxy-toluene
Also known as BHT
"Back To Love" May 25th in US and Canada