Kenwood Press


Serving the communities of Kenwood, Glen Ellen and Oakmont

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Publisher's Corner: 04/15/2017

The Good Earth



Confirmation bias is defined as ďa tendency to search for or interpret information in a way that confirms oneís preconceptions.Ē We all do this, to a greater or lesser extent. So Iíve been happy to read lately about the importance of the microbiome, and the role of bacteria in promoting good health. According to the National Institutes of Health, ďThe human microbiota consists of the 10-100 trillion symbiotic microbial cells harbored by each person, primarily bacteria in the gut; the human microbiome consists of the genes these cells harbor.Ē Am I being too scientific? I interpret this to mean that you can have a dirty house with lots of pets and small children, and it will make you a healthier person!

This thought flashed through my mind the other night as we were having dinner, with the dogs lying underfoot and the cats prowling around. When we first moved to Sonoma County back in 1994, I was violently allergic to almost everything Ė cats, horses, dust, pollen, mildew Ė it was so bad that I thought weíd made a big mistake and might have to move back to San Francisco. But over time, and with the help of acupuncture, I got better. At least I think it was the acupuncture. Once a week for about three months I would go and get needles stuck in me, lie there for about an hour (usually I fell asleep), and drink a muddy herbal concoction every morning. Maybe it was the nap, but all I know is that the allergies subsided to the point that Iím no longer allergic to cats, and my sneezing is confined to peak pollen season.

When we moved to Kenwood we collected a ragged assortment of farm animals Ė chickens, ducks, turkeys, sheep, a cow, plus two dogs and two cats. Life was a mess back then, and Iím convinced that I am now a United Nations of microbiota. Our kids, too, seem to have made it to adulthood allergy-free. Must be that farm living!

But you donít need to live on a farm to expose yourself to germs and bacteria. Take Alecís car, for example. Itís a virtual germ-mobile, with the added benefit of being a closed system for the most part. In that car are the remains of countless lattes, morning buns, popcorn, old newspapers, hay bales (seriously), and just plain dirt. Heís getting a good dose of bacteria just driving around town. Why should he ever go to the carwash?

But seriously, people have gone overboard with all the anti-bacterial soaps and cleansers, which, in fact, are counter-productive as they kill 99 percent of germs, leaving that last one percent to morph into super-bacteria that canít be controlled with most antibiotics. Plain old soap and water do a great job without destroying the whole ecosystem.

Earth Day is April 22, a good time to consider how we interact with and impact the planet. Itís a good time to get dirty cleaning up our creeks and roadsides. And you can relax knowing that the dirt you track inside isnít going to kill you. It might even be good for you.

Ė Ann



Recently Published:

06/15/2017 - Walking while phoneless
06/01/2017 - Older and wiser
05/15/2017 - Toys R Not Us
05/01/2017 - Hamilton!
04/15/2017 - The Good Earth
04/01/2017 - The doctor is in
03/15/2017 - You gotta start somewhere
03/01/2017 - Pot-Holier than thou
02/15/2017 - Save the tiger?
02/01/2017 - Executive Order 17-4891
01/15/2017 - Breaking news!
12/15/2016 - Making a listÖ
12/01/2016 - Post what?
11/15/2016 - Down the rabbit hole
11/01/2016 - Decisions and derision

Community Calendar

Forest Therapy walk
06/24/2017
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Dinner dance to support GE Fire Department
06/24/2017
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Hiking for Fitness
06/24/2017
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Meditation at the Depot
06/25/2017
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Embracing an Adult Faith or What it Means to be a Christian
06/25/2017
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Kenwood Farmers Market
06/25/2017
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Youth Backpacking Camp
06/27/2017
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St Patrickís Episcopal Church gathering in Oakmont
06/29/2017
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Funky Fridays
06/30/2017
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Checkerbloom Society hosts chili cook-off
07/01/2017
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Kenwood Farmers Market
07/02/2017
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