Moving forward | Pesticide Action Network
Reclaiming the future of food and farming

Moving forward

Kristin Schafer's picture
Storm over farm

Like other public interest and social justice groups across the country, we're wrestling with exactly what the recent election means for our work going forward. This will take some time to sort, but one thing is already crystal clear: our efforts will be more challenging — and more critical — than ever before. We're ready.

There are already deeply disturbing signals from the incoming administration. For example, Mr. Trump's pick to lead the transition team for EPA — and presumably the top candidate for Administrator — is openly and avidly anti-science. As leader of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, Myron Ebell denies the reality of climate change and asserts that pesticides are nothing to worry about.

We're sorry, Team Trump, but the science very clearly shows otherwise — as does the on-the-ground reality in rural communities.

From cancers to learning disorders, pollinator declines to devastating crop loss, people's health, livelihoods and well-being are on the line in very real ways — with farmers, farmworkers, rural children and Indigenous communities continuing to bear the brunt of harmful pesticide exposure. Yet all indications are that Mr. Trump plans to put Dow, Monsanto and friends firmly in the driver's seat at key national agencies.

We doubt they'll be putting rural families' health and well-being on the top of their agendas.

Not looking back

In the face of these troubling developments, we'll be ramping up our efforts to "reclaim the future of food and farming." That's not just a spiffy tagline at PAN — it reflects our clear-eyed understanding that "Big Ag" and the "Big 6" pesticide/seed corporations have too much control of our food system, and they're steering it in entirely the wrong direction.

The fact is, these corporations won't benefit much from thriving local food systems. Or diverse, resilient cropping systems that rely on ecological balance. Or reduced use of unnecessary, health-harming chemicals.

But the rest of us will.

So. Going forward, we'll continue to aggressively challenge industry's control of our food system — fighting further consolidation of the pesticide/seed corporations, and shining a spotlight on the most egregious corporate shenanigans in the years ahead (we expect there will be many).

A bigger battle

We know we won't be able to convince corporate lobbyists and science deniers to help us build the healthy, resilient and just system of food and farming we so urgently need.

So we'll be moving on without them, building on our core strengths: coalition organizing, grassroots science and strategic communications. In addition to challenging corporate control, going forward we will:

  • Double down on state-based policy work, rooted in priorities identified by those most directly harmed by pesticides. We've already made important progress here, and we can keep winning.
  • Demand that policy decisions at all levels of government are based on independent science, and expose efforts to undermine scientific integrity.
  • Stand with those most at risk from what appears to be a systematic effort to roll back civil and human rights across the country

Yes, Team Trump, pesticides are bad for you. So is science denial, undue corporate influence and threats to basic civil rights. We demand — and deserve — better.

Kristin Schafer
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is PAN's Program & Policy Director. With training in international policy and social change strategies, Kristin oversees PAN’s program work. She has been lead author on several PAN reports, with a particular emphasis on children’s health. She serves on the Policy Committee of the Children’s Environmental Health Network. Follow @KristinAtPAN