As I look back on 2011, I am truly struck that this year, we worked together to indeed leave a better world for our children, our nieces, nephews and grandchildren — even in the face of intractable resistance on concerns of utmost importance for the future of our world. All of us at PAN are deeply grateful, if aching for greater transformation, too.
The stark contrast of government caught in the claws of corporate influence makes it that much clearer: your engagement, and the networked actions of people around the world, are the only way to make this world right. Thank you for staying connected, and taking action. Your voice and support is critical for the work ahead. And if you are not yet a PAN member, I invite you to join this community in staying the course.
A few notes of deeply felt gratitude for you and for the PAN family:
- Capping a decade-long campaign fueled by network power, you helped secure a global ban on the DDT-era pesticide endosulfan. Most uses will be gone — around the world — by this time next year. The impact will be profound: children living in India's cashew plantation communities will have fewer birth defects, autism will be less likely in California's Central Valley, and fewer African cotton farmers will suffer deadly poisonings. Arctic mothers will carry a lighter load of this contaminant in their breastmilk. Thank you.
- Your voice in support of honeybees, beekeepers and pollinators of all sorts sparked momentum across the globe. You helped put a spotlight on bees, and helped policymakers see that bees are indeed the canaries in the industrial agriculture coalmine. Honey bees are responsible for one of every three bites of food, and you are making government inaction impossible. You even organized a flash mob for bees! EPA will re-evaluate implicated pesticides clothianidin and other neonicotinoids on an accelerated schedule that begins this year.
- You helped expose the harms and undue influence of the 'Big 6' pesticide industry players: Monsanto, Syngenta, Dow, Bayer, Dupont and BASF. Your truth-telling stories, faith and continued action will mean that one day we see these corporations accountable. Along the way, you joined us to challenge their egregious practices, and they were found guilty as charged.
- You stopped the pesticide industry from testing on pregnant or nursing women and on children. This struggle began in 2004 with EPA's approval of an industry-funded study in Duval County, Florida — in predominantly low-income, African American communities — in which investigators offered families money and camcorders to let them observe the effects of household pesticides on their children.
- You supported farmworkers in securing their dignity and rights in California, and pushed forward a long overdue policy that supports safer field working conditions.
- You helped PAN call on our President and legislatures across the country to get serious about cancer prevention, and to prioritize children's health. When decision makers ignored science and public opinion to approve methyl iodide in California, you held the line yourselves, joining 200,000+ others to prevent widespread use of the new strawberry pesticide. Farmers still are not using this cancer-causing chemical as a direct result of your commitment.
- You stood alongside PAN scientists to offer solutions on feeding the world, ending reliance on pesticides and honoring farmers and farmworkers who are leading the way. Science continues to confirm that organic and sustainable agriculture (based on the science of agroecology) can feed the world. You stood at the forefront of saving and pushing policy that supports fair, effective and pesticide-free farming. Your calls, letters, visits and emails made a difference. And with PAN, you spoke truth to power, standing up against interests bent on undermining organic farming.
- You took the time to thank the farmers who are leading the way, against corporate pressure and government impotence. More than 6,100 PAN supporters from 47 states sent personal thank yous to farmers, and it was deeply moving to deliver these words of appreciation last summer.
I am overwhelmed by the many ways this community came together for a better world in 2011. As I think toward 2012, the upcoming election, and so much on the line, my hope and my energy are fueled by the pockets and places where groups of neighbors, and ordinary people, continue to reclaim our communities and our nation. Thank you for making PAN one such place.
Best wishes to you and yours as we welcome in 2012 together.