GroundTruth Blog

GroundTruth: PAN's blog on pesticides, food & health

Kristin Schafer's picture

Last week was a busy one for Sofía Gatica. On Monday, she won the global Goldman Environmental Prize for her efforts to protect her children and neighbors from pesticides. On Wednesday, she asked President Obama to investigate Monsanto’s “pesticide poisonings and livelihood harms” in her community and beyond.

It makes perfect sense. After all, both the genetically engineered soy beans that now surround her small Argentine community — and the herbicide those beans are designed to withstand — were produced and aggressively marketed  by a company based right here in the U.S. In St. Louis, Missouri, to be precise.

Heather Pilatic's picture

No farmer in their right mind wants to poison pollinators. When I spoke with one Iowa corn farmer in January and told him about the upcoming release of a Purdue study confirming corn as a major neonicotinoid exposure route for bees, his face dropped with worn exasperation. He looked down for a moment, sighed and said, “You know, I held out for years on buying them GE seeds, but now I can’t get conventional seeds anymore. They just don’t carry ‘em."

This leaves us with two questions: 1) What do GE seeds have to do with neonicotinoids and bees? and 2) How can an Iowa corn farmer find himself feeling unable to farm without poisoning pollinators? In other words, where did U.S. corn cultivation go wrong?

Margaret Reeves's picture

This kind of evidence can't be ignored. Scientists report that the risk of Parkinson’s Disease is significantly greater for individuals with a history of exposure to pesticides. They reached this conclusion after reviewing data from six decades of research.

The results were strongest for exposure to weedkillers and insecticides; not so strong for those pesticides designed to kill disease-causing fungi. And the risk was greatest when exposure was associated with work activities, such as applying pesticides in the field.

Marcia Ishii-Eiteman's picture

Spring has sprung, and farmers across the country are preparing for planting season. One of their biggest headaches will be dealing with the millions of acres of cropland that have been infested with superweeds and new generations of superbugs.

These superpests have evolved as the direct — and inevitable — consequence of Monsanto’s aggressive promotion of its genetically engineered “RoundUp-Ready” and insecticidal seed packages over the past 15 years. 

Pesticide Action Network's picture

Congress is hard at work writing the 2012 Farm Bill, and people across the country are calling for food and farming policy that creates jobs, invests in farmers and ensures healthy food is widely available.

Farm Bills happen twice a decade, and they are a confusing mess every time. But you don’t need to be an expert to understand that we deserve a Food and Farm Bill that uses tax-payer moneys wisely — not to prop up a bloated and broken model of industrial agriculture, but to support food and farming systems that feed the future.

Pesticide Action Network's picture

The tragic true story of the failure of GE technology in India has been told in a powerful new documentary by Micha Peled. Bitter Seeds — now showing at the San Francisco International Film Festival — details the predicament of central Indian cotton farmers, trapped in Monsanto's genetically modified seed scheme.

Farmers, refused loans by legitimate banks, borrow from illegal moneylenders at exorbitant interest rates in order to purchase Monsanto's expensive GE cotton seeds.

Kristin Schafer's picture

Hats off to this mother of three who got fed up and took charge. Thirteen years ago, Sofía Gatica's newborn died of kidney failure after being exposed to pesticides in the womb. After the despair came anger, then a fierce determination to protect the children in her community and beyond.

Today, she's one of six grassroots leaders from around the world receiving the Goldman Environmental Prize, in recognition of her courageous — and successful — efforts.

Kathryn Gilje's picture

On March 21, the Chilean Transparency Council stood with its citizenry against Monsanto and other global seed corporations to protect Chileans' right to know about genetically engineered (GE) crops.

The Council's decision ensures that farmers, beekeepers and rural residents can find out exactly where GE crops are planted — basic information that is critically important as they seek to protect their farms, apiaries and families from toxic pesticide drift and contamination by pollen from GE plants.

Pesticide Action Network's picture

Scientific evidence continues to mount strengthening the case that neonicotinoid pesticides are indeed key drivers behind colony collapse disorder (CCD). Three new studies out in the past two weeks, including one today, add to the growing body of evidence that implicate pesticides as a critical catalyst behind drastic declines in bee population. 

With beekeepers continuing to lose more than one-third of their hives each year, on average, the research is timely. Yet pesticide manufacturers like Bayer are attacking the science and attempting to delay regulatory action.

Pesticide Action Network's picture

To many, Hawai’i is a veritable paradise on earth. But trouble has been brewing as the Big 6 pesticide and biotech companies have begun staking their claim on the islands.

“Pesticide corporations and their seed companies are consuming Kauai’s resources — especially land and water — at dramatic rates,” reports PAN staff member Paul Towers. Last week, Towers toured the island of Kauai with members of Hawai’i SEED to learn first-hand about the community group's efforts to challenge Monsanto & Co. head on, and to advance their alternative vision of healthy farming systems.