GroundTruth Blog

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

Kathryn Gilje's picture

Even as we celebrated a historic Guilty as Charged verdict at the close of the tribunal last week, we move forward with what's next. We know that it's up to us to expose the harms that corporations like Monsanto and Syngenta have done, including their undue influence on science and government.

It's up to us to use this verdict to hold them accountable. Several recent pieces of news fuel me with hope. 

Marcia Ishii-Eiteman's picture

I spent the weekend glued to coverage of the high drama unfolding at the climate talks in Durban, South Africa. I watched closely because there is so much on the line affecting our and our children's future. In the final turbulent days, there were critical moments when a binding treaty with relatively ambitious and fair emissions cuts seemed almost possible. And then, well — the U.S. and our cronies played power politics behind closed doors, just as they have before.

Medha Chandra's picture

Endosulfan. Chlorpyrifos. Chlorothalonil. Not words one would associate with the crisp, cold air and water of the Arctic region. But new research shows that these pesticides, among others, are traveling to the Arctic from as far as South East Asia, India and the United States. 

That harmful pesticides travel on wind and water currents to cold northern regions of the world has been known for a while now. But in this latest study, researchers managed to measure the compounds in air and water all the way along their path across the globe, from East Asia to the Arctic.

Marcia Ishii-Eiteman's picture

Not coming to movie theaters near you, but taking place right now in Durban, South Africa is “The Great Escape 3.” This is how Pablo Solon, Bolivia’s former lead climate negotiator, describes the scene at the UN climate talks.

“It’s the same movie — it happened in Copenhagen, in Cancun, and it will happen in Durban. The richest nations are trying to escape their responsibility to reduce greenhouse gas emissions now... It’s really a genocide and an ecocide.”

Kathryn Gilje's picture

Truth be told, there were tears in my eyes as I sat there, translating and tweeting amongst the bustling crowd of media and hundreds of people, most of them farmers. After an intensive public trial covering a range of human rights violations, on December 6, the jurors issued a scathing verdict to the six largest pesticide and biotechnology corporations, urging governments to take action to prevent further harm. The crowd erupted in a roar of applause, and later, congratulations were shared in at least seven languages.

Heather Pilatic's picture

On December 3, 1984, more than 8,000 people died in Bhopal, India when a pesticide manufacturing plant owned and operated by Union Carbide Corporation (now Dow Chemical) exploded in the middle of the night. It was one of the worst industrial disasters in history. In the 27 years since, at least 20,000 more have died as a result of this one event and the area surrounding the plant remains a toxic waste site.

People know about Bhopal like they know about Chernobyl. What many don’t know is that the night after the explosion, the company’s CEO hopped on a private jet and fled the country and Dow Chemical has yet to be held accountable.

Kathryn Gilje's picture

Dec 3, 2011 – Today, we launched the landmark human rights tribunal against six pesticide corporations: Monsanto, Syngenta, Dow, Bayer, DuPont and BASF. These corporations control the global trade in pesticides worldwide, and regularly violate our rights to health, life and livelihood. The launch, timed to coincide with the 27th anniversary of the disaster in Bhopal, India, marked a vital moment in PAN’s continued work to roll back corporate control of food and agriculture, and to protect our health — worldwide.

Medha Chandra's picture

Get your kids to exercise, eat right, and control their portions — these steps can help combat childhood obesity, we're told. But new research on persistent chemicals points to the fact that as parents, we're not getting the whole story.

Researchers in Spain found that whether a child, especially a girl, will be obese is not just dependent on lifestyle choices, but also on the child’s exposure to persistent organic pollutants (POPs) before birth. As a mother of a 4-year-old daughter, this worries me tremendously.

Margaret Reeves's picture

With last month’s death of the congressional Super Committee, so too died the 2011 Food and Farm Bill proposal that was folded into those fast-track talks. So what happens next?

A mixed bag of disappointments and glimmers of hope, the 2011 proposal now enters into the more normal process of policy development. Because of the tireless efforts of National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition members and many organizations around the country, this starting point for the 2012/13 Food and Farm Bill does contain some elements of our priorities — namely, support for conservation, local food, beginning farmers and organics.

Kathryn Gilje's picture

Miscarriages. Cancers. The loss of a job or an entire way of life. It's never easy to talk publicly about personal pain. That's why the stories of Vi, David, Juana, Mildre and Jeff are so powerful. In their own words, they talk about the harms that pesticides cause. On video, to millions of people.

Their point: ensure that someday, pesticide corporations are no longer above the law when it comes to our health, our economy and our well-being. Watch these extraordinary, brave individuals tell their truths.