As 2016 comes to a close, I'm reflecting on what our PAN community has achieved in the past year — and where we're headed from here. I honestly don’t know what 2017 will bring, this is a challenging time. But I know one thing for sure: it will take many of us, acting on several fronts at once, to advance toward justice and food system transformation.
On December 3, the anniversary of the 1984 Bhopal disaster, people around the world commemorated "No Pesticide Use Day."
All eyes are on Monsanto this month, and not just because of its pending mega-merger with Bayer. A formal tribunal this weekend will assess how the giant corporation has affected human rights around the globe. And the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is taking a closer look at RoundUp's potential to cause cancer, while a growing number of groups around the world are advocating to severely restrict the use of Monsanto's flagship herbicide.
In the 1960s, Black-led protests over police brutality and other discriminatory practices inspired other marginalized groups of people to join social change movements. Fifty years later, it feels as if we are at a similar historical moment, alive with possibilities. Is the food movement ready to step into this moment?
Last week I joined the PAN International family — or ohana, to use the Hawaiian phrase — in Honolulu to share, strategize and inspire one another. In this beautiful setting, people from 14 countries, including activists from the Hawaiian Islands, concluded by agreeing that “the fight to end the overuse of chemical pesticides…begins in Hawai’i and extends around the world.”
This is the time of year when our thoughts turn toward reflection, gratitude and celebration…and food. As I share meals with loved ones, I'm also celebrating the real progress we made for a safe and equitable food system in 2015.
Sometimes in this work, concrete wins are few and far between. But this year is different. This year, our work contributed to meaningful victories for farmers, farmworkers, children and honey bees — thanks to powerful collaborations, smart campaigns and the tenacity of the PAN community.
The news that a prestigious panel of 17 independent experts has deemed glyphosate — the world's most popular herbicide — to be "a probable human carcinogen" prompted the usual scoffing and stalling from Monsanto and others invested in agribusiness.
But this time, there might just be enough concern and momentum to stop inundating our fields and rural communities with this problematic chemical.
To mark World Environment Day on June 5, the United Nations challenged the whole world to take action: “Seven billion dreams. One planet. Consume with care.”
A beautiful sentiment, to be sure. But I’d add, between the dreams and the planet, “Thousands of networks.” Because we’ll need to link our dreams — and our actions — across communities, borders and oceans if we want to see the sweeping changes that many of us envision.