Reclaiming the future of food and farming

Paul Towers's blog

Paul Towers's picture

Planting food justice from Hawai'i to Mexico

Sin maíz, no hay pais. Without corn, there is no country. That’s what Adelita San Vicente Tello and small farmers from across Mexico chanted as they stood up to Monsanto’s risky efforts to grow and test genetically engineered (GE) corn seeds. These crops in the field could contaminate and jeopardize traditional varieties, and the source of farmer livelihoods.

Paul Towers
Paul Towers's picture

A win for bees

The California State Beekeepers Association was buzzing about pesticides at their annual convention in Sacramento last week. And with good reason.

Just days before, EPA took the rare step of banning a bee-toxic insecticide. For an agency that has been really slow to take meaningful bee-protective action, dragging out both scientific analysis and much needed policy shifts, this was a very welcome move.

Paul Towers
Paul Towers's picture

Court sides with bees, says no to pesticide

Last week, the federal courts took a stand for bees and beekeepers. In their written decision, the judges said EPA had approved a new neonicotinoid pesticide — sulfoxaflor — without adequate review. The court ordered the Dow product be pulled from the market.

The judges also took EPA to task for saying yes to the pesticide despite strong evidence showing that the pesticide was “highly toxic” to bees. This is a real and important, much-needed win for pollinators.

Paul Towers
Paul Towers's picture

The looming DARK Act

[7/23/15 Update: This morning, the House voted to pass the DARK Act 275 -150. The bill is now headed to the Senate.]

The Monsanto-backed bill to undercut GMO labeling efforts just got worse. Faced with increased push-back at state and local levels, the pesticide/biotech corporation — and its allies in Congress — are attempting to further limit choice in the food and farming system.

In this latest version of what critics have dubbed the "Denying American's Right to Know" or DARK Act, industry has snuck in a provision that would limit the authority of local government to create rules on genetically engineered (GE) crops.

Paul Towers
Paul Towers's picture

Best present for Dad? Protecting our kids from pesticides.

Gadgets and ties are great, but this Father's Day I'm celebrating the growing momentum to protect kids' health from pesticides in California and beyond.

Over the past two weeks, parents, teachers and health professionals filled hearing rooms across the state demanding better protections for their children. It's still not clear, though, if decisionmakers are listening.

Paul Towers
Paul Towers's picture

Kaua'i takes on the Big 6 & wins. Again!

Chalk up another win for the little guy. A handful of residents of Kauai’s Waimea community prevailed in court over biotech giant DuPont-Pioneer last week. Citing extensive, harmful dust generated by DuPont’s seed operations, a jury awarded 15 residents $500,000 in damages.

This is just the latest in an impressive string of victories against pesticide and genetically engineered (GE) seed corporations in Kaua’i, the global epicenter for GE seed testing.

Paul Towers
Paul Towers's picture

The volatile pesticides next door

Should parents, families and teachers be warned when hazardous and volatile pesticides are used next door? That was the question before a panel of experts in California last week. Their answer may provide the basis for critical new rules for use of pesticide fumigants, and any neighbor’s right to know.

Fumigant pesticides are a problem for the Golden State. They are highly volatile, likely to drift and linked to a wide range of health impacts, including cancer. Yet every year, over 40 million pounds of these soil-sterilizing chemicals are used on California fields.

Paul Towers
Paul Towers's picture

Over four million speak up for bees

Issues: 

It's been a big week for honey bees! Yesterday, “bee kind Obama” and “save our bees” chants echoed at a rally on Pennsylvania Avenue, as our national coalition delivered more than four million (!!) signatures to White House. The petition calls on President Obama's pollinator task force to step up and take action on bee-harming pesticides. And soon.

The rally comes on the heels of Monday's delivery of a letter to the White House officials signed by more than 125 diverse groups calling for stronger protections for bees and other pollinators. Signers included conservation, beekeeping, food safety, religious and farming advocacy organizations.

Paul Towers
Paul Towers's picture

Will Hawai'i lawmakers stand up to Monsanto & Co?

 

Later today, the Hawai'i House Committee on Agriculture will take up an important bill that could create new protections for children from pesticides. But if prior votes are any indication, the committee — and the industrial agricultural interests driving it — will be a tough obstacle to overcome.

We've seen this same showdown on island after island, as each county has attempted to enact new protections on the use of pesticides or pesticide-promoting genetically engineered seeds and crops. And we've also seen the force with which, each time, Monsanto and the rest of the Big 6 pesticide corporations have tried to stop these laws in their tracks.

Paul Towers

Pages