Earlier this month, dozens of pesticide and industrial agriculture lobbyists filled the halls of California’s Capitol as they worked to defeat the Pollinator Protection Act (SB 1282) on the Senate floor. If passed, this bill that would have created new protections for bees from harmful pesticides, along with ensuring that seeds and plants pre-treated with neonicotinoid pesticides be labeled as such. But unfortunately, pesticide industry interests prevailed — a deeply disappointing turn of event for those of us working to protect bees.
Outside Bayer’s North Carolina headquarters this week, a beekeeper stood with 2.5 million dead bees — a symbol for the number of kills U.S. beekeepers face across the country annually — thanks in part to the bee-harming pesticides that Bayer and others manufacture.
The phrase “justice delayed is justice denied” has real meaning for children living near California farm fields. Since the first lawsuit was filed seventeen years ago, Latino schoolkids are still being disproportionately impacted by agricultural pesticides — many linked to cancer and neurodevelopmental harms. And now parents are taking on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to remedy violations of the Civil Rights Act.
What’s being applied on the strawberry field next door? For many Californians, the answer is a big question mark. And the issue has taken on added significance as state officials consider how best to answer that question — and then inform parents about the health-harming pesticides being applied near homes and schools.
Maybe it’s time for a beekeeper for president. They can manage complex hives, provide critical support for farms and ecosystems, and ensure we get to eat an amazing array of fruits, nuts and vegetables. And they are some of the first to recognize that bee declines are a symptom of larger problems in our broken agricultural system.
There’s a lot of power in the San Joaquin Valley. It's a hub for industrial agriculture interests, no doubt, as they've grown in size and scale. But there’s also power in the communities that are organizing to reclaim and protect shared water, soil and farmland.
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.
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.
Sixteen years ago, a group of California parents sued state regulators for failing to protect their children from hazardous pesticides.
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.