The last few weeks have seen encouraging momentum around the world in protecting bees and other pollinators from harmful pesticides. As bees are responsible for pollinating one out of every three bites of food we eat — making them key actors in our food system — this news is extremely welcome.
PAN board member Kyle Powys Whyte holds the Timnick Chair in the Humanities at Michigan State University. He is Associate Professor of Philosophy and Community Sustainability and a member of the Potawatomi Nation. PAN’s Executive Director Kristin Schafer recently chatted with Kyle about Indigenous food sovereignty and how PAN’s work intersects with his own.
With the 2018 growing season approaching, agricultural states across the country are stepping up to ensure farmers don’t experience the same pesticide drift epidemic that wreaked havoc on farmland last summer.
Application of the drift-prone herbicide in question, dicamba, led to an estimated 3.6 million acres of crop damage last year after a rushed approval of Monsanto’s new dicamba-resistant seed line.
On Tuesday, California lawmakers took steps to add stricter penalties for pesticide drift violations in the state. With a 5-0 vote, members of the Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials Committee moved AB 1419 forward, signaling support for the health and safety of California farmworkers and farming communities.
In early January, the City Council of Portland, Maine unanimously passed a tough ban on synthetic pesticide use in the city, leading many Portland residents to applaud their city’s new “organic” status. The ordinance comes in as one of the strongest pesticide use reduction policies in the country.
Last week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released several scientific assessments that found commonly used neonicotinoid pesticides (neonics) can kill and harm birds of all sizes. This comes on the heels of new research from the University of Saskatchewan, with experimental evidence finding dramatic effects of neonics on birds inhabiting farmland or open countryside — causing migrating songbirds to lose their sense of direction and suffer drastic weight loss.
Following a clear body of science, California just listed chlorpyrifos as a "developmental toxicant." The insecticide is still widely used in agriculture across the state (and country), but now it will be officially listed with other health-harming chemicals under Proposition 65, the "Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986."
With the holiday season upon us, food is top of mind for many. In addition to an opportunity to celebrate with our nearest and dearest, this is also a perfect time to reflect on how our food is grown — and how we support the people doing that work.
Sam Clovis — controversial nominee for the top scientist post at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) — withdrew his name from consideration.