Reclaiming the future of food and farming

Pesticide Action Network's blog

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Methyl bromide's sweet substitute

Scientists have found that hot molasses could be key to controlling soil pests, allowing farmers to grow peppers and tomatoes in Florida without using the dangerous fumigant pesticide, methyl bromide. Ending reliance on methyl bromide has been particularly tricky in the sunshine state, where mild winters offer safe harbor for pests and sandy soils can make organic options a challenge. Nonetheless, innovative scientists and farmers are creating ways to grow food without pesticides. The March 2011 edition of Agricultural Research, published by USDA, has the story.

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Bayer caves - won't restart MIC production

Institute, WV - This morning, March 18, in a “hastily called” court hearing, “Bayer CropScience lawyer Al Emch informed Chief U.S. District Judge Joseph R. Goodwin that the company has decided not to resume production of the deadly chemical methyl isocyanate [MIC] at its Institute plant,” reports the Charleston Gazette. It was an MIC explosion that caused the 1984 Bhopal pesticide plant disaster.

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Pesticides harm kids’ ability to learn

Kids and pesticides just don't mix, according to scientists. The body of evidence showing children's health harms from pesticide exposure continues to grow. Case in point: current research by Dr. Warren Porter, covered by the Bay View Compass reveals how pesticide exposure in the womb harms the ability to learn. According to the Compass article, girls may be especially vulnerable.

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Brazilian women farmers protest industrial ag

March 8 was the 100th anniversay of international Women's Day. To mark the occasion, more than 7,000 women farmers in Brazil demonstrated against industrial agriculture. Most farmers around the world are women, and women (and children) bear disproportionately high costs of this system of farming — particularly pesticide health impacts.

Protesters were members of the international peasant movement La Via Campesina. Their primary demands were more equitable distribution of land, a shift to sustainable ecological agriculture, and a re-direction of government support toward small-scale and peasant farmers, and away from large agribusiness subsidies.

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Stop the endosulfan lobby

Pesticide companies in India are pulling out all the stops to keep endosulfan on the market. As nations of the world prepare to gather next month to decide on a global ban of this neurotoxic pesticide, endosulfan's makers have launched an aggressive campaign to protect their product.

Our PAN partners in India are fed up, and have asked for our help in countering corporate influence on India's official stance on endosulfan. Please add your voice to the global effort to press the Indian government to put public health before industry profits.

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Climate change worsens POPs impacts

Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) are bad news. These chemicals are highly toxic, travel long distances on wind and water currents, and accumulate in the environment, up the food chain and in the bodies of animals and people. More bad news — climate change is making the impact of POPs worse. A recently released U.N. report, “Climate Change and POPs: Predicting the Impacts,” says that releases of POPs trapped in soil, water and ice will increase due to rising global temperatures. One example: glaciers melting faster means more of the POPs trapped in those glaciers are being re-released more quickly. 

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Thimbles of water on forest fires?

Maybe. But internationally recognized jazz guitarist John Scofield believes that small actions for change can make a difference. “I actually consider it a gift to musicians that we are given the opportunity to make contributions, however nominal, through our everyday efforts,” John tells us.

John has joined with Patagonia to benefit Pesticide Action Network, one song at a time. When a fan, activist or customer purchases John’s song “How Deep” for 99¢ via the Patagonia Music Collective, net proceeds go to PAN.  

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EPA responds to 'Wik-Bee Leak'

Last Friday EPA finally responded to our request that they immediately pull an unpronounceable neonicotinoid pesticide (clothianidin) from the market. Our December 8 letter pointed to a leaked Agency memo proving that the chemical was and is on the market on the basis of an invalid study. EPA's responding letter came after over 10 weeks of silence, in the face of hundreds of thousands of citizens voicing concern.

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PAN Asia Pacific launches Rice Action campaign

Rice, the staple food of three billion people around the world, is at risk. Chemical-intensive farming practices have wreaked havoc on rice cultivation, particularly in Asia.

Pesticide Action Network Asia/Pacific, with partners in 15 Asian countries, has launched Collective Rice Action, a campaign that will mobilize farmers, consumers and the media across Asia between January and March this year. Thousands of people will participate to celebrate and protect the strong tradition of rice cultivation around Asia. 

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