Reclaiming the future of food and farming

Pesticide Action Network's blog

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Patagonia promotes organic cotton & the Drift Catcher

The winter Patagonia clothing catalog in North American mailboxes this week features more than nifty outdoor adventure duds. For 15 years, all of the cotton products for sale have been made from 100% organic fiber. And Pesticide Action Network is among a handful non-profit organizations profiled. Patagonia is a long-term supporter of PAN’s campaign for sustainable agriculture and against the use of toxic pesticides like endosulfan that are used in cotton production around the world (including in the U.S. until the phaseout won this year is completed). Cotton covers 2.5% of the world's cultivated land yet uses 16% of the world's insecticides, more than any other crop.

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From Harvest of Shame to Harvest of Hope

Farmworkers, farmers and eaters have joined together to change the face of U.S. agriculture. The Fair Food Project focuses on both the serious need for change as well innovations leading that change—bringing wholesome food and farming back home, to our tables, one family farm at a time.    

There’s no better time to celebrate and recognize these innovators than Thanksgiving, and this one in particular.

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DDT promoters schooled by scientists (again)

"Stop raising doubt where there is consensus." "Take an online course in epidemiology!" These were but two of the admonitions scientists and malariologists directed at Africa Fighting Malaria's representative at a Geneva symposium on malaria last week.

Richard Tren, who spoke at the meeting for Africa Fighting Malaria (AFM), is an economist by training whose public career has included manufacturing doubt about climate change as well as spreading misinformation about the effectiveness of DDT in controlling malaria.

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November means more mythmaking for the DDT-lobby

It’s that time of year again. Twice a year the global community — and the media — focus in on the perpetually devastating disease of malaria. World Malaria Day, marked in April, is one such time, and the other is this month, on Malaria Day in the Americas. Unfortunately, these events also provide an opportunity for the pro-DDT lobby to re-circulate disingenuous talking points about DDT, environmentalists and malaria. This handful of advocates work tirelessly to create a debate where there is none.

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Vanishing of the Bees

Vanishing of the Bees is a new feature-length documentary exploring colony collapse disorder, and with any luck it’s playing soon at a theatre near you.

Although the issue is less covered than in years past, honeybee populations continue to die off at alarming rates each winter, as they have done since around 2006 when colony collapse disorder was first observed and named. What makes this film special is the commitment of the filmmakers to using Vanishing of the Bees as a platform for organizing change. Stepping away from the standard distribution deals that would constrict the film’s uses, the filmmakers have instead made the film available for teachers, advocates and everyday people to host screenings.

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Pesticides contaminate one fifth of kids' foods

Environmental Health Perspectives recently published an article directly linking consumption of conventionally-produced fruits and vegetables to pesticide residues in children’s bodies. Children are at particular risk when it comes to pesticides. For instance, consumption of organophosphate (OP) pesticide residues have recently been linked to increased rates of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children. In the EHP study, Forty-six children supplied 239 samples that were analyzed for (OP) and pyrethroid pesticides—both nervous system toxicants and suspected endocrine disruptors. About one fifth of the food samples contained residues. These findings replicate similar results published two years ago in the same journal.

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Otters back from the brink of extinction

Otter populations in the UK have made a remarkable comeback from the brink of extinction. According to the Guardian, their recovery is largely due to less polluted rivers resulting from UK bans on organochlorine pesticides (OCs) in the 1970s. Not only is the water safer for the otters, who are high up in the aquatic food chain, but also for their prey: fish populations have likewise recovered.

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First steps toward global Monsanto liability?

Last week, countries gathered in Japan hammered out a global agreement to hold corporations liable for genetically modified (GM) organism pollution of ecosystems.

According to the The Mainichi Daily News, a "biosafety protocol" was adopted to set "redress rules for damage caused to ecosystems by the movements of genetically modified crops."The move came at the end of the fifth meeting on the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, kicking off international talks on the Convention on Biological Diversity. The new rules, which bolster mechanisms to hold agricultural biotech corporations like Monsanto liable, will be opened for ratification next spring.

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Keeping CA's climate policy on track: Two weeks to defeat Prop 23

With national climate policy stalled in the Senate, hopes for policy progress rest on local, state and regional initiatives, like California's Global Warming Solutions Act (AB32). AB 32 is important because the state is looked to as a leading indicator of how progressive policy battles will play out, and because California's renewable energy economy is among the biggest.Adopted in 2006, AB 32 requires the state to come up with a plan for reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. That plan is due to come into effect in 2011 and the oil and gas industry is on trying to stop it with Proposition 23, spending millions of dollars to a campaign to indefinitely delay climate policy passed by California voters.

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