Reclaiming the future of food and farming

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Why we honor International Human Rights Day

Sixty-four years ago today, on a cold winter morning in Paris, delegates from around the world came together to adopt an historic document that was soon to become the foundation of international human rights law: The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). The UDHR has since become the most widely recognized and accepted human rights contract in history.

Adopted in 1948, the UDHR has been the foundation for an entire body of international human rights treaties, both binding and voluntary. For decades, it has inspired local and global efforts to hold human rights violators accountable — including PAN’s Permanent People’s Tribunal on violations perpetrated by the Big 6 pesticide corporations, held late last year.

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Pediatricians agree, pesticides are harming kids

In a new report and policy statement released yesterday, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) highlighted the harmful effects of pesticides on children, and urged government action.

AAP points to the growing body of scientific evidence linking pesticide exposure to children's health harms, focusing in on harms to the developing nervous system and increased risk of some childhood cancers. The pediatrician group’s findings and recommendations are similar to those highlighted by PAN's A Generation in Jeopardy report released last month.

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Faces of the fight for food labeling

Across California, people from a variety of backgrounds — and for a variety of reasons — showed incredible commitment to Prop 37, the ballot initiative for labeling GE food. While the measure was narrowly defeated, the movement grew stronger and the issue was put back on the national agenda.

Here, we pause to reflect on the dedication and hard work of just a few of those involved in this momentous fight.

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Are chemicals making us fat?

The rate of obesity in very young children — even infants — continues to climb. Evidence is building that obesity-promoting chemicals called obesogens are contributing to this alarming trend.

Some of these obesogens are pesticides that — as the ongoing study of endocrine disruption clarifies — can act at very low doses to interfere with all kinds of physiological processes. This includes, it turns out, triggering increased fat cell production.

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Prop 37 defeated, but the movement is strong

What a ride! While many of us found good news in presidential, federal and local races — including things like funding for California schools — the loss of Prop 37 was especially disappointing. No doubt the next few days will be filled with reflection about what we have done and where we are headed.

Here are a few thoughts to put in the mix:

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Voting: It matters!

While it may seem that corporate influence has captured our democracy, the simple fact is that who is in office really does matter. Our collective actions over the next week will have profound effects on what kind of changemaking is possible in the coming years.

Analysts point to races across the country — including the tight presidential contest — that hinge on voter turnout. Those who want to see a safer, more sustainable future need to show up at the polls and make our voices heard.

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The difficulty of assessing loss & risk

A recent peer-reviewed study takes an ambitious approach to modeling losses from pesticide exposures — in both economic and human health terms.

Although the study examines pesticide use in the European Union, the authors run into the same issues that we at PAN encounter: 1) pesticide use reporting as it currently stands is not good enough; and 2) industry abuses "confidential business information" protections to keep scientists in the dark. 

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Farmers speak out for GE labeling

Speaking at farmers' markets Wednesday in honor of international Food Week, California farmers — conventional and organic alike — declared their support for labeling genetically engineered food.

Challenging a series of misleading advertisements that claim otherwise, this new coalition, Farmers for Truth in Labeling, is making it explicity clear that they support Proposition 37 and the honest conversations with consumers it will create.

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At EPA’s front door: “Protect bees from pesticides”

Issues: 

Standing outside EPA headquarters in Washington DC yesterday, beekeepers — flanked by Center for Food Safety, PAN and Beyond Pesticides — called for immediate action to protect bees from hazardous pesticides.

It’s not the first time EPA has been asked to take action. Far from it. For the past two years beekeepers, PAN and allies — including more than a million people across the country — have submitted numerous public and legal petitions urging the Agency to move more quickly in its evaluation of bee-harming pesticides, and fix the flawed process for allowing them on the market in the first place.

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