Food & Agriculture

Pesticide Action Network's blog
By Pesticide Action Network,

Last week’s New York Times article, “Scientists and Soldiers Solve a Bee Mystery,” has set CCD observers abuzz, and prompted at least one counter from a journalist for CNN Money. Colony Collapse Disorder, or CCD, is the name given to the mysterious decline of honeybee populations around the world beginning around 2006. Each winter since, one-third of the U.S. honeybee population has died off or disappeared (more than twice what is normal). Scientists have been investigating the decline, and while CCD appears to have multiple interacting causes, a range of evidence points to sub-lethal pesticide exposures. Neonicotinoids are a particularly suspect class of insecticides; so much so that Italy and France have banned or restricted their use to protect their honeybee populations. This class of insecticides is highly neurotoxic to bees, and works by disabling insects’ immune and nervous systems. Also notable is the fact that these systemic pesticides, which are applied at the root or seed and then taken up by the plant’s vascular system, have seen a manifold increase in use since around 2005.  

Karl Tupper's blog
By Karl Tupper,

It's Tuesday morning in Geneva, and there's lots of good news to report from the first full day of negotiations of the expert committee of the Stockholm Convention. As the parties consider whether to recommend a worldwide ban on the antiquated insecticide endosulfan, yesterday saw two more countries announce domestic bans. Prof. Masaru Kitano of Meiji University told the committee that the Japanese registration for endosulfan expired on September 29 and was not renewed, and then Ms. Kyunghee Choi of South Korea announced that all uses would be phased out in that country by December 2011.

Marcia Ishii-Eiteman's blog
By Marcia Ishii-Eiteman,

This week our office is a-buzz with plans to join 350.org and thousands of people from more than 180 countries around the world in a Global Work Party to push back climate change. Some of us will be on a Food Justice Bike Tour in Oakland; others will be digging in at local community gardens in our neighborhoods. The thousands of actions that have been planned (over 6,800 so far) prove that the global community is ready to act, with or without leadership from our elected officials.

Pesticide Action Network's blog
By Pesticide Action Network,

A September 17th announcement that $180,000 in federal funds have been granted to back a PR campaign to "correct misconceptions about pesticide residues on food" caught the attention of farmers and organic food advocates across the country, according to the Associated Press. The federal Specialty Crop Block Grants from which the grant will come are one of the only sources of funding to support the production and marketing of crops such as fruits, nuts and vegetables in California. Critics charge that awarding taxpayer dollars from this fund to a project that effectively advocates against the value of organic produce is therefore an inappropriate use of public funds.

Karl Tupper's blog
By Karl Tupper,

Once there was a village along a river.
The people who lived here were very kind.
These residents, according to parable, began noticing increasing numbers of drowning people caught in the river's swift current.
And so they went to work, devising ever more elaborate technologies to resuscitate them.
So preoccupied were these heroic villagers with rescue and treatment, that they never thought to look upstream to see who was pushing the victims in.
This is a walk up that river.

So begins Living Downstream, a new film based on book of the same name by ecologist, poet, and cancer survivor Sandra Steingraber. In the tradition of Silent Spring, the film examines the connections between human health and the health of the environment, and questions whether polluted ecosystems can sustain healthy communities. The film highlights atrazine and other chemicals linked to cancer that contaminate our bodies and our environments.