Last week offered hope for science and strawberries, both. Three newsworthy events marked progress toward the slow crumbling of chemical industry influence on government. Each crack, however small, offers an opportunity toward food democracy, and the use of science in powerful service of the public good.
Once a year we all have an opportunity to recognize the contributions of the country's nearly 2 million farmworkers, and support their efforts to gain the dignity and rights they so deserve. Next Monday, March 27 marks the beginning of National Farmworker Awareness Week, a series of events and activities organized by Student Action with Farmworkers to spotlight these issues and honor the work of legendary labor rights activist Cesar Chavez.
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.
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.
The blogosphere and fringe media is full of misinformation and downright lies. If I tried to set the record straight everytime some blogger claimed that DDT is harmless to people, endosulfan is "soft on bees," or that feeding the world requires GMOs then I wouldn't have time to do anything else. And so even though it registered a strong reading on my BS detector, I decided to simply ignore the new article on the American Enterprise Institute's website claiming that triazine herbicides (the class that includes atrazine) are the only thing keeping California almonds free of deadly toxins. But then the Huffington Post reprinted it, and people actually read HuffPo (unlike aei.org), so now here I am, setting the record straight.
The United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) released a report this week focused on the recent global phenomenon of honey bee deaths, indicating that colony disorders put pressure on an already taxed food system, and urging a shift towards more ecological farming.
Two weeks ago, I wrote about the American public’s nearly unified demand for labeling of GMOs. Now, across the country, people are preparing to take to the streets to express their views.
The Millions Against Monsanto campaign is organizing a Rally for the Right to Know in front of the White House on Saturday, March 26. And plans for local rallies are popping up everywhere, including — last I checked — in California, Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Minnesota, Oregon, Tennesee and Wisconsin.
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.
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.
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.