Today, PAN joined a diverse coalition of farmworker, children’s health, farm, and environmental groups to release our priorities for the incoming Brown administration. Healthy Children & Green Jobs: A Platform for Pesticide Reform lays out scientifically-grounded priorities for protecting children’s health and supporting healthy, safe and climate-friendly agriculture and pest management in California.The platform was released simultaneously in eight cities across the state, organized by Californians for Pesticide Reform (CPR). We've been proud members of CPR for years (in fact, we share offices with them).
With the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) poised to make a decision on cancer-causing strawberry pesticide (methyl iodide) in December, we also urged the outgoing Schwarzenegger administration to deny approval of the pesticide in California.
The platform calls for Governor Brown to take leadership that will:
Make agricultural jobs greener. Organic agriculture is an economic engine in California, with over 3,500 organic farms and 150,000 acres in organic production. California was an early leader in green farming opportunities and organic agriculture, but now lags behind the Midwest when it comes to policy and research support for organic. Chemicals like methyl iodide place a sustainable and organic agricultural economy in further jeopardy and drive up health costs. With one-in-ten of the state’s jobs in agriculture, we can’t afford a mistake. Governor Brown should eliminate methyl iodide within the first month in office to make agricultural jobs greener.
Protect children’s health. We rely on the next generation of Californians to lead the state towards prosperity. Unless we protect children’s health from toxic pesticides linked to disease and disability at home, schools and farms, we place that future in jeopardy. Governor Brown should support policies that will help create a dynamic industry around green pest management that protects children’s health.
Address climate change through agriculture. Californians sent a clear message on November 2nd when they overwhelmingly rejected Proposition 23, and urged the state to continue on its path to address the problems of climate change. Healthy agriculture builds the soil, sequestering carbon and reducing nitrous oxide emissions – two potent contributors to climate change. In an 8-year study in California, soils managed organically contained significantly higher carbon content that was not released as a greenhouse gas. Governor Brown should work to increase the number of and support for climate-friendly organic farms that reduce greenhouse gas emissions by sequestering carbon and are resilient in the face of environmental threats such as increased pest pressures that may result from climate change.
With one of the largest agricultural economies in the world, California can pave the way for the kind of fair, healthy and green food economy we all so urgently need. Here's hoping Governor Brown gets the message.