PANNA: Unite for Change


Pesticide Action Network Updates Service (PANUPS)

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Unite for Change
March 8, 2004

Join us April 2-4, 2004, for the 22nd National Pesticide Forum; Unite for Change: New Approaches to Pesticides and Environmental Health, at the Clark Kerr Conference Center, University of California, (UC) Berkeley. This year’s program highlights the emerging coalitions of parents, pesticide activists, farmworkers, cancer survivors and many others working to reverse the widespread chemical contamination in our bodies, our food, our air and our planet.

Conference sponsors are PANNA, Beyond Pesticides, Californians for Pesticide Reform and the Society and Environment Division of the Environmental Science, Policy and Management Department, UC Berkeley. This year the conference has been expanded to include activists from Canada and Mexico, where work is underway for local pesticide bans and around trade issues important for the entire region.

With more than 20 workshops and three plenaries, the gathering is an opportunity to gather the latest information on current campaigns and emerging science, and to share ideas with a wide range of people knowledgeable on environmental health issues.

Sandra Steingraber, author of well-researched and poetic books on the science and the experience of living with chemical pollution (Living Downstream, Post-Diagnosis, and Having Faith: an Ecologist’s Journey to Motherhood) will give the keynote address. Also featured will be Howard Lyman, author of Mad Cowboy: Plain Truth from the Cattle Rancher Who Won’t Eat Meat.

A plenary on Freedom of Speech for Scientific Research features three outstanding researchers that reported on the risks of pesticides and genetically engineered crops, and were highly criticized for their findings. A second panel, The Power of Local Action, features activists from Canada, where more than 50 local pesticide bans are changing gardening practices in homes and public parks, officials in San Francisco applying the Precautionary Principle to environmental policymaking, and others working on toxics-reduction strategies. A third panel, From Seed to Table and Beyond: Thinking systemically about social change and the food system, will look at the food system as a whole as well as the broad institutional basis of corporate power. The panel will focus on the implications of the “big picture” for pesticide and food systems activists in developing successful strategies for change.

Unite for Change will offer 20 workshops on pesticide related health and environmental issues. Subjects range from asthma to West Nile virus, and skills training sessions include, Selling Your Message to the Mainstream, and Catching the (Pesticide) Drift. Below is a sampling of workshops organized by PANNA, representing only a portion of the full schedule:

Body Burden, Drift and Household Dust: Making Strategic Pesticide Monitoring Choices: Panelists will present current projects and technologies for monitoring for pesticides and for analyzing existing data. Discussion will focus on how data from each type of monitoring can promote policy change and the potential for using the various approaches in a complementary way.

International / Global Pesticide Trade: New Tools, Partners & Campaigns: Presenters will look at the changing global pesticide trade and the impact of trade agreements such as those in Central America on pesticide regulation.

Strategy Session on Systemic Change: This session will discuss ways to address the root causes of pesticide use, agricultural biotechnology and other social and environmental harms without abandoning current work on symptomatic issues.

Communities United Against Pesticide Drift: Presents activists from California and North Carolina with success stories in the fight against airborne pesticide drift in the regulatory arena and in enforcement against violators. The workshop will focus on successful strategies and encourage discussion on ways to organize for successful actions against drift.

Home and Garden Pesticides: A Wedge Issue?: A majority of urban residents (and voters) have personal concerns about pesticides and health, particularly for children. Information on the health and environmental justice issues of home pesticide use can be a critical step for achieving overall pesticide use reduction and bans. This interactive workshop explores home hazards, neighbor notification, the recent experience with prohibiting cosmetic use of pesticides in Canada, a new campaign at NCAP, and a public housing campaign in Los Angeles.

Lessons from Pesticide-Specific Campaigns: Methyl Bromide, Lindane and Arsenic: This workshop will explore the benefits and pitfalls of pesticide-specific campaigns by looking at ongoing work on three chemicals. With updates on national and regional organizing efforts for each campaign and discussion on avoiding a “chemical-by-chemical” approach, in which banned pesticides are replaced with equally (or more) damaging products.

Pesticide Activism in Canada and Mexico: Voices from the North and South: Activists will discuss opportunities for strengthening regional coordination. Canadian organizing for local bans of “cosmetic” pesticide use will be highlighted, as well as work underway in Mexico with women and indigenous groups on the dangers of pesticide use and promoting local organic markets.

See conference information on the PANNA website (, which will be updated as the schedule develops, or call PANNA at (415) 981-1771.

PANUPS is a weekly email news service providing resource guides and reporting on pesticide issues that don’t always get coverage by the mainstream media. It’s produced by Pesticide Action Network North America, a non-profit and non-governmental organization working to advance sustainable alternatives to pesticides worldwide.

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