Pesticide truth-tellers on video! | Pesticide Action Network
Reclaiming the future of food and farming

Pesticide truth-tellers on video!

Kathryn Gilje's picture

Miscarriages. Cancers. The loss of a job or an entire way of life. It's never easy to talk publicly about personal pain. That's why the stories of Vi, David, Juana, Mildre and Jeff are so powerful. In their own words, they talk about the harms that pesticides cause. On video, to millions of people.

Their point: ensure that someday, pesticide corporations are no longer above the law when it comes to our health, our economy and our well-being. Watch these extraordinary, brave individuals tell their truths.

This week, PAN International launches our 'people's trial' against the Big 6 pesticide corporations in Bangalore, India. People around the world are showing up and testifying. A jury will listen, confer and issue a verdict.

PAN's point: hold global pesticide corporations to account for damages done.

To launch this effort in the U.S., five people are sharing their stories on video. They are courageous, and their stories are powerful:

  • Viola Waghiyi, a mother and grandmother who lives in Alaska, is extremely concerned that pesticides and other toxic chemicals are in her food and breastmilk. She speaks to how these pesticides land in the Arctic, and the increase in miscarriages and cancers linked to such contamination. Ms. Waghiyi is Yupik Eskimo.
  • David Runyon is a farmer in Eastern Indiana. After a lifetime of work, he and his wife Dawn almost lost it all when Monsanto accused them of patent infringement because Monsanto-branded seeds blew onto the Runyon farm.
  • Juana Cortez is a mother and farmworker in the fields of California. She shares her story of how pesticide exposure has caused her severe health harms.
  • Mildre Lima is a proud high school student and farmworker in North Carolina who has seen first hand how pesticides can devastate health. She is a young leader in several community groups.
  • Jeff Anderson is co-owner of California Minnesota Honey Farms, a family owned and run operation of just under 3,000 bee colonies. After more than 30 years of beekeeping, Jeff has recently seen a large decline in his bee population that threatens his livelihood.

Fundamentally, we all know that the universal values of fairness and dignity stand strong only when we uphold human rights to health, livelihood and life. These are the basic conditions of our humanity — they cannot be bought or sold, and no government is free to negotiate them away. Pesticide corporations need to know and heed these facts as well.

Join us » I'm on my way to Bangalore, India right now to bear witness to and support the people's tribunal. During the next seven days, join Vi, David, Juana, Mildre, Jeff and many others by watching the video, and sharing their stories with others through your own networks — by email, on facebook or twitter. Only together can we stand up and hold these corporations to account.











Kathryn Gilje
Share this post: 


north's picture
north /
Years ago, when my children were in school we happened on to a project of raising silk worms. Each day, my children had to get fresh mulberry leaves from my mother's house for the finicky insects. They were wonderful creatures, fascinating to watch because they didn't fly at all. They would die in the box if we did not feed them. This was in Southern California, an area that regularly gets sprayed for the Med-Fly infestation. The first group of worms were healthy and crew into fine moths that would breed again. We probably had about 200 in this box they were in. One day we had to get more leaves and my mother had mentioned that they were seen doing spraying in the area the day before and that I might want to be extra sure to clean the leaves before feeding the worms. I did clean them extra well. We gave the worms the leaves. The next day, we noticed that they weren't as active as they were before. Then all of a sudden some of them died, within 3 days, more than half of them died. The ones that survived seemed to be fine, they cocooned into moths, bred with others and then laid eggs. Half the eggs looked diseased and dried up, the others eventually hatched into larvae, once they came out, there wasn't one that was not deformed. The only thing that changed was the leaves tainted with the pesticide.