Four years ago, on a sunny day in April much like today, I wrote a post entitled "Roundup, cancer and the future of food", warning of the impending failure, health and environmental harms of leaving our food system in control of the world’s biggest pesticide company.
To kick off our series of staff and supporter profiles for PAN's 35th anniversary, Executive Director Kristin Schafer recently had a conversation with PAN North America’s founding director — and her longtime mentor — Monica Moore.
I spent the first week of April in Montevideo, Uruguay with PAN colleagues from around the world, pressing for global action on hazardous pesticides. This was a meeting of the “Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management” (SAICM), an arena for international coordination on toxic chemicals which PAN has been engaged in since 2006, when the process was initiated. It’s historically been a challenge to make pesticides a global priority, but thanks to growing public awareness about the harms of pesticides and persistent advocacy by our PAN International network, this finally seems to be changing.
In April, hundreds of Minnesotans gathered at the state capitol for the annual “Water Action Day,” where constituents meet with legislators on a range of issues that affect clean water. On the short list? Local control over pesticides. Preemption — when one level of government trumps the laws passed by another — has become a focal point for community organizing across social movements.
In 1982, the luster of the “Green Revolution” was beginning to fade. The promised increases in yields from “miracle” hybrid grains that required high inputs of water, chemical fertilizers and pesticides had failed to appear. The global pesticide trade, however, was thriving — yielding dramatic profits for chemical corporations as farmers were lured onto a dangerous pesticide treadmill.
Last month, an undercover investigation by the Humane Society of the United States revealed that Corteva Agriscience had been force-feeding agricultural chemicals to three dozen beagles in a yearlong study on a fungicide’s toxicity.
Several thousand individuals who have been exposed to Monsanto’s (now Bayer) flagship herbicide Roundup and suffered from cancer are in the process of suing the agrichemical giant. This week saw the completion of the second trial, and the second ruling in favor of the plaintiff.
To address climate change, we’ve got to end chemical-intensive agriculture. Why?
Because globally, today’s food and agriculture systems are responsible for more climate-change contributing emissions than the world’s cars, trucks, planes, and trains combined. At the same time, we’re confronted with evidence that climate change is unravelling the systems of the natural world that have evolved over millennia to create a habitable planet.
Here in the U.S., PAN’s work often focuses on mobilizing action around specific pesticides to strengthen regulations, win phaseouts, and spur investment in safer alternatives. Recent examples include our work on chlorpyrifos, which is harmful to the health of children and farmworkers; dicamba, which is wreaking havoc on the crops and livelihoods of farmers across the country; and glyphosate, a probable carcinogen and key ingredient in the most widely used herbicide in the world.
Feral Heart Farm is a diverse 3.2 acre farm in the Sunol Ag Park in Sunol, CA. Tending to this farm are Aaron Dinwoodie (he/him) & Mica (they/them), two farmers “committed to nurturing [their] relationships with land, food, & people.” PAN Farmer Justice Fellow Moretta Browne had an opportunity to work alongside Aaron and talk with him about Feral Heart Farm, his relationship to the land, & alternative models of farming in California.