Concern about "vector-borne" diseases like Zika, West Nile virus and malaria are top of mind right now in the U.S., thanks to the deluge and devastation brought by recent hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. Mosquitoes can carry these diseases, and those troublesome insects thrive in wet, warm conditions.
In these troubled times I’m eager to find rays of hope. In the world of food and farming, one such glimmer is the growing recognition by gardeners and farmers, consumers and politicians that healthy soil is essential to our community and planetary well-being.
A report released earlier this month from Pesticide Action Network (PAN) UK found that children across England are exposed to significant pesticide residues in the government’s “School Fruit & Veg Scheme.”
At age 87, political activist Dolores Huerta is getting some long-overdue recognition for the central role she's played for years in the farmworker movement. It's a role well worth celebrating.
The documentary film Dolores, produced by director Peter Bratt, is now in theaters. The film puts Huerta's decades of organizing front and center where it should be, rather than portraying her as a "sidekick" of Cesar Chavez, as too many narratives have.
With pesticide drift sweeping across the South and Midwest this summer, and EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s recent decision to keep the brain-harming pesticide chlorpyrifos on the market, children’s and community health is at the front of our minds here at PAN.
Like a wildfire burning out of control, the epidemic of dicamba drift blowing across 20 states this summer has already damaged over three million acres of soybean cropland. Adding to the list of some 2,200 reported herbicide injuries are likely many more damaged acres of fruit and vegetable farms, vineyards, trees, home gardens, hedgerows and plant habitats critical to pollinators and other wildlife.
Ah, back to school. It's a transitional time for parents and kids alike. But for those living in California's agricultural communities, this season also brings renewed worry and frustration that the state still hasn't taken steps to curtail use of brain-harming and cancer-causing pesticides near schools.
Sam Clovis is not a scientist. Trump's absurd nomination for the top scientist post at U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is a former radio talk show host with a history of racist and homophobic commentary — and zero scientific or agricultural background or credentials. Zero.
Pesticide drift is a severely underreported problem in rural, agricultural communities. And now we're in the middle of an epic summer of drift thanks to Monsanto’s new dicamba-resistant seed line, Xtend. Expanded planting of Xtend soy and cotton is leading to more spraying of the herbicide. As a result, farmers in Southern and Midwestern states are reporting extensive and debilitating crop damage from dicamba traveling from where it's applied to nearby fields.
Pesticide drift regularly occurs in California agricultural communities, and too often it flies under the radar. But in the past several months there have been four major drift incidents that bring the problem into sharper focus.