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Archive for the ‘Pesticides’ Category

Sign the petition today.

Join us in telling the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) that it is misleading for companies to classify genetically modified organisms (GMOs) as “Natural” or “Green.” We have untilDecember 10th to let the FTC know, as they are revising their Green Guides.

Genetic engineering doesn’t happen in nature. Scientists force genes from bacteria and viruses into plant DNA, which result in dangerous side effects. The American Academy of Environmental Medicine urges all doctors to prescribe non-GMO diets to everyone.

GMOs are not “Green.” GMOs use far more herbicides, damage soil and marine ecology, harm beneficial insects, and cross pollinate. Their self-propagating genetic pollution will outlast the effects of climate change and nuclear waste!

Tell Quaker, Kellogg’s and others: “Stop misleading us”

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John Stossel’s recent roundtable segment on synthetic chemicals used in agricultural production was loaded with misinformation. While every American has the right to free speech, they also have the right to facts, particularly when their health is concerned. Here is the truth about just a few of the outrageous lies uttered during this program.

First, what are we really talking about? Pesticides, hormones, chemicals. Everyone is throwing these words around. What organic activists are fighting against are synthetic chemicals, pesticides, herbicides, and other –cides that have been manufactured to kill and that have been shown to make us sick.

Claim  #1: Cancer rates aren’t going up, so chemicals don’t make us sick.

The President’s recent cancer panel (released under Obama by doctors picked by Bush) explored the connection between environmental chemicals and cancer. Their final report urged Americans to avoid these synthetic chemicals as much as possible because there is strong evidence that they greatly increase the risk of cancer.

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Vandana Shiva
November 4, 2010

When we think of wars in our times, our minds turn to Iraq and Afghanistan. But the bigger war is the war against the planet. This war has its roots in an economy that fails to respect ecological and ethical limits – limits to inequality, limits to injustice, limits to greed and economic concentration.

A handful of corporations and of powerful countries seeks to control the earth’s resources and transform the planet into a supermarket in which everything is for sale. They want to sell our water, genes, cells, organs, knowledge, cultures and future.

The continuing wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and onwards are not only about “blood for oil”. As they unfold, we will see that they are about blood for food, blood for genes and biodiversity and blood for water.

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IN CHONGMING ISLAND, CHINA The small-scale farmer is a dying breed in China, made up mostly of the elderly left behind in the mass exodus of migrant workers to much higher-paying jobs in industrial cities.

But on an island called Chongming, a two-hour drive east of Shanghai, a group of young urban professionals has begun to buck the trend. They are giving up high-paying salaries in the city and applying their business and Internet savvy to once-abandoned properties. They are trying to teach customers concepts such as eating local and sustainability. And they are spearheading a fledgling movement that has long existed in the Western world but is only beginning to emerge in modern China: green living.

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Entomologist Marla Spivak is one of this year’s 23 MacArthur Fellows , awarded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

photo credit: MacArthur Foundation

Spivak, the Distinguished McKnight Professor of Apiculture and Social Insects Department of Entomology at the University of Minnesota St. Paul, is working to protect honey bee populations from some of the diseases that have been causing them to disappear at alarming rates in recent years. Click here to see Spivak discuss the importance of honey bees to our food quality and food security as pollinators with an enormous impact on both vegetable crops and the livestock industry.

Read the rest of this entry and see the video.

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The New York Times made a long-awaited (and much emailed) announcement on its front page last week: The mystery of the ongoing and agriculturally devastating bee die-off (aka Colony Collapse Disorder, or CCD) has been cracked!

I’m not trying to hype the news. Here’s the headline and lede:

Scientists and Soldiers Solve a Bee Mystery

It has been one of the great murder mysteries of the garden: what is killing off the honeybees?

Since 2006, 20 to 40 percent of the bee colonies in the United States alone have suffered “colony collapse.” Suspected culprits ranged from pesticides to genetically modified food.

Now, a unique partnership — of military scientists and entomologists — appears to have achieved a major breakthrough: identifying a new suspect, or two.

A fungus tag-teaming with a virus have apparently interacted to cause the problem, according to a paper by Army scientists in Maryland and bee experts in Montana in the online science journal PLoS One.

It’s easy to miss, but in that last sentence, reporter Kirk Johnson takes a wrong turn. In essence, he confuses proximate and efficient causes (i.e. what bees ultimately succumb to vs. what makes hives susceptible to collapse) and from that logical error, a whole series of cascading failures ensue. But don’t take my word for it. Go read Katherine Eban’s crack piece of reporting for Fortune that dissects the problematic nature of the Times article; the underlying study; its lead author, Jerry Bromenshenk; and the role in the whole debate of the pesticide company Bayer CropScience.

 

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Underwritten by Anvil Knitwear, the biggest buyer of American-grown organic cotton in the U.S., this short, pointed film examines why it’s important to buy organic products. It connects the dots in ways that aren’t always obvious to the consumer.

The filmmakers took the viewpoint of the Earth, which rather than pleading with or chastising her human inhabitants, tries to reason with them, us. Listen to the conversation.

See the video.

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Last June the Argentinian newspaper Página 12 carried a report (see article in Spanish, below) regarding a publication prepared by a commission opened by the Chaco State Government (in the north of the country) analyzing health statistics in intensive agrochemical use zones.  In one decade, the rates of childhood cancer tripled and babies with birth defects increased fourfold.

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  • By Alexis Baden-Mayer, Esq., Political Director
    Organic Consumers Association, October 6, 2010
    Straight to the Source

For related articles and more information please visit OCA’sGenetic Engineering and Biotechnology page or our Millions Against Monsanto Campaign page.

* Only 26% of the U.S. public understands that most junk foods and animal products contain GMO ingredients.

* The FDA is moving fast to approve a brave new world of GMO foods, including genetically engineered animals like Frankenfish, the eel-like-ocean-pout-chinook-Atlantic-salmon mix.

* Genetically modified foods are less nutritious, more likely to trigger an allergy, and contain higher levels of growth hormones and pesticides. Yet GM foods aren’t required to be rigorously tested for food safety before they end up in grocery stores and restaurants.

 

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CAPE TOWN, Aug 27 (IPS) – Civil society organisations have reacted with outrage to claims that the international campaign against genetically modified (GM) crops is partly responsible for food shortages and food insecurity in Africa.

“Food insecurity in developing regions such as Africa is partially a result of the anti-GM campaign,” David King, director of the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment at Oxford University in Britain, said during the 15th World Congress of Food Science and Technology held between Aug 22-26 in Cape Town, South Africa.

King added that, “many African countries have the idea that food that is not good enough for Europeans, is not good enough for Africans.

“In Europe, people might have a choice between conventional and genetically modified products. In Africa, this is not the case. Here, any food that is available is great.”

South African organisations that oppose the genetic modification of food, such as the South African Freeze Alliance on Genetic Engineering (SAFeAGE), have condemned King’s statements.

“Africa’s food insecurity has nothing to do with the anti-GM campaign,” said Fahrie Hassan, media spokesperson at SAFeAGE.

It has in large part been caused by economic policy measures with strict conditions imposed on countries seeking loans from the World Bank and International Monetary Fund since the 1980s, he argued.

“Many governments of developing countries were forced to tell their farmers they should farm cash crops, which are predominantly meant for the export market, instead of focusing on subsistence farming for local use,” he added.

“In addition, European countries and the U.S. dump their food surpluses onto African markets while heavily subsidising their own farmers,” Hassan added.

Mariam Mayet, director of the non-profit African Centre for Biosafety (ABC), said that, “malnourishment in Africa is not just a result of food shortage, but of poverty. It does not matter how much food is available, if you don’t have money to buy it you are stuck.

“In addition, the plants the GM industry wants to produce in Africa are mainly cash crops that are not just meant for the export market but are to be used to feed pigs and cows in Europe and China and as bio-fuel and cooking oil.

“These crops are not meant to feed African people, thus they will not contribute to food security,” she added.

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