Sunday, April 19, 2015


Submitted by: James


‘Bigger than Everything Else’

When you think of climate change and global warming, do visions of coal-fired power plants and solar panels come to mind?

If so, that’s because policy discussions and personal action usually revolve around hybrid cars, energy-efficient homes and debates about the latest technological solutions.

But it’s actually the global agriculture system that is at the heart of both the problem, and the solution, to global warming.

Industrial agriculture is a key driver in the generation of greenhouse gases (GHGs). Synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, heavy machinery, monocultures, land change, deforestation, refrigeration, waste and transportation are all part of a food system that generates significant emissions and contributes greatly to global climate change.

Author and activist Rebecca Solnit famously said of climate change that “It’s bigger than everything else.”

She’s right. Climate change is at the intersection of many social and environmental justice issues. It’s forcing us to question every aspect of our society and economy, including how we produce and distribute our food.

The stakes are certainly high—and the window of opportunity is quickly closing.

Read the essay


Ready for GMO Labels, Hillary?

Ready for GMO Labels, Hillary?
It’s official. Hillary Clinton is running for president.

She’s also an official supporter of Monsanto and GMO crops—unless we convince her to listen to the more than 90 percent of Americans (and voters) who have made it clear we want labels on foods containing GMOs.
We already know from her speech (watch Hillary promote Monsanto approximately 29 minutes in) to the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) convention in San Diego in June 2014, that Hillary supports genetic engineering. But she's so far managed to dodge the question of whether or not she supports state GMO labeling laws or the DARK (Deny Americans the Right to Know) Act, a bill recently reintroduced in Congress, that would preempt state GMO labeling laws. Or whether she supports the Boxer-DeFazio bill for mandatory labeling of GMOs.
Love her or hate her, you know that Hillary stands a good chance of being the next president of the United States.
You also know that the World Health Organization recently declared glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup, a probable human carcinogen. And that the majority of GMO crops are sprayed liberally with Roundup.
It’s time to think big. It’s time to make this a campaign issue. It’s time to demand that Hillary tell us where she stands on GMO labeling.
It’s time to tell her where you stand.
If you haven't signed the petition, please sign today. If you've already signed, please ask five of your friends to sign today.
TAKE ACTION: Tell Hillary Clinton: Support GMO Labeling and Public Health, Not Monsanto!


Mark Your Calendar! April 18!

Say NO to Fast Track!
It’s been called “disastrous.” A ‘Bad Deal.” The “Mother of All Trade Agreements.”
The Trans Pacific Partnership is a secretly negotiated deal that will give unprecedented power to multinational corporations, including Monsanto, Dow and DuPont, and put everything from food safety to environmental regulations to your freedom to use the internet at risk.
And not only that, its supporters want to ram it through Congress using something called “Fast Track,” so it doesn’t get the scrutiny it deserves.
This letter to Congress, signed by about 100 organizations including OCA, outlines the many ways TTP will negatively impact the U.S. food and farming system.
It’s up to us to derail Fast Track. You can help by participating in the upcoming Saturday, April 18 National Day of Action against Fast Track.
It’s been done before. Citizens and consumers have defeated similar corporate power grabs like the Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI), the Millennial Round of the World Trade Organization (WTO), the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) and even past attempts at Fast Track—as recently as 2014.
Together, we can do it again.
Full details here
Promote an Action or Event You’ve Organized in Your Community
Tips and Resources for Organizing an Event in Your Community
Receive Updates on the Day of Action
TAKE ACTION: Don’t Let Congress ‘Fast-Track’ Dangerous Trade Deals
Letter to Congress on Why Fast Track is the Wrong Track for U.S. Food and Farms
More on Fast Track and TPP


Nice Try, Monsanto

Label GMOs
Photo Credit: Timothy Valentine via Compfight cc
On Tuesday (April 14, 2015), Maine’s Senate referred, to the state’s agriculture committee, a bill that would require mandatory labeling of foods containing GMOs sold in Maine.
Finally. We say that because the bill should have, and would have, been referred weeks earlier, if not for Monsanto lobbyists doing their best to hold it up.
OCA is leading the effort to pass LD 991, An Act To Amend Maine's Genetically Modified Food Products Labeling Law. In 2013, Maine passed a GMO labeling law, but the law can’t be enacted unless five New England states, including New Hampshire, also pass a law.
Maine consumers don’t want to wait. Neither does the national GMO labeling movement, which knows how critical it is to press forward with state GMO labeling laws in order to show Congress (and Monsanto) that this issue is not going away until all of us have the right to know if our food has been genetically modified.
Monsanto will do its best to kill Maine’s LD 991. Because with the bipartisan support already lined up for the bill, and a new poll showing that 97 percent of Maine voters want the right to know, the bill poses a credible threat to Monsanto and Big Food.
We will have to out-maneuver Monsanto every step of the way. With your support, we will. Just as we’ll continue to help other New England states join Vermont in passing bullet-proof, trigger-free mandatory GMO labeling laws. It’s time!

Donate to the Organic Consumers Association (tax-deductible, helps support our work on behalf of organic standards, fair trade and public education)
Donate to the Organic Consumers Fund (non-tax-deductible, but necessary for our GMO labeling legislative efforts)


Bee Proud!

Bee Proud!
If you’re one of the hundreds of thousands of people who attended protests and bee die-ins at Lowe’s garden centers, or signed petitions asking Lowe’s to save the bees by ending the sale of neonicotinoid pesticides and plants pre-treated with neonics, congratulations!
Last week (April 9, 2015), Lowe’s announced it would begin phasing out neonics and working with growers to source alternatives. In Lowe’s own words:
Lowe's is committed to regularly reviewing the products and information it offers customers. Following studies that say many factors, including neonicotinoid pesticides, could potentially damage the health of pollinators, Lowe's has committed to take several steps to support pollinator health. Lowe's will phase out the sale of products that contain neonic pesticides within 48 months as suitable alternatives become commercially available. Lowe's will include greater organic and non-neonic product selections, work with growers to eliminate the use of neonic pesticides on bee-attractive plants it sells and educate customers and employees through in-store and online resources.
You also asked Home Depot to stop selling bee-killing plants. So far, Home Depot has only agreed to label plants pre-treated with neonics, and the labels aren’t exactly eye-catching.
But the Lowe’s announcement proves that you, the consumer, have the power to get the attention of even a national corporate chain like Lowe’s, and better yet, to influence its executives and move them in a better direction. Thank you for your work on this campaign!
More here


Food Rebel, Carbon Farmer

Food Rebel John Wick
John Wick is co-owner of Nicasio Native Grass Ranch and co-founder of the Marin Carbon Project, both in Nicasio, Calif.
He's also a carbon farmer.
A third-generation farmer and food producer, Wick says he always believed he and his family were farming responsibly. Until they realized they weren’t.
We’ve always paid attention to grass population and animal performance but the net result of just focusing on that has been a slow and steady loss of soil carbon over the last couple hundred years. Now the system’s actually crashing and collapsing and we’re seeing an invasion of weeds and all kinds of problems. So, I’m actually a carbon farmer.
In this video, and Q&A, Wick explains what it means to be a carbon farmer, and why we need a lot more of them.
Watch the video


‘Enormous Threat’

Threat of Factory Farming
As we’ve known all along, it’s not just the U.S. that is being harmed by chemical-intensive conventional and GMO agriculture. According to a new study by Germany’s Federal Environment Agency (UBA), clear-cutting, the use of pesticides and fertilizers, and “intensive animal husbandry” (factory farms), pose an enormous threat to Germany’s environment (and the humans that inhabit it).
The report says that excessive nitrogen emissions are still alarmingly high in Germany, and that agriculture is the country’s largest source (60 percent) of nitrogen emissions.
In the report, Germany’s researchers call for stricter regulations. They also call for a transition to sustainable, organic farming methods—not unlike what the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development advised for the entire world, in its in-depth report, “Wake Up Before It’s Too Late,” issued in 2013.
More about the study


Essential Reading for the Week

Little Bytes
Maine Legislature Moves Forward on Bill to Require GMO Labelling

Medical Benefits of Cannabis: Treatment for Epilepsy and More

Barbara Kingsolver, Barack Obama, and the Monarch Butterfly

Pesticides in Fruits and Vegetables Linked to Poor Sperm Quality

Revealed: A Secret Monsanto Document in the Maui GMO Case

Brazil's National Cancer Institute Names GM Crops as Cause of Massive Pesticide Use

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