Dow’s Dastardly Deeds

Flickr/ Francisco Javier Argel

By Staff of Organic Consumers Association – With Monsanto looking to be acquired by Germany-based Bayer, is Dow Chemical taking over Monsanto’s role of chief influence-buyer in Washington, D.C.? Dow wasted no time wooing Trump—the poison-peddler ponied up $1 million for the new president’s inauguration festivities. Trump swiftly rewarded Dow by naming CEO Andrew Liveris to head a new White House manufacturing working group. In February, after Trump signed an executive order aimed at rolling back regulations (including those on pesticides and GMOs), he handed the pen to Liveris. Fitting, given that Trump’s new EPA chief, Scott Pruitt, was quick to overturn the Obama administration’s proposed ban on one of Dow’s moneymakers, chlorpyrifos, an organophosphate pesticide. (Pruitt’s move prompted a lawsuit by environmental groups). Now, it seems, just banning organophosphates isn’t enough. A new report by the Associated Press (AP) says lawyers for Dow and two other manufacturers of organophosphates are asking Trump’s administration to throw out the EPA’s own studies on the dangerous effects of chlorpyrifos and other organophosphates, known to lower I.Q.s and cause neurological damage in children.

‘Seed’ Documentary Explores The David-and-Goliath Battle With Food Corporations

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By Jordan Riefe for Truth Dig – Maybe Jack wasn’t the fool son when he traded the family cow for a handful of magic beans. Seeds are the givers of life, the minute building blocks of family farms and agri-empires alike. They are powerful and often sacred objects woven into local customs and cultures around the world. America’s own Thomas Jefferson was a famous horticulturist and seed saver who grew 330 varieties of vegetables and 170 varieties of fruit. Among his illustrious titles was that of patent examiner, basing his decisions on laws he himself had written. Items deliberately excluded from patents included plants and animals, placing public interest over private gain. Throughout human existence, seed diversity has been a constant, including drought-resistant strains, or those able to withstand floods or wide temperature swings. For countries plagued by war and poverty, this can mean the difference between life and death. “The Irish potato famine is a clear and elementary example of what happens when you rely on too little diversity—[you get a] mass refugee situation, many of them fleeing to the U.S.,” Jon Betz tells Truthdig. He and co-director Taggart Siegel are the filmmaking team of “Seed: The Untold Story,” a documentary that premieres on PBS’s Independent Lens on April 17, and streams online beginning April 18.

Ten Tips To Make Every Day Earth Day

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By Lloyd Alter for Tree Hugger. Readers of a certain age will remember Pogo, the political satire strip that was probably the Doonesbury of the sixties. Walt Kelly did this great poster for the first Earth Day and really, nothing has changed. So many email pitches for green products, infographics and listicles (articles made of lists) come to me at TreeHugger. It is astounding, how many of them there are, and how trivial they can be. One that got me particularly cranked suggested that we could make a big difference in the state of the world by turning our TV brightness settings down and making the video game console go to sleep. A few years back, one of my sustainable design students asked what she could do to go green that did not involve buying replacement windows, electric cars or bamboo socks; Here is an Earth Day roundup of them, an update of an earlier version, listing the things that anyone can do.

Food Protests Erupt In Egypt As Bread Supplies Cut

An Egyptian holds a piece of bread to protest against the high prices of goods in Tahrir square in Cairo February 8, 2013. (REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany )

By Neil Ketchley and Thoraya El-Rayyes for MERIP – On March 6, 2017, hundreds of local residents took to the streets of towns and cities in Upper Egypt and the Nile Delta after the Ministry of Supply cut their daily ration of subsidized baladi bread. By the following day, thousands were protesting in 17 districts across the country. In Alexandria, protestors blockaded a main road at the entrance of a major port for over four hours, while residents in the working class Giza suburb of Imbaba blocked the airport road. Elsewhere, women in the Nile Delta city of Dissuq staged a noisy sit-in on the tracks of the local train station, where they chanted, “One, two, where is the bread?” and called for the overthrow of President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi’s government.

Monsanto Isn’t Feeding The World—It’s Killing Our Children

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By Katherine Paul for AlterNet -Two new reports published in recent weeks add to the already large and convincing body of evidence, accumulated over more than half a century, that agricultural pesticides and other toxic chemicals are poisoning us. Both reports issue scathing indictments of U.S. and global regulatory systems that collude with chemical companies to hide the truth from the public, while they fill their coffers with ill-gotten profits. According to the World Health Organization, whose report focused on a range of environmental risks, the cost of a polluted environment adds up to the deaths of 1.7 million children every year.

Throw Sands In The Gears Of Everything

From organicconsumers.org

By Ronnie Cummins for Organic Consumers Association – Trump has appointed a slate of millionaire and billionaire corporate cronies to key, powerful positions, with orders to immediately set to work rolling back any regulations or policies that even hint at cutting into corporate profits. We will have an EPA Administrator, an Energy Secretary and a head of the CIA who largely reject the international scientific consensus that human behavior is a contributing factor to global warming. We will have billionaire bankers running the U.S. Treasury Department and the American economy. And yesterday we learned, not surprisingly, that the new USDA Secretary of Agriculture will be former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue.

World Bank's Scheme to Hijack Farmers' Rights To Seeds

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By Alice Martin-Prevel of the Oakland Institute. Oakland, CA—Ahead of World Bank’s release of the 2017 “Enabling the Business of Agriculture” (EBA) report this month, 157 organizations and academics from around the world denounce the Bank’s scheme to hijack farmers’ right to seeds, attack on food sovereignty and the environment. In a letter to the World Bank President Jim Yong Kim and EBA’s five Western donors, the group demands the immediate end of the project, originally requested by the G8 to support its industry-co-opted New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition. “The EBA dictates so-called ‘good practices’ to regulate agriculture and scores countries on how well they implement its prescriptions,” said Frederic Mousseau, Policy Director at the Oakland Institute. “But the EBA has become the latest tool, to push pro-corporate agricultural policies, notably in the seed sector—where it promotes industrial seeds, that benefit a handful of agrochemical companies,” he continued.

Act Out: Ministry Of Truth, Save The Bees

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By Eleanor Goldfield for Act Out! Conveniently signed into law on December 23rd, the benignly named Cultural Engagement Center just seeks to “recognize, understand, expose, and counter foreign state and non-state propaganda and disinformation efforts aimed at undermining United States national security interests.” Or as journalist Rick Sterling put it, it sets aside “160 million dollars to combat any “propaganda” that challenges Official Washington’s version of reality.” And, yes, bees are dying. And for those of us who enjoy eating food, that’s bad news. Enter the solitary bee. This means local bees pollinating local plants and crops, promoting the overall ecological health of the entire area they populate. Charlie Mohr of Crown Bees explains more about how we can save the bees, our food and our land with solitary bees.

Dairy Queen Tells Racist Franchisee His Store Is Closed Forever

From stltoday.com

By Clint Rainey for Grub Street – Despite him using the word “freely to describe black people,” police told Ford it wasn’t a criminal act, so there wasn’t much they could do. Ford took to Facebook instead, where her post quickly exploded. While she says the site deleted the original for some reason, her updates have received plenty of attention: It didn’t take long for Dairy Queen’s headquarters to take action. It released a statement Thursday that called Crichton’s behavior “inexcusable, reprehensible, and unacceptable,” and then, on Friday, the chain announced that Crichton’s restaurant would close, effective immediately, and “not reopen as a Dairy Queen unless ownership changes at that location.”

Small Town Refused Walmart When Last Grocery Store Closed

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By Melissa Hellman for Yes! Magazine. For two months in 2012, longtime Iola, Kansas, resident Mary Ross trudged through the sweltering heat, waving gnats from her view as she walked door to door with a petition. It was the hottest summer since moving there with her family about 30 years ago, but Ross was determined to gather signatures requesting a grocery store be established in the small rural town of fewer than 6,000 people. Iola had lost its last independent grocery store four years earlier, shortly after the Wal-mart Supercenter—with its own expansive aisles—came to town and drove out all of the competition. “I live in a small town. That was my choice,” she says. But since Iola’s three smaller grocery stores went out of business, she has to drive 8 to 20 miles to find healthy food choices and the specific ingredients for her home-cooked meals.

Study Shows Major Molecular Differences Between GMO And Non-GMO Corn

sustainablepulse.com

By Staff of Sustainable Pulse – A unique new study published Monday in the scientific journal Nature has used molecular profiles to reveal major differences in composition between a GMO corn and its non-GMO parent. These findings question industry and regulatory position of “substantial equivalence” and have serious safety implications. The new peer-reviewed study led by Dr Michael Antoniou at King’s College London describes the effects of the process of genetic engineering on the composition of a genetically modified Roundup-resistant GMO corn variety, NK603.

China’s Top Grain Producing Province Bans GM Crops

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By Staff of Sustainable Pulse – Farmers in northeast China’s Heilongjiang province, China’s top grain producer, will be prohibited from growing Genetically Modified (GM) crops, according to a provincial regulation passed on Friday. The regulation will become effective on May 1, 2017. Growing of GM corn, rice and soybean will be banned, while illegal production and sales of GM crops and supply of their seeds will also be prohibited. The new regulation also bans illegal production, processing, sale and imports of edible GM farm produce or edible farm products that contain GM ingredients.

USDA Allows Non-GMO Label For Some GMO Fed Animal Products

By Staff of Sustainable Pulse

By Staff of Sustainable Pulse – The United States Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) informed Sustainable Pulse on Monday that they will allow multi-ingredient products, which include GMO fed animal products, such as eggs, meat or poultry, to be labeled Non-GMO. Sustainable Pulse requested further details on the FSIS guidelines published in August, due to ‘confusing’ language regarding which products will be able to be labeled non-GMO. FSIS confirmed that for “single ingredient products, such as a steak, plain chicken breast or ground beef, and the animal that the meat came from was fed GMO feed, that product cannot be labeled as non-GMO.”

Six Reasons For A #ConsumerRevolution Under Trumpism

Consumer Power

By Katherine Paul for Organic Consumers Association. If ever conditions were ripe for revolution, that time is now—especially for anyone who cares about their health, and the health of planet earth. President-Elect Donald Trump’s short lists for his environment and agriculture cabinet appointments are dominated by entrenched D.C. insiders, career politicians and industry lobbyists. Not one of these proposed “leaders” supports policies that would lead to healthier food, a cleaner environment or a cooler planet. So much for “draining the swamp.” And so much for an easy road to forward progress on food, ag and climate policy under our future fast-food leader. At the federal policy level, consumers will have little or no say over matters that have a dramatic—sometimes devastating—impact on our health and the environment. That means we’ll need to take our battle to the marketplace.

Message From Marrakesh: Don’t Mourn, Regenerate!

From organicconsumers.org

By Ronnie Cummins for Organic Consumers Association – The bad news is that we are fast approaching (likely within 25 years) “the point of no return” for retaining enough climate stability, soil fertility, water and biodiversity to support human life on this planet. The toxic synergy of our out-of-control political, energy, food, farming and land-use systems threaten our very survival.