tagged w/ Environmental Democracy
Are you concerned about where your food comes from? Do you care about the working conditions of farmers and food workers? Is it inconvenient to get to the store? Do you have access to fresh produce in your neighborhood? Are you concerned about meat and poultry packing conditions that threaten your health and that of the workers? Are you worried that corporate giants like Monsanto control a large share of our seed supply?
This is the biggest opening in 30 years. The Department of Justice is on a fact finding mission about agribusiness and they need to hear from us! To be heard you must submit your letter to the Antitrust Division by December 31, 2009. There is currently no legislation nor are any regulations proposed. What we say could potentially put an end to further consolidation in the agricultural, processing, and supermarket sectors.
The U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Agriculture are seeking our comments on consolidation in the food system by December 31, 2009. We have just four weeks to tell them what's wrong in our food system and make suggestions for how to fix it.
Please take the time to e-mail your comments to email@example.com.
Or you can submit two paper copies of your comments to Legal Policy Section, Antitrust Division, U.S. Department of Justice, 450 5th Street, NW, Suite 11700, Washington, D.C. 20001. All comments received will be publicly posted.
Please forward this information to friends who may also like to submit comments. Thank you.
Five workshops will be held in 2010 in Alabama, Colorado, Iowa, Washington, D.C. and Wisconsin. But the best way to get your concerns heard is to submit your written comments.
For specifics about the workshops: http://www.justice.gov/atr/public/workshops/ag2010/index.htm#overview
Thanks for sharing this message with others.Are you concerned about where your food comes from? Do you care about the working... more
Monsanto is in Copenhagen looking to get carbon credits for toxic soy deforestation. You have a chance to let your voice be heard to stop them. Please read the information at the link and sign the petition.
Thanks!Monsanto is in Copenhagen looking to get carbon credits for toxic soy deforestation.... more
By JOHN TIERNEY
Published: December 1, 2009
Messages from British climate scientists gave insight into their thinking, and they might be their own worst enemies.
If you have not delved into the thousands of e-mail messages and files hacked from the computers of British climate scientists, let me give you the closest thing to an executive summary. It is taken from a file slugged HARRY_READ_ME, which is the log of a computer expert’s long struggle to make sense of a database of historical temperatures. Here is Harry’s summary of the situation:
That cry, in various spellings, is a motif throughout the log as Harry tries to fight off despair. “OH [EXPLETIVE] THIS!” he writes after struggling to reconcile readings from weather stations around the world. “It’s Sunday evening, I’ve worked all weekend, and just when I thought it was done I’m hitting yet another problem that’s based on the hopeless state of our databases. There is no uniform data integrity. ...”
Harry, whoever he may be, comes off as the most sympathetic figure in the pilfered computer annals of East Anglia University, the British keeper of global temperature records. While Harry’s log shows him worrying about the integrity of the database, the climate scientists are e-mailing one another with strategies for blocking outsiders’ legal requests to see their data.
While Harry is puzzling over temperatures — “I have that familiar Twilight Zone sensation” — the scientists are confidently making proclamations to journalists, jetting to conferences and plotting revenge against those who question the dangers of global warming. When a journal publishes a skeptic’s paper, the scientists e-mail one another to ignore it. They focus instead on retaliation against the journal and the editor, a project that is breezily added to the agenda of their next meeting: “Another thing to discuss in Nice!”
As the scientists denigrate their critics in the e-mail messages, they seem oblivious to one of the greatest dangers in the climate-change debate: smug groupthink. These researchers, some of the most prominent climate experts in Britain and America, seem so focused on winning the public-relations war that they exaggerate their certitude — and ultimately undermine their own cause.
Consider, for instance, the phrase that has been turned into a music video by gleeful climate skeptics: “hide the decline,” used in an e-mail message by Phil Jones, the head of the university’s Climatic Research Unit. He was discussing the preparation of a graph for the cover of a 1999 report from the World Meteorological Organization showing that temperatures in the past several decades were the highest of the past millennium.
Most of the graph was based on analyses of tree rings and other “proxy” records like ice cores and lake sediments. These indirect measurements indicated that temperatures declined in the middle of the millennium and then rose in the first half of the 20th century, which jibes with other records. But the tree-ring analyses don’t reveal a sharp warming in the late 20th century — in fact, they show a decline in temperatures, contradicting what has been directly measured with thermometers.
Because they considered that recent decline to be spurious, Dr. Jones and his colleagues removed it from part of the graph and used direct thermometer readings instead. In a statement last week, Dr. Jones said there was nothing nefarious in what they had done, because the problems with the tree-ring data had been openly identified earlier and were known to experts.
But the graph adorned the cover of a report intended for policy makers and journalists. The nonexperts wouldn’t have realized that the scariest part of that graph — the recent temperatures soaring far above anything in the previous millennium — was based on a completely different measurement from the earlier portion. It looked like one smooth, continuous line leading straight upward to certain doom.
The story behind that graph certainly didn’t show that global warming was a hoax or a fraud, as some skeptics proclaimed, but it did illustrate another of their arguments: that the evidence for global warming is not as unequivocal as many scientists claim. (Go to nytimes.com/tierneylab for details.)
In fact, one skeptic raised this very issue about tree-ring data in a comment posted in 2004 on RealClimate, the blog operated by climate scientists. The comment, which questioned the propriety of “grafting the thermometer record onto a proxy temperature record,” immediately drew a sharp retort on the blog from Michael Mann, an expert at Penn State University:
“No researchers in this field have ever, to our knowledge, ‘grafted the thermometer record onto’ any reconstruction. It is somewhat disappointing to find this specious claim (which we usually find originating from industry-funded climate disinformation Web sites) appearing in this forum.”
Dr. Mann now tells me that he was unaware, when he wrote the response, that such grafting had in fact been done in the earlier cover chart, and I take him at his word. But I don’t see why the question was dismissed so readily, with the implication that only a tool of the fossil-fuel industry would raise it.
Contempt for critics is evident over and over again in the hacked e-mail messages, as if the scientists were a priesthood protecting the temple from barbarians. Yes, some of the skeptics have political agendas, but so do some of the scientists. Sure, the skeptics can be cranks and pests, but they have identified genuine problems in the historical reconstructions of climate, as in the debate they inspired about the “hockey stick” graph of temperatures over the past millennium.
It is not unreasonable to give outsiders a look at the historical readings and the adjustments made by experts like Harry. How exactly were the readings converted into what the English scientists describe as “quality controlled and homogenised” data?
Trying to prevent skeptics from seeing the raw data was always a questionable strategy, scientifically. Now it looks like dubious public relations, too.
In response to the furor over the climate e-mail messages, there will be more attention than ever paid to those British temperature records, and any inconsistencies or gaps will seem more suspicious simply because the researchers were so determined not to reveal them. Skeptical bloggers are already dissecting Harry’s work. As they relentlessly pore over other data, the British scientists will feel Harry’s pain:
Aarrggghhh! There truly is no end in sight.By JOHN TIERNEY
Published: December 1, 2009
Messages from British climate scientists... more
3 years ago
Never surrender. Gm 'food' will bring us closer to worldwide famine and the killing of biodiversity. The people must stand strong against the PR corporate ag/government brainwashing onslaught to control our food for profit.Never surrender. Gm 'food' will bring us closer to worldwide famine and the... more
I was going to add a title saying I was stripping for sustainable agriculture to get more attention, but I decided not to. But seriously, is that really what we have to stoop to in order to get people to pay attention to such an important issue? When will this be considered important to media? When you are not able to buy or plant a seed without a corporation owning it? When you will not be able to eat anything but what they tell you to eat? When the number of crops grown dwindles down to 10 and biodiversity is all but gone? When the worldwide famine hits or we completely poison this planet into unsustainability?
A global civil society coalition sent a public warning to the UN General Assembly that a new class of patents covering plants and animals endangers both innovation and food security, echoing the sentiments of the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food.
The "Global alert against Monstantosizing' our food" was released on 21 October by the "No Patents on Seeds" coalition, coinciding with the presentation of similar concerns by the UN Special Rapporteur, Olivier de Schutter, on the Right to Food, at the Third Committee (dealing with Social, Humanitarian and Cultural issues) in New York.
The alert was initiated by the organisations Berne Declaration, Swissaid, Misereor No Patents on Life (Switzerland), Greenpeace and The Development Fund (Norway), supported by farmer organisations from Europe, South America and Asia. They include Coldiretti in Italy, COAG in Spain, dairy farmers from Germany, Federacion Agraria Argentina and Bharat Krishak Samaj, an Indian farmer organisation.
Directed at governments, parliaments and patent offices, the alert warns about a new class of patents covering plants and animals derived from conventional breeding. "These patents even claim harvests and derived food products such as milk, butter and bread," the report revealed.
By speaking of "Monsantosizing", the signatories to the alert warned that the whole chain from seed to food production might be controlled by a few big international corporations like Monsanto, DuPont and Syngenta, leading to a process of oligopolies and increasing concentration.
"A radical change in both patent legislation and the practice of patent offices is needed to eliminate patents on plants and farm animals," said Francois Meienberg of the Berne Declaration.
"Corporations should not be allowed to continue to misappropriate and monopolise seeds, plants and farm animals via patent law. If they are, these patents will become a major threat to global food security, food sovereignty and innovation."
"The big companies are about to control seed, harvest, trade and even food production," warned Luis Contigiani at Federacion Agraria Argentina.
"We can see how Monsanto tries to license fees on soy production, imposing embargoes on European importers of Argentinean soy and derivatives based on patents that are not valid in our country. This is an example of the consequences when genetic resources are subjected to the logic of monopolisation by patent rights."
The alert quotes from the background report by the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food (A/64/170), de Schutter, which also raises concerns that seed patents might increase food crises. Citing de Schutter, "The oligopolistic structure of the input providers' market may result in poor farmers being deprived of access to seeds, productive resources essential for their livelihoods, and it could raise the price of food, thus making food less affordable for the poorest."I was going to add a title saying I was stripping for sustainable agriculture to get... more
Canadians Join Global Day of Action Against Monsanto: Challenge approval of new eight-trait GM "SmartStax" corn
Today Canadians opposing Monsanto's genetically modified (GM) crops will join the first "International Day of Action Against Multinational Corporations" that has been initiated by the global farmers' movement called La Via Campesina. Canadians will support this year's focus on Monsanto and GM crops by inundating the Minister of Health with letters and calls asking for the immediate withdrawal of approval for Monsanto's GM "SmartStax" corn, authorized without safety assessment from Health Canada.
Canadians are calling and writing the Minister of Health to ask that she immediately halt the introduction of Monsanto’s new eight-trait GM corn called "SmartStax" because it was not assessed for safety by Health Canada. "SmartStax" corn was authorized this summer by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency for planting next year but was not examined by Health Canada for human health safety.
La Via Campesina is calling multinational corporations the "main threat to peasant and indigenous families and humanity" because corporations are privatizing land, biodiversity, water, and seeds. Monsanto is the world's largest seed company and owns almost 90% of all the GM crops sown globally.
"It's extremely significant that La Via Campesina is focusing their World Food Day action on Monsanto and GM crops. It shows us that farmers around the world see GM crops as a major threat to their survival," said Devlin Kuyek, a Montreal-based researcher for the international group GRAIN.
"Monsanto and Dow together own eight patents in 'SmartStax' corn and will charge higher prices and take deeper control over seed," said Benoit Girouard, President of Union Paysanne, a member group of La Via Campesina.
"Health Canada must stop Monsanto's 'SmartStax' corn before farmers start growing a GM crop that was never assessed for human consumption." said Lucy Sharratt, Coordinator of the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network. "The Minister of Health is supporting Monsanto ahead of safeguarding the health of Canadians."
"Monsanto is still pushing GM wheat and GM alfalfa regardless of the major environmental risks and despite the fact that consumers and farmers have soundly rejected both," said Arnold Taylor of the Saskatchewan Organic Directorate’s Organic Agriculture Protection Fund.
"Contamination by GM crops is causing deep financial harm to Canadian farmers," said Terry Boehm, Vice-President of the National Farmers Union, also a member group of La Via Campesina. "Right now we see that Canadian farmers face the loss of their most important flax market in Europe due to GM contamination."Canadians Join Global Day of Action Against Monsanto: Challenge approval of new... more
As the UN Climate Change Conference 2009 (COP15) gets closer, a new agreement has to be signed for the period after 2012. It is becoming clear how agribusiness attempts to gain profits from the massive carbon credits market. Under the term "Conservation Agriculture", Monsanto and other biotech allies have penetrated the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) aiming to get carbon credits for agribusiness. A voluntary 'responsible' label for Roundup Ready soy sponsored by World Wild Life Fund (WWF), and a newly approved Clean Development Mechanisms (CDM) methodology are important steps for Agribusiness to get access to this three billion dollar business.
Proposals to include agriculture in carbon offsetting focus on changes in tillage practices and reductions in methane and nitrous oxide emissions. All these practices are included in the concept of "Conservation Agriculture", which is based on three principles: minimal soil disturbance, permanent soil cover and crop rotations . However, in the name of Conservation Agriculture and with the explicit consent of FAO and UNFCCC, very different agricultural methods are included. Under this label a range of systems from biological agriculture to No-till GM industrial agriculture can be labelled as sustainable and so receive carbon credits.
No-till is an agricultural technique that requires no ploughing or digging of the soil. When sowing, seeds are drilled into the soil. In general, No-till is considered a conservation practice that increases levels of soil organic matter and reduces soil erosion, but in RR soy industrial monocultures it part of this technique is used in conjunction with very harmful environmental practices.
In practice, Carbon credits for No-till could mean a massive economic support for Genetically Modified (GM) soy monocultures in South and North America and a promotion of this agribusiness model in other Southern Hemisphere regions.
GM soy monocultures are a production model which is not sustainable in any way. In South America, soy production of this kind is one of the main drivers of deforestation, land use change, biodiversity destruction and human rights violations . Moreover, these monocultures sustain the industrial feed industry which is a main cause of climate change as well. To label these agricultural production models as “sustainable” only because they involve less ploughing (no tillage or No-till) means falling into a trap of absurdly reductionism and blindness.
The report "Agriculture and Climate Change: Real Problems, False Solutions" presented in June 2009 reveals the main agriculture-related proposals in the negotiations for a post -2012 climate agreement. It provides an informative panorama on how current and proposed agricultural practices for the post Kyoto agreements really impact on climate change. However, in this article we will focus specifically on some cases related to soy monocultures.
And the current climate bill in Congress aids their scheme which discredits it right from the start.As the UN Climate Change Conference 2009 (COP15) gets closer, a new agreement has to... more
Grassroots International and Food and Water Watch teamed up to issue an informative and compelling report that shows how food sovereignty will not only benefit small farmers all over the world, but will also give environmentalists and consumers what "free" trade and bad farm policies have failed to deliver. Conventional agriculture is a major cause of global warming, and as Congress and the United Nations grapple with a new environmental treaty, a strong food sovereignty movement is more critical than ever.
Please read the report to find out more about this remarkable movement, how bridges can be built, and why the time to work together has arrived.
http://www.grassrootsonline.org/sites/grassrootsonline.org/files/Towards-Green-Food-System.pdfGrassroots International and Food and Water Watch teamed up to issue an informative... more
In the 1970s, just after the first Earth Day and in the midst of oil shortages, recessions, and uprisings by restless youth, politicians were suddenly expected to show concern for the environment. President Jimmy Carter went above and beyond by installing solar panels on the White House in 1979. Solar panels on the White House!
Seven years later, President Ronald Reagan took them down.
This mind-bogglingly idiotic reversal is chronicled in Robert Stone’s new documentary Earth Days, about the history of the environmental movement. Seeing “history” and “environmental” in the same sentence probably makes you want to curl up for a 100-minute nap. But Earth Days, though it moves at a contemplative pace and contains less radical-protest/crunchy-commune footage than the hippie in me had hoped for, gives an absorbing overview of how the green movement got started, and why it ended up where it is today.
Featuring interviews with a who’s who of influential environmentalists, Earth Days starts in postwar suburbia and describes the creeping sense of discontent some Americans began to feel in the midst of the nation’s rapid economic growth. In this same era, Rachel Carson published Silent Spring to national acclaim, JFK assembled a panel of experts who confirmed that her science was sound, and, aided by the progressive policies of Kennedy and Johnson’s Secretary of the Interior Stewart Udall (interviewed in the film), the environmental movement began to take shape. It meshed well with the idealism of nature-loving hippies. Stewart Brand, founder of the Whole Earth Catalog, a sort of Bible for early enviros, recounts in the film how his idea for the catalog came from an acid trip. The first image of the Earth from outer space became the icon of the catalog, and of the environmental movement as a whole.
Earth Days chronicles how groundbreaking, controversial writings like Paul Ehrlich’s 1968 book The Population Bomb, which inspired Stephanie Mills’ famous commencement address “The Future Is a Cruel Hoax,” put environmental issues in the mainstream public’s consciousness. The first Earth Day in 1970 was the largest national demonstration in United States history, with 20 million people across the nation voicing their concern for the environment. After that, environmentalists got seriously organized, taking their message into the political arena. In the span of just a few years, they helped push through the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the Endangered Species Act, and other cornerstone environmental laws.
This burst of widespread concern and political action, as depicted in the film, is truly inspiring—and what followed, a string of missed opportunities, is truly devastating.
end of excerptIn the 1970s, just after the first Earth Day and in the midst of oil shortages,... more
NAIROBI: Researchers say farmers in developing countries are losing one of their best hopes to limit the impacts of climate change because of growing corporate control of the seeds they plant.
The warning issued on Monday comes ahead of the World Seed Conference which opens on Tuesday at the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome.
The researchers - from the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) and partners organizations in China, India, Kenya, Panama and Peru - say the diversity of traditional seed varieties is falling fast and this means valuable traits such as drought and pest resistance could be lost forever.
"Where farming communities have been able to maintain their traditional varieties, they are already using them to cope with the impacts of climate change," says project leader Krystyna Swiderska of IIED.
"But more commonly, these varieties are being replaced by a smaller range of 'modern' seeds that are heavily promoted by corporations and subsidized by governments. These seeds have less genetic diversity yet need more inputs such as pesticides and fertilizers and more natural resources such as land and water."
The researchers say that one reason for this is that while the international treaty on the protection of new varieties of plants - - known as UPOV -- protects the profits of powerful private corporations it fails to recognize and protect the rights and knowledge of poor farmers.
"Western governments and the seed industry want to upgrade the UPOV Convention to provide stricter exclusive rights to commercial plant breeders," says Swiderska.
"This will further undermine the rights of farmers and promote the loss of seed diversity that poor communities depend on for their resilience to changing climatic conditions."
The researchers also point out that in order to continue conserving and adapting their varieties, farmers also need to be allowed to freely save, use, exchange and sell farm-saved seeds.
Technologies which restrict these customary rights -- namely Genetic Use Restriction Technologies (GURTS) -- pose a very serious threat to genetic diversity, seed quality and the livelihoods of poor farmers.
"The farming communities that have developed and sustained a rich diversity of seeds over millennia urgently need incentives to continue sustaining them," says Ruchi Pant of Ecoserve in India.
"They need the same rights over their traditional seed varieties and associated knowledge as corporations have over modern varieties they develop and patent. The new seed laws being introduced in developing agrarian countries are posing a threat to the rights of small farmers to save, sow and exchange their traditional varieties."
end of excerptNAIROBI: Researchers say farmers in developing countries are losing one of their best... more
One of the most evil schemes concocted for businesses to legally steal the land from under the feet of poor farmers for their own profit. This is what is causing rising food costs and world hunger, and it is being exacerbated by the very organizations and corporations that claim they want to feed the world. The only world they wish to feed is their own. This is a stark look at what we are up against in preserving food freedom and environmental democracy. Permaculture, sustainable agriculture, and bringing land back to local farmers to plant the food they need to live instead of being indebted to the World Bank and WTO is what will save the world from hunger and famine and preserve biodiversity and healthy soil. Not Monsanto and Cargill. It is time to lift the veil on this atrocity and human rights abuse.One of the most evil schemes concocted for businesses to legally steal the land from... more
Intensification of drought, floods and cyclones is one of the predictable impacts of climate change and climate instability. The failure of monsoon in India and the consequent drought, has impacted two thirds of India, especially the bread basket of India’s fertile gangetic plains. Bihar has had a 43% rainfall deficit, Jharkhand – 47%, Uttar Pradesh – 64%, Haryana – 61%, Punjab – 26%, Himachal Pradesh – 63%, Uttarakhand – 42%.
In the final analysis, India’s food security rests on the monsoon. Monsoon failure and widespread drought implies a deepening of the already severe food crisis triggered by trade liberalization policies which has made India the capital of hunger. It also implies a deepening of the water crisis which compelled me to write “Water Wars”.
The monsoons recharge the groundwater and surface water systems. This year, because of drought there will be reduced recharge. Since 1966, as a consequence of the introduction of the Green Revolution model of water intensive chemical farming under World Bank and US pressure, India has over exploited her ground water, creating a water famine. I had written about this in 1984 in my book, “The Violence of the Green Revolution”. Chemical monocultures of the Green Revolution use of ten times more water than the biodiverse ecological farming systems.
In the 1970’s the World Bank gave massive loans to India to promote ground water mining. It forced states like Maharashtra to stop growing water prudent millets like jowar which needs 300 mm of water and shift to water guzzling crops like sugarcane which needs 2500 mm of water. In a region with 600mm rainfall and 10% ground water rechange, this is a recipe for water famine (see Navdanya’s “Financing the Water Crisis).
A new study led by Matthew Rodell of Nasa’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland published in “Nature” has shown water levels in North India have fallen by 1.6 inches (4 centimeters per year, between August 2002 and August 2008. More than 26 cubic miles (109 cubic km) of ground water have disappeared from aquifers between 2002 and 2008. Most of this ground water has been extracted for chemical, green revolution style farming.
Not only has water wasteful chemical agriculture mined ground water, it has also mined soil fertility and contributed to climate change. Chemical fertilizers destroy the living processes of the soil and make soils more vulnerable to drought. Chemical fertilizers also produce nitrogen oxygen, a greenhouse gas which is 300 times more potent the carbon dioxide.
The solution for the climate crisis, the food crisis, or the water crisis, under which India is reeling, the same biodiversity based organic farming systems.
Biodiverse ecological farms address the climate crisis by reducing emissions of Green House gases such as nitrogen oxide, and absorbing carbon dioxide in plants and in the soil. Biodiversity and soils are the most effective carbon sinks. They also help adapt to climate change and drought by increasing soil organic matter which increases the moisture holding capacity of soil, and hence provides drought proofing of agriculture.
end of excerptIntensification of drought, floods and cyclones is one of the predictable impacts of... more
“THE Philippines is in danger of losing its organic farming capital because a provincial ordinance promoting sustainable agriculture is under attack,” said Greenpeace.
Greenpeace launched a series of deliberations in Negros Occidental which could repeal a landmark provincial ordinance aimed at transforming Negros Island into the premier organic food bowl of Asia.
“Revival of and rigorous reversal to traditional sustainable agricultural practices are key in adapting to the ongoing and impending impacts of climate change. Negros Occidental has been steadily building an international reputation as a showcase of sustainable farming practices.
It has banned the entry of genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) in the province as part of this noteworthy initiative,” said Greenpeace Southeast Asia Sustainable Agriculture Campaigner Daniel Ocampo.
“Negros public officials and citizens should question the motivations of parties who want this ordinance repealed: GMOs will reverse the province’s efforts to protect safe, organic farming, putting both farmers and consumers at risk.”
The province is one of the pioneers banning GMOs in the country with Provincial Ordinance 007, or the “Safeguard Against Genetically Modified Organisms," in 2007. Last April, the provincial government, upon order of Governor Isidro Zayco, upheld the ban by rejecting shipments of illegal GMO corn at the BredCo Port in Bacolod City.
GMO lobby groups reacted by questioning the ordinance. This prompted the provincial government to reiterate that it is maintaining the ban to prevent GMO contamination of normal crops in the province. Last month, however, “anti-organic farming parties were able to sway the Provincial Board (PB) of Negros Occidental to hold hearings to reconsider the ordinance,” said a statement from Greenpeace.
People of Negros, however, are starting to speak up in defense of their way of life. “Organic farming is not merely an option for Negros. It is the only means towards sustainable agricultural development and food security for the rural poor,” said Kid Bañas of the Negros Organic Alliance Movement. “There’s no place for GMOs in an organic Negros Occidental.”
It is, however, up to the PB to uphold the ordinance and ensure the safety of sustainable agriculture in the country’s organic food capital, said Ocampo.
“With the ordinance, Negros Occidental is clearly leading the way towards an agriculture that ensures food security, promotes biodiversity and is not anchored on the use of agrochemicals.”“THE Philippines is in danger of losing its organic farming capital because a... more
Add Egypt to the growing number of countries seeing the dangers of GMOs and acting accordingly. I would say the US better get its act together as well before it finds itself out in the cold both agriculturally and economically. People on the whole in this world DO NOT WANT GMO, and want food freedom. Perhaps this is the only way to get the point home. Good for Egypt.
Any agricultural imports to Egypt must have a certificate from the country of origin that the product is not genetically modified and the rule will also apply to Egyptian exports, the official news agency said on Wednesday.
The debate in Egypt over food quality has become politically heated after some Russian wheat was rejected over quality concerns. Members of parliament have been calling for stricter rules and greater agricultural self sufficiency.
Traders expressed surprise at the move, saying some of Egypt's main food imports at the moment included genetically modified products.
Officials could not independently confirm the decision by Agriculture Minister Amin Abaza, as reported by the official news agency MENA.
Abaza was quoted as saying that "it was necessary that all crops imported from abroad and exported from Egypt be accompanied by a certificate from the country of origin stating they are free of genetically modified materials."
"No agricultural products especially wheat, corn and soya bean would enter except after examining samples from the cargo," MENA reported him as saying.
Egypt is one of the world's largest wheat importers and also imports other products such as corn, edible oils and sugar. It exports products such as vegetables and fruits particularly to Europe.
Hey Monsanto, better forget about that GM wheat.Add Egypt to the growing number of countries seeing the dangers of GMOs and acting... more
Agreeing to allow temperature to increase 3.6 degrees rather than pledging bold reductions now is dooming the world to climate catastrophe. We are already at 1 degree, heading for 2. Going to 3.6 fahrenheit would mean this planet would then be unrecognizable to our children and theirs. This is a cowardly action from the elitists who think that they can get away with deciding the fate of this planet and our children. If they think the world is in unrest now, wait. But of course, that may be exactly what they want. What a travesty.
'U.S. President Barack Obama was to chair Thursday's meeting of the 17-nation Major Economies Forum, whose members account for about 80 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions.
MEF ministers holding last-minute preparatory talks failed to close the gap between U.S. and Europe on the one hand and emerging powers like China and India on the other hand on the goal of halving global greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
A draft MEF document dropped any reference to this and aimed instead for agreement on the need to limit the average increase in global temperature to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) since pre-industrial times.
G8 leaders also endorsed the 2 degree Celsius cap.
Cindy Baxter of Greenpeace said the G8 was "watering down climate ambitions," a bad omen for December's U.N. climate talks in Copenhagen seeking a successor to the Kyoto pact, since emission cuts are necessary for limiting temperature rises.
Developing nations, present in large numbers at the expanded G8 summit with more than 30 world leaders invited, argue that they have to consume more energy to end poverty and that rich nations must make deep emission cuts of their own by 2020.'Agreeing to allow temperature to increase 3.6 degrees rather than pledging bold... more
On a plot of soil, nestled against the backdrop of skyscrapers in downtown Atlanta, Georgia, a group of residents are turning a lack of access to fresh produce into a revival of old traditions and self-empowerment.
Urban farming is a way for African-Americans to connect with the earth, says Cashawn Myers of HABESHA.
HABESHA Gardens is one of many urban gardens sprouting up around the country. Fruits and vegetables are thriving in this community garden located in an economically depressed area of the city known as Mechanicsville.
But the garden serves an even greater purpose. The harvest helps feed some of the neediest members of the neighborhood.
"It's a reawakening going on. It's almost like it's a renaissance," says Cashawn Myers, director of HABESHA Inc.
"There's a Ghanaian proverb that says Sankofa. Sankofa means return to your past so you can move forward. Even if you look at coming over here during our enslavement, we were brought here to cultivate the land because that's something we did on the continent. So really, that's what many of the people are doing now," he said.
Myers believes urban farming is a way for many African-Americans to reconnect with their past. iReport.com: Show us your urban farm
"They are going through a process of Sankofa and going to what they traditionally did, which is connect to the Earth so they can move forward and grow," he says.
But HABESHA Gardens isn't unique.
Former pro basketball player Will Allen, who is considered to be one of the nation's leading urban farmers and founder of Growing Power Inc., estimates that there are hundreds of thousands of urban gardens in inner cities across America. Urban farms help feed people, sustain neighorhoods »
"It's beyond a movement at this point. Its more like a revolution," says Allen.
Both Allen and Myers agree that the boom in urban farming for African-Americans is born out of necessity and not just echoing traditions.
"Minority people are affected by poor food, more than any other groups," and many inner cities lack access to quality fruits and vegetables, Allen says. "Our food system is broken."
"When you're poor, when you don't have access to resources, you have to create your own," says Myers. "So this is a way for people of African descent to use their creativity to grow their own food."
Many poorer communities don't have full-scale grocery stores. Allen charges that companies have red-lined those areas and won't build stores there.
So community activists like Myers have taken up the fight.
"[Starting] community gardens in local communities, specifically in urban areas, is important, so you create your own food security network," says Myers. "You're not relying on large grocery stores to provide food for everyone because if those grocery stores have problems, your access to food is done."
HABESHA Gardens makes the fresh food accessible to people in Mechanicsville by opening up the garden to people in the community every Sunday from noon to 4 p.m.
"We invite people from the local community here, the immediate community but also from the greater Atlanta community ... to come out, work in the garden; learn, reconnect with the Earth and also be able to take food home with them after the harvest."
In addition to providing food for those that work in garden, HABESHA partners with organizations such as the Atlanta Community Food Bank and the MLK Senior Center to provide food from the garden to the hungry and elders in the community.
more at the linkOn a plot of soil, nestled against the backdrop of skyscrapers in downtown Atlanta,... more
In other words, reward innovation and penalize the status quo, rather than the opposite as the current climate bill essentially does with cap and trade. As Al Gore stated last year in his speech regarding 100% renewable energy in 10 years before he gave up sticking to it when it mattered the most, "Tax what we burn, not what we earn" to encourage innovation without penalizing the consumer.
Let's make a deal with all the fossil fuel companies, CAFOs, mining
companies, and all other resource-intensive industries. We'll untax
their profits IF they agree to pay true costs for resources (which,
rightfully, really belong to all of us; Exxon didn't make the oil in
the ground, did it?), as well as pollution, land use and whatever else
they don't actually produce, but merely take from nature.
This Geonomic idea would discourage the waste of resources, end land and
commodity speculation on the markets by taking away the "fuel" for it
in the form of taxes which would be returned to the community, free up
innovation by untaxing true productive operations, and vastly reduce
pollution by finally taxing these "externalities." It would also end
most poverty and wealth inequity by ending monopoly rights on income
from non-manmade resources via a Single Tax on these, while rewarding
true innovation and productivity by untaxing wages and capital. In Al
Gore's vernacular, "Tax what you burn, not what you earn."
This is also in petition form at the link if you wish to sign it.In other words, reward innovation and penalize the status quo, rather than the... more
The uprising In the Amazon is more urgent than Iran's - it will determine the future of the planet.
In the depths of the Amazon rainforest, the poorest people in the world have taken on the richest people in the world to defend a part of the ecosystem none of us can live without. They had nothing but wooden spears and moral force to defeat the oil companies – and, for today, they have won.
Here's the story of how it happened – and how we all need to pick up this fight. Earlier this year, Peru's right-wing President, Alan Garcia, sold the rights to explore, log and drill 70 per cent of his country's swathe of the Amazon to a slew of international oil companies. Garcia seems to see rainforest as a waste of good resources, saying of the Amazon's trees: "There are millions of hectares of timber there lying idle."
There was only one pesky flaw in Garcia's plan: the indigenous people who live in the Amazon. They are the first people of the Americas, subject to wave after wave of genocide since the arrival of the Conquistadors. They are weak. They have no guns. They barely have electricity. The government didn't bother to consult them: what are a bunch of Indians going to do anyway?
But the indigenous people have seen what has happened elsewhere in the Amazon when the oil companies arrive. Occidental Petroleum are facing charges in US courts of dumping an estimated nine billion barrels of toxic waste in the regions of the Amazon where they operated from 1972 to 2000. Andres Sandi Mucushua, the spiritual leader of the area known to the oil companies as Block (12A)B, said in 2007: "My people are sick and dying because of Oxy. The water in our streams is not fit to drink and we can no longer eat the fish in our rivers or the animals in our forests." The company denies liability, saying they are "aware of no credible data of negative community health impacts".
In the Ecuadorian Amazon, according to an independent report, toxic waste allegedly dumped after Chevron-Texaco's drilling has been blamed by an independent scientific investigation for 1,401 deaths, mostly of children from cancer. When the BBC investigator Greg Palast put these charges to Chevron's lawyer, he replied: "And it's the only case of cancer in the world? How many cases of children with cancer do you have in the States?... They have to prove it's our crude, [which] is absolutely impossible."
The people of the Amazon do not want to see their forests felled and their lands poisoned. And here, the need of the indigenous peoples to preserve their habitat has collided with your need to preserve your habitat. The rainforests inhale massive amounts of warming gases and keep them stored away from the atmosphere. Already, we are chopping them down so fast that it is causing 25 per cent of man-made carbon emissions every year – more than planes, trains and automobiles combined. But it is doubly destructive to cut them down to get to fossil fuels, which then cook the planet yet more. Garcia's plan was to turn the Amazon from the planet's air con into its fireplace.
Why is he doing this? He was responding to intense pressure from the US, whose new Free Trade Pact requires this "opening up", and from the International Monetary Fund, paid for by our taxes. In Peru, it has also been alleged that the ruling party, APRA, is motivated by oil bribes. Some of Garcia's associates have been caught on tape talking about how to sell off the Amazon to their cronies.
Thank you to those who live in the Amazon who know what is most important to life on this planet. This of course didn't cause the Twitter frenzy the protests in Iran did, but nevertheless this too is about democracy... environmental democracy, and that to me is most important because without a sustainable environment you have nothing else.The uprising In the Amazon is more urgent than Iran's - it will determine the... more
Mountaintop removal coal mining is causing "immense and irreversible" damage to Appalachian hills, streams and forests, members of a U.S. Senate subcommittee were told Thursday.
A federal regulator joined a university expert, a West Virginia activist and a Tennessee environmental commissioner in criticizing large-scale strip mining's impacts, as lawmakers consider a bipartisan bill that would curb the practice.
"We must consider the cost of coal from the cradle to the grave," said Maria Gunnoe, a Boone County native who won the international Goldman Prize for her anti-mining activism. "We have the opportunity to stop the annihilation of mountains and people by mountaintop removal and to change the history of energy in this country."
Margaret Palmer, a University of Maryland ecologist who has been studying mountaintop removal's impacts, explained that scientists have clearly documented the damage being done.
"The mountain summits that are removed to reach the coal may not have the same shape or height they previously did, the streams that are buried when rocks and dirt are dumped over the side of the mountain into the valleys below are gone forever, and there is no evidence to date that mitigation actions can compensate for the lost natural resources and ecological functions of the headwater streams that are buried," Palmer told lawmakers.
Palmer and Gunnoe were among those who testified in a Senate Environmental and Public Works subcommittee hearing scheduled to examine mountaintop removal, the Obama administration's plans for regulating it, and legislation that would outlaw most -- if not all -- valley fills.
The only witness who defended mountaintop removal was Randy Huffman, who as secretary of the state Department of Environmental Protection is the Manchin administration's top strip-mining regulator.
end of excerpt.Mountaintop removal coal mining is causing "immense and irreversible" damage... more
Coal Kills. We must quit coal. We have energy alternatives now that can be used to help clean this planet and maintain a stable climate balance. This also isn't only about climate change, it is about the health and safety of us and our children. Cutting emissions cuts asthma. It cuts cancer. It cuts toxic water pollution. It cuts mountaintop removal. It cuts the complete and utter environmental devastation of our only home. And, it holds governments and industries accountable to the people, as it should be. This is also just as much about environmental democracy, human rights, and national security as it is about CO2. Time to stop bowing to the very industries toxifiying this planet, and look upward.Coal Kills. We must quit coal. We have energy alternatives now that can be used to... more