January 31, 2012
- “More Damning Evidence Points to Pesticide as Cause of Mass Bee Deaths: Bayer-produced imidacloprid harmful to bees even at very low levels” (Common Dreams, 1/30)
- “Dishonest Fox Chart: Food Stamps Edition”: According to Media Matters for America (1/30), a Fox News show run on Monday, January 30, “features mismatched data that does not answer the question of whether ‘more people have gotten on food stamps’ under Obama than any under other president (spoiler alert: they haven’t).”
- Climate Change Affects Agriculture, and Vice Versa (Who Knew?!): According to Greenwire (1/30 – subscribers only), “The World Bank’s proposed agriculture-based carbon market got preliminary approval today [Monday 1/30] from a third-party carbon credit accreditation system based on the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism. . . . The approval brought the bank’s efforts to remunerate smallholder farmers for practicing agricultural techniques that sequester carbon in soil — such as no-till farming, crop-residue management and agroforestry — closer to reality. With the approval, carbon credits can be sold on voluntary carbon markets globally.” However, as Carbon Trade Watch‘s Kevin Smith has said, “Effective action on climate change involves demanding, adopting and supporting policies that reduce emissions at the source as opposed to offsetting or trading. Carbon trading isn’t an effective response; emissions have to be reduced across the board without elaborate get-out clauses for the biggest polluters.” The Food Rights Network supports no-till farming, using crop residues to boost soil fertility, and agroforestry without the use of toxic herbicides and other unsustainable practices, particularly for small farmers, but believes that corporations shouldn’t be allowed to buy carbon credits from small farmers instead of reducing their own emissions. Meanwhile, Public Radio International reports (1/29) that “farmers in Mozambique [are] trying to adapt farming to climate change” by diversifying the crops grown and installing irrigation, with help from the organization Save the Children. And in the United States, climate change may be threatening cranberry production in New Jersey, according to the New Jersey Spotlight (1/26). Some scientists propose “geoengineering,” or “fill[ing] the upper atmosphere with tiny particles that could scatter sunlight before it reaches, and warms, the Earth’s surface,” as a solution to the effect of climate change on agriculture and to boost crop yields, according to NPR (1/23). Scientists working on the proposal caution, however, “Even if the global average remained the same, some regions might get hotter while others get colder. That could cause drastic local or regional changes in climate and weather patterns.” And the New York Times Green blog also published an article about agriculture and climate change, on January 19.
- “The Scary Danger of [Big] Meat (Even For Those Who Don’t Eat It)”: According to AlterNet (1/30), “antibiotics are routinely given to livestock on factory farms to make them gain weight with less feed and keep them from getting sick in confinement conditions. But the daily dosing, at the same time it lowers feed needs, lowers drug effectiveness and produces antibiotic resistant bacteria or super bugs that can be deadly to people.” Meanwhile, according to the Food & Environment Reporting Network (1/25), ”a drug [ractopamine hydrochloride] used to keep pigs lean and boost their growth is jeopardizing the nation’s exports.”
- “Dow and Monsanto Team Up on the Mother of All Herbicide Marketing Plans” (Mother Jones, 1/25)
- “Occupy Cargill Activists Stage Citizens’ Arrest of Cargill, Inc.” (Rainforest Action Network Understory, 1/21)
- Monsanto Attempts to Deny Proxy to Shareholder Activist: According to the Sacramento Bee (1/20), “on Tuesday, January 24, Monsanto officers and shareholders will vote on a shareholder proposal to create a study of “material financial risks or operational impacts” associated with its chemical products and genetically modified organisms (GMOs). The proposal represents one of the strongest signals to date that the biotech food conglomerate is facing growing consumer, legal, and regulatory uncertainties. As of today, however Monsanto has told John Harrington that they will not recognize his proxy who would speak on behalf of the resolution for only three minutes under normal circumstances. . . . Adam Eidinger, an organic food activist who recently led a walk from NY to Washington DC on behalf of honest food labeling, will present the shareholder resolution on behalf of Napa, California based Harrington Investments (HII) with help from the Pesticide Action Network of North America (PANNA).”
- “Reinstating Local Food, Local Rules” (Care2, 1/19 – thanks to Jenny Huston!). Siena Chrisman of WhyHunger interviews Bob St.Peter, whom the Food Rights Network interviewed about local food sovereignty ordinances last year.
- “Liberia Among Top Five Countries Giving Farmland to Foreigners” and “National Elites in Developing Countries, Including Tanzania, Have Been Singled Out as Among the Most Notorious Land Grabbers“: For more, see FarmLandGrab.org (1/12 and 1/8 – thanks to Jenny Huston!).
Filed under: In the News