Repeal the Monsanto Protection Act and support GMO labeling

Posted by on May 22, 2013 in Organic Benefits | 0 comments

Repeal the Monsanto Protection Act and support GMO labeling

Repeal the Monsanto Protection Act and support GMO labeling

Stop the Corporate Takeover of America: Tell Congress to Repeal the Monsanto Protection Act and support GMO labeling and environmental protections in the 2013 Farm Bill!

Yesterday was an incredible day for the movement to label GMOs and take our democracy back from corrupt chemical and biotech seed companies like Monsanto.

Late last night, the Connecticut Senate passed a bill to label GMOs by a margin of 35 to 1!

Yesterday morning, less than 2 months after the Monsanto Protection Act was signed into law, Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) introduced an amendment, S. 954, to repeal the Monsanto Protection Act – the most outrageous special interest loophole in recent memory.

And yesterday afternoon, Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) introduced a Right-to-Know GMO labeling amendment to put pressure on the Senate to get in the game for a federal bill that requires labeling for all Americans!Repeal the Monsanto Protection Act and support GMO labeling

Today we need your help to keep this momentum going to stop Monsanto and win GMO labeling and build a better food supply. Right now, Monsanto and the biotech industry is running scared. The tide has turned on the conversation to label genetically engineered foods and we need your help to drive it home!

This week the Senate is taking amendments to the 2013 Farm Bill and we need you to take action to protect our future!

Tell Congress it’s time to end the corporate takeover of our food supply, repeal the Monsanto Protection Act and support organics and family farmers! It’s time to put the health of our people, our environment and our nation over Monsanto’s profits!

Repeal the Monsanto Protection Act and support GMO labeling

These are the list of amendments that Food Democracy Now! and our allies support to build a better future!

Take action by calling your senators today!Repeal the Monsanto Protection Act and support GMO labeling

List of Amendments to S. 954, the 2013 Farm Bill to Build an Organic, Sustainable Food Supply

1. Repeal Monsanto Protection ActMerkley Amendment #978 In an unprecedented move, Senator Merkley, introduced an amendment to repeal the Monsanto Protection Act, Section 735 of H.R. 933, which was passed into law last March. The Monsanto Protection Act has been called “the most outrageous special interest provisions in years.”

2. Support GMO labeling: Boxer Amendment #1025 to Label Genetically Engineered Food Right to Know: Boxer has introduced an important amendment to the farm bill that would show support for labeling foods with genetically engineered ingredients

3. Ban Genetically Engineered SalmonBegich Amendment #934 to ban the sale of genetically engineered salmon until Federal wildlife agencies are properly consulted.

4. Protect Honey Bees and PollinatorsBoxer Amendment #1027 to protect honey bees and native pollinators, that have declined over 45% last winter as a result of pesticides and industrial agriculture.

5. Wyden Common Sense Hemp Amendment #952: Senator Wyden introduced Farm Bill Amendment 952 to define industrial hemp and allow the states to regulate it. S.952 is in support of the “Industrial Hemp Farming Act” (S. 359), that Wyden filed earlier this year to support family farmers who want to grow hemp on their farms to grow this sustainable crop for food, clothing and bio-fuels. The amendment has broad bipartisan co-sponsorship from Senators Paul, McConnell and Merkley.

6. Limit Payments to Large Corporate FarmsShaheen-Toomey Payment Limit Amendment #926: Limits crop insurance premium support to $50,000 per farmer annually; requires a farmer to be actively engaged in the farm business in order to be eligible for premium support; generates more than $4 billion in savings over ten years; and impacts fewer than 4 percent of farmers.

7. Support Caps on Insurance Payments: Coburn-Durbin AGI Amendment #953: Supports caps on isurance payments to reduce premium support by 15% for farmers with an Adjusted Gross Income of more than $750,000; generates more than $1 billion in savings over ten years; impacts less than 1 percent of farmers.

8. Open Transparency for Public SubsidiesBegich-Flake Transparency Amendment #936: Permits RMA to disclose the names of insurance subsidy recipients, making crop insurance disclosure requirements consistent with requirements for other subsidies, disaster payments, and conservation payments at no cost to the taxpayer.

It’s incredible how far we’ve come in such a short period of time and with your help we can win these important amendments to help family farmers grow an organic, sustainable and non-GMO food supply!

Repeal the Monsanto Protection Act and support GMO labeling

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March Against Monsanto

Posted by on May 16, 2013 in Organic Benefits | 0 comments

March Against Monsanto

On May 25, activists around the world will unite to March Against Monsanto.

Why do we march?

  • Research studies have shown that Monsanto’s genetically-modified foods can lead to serious health conditions such as the development of cancer tumors, infertility and birth defects.
  • In the United States, the FDA, the agency tasked with ensuring food safety for the population, is steered by ex-Monsanto executives, and we feel that’s a questionable conflict of interests and explains the lack of government-led research on the long-term effects of GM products.
  • Recently, the U.S. Congress and president collectively passed the nicknamed “Monsanto Protection Act” that, among other things, bans courts from halting the sale of Monsanto’s genetically-modified seeds.
  • For too long, Monsanto has been the benefactor of corporate subsidies and political favoritism. Organic and small farmers suffer losses while Monsanto continues to forge its monopoly over the world’s food supply, including exclusive patenting rights over seeds and genetic makeup.
  • Monsanto’s GM seeds are harmful to the environment; for example, scientists have indicated they have contributed to Colony Collapse Disorder among the world’s bee population.
March Against Monsanto
What are solutions we advocate?
  • Voting with your dollar by buying organic and boycotting Monsanto-owned companies that use GMOs in their products.
  • Labeling of GMOs so that consumers can make those informed decisions easier.
  • Repealing relevant provisions of the US’s “Monsanto Protection Act.”
  • Calling for further scientific research on the health effects of GMOs.
  • Holding Monsanto executives and Monsanto-supporting politicians accountable through direct communication, grassroots journalism, social media, etc.
  • Continuing to inform the public about Monsanto’s secrets.
  • Taking to the streets to show the world and Monsanto that we won’t take these injustices quietly.

March Against Monsanto

We will not stand for cronyism. We will not stand for poison. That’s why we March Against Monsanto.

 

A portion of the proceeds from this shirt supports the local organizers of March Against Monsanto on May 25th obtain flyers and permits. GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) are one of the biggest and most controversial issues facing our health and environment today.

The health consequences of GMOs are unknown, the safety unproven, genetically-modified plants require massive amounts of pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides, and there is no turning back once the modified genes enter our farmlands. The demand for GMOs to be labeled is a hot issue right now, most recently with YES on 522, a labeling initiative in Washington state.

Ready to make your voice heard? Join the world-wide March Against Monsanto on May 25! And, for more information and updates, follow the Organic Consumers Association. Whether this is a new commitment for you or something you’ve been passionate about for a while, by wearing this tee you are committing to help build our sustainable future. *Note: This t-shirt is made of 100% certified organic cotton and GMO free!

 

March Against Monsanto

 

We’re living in a time of rapid change and uncertainty about the future. The predominant story in our culture can scare you right to your core – environmental destruction, rapid climate change, increasing poverty and health crises around the world. When we are each focused on just getting by day to day in this rapidly changing landscape, it can be hard to believe that what we do and who we are really matters.

Our mission at We Add Up is to celebrate the plethora of choices each of us can make that contribute to creating a positive, thriving future.

We want to raise these choices up and celebrate them – because it is a brave and hopeful thing to do! We want to count you in, whether you do one of them or thirty of them, we want you to know that you are part of a larger puzzle of people who dare to care.

 March Against Monsanto

March Against Monsanto May 25, 2013

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Bee Population Decline…Bad News For Bees!

Posted by on Apr 27, 2013 in Organic Benefits | 0 comments

Bee Population Decline…Bad News For Bees!

Bee Population Decline…Bad News For Bees!

Two new studies confirm that common pesticides are scrambling the circuits of bees’ brains. Researchers report that certain neonicotinoids and an organophosphate pesticide — particularly in combination — interfere with the insects’ ability to learn, smell or remember, all critical capacities for foraging honey bees.

The new studies add to a growing body of evidencepointing to pesticides as a key driver to the dramatic losses in bee colonies reported by beekeepers.

The research, reported in the journals Nature Communications and the Journal of Experimental Biology, observed an immediate “epileptic-type activity” when bees were exposed to neonicotinoids, followed by neural inactivation “where the brain goes quiet and cannot communicate any more,” as Dr. Christopher Connelly of the University of Dundee in Scotland described to BBC News.

The effects were more pronounced when the bees were exposed to both neonicotinoids and the organophosphate insecticide, coumaphos.bee population decline

Momentum builds for pollinator protection

Earlier this month, PAN joined partners and beekeepers to take EPA to court demanding better protections for pollinators. And today, the New York Times featured beekeepers expressing concern about neonicotinoids and the “soup of pesticides” contributing to the dramatic decline in healthy hives.

EPA regulators have indicated that they may accelerate the review process for neonicotinoids, which are currently scheduled for evaluation in 2018. Given current rates of honeybee losses, it’s becoming clear that taking action on this timeline could be much too late.

Honeybees, especially older ones, can discriminate well between different odors.  Older bees tend to cluster with other bees that smell like them. This allows these older bees, who forage, increasing the likelihood they will bring back an infectious agent from the outside, to restrict disease among them.

But things change once they become sick.

Bees Need Our Help…Or Else!

The health of honeybees has been declining since the 1980s, as a result of new pathogens and pests, as well as well as to the mysterious phenomenon known as Colony Collapse Disorder, in which worker bees suddenly disappear from a beehive or colony, and never return.

We use the bee colony as a model of complex social structure to see how a disease might be expected to spread in a social group. You can understanding of the basic processes involved in spreading a disease. Also, you cannot obviously examine these processes from an experimental standpoint in humans.

Just One Type Of Crop Can Change The World Food Situation

bee population decline

The U.S. Department of Agriculture statistics show California produces 80 percent of the world’s almonds. “Almonds are 99 percent dependent upon the honey bees in February to pollinate their trees,” said San Diego beekeeper Alan Mikolich. “Without the bees they get no crop.” The United States could lose $15 billion worth of crops, including California almonds, without bees to pollinate them.

The total number of managed honey bee colonies has decreased from 5 million in the 1940s to only 2.5 million today. At the same time, the call for hives to provide pollination services has continued to increase. This means honey bee colonies are being transported over longer distances than ever before.

Declines in honey bee colony health were exacerbated in the 1980s with the arrival of new pathogens and pests. The arrival of Varroa and tracheal mites into the United States during the 1990s created additional stresses on honey bees.

Colony losses from CCD are a very serious problem for beekeepers. Annual losses from the winter of 2006-2011 averaged about 33 percent each year, with a third of these losses attributed to CCD by beekeepers. The winter of 2011-2012 was an exception, when total losses dropped to 22 percent.

A 1-year drop is too short a time period to count as definitive improvement in honey bee colony survivorship. At least 2 to 3 years of consistently lower loss percentages is necessary before it is possible to be sure that CCD is on the decline.

Bee Population Decline…Bad News For Bees Video

 

Bee Population Decline…Bad News For Bees.  Learn More From CBS News!

For the last eight years, bee populations have been in freefall. But this year is worse by far. All of a sudden we open up the box and there’s no bees in that box,” said a California bee farmer. They become disoriented, can’t find their way back to the hives, and die in the fields. Nationwide beekeepers say they’ve lost on average 40-50 percent of their hives. Pender blames a new class of pesticide – neonicotinoids — based on nicotine, which went into wide use in 2005.

Pender said he had seen the neonicotinoids actually have an impact on his bee population. “When we put our bees next to fields where they use the neonicotinoides, our bees die,” he said. Earlier pesticides were sprayed on crops. Neonicotinoids can be coated on seeds and infused through the plant as it grows. They’re very effective against harmful insects.

When CBS News asked the largest pesticide industry group whether bees are harmed as well, CropLife America gave us this statement: “Ongoing research and field studies have consistently found no adverse effects on colonies when …neonicotinoids are applied…according to label directions.

Recently, the European Union announced a major maneuver geared to protect struggling honeybee populations: a two-year ban on neonicotinoids, a super-ubiquitous class of nicotine-derived pesticides that numerous scientific studies have ID’d as being one of several primary contributors — if not the key contributor —to colony collapse disorder. The restrictions will only be lifted if strong scientific evidence disproving the apiarian-adverse properties of the chemicals emerges.

Despite fierce opposition and pressure from powerful agrochemical giants fearing annual losses in the billions of dollars, restrictions on three types of neonicotinoids — clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam — “for seed treatment, soil application (granules) and foliar treatment on bee attractive plants and cereals” will go into effect on Dec 1, 2013.
Honey Bees Population Decline

In Brussels, 15 EU member states (Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, Spain, France, Cyprus, Germany, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Sweden and agricultural heavyweights Germany and Poland) voted in support of the restrictions while eight member states opposed them including Italy and, most controversially, the U.K. where the grassroots movement to ban the pesticides was perhaps the loudest and most celebrity-ridden (as was the pro-chemical lobbying). Four member states (Ireland, Lithuania, Finland, and Greece) abstained during the appeal committee vote. During an earlier round of voting on the measure, the U.K. had abstained.

Summed up Tonio Borg of Malta, the European Commission’s Health and Consumer honcho: “Although a majority of Member States now supports our proposal, the necessary qualified majority was not reached. The decision now lies with the Commission. Since our proposal is based on a number of risks to bee health identified by the European Food Safety Authority, the Commission will go ahead with its text in the coming weeks. I pledge to do my utmost to ensure that our bees, which are so vital to our ecosystem and contribute over €22 billion annually to European agriculture, are protected.”

Friends of the Earth’s Andrew Pendleton, by far one of the more vocal campaigners in the crusade against neonicotinoids, appeared mighty pleased with the two-year suspension: “This decision is a significant victory for common sense and our beleaguered bee populations. Restricting the use of these pesticides could be an historic milestone on the road to recovery for these crucial pollinators.”

Although a major victory, the landmark decision shouldn’t come as too big of surprise. Earlier this year, the European Food Safety Commission effectively set things into motion when it singled out neonicotinoids as posing an “unacceptable danger” to honeybees, a move that environmental organizations heralded as the “death knell” for the chemical nerve agents. Soon after, two major British home and garden retailers, B&Q and Wickes, announced that they would be yanking consumer gardening productscontaining neonicotinoids from shelves.

Bayer CropScience, the agrochemical subgroup of German aspirin giant Bayer AG, is a primary manufacturer of both imidacloprid and clothianidin. A spokesperson for the company went into full-on “none-too-pleased” mode yesterday: “Bayer remains convinced neonicotinoids are safe for bees, when used responsibly and properly … clear scientific evidence has taken a back-seat in the decision-making process.”

It was pretty much the same message from Swiss biochemical company and thiamethoxam manufacturer, Syngenta: “The proposal is based on poor science and ignores a wealth of evidence from the field that these pesticides do not damage the health of bees. Instead of banning these products, the commission should now take the opportunity to address the real reasons for bee health decline: disease, viruses and loss of habitat and nutrition.”

So what does all this mean for nature’s most prolific pollinators living on this side of the pond, where domesticated bee populations have reached a 50-year low and continue to fall? As of now, nothing.

As I’ve previously reported, despite continuously mounting pressure from beekeepers and environmental groups, it appears that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is a long ways off from banning neonicotinoids in both commercial agriculture applications and in home gardening products, although it does recognize pesticide poisoning as one of the many potential causes of CCD and is currently re-evaluating the insecticide. That evaluation should be completed … in five years. (Such urgency!)

In the meantime, the EPA is being sued for “its failure to protect pollinators from dangerous pesticides” by a coalition of four beekeeping groups and five environmental and consumer groups including the Sierra Club and the Center for Environmental Health.

Grist explains:

Last summer, the EPA rejected a petition to stop the sale of clothianidin, one of the pesticides that the E.U. is now banning. Clothianidin has been on the market since 2003, despite the fact that a leaked memo revealed that EPA scientists found a Bayer-produced study of the pesticide’s effects inadequate. EPA now plans to complete its evaluation of neonicotinoid safety in 2018.
As for all you American honeybee supporters out there who would like to see the EPA speed things up just a touch, click here to voice your concern. Do it for the future of American agriculture. Do it for your local artisanal honey purveyor. Do it for Bee Girl.
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