OCA’s message? Industrial agriculture is one of the biggest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions—and its counterpart, organic regenerative farming and ranching, offers not only a way to reverse global warming, but a way to have better soil, better health, more justice for farmers, and a proven path for feeding the world.
Click here to watch this "must-watch" video! Related: "Do Manitoba's Elected Politicians Care About the Health of Their People? A Food Safety Advocate Wonders...The politicians are "no-shows" at a series of summer speaking events."
Excuse me, Mr. Menzies, if my headline sounded "inflammatory." But, if Canadians themselves are not yet "inflamed" by the impact your products are having on our natural world, perhaps it's time they should be!
Every school kid must know by now what a calamity it would be if we lose our pollinators. Bees make our lives universally sweet while helping produce one of every three spoons-full of food we put in our mouths!
Songbirds may not figure in the business plans of your member corporations like Bayer, Monsanto or Syngenta. But they add colour and beauty to our lives in ways that fat bottom lines never will. And God forbid they are not actually "canaries in the coal-mine," warning us of dangers these "Croplife" products may pose to human health down the road, too!
Mr. Menzies, you also suggest my story is inaccurate. Then you go on to claim that chemical crops yield more. That, Sir, is, in and of itself, highly questionable.The Rodale Institute in the States has done the longest study anywhere on that very topic. After an initial lag, organic crops yield just as well or better than the GMO kind which need to be carpet-bombed with pesticides. Also, contrary to industry propaganda, the explosion in GMO crops around the world has not resulted in a reduction in pesticide use - but rather a dramatic increase in the volumes applied each year!
You claim that Health Canada subjects pesticides to "rigorous scientific review." A fascinating choice of words, indeed. Because they are identical to the ones H/C has used for years to defend its continued approval of similar, questionable products in past! Not surprising, considering that the line between regulators and the regulated has been blurred, if not invisible in Canada, for a very long time. (Mr. Menzies was a Conservative MP for 10 years before moving to his present position.) The Sierra Club of Canada wants the House of Commons to look into the possibility of a conflict-of-interest in CropLife Canada's future dealings with the Government of Canada. I believe it should!
My biggest fear is that "neonics," now the world's most widely-used insecticides, may one day come to rival DDT in their infamy. And that's saying a lot. It has been half-a-century since Rachel Carson (in her book, Silent Spring), exposed DDT as the culprit in the massive die-offs of fish and birds and its insidious ability to accumulate dangerously in human tissue. (And recent events seem to indicate, far from overstating the case against DDT, Ms. Carson may have actually understated it! Another, recent research study has exposed DDT as being harmful in ways never imagined in her time! I'll be telling that story soon, too, to as many people as will listen! (I'll be sure to send you a copy, too, Mr. Menzies.) Stay tuned! Ms. Carson had to endure a pricey propaganda campaign launched in the 60s by some of the same corporations CropLife now represents, aimed at sullying her reputation. They failed. Fast forward to today and we find Mr. Menzies trying to do the same thing to a veteran scientist who is now trying to raise alarm bells over the pesticide, glyphosate. Without providing any proof, Mr. Menzies magically declares "all" of the research the scientist has cited"has been discredited!"
Larry Powell lives in Neepawa, MB where he publishes PlanetInPeril.
The United Nations weather agency today voiced concerns over the surge of carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere, which has reached a new record high in 2013, amid worrying sings that oceans and biosphere seem unable to soak up emissions as quickly as they used to.Story here.
The oceans of the world absorb massive amounts of heat,
delaying the worst effects of climate change on land. P in P photo.
Is this climate-smart agriculture? Farmin' North American style!
KARNAL, India, Sep 17 2014 (IPS) - United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is expected to make a strong pitch to world political leaders at the U.N. Climate Summit in New York on Sep. 23 to accept new emissions targets and their timelines. Story here.
This past August was the warmest since records began in 1881, according to new data released by NASA. The latest readings continue a series of record or near-record breaking months. May of this year was also the warmest in recorded history. Story here.
Inflammatory language such as that expressed in the article "Is agriculture’s toxic hold turning into a death grip?" creates a false impression that is both unfair to farmers and inaccurate. Farmers overwhelmingly choose to grow genetically-improved varieties of corn, canola, soybeans and other crops due to the numerous benefits they offer, such as increased yields, which allows more food to be produced on the same amount of land. The plant science industry is committed to the responsible use of its products. Neonicotinoid seed treatments use a very small amount of pesticide and place it directly where it needs to be to protect the crop, thereby reducing the risk to non-target organisms, such as bees, and the environment.
Pesticides, whether used on conventional or organic farms, undergo a rigorous scientific review and assessment by Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency – this includes its persistence and impact on aquatic insects and birds. Pest control products are only approved for use once a scientific evaluation demonstrates no harm to human health, future generations or the environment.
Agriculture in Canada has never been more sustainable than it is today and part of the reason is the use of innovative products — like neonicotinoid seed treatments. Our industry welcomes questions about our products and looks forward to future opportunities to set the record straight about their safety and our deep commitment to working with all stakeholders to continue to ensure a sustainable future for agriculture.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Earth’s protective but fragile ozone layer is beginning to recover, largely because of the phase-out since the 1980s of certain chemicals used in refrigerants and aerosol cans, a U.N. scientific panel reported Wednesday in a rare piece of good news about the health of the planet. Story here.
"Jasper," a Rock Mountain national park in Alberta, Canada. "P in P" photo.
The Rocky Mountain forests that traverse the West are under unprecedented danger from climate-related impacts according to a new report from the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) and the Rocky Mountain Climate Organization. The Rockies include national parks like Yellowstone, Grand Teton, and Glacier National Park, and are facing a “triple assault — tree-killing insects, wildfires, and heat and drought — that could fundamentally alter these forests as we know them.” Story here.
In early 2012 Health Canada's Natural Health Products Directorate (NHPD) had already spent over one billion dollars of taxpayer's money regulating an industry that was on record as having caused zero deaths. Two and a half years later, the taxpayer's bill is still climbing.but the death toll isn't. It's still zero! Yet, as of September 1st, in the name of safety, Health Canada has sent out inspectors to force all products not possessing a natural product license off health retailer shelves. "P in P" photo
The Ka'apor Indians, a tribe of indigenous Brazilians living in the northeast region of the country's expansive rainforest, have begun taking up arms against illegal loggers who are threatening their homeland. On one of their recent searches for loggers, they were joined by Reuters photographer Lunae Parracho, who documented the scene when they reportedly found a number of the men. Story here.
Right now, dozens of countries around the world are deciding whether or not to develop their shale gas and tight oil resources (tight oil deposits are trapped in fine-grained sedimentary rock, including shale). It’s easy to understand why: shale gas could boost the world’s recoverable natural gas resources by 47 percent, cut greenhouse gas emissions compared to coal, create new revenue and jobs, and raise national energy supplies.
However, extracting natural gas and tight oil from shale poses environmental risks, especially when it comes to water. Hydraulic fracturing requires up to 25 million liters of fresh water per well, meaning shale resources can be hard to develop where fresh water is hard to find—including in some of the world’s fastest-growing economies and populations. Details here.
The TSB is raising concerns that dangerous crude oil could still be travelling by rail inside misclassified tank cars, despite assurances from the federal government that the problem has been fixed. STORY HERE.
The politicians are "no-shows" at a series of summer speaking events. by Larry Powell
Organizers of a national speaking tour, designed to warn of the potential health impacts of genetically-engineered foods, had high hopes of winning the ear of governments when the tour arrived in Manitoba in July. The Co-ordinator for the "GE Foods and Health Cross-Canada Speakers Tour" in the province, Rose Stevens, personally sent e-mails to numerous Members of Parliament and MLAs in Manitoba. She invited them to attend one of the seven eventsheld in the province that month.
Some sent regrets, without further explanation. Others said they had other commitments, without saying what they were. One said he was going to be out of the country for one of the dates, but didn't mention the others.Several did not even respond.
Whatever their circumstance,not one of the invited politicians showed up!
Some also declined invitations to send representatives, if they could not be there, themselves.
What might these politicians have heard, had they attended?
Expert speakers sounded alarm bells overglyphosate. That's the active ingredient in Roundup, a widely-used herbicide which kills broad-leaf weeds but spares crops which have been genetically-engineered to resist it. Crops altered in this way are referred to as "Roundup-Ready."
One speaker,Thierry Vrain, cited evidence that glyphosate depletes "GE" soybean crops of certain minerals, making them less nutritious. Dr. Vrain worked for Agriculture Canada for 30 years as a soil scientist and geneticist.
He referred to statistics from both the Centers for Disease Control and Department of Agriculture in the US which show "a very probable link between the amount of glyphosate sprayed on crops and the number of people coming down with gastrointestinal problems." And he pointed to many research studies which suggest a similar link to an increasing litany of human ailments like "kidney inflammation, liver damage, diabetes, celiac disease, autism, even cancer, premature births and miscarriages."
Dr. Vrain concedes that these studies simply establish a link and are not "scientifically conclusive." But, he says they are like a road map, pointing to the critical need for further studies which will either prove or disprove "causation," once and for all. He suggests, to press ahead with such studies would be relatively easy and logical; not to do so, downright irresponsible.
He adds, the millions of kilograms of glyphosate now applied to crops in North America each year have dispersed so widely, they can be found "In our food, our drinking water, the rain and most importantly, in our bodies."
Another speaker on the tour, BC activist and organic food advocate, Tony Mitra, pointed out, there is not a single laboratory in all of Canada which will test mothers' milk or our own blood or urine for glyphosate residue - even if we are prepared to pay for it! He calls this unacceptable. Mitra has embarked on a campaign to get such a lab up and running as a way of allowing ordinary people to find out just how much of the pesticide they are coping with in their bodies.
All of the major parties seemed to share equally in their disinterest. Since it is not practical to documentall of the politicians’ responses (or non-responses) in this space, here's a sampling of one from each major party who were invited, but did not attend.
Manitoba's (NDP) Minister of Healthy Living, Sharon Blady, (above) did not respond,to either of Ms. Stevens' two invitations toattend. (On her webside, Ms. Blady promises to"create environments that support health and wellness in our communities.")
Mayor Sam Katz (above) and the entire city council of Winnipeg were also invited. No one replied.
Kate Story (above), a candidate and official of both the federal and provincial Green Parties (believed to be the onlyunelectedpolitician to be invited), did not attend, either. Ironically, she was in the Maritimes at the time, at a party convention where she was instrumental in defeating a motion that would have weakened the party'santi-GMO stance. (Other Green Party supporters did attend the speaking events. And one "Green" candidate, Janine Gibson, actually chaired one of them.)
Rose Stevens, the tour organizer, is satisfied with the response of the Green Party. But she is both frustrated and disappointed with the rest.
"We elect our politicians because we feel they will represent our best interests. After such a poor response from all of them on such an important health issue it really makes me wonder why we bother to vote for them? Are they more interested in protecting big corporations and not making waves so they can remain in good favour with the highly influential biotech companies?"
Agricultural pests - viruses, bacteria, fungi, blights, mildews, rusts, beetles, nematodes, flies, mites, spiders and caterpillars - are spreading thanks to trade, travel and global warming, writes Tim Radford. The world faces a dire future of increased crop losses and growing insecurity. Story here.