Why are thousands of physicians advising patients to avoid eating GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms)  and how did these high-risk foods get onto the market in the first place? The answers are disturbing, even shocking, but may help you get healthy and stay healthy. Foods with added bacterial or viral genes were quietly slipped into your diet two decades ago. Using the excuse that GMOs weren’t that much different, the FDA didn’t require labels or even a single safety study from GMO makers like Monsanto. But a lawsuit forced the agency to release their files and the truth finally came out.
With more than 80,000 farms producing about $45 billion in annual profits, California is the nation’s largest farm state, and agriculture is California’s leading industry. In states like Pennsylvania, Colorado and Ohio, grazing animals have gotten sick and died after drinking fracking runoff and water from farm wells near fracking operations. In Kern County, one farmer lost millions of dollars worth of almond and pistachio crops from groundwater contamination from a nearby oil and gas operation. “Farmers are vital to a healthy food system and a healthy economy and they must be protected,” said Adam Scow, California campaigns director for Food & Water Watch. “We call on Gov. Brown to place a moratorium on fracking to protect California farmers from the severe threat of fracking.” “California needs an immediate halt to fracking to protect our state’s precious water from this toxic technique,” said Brian Nowicki of the Center for Biological Diversity. “To safeguard our farmers and others affected by our state’s crippling drought, Gov. Brown should halt fracking in our state to protect the air we breathe and the water we so desperately need.”
Profits over people… Veolia is the largest water privatization business in the world, and has come under attack by water rights activists for many of its contracts that reveal consistent prioritization of private profit at the expense of the environment and public interest. See the 2011 report by Food & Water Watch for more information. While public facilities are accountable to the public, often creating increased transparency and efficiency, private facilities are not. If a company chooses to abuse its privilege by hiking up price rates or cutting costs in ways that are detrimental to the public, it is much more difficult to fight. Worldwide, consumers report that Veolia consistently charges high rates, provides poor service, and fails to make promised improvements.
That’s the process commonly known as fracking, short for hydraulic fracturing. The fluid pumped into the wells usually gets pumped back out again as wastewater. And if you suddenly have an uneasy feeling about where those offshore rigs dispose of that wastewater, you may well be correct. About half of the state’s offshore rigs pump at least some of their wastewater right into the Santa Barbara Channel. According to the Center for Biological Diversity, oil rig operators have federal permits to dump more than nine billion gallons of fracking wastewater into California’s ocean waters each year. That’s enough wastewater to fill more than 100 stadiums the size of the Rose Bowl brim-full of toxic waste. And CBD wants the Environmental Protection Agency to do something about it.
I know many citizens of Ohio are shocked by the recent revelation based on a public records request that a state-appointed regulatory agency is actually promoting drilling, and working to “convince” the public that it is safe. But I’m not. Call it “lessons learned on the front lines.” Based on personal experience with drilling in my hometown, I was not surprised when I read this information on the Ohio Department of Natural Resource’s recently exposed, 10-page memo listing allies, threats, and strategies to convince us that drilling in state parks was a good idea. I was not surprised to read notes that revealed the governor’s office, Halliburton, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, local chambers of commerce and media outlets like the Youngstown Vindicator are “allies” and environmental groups are considered “threats.”
In this report, Center for Food Safety examines how industrial agriculture – the dominant method of food production in the U.S. – externalizes many social and environmental costs while relying heavily on fossil fuels. Organic farming, by comparison, requires half as much energy, contributes far fewer greenhouse gasses, and, perhaps most surprisingly, is more resilient in the face of climate disruption. Food & Climate: Connecting the Dots, Choosing the Way Forward also recommends that government agricultural policies and regulations be designed to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and toxic chemicals and calls on the public to pressure elected officials to act now to slow down climate change.
“When non-operators own farms, they tend to source out the oversight to management companies, leading in part to horrific conditions around labour and how we treat the land,” Anuradha Mittal, the executive director of the Oakland Institute, a U.S. watchdog group focusing on global large-scale land acquisitions, told IPS. “They also reprioritise what commodities are grown on that land, based on what can yield the highest return. This is no longer necessarily about food at all, but rather is a way to reap financial profits. Unfortunately, that’s far removed from the central role that land ultimately plays in terms of climate change, growing hunger and the stability of the global economy.” In a new report released Tuesday, the Oakland Institute tracks rising interest from some of the financial industry’s largest players.
It’s been a ridiculous few weeks in and around the coalfields of southern West Virginia. The water crisis has not abated, with hundreds of thousands of people still struggling to cope with toxic tap water. Babies, children, pregnant women, and all kinds of folks are getting sick and in many cases being hospitalized due to chemical exposure in their homes. The other day, a Charleston school had to shut down after teachers and students fainted from the fumes. And of course, the state and federal governments seem to be doing everything in their power to do absolutely nothing. To cut to the chase: WE NEED YOU! We especially need longer-term volunteers who can commit to 3+ weeks to several months of organizing around the water crisis and other existential issues in this area.
Acevedo does get food stamps, but in order to pay for rent, electricity, extra food for her children, clothes, gas for her car, and a spreadsheet’s worth of daily expenses, she turns to her friends for financial support—all her family live in Mexico. There’s no spare cash for furnishings. She’s exhausted with worry; the dark shadows haunting her face betray countless sleepless nights. But Acevedo’s concerns extend beyond the immediate. An even greater worry to her is that she has been forced to relocate somewhere that potentially poses a major health risk to her and her children. “When I came here, they never said anything about the development project or the contamination,” she said. “They kept their mouths closed… and I’m worried for my kids because lead is very dangerous.”
LEXINGTON, KY — Today, national and Kentucky groups argued their challenge to a proposed Kentucky mountaintop removal mine in federal appeals court. Kentuckians For The Commonwealth and Sierra Club Cumberland Chapter, represented by Earthjustice, Appalachian Mountain Advocates, and Appalachian Citizens’ Law Center, made their case against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ approval of Leeco Inc.’s proposed Stacy Branch mountaintop removal mine before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. The groups are challenging the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ position that it can ignore human health risks when it decides whether to permit a mountaintop removal coal mine. Earthjustice attorney Neil Gormley presented the oral arguments on behalf of the groups.
Armed plain-clothed City of Flagstaff cops showed up at a community member’s home and at a community center yesterday. The officers, Kevin Rued and Eric Greenwald, stated that they were doing “preventative maintenance” and that they’re going to “have the entire front grassy area of the courthouse roped off specifically for protestors” as a free speech zone at the City of Flagstaff and Snowbowl sponsored Dew Downtown event. Critics of the event have stated that, “more than 300,000 gallons of drinking water for fake snow at a recreational event sends the wrong message when we live in the high desert and we’re facing a water shortage. Dew Downtown is contrary to the values of sustainability that the City of Flagstaff proclaims.”
“I have done everything a citizen is supposed to do to implore elected leaders to protect my community” explained Christine Hughes, owner of the Village Bakery and several other businesses, “I cannot stand by while farmers are forced to accept toxic drilling waste and destruction of their property and property values.” Michelle Ajamian, owner of a local grain mill, concurred: “I have lived in rural Athens County since 1976. Both my children were born, schooled, and raised here. I’m willing to face arrest now to prevent the permanent contamination of our water in the future. I worry about what just happened in West Virginia, happening here.” “I’ve spoken against fracking and injection wells with my mouth, pen, phone, and keyboard, only to receive no response from Ohio’s legislators. It’s now my conviction that it’s time for me to speak with my very body,” said local pastor M. Smiles Welch
The arrests happened shortly after the shareholders failed to pass two resolutions that would have changed Monsanto’s policies on its Genetically Modified Organism products. Protesters say people should be concerned they are buying genetically modified food that the organizers say is not safe for human consumption. “Basically GMOs are a big experiment on the American population. And we think many people are suffering food-related illnesses and they can’t track it back to the source because the food is not labeled,” said Adam Eidinger with Occupy Monsanto. “If GMOs are safe as Monsanto claims, then putting a label on them will only confirm how safe they are.”
The USDA just began accepting public comments on a plan allowing farmers to plant 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D)-resistant corn and soy, and we only have a few weeks to tell them to reject it. Not only does the plan allow farmers to plant these crops wherever they please without any government oversight, but USDA predictably downplays any and all impacts. 2,4-D is a toxic herbicide associated with serious health impacts. Dow AgroSciences created these 2,4-D resistant crops so farmers could spray it without killing their corn and soy. But when the same herbicide is sprayed on a field repeatedly, a few naturally resistant weeds survive, reproduce, and eventually take over.
“We believe the education we provide reinforces the concept of caring through sharing,” said Bennett, the NOFA-NY 2014 Farmer of the Year. “The more people we have living and working in rural settings, the more people there are to care for agriculture. We look to the agricultural traditions of the past to build a diverse, sustainable future.” A Rhode Island native, Bennett and his wife, Ann, previously had a Maine farm, but relocated when ABC Television built one the world’s tallest transmission towers next door. “We were assured it would be safe, so we moved,” he said, during a speech laced with humor. One day, after arriving in northern New York, he was invited to give a classroom presentation about the “ins and outs” of organic farming.