GMO Labeling Defeated in Colorado, Too Close to Call in Oregon
Monsanto's heavy spending netted it a victory over Colorado's attempt to institute a mandatory labeling law for genetically modified (GMO) foods, one of two states to have such a measure on the ballot. While two-thirds of the voters in Colorado rejected the measure, Proposition 105, a similar labeling issue in Oregon was too close to call this morning, although it was trailing.
The grassroots effort Right to Know Colorado was supported by grocers like Whole Foods and Natural Grocers, but they were drastically outspent by opponents, led by Monsanto. Corporate food and biotech interests spent $17 million against less than $1 million spent by labeling supporters.
"Every day, Coloradans took to the streets and to social media to talk to their neighbors, friends and family about why Colorado should offer families the same transparency afforded families in 64 countries worldwide—the right to know what's in our food," said Lisa Trope, Colorado organizer for Food & Water Watch, which worked with Right to Know Colorado on the issue.
"But Goliath prevailed over David; the biotech industry poured $11 million into a flood of television propaganda to drown out the voice of the people. Corporate interests can only keep people in the dark about what we're eating for so long, and Food & Water Watch will continue to fight to make sure Coloradans know if their food in genetically engineered."
In Oregon, supporters of Measure 92 were also outspent, though less drastically, with $7 million invested by supporters and more than $20 million pouring in from Monsanto, DuPont, Pepsi, Coca-Cola and Kraft Foods to push their claims that GM labeling would be costly for food producers and increase the price of groceries. (The measure did not apply to restaurant food).
In Hawaii, Maui County voters passed by a slim margin to temporarily ban genetically engineered crops, which goes far beyond labeling.
"The county's first-ever ballot initiative targeting global agriculture companies Monsanto and Dow AgroSciences attracted nearly $8 million from opponents," Honolulu Civil Beat reports, "making it the most expensive campaign in Hawaii's history."
The expense for the campaign equates to "more than $75 per registered voter in Maui County, which has a population of just around 160,000."
Humboldt County, California also passed a GMO crop ban, joining bordering Mendocino and Trinity counties in prohibiting the growing of GMO crops.
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Two lawmakers introduced a bill Tuesday addressing previous actions the U.S. government inflicted upon Native Americans.
The bill, authored by Rep. Deb Haaland from New Mexico and Sen. Elizabeth Warren from Massachusetts, specifically addresses the "intergenerational trauma" caused by policies that tore Native American children away from their families and sent them to boarding schools to be educated in white culture, HuffPost reported.
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EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Gudrun Heise
Just as scientists are scoring successes in coronavirus research, new problems are on their way. Fall is with us and winter is around the corner, so the season for colds and flu has begun — joining COVID-19.
Influenza Vaccination<p>A flu vaccination may thus be able to narrow down the diagnostic options when flu-like symptoms occur, but whether such a vaccination also has an influence on the behavior of the dangerous new virus is — like so much else — not clear. "It is conceivable that there is an indirect effect. But it is, I believe, a matter of speculation whether it has an immunological effect in the narrower sense," says Krause.</p><p>Every winter, doctors' waiting rooms are full of people who are coughing and sniffing but who mostly turn out to have only a severe respiratory infection. According to current knowledge, the virus that causes COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, is also likely to be subject to seasonal fluctuations. </p><p>In winter, cold viruses, at least, flourish because cold and dry air offers ideal conditions for their spread. In addition, it becomes more difficult to air rooms regularly and intensively — an important further measure to counteract the coronavirus and contain to some extent the danger posed by aerosols.</p><p>According to the <a href="https://www.rki.de/DE/Home/homepage_node.html" target="_blank">Robert Koch Institute, Germany's public health agency</a>, between 5% and 20% of people in Germany become infected with flu viruses every year. These viruses are also dangerous and can be fatal. The flu vaccination must be adapted to the influenza viruses every year, because they mutate. But at least there is a vaccination.</p><p>Most experts agree that there is unlikely to be a vaccine against the coronavirus by the time the next wave of influenza comes around. And even if a vaccine were to be approved, many unknowns remain.</p>
COVID-19 and Flu Simultaneously<p>For example, there is a lack of practical experience in dealing simultaneously with SARS-CoV-2 and influenza. It is possible to speculate that having influenza could facilitate the entry of the coronavirus into the human body. "The general weakening of the immune system during an influenza infection could increase the susceptibility of a patient to a SARS-CoV-2 infection," Krause says.</p><p>However, it is uncertain how dangerous this double infection could ultimately be and what can be done about it. Krause is of the opinion that we must arm ourselves against all three diseases — colds, flu and COVID-19. If we have a cold, bed rest, hot tea and cough medicine usually help. We can get vaccinated against flu. But how do we deal with COVID-19?</p><p><span></span>Probably people can only hope that if they get the illness, they will have a mild form with as few after-effects as possible. Here, it will certainly help to stick to suggested rules on hygiene to reduce or prevent our exposure to the virus. In an interview with DW, Bonn-based virology professor Hendrik Streeck made it clear that COVID-19 usually takes a more severe course when there is a high viral load at infection.</p>
Hygiene, Hygiene, Hygiene<p>The same hygiene measures with which we are trying to get at least some kind of grip on COVID-19 also apply to influenza. The less we come into contact with viruses, the greater the chance that we will be spared an infection or that it will be mild.</p><p>These measures include general hygiene precautions such as frequent hand washing and the wearing of protective face masks. "The various hygienic measures against COVID-19 will also reduce the spread of influenza," says Krause. "Possibly, further connections of a more immunological nature will be discovered."</p><p>Let us hope that is the case, because the flu season hasn't even started.</p>
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