Interactive Maps Show Where Monsanto's Roundup Is Sprayed in San Francisco and Portland
Based on the maps, glyphosate—the cancer-linked main ingredient in Monsanto's weedkiller Roundup—is being used in a number of public spaces including parks and playgrounds in both cities.
According to a press release sent to EcoWatch, the Portland map displays 1,592 locations in the city where herbicides containing glyphosate are being sprayed.
"Monsanto’s Roundup and its key ingredient glyphosate are major weapons in the Portland Parks Department’s arsenal of herbicides," the release states.
A Care2 petition has been posted to stop the use of glyphosate in Portland's public green spaces. The campaign, which has gathered more than 17,600 signatures, seems to be picking up momentum. In recent months, Portland lawmakers have mulled over new restrictions on the use of synthetic pesticides in the city.
Meanwhile, in the city of San Francisco alone, more than 200 locations such as ball fields, libraries, playgrounds and parks are being doused with the herbicide, Inhabitat reported.
Rev. Billy's San Francisco map was published in collaboration with the San Francisco Forest Alliance. The alliance has requested that the San Francisco Department of Environment remove Tier I and Tier II herbicides (especially Roundup/ Aquamaster and Garlon 4 Ultra) from the 2016 Reduced Risk Pesticide List, "without exceptions."
San Francisco mother and Inhabitat editor Jill Fehrenbacher is currently petitioning for a glyphosate ban in public parks. The campaign has more than 12,000 signatures to date.
"If this sounds like just a local issue within San Francisco, it is not. Roundup/glyphosate is the most widely used herbicide in the world, and city governments, organizations and companies spray it EVERYWHERE as a cost-effective approach to weed removal," Fehrenbacher wrote on the Change.org petition. "Glyphosate may have an important place in agriculture (another debate entirely), but a possibly-carcinogenic pesticide should not be sprayed thoughtlessly around schools and public parks for no good reason. It is too much of a gamble with our public health."
Earlier this year, Reverend Billy and The Stop Shopping Choir released a map of New York City locations being sprayed with glyphosate. The data was obtained by the group and members of the Coalition Against Poison Parks from the New York City Parks Department.
Interactive Map Shows Where #Monsanto’s #Roundup Is Sprayed in NYC https://t.co/6GoSSJh0rA @revbillytalen https://t.co/T9aX1qnIOY— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1455650497.0
"Monsanto’s Roundup continues to be the major weapon in the New York City parks department’s arsenal of herbicides while scientific evidence that Roundup’s key ingredient, glyphosate, is toxic approaches the level of scientific consensus," the New York City-based group said in February. "The frequency of parks department’s use of Monsanto’s Roundup doubled since 2013 with 1,300 spraying events reported. In 2014, overall herbicides use reported by volume increased by 16 percent with a 9 percent increase in the amount of glyphosate applied by volume."
Organizers told EcoWatch that a "National Map of Roundup City Spraying" is coming together. Glyphosate maps for Los Angeles, Oakland, Seattle and Philadelphia are currently in the pipeline.
Glyphosate, which is the most widely applied pesticide in the world, was classified as “probably carcinogenic to humans” in March 2015 by the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). The organization also observed that non-Hodgkin lymphoma and other hematopoietic cancers are the cancers most associated with glyphosate exposure.
Monsanto's #Glyphosate is the most heavily used weed killer in history: https://t.co/wuZAW30A25 via @ecowatch— Avaaz (@Avaaz)1454876217.0
Monsanto has long maintained the safety of their product, denying the link to cancer and demanding a retraction of the IARC’s report.
Last September, California’s issued plans to add glyphosate to the state’s list of chemicals known to cause cancer, making it the first state in the country to do so. Monsanto promptly filed a lawsuit to prevent the state from doing so.
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One of nature's epic events is underway: Monarch butterflies' fall migration. Departing from all across the United States and Canada, the butterflies travel up to 2,500 miles to cluster at the same locations in Mexico or along the Pacific Coast where their great-grandparents spent the previous winter.
Millions of People Care About Monarchs<p>I will never forget the sights and sounds the first time I visited monarchs' overwintering sites in Mexico. Our guide pointed in the distance to what looked like hanging branches covered with dead leaves. But then I saw the leaves flash orange every so often, revealing what were actually thousands of tightly packed butterflies. The monarchs made their most striking sounds in the Sun, when they burst from the trees in massive fluttering plumes or landed on the ground in the tussle of mating.</p><p>Decades of educational outreach by teachers, researchers and hobbyists has cultivated a generation of monarch admirers who want to help preserve this phenomenon. This global network has helped restore not only monarchs' summer breeding habitat by planting milkweed, but also general pollinator habitat by planting nectaring flowers across North America.</p><p>Scientists have calculated that restoring the monarch population to a stable level of about 120 million butterflies will require <a href="https://doi.org/10.1111/icad.12198" target="_blank">planting 1.6 billion new milkweed stems</a>. And they need them fast. This is too large a target to achieve through grassroots efforts alone. A <a href="https://www.fws.gov/savethemonarch/CCAA.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">new plan</a>, announced in the spring of 2020, is designed to help fill the gap.</p>
Pros and Cons of Regulation<p>The top-down strategy for saving monarchs gained energy in 2014, when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service <a href="https://www.fws.gov/southeast/pdf/petition/monarch.pdf" target="_blank">proposed</a> listing them as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. A decision is expected in December 2020.</p><p>Listing a species as endangered or threatened <a href="https://www.fws.gov/endangered/esa-library/pdf/listing.pdf" target="_blank">triggers restrictions</a> on "taking" (hunting, collecting or killing), transporting or selling it, and on activities that negatively affect its habitat. Listing monarchs would impose restrictions on landowners in areas where monarchs are found, over vast swaths of land in the U.S.</p><p>In my opinion, this is not a reason to avoid a listing. However, a "threatened" listing might inadvertently threaten one of the best conservation tools that we have: public education.</p><p>It would severely restrict common practices, such as rearing monarchs in classrooms and back yards, as well as scientific research. Anyone who wants to take monarchs and milkweed for these purposes would have to apply for special permits. But these efforts have had a multigenerational educational impact, and they should be protected. Few public campaigns have been more successful at raising awareness of conservation issues.</p>
<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="91165203d4ec0efc30e4632a00fdf57d"><iframe lazy-loadable="true" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/KilPRvjbMrA?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span>
The Rescue Attempt<p>To preempt the need for this kind of regulation, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service approved a <a href="https://www.fws.gov/savethemonarch/pdfs/Monarch%20CCAA-CCA%20Public%20Comment%20Documents/Monarch-Nationwide_CCAA-CCA_Draft.pdf" target="_blank">Nationwide Candidate Conservation Agreement for Monarch Butterflies</a>. Under this plan, "rights-of-way" landowners – energy and transportation companies and private owners – commit to restoring and creating millions of acres of pollinator habitat that have been decimated by land development and herbicide use in the past half-century.</p><p>The agreement was spearheaded by the <a href="http://rightofway.erc.uic.edu/" target="_blank">Rights-of-Way Habitat Working Group</a>, a collaboration between the University of Illinois Chicago's <a href="https://erc.uic.edu/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Energy Resources Center</a>, the Fish and Wildlife Service and over 40 organizations from the energy and transportation sectors. These sectors control "rights-of-way" corridors such as lands near power lines, oil pipelines, railroad tracks and interstates, all valuable to monarch habitat restoration.</p><p>Under the plan, partners voluntarily agree to commit a percentage of their land to host protected monarch habitat. In exchange, general operations on their land that might directly harm monarchs or destroy milkweed will not be subject to the enhanced regulation of the Endangered Species Act – protection that would last for 25 years if monarchs are listed as threatened. The agreement is expected to create up to 2.3 million acres of new protected habitat, which ideally would avoid the need for a "threatened" listing.</p>
A Model for Collaboration<p>This agreement could be one of the few specific interventions that is big enough to allow researchers to quantify its impact on the size of the monarch population. Even if the agreement produces only 20% of its 2.3 million acre goal, this would still yield nearly half a million acres of new protected habitat. This would provide a powerful test of the role of declining breeding and nectaring habitat compared to other challenges to monarchs, such as climate change or pollution.</p><p>Scientists hope that data from this agreement will be made publicly available, like projects in the <a href="https://www.fws.gov/savethemonarch/MCD.html" target="_blank">Monarch Conservation Database</a>, which has tracked smaller on-the-ground conservation efforts since 2014. With this information we can continue to develop powerful new models with better accuracy for determining how different habitat factors, such as the number of milkweed stems or nectaring flowers on a landscape scale, affect the monarch population.</p><p>North America's monarch butterfly migration is one of the most awe-inspiring feats in the natural world. If this rescue plan succeeds, it could become a model for bridging different interests to achieve a common conservation goal.</p>
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