The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Los Angeles Considers Ban on Sale and Cultivation of GE Seeds and Plants
Los Angeles is considering banning the cultivation and sale of genetically engineered (GE) seeds and plants. If it does, this second-largest U.S. city would become the country's largest GE-free zone.
Two Los Angeles city councilmen on Friday introduced a motion that would ban the growth, sale and distribution of GE seeds and plants. The councilmen, Paul Koretz and Mitch O’Farrell, said the measure is meant to protect local gardens and homegrown food from contamination by GE seeds. The motion would not affect the sale of food containing GE ingredients.
"We don't want to consume mystery food," O'Farrell told The Huffington Post. "Since there's currently no requirement, anyone could unwittingly purchase a genetically modified product and not know it. I think that's irresponsible."
GE plants or animals have been genetically engineered with DNA from bacteria, viruses or other plants and animals. These experimental combinations of genes from different species cannot occur in nature or in traditional crossbreeding. In the U.S., genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are in up to 80 percent of conventionally processed food.
GE seeds are used mostly by large farmers, of which there are none in LA. But Joanne Poyourow, executive director of Environmental Changemakers of LA, said targeting city gardeners is easier than large farmers.
"Right now, it is very challenging to save that diversity in the farmlands, but we think we can provide significant help in saving that diversity by saving seeds within the cities," said Poyourow, who worked on the motion.
Proponents of GMOs—including food, biotech and chemical companies—say there is no research proving that they have less nutritional value than non-modified food. Proponents also say GE allows for insect- and weather-resistant crops that can help meet a rising global food demand.
The LA motion comes weeks before Washington state will vote on ballot Initiative 522, which calls for labeling food products that contain GE ingredients.
Last November, Californians narrowly defeated Proposition 37, which would have made California the first state to require that GE food be labeled. Monsanto, Kraft and Coca-Cola were among companies contributing to what became a $46-million "No on Prop 37" radio and television campaign. Proponents raised $9.2 million. The Grocery Manufacturers Association illegally collected and spent more than $7 million in opposition to Initiative 522, while hiding the identity of its contributors.
The U.S. has no requirement to label GE food. In the last several years, a few U.S. localities, including San Juan County, WA, and Mendocino County, Marin County and Arcata, CA, have banned cultivation of GMOs.
"If we aren’t going to be able to rely on our state or federal leaders to do something about GMOs, we can act locally," O'Farrell said. "This statement goes beyond LA to the big food companies. LA's always been a trendsetter. As we know, so goes the West, so goes the rest of the country."
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Extreme weather events supercharged by climate change in 2012 led to nearly 1,000 more deaths, more than 20,000 additional hospitalizations, and cost the U.S. healthcare system $10 billion, a new report finds.
A Bay Area conservation group struck a deal to buy and to protect the world's largest remaining privately owned sequoia forest for $15.6 million. Now it needs to raise the money, according to CNN.
The Rugby World Cup starts Friday in Japan where Pacific Island teams from Samoa, Fiji and Tonga will face off against teams from industrialized nations. However, a new report from a UK-based NGO says that when the teams gather for the opening ceremony on Friday night and listen to the theme song "World In Union," the hypocrisy of climate injustice will take center stage.
By Wudan Yan
In June, New York Times journalist Andy Newman wrote an article titled, "If seeing the world helps ruin it, should we stay home?" In it, he raised the question of whether or not travel by plane, boat, or car—all of which contribute to climate change, rising sea levels, and melting glaciers—might pose a moral challenge to the responsibility that each of us has to not exacerbate the already catastrophic consequences of climate change. The premise of Newman's piece rests on his assertion that traveling "somewhere far away… is the biggest single action a private citizen can take to worsen climate change."
On Monday, Sept. 23, the Climate Group will kick off its 11th annual Climate Week NYC, a chance for governments, non-profits, businesses, communities and individuals to share possible solutions to the climate crisis while world leaders gather in the city for the UN Climate Action Summit.
By Pam Radtke Russell in New Orleans
Local TV weather forecasters have become foot soldiers in the war against climate misinformation. Over the past decade, a growing number of meteorologists and weathercasters have begun addressing the climate crisis either as part of their weather forecasts, or in separate, independent news reports to help their viewers understand what is happening and why it is important.