The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Mom vs. Monsanto: Goldman Prize Honors Pesticide Reform Champion
The Goldman Environmental Prize announced on April 16 an award for Argentine mother Sofía Gatica, who has worked tirelessly—even under the threat of violence—to protect children from the hazards of aerial pesticide spraying, especially Monsanto’s RoundUp products.
Thirteen years ago, Sofía’s newborn died after being exposed to pesticides in the womb. She and the “Mothers of Ituzaingó” went door-to-door collecting stories about health problems in each family and discovered the community’s cancer rate to be 41 times the national average. In addition, the mothers found high rates of neurological problems, respiratory diseases and infant mortality. As a result, the group led “Stop the Spraying!” demonstrations with partner organizations like Pesticide Action Network (PAN), and published materials warning the public about the dangers of pesticides. Their efforts gained traction with time as Argentina’s president ordered an investigation in 2008 that corroborated Sofía’s door-to-door findings.
Later, the Mothers of Ituzaingó won a municipal “buffer zone” ordinance, prohibiting aerial spraying less than 2,500 meters from residences. Despite few resources and real threats—including being held at gunpoint in her own home—Sofía and the Mothers of Ituzaingó continued to prevail, winning a case at the Supreme Court that placed the burden on Monsanto and other pesticide corporations to prove their products are safe before going to market. Sofía continues to expand her efforts across the country—including pursuing a nationwide ban on ingredients in Monsanto’s RoundUp.
"I find what Sofía has done to protect her children deeply inspiring," says Kristin Schafer, PAN's Senior Policy Strategist and mother of two. "Clearly her commitment moved the other mothers in her community to action as well, and by working together they won changes that will protect the whole community—and beyond."
Each year, the Goldman Environmental Prize honors six grassroots leaders from across the globe who work to “protect and enhance the environment.” Sofía Gatica, leader of the “Mothers of Ituzaingó,” received her award at an invite-only event on Monday evening, April 16.
For more information, click here.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Cutting out coal-burning and other sources of nitrogen oxides (NOx) from heavy industry, electricity production and traffic will reduce the size of the world's dead zones along coasts where all fish life is vanishing because of a lack of oxygen.
Methane levels in the atmosphere experienced a dramatic rise in 2019, preliminary data released Sunday shows.
In some states like West Virginia, coal mines have been classified as essential services and are staying open during the COVID-19 pandemic, even though the close quarters miners work in and the known risks to respiratory health put miners in harm's way during the spread of the coronavirus.
Renewable energy made up almost three quarters of all new energy capacity added in 2019, data released Monday by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) shows.