Monsanto GMO Guru Attacks Pesticides in Produce Shopper's Guide
By Alex Formuzis
We aren't thanking him for that catastrophe, but for his recent Huffington Post attack on the Environmental Working Group (EWG) and our Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce, which he called propaganda. (At least he didn't say fake news).
So Fraley, the guy behind the explosion in the use of glyphosate—the key ingredient in Roundup, which California just added to its official list of carcinogens—slams EWG for alerting Americans to toxic chemicals on produce. Sometimes the enemies you make say as much about you as your friends.
Our annual Shopper's Guide list of conventional fruits and vegetables with the highest and lowest residues of pesticide—after they've been thoroughly washed—comes from U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) data.
12 Fruits and Vegetables You'd Better Buy Organic https://t.co/7ozHJA0Myy @TheOrganicView @OrganicLife— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1489099508.0
There's really nothing complicated about the list. Some crops, like strawberries, apples and peaches have far more pesticide residues than others like sweet corn, avocados and cauliflower. Since most people would rather not eat a bunch of potentially toxic chemicals along with their produce, and some may not be able to afford an all-organic diet, researchers at EWG analyze the USDA tests and publish a free, up-to-date list each spring.
Fraley's blog makes much of the fact that both conventional and organic farmers use synthetic and natural pesticides to grow food. True.
But there's one thing Fraley and other critics always leave out when they scold us for telling consumers about pesticides on the food they grow: At least 50 synthetic pesticides once approved for use in conventional agriculture have since been banned by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), or phased out because of risks to health and the environment. Others are still used, despite growing evidence of their health and environmental hazards.
Case in point: chlorpyrifos, which has been shown to cause brain damage in young children—even at trace levels like the residues the USDA finds on some fruits and vegetables popular with kids.
Recently, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt halted an expected ban of chlorpyrifos from use on food, without any valid scientific reason. His decision came shortly after he met with the CEO of Dow Chemical, which makes chlorpyrifos. Dow also gave President Trump $1 million to spend on his inauguration celebration.
Draw your own conclusions.
So what about those "natural" pesticides approved for use on organic crops Fraley referenced? How many of those been banned or phased out over risks to human health?
Exactly one: rotenone, derived from the roots of tropical plants. Unlike chemical agriculture interests, who fight to the end when regulators propose restricting use of a dangerous pesticide, organic growers stopped using rotenone after studies began showing potential health and environmental risks.
There are a number of significant differences between organic and chemical agriculture, and their respective impacts on health and the environment. You can read more about those here.
Fraley goes on to cite research funded by the chemical agriculture front group, the Alliance for Food and Farming, which has an entire website dedicated to attacking the Shopper's Guide. Twisting the findings of the Alliance for Food and Farming-funded report by researchers with the Illinois Institute of Technology, he falsely claims the Shopper's Guide is the reason "poor and working class people" aren't eating enough fruits and vegetables.
In fact, the study surveyed lower-income shoppers and found that after hearing about the Shopper's Guide, they were actually more likely to buy fruits and vegetables. This pie chart shows more than half said the guide would make them more likely to buy produce and a third said it wouldn't affect their purchases. Only 15 percent said they'd be less likely to buy produce.
Public transparency on the chemicals it makes has never been Monsanto's strong suit.
There's growing evidence of the company's likely collusion with industry-friendly EPA officials to suppress information over the health risks of glyphosate. Monsanto's rebranded itself as an agricultural conglomerate, but decades ago it made PCBs, cancer-causing industrial chemicals that continue to pollute rivers and bays, and lurk in more than 25,000 U.S. schools.
Here's the story of how Monsanto's manufacture of PCBs contaminated Anniston, Ala., and how the corporation tried to cover it up. You can also see the incriminating documents and internal Monsanto memos, housed in perpetuity in EWG's Chemical Industry Archives, which ultimately helped lead to the corporation's $700 million settlement with the people of Anniston.
Consider Monsanto's sordid history and its shady practices today, and EWG's 25 years of work to tell Americans the truth about hazardous chemicals in food, water, air and consumer products. Who do you trust to tell the truth about pesticides on your food?
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Wisdom the mōlī, or Laysan albatross, is the oldest wild bird known to science at the age of at least 70. She is also, as of February 1, a new mother.
<div id="dadb2" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="aa2ad8cb566c9b4b6d2df2693669f6f9"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1357796504740761602" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">🚨Cute baby alert! Wisdom's chick has hatched!!! 🐣😍 Wisdom, a mōlī (Laysan albatross) and world’s oldest known, ban… https://t.co/Nco050ztBA</div> — USFWS Pacific Region (@USFWS Pacific Region)<a href="https://twitter.com/USFWSPacific/statuses/1357796504740761602">1612558888.0</a></blockquote></div>
By Hui Hu
Winter is supposed to be the best season for wind power – the winds are stronger, and since air density increases as the temperature drops, more force is pushing on the blades. But winter also comes with a problem: freezing weather.
Comparing rime ice and glaze ice shows how each changes the texture of the blade. Gao, Liu and Hu, 2021, CC BY-ND
Ice buildup changes air flow around the turbine blade, which can slow it down. The top photos show ice forming after 10 minutes at different temperatures in the Wind Research Tunnel. The lower measurements show airflow separation as ice accumulates. Icing Research Tunnel of Iowa State University, CC BY-ND
While traditional investment in the ocean technology sector has been tentative, growth in Israeli maritime innovations has been exponential in the last few years, and environmental concern has come to the forefront.
theDOCK aims to innovate the Israeli maritime sector. Pexels<p>The UN hopes that new investments in ocean science and technology will help turn the tide for the oceans. As such, this year kicked off the <a href="https://www.oceandecade.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030)</a> to galvanize massive support for the blue economy.</p><p>According to the World Bank, the blue economy is the "sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods, and jobs while preserving the health of ocean ecosystem," <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0160412019338255#b0245" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Science Direct</a> reported. It represents this new sector for investments and innovations that work in tandem with the oceans rather than in exploitation of them.</p><p>As recently as Aug. 2020, <a href="https://www.reutersevents.com/sustainability/esg-investors-slow-make-waves-25tn-ocean-economy" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Reuters</a> noted that ESG Investors, those looking to invest in opportunities that have a positive impact in environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues, have been interested in "blue finance" but slow to invest.</p><p>"It is a hugely under-invested economic opportunity that is crucial to the way we have to address living on one planet," Simon Dent, director of blue investments at Mirova Natural Capital, told Reuters.</p><p>Even with slow investment, the blue economy is still expected to expand at twice the rate of the mainstream economy by 2030, Reuters reported. It already contributes $2.5tn a year in economic output, the report noted.</p><p>Current, upward <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/-innovation-blue-economy-2646147405.html" target="_self">shifts in blue economy investments are being driven by innovation</a>, a trend the UN hopes will continue globally for the benefit of all oceans and people.</p><p>In Israel, this push has successfully translated into investment in and innovation of global ports, shipping, logistics and offshore sectors. The "Startup Nation," as Israel is often called, has seen its maritime tech ecosystem grow "significantly" in recent years and expects that growth to "accelerate dramatically," <a href="https://itrade.gov.il/belgium-english/how-israel-is-becoming-a-port-of-call-for-maritime-innovation/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">iTrade</a> reported.</p><p>Driving this wave of momentum has been rising Israeli venture capital hub <a href="https://www.thedockinnovation.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">theDOCK</a>. Founded by Israeli Navy veterans in 2017, theDOCK works with early-stage companies in the maritime space to bring their solutions to market. The hub's pioneering efforts ignited Israel's maritime technology sector, and now, with their new fund, theDOCK is motivating these high-tech solutions to also address ESG criteria.</p><p>"While ESG has always been on theDOCK's agenda, this theme has become even more of a priority," Nir Gartzman, theDOCK's managing partner, told EcoWatch. "80 percent of the startups in our portfolio (for theDOCK's Navigator II fund) will have a primary or secondary contribution to environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria."</p><p>In a company presentation, theDOCK called contribution to the ESG agenda a "hot discussion topic" for traditional players in the space and their boards, many of whom are looking to adopt new technologies with a positive impact on the planet. The focus is on reducing carbon emissions and protecting the environment, the presentation outlines. As such, theDOCK also explicitly screens candidate investments by ESG criteria as well.</p><p>Within the maritime space, environmental innovations could include measures like increased fuel and energy efficiency, better monitoring of potential pollution sources, improved waste and air emissions management and processing of marine debris/trash into reusable materials, theDOCK's presentation noted.</p>
theDOCK team includes (left to right) Michal Hendel-Sufa, Head of Alliances, Noa Schuman, CMO, Nir Gartzman, Co-Founder & Managing Partner, and Hannan Carmeli, Co-Founder & Managing Partner. Dudu Koren<p>theDOCK's own portfolio includes companies like Orca AI, which uses an intelligent collision avoidance system to reduce the probability of oil or fuel spills, AiDock, which eliminates the use of paper by automating the customs clearance process, and DockTech, which uses depth "crowdsourcing" data to map riverbeds in real-time and optimize cargo loading, thereby reducing trips and fuel usage while also avoiding groundings.</p><p>"Oceans are a big opportunity primarily because they are just that – big!" theDOCK's Chief Marketing Officer Noa Schuman summarized. "As such, the magnitude of their criticality to the global ecosystem, the magnitude of pollution risk and the steps needed to overcome those challenges – are all huge."</p><p>There is hope that this wave of interest and investment in environmentally-positive maritime technologies will accelerate the blue economy and ESG investing even further, in Israel and beyond.</p>
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