This past Thursday was Thanksgiving. A time when we remember a feast, the first Thanksgiving, on Plymouth plantation in the autumn of 1621. The tales of pilgrims from the Mayflower who celebrated the harvest, shared and broke bread with the first Americans, are still used as inspiration and shared with children, teaching them the beauty of gratitude.
Standing Rock.©Lori Panico
But it is now widely understood this Thanksgiving story is a fictional history. It was invented to whitewash the vicious genocide wrought upon the native inhabitants of this magnificent continent. Not only did the Europeans try to eradicate native populations, but they made every effort to eviscerate their culture, their language and eliminate them from these coveted lands.
Why I'm Going to #StandingRock for #Thanksgiving https://t.co/hFSbd448GH @MarkRuffalo @IENearth @WinonaLaduke @Janefonda @billmckibben @350— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1479648863.0
From Plymouth Rock to Standing Rock, this lie has made our Thanksgiving Day a day of mourning for the First Nations, all the tribes big and small, those who came before us.
A few weeks ago we traveled to visit the Standing Rock Sioux in North Dakota. We arrived at this unprecedented historical gathering of more than 500 tribes and thousands of others standing on the frontlines to protect water, to state the most basic human truth, to say water is life. Despite the painful history, today they fight peacefully for us all.
.@NeilYoung, Daryl Hannah to Obama: Step In and End the Violence at #StandingRock https://t.co/3MDWKm1B8h @dhlovelife @MarkRuffalo @IENearth— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1480437783.0
The camp grows as winter comes. Standing in protection of our most vital life support systems, but also for the rightful preservation of Native American cultural ways and their sovereignty. Everyone we talk with is committed to peaceful resistance. Weapons, alcohol and drugs are forbidden there.
Standing together in prayer to protect water displays a deeply rooted awareness of life's interconnected nature, and of the intrinsic value and import of traditional ways. This growing movement stems from love, it is the most human instinct to protect that which we love. An eager and engaged youth are at the core of this pipeline route resistance, learning from a population of elders who pass down unforgotten knowledge.
It is an awakening. All here together, with their non-native relatives, standing strong in the face of outrageous, unnecessary and violent aggression, on the part of militarized local and state law enforcement agencies and national guard, who are seemingly acting to protect the interests of the Dakota Access pipeline profiteers, at a cost of hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars, above all other expressed concerns. They stand against corporate security forces, the county sheriff and the national guard. Standing while being hit with water cannons, mace, teargas, rubber bullets. Standing without weapons and praying, the water protectors endure human rights abuses in freezing temperatures. Supplies arrive from all over as the social media universe shares the heartbreaking news to the world, that an American corporate media is not free to report. Thus, it is the ugliness of corporate America, seen around the world.
Water Cannons Fired at Water Protectors, Hundreds Injured https://t.co/fgvW6xBJ2F @IENearth @billmckibben @350 @MarkRuffalo @shailenewoodley— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1479738055.0
But they stand, their hair frozen from water cannons. They stand for all that is good and they stay strong.
We are calling upon you, President Barack Obama, to step in and end the violence against the peaceful water protectors at Standing Rock immediately.
We will be going back to support the water protectors again.
Let us all stand with them in thanks, in appreciation for the ancient wisdom they carry, in thanks for this opportunity for true gratitude. For giving us a path forward. For trying to show us a road to survival.
We offer our support and our respect. We hear the call to protect the water protectors to listen, learn and get engaged. They are brave. We thank them. And we can give thanks for the bounty.
.@RobertKennedyJr: "I'll See You at #StandingRock" https://t.co/jsy1t1oHO6 @dhlovelife @Neilyoung @StandingRockST @IENearth @Waterkeeper— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1480518264.0
Like water on the garden of activism, America's surprise president brings a bounty of opportunity. The great issues of our time are now brightly illuminated and people are becoming more aware of them than ever, from sea to shining sea, from Standing Rock to Wall Street.
The surprise president-elect was not the winner of the popular vote, does not have a mandate for the change of ideals envisioned. Keep in mind, close to over two million more people voted for another candidate. Nor is the surprise president the leader of the free world. Two hundred of the world's nations believe in science, above the profits of the oil, gas and coal industries, and are committed to working together to protect the future from an unchecked climate crisis. The surprise president claims he does not believe in climate science nor the threats it presents and his actions and words reflect that claim in tangible and dangerous ways.
Do not be intimidated by the surprise president's cabinet appointees as they descend the golden escalator. Those who behave in racist ways are not your leaders. The golden tower is not yours. The White House is your house.Your growing activism in support of freedom over repression, addressing climate change, swiftly replacing a destructive old industries with safe, regenerative energy, encouraging holistic thinking in balance with the future of our planet; that activism will strengthen and shed continued light on us all. These worthy goals must be met for all the world's children and theirs after them.
This is our moment for truth.
Unintimidated, stand, speak up and show up. Be counted. Be like our brothers and sisters at Standing Rock. Be there if you can. The progress we have made over 240 years as a nation, has always come first from the people.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Many of you may have read my post on EcoWatch this morning, and already know that Deia Schlosberg, the producer of my new climate change documentary, How to Let Go of the World and Love All the Things Climate Can't Change, was arrested Tuesday in Walhalla, North Dakota, for filming a protest against a pipeline bringing Canadian tar sands oil into the U.S.
5 #climate activists shut down 5 tar sands pipelines https://t.co/QpMYu1G91G via @EcoWatch #globalwarming #NoDAPL… https://t.co/xqLTcF1Dl5— climatehawk1 (@climatehawk1)1476298860.0
But, what you probably don't know is that she was escorted to the courthouse this afternoon and was charged with Class A and C felony charges that carry 45 years maximum sentences combined. The charges include, two Class A felony charges and one Class C felony charge, and conspiracy to theft of property, conspiracy to theft of services and conspiracy to tampering with or damaging a public service.
I am outraged and need your help. Please watch my Facebook video below, read the letter I'm asking you to sign and then click here to sign it. Thank you!
Here's my Facebook live video from just one hour ago:
Here's the letter I'm spreading around in hopes to get more people to sign on:
Dear Colleagues and Friends,
I regret to inform you that documentary filmmaker Deia Schlosberg, producer of How to Let Go of the World and Love All the Things Climate Can't Change was arrested while filming a protest action in North Dakota. She was held for 48 hours in Pembina County Jail without access to her attorney.
This should send a chill down the spine of every documentary filmmaker and journalist. In my view, the North Dakota police are in violation of the First Amendment, charging a documentary filmmaker with conspiracy rather than viewing her as a reporter/journalist exercising her First Amendment right is unfair, unjust and illegal. We need a show of support right now for Deia's immense courage and for the First Amendment.
Now here is the really bad news and this is why we need you to act right now. This afternoon she was escorted to the courthouse where she was charged with Class A and C felony charges that carry 45 years maximum sentences combined. She has been charged with: two Class A felony charges and one Class C felony charge, and conspiracy to theft of property, conspiracy to theft of services and conspiracy to tampering with or damaging a public service.
These charges are a threat to our freedom of expression on the most basic level and especially to documentary filmmaking. If we cannot film events as they're happening, especially protest events or events that the establishment and the police might consider crime, we will never work or live in the same way again.
How many times have you been in a situation where people were being arrested and your camera was the only witness to the event that could truly portray what was happening?
Imagine now that simply by filming the actions of others you could face felony charges with maximum sentences of 45 years. That's why we have a First Amendment. The Constitution protects the freedom of the press and our right to document events.
We need an outcry from all documentary filmmakers, journalists and artists immediately.
I'm asking you to sign onto a very simple letter that states this:
Dear members of the media, governor of North Dakota Jack Dalrymple, U.S. Attorney General Chris Myers and President Obama:
Deia Schlosberg was exercising her First Amendment right as a journalist. The state of North Dakota's criminal complaint filed against her on Oct. 13 should be dropped immediately. Journalism, especially documentary filmmaking, is not a crime, it's a responsibility. The freedom of the press is a fundamental right in our free society. The charges filed against her are an injustice that must be dropped immediately.
Here's who has signed on to the letter so far:
- Josh Fox, Oscar Nominated director, documentarian and filmmaker
- Daryl Hannah, actress/activist
- Neil Young, musician
- Frances Fisher, Activist, Treasurer - EMA, Actress
- LEE CAMP, Host, Redacted Tonight
- Christopher Ryan, writer
- Bill McKibben, Writer, Co-Founder 350.org
- Mark Ruffalo, Actor, Director, Activist
- Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.
- David Braun, Director, Writer, Producer
- Alex Ebert (AKA Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros) golden globe winner
- Steven Tabakin, Peabody Award-winning film producer
- Chloe Maxmin, Founder First Here, Then Everywhere
- Alexis Krauss, musician
- Jon Bowermaster, author, filmmaker, journalist
- Alexander Zaitchik, author/journalist
- Francesca Fiorentini, Journalist
- Paul Bassis, Producer
- Tim DeChristopher, Founder of Climate Disobedience The Action Center for Education & Community Development, Inc.
- Nathan Truesdell Documentary Filmmaker
- Bethany Yarrow, singer/activist
- Chris Paine, director "who killed the electric car"
- Vallejo Gantner, curator, arts executive
- Jane Kleeb, Our Revolution Board Member, Nebraska Democratic Party Chair-Elect
- Tanya Rivero Warren, journalist
- Maggie Surovell, Professor of voice and speech
- Seven McDonald Award Winning Columnist (LA Weekly, Harper's Bazaar, Nylon)
- Henry Lai, director of product design, Echo360
- Councilman Robert Eklund, Town of New Lisbon NY
- Julia Pacetti President of JMP Verdant Communications
- Deborah Parker, Tulalip Tribal Citizen, Board Member, Our Revolution
- Greg King, Editor, Filmmaker
- Alex Tyson, Filmmaker
- Alison Klayman, Sundance-winning, Emmy-nominated documentarian and filmmaker
- Stefanie Spear, Founder/CEO EcoWatch
Young described his latest project on social media:
We made a live record and every creature on the planet seemed to show up. Suddenly all the living things of Earth were in the audience going crazy. Then they took over the stage, letting their wild sounds mingle with the Vanilla Singers perfect corporate harmony. Earth's creatures let loose, there were Bee breakdowns, Bird breakdowns and yes, even Wall Street breakdowns, jamming with me and Promise of the Real! The show was non stop bliss for 98 minutes, no breaks. EARTH does not fit on iTunes. It breaks all their rules (and couldn’t all really be heard that way anyway) No one who was there will ever forget the love, wonder and beautiful madness of EARTH. I know I won’t. Neil
EARTH consists of recordings from Young's tour last year with the band Promise Of The Real for his preceding album, The Monsanto Years. AlterNet described Young's 36th studio album, as a "concept-based criticism" of Monsanto, the world’s biggest seed company, and also a condemnation of other multinational agriculture giants like Syngenta, Dow, Dupont and Bayer that have also, like Monsanto, "garnered control of global seed production."
Promise Of The Real guitarist Lukas Nelson lauded the new LP. "I just listened to our new record EARTH with Neil Young ... One of the single greatest audio experiences I've ever had," he wrote on Instagram.
The world premiere of EARTH will be hosted by the Natural History Museum in Los Angeles on May 6. And, according to an announcement about the event, it's sure to be spectacular:
Against the backdrop of the Museum’s blossoming outdoor Nature Gardens, musician and icon Neil Young will present the first public playback of his upcoming release, EARTH, in its entirety in Pono high definition fidelity audio, before its June 17 release. The album features “After the Gold Rush,” “Vampire Blues,” and an explosive 29-minute version of "Love & Only Love,” and includes some unexpected accompaniment—the sounds of many different kinds of wildlife.
.@Neilyoung is premiering new album EARTH at listening party 5/6 at First Fridays! Get tix: https://t.co/mFREgMQpbm https://t.co/fJSrGGeEvY— NHMLA (@NHMLA)1461868418.0
The Grammy Award-winning artist and environmental crusader said in a press release that EARTH "flows as a collection of 13 songs from throughout my life, songs I have written about living here on our planet together. Our animal kingdom is well represented in the audience as well, and the animals, insects, birds, and mammals actually take over the performances of the songs at times."
Young also told Rolling Stone last year that EARTH is "like nothing that I've done. It's more like a giant radio show."
"It has no stops," he continued. "The songs are too long for iTunes, thank God, so they won't be on iTunes. I'm making it available in the formats that can handle it ... Imagine it's a live show where the audience is full of every living thing on Earth. And also they overtake the music once in a while and play the instruments. It's not conventional, but it is based on live performance."
On Tuesday, Young kicked off his 2016 world tour with Promise Of The Real in New Braunfels, Texas with guest star and legendary rocker Willie Nelson.
The tour then stopped by Nashville, Texas's Ascend Amphitheater yesterday. The concert received rave reviews from local publication, The Tennesseean:
At 70 years old, the rock icon hasn't lost a step. His voice is still in fine form, and the audience sang along reverently to every word of classics like "Heart of Gold" and "Long May You Run." After an opening set from singer-songwriter Steve Earle (whose debut album "Guitar Town" turned 30 this year) and half a dozen of his own solo songs, Young brought out his backing band Promise of the Real: Five rootsy rockers including Willie Nelson's sons, Lukas and Micah Nelson—and played another 90 minutes.
Here is EARTH's track listing:
1. "People Want to Hear About Love" (from The Monsanto Years)
2. "Big Box" (from The Monsanto Years)
3. "Mother Earth" (from Ragged Glory)
4. "The Monsanto Years" (from The Monsanto Years)
5. "I Won't Quit" (previously unreleased)
6. "Western Hero" (from Sleeps With Angels)
7. "Vampire Blues" (from On The Beach)
8. "Hippie Dream" (from Landing On Water)
9. "After The Gold Rush" (from After The Gold Rush)
10. "Wolf Moon" (from The Monsanto Years)
11. "Love & Only Love" (from Ragged Glory)
By Nicole Greenfield
When TransCanada began knocking on doors throughout Nebraska in 2008, most residents didn't know much about its Keystone XL pipeline or the dirty tar sands oil it would be transporting. The energy company was negotiating easements with local landowners in order to secure a route for its multibillion-dollar project—which would run north to south through the state, directly through the Ogallala Aquifer and across hundreds of Nebraskan rivers and streams. TransCanada threatened landowners with eminent domain if they didn't comply.
The Earth could use some climate-change-fighting superheroes right about now. And according to a new comic series by the nonprofit Amplifier, there are a few real-life ones in our midst.
Thirteen of them, actually.
- Climate 'Hero' Gets Three-Year Prison Sentence for Shutting Down ... ›
- Everyday Heroes and Thousands of Firefighters Step Up to SoCal ... ›
- 17 Food Heroes Who Are Making the World a Better Place ›
Grammy Award-winning artist Neil Young has been a powerful presence in music for the past 50 years. In addition to his artistic career, Young has become a vocal advocate for social justice, working specifically to highlight issues that impact farmers and the food system. In 1985, Young joined Willie Nelson and John Mellencamp to launch Farm Aid to raise awareness about the loss of family farms and to raise funds for family farmers. Today, Farm Aid contributes to the campaign for transparency around genetically modified foods.
In 2015, Young released his 36th studio album, The Monsanto Years, a concept-based criticism of multinational agrochemical and biotechnology giant Monsanto, the world’s biggest seed company. A collaboration with Willie Nelson's sons Lukas and Micah, the album also condemns other industrial agriculture giants like Syngenta, Dow, Dupont and Bayer—corporations that, like Monsanto, have garnered control of global seed production.
By creating patents for genetically engineered seed, these firms have taken away farmers’ right to save their own seeds.
“Monsanto wants to sell the farmers the seeds and they want to license the seeds,” Bob McFarland of the California State Grange said. “So the farmers can only use those seeds for one cycle, then they have to go back to Monsanto and buy the seeds again.”
The rise of GE crops has dramatically increased the use of pesticides and herbicides, which poison wildlife—most notably birds and key pollinating species like bees and butterflies—and impact public health. Herbicide-resistant (a.k.a. Roundup Ready) GE crops, according to a 2012 Washington State University study, have led to a 527-million-pound increase in herbicide use in the U.S. between 1996 and 2011. Critics of genetically engineering seeds warn that the next generation of GE crops will only increase the use of even more toxic pesticides and herbicides.
More than 90 percent of all GE crops cultivated in the U.S. have been engineered to be resistant to glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup, the world’s most popular weedkiller. In 2015, the World Health Organization classified glyphosate as a “probable carcinogen.”
Unsurprisingly, Monsanto is not fond of Neil Young’s new album. "Many of us at Monsanto have been and are fans of Neil Young,” the company told Billboard. “Unfortunately, for some of us, his current album may fail to reflect our strong beliefs in what we do every day to help make agriculture more sustainable. We recognize there is a lot of misinformation about who we are and what we do—and unfortunately several of those myths seem to be captured in these lyrics."
The album’s concepts stretch beyond the lyrics, with Young using visual cues to underscore the harsh reality of industrial farming. At a July 2015 performance in Massachusetts a few weeks after the album’s release, a performative piece introduced the band’s first song, with stagehands dressed as farmers “planting seeds” on the stage, followed by another group wearing hazmat outfits who sprayed the seeds with pesticides.
One of the songs on the album, “Working Man,” is about farmers who have been prosecuted for saving their seeds. “That song is a microcosm of the larger problem that we’ve been talking about with farmers being stripped of their right to choose what they want to grow,” George Kimbrell, Center for Food Safety senior attorney, said.
Center for Food Safety, an environmental nonprofit and Hollywood Food Guild—a Center for Food Safety-produced initiative that organizes Hollywood to advocate for food and farm system integrity—followed Young on tour in Red Rocks, Colorado, to join his mission to educate the public about the threats posed by Monsanto and other Big Ag corporations. At each tour location, Young created an “eco-village” where concertgoers could find information about family farmers, industrial farming, the inequities of the food system, organic foods and the impact of pesticides on animals and humans. Young's international tour begins this summer.
“Neil is a man after our own heart,” Kaiulani Kimbrell, director of Hollywood Food Guild and host of the guild’s original content series Food Voices, said. “He has used his voice and his music to protect our environment and increase transparency around … the tragedy that’s happened with our food system.”
For a behind-the-scenes look at Neil Young's tour, The Monsanto Years, watch this Hollywood Food Guild video:
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
By Don Hazen
When I spoke with Alice Waters, we didn't focus on her famed restaurant, Chez Panisse, or her profound impact on the way we eat today, starting with the concept of farm to table. Rather, we talked about her passionate, decades-long campaign to provide organic school lunches to kids across the country.
Waters has long advocated that growing, preparing and eating food should be considered a centerpiece of the school curriculum, and she is making progress; thousands of schools across America and around the world have adopted some aspect of her Edible Schools Program.
The incident was detailed in several Facebook posts from Equinac, a Spanish marine wildlife conservation group.
Dave Matthews, Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp and Neil Young are speaking out against the controversial Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act (H.R. 1599), also known as the Deny Americans the Right to Know, or DARK Act.
The legislation would require the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to regulate the distribution and labeling of genetically modified foods (GMOs), thus preempting states' rights to label GMOs themselves.
The famous musicians, who serve as board members of Farm Aid, signed a joint letter calling on President Obama to stop the DARK Act rider, which some lawmakers in Congress are trying to sneak onto to the year-end omnibus spending bill.
"Giant food, chemical and biotech corporations have spent millions of dollars to block our right to know what's in our food. Their latest effort is to pass what's been called the DARK (Deny Americans the Right to Know) Act," Farm Aid wrote on a Facebook post last Friday. "It would preempt GMO labeling laws already passed in Connecticut, Maine and Vermont and obstruct mandatory federal labeling of GMOs."
In their joint letter, Matthews, Nelson, Mellencamp and Young bring up the "clear public support for labeling and transparency in the food system." According to Just Label It, 89 percent of American voters are in support of mandatory GMO labeling.
Additionally, the letter states, "That same right is already held by citizens in 64 countries and it is a right that we, as board members of Farm Aid, have fought to attain for some time."
Farm Aid is a nonprofit organization that organizes its famous annual benefit concert to raise money for family farmers in the U.S. Nelson, Young and Mellencamp organized the first Farm Aid concert on Sept. 22, 1985, in Champaign, Illinois. Matthews joined the Farm Aid board of directors in 2001. The 30th anniversary of Farm Aid was held on Sept. 19, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. To date, Farm Aid has raised $48 million for the country's family farmers.
"This is an issue that matters dearly to farmers and eaters alike," the letter continues. "As citizens, we believe transparency is fundamental to our democracy and indispensable to a fair and competitive marketplace. It is unconscionable that the will of multinational corporations would trump something so essential to American life."
Introduced by Rep. Mike Pompeo of Kansas, H.R. 1599 passed the House of Representatives in July and currently languishes in the Senate.
As EcoWatch exclusively reported, powerful food and beverage organizations have heavily lobbied and spent eye-popping sums to fight state-by-state labeling mandates before Vermont’s precedent-setting GMO labeling law takes effect in July 2016.
Unless it's stopped by a federal ban, Vermont's law will have far-reaching implications for the labeling of GMO food products in the U.S. For instance, once (or if) Vermont's law kicks off, it will trigger Connecticut's and Maine's own GMO labeling mandates.
"The White House has a critical role in shaping the outcome of this rider," the letter concludes. "There is no room for corporate riders like this in the omnibus appropriations bill and we urge you to stand up for what Americans want."
Read the full signed letter below. Those interested in joining the rockers' cause can visit this link.
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
[Editor's note: Read the latest here.]
Today, in a cloture vote, the Senate voted to do away with our right to know what's in our food, revoking a popular and clear state labeling law in effect inVermont and nullifying all future state labeling initiatives.
This is a slap in the face for all of the advocates that have worked hard to pass state-level measures because they believe strongly that labels should be transparent, and people should have the choice to decide whether or not they purchase and consume foods with genetically engineered ingredients. The majority of Americans support labeling for GMOs and will hold their elected officials accountable for stripping away this transparency.
If this bill becomes law, the industry wins what are essentially voluntary requirements under this GMO labeling "compromise," which does not mandate recalls, penalties or fines for noncompliance with the incredibly weak requirements of the bill that will likely leave many GMO ingredients exempt from any labeling requirements. And the bill gives companies the option to use discriminatory QR codes that require a smartphone to access basic information about the food on store shelves.
Now, we call on the House not to pass the bill. We also call on President Obama to veto the bill if it comes to his desk. On the campaign trail many years ago, he promised reform on many food issues—from giving family farmers a fair shot in the marketplace to food labeling, saying we had the right to know whether or not food is genetically engineered. Before he leaves office, he has one more chance to get it right when it comes to food policy that protects people over corporations. He must veto this bill.
Watch as Senators John Tester (D-MT) and Barbara Boxer (D-CA) speak out today against the Senate GMO food labeling bill, with Senator Tester arguing that including the label as a QR code protects corporate food producers over consumers:
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
By Stacy Malkan
Neil deGrasse Tyson has inspired millions of people to care about science and imagine themselves as participants in the scientific process. What a hopeful sign it is to see young girls wearing t-shirts emblazoned with the words, "Forget princess, I want to be an astrophysicist."
IARC Scientist Reaffirms Glyphosate’s Link to Cancer as Monsanto’s Requests to Dismiss Cancer Lawsuits Denied
Dr. Kurt Straif, a section head with the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), appeared in an interview with euronews defending the agency's assessment that glyphosate probably causes cancer in humans.
"Our evaluation was a review of all the published scientific literature on glyphosate and this was done by the world's best experts on the topic that in addition don't have any conflicts of interest that could bias their assessment," Straif said.
"They concluded that, yes, glyphosate is probably carcinogenic to humans based on three strings of evidence, that is clear evidence of cancer in experimental animals, limited evidence for cancer for humans from real-world exposures, of exposed farmers, and also strong evidence that it can damage the genes from any kind of other toxicological studies."
In March 2015, the IARC concluded that glyphosate is a "probable human carcinogen," touching off an international row on the health and safety of the widely applied herbicide. However, this past May, the United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and a different regulatory body from the WHO issued a joint report concluding that the ingredient is "unlikely to pose a carcinogenic risk to humans from exposure through the diet." Unsurprisingly, the different opinions about the controversial herbicide were "welcomed" by Phil Miller, Monsanto's vice president for global regulatory and government affairs.
UN Says Glyphosate 'Unlikely' to Cause #Cancer, Industry Ties to Report Called Into Question https://t.co/VeprImTxGs https://t.co/bQpkWVMkym— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1463499367.0
During the euronews interview, Straif explained why the conclusions from the IARC and the FAO/WHO about the weedkiller seem to be contradictory.
"Our classification of the cancer hazards of glyphosate still stand," he said. "We are the authority to classify cancer substances worldwide for the WHO, and it was then this other panel that looked at a very narrow angle of exposure from daily food, and then came up with the conclusion on how much of that may be safe or not."
Basically, the IARC assessment focussed on "hazard" while the other looked at "risk." David Eastmond, a toxicologist at the University of California, Riverside, explained to Wired how the terms are different: "If you have people gawking at sharks swimming around a tank in an aquarium, the sharks are a hazard, but they pose little risk. If you have a surfer on the beach with a shark, now that shark is both a hazard and a risk."
During the interview, the euronews host asked Straif which body of the WHO she should trust as a "consumer, as a farmer, as an occasional beer drinker, as somebody who likes to sit in parks that have been treated with glyphosate."
He replied, "I think it's important to understand the literature that our assessment that glyphosate can cause cancer in humans still stands, and then you have to look at the other assessments for the specific scenarios, and that is not my authority to comment on these evaluations."
Straif also hinted at possible conflicts of interest from the FAO/WHO report. When the euronews host asked the senior scientist if he was "disturbed" by credible reports of the FAO/WHO scientists allegedly receiving payoffs by Monsanto for a favorable glyphosate review, Straif replied, "It is an important topic that needs important scrutiny, yes."
Will Monsanto have to face the music about its weedkiller? Roundup cancer lawsuits have been mounting against the company, as EcoWatch reported last week, the agribusiness giant has not been able to legally run away from the growing thorn.
Mother-of-Three Sues #Monsanto Claiming #Roundup Caused Her #Cancer https://t.co/7qqPNHs5WH @nongmoreport @FoodDemocracy @food_tank @EWG— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1467379973.0
In court documents obtained by EcoWatch, at least one court from Hawaii and two from California have rejected Monsanto's attempts to dismiss the respective lawsuits.
For instance, last week, U.S District Judge Michael Seabright denied Monsanto's request to dismiss a lawsuit by Christine and Kenneth Sheppard, former owners of Dragons Lair Kona Coffee Farm in Hawaii.
The Sheppards claim that Monsanto falsely masked the carcinogenic risks of glyphosate and is responsible for causing Christine Sheppard's cancer, non-Hodgkins lymphoma.
As detailed by Courthouse News Service, one reason Seabright decided to reject Monsanto's dismissal considers the 2015 designation [of Roundup as a probable carcinogen] by the WHO.
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
Feeding more than 7 billion people with minimal environmental and climate impacts is no small feat. That parts of the world are plagued by obesity while starvation is rampant elsewhere shows part of the problem revolves around distribution and social equity. But agricultural methods pose some of the biggest challenges.
Over the past half century, the world has moved increasingly to industrial agriculture—attempting to maximize efficiency through massive, often inhumane livestock operations; turning huge swaths of land over to monocrops requiring liberal use of fertilizers, pesticides and genetic modification; and reliance on fossil fuel-consuming machinery and underpaid migrant workers. This has contributed to increased greenhouse gas emissions; loss of forests and wetlands that prevent climate change by storing carbon; pollution from runoff and pesticides; antibiotic and pesticide resistance; reduced biodiversity; and soil degradation, erosion and loss.
One promising development is the renewed interest in a soil-building method from the distant past called "dark earth" or "terra preta," which involves mixing biochar with organic materials to create humus-rich soil that stores large amounts of carbon.
The "solution" offered by many experts is to double down on industrial agriculture and genetic modification. But doing so ignores how natural systems function and interact and assumes we can do better. History shows such hubris often leads to unexpected negative results. Others are attempting to understand how to work within nature's systems, using agroecological methods.
One promising development is the renewed interest in a soil-building method from the distant past called "dark earth" or "terra preta," which involves mixing biochar with organic materials to create humus-rich soil that stores large amounts of carbon. In the book Terra Preta: How the World's Most Fertile Soil Can Help Reverse Climate Change and Reduce World Hunger, Ute Scheub and co-authors claim increasing the humus content of soils worldwide by 10 percent within the next 50 years could reduce atmospheric CO2 concentrations to pre-industrial levels.
Dark earth's benefit to climate is just one of its many exciting possibilities. It also enhances soils so they produce higher yields, helps retain water and prevents erosion. It's more alive with biodiverse micro-organisms, making it easier for crops to adapt to changing conditions. And it's a good way to recycle nutrient-rich food scraps, plants wastes and even human and animal urine and feces, rather than allowing them to pollute soil, water and air through burning and runoff.
Biochar is a form of charcoal made via pyrolysis—heating organic wastes in a low-oxygen environment. According to Scheub, "If you pyrolyze organic wastes, up to 50 percent of the carbon, which plants have extracted from the atmosphere in the form of carbon dioxide, is converted into highly stable carbon, which can persist in soils for thousands of years." As well as carbon, biochar retains nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorous and because it's porous, adding it to soils and compost helps them store nutrients and water.
Western scientists first studied terra preta in 1874 when Canadian-born Cornell University professor Charles Hartt and his team found patches of dark, fertile soils, several meters deep, along parts of South America's Amazon River where earth is normally low in nutrients and organic matter. Later archeological research determined the soils were created by human communities up to 5,000 years ago.
Scientists have since shed more light on the technique. Because the ancient practice is still employed in Liberia and Ghana, Africa, scientists from Sussex, Cornell and other universities were recently able to compare dark earth to soils nearby where the technique isn't used. They found dark earth contained 200 to 300 percent more organic carbon and can support "far more intensive farming."
Cornell University lead author Dawit Solomon was surprised that "isolated indigenous communities living far apart in distance and time" achieved similar results unknown to modern agriculturalists. "This valuable strategy to improve soil fertility while also contributing to climate-change mitigation and adaptation in Africa could become an important component of the global climate-smart agricultural management strategy to achieve food security," he said.
Scheub and her co-authors say the technique can be used on any scale, from home and community gardens to large farms. Terra Preta includes instructions for creating biochar and enhanced soils, but cautions that organic wastes should be used rather than valuable forest products.
Dark earth won't solve all our climate problems, but combined with reducing fossil fuel use, it could make a huge difference while addressing many agriculture, food security and hunger issues.
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE