The Ecologist

 

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Banana plantation in Cienaga, Magdalena, Colombia. Photo: J. Stephen Conn via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Disease may wipe out the world's bananas - unless we adopt agroecological solutions

Angelina Sanderson Bellamy, Cardiff University

7th February 2016

Bananas are at the sharp end of industrial agriculture's chemical war on pests and pathogens, writes Angelina Sanderson Bellamy. But even 60 pesticide sprays a year isn't enough to keep the diseases at bay. It's time to seek new solutions with little or no use of chemicals, working with nature, growing diverse crops on the same land - and breaking the dominance of the banana multinationals. more...
Mahatma Gandhi remains a potent symbol of freedom from the oppression of colonialism and overweening corporate power. Photo: wall in Berlin by Marius Watz via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

From salt to GMOs - resistance is fertile

Colin Todhunter

1st February 2016

How can progressive movements rise above merely being right, to mount effective mass opposition to corporate rule and the dictatorship of the super-wealthy? By learning from Gandhi, writes Colin Todhunter, and devising new campaigns that engage with people's everyday concerns - like access to safe, wholesome, affordable, 'open source' food. more...
Dadjan Wassinatou, 34, holds a basket of freshly harvested cotton in the village of Zorro, Burkina Faso. Photo: CIFOR via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Burkina Faso calls time on Monsanto's GM cotton, demands $280m damages

Claire Robinson / GMWatch

1st February 2016

After a run of low quality GM cotton crops with unusually short fibres, Burkina Faso has ended its love affair with Monsanto's Bt cotton, writes Claire Robinson. In a further blow to the company, growers are demanding $280 million compensation for their losses. more...
Photo: Quincas Moreira via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Flint drinks lead-laden water; Republicans attack Clean Water Act

Farron Cousins / DesmogBlog.com

22nd January 2016

To save a small amount of money residents of Flint, Michigan, have been forced to consume hazardous levels of lead in their drinking water, writes Farron Cousins. Just the moment for the Republican House Speaker to attack the Clean Water Act. more...
Mums say 'No' to GMOS!

Mums - let's use our consumer power to keep GMOs and deadly herbicides out of food

Sally Beare

21st January 2016

No matter how concerned we are about the quality of food we and our families eat, we can be sure governments are putting corporate profit first, writes Sally Beare. But we - Mums in particular - still have our power as consumers to push supermarkets and other retailers into going GM-free and keeping toxic agrochemicals out of the food chain. Let's use it! more...
Photo: Weiderinder.de.vu via Wikimedia (Public domain).

Disgraceful 'Honour' for failing to protect people from poisons

Georgina Downs

18th January 2016

Easy to miss in the New Year Honours list: a little-known civil servant for 'services to pesticides regulation'. But none the less shocking for that, writes Georgina Downs. Paul Hamey MBE is the very man who has been responsible for ensuring that rural residents receive no proper protection from repeated exposure to toxic mixtures of pesticides on nearby farms. Go figure. more...
RoundUp by Monsanto. Photo: Mike Mozart of TheToyChannel and JeepersMedia on YouTube via Flickr (CC BY).

EU regulator attacks IARC scientists on weedkiller safety

Arthur Neslen / Guardian Environment

13th January 2015

A fierce dispute is raging over whether glyphosate, the world's biggest weedkiller, causes cancer, writes Arthur Neslen. The row has pitched EFSA, the EU's food regulator, against 96 of the world's top medical scientists - and comes shortly before the EU is to decide on renewing glyphosate's licence. more...
How much Roundup is in your breakfast cereal? We don't know, as USDA and EPA have created a bureaucratic logjam that means the 'probably carcinogenic' herbicide is not tested for. Photo: Trish via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

USDA and EPA must come clean over Roundup residues

Carey Gillam / USRTK

12th January 2016

Each year the US Department of Agriculture manages to test for over 400 pesticides in food, writes Carey Gillam. But glyphosate, the world's biggest-selling herbicide, is not among them, even as evidence of its dangers mounts. It's time for USDA and EPA to stop their buck-passing - and give consumers their right to know. more...
Lonesome George, the last of the pure-bred Pinta Island tortoises, photographed before his death in 2012 at the age of about 100. Photo: putneymark via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Second life for 'extinct' giant tortoises of the Galápagos Islands

Luciano Beheregaray & Adalgisa 'Gisella' Caccone

14th January 2016

The endemic giant tortoises discovered by Charles Darwin on Floreana and Pinta islands in the Galápagos are extinct, write Luciano Beheregaray & Adalgisa 'Gisella' Caccone. But scientists have found that their genes live on in newly discovered hybrids on other islands. A selective breeding programme now aims to recreate the originals, and return them to their native islands. more...
Water cannon deployed against a March for Education in Chile, 9th August 2011. Next time, it could be drones armed with incapacitating chemical agents. Photo: Mauricio Ulloa via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

War and police? Drones, chemicals and political repression

Paul Rogers

10th January 2015

A fusion of drone systems and chemical agents is set to transform the landscape of combat for states and non-state actors alike, writes Paul Rogers. These technologies won't just be used for warfare, but for 'public order' ... suppressing riots, protests and political dissent. Forget water cannon - this is the real deal. more...
Mining Bee (Andrena dunningi) on Hawthorn. Photo:  Dan Mullen via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

New research exposes hidden cocktail of bee-killing pesticides in hedgerows and wildflowers

Oliver Tickell

5th January 2015

Dangerous volumes of neonicotinoid insecticides and other pesticides are expressed in common wild flowers like buttercups and hawthorn blossom in countryside under arable cultivation, a new study has discovered. The discovery invalidates the UK government's 'pollinator strategy' based on creating 'safe havens' in arable areas - because the havens are in fact loaded with pesticides. more...
This poster for the 'GMO-a-gogo' animation is clearly emotive - but mainly it's the GM opponents who have the science on their side, and GM advocates who resort to emotive claims and invective. Image: infomaticfilms.com.

Claiming to represent 'science', the global GMO industry is built on fear, fraud and corruption

Colin Todhunter

30th December 2015

The more the GM industry claims to enjoy the support of 'science', the more it resorts to emotive attack and insult against its opponents, while doing its best to suppress the many scientific truths that are not to its liking, writes Colin Todhunter. In truth it is driven by profit, politics and ideology, and is based on fraud and the capture and corruption of governments and regulators. more...

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Female Agapostemon sp. sweat bee, Oregon, USA. Photo: Thomas Shahan via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Farm expansion driving US native bee declines

Beyond Pesticides

28th December 2015

Wild bee decline is closely associated with the advance of intensive farming and habitat loss, a new study shows. It follows an earlier paper that linked 'delayed action' decline of wild bees to exposure to pesticides including fungicides - previously considered 'bee-safe'. more...
In 2012 this Disney Princess Lunchbox was found to contain 29,800 ppm of DEHP - over 29 times the limit set in the US for children's toys. Photo: CHEJ via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

EU must uphold ban on toxic plasticiser DEHP

Tess Crean / ClientEarth

21st December 2015

The 'plasticiser' DEHP is known to leach out of plastics and cause fertility problems in male foetuses, writes Tess Crean. That's why it is banned under EU law. But now the Commission looks likely to grant a wide-ranging exemption for PVC recycling which would make the ban redundant. They must be stopped. more...
Doing the right thing: an old landfill site in Birmingham's Selly Oak Battery Park being dug out prior to development for housing. Photo: Elliott Brown via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Zane: did Cameron order cover-up on landfill cyanide death of 7-year old?

Paul Mobbs

14th December 2015

The apparent conspiracy by the UK government and its agencies to conceal the real cause of death of 7-year old Zane Gbangbola may go right up to Prime Minister David Cameron, writes Paul Mobbs. He was chair of the COBRA emergency committee at the time when it appears to have held back the truth that he was killed by cyanide from the toxic landfill site his home was built over. more...
Intensive cultivation of soya advancing into the forests of the Mato Grosso, Brazil. Photo: Leonardo F. Freitas via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Monsanto on trial for crimes against nature and humanity

Pavlos Georgiadis

6th December 2015

Monsanto was accused of 'crimes against humanity and the environment' at COP21 in Paris this week, writes Pavlos Georgiadis. And now the evidence against it is being gathered for presentation at a 'Monsanto Tribunal' taking place next October in The Hague. more...
Soil is where our food comes from - so why don't we look after it as well as organic farmers? Photo: Soil Association.

It's time to celebrate and protect the soils that feed us!

Peter Melchett

4th December 2015

Almost all our food is grown in soil, writes Peter Melchett. Yet we are treating it like dirt: spraying it with toxic chemicals, depleting vital nutrients, and releasing its carbon to add to climate change. With World Soils Day coming up tomorrow, let's change our ways - and renew our commitment to organic food and farming. more...
If glyphosate was no longer being chucked around into food and environment, would there be fewer cases of cancer? Walkers gear up and take on Day 1 for breast cancer awareness, August 2013. Photo: Susan G. Komen via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

EFSA and EU member states vs. WHO on glyphosate as carcinogen: can science win?

Corporate Europe Observatory

2nd December 2015

The health of Europe's citizens is on trial as the EU's food safety regulator challenges the World Health Organisation over glyphosate and cancer, writes Corporate Europe Observatory. On the WHO side, published, peer reviewed science, real world epidemiology and open processes. While the EFSA conclusion is based on secret industry studies and opaque procedures. Will science or realpolitik win the day? more...
Photo: PAN North America.

EPA bans toxic pesticide mix on GM crops

The Ecologist

26th November 2015

The US Environmental Protection Agency has just withdrawn its authorization for a toxic mix of two herbicides, glyphosate and 2,4-D, to be used on GM crops. The move came in response to a lawsuit claiming the initial registration was unlawful. more...
Orca watching in Puget Sound with Jim Maya. Photo: Robbert Michel via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Sewage treatment essential to save Puget Sound orcas

Dr. Sierra Rayne

20th December 2015

Orcas from Puget Sound and the Strait of Georgia are under threat,in large part due to toxic organic compounds in the marine food chain, writes Sierra Rayne. To give them a fighting chance, the nearby community of Victoria, British Columbia must install advanced sewage treatment - rather than just dump its wastewater largely untreated into the orcas' ocean home. more...
Doing your toxicology in a computer has three big advantages (for the chemical industry): it's quick, cheap, and can be manipulated to systematically understate the real health hazards. Photo: Alejandro Juárez via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Triumph of digital toxicology: why the US won't regulate deadly chemicals

Valerie Brown and Elizabeth Grossman

27th November 2015

A six-month investigation finds that the revolving door between government and the chemical industry has led the EPA to rely on easily manipulated toxicology research carried out entirely on computers - and this 'in silico' science often trumps both biology and epidemiology when it comes to regulatory action, or lack of it. The result? Toxic substances remain in everyday products. more...
Dr. Mark VanGessel brandishing a Palmer's amaranth on a Delaware farm - one of the glyphosate-resistant superweeds that's pushing biotech companies to develop 'stacked' herbicide resistant traits in soybeans and other crops. Photo: Delaware Agriculture vi

Regulators and retailers must stop ‘next generation' GMO imports

Helen Wallace

20th November

A new wave of ‘next generation' GM crops resistant to multiple herbicides, may be approved for import into the European Union, writes Helen Wallace, even though the health impact of the herbicide combinations is unknown. Regulators and retailers must refuse to authorise these GMOs or allow their use in any part of the food chain. more...
This jaguar is in a zoo in French Guyana - not to be confuised with the wild jaguars of Mexico, now returning to their former range in the US. Photo: Yannick TURBE via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

From Yucatan to Arizona, from Sonora to New Mexico: the return of the jaguar

Kent Paterson

13th November 2015

Mexico is determined to restore populations of its largest native predator, the jaguar, to long term viability, writes Kent Paterson. That means creating millions of acres of ecological corridors across the country, and joining with US colleagues to secure large areas of habitat in southwestern states, where recent sightings give hope that jaguars are returning to their former range. more...
The EFSA, open for business ... provided you're a global pesticide corporation. Photo: Corporate Europe Observatory via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

EFSA decides: no cancer risk from glyphosate

The Ecologist

13th November 2015

Europe's top food safety regulator has ruled that the world's top selling herbicide, glyphosate, does not cause cancer - in defiance of the WHO and overwhelming scientific evidence. The decision opens the way for a 10-year EU re-approval next year, before its Chemicals Agency has released its own findings. more...
There is another way: organic Borlotti beans from Sandy Lane Farm, Oxfordshire. Photo: Sandy Lane Farm via Facebook.

Health and biodiversity restored? How farming can rediscover its long-lost roots

Dave Goulson

16th November 2015

As industrial agriculture continues to erode our wildlife, Dave Goulson challenges the methods and objectives of ever-increasing food production. We need to move towards sustainable, evidence-based farming systems that produce healthy food, rather than allowing the agrochemical industry to reshape our farming, countryside and nutrition to its quest for profit. more...

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