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Gender: Female
Home country: USA
Member since: Thu Dec 1, 2011, 12:59 PM
Number of posts: 7,830

About Me

FDR Populist Progressive who believes the environment trumps all. We\'re sinking the only ship we\'ve got, and govt leaders are ignoring it.

Journal Archives

One man is fighting to save Florida Oranges, w/o GMing them


"We are seeing the death of an industry in front of our eyes," Matt McLean says, scanning his groves. "These trees will not survive."

Worst of all, there is little McLean can do to save his crop.

Despite millions of dollars spent on research and hundreds of scientists working at a frenzied pace, no cure or prevention has yet been developed for citrus greening disease.

"We have survived a lot of things," McLean says, recalling deep freezes and other diseases like citrus canker that have wiped out thousands of trees. "But today, citrus greening has affected the entire state. We just don't know what will happen."

"But OJ, as you know it, may not exist anymore."

....McLean is not alone in his quest; researchers across the nation are using genetic material to figure out how to save American citrus. Others are busy preserving plant cuttings in a tundralike, tornado-proof vault in Colorado that could rebuild the nation's citrus groves if disease does indeed wipe them out.

...Matt's brother Ben has a master's degree in fruit crops and has been working furiously with industry colleagues, scientists and the government to find a way to stop citrus greening's spread. The disease flared west from Florida to Texas and it has now been found in groves in California, America's second largest citrus producer.

Scientists are developing bactericides and experimenting with tree treatments like heat therapy, says Michael Rogers, interim director of the University of Florida's Citrus Research and Education Center.

They are also breeding citrus that are tolerant to disease. About seven years ago, when citrus greening was starting its spread, a handful of Florida growers planted a new variety, LB8-9, as an experiment. Those trees are all infected now, but the amazing thing is they are still able to produce fruit, says Fred Gmitter, a citrus breeder and geneticist who works with Rogers.

...Some growers are considering using genetically modified strains of citrus, even though such artificial alterations remain highly controversial.

McLean won't go there. He remains resolute on finding a way to stop greening and is focusing on organic cures.

He has tried botanical oils like neem. And every 21 days, he releases thousands of parasitic wasps that lay eggs inside young Asian citrus psyllids, or nymphs. The eggs hatch and devour the nymphs' insides. The wasps can never eradicate citrus greening disease, but McLean says they provide some amount of control and management. The successes are modest compared to the rate at which citrus greening is killing McLean's trees.

Lately, McLean has had new reason to hope. The answer, he says, may be lurking in one of his grandfather's old orange groves.

When McLean announced he was going to start an organic business, his father chuckled.

"I graduated from UF in 1965. No one even knew how to spell herbicide then," Benny McLean laughs.

Father and son walk through one of their oldest orange groves, planted in 1944 on the southeast corner of a lake, which helped protect the trees through frigid winters. They are Temple oranges grown on Cleopatra Mandarin rootstock, known to thrive in Florida's sandy soil. The trees are lush with flavorful fruit.

"It's amazing that these trees have been here all these years," Benny McLean says. "You are looking at old genetic material. And this is all about the DNA and genetics. Old trees show a lot of resistance. Newer trees show high levels of susceptibility."

The older McLean has a theory about why not a single tree in this 2,000-strong grove has been infected with citrus greening disease even though across the highway, every tree is ailing.

He says this particular grove was not sprayed with chemicals until it was 25 years old and had already developed a strong immune system....

Really good read, worth the time~

Let's hope his theory is right! It wouldn't surprise me at all if the cause of orange greening is overuse of chemicals weakening their immunity to the bug. I hope going Organic can save oranges.

Businss Insider is a conspiracy troll!

Cancer-linked herbicides are coming under closer scrutiny

U.S. regulators have relied on flawed and outdated research to allow expanded use of an herbicide linked to cancer, and new assessments should be urgently conducted, according to a column published in the New England Journal of Medicine on Wednesday.

There are two key factors that necessitate regulatory action to protect human health, according to the column: a sharp increase in herbicide applied to widely planted genetically modified (GMO) crops used in food, and a recent World Health Organization (WHO) determination that the most commonly used herbicide, known as glyphosate, is probably a human carcinogen.

...Glyphosate is best known as the key ingredient in Roundup developed by Monsanto Co, one of the world's most widely used herbicides, but it is used in more than 700 products.

It is sprayed directly over crops like corn genetically engineered to tolerate it and is sometimes used on non-GMO crops, like wheat before harvest. Residues of glyphosate have been detected in food and water.

Full story~

Bee Happy!! Bees Win Big in Court, EPA’s Approval of Toxic Pesticide Overturned

Bees Win Big in Court, EPA’s Approval of Toxic Pesticide Overturned
by Taylor Hill | September 14, 2015 10:25 am
Take Part

A federal court has overturned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) approval of sulfoxaflor, a pesticide linked to the mass die-off of honeybees that pollinate a third of the world’s food supply.

The three-judge panel said the EPA green-lit sulfoxaflor even though initial studies showed the product was highly toxic to pollinators such as bees.

The chemical compound belongs to a class of insecticides, known as neonicotinoids, that scientific studies have implicated in bee deaths.

“Because the EPA’s decision to unconditionally register sulfoxaflor was based on flawed and limited data, we conclude that the unconditional approval was not supported by substantial evidence,” the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit panel wrote in its opinion.

In her opinion, Judge Mary M. Schroeder wrote that the EPA had initially decided to conditionally approve the chemical but ordered more studies done to better understand the effects the systemic insecticide would have on bees.

....Snip...Sulfoxaflor, created by Indianapolis-based Dow AgroSciences, is a systemic insecticide. When it’s sprayed on soybean, cotton, citrus, fruit and vegetable crops, it kills bugs on contact and is also absorbed into the plant’s flowers, stems and roots. When insects ingest any part of the plant, they die too.

..... EU member nations banned three neonicotinoids in 2013 for two years after the chemicals were linked to the dramatic decline in bee populations there.

This is the classic pesticide industry shell game,” Towers said. “As more science underscores the harms of a pesticide, they shift to newer, less studied products. And it takes regulators years to catch up.”



Are you joking? We need more truthtellers like him!

Transcript of Cornel West’s January 17, 2013 statements regarding the use of Martin Luther King Jr.’s Bible during the inauguration of Barack Obama:

Now, when I got the news that my dear brother Barack Obama, President Obama, was going to put his precious hand on Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Bible, I got upset. And I got upset because you don’t play with Martin Luther King, Jr. and you don’t play with his people. And by his people, what I mean is people of good conscience, fundamentally committed to peace, and truth and justice. And especially the black tradition that produced it.

All the blood, sweat and tears that went into producing a Martin Luther King, Jr. generated a brother of such high decency and dignity that you don’t use his prophetic fire as just a moment in a presidential pageantry, without understanding the challenge that he presents to all of those in power no matter what color they are. No matter what color they are!

So, the righteous indignation of a Martin Luther King, Jr. becomes a moment in political calculation and that makes my blood boil. Why? Because Martin Luther King, Jr., he died knowing the three crimes against humanity he was wrestling with. Jim Crow – traumatizing, terrorizing, stigmatizing black people, lynching, insultful – not just segregation the way the press wants to talk about.

Second, carpet bombing in Vietnam, killing innocent people especially innocent children. Those are war crimes Martin Luther King, Jr. was willing to die for. And thirdly, was poverty of all colors. He said it’s a crime against humanity for the richest nation in the history of the world to have so many of its precious children of all colors living in poverty,
and especially on the chocolate side of the nation, in Indian reservations, in brown barrios, in yellow slices, and black ghettos, then. We call them hoods now, but ghettos then.

So I said to myself, “ok nothing wrong with putting your hand on the Bible.” Even though the bible talks about justice and Jesus is talking bout “the least of these.” But when you put in Martin’s bible? I said, “this is personal for me. This is the tradition I came out of. This is the tradition that is connected to my grandmothers prayers, and my grandfathers sermons, and my mothers tears, and my fathers smile, and it’s over against all of those in power who refuse to follow decent policies.”

So I say to myself, “Brother Martin Luther King, Jr., what would you say about the new Jim Crow? What would you say about the prison industrial complex? What would you say about the invisibility of so many of our prisoners? So many of our incarcerated, especially when 62% of them are there for soft drugs, but not one executive of a Wall Street bank gone to jail? Not one!” Martin doesn’t like that. Not one wiretapper. Not one torturer under the Bush administration, at all.

Then, what you say about the drones bring dropped on our precious brothers and sisters in Pakistan and Somalia and Yemen? Those are war crimes, just like war crimes in Vietnam. Martin Luther King, Jr., what would you say? “My voice hollers out,” and don’t tame it with your hand on his bible. Allow his prophetic voice to be heard. Martin, what would you say about the poverty in America now, beginning with the children, then the elderly, then our working folk, and all colors not just here, around the world.
Don’t hide and conceal his challenge. Don’t tame his prophetic fire.

So, that as much as I’m glad that Barack Obama won – I think that brother Mitt Romney would have been a catastrophe, and I understand my brother Newt told the truth about fat vampire capitalism but that’s true for the system as a whole not just Mitt Romney in that regard – but when Barack Obama attempts to use that rich tradition of Frederick Douglas and Ida B. Wells-Barnett? Use the tradition of A. Phillip Randolph? Use the tradition of Rabbi Joshua Heschel? Use the tradition of Tom Hayden and so many others struggling to produce that voice that pushed Martin in the direction that it did? I get upset.

People say, “Oh brother West, there’s Smiley and West, hating Obama.” No, no. We just loving the tradition that produced Martin Luther King, Jr. and were not going to allow it to be in any way sanitized, deodorized and sterilized, we want the subversive power to be heard. That’s what made me think, when you said he was gonna put in his hand on that bible. And I’m praying or him. I’m praying for him. As is Newt – both of us Christians, you Catholic, I’m Holy Ghost funkygut gutbucket Baptist – but we’re praying for him. Putting pressure on.

University Scientists Caught Conspiring with Monsanto to Manipulate Public Opinion on GMOs

University Scientists Caught Conspiring with Monsanto to Manipulate Public Opinion on GMOs
by Dave Murphy
Sept 12, 2015

What happens when a private company with a long history of producing some of the most toxic chemicals on the planet and now produces our food starts facing public pressure from a growing national grassroots movement to label their products to conform with basic principles of democracy and transparency?

Well, if the company in question is Monsanto, then you take a page out of Big Tobacco’s playbook and hatch a secret plan to enlist public university scientists to bury the potential harm of your genetically engineered crops by whitewashing negative studies and systematically demonizing your opponents in the media to mislead elected officials and the American public about the safety of GMOs (genetically modified organisms) and their accompanying toxic pesticides.

Today, Monsanto and the biotech industry are copying the same tactics, this time hiding behind the façade of public university scientists and hiring major PR firms to promote GMOs and the toxic weedkiller glyphosate, the main chemical ingredient in Roundup, which some scientists are offering to drink on Twitter and in front of classrooms of students to “prove” its safety and hide the fact that it is harmful to humans and the environment.

Last weekend, the New York Times released a stunning expose of how Monsanto and the biotech industry enlisted allegedly independent public university scientists in a deceptive campaign to lobby state legislators in Pennsylvania, interfere with ballot initiatives in Oregon and Colorado and paper over risks of high pesticide usage on the Hawaiian island of Kauai.

According to New York Times investigative reporter Eric Lipton, as the GMO labeling debate was coming to a boil in America in the past three years, Monsanto and their “industry partners retooled their lobbying and public relations strategy to spotlight a rarefied group of advocates: academics, brought in for the gloss of impartiality and weight of authority that come with a professor’s pedigree.”

Read article in its entirety~

And now, in Congress, they may completely block states' rights to require GMO labeling. Sorry Vermont! Sorry Democracy! Campaign donations are just more important than you....

Orwellian Nightmare: Congress May Block States from Requiring GMO Labeling
Sept 11. 2015

....The SAFE law sounds like it promises what polls suggest 99 percent of Americans want, accurate labeling of foods with GM ingredients. It likely guarantees that no such thing will ever happen.

Backed by biotech and food industry associations, SAFE would make it illegal for states to enact mandatory GM labeling laws. It would instead establish a “voluntary” GM labeling program that pretty well eviscerates the demand for the right to know what’s in our food. It would undercut the many state level efforts.

Vermont now has a labeling law that survived industry opposition, threats, and a court challenge, which may explain why the industry got busy in Congress. If you can’t beat democracy, change it. The Senate is expected to take up the bill after its August recess.

As written, SAFE is truly the labeling law to end all labeling laws.

The biotech industry is acting desperate for a reason. It’s seen Europe and most of the world close its regulatory doors to GM crops, for now, insisting on the same “precautionary principle” enshrined in the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety. That principle calls for a relatively high level of precaution before the introduction of a new technology, to avoid the kinds of unintended consequences that have caused such harm in the past: tobacco, thalidomide, DDT, PCBs, and other cases of industry-backed claims of safety that, in retrospect, proved deadly.

Full story~

What the Industry Doesn’t Want You to Know About Fracking (new short J Fox film)

What the Industry Doesn’t Want You to Know About Fracking
Josh Fox and Lee Ziesche | September 12, 2015 12:14 pm |

In our new short film, GASWORK: The Fight for C.J.’s Law, we conduct an investigation into worker safety and chemical risk. We follow Charlotte Bevins as she fights for CJ’s law—a bill to protect workers named for her brother CJ Bevins, who died at an unsafe drilling site.

We interview many workers who have been asked to clean drill sites, transport radioactive and carcinogenic chemicals, steam-clean the inside of condensate tanks which contain harmful volatile organic compounds, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and other chemicals, and have been told to do so with no safety equipment.

A lot of reporting has been done on the health impacts fracking and drilling have on local communities, but often the story of the workers, the folks who are exposed to fracking chemicals and unsafe working conditions around the clock, goes untold....

....One worker from western Pennsylvania told us he was hired by the fracking industry in the early days of the rush to drill the Marcellus Shale to cover up toxic spills in his own community, near the forests and streams where he would hunt and fish, near the front yard where his children play.

The industry won’t tell you that the “good” jobs created by fracking are paying men to poison their own communities in order to feed their families. They won’t tell you that those jobs are not union jobs and if you get hurt, you are on your own. And they won’t tell you that the transition to 100 percent renewables will create hundreds of thousands of safer jobs....

please read more here~


Also see this video on Josh Fox's arrest & his recently released short film We Are Seneca Lake~

At an October protest, hundreds of "We Are Seneca Lake" members block the gates of Crestwood Midstream to protest against the expansion of fracked gas storage in the Finger Lakes

More on the Seneca Lake arrests, in case you missed it~
Oscar-nominated director joins over 200 people in court for Seneca Lake protest charges


And just for the frack of it, this is also an excellent documentary, if you have the time~

(It isn't by Josh Fox, but its definitely info the Oil industry doesn't want you to know.)

A candidate who trusted the intelligence of voters (in Nashville!) wins a decisive victory.

Nashville Elects a Mayor Who Is Serious About Jobs, Wages, Poverty

A candidate who trusted the intelligence of voters wins a decisive victory.

John Nichols
Yesterday 3:52 pm
The Nation

Megan Barry mounted a smart and nuanced progressive campaign for mayor of Nashville—so smart, and so nuanced, in fact, that it should cause political candidates and commentators to rethink what can he said and done on a political stage that is too frequently characterized by bluster and bombast.

Megan Barry speaks to supporters after she was declared the winner of Nashville's mayoral race. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Even if Barry had not won Thursday’s runoff election for the Tennessee city’s top job, her campaign would have been instructive. Because she did win, with a decisive 55-45 margin over a free-spending hedge-fund manager who suggested she was too liberal to lead a Mid-South city, Barry’s victory offers a powerful reminder that another politics is possible in cities across this country.

And in statehouses.

And in Washington.

Barry, an at-large member of the Metropolitan Council for Nashville and surrounding Davidson County who will serve as the city’s first woman mayor, earned national attention as a liberal leader in a southern city. (A New York Times article even noted that: “On a recent visit to her home near Vanderbilt, where her husband is a management professor, a copy of The Nation magazine sat atop a copy of Southern Living.”) And her campaign certainly hit plenty of progressive themes. She hailed diversity, declared that the police must treat everyone equally, highlighted the need to respect immigrants, embraced sustainability, and celebrated public transportation.

But it was on a host of economic issues that Barry distinguished herself. She criticized privatization, talked up public programs, and said three things that marked the expert of business ethics and corporate social responsibility (who included footnotes with her campaign pledges) as a significantly more serious contender than most local, state, and national candidates.

First, as part of her economic development platform, she specifically explained that “the private sector can’t do it all” and argued that it is appropriate to use “public investment to stimulate sectors of the economy that will benefit from a jumpstart.”...

Read more on this PROGRESSIVE WIN~

This is such great news, in Tennessee of all places!! Love it!!!!

Democrats being Democrats WINS elections, even in the south!!

Sept 23 - Weds pm - Mark it down! Great line up on Colbert :-)

Elizabeth Warren will appear on the new Late Show with Stephen Colbert

By Nik DeCosta-Klipa @NikDeCostaKlipa
Boston.com Staff | 09.10.15 | 6:26 PM

Elizabeth Warren doesn’t need to run for president (or vice president) to get her message out there.

CBS announced Thursday that the new Late Show with Stephen Colbert booked the Massachusetts senator—or, as Colbert describes her, “school librarian you had a crush on”/Bernie Sanders imposter— to be a guest on the Sept. 23 show.

Warren will join actor Hugh Jackman, Global Poverty Project founder Hugh Evans, and musical guest Pearl Jam.

Colbert officially took over the CBS late-night role from David Letterman on Tuesday, in a premier that was more than 17 months in the waiting.

Warren joins an elite lineup of politicians to appear on the former Colbert Report host’s new show. Joe Biden is set to be a guest Thursday. Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush appeared on the show’s premiere.


And here she is....

(Full interview, amateur upload)

Also see~

Thursday, Sep 24, 2015 01:15 PM EST
Elizabeth Warren demolishes the myth of “trickle-down” economics: “That is going to destroy our country, unless we take our country back”

In an interview on "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert," Warren explaines why Republican economics don't work


Burt’s Bees, Neonics and Poisoning Our Food

Burt’s Bees, Neonics and Poisoning Our Food
Common Dreams
(This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License)

Katherine Paul

On August 27 (2015), we published an action alert asking consumers to ask Burt’s Bees to cut ties with the corporations that make neonicotinoid pesticides. Neonics are a class of pesticides implicated in the mass die-off of honeybees.

We also asked that instead of supporting research (through the Pollinator Partnership) on other causes of Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), or research on alternative pesticides, Burt’s Bees use its corporate clout to demand that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ban the use of neonics.

Our action alert prompted an angry phone call from the executive director of the Pollinator Partnership. Burt’s Bees also responded, by setting up an auto-reply email (which many of you received) defending the brand’s participation in the Pollinator Partnership, and insisting that the Burt’s Bees brand is dedicated to protecting pollinators.

We stand by the alert, which as of September 7, had generated almost 18,000 emails to Burt’s Bees. Here’s why.

Where OCA stands on pesticides and other chemicals

Before we get into the details surrounding this specific alert, or the angry and defensive reactions it triggered, let’s clarify the position of the Organic Consumers Association: Neonicotinoid pesticides specifically, and pesticides (and herbicides) in general, should be banned from the U.S. food system, as should most chemical fertilizers. Period.

To varying degrees, these chemicals all destroy soil health. They destroy water quality. (The Gulf of Mexico dead zone is now the size of Connecticut and Rhode Island, according to the latest estimate from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and neonics were detected in half the sampled streams in the U.S., according a report released August 18, 2015, by the U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey).

In addition to destroying soil health and polluting our water, chemical fertilizers also directly contribute to global warming.

The bottom line is this: Unhealthy soil produces unhealthy food; polluted waters and global warming are threats to human health; and toxic chemicals on our food aren’t good for us.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that there are traces of 29 different pesticides in the average American’s body. The government agencies that defend the widespread use of toxic chemicals in U.S. agriculture do so on the basis of what they refer to as “safe” residues, as determined by the regulatory agencies, often with input from corporations, and only by looking at each chemical independently. These agencies don’t study the impact of the toxic chemical cocktails resulting from exposure to multiple pesticides or chemicals.

We agree with Andre Leu, author of the “Myths of Safe Pesticides,” that there are, in fact, no “safe” limits of pesticides, especially when it comes to children:

Given the body of scientific data linking the additive and synergistic effects of chemical mixtures to numerous adverse health effects, serious concerns need to be raised as to why regulators allow these formulated mixtures to be used on the assumption that they are safe. There are no credible scientific data to determine a safety level for the residues of the actual registered pesticide products used in food production and found in food until whole formulations are tested. (p. 12).

For this reason, and because we believe corporate-controlled chemical-intensive industrial agriculture is at the root of many problems, including global warming, public health and global poverty, OCA advocates for chemical-free, organic regenerative (or agroecological) farming practices that foster biodiversity and protect crops naturally. These practices, which include crop rotation, cultivation of different plant varieties, stimulation of beneficial insects and natural predators, have proven successful and productive, according to many farmers, and as outlined in a report that followed from the March 2013 conference “Pollinator Friendly Farming Is Possible.”

Why We Targeted Burt’s Bees

Back to the Burt’s Bees action alert and subsequent fallout.

The once-beloved Burt’s Bees brand was purchased by The Clorox Company in 2007. Craig Stevenson, vice president and general manager of Clorox, who is also responsible for the Burt’s Bees product line, is on the board of the Pollinator Partnership.

Who supports the Pollinator Partnership? Many government and nonprofit organizations, and, in addition to Burt’s Bees, 33 other corporations—including Bayer, Syngenta and Monsanto, the companies responsible for manufacturing and/or selling the neonicotinoids that have been linked to the mass die-off of honeybees.

Do we believe corporate bean-counters at Clorox, Bayer, Syngenta and Monsanto are deeply concerned about the impact neonics, or other pesticides or chemicals, have on pollinators, or on human health and/or the health of the environment?

We don’t.
More likely, Bayer, Monsanto and Syngenta support the Pollinator Partnership in the hope of furthering their own agendas, which include diverting attention away from neonics as the primary culprit in Colony Collapse Disorder environment and/or advancing research into alternative pesticides—from which they can profit.

We’re not alone in our thinking. In its 2014 Follow the Honey Report, Friends of the Earth documented how companies like Bayer have copied tobacco industry public relations tactics in an effort to manufacture doubt about the role neonics have played in decimating honeybee colonies.

Similarly, Bayer, Syngenta and Monsanto have deployed a mix of PR tactics to divert attention away from neonicotinoids as a key contributor to bee declines. They have typically promoted a “multiple factors” argument that downplays and manufactures doubt about pesticides’ role, while emphasizing varroa mites, pathogens, and bee forage as primary forces threatening bees.

For example, Helmut Schramm, head of Bayer CropScience Germany, explained: “It’s generally known that the varroa mite is the main enemy of the bee.” To further distract attention, Bayer has even erected a giant sculpture of the varroa mite on a bee at its “Bee Care” Center in Germany. As the New York Times notes, “Conveniently, Bayer markets products to kill the mites too.”

What Mr. Schramm doesn’t mention is that neonics weaken the honeybees’ immune systems, making them more vulnerable to varroa mites. Or that, as The New York Times pointed out, Bayer also conveniently markets products to kill the mites.

There are no doubt many well-intentioned organizations and staff members who support and work for the Pollinator Partnership. But the fact that the Pollinator Partnership takes money from the likes of Clorox, Bayer, Syngenta and Monsanto raises questions about influence. Those questions surfaced the minute we read this letter from the Pollinator Partnership’s executive director, the beginning of which reads much like Bayer’s propaganda.

Neonicotinoids come with a bee hazard statement on the label as they have been determined to have the potential to harm bees; but the question is, to what extent are these substances alone responsible for CCD? CCD has been shown to be the result of multiple factors, as detailed by the recent EPA-USDA report issued last week. CCD, however, is just one of the many problems that have beset honey bees; and there are considerably more issues that face the rest of the pollinating community including other bees, bats, birds, butterflies, flies and more.

The Pollinator Partnership feels that science needs to lead the discussion on neonicotinoids, CCD, and all pollinator health issues, and that decisions based on anything less have the potential to lead us into more, not fewer, problems.

Neonicotinoids were developed as a response to and as a replacement for previous chemicals that had proven risks associated with bee kills and human health concerns. With respect to neonicotinoids, we really do not know enough yet; and we are hoping that new science, including research we are conducting this year, will help clarify this.

Our response to these statements?

Labeling a poison doesn’t make the poison okay. It doesn’t matter if neonics are only part of the problem—the fact that they are part of the problem means their liberal use shouldn’t be allowed in the food production system. Science is leading the discussion, and yes we do know enough yet, even the EPA’s own scientists, according to internal documents, believe neonics are toxic to bees. And even if we’re still waiting for “new” science, we ought to be following the precautionary principle, which roughly translated means “better safe than sorry.” And that means halting the use of neonics.

We stick to our assertion that Burt’s Bees should disassociate itself with any organization or corporation that believes otherwise.

Do We Really Want Neonics on Our Food?

It’s great that we’re studying the impact of neonics on pollinators. Pollinators play a critical role in food production, and even if they didn’t, we ought to be concerned about the mass die-off of any species, as these events lead to loss of biodiversity and have serious implications for all life on earth.

But focusing exclusively on the impact of neonics on pollinators distorts the what ought to be the real debate around not only neonics, but all toxic chemicals used to grow food.

According to the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, which measured neonic residues on foods that humans commonly eat:

All fruit and vegetable samples (except nectarine and tomato) and 90% of honey samples were detected positive for at least one neonicotinoid; 72% of fruits, 45% of vegetables and 50% of honey samples contained at least two different neonicotinoids in one sample, with imidacloprid having the highest detection rate among all samples. All pollen samples from New Zealand contained multiple neonicotinoids and 5 out of 7 pollen from Massachusetts detected positive for imidacloprid. These results show the prevalent presence of low level neonicotinoid residues in fruits, vegetables and honey that are readily available in the market for human consumption and in the environment where honeybees forage. In light of the new reports of toxicological effects in mammals, our results strengthen the importance to assess dietary neonicotinoid intakes and the potential human health effects.

According to a recent article in Rolling Stone, a 2012 U.S. Department of Agriculture survey found neonics in 30 percent of cauliflower, 22 percent of cherry tomatoes and in more than a fourth of bell peppers. In 2011, the Food and Drug Administration found them in 29 percent of baby food, according to the article.

We’re talking about a poison, which works in the same way nerve poisons work, according to the “Myths of Safe Pesticides” (p. 15). And we’re allowing it on our food (and on the seeds used to grow that food), and on the food of vulnerable, toxin-sensitive infants and children, while we wait for “new” studies.

Pesticide Action Network North America (PANNA) describes the cumulative and chronic effects of neonics on bees like this:

Neonicotinoids function by binding to nicotinic acetylcholine receptors in insects’ brains, receptors which are particularly abundant in bees, increasing during development from larval to adult stages. This binding leads to an over-accumulation of acetylcholine, resulting in paralysis and death. The most recent scientific observations point to a long-lasting effect in which molecules unbind from receptors, but remain in the bee brain, possibly rebinding multiple times before metabolization occurs. Whether this constitutes effectively irreversible, cumulative toxicity remains unclear; but chronic toxicity effects over time are a likely result.

Can we safely assume humans are immune to these “cumulative and chronic” effects? Especially infants and children, whose smaller body mass and rapid physical development increase their vulnerability to toxins?

Here’s the Kicker—Neonics Don’t Even Work!

As PANNA points out, neonics can be applied as a spray, but are more commonly used as systemics, or seed coatings:

Systemic pesticides are applied as seed coatings or soil drenches and are taken up through the plant’s vascular system and then transmitted to all parts of the plant, including pollen and nectar. Neonicotionids are very persistent and therefore accumulate over time in the environment. Most neonicotionoids are classified as acutely toxic to bees. But single, high-dose (i.e. acute) exposures are likely less common than are the chronic, sublethal exposure levels faced by bees over time as they forage in the field.

Rolling Stone cited conservative estimates showing that neonics are used on 100 million acres of U.S. farmland.

According to the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP):

Seed treatment applications are prophylactic, meaning they are used whether or not there is any evidence of pest pressures. At least 30 percent of soybean seeds planted annually (approximately 22.5 million out of 75 million acres) are pretreated with neonic insecticides (two of the primary four being imidacloprid and thiamethoxam). But corn has the highest use and acreage with around 94 percent of U.S. corn treated with a neonicotinoid. That widespread use has quickly elevated the Midwest to the highest levels of neonicotinoid use in the country. These neonicotinoids don’t stay in the plants and soil however, but find their ways into the water as well. A recent U.S. Geological Survey report confirmed this, finding neonicotinoids were common in streams throughout the Midwest.

So we’re killing the bees, polluting the water, and for what?

Here’s the kicker: According to numerous studies, pre-treating seeds with neonics provides little or no benefit to farmers

. The IATP, which produced a paper http://www.iatp.org/documents/unknown-benefits-hidden-costs on the use of neonics as seed coatings says:

Despite their widespread use, there is surprisingly little field trial research available on the efficacy of neonicotinoids in providing yield benefits. A series of recent reports are actually pointing in the other direction, with evidence that indicates that neonicotinoids are of dubious value to farmers and in fact, under certain circumstances, may even inhibit yield. A review of 19 studies in scientific journals looked at how neonic treatments affect yields of major U.S. crops: corn, soybeans, canola, dry beans, and wheat. The review by the Center for Food Safety (CFS) found that in most studies, neonic treatments did not increase yield. This was particularly the case when there was only moderate or low pest pressure, which is the reality on the majority of crop acres. European reports of crop yields before and after neonic bans were in place additionally show no discernable difference, further confirming the lack of measurable yield benefits.

The conclusions drawn by these studies bring us back full circle to our position that neonics ought to be banned. That’s what the European Union did in December 2013, after the European Food Safety Authority said neonics posed an unacceptable danger to bees. The ban was subsequently (and temporarily) lifted in June 2015, amid loud protests from consumers and environmental groups. Before the ban was lifted, and while corporations were working to overturn it, a reporter for The Guardian wrote this, which pretty much sums up what we think:

The EU's ban on neonicotinoids has removed a band-aid from a suppurating and seemingly incurable wound - the reliance of agriculture on chemicals that harm the environment. Should Syngenta's appeal to the government be accepted, then neonicotinoids may assist some farmers to bring in the yields for this year. But should the ban continue, what happens next year? Will we simply be having this conversation again?

Non-chemical alternatives exist that could support farmers to cost-effectively move away from their near total reliance on pesticides. But you cannot patent a parasitic wasp. So their development is stalled and apart from some small exceptions, research ignores biological pest management. This means the agriculture industry is mostly one vast train trapped on a chemical track.

So to Burt’s Bees, we reiterate our call to sanity. We don’t need more science, more alternative poisons, more years of wavering and vacillating, more stalling. What we need is to end the rampant and reckless use of poisons that profit-seeking corporations have falsely led us to believe we need, and return to organic, regenerative farming practices that heal the earth, and all that inhabits it.

We ask that Craig Stevenson, and everyone else at Burt’s Bees ponder this question, posed by Jane Goodall:

Someday we shall look back on this dark era of agriculture and shake our heads. How could we have ever believed that it was a good idea to grow our food with poisons?


*Emphasis mine

** https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/us/

October 14 - 2015 - Mark it down, JOIN the People's Climate Movement Day of ACTION


Join us in a national day of action around the United States on October 14, 2015


Don't see an event in a city near you on the map linked below? Create one!! Some great ideas are listed below.



On October 14, 2015, in cities and towns around the nation, people will be engaging in a National Day of Action to once again call attention to the urgent need for bold steps to be taken to address the global climate crisis. Initiated by the People’s Climate Movement (PCM), these actions are being organized by local groups and organizations from the wide range of diverse constituencies and communities.

Local Organizing Tables

The organizations that have stepped up to anchor local Oct. 14th activities have been asked to do the following:

Organize a local table of partner organizations, some of which might co-anchor.
Ensure that local tables include core PCM constituencies – people of color, working people, frontline communities, environmental and climate change groups, faith-based organizations, students/youth, labor unions, and community-based organizations – and that core constituencies are in leadership roles.
Help to drive turn out to the event.
Work with the PCM National Communications team on media, etc.
Commit staff time to pulling off the event.
Engage in a debrief and next steps conversation with PCM after October 14th .

Participating Organizations

Many additional organizations around the country that are not able to serve as either an anchor group or as part of a local organizing table, are asked to:

Endorse the PCM National Day of Action on Oct. 14th.
Help with turn out to local events.
Publicize local events.
Help with/promote digital action/social media on October 14th .

Every organization involved in this effort is asked to read and agree to the Jemez Principles for Democratic Organizing which came out of the Environmental Justice Movement several years ago and has been a foundation piece for the People’s Climate Movement.

Individual Efforts

In some instances your situation might not lend itself to pulling together an organizing table and taking all of the steps outlined above. But that should not stop you…everyone has something to contribute to this movement and to the success of the National Day of Action! Here are suggestions for how you, as an individual, might proceed:

Call together friends, co-workers, neighbors, family and others. Talk about what you might like to do on Oct. 14th.

Once you have an idea, think about any organizations or groups in your area that you might reach out to and ask them to help build the action.
Don’t be shy about being in the public’s eye even with a few people.
Hand our leaflets in a busy part of town.
Set up a literature table where people go shopping.
Show a film or have a speaker on the climate crisis.
Do a small vigil in front of the offices of someone who could play a better role in supporting our demands for climate justice.
Or be even more creative: do a street theater skit, bring along some puppets or other visuals, get a soap box and make a speech!!

The more we all do on October 14th the better, and remember…there is no such thing as too small an action.

Be sure to list your activity or event on our website.
Let your local media know about your activity. Sometimes even a few people at the right place at the right time can draw media attention.


The People’s Climate Movement hopes local organizers will develop creative, inspirational events that call attention to the urgent need for immediate action on the climate crisis while highlighting the range of communities and constituencies involved in this new movement for climate justice. Where possible, we encourage local events that highlight and challenge those people/institutions/agencies that are either still denying climate change or are simply lying about the seriousness of the problems. Where it makes sense to use these local events to strengthen ongoing campaigns and projects, or to initiate new initiatives locally, we encourage that as well.

Everyone is asked to tie their local efforts to the nationwide movement we are all part of, as well as the global movement. This means posting your activities on the PCM website, it means making this connection when doing local media work, it means participating in nationally coordinated social media work, etc.

In the run-up to the People’s Climate March on 9/21/14, we adopted guidelines for that march all participating organizations were asked to agree to. We have slightly modified those and again ask the local organizing tables to discuss these and adopt them for your events and actions on October 14th.

Guidelines for Local Actions

To encourage the broadest and most diverse involvement possible, to respect our many communities and the important issues we are supporting, to help create activities that people from diverse constituencies will feel comfortable in, and to help ensure the safety of all participants, we expect everyone taking part in the People’s Climate Movement National Day of Action on October 14, 2015 to respect the following:

We will use no violence (physical or verbal) towards any person.
We will not destroy or damage property.
We will promote a tone of respect, honesty, transparency, and accountability in our actions.
We will not carry anything that can be construed as a weapon, nor possess (or consume) any alcohol or drugs.
We will all hold each other accountable to respecting these agreements.


Be The Change You wish to see in the world! OCTOBER 14

From a March to a Movement: Mobilizing More Than Greens for Climate Action (Bill Moyers)

In September 2014, something monumental happened. Around the world, people took to the streets. In New York City alone, 400,000 people of faith, communities of color and indigenous communities, labor unions, youth groups and other organizations marched to demand action on climate. But that public outpouring of support was only the beginning. In the months since, we’ve been quietly but concertedly building on the success of the People’s Climate March.

Now we’re taking the organizing muscle that brought half a million people around the globe to the streets and ramping up the ongoing efforts to involve local communities while doubling down on the effort to bring in even more of the groups who don’t traditionally work on environmental issues. The People’s Climate Movement is organizing to mobilize people from all walks of life for a National Day of Action on October 14.

By going to PeoplesClimate.org, you can sign up to lead an event in your community like a rally or march, or see how you can join an event already planned in your community. And because Congress will be in their home districts that week, it’s a perfect time to meet with your elected officials.

Because, to show politicians we’re serious, we need more than a march — we need a movement. We don’t need one group or one constituency; we need many groups, many people, and many voices. Movement building is never over, and what we’ve built to date is strong and growing. There’s room for everyone in the People’s Climate Movement....

Read more~
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