When Will We Ever Learn?
Lately I’ve been wondering a lot about one huge question: Why are we passively allowing our world and our health to be damaged? Perhaps we are all suffering to some extent from information overdose. So many hot topics keep emerging, locally, regionally, nationally and internationally, we can’t possibly keep up with them all. It seems easier to ignore the big picture, choose something that feels manageable to work on, and do what we can, when we find time.
We don’t have time to be passive anymore. New studies show that the very pesticides used in monumental quantities around the world are not in fact “safe” and do far more harm than popularly supposed. In most parts of the world, public (lack of) reaction shows that too many of us are getting successfully snowed by big corporations and our government.
Hope In California
Encouragingly, recent polls indicate that California’s “Right To Know” ballot initiative, Proposition 37, may well pass, despite the millions of dollars spent by Monsanto and other industrial giants to suppress it. Here’s what scares them: Prop 37 requires clear labeling of all genetically engineered foods. It also makes illegal the sadly common food industry practice of allowing foods labeled “natural” to contain GE ingredients. If Prop 37 passes, it could mark a social and political turning point, effectively changing food industry politics all across the country.
This is one cause we all need to embrace, at least if we plan to keep eating. If we don’t protect the health of our food and our world, who will? Politicians? Industrialists? Government? How very sad that none of the above are acting responsibly to revise pesticide policies. How tragic that all of the above are working for immediate gain, conveniently blind to the enormous, endless world losses that are needlessly occurring.
What Will It Take?
Carl Jung said that only two things make people willing to change their ways: falling in love and hitting bottom. Years ago, I believed that helping people regain enchantment with our amazing home was the answer. Surely people in love would help stop pesticide use, would fight for ecological preservation, would want the very best food for their families.
How frightening that we are not afraid. In the past few weeks, several new studies have revealed the terrible damage common pesticides cause in our environment, and how they are destroying human health, especially in children.
Scientists Speak Out Against Roundup
Below is a link to the UK’s Institute of Science in Society’s latest report: Why Glyphosate Should Be Banned. It documents extensive contamination from glyphosate (the key ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup) found in European Union farmland, water, air, and the public (that’s us) food supply. The report further notes that Monsanto has requested permission to raise maximum allowable glyphosate levels by 100-150 times in the EU.
There’s also a link to another study by the Pesticide Action Network North America (PANNA) which shows that the more than 1 billion pounds of pesticides used annually in North American have already contributed to a wide range of health problems, again most markedly in children. Health issues affected by human exposure to pesticides include asthma, autism, certain birth defects, various cancers, diabetes, early puberty, obesity, and more.
The PANNA study documents dramatic increases in glyphosate-based herbicide use (of which Monsanto’s Roundup formulation is most common) since genetically engineered (GE) glyphosate-tolerant crops were introduced. The result is, sprprise!, increasing contamination of our soils, air, water and food. Despite these widely known effects, glyphosate-based herbicides continue to be legally considered “safe.” Sadly, probably tragically, they are the most commonly used herbicides in the world.
Why is this happening? According to PANNA: “Monsanto, Dow Agrosciences and DuPont stand to benefit the most from the continued use of glyphosate and expected surge in 2,4-D and other chemical sales that will accompany the next round of herbicide-based GE crops. So it should be no surprise that the largest opponents of California’s ‘Right to Know’ initiative are the pesticide companies, together spending nearly $20 million to defeat the initiative. These ‘Big 6’ pesticide and genetically engineered seed firms are attempting to obscure the science and keep consumers in the dark, as they market the new generation of GE crops and increase sale of hazardous herbicides.”
Who Are These People?
Here’s what PANNA says about itself: “Pesticide Action Network North America (PAN North America, or PANNA) works to replace the use of hazardous pesticides with ecologically sound and socially just alternatives. As one of five PAN Regional Centers worldwide, we link local and international consumer, labor, health, environment and agriculture groups into an international citizens’ action network. This network challenges the global proliferation of pesticides, defends basic rights to health and environmental quality, and works to ensure the transition to a just and viable society.”
So, which side are you on?