Category Archives: Uncategorized

Climate refugees are already on the move

from “Mothering on the Borders” by Yifat Susskind, Madre Speaks, winter 2018-19, p. 3, excerpt:

…As families shared their stories, one other, often overlooked, reason for leaving home stood out: climate change. “We could no longer grow food,” said Magdalena, a young mother from Guatemala. Shifting her four-year-old, Bibi, on her lap, she described the gathering panic of watching corn wither on the stalk. “Every morning it’s a little worse until you realize all is lost.” The parents in the circle nodded grimly. “After my daughter was born, we had less to eat every year.”

In fact, since Bibi’s birth in 2014, when the “child migrant crisis” on the southern US border began making headlines, a creeping “Dry Corridor” has cut through the four Central American countries with the highest rates of migration: Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala…. many migrants from Guatemala are, like Magdalena and Bibi, fleeing the drought that’s been intensified by a century of US carbon pollution….

read the whole article at Madre Speaks, winter 2018-19

From the linked article in The Nation:

“…According to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, the “impact and threat of climate-related hazards” displaced an average of 21.5 million people annually between 2008 and 2015….”

Help Get Neurotoxic Pesticide Out of Agriculture

Beyond Pesticides letter to our elected representative in Congress. Sign on here.

Earlier this month, U.S. Representative Nydia Velásquez (D-NY) introduced The Ban Toxic Pesticides Act, H.R.230 which bans the insecticide chlorpyrifos from commerce.

Chlorpyrifos is a toxic chemical that has been linked to damaging and often irreversible health outcomes in workers, pregnant women, and children. As a result of a revised human health risk assessment, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) developed a regulation to ban chlorpyrifos in 2016. Under the Trump Administration, the EPA has taken steps to reverse the regulation.

“It’s unconscionable for EPA to turn a blind eye as children and workers are exposed to this poison,” Velázquez said. “If the EPA won’t do its job when it comes to chlorpyrifos, then Congress needs to act – and do so quickly.”

>> Ask your U.S. Representative to Co-Sponsor H.R. 230 to Stop the Use of the Toxic Insecticide Chlorpyrifos, which is Damaging Children’s Brains.

Chlorypyrifos is a widely used pesticide. Agriculture companies annually spray 6 million pounds of the substance on crops like citrus, apples, and cherries. In the same family as Sarin gas, the substance was initially developed prior to World War II as a chemical weapon. It can overstimulate the nervous system to cause nausea, dizziness, and confusion. With very high exposures (accidents or spills), it can cause respiratory paralysis and even death. When applying the chemical to fields, workers must wear protective garments such as respirators. Workers are then blocked from entering the fields from 24 hours up to 5 days after application due to the chemical exposure risk.

In August, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to implement its previous proposed ban of the chemical in the U.S. However, the Administration is appealing the ruling, seeking to prevent implementation of the Obama-era ban.

Rep. Valázaquez states, “As long as there are efforts underway in the courts or administratively to undo the ban on this toxic pesticide, I’ll be working to see chlorypyrifos removed from commerce through the legislative process.”

There is a strong recent history of action of introducing legislation to remove chlorpyrifos from use. The same legislation being proposed by Valazquez was introduced in the last Congress as H.R. 3380, Pesticide Protection Act (2017). In the closing days of the 115th Congress, U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai’i) introduced a bill to ban chlorpyrifos. The Prohibit Chlorpyrifos Poisoning Students Act (S. 3764) would elevate Hawai’i’s state ban to the national level, banning the use of the chemical near (within 300 feet of) schools in 2019 and banning its sale and distribution altogether the following year. The legislation follows a 2017 bill introduced by Senator Tom Udall (D-NM), Protect Children, Farmers and Farmworkers from Nerve Agent Pesticides Act, S. 1624, that deems any food with chlorpyrifos residues to be adulterated and therefore illegal.

EPA negotiated a cancellation of all residential uses (with the exception of golf courses and disease-carrying mosquitoes) in 2000 after finding significant neurotoxic effects on children. In June, 2018, Hawai’i became the first state to ban chlorpyrifos, effective 2022.

Given the abundant research demonstrating deleterious effects of chlorpyrifos on human health –including a 2016 EPA human risk assessment that found the agency’s exposure threshold is exceeded for children, and citing concerns about chlorpyrifos levels in the air in schools, homes, and communities — it is critical to support a complete ban on the chemical.

H.R. 230 has 56 house representative co-sponsors. If your representative has already signed on, you will be prompted to send them a thank you note that encourages them to keep advocating for human and environmental health.

>> Ask your U.S. Representative to Co-Sponsor H.R. 230 to Stop the Use of the Toxic Insecticide Chlorpyrifos, which is Damaging Children’s Brains. .

Tell Your Senators and Representatives: It’s Time for a Green New Deal!

from Beyond Pesticides

As the dust settles on the final Farm Bill, which passed the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives last month, it is clear that neither the substance nor the process on a range of issues meet the urgent need to address key sustainability issues that put the future in peril.

We must not allow this Farm Bill to be the final word on a number of critical environmental issues facing the nation and world. That is why it is absolutely critical that we get to work immediately, with the new Congress, to set a new course that transforms the institutions of government that are holding back the urgently needed transition to a green economy.

Tell your Senators and Representative to support a Green New Deal that restructures food and agriculture programs.

On the Farm Bill, our victories were mostly measured in terms of what we were able to remove from the Farm Bill—not the standard of achievement that we need to face critical environmental threats….

read more at Beyond Pesticides

EU reaches agreement on single-use plastic ban

DW.com

A plan to ban single-use plastic products such as disposable plates and straws has been agreed. EU member states and the EU parliament still have to give the provisional agreement the go-ahead.

A plan to ban single-use plastic products such as disposable plates and straws has been agreed. EU member states and the EU parliament still have to give the provisional agreement the go-ahead.

European lawmakers have reached an agreement on a ban of single-use plastic products, the Austrian presidency said in Brussels on Wednesday.

The move is aimed at making the EU a world leader in using sustainable alternatives that avoid marine pollution.

What does the plan involve?

There will be a plastic ban on products where alternatives are readily available and affordable, including plastic cotton swabs, cutlery, plates, straws, drink stirrers and sticks for balloons.

Member states will have to implement measure to reduce the use of plastic food containers and drink cups….

read more at DW.com