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A third of global farmland at ‘high’ pesticide pollution risk

A third of global farmland at ‘high’ pesticide pollution risk

Nearly two-thirds  of global agricultural land is at risk of pesticide pollution, a study says
Nearly two-thirds of global agricultural land is at risk of pesticide pollution, a study says

A third of the planet’s agricultural land is at “high risk” of pesticide pollution from the lingering residue of chemical ingredients that can leach into water supplies and threaten biodiversity, according to research published Monday.

The  has soared globally as  has expanded, prompting growing fears over  and calls to cut hazardous chemical use.

Researchers in Australia modelled pollution risk across 168 countries with data on the usage of 92 active pesticide ingredients and found “widespread global  risk”.

They highlighted several acutely vulnerable ecosystems in South Africa, China, India, Australia and Argentina, at the nexus of high pollution risk, high water scarcity and high biodiversity.

The study, published in Nature Geoscience, found that overall 64 percent of global  —approximately 24.5 million square kilometres (9.4 million sq miles)—was at risk of pesticide pollution from more than one active ingredient, and 31 percent is at high risk.

“It is significant because the potential pollution is widespread and some regions at risk also bear high biodiversity and suffer from water scarcity,” said lead author Fiona Tang, of the University of Sydney’s School of Civil Engineering.

Tang said there were a number of factors that would contribute to a region becoming a potential contamination hotspot, including using excessive amounts of pesticides or those containing highly toxic substances.

Some environmental factors may also slow the breakdown of the pesticides into non-toxic substances, like cold temperatures or low soil carbon, while heavy rainfall might also cause high levels of run-off.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Kelly MacNamara, phys.org, pesticides, agriculture, industrial agriculture, modern agriculture, food production, food, pollution

Investigation: How Pesticide Companies Are Marketing Themselves as a Solution to Climate Change

Investigation: How Pesticide Companies Are Marketing Themselves as a Solution to Climate Change

Green pesticides

This article was published as part of the launch of DeSmog’s Agribusiness Database, where you can find a record of companies and organisations’ current messaging on climate change, lobbying around climate action, and histories of climate science denial.

Like a pandemic, climate change is an inevitable threat that we must address before it is too late,” reads a June 2020 statement. “As the economy and agriculture begin to build back with the gradual easing of the COVID-19 restrictions, we need to support a recovery for farmers that puts the fight against climate change and biodiversity loss at its core.”

The speaker? Not Greta Thunberg, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez or Al Gore. Not, in fact, any environmentalist you might care to imagine. Instead, it was Erik Fyrwald, Chief Executive Officer of Syngenta Group — one of the world’s five largest pesticides manufacturers, a major consumer of fossil fuels, and now a company marketing its products as a solution to climate change.

Syngenta’s messaging — alongside similar campaigns from the other “big five” global pesticides producers BayerBASFCorteva and FMC — reflects a sudden transformation within the agricultural world.

After decades of denial and delay by big agribusiness, the pesticides industry now appears to have become a climate champion.

Waking up on climate change’

The pesticides market is dominated by a small handful of companies — Bayer (which acquired Monsanto in 2018), Corteva (formerly Dow and DuPont), SyngentaBASF and FMC — whose hazardous products a United Nations report said have “catastrophic impacts on the environment, human health, and society as a whole” amid a global insect die-off and legal battles over carcinogenic effects of products once marketed as harmless.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Investigation: How Pesticide Companies Are Marketing Themselves as a Solution to Climate Change

Investigation: How Pesticide Companies Are Marketing Themselves as a Solution to Climate Change

Green pesticides

This article was published as part of the launch of DeSmog’s Agribusiness Database, where you can find a record of companies and organisations’ current messaging on climate change, lobbying around climate action, and histories of climate science denial.

Like a pandemic, climate change is an inevitable threat that we must address before it is too late,” reads a June 2020 statement. “As the economy and agriculture begin to build back with the gradual easing of the COVID-19 restrictions, we need to support a recovery for farmers that puts the fight against climate change and biodiversity loss at its core.”

The speaker? Not Greta Thunberg, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez or Al Gore. Not, in fact, any environmentalist you might care to imagine. Instead, it was Erik Fyrwald, Chief Executive Officer of Syngenta Group — one of the world’s five largest pesticides manufacturers, a major consumer of fossil fuels, and now a company marketing its products as a solution to climate change.

Syngenta’s messaging — alongside similar campaigns from the other “big five” global pesticides producers BayerBASFCorteva and FMC — reflects a sudden transformation within the agricultural world.

After decades of denial and delay by big agribusiness, the pesticides industry now appears to have become a climate champion.

Waking up on climate change’

The pesticides market is dominated by a small handful of companies — Bayer (which acquired Monsanto in 2018), Corteva (formerly Dow and DuPont), SyngentaBASF and FMC — whose hazardous products a United Nations report said have “catastrophic impacts on the environment, human health, and society as a whole” amid a global insect die-off and legal battles over carcinogenic effects of products once marketed as harmless.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Study warns US farmland is now 48 TIMES more TOXIC to insects: Are neonicotinoids to blame for the impending “insect apocalypse?”

Image: Study warns US farmland is now 48 TIMES more TOXIC to insects: Are neonicotinoids to blame for the impending “insect apocalypse?”

(Natural News) Researchers have determined that the nation’s farmland is now 48 times more toxic to insects than it was just 25 years ago, and much of this rise in toxicity is being blamed on the widespread use of a dangerous category of pesticides known as neonicotinoids.

The study, which was published in the PLOS ONE journal, provided a thorough assessment of the use of pesticides in America and was the first study to determine just how dangerous our fields have grown for insects in recent years. The role of pesticides was dramatic; the scientists found that neonicotinoids were responsible for a remarkable 92 percent of the rise in toxicity.

Part of the problem is that neonicotinoids create a cumulative toxic burden because they are far more persistent within the environment than other types of commonly used insecticides, which is why the burden today is so much higher than it was a quarter century ago and is likely to grow even higher.

Study co-author Kendra Klein, Ph.D., said: “It is alarming that U.S. agriculture has become so much more toxic to insect life in the past two decades. We need to phase out neonicotinoid pesticides to protect bees and other insects that are critical to biodiversity and the farms that feed us.”

She also called for a shift from our food system’s dependence on dangerous pesticides toward organic methods of farming that work in harmony with nature instead of destroying it.

Will there be any insects left on our planet in the decades to come?

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Agrochemical Apocalypse: Interview with Environmental Campaigner Dr Rosemary Mason

Agrochemical Apocalypse: Interview with Environmental Campaigner Dr Rosemary Mason

The renowned author and whistleblower Evaggelos Vallianatos describes British environmentalist and campaigner Dr Rosemary Mason as a “defender of the natural world and public health.” I first came across her work a few years ago. It was in the form of an open letter she had sent to an official about the devastating environmental and human health impacts of glyphosate-based weed killers. What had impressed me was the document she had sent to accompany the letter. It was over 20 pages long and contained official data and referred to a plethora of scientific papers to support the case she was making.

For almost a decade, Rosemary Mason has been writing open letters and sending reports she has compiled to media outlets and prominent officials and agencies in the US, the UK and Europe to question their decisions and/or to inform them of the dangers of pesticides. She has been relentless in exposing conflicts of interest, fraudulent science and institutionalised corruption in regulatory processes surrounding glyphosate and other agrochemicals. Her quest has been fired by a passion to protect the natural world and the public but there is also a personal aspect: she is affected by a serious health condition which she attributes directly to the reckless use of pesticides in South Wales where she resides. And her assertion here is not based on idle speculation. In her reports, she has presented a great deal of evidence about the deterioration of the health of the British public and how agrochemicals play a major contributory role.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The birds and the bees

The birds and the bees 

North America’s birds are dying at a rate that’s alarming ornithologists. Since the 1970s, the continent has lost 3 billion birds, nearly 30% of the total, and even common birds such as sparrows and blackbirds are in decline, U.S. and Canadian researchers report this week online in Science. The findings raise fears that some familiar species could go the way of the passenger pigeon, a species once so abundant that its extinction in the early 1900s seemed unthinkable.

In past decades, researchers have documented the decline of particular bird groups, including migratory songbirds. But more recent studies have been broader: covering 529 bird species, about three-quarters of all species in North America, and accounting for more than 90% of the entire bird population.

Skylark numbers have plummeted

Grassland birds have declined by 53% since 1970—a loss of 700 million adults in the 31 species studied, including meadowlarks and northern bobwhites. Shorebirds such as sanderlings and plovers are down by about one-third, the team says. Habitat loss may be to blame.

The familiar birds that flock by the thousands in suburbs were not exempt. Nineteen common species have each lost more than 50 million birds since 1970. Twelve groups, including sparrows, warblers, finches, and blackbirds, were particularly hard hit. Even introduced species that have thrived in North America, such as starlings and house sparrows, are losing ground. Only waterfowl and raptors seem to be thriving, thanks to habitat restoration and other conservation efforts. But the declines in many other species, particularly those living along shorelines and in grasslands, far exceeded those gains.

Pesticides are very probably a factor. Last week, toxicologists described how low doses of neonicotinoids—a common pesticide—made migrating sparrows lose weight and delay their migration, which hurts their chances of surviving and reproducing. Climate change, habitat loss, shifts in food webs, and even cats may all be adding to the problem, and not just for birds.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Monsanto Spied On Both Sides Of Pesticide Debate In At Least 7 European Nations

Monsanto Spied On Both Sides Of Pesticide Debate In At Least 7 European Nations

New details have emerged about the recently revealed dossier(s) Monsanto, now owned by Bayer, compiled to sway public opinion on herbicides. The dossier(s) included people from 7 European states and potentially beyond, according to a new report by RT

Monsanto files reportedly listed prominent public figures who were opinionated on either side of the herbicide debate. The list included “stakeholders in France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Spain and the United Kingdom, as well as regarding stakeholders related to EU institutions.” 

Bayer says it has hired a law firm for the purpose of trying to determine whether similar lists exist in other states. 

Recall, about one week ago we reported that Bayer, which is being investigated by French prosecutors for compiling files of influential people such as journalists in France, likely did the same across Europe, suggesting a potentially wider problem.

French prosecutors said several weeks ago that they had opened an inquiry after newspaper Le Monde filed a complaint alleging that Monsanto – acquired by Bayer for $63 billion last year – had kept a file of 200 names, including journalists and lawmakers in hopes of influencing positions on pesticides. The list was said to be prepared by PR firm FleishmanHillard on behalf of Monsanto. 

“[We have] decided with the agency to end the collaboration in the areas of communication and public affairs for the time being,”  Bayer said, referring to PR firm FleishmanHillard.

Bayer acknowledged the existence of the files and said it does not believe any laws were broken.

It’s safe to say that other countries in Europe were affected by lists … I assume that all EU member states could potentially be affected,” Matthias Berninger, Bayer’s head of public affairs and sustainability, told journalists about a week ago.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The tide is turning, as farmworkers fight for organic agriculture

The tide is turning, as farmworkers fight for organic agriculture

Check out how farmworkers are helping to lead the fight for organic agriculture and reverse the use of toxic pesticides which is the norm

Many people choose organic food in order to protect themselves and their families from exposure to pesticides. But choosing organic also means helping to create a healthier food system for everyone, from farm to table. Far too often, discussions about pesticides in the food system exclude the men, women, and children who plant, tend, and harvest our food.

The millions of farmworkers who are the backbone of our food system are routinely exposed to high levels of toxic pesticides in the fields where they work and in the communities where they live. They can be exposed at levels hundreds of times greater than consumers’ exposures to pesticides.

And because farmworkers and their families typically can’t afford to buy organic food, they suffer the added burden of being exposed to pesticides at work, in their environment, and from their diets. Removing pesticides from our food system will significantly improve the health of farmworkers and rural communities.

new peer-reviewed study published in Environmental Research shows how much of a positive impact eating organic food can have on the body. It inspires us to ask—how do we create a food system where organic is for all?

Following four diverse American families before and after they went on an all-organic diet, researchers found that the levels of pesticides in people’s bodies decreased dramatically after just one week of consuming organic foods and beverages.

After one week on an organic diet, levels of detected pesticides dropped an average of 60 percent with a range of 37 to 95 percent, depending on the compound.

In the families that were studied, levels of chlorpyrifos, a widely used and highly neurotoxic pesticide, fell by 61 percent in one week. Government scientists have recommended banning chlorpyrifos because of its links to increased rates of autism, neurodevelopmental problems, and reduced IQ in children.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Places in America that Use the Most (and Least) Pesticides

The Places in America that Use the Most (and Least) Pesticides

With the recent second verdict where a jury ruled that Roundup weedkiller contributed to a man’s cancer, controversial pesticides, herbicides and fungicides are once again in the news.

These chemicals, particularly the herbicide glyphosate (the active ingredient in Roundup) have long played a role in American agriculture, but their health risks are only now being understood. As a result, thousands of cancer lawsuits have been filed against Monsanto, the company that invented Roundup, and Monsanto’s new parent company, Bayer AG.

Along with Priceonomics customer WeedKillerCrisis We decided to analyze data to uncover which states in the United States had the most and least exposure to pesticides, herbicides and other agricultural chemicals, with a particular focus on glyphosate, the active ingredient that is in the news right now. We looked at data from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to see which compounds were most popular and which locations had the highest usage levels of these chemicals.

By a significant margin, the most popular herbicide in the United States is glyphosate, which is four times more popular than the second most popular chemical. Not surprisingly, large agricultural states like California, Washington, and Illinois use the most pesticides.

However, some states that use a lot of these chemicals see very little glyphosate usage, while others nearly exclusively use the compound. In California for example, only 6 percent of pesticide usage is glyphosate, while in Montana, 52 percent of such usage is from glyphosate.

Methodology

Before diving into the results, it’s worth spending a moment on the methodology and data source. We looked at data from the Pesticide National Synthesis Project published by the USGS, a division of the Department of the Interior that estimates pesticide, herbicide, and fungicide usage in agricultural operations throughout the 48 continental states.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Not-So-Superfood? Pesticide Residue Found In 70% Of US Produce & 92% Of Kale

Not-So-Superfood? Pesticide Residue Found In 70% Of US Produce & 92% Of Kale

Roughly 70% of all produce sold in the U.S. has pesticide residue in it, even after it is washed, according to a new report from the Guardian. According to data from the US Department of Agriculture and analyzed by the Environmental Working Group, strawberries, spinach and kale have the heaviest pesticide presence, while sweetcorn, avocados and pineapples had the lowest presence.

In news likely to send anxiety attacks across vegan circles, more than 92% of kale that was tested had two or more pesticide residues in it. A sample of any conventionally farmed kale could contain “up to 18 different pesticides”, according to the report.

Dacthal was the most common pesticide found. It was detected in about 60% of kale samples and is banned in Europe and classified as a possible carcinogen in the U.S. 

Alexis Temkin, a toxicologist working with the EWG, said:

 “We definitely acknowledge and support that everybody should be eating healthy fruits and vegetables as part of their diet regardless of if they’re conventional or organic. But what we try to highlight with the Shopper’s Guide to Produce is building on a body of evidence that shows mixtures of pesticides can have adverse effects.”

Other foods that the group warns about include grapes, cherries, apples, tomatoes and potatoes. Foods like avocados, onions and cauliflower were found to be “clean”. 

Leonardo Trasande, an environmental medicine specialist at the New York University medical school, told the Guardian that the report was “widely respected” and that “it can inform shoppers who want to buy some organic fruits and vegetables, but would like to know which ones they could prioritize.”

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Organic Foods Are the Only ‘Clean’ Packaged Option for Consumers

Organic Foods Are the Only ‘Clean’ Packaged Option for Consumers

Unlike organic packaged foods, conventional packaged food contains thousands of poorly regulated food chemicals, according to a new analysis by the Environmental Working Group.

“Although many consumers choose organic to avoid toxic pesticides, few know that federal rules dramatically limit the use of synthetic substances in organic food,” said EWG nutritionist Dawn Undurraga, one of the authors of the report.

It is widely known that certified organic fruits and vegetables have far lower pesticide levels than conventionally grown produce, thanks to federal regulations. But many consumers do not realize that fewer than 40 synthetic ingredients are allowed in organic packaged foods like salad dressing, cereals and snacks.

By contrast, at least 2,000 chemical preservatives, colors and other chemicals are used in conventional packaged foods, EWG found.

What’s more, many consumers are unaware that food manufacturers don’t need approval from the Food and Drug Administration for many of the chemicals added to conventional packaged foods.

“The same companies that manufacture food chemicals are allowed to declare them safe,” said Melanie Benesh, EWG legislative attorney, a report co-author. “It’s like the fox guarding the hen house. For those consumers seeking ‘clean foods’ free from toxic chemical additives, organic is really your only option.”

Substances added to organic food must be approved by government and independent experts every five years. Those substances approved for use in organic foods must be proven safe for consumption, with no adverse impact on the environment.

Since 2008, 72 substances have been rejected for use in organic food.

Many of the chemicals used in conventional food have been linked to serious health problems like cancer, including sodium nitrate and butylated hydroxyanisole. Many of these chemicals are not reviewed by independent experts but are instead deemed “safe” by chemical companies, food companies or industry trade associations.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

What will it feel like to be left behind?

What will it feel like to be left behind?

Chris Martenson’s recent article about collapse and the plummeting of biodiversity made me think about what it feels like to be left behind.  Few people living in affluent countries or communities understand what this means. 

Americans closed their eyes to the plight of people in underdeveloped countries whose soil, water, and air were exploited by US corporations seeking profits at the expense of people.  Instead we touted our booming economic growth as American exceptionalism.  We deserved a better lifestyle because we earned it, right?  But today as billionaires are capturing more and more of the world’s wealth and most of the rest are being left behind, we no longer think the situation is fair.  We don’t enjoy it when we are the ones left behind. “The 12% increase in the wealth of the very richest contrasted with a fall of 11% in the wealth of the poorest half of the world’s population.”

Human exploitation of the environment is competing for the resources other species of life need to survive.  Climate change and the use of pesticides toxic to most species is causing a severe decline in species of insects, amphibians, birds, butterflies, bats, etc.  It is also causing a decline in human health.  Species are going extinct at rates unprecedented except by catastrophic natural events such as a meteorite impact.  Our decision to protect or conserve nature has evolved from ideas in the 1960’s that we should protect “nature for nature itself” to the idea in the 1990’s that we should preserve “nature for people”.     Economic policy dictated that the needs of people mattered first and foremost.  It is only more recently that people are slowly realizing the importance of natural ecosystems, and that it is “humans and nature” we need to understand and protect.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

New Analysis: Curbing Pesticides Key to Reversing Insect Apocalypse

New Analysis: Curbing Pesticides Key to Reversing Insect Apocalypse 

More Than 40 Percent of World’s Insect Species on Fast-track to Extinction

PORTLAND, Ore.— Authors of a major new scientific review of the catastrophic decline of insects say a “serious reduction in pesticide usage” is key to preventing the extinction of up to 41 percent of the world’s insects within the “next few” decades.

The review, published online this week in Biological Conservation, highlights that reversing the insect declines will require an “urgent” push to replace the ever-escalating use of harmful synthetic pesticides and fertilizers with more ecologically based, sustainable farming practices. 

“This analysis is an alarming wake-up call that we need to dramatically reduce pesticide use,” said Tara Cornelisse, an entomologist and senior scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Dumping more and more insecticides on our food crops is like fixing a noise under the hood by yanking out the car’s engine. Insects are the foundation of every healthy ecosystem, so we need to quit poisoning landscapes with millions of pounds of toxic pesticides every year.” 

Among the authors’ most sweeping conclusions is that “A rethinking of current agricultural practices, in particular a serious reduction in pesticide usage and its substitution with more sustainable, ecologically-based practices, is urgently needed to slow or reverse current trends, allow the recovery of declining insect populations and safeguard the vital ecosystem services they provide.” 

The meta-analysis of 73 studies assessing insect declines over a period of at least 10 years found that industrial farming practices driving habitat loss and extensive use of pesticides and fertilizers is associated with 47 percent of reported declines. 

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Collapse Is Already Here

Collapse Is Already Here

It’s a process, not an event.

Many people are expecting some degree of approaching collapse — be it economic, environmental and/or societal — thinking that they’ll recognize the danger signs in time. 

As if it will be completely obvious, like a Hollywood blockbuster. Complete with clear warnings from scientists, politicians and the media.  And everyone can then get busy either panicking or becoming the plucky heroes. 

That’s not how collapse works.

Collapse is a process, not an event.

And it’s already underway, all around us. 

Collapse is already here.

However, unlike Hollywood’s vision, the early stages of collapse cause people to cling even tighter to the status quo. Instead of panic in the streets, we simply see more of the same — as those in power do all they can to remain so, while the majority of the public attempts to ignore the growing problems for as long as it possibly can.

For both the elite and the majority, their entire world view and their personal sense of self depends on things not crumbling all around them, so they remain willfully blind to any evidence to the contrary.

When faced with the predicaments we warn about here at PeakProsperity.com, getting an early start on prudently shifting your own personal situation is of vital strategic and tactical importance. Tens of thousands of our readers already have taken wise steps in their lives to position themselves resiliently.

But most of the majority won’t get started until it’s entirely too late to make any difference at all. Which is sad but perhaps unavoidable, given human nature.

If everybody around you is saying “Everything is awesome!”, it can take a long time to determine for yourself that things in fact aren’t:

Real collapse happens slowly, and often without any sort of acknowledgement by the so-called political and economic elites until its abrupt terminal end.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Toxic Pesticides Assault in Utah

Toxic Pesticides Assault in Utah

In 2014, I met Blaine Malquist. This was in Florida at the Pesticides Forum of Beyond Pesticides, a national organization fighting for environmental and public health protection from the use and misuse of pesticides.

Mosquito fogging

Malquist lives in Nephi City, Juab County, Utah. He briefly said to me that the careless use of pesticides in Utah has made his life and the life of his daughter unbearable.

Apparently, the Juab County has been sponsoring a regular mosquito fogging program that is out of control, spraying homes, people and the natural world indiscriminately. At least, that’s my understanding from talking to the distressed Malquist. He said to me he complained to the local authorities and, in 2011, sued the Juab County for poisoning his garden.

Nothing worked, however. The mosquito foggers and their local and state supervisors saw no trouble in killing mosquitoes.

In 2018, Malquist and his daughter spoke to me on the phone and sent me brief statements about their struggle with pesticides and those spraying them.

C. Eileen, daughter of Malquist, described her predicament in apocalyptic terms:

Toxic assault and chemical rape and trespass

“Exposure to pesticides destroyed our lives. I was trapped for approximately ten years as a prisoner in my own home.  I didn’t know what was happening to me, but I knew that I was sick in horrendous ways and I felt even worse outside [my home]. I was / am having severe reactions to something that destroys my life, but I didn’t know what it was. I even collapsed at the county fair when they began spraying it [pesticide]. The suffering is so horrible and vast there aren’t words to describe it. I was literally starving to death – allergic even to my food, including food grown on my own property… I didn’t know if I would survive.  I still don’t…

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

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