The looming DARK Act

“The Monsanto-backed bill to undercut GMO labeling efforts just got worse. Faced with increased push-back at state and local levels, the pesticide/biotech corporation — and its allies in Congress — are attempting to further limit choice in the food and farming system.

“In this latest version of what critics have dubbed the “Denying American’s Right to Know” or DARK Act, industry has snuck in a provision that would limit the authority of local government to create rules on genetically engineered (GE) crops. A House vote is scheduled for Thursday.

“Worried that nearby GE crops might cross-pollinate and contaminate your fields or threaten your organic certification? Tough luck. Want to know what’s being grown nearby? Too bad. Want to protect schoolchildren from pesticides applied on GE crops nearby? Suck it up.”  Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.panna.org

GR:  This keeps happening because there are congressmen waiting in line with their hands out.  Set low limits on campaign spending, eliminate campaign finance by private companies, and dynamite the revolving door.

One in ten European wild bee species face extinction

One in ten European wild bee species face extinction

Source: www.wildlifearticles.co.uk

GR:  This is a global problem.  This morning I stood inhaling the sweet scent beneath the magnificent plumb tree that shades my bird garden bench, looked up into the countless fragrant blossoms, and listened in vain for the hum of working bees.  There was silence except for the distant hum of a truck on the road a mile away.  No movement amidst the thousands of blooms except for a single fly.

This is the worst spring for pollinators in the eighteen I’ve lived and worked at Coldwater Farm.  There were a few bees last month when the apricot bloomed, fewer when the willows bloomed, and now nothing in the plumbs.  We have a farm nearby, and I wonder if they are killing the bees with Monsanto GMO crops and pesticides.  If they aren’t, could the lawn and garden pesticides my neighbors are using cause the bees to disappear?

Monsanto’s Roundup system threatens extinction of monarch butterflies – report

Monsanto’s Roundup Ready system – a potent herbicide combined with genetically-modified seeds that can withstand it – has decimated the monarch butterfly’s only source of food in the Midwest, putting it on the edge of extinction, according to a new study.  Source: rt.com

GR:  Evidence indicates that Monsanto is the principal cause of declining bees and butterflies.  The article includes an interesting diagram showing the personnel overlap between Monsanto and the U. S. Government.

Tell the President to #BeeKindObama and suspend bee-toxic neonics!

In June, the President called on federal agencies to create a plan to “promote the health of honey bees and other pollinators.” To show appreciation for all that bees and wild pollinators provide, it is essential that this plan address toxic, persistent, and systemic neonicotinoid pesticides (neonics) — which science has shown to be a critical driver of pollinator declines. The Task Force was originally set to reveal its action plan this week, but has elected to take more time.

As the pollinator crisis continues, groups and concerned citizens across the country are calling on the President to #BeeKindObama, and give the gift of pollinator protection by making certain the Pollinator Health Task Force takes decisive action on bee-harming pesticides.

Other countries are following the science and directly addressing the threat neonics pose to pollinators. Over a year ago, the European Union’s suspension of neonics went into effect. And just recently the government of Ontario announced plans to reduce the use of neonic-treated seeds by 80%.

Pollinators in the United States can’t wait any longer, so we’re taking our request directly to the President and urging him to ensure the U.S. takes similar steps to protect pollinators!

Source: salsa3.salsalabs.com

GR:  The dangers of pesticides are pervasive and harmful to all animals. Weed managers spray millions of gallons of pesticides on crops, along roads, and in parks.  The U. S. Bureau of Land Management uses pesticides throughout the public lands of the 17 western U. S. states.  The farm upstream from my home has wide weed-free zones that are probably maintained by pesticides.  Bees serving as pollinators on the farm catch a full dose. Bees in yards and gardens downstream from the farm receive small doses that washed off the farm into the stream and into the groundwater.  When home gardeners respond to the massive pesticide marketing efforts and use pesticides around their homes, they easily reach lethal levels.

Pesticides-L mailing list: creating a global conversation on pesticides issues

Pesticide use and safety is the focus of the online forum, Pesticides-L. To subscribe, email ‘pesticides-l-owner@lists.uct.ac.za’.

The Second American Revolution Is Brewing in Oregon

Materialism Dominating World Governments

GR:  The materialism that is dominating world governments is destroying the health of Earth ecosystems.  I believe this is because Human limitations make it impossible for members of our species to see beyond our fears and appetites. A close inspection of all the political candidates for whom I can vote in the next election shows that they will all continue the same blind materialism.  Of personal concern to me, none of them is interested in protecting natural landscapes and wildlife.  Others are reaching the same conclusion.  Why vote we ask when no group we can elect will improve our government.  Even those who are not yet concerned about wild plants and animals are feeling the loss of the natural world, and they are realizing that the quality of their and their children’s lives is fading. It is gratifying and evokes a glimmer of hope to learn about responses such as the one described in this post.

The following is from truth-out.org.

In Oregon, the capture of local government by the timber industry results in the destruction of the natural world and the poisoning of the populace, but a Josephine County ballot initiative would ban tree spraying by corporations and government entities.

Source: www.truth-out.org

How Monarch Butterflies Found (and Lost) Their Migration

This is what happens when corporations rule the government. Our government is approving herbicide resistant plants and it is allowing continued use of pesticides, both of which eliminate monarch butterflies and many other species. Let’s sign every petition, send every email, divest in toxic polluters, and vote for any conservation conscious politicians that run.

strange behaviors

monarch cluster by Jaap de Roodee Monarchs at their overwintering site cluster against the cold (Photo: Jaap de Roodee)

As the monarch butterfly migration faces a worsening risk of extinction, a research team has discovered the basis of that legendary migration in a single gene. Genetic analysis also suggests that monarch butterflies originated here in North America, not in the tropics, as previously thought.

Here’s the press release:

The monarch butterfly is one of the most iconic insects in the world, best known for its distinct orange and black wings and a spectacular annual mass migration across North America. However, little has been known about the genes that underlie these famous traits, even as the insect’s storied migration appears to be in peril.

Sequencing the genomes of monarch butterflies from around the world, a team of scientists has now made surprising new insights into the monarch’s genetics. They identified a single gene that appears central…

View original post 781 more words

Monarchs and milkweed: Probing the plant, pollinator partnership

As dwindling populations of monarch butterflies prepared for their annual migration, two undergraduate students in the William & Mary Plant Ecology Lab spent their summer trying to more deeply understand the plants upon which they rely.

Source: phys.org

GR:  Frightening how little we know about the things we love.

After 90 Percent Decline, Federal Protection Sought for Monarch Butterfly

Joint Press Release Regarding Monarch Butterfly Protection

by Center for Biological Diversity, the Center for Food Safety, and the Xerces Society.  See it here.
Monarch (Danaus Plexippus)

Monarch (Danaus Plexippus)

 Genetically Engineered (GMO) Crops Are Major Cause of Monarch Butterfly Population Crash

“The Center for Biological Diversity and Center for Food Safety as co-lead petitioners joined by the Xerces Society and renowned monarch scientist Dr. Lincoln Brower filed a legal petition today to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service seeking Endangered Species Act protection for monarch butterflies, which have declined by more than 90 percent in under 20 years. During the same period it is estimated that these once-common iconic orange and black butterflies may have lost more than 165 million acres of habitat — an area about the size of Texas — including nearly a third of their summer breeding grounds.

“To read the full petition, go HERE.  For FAQ’s on the petition, go HERE.

“Monarchs are in a deadly free fall and the threats they face are now so large in scale that Endangered Species Act protection is needed sooner rather than later, while there is still time to reverse the severe decline in the heart of their range,” said Lincoln Brower, preeminent monarch researcher and conservationist, who has been studying the species since 1954.

“We’re at risk of losing a symbolic backyard beauty that has been part of the childhood of every generation of American,” said Tierra Curry, a senior scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity. “The 90 percent drop in the monarch’s population is a loss so staggering that in human-population terms it would be like losing every living person in the United States except those in Florida and Ohio.”

“The butterfly’s dramatic decline is being driven by the widespread planting of genetically engineered crops in the Midwest, where most monarchs are born. The vast majority of genetically engineered crops are made to be resistant to Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide, a uniquely potent killer of milkweed, the monarch caterpillar’s only food. The dramatic surge in Roundup use with Roundup Ready crops has virtually wiped out milkweed plants in midwestern corn and soybean fields.

“The widespread decline of monarchs is driven by the massive spraying of herbicides on genetically engineered crops, which has virtually eliminated monarch habitat in cropland that dominates the Midwest landscape,” said Bill Freese, a Center for Food Safety science policy analyst. “Doing what is needed to protect monarchs will also benefit pollinators and other valuable insects, and thus safeguard our food supply.”

Monarch butterflies are known for their spectacular multigenerational migration each year from Mexico to Canada and back. Found throughout the United States during summer months, in winter most monarchs from east of the Rockies converge in the mountains of central Mexico, where they form tight clusters on just a few acres of trees. Most monarchs west of the Rockies migrate to trees along the California coast to overwinter.

“The population has declined from a recorded high of approximately 1 billion butterflies in the mid-1990s to only 35 million butterflies last winter, the lowest number ever recorded. The overall population shows a steep and statistically significant decline of 90 percent over 20 years. In addition to herbicide use with genetically engineered crops, monarchs are also threatened by global climate change, drought and heat waves, other pesticides, urban sprawl, and logging on their Mexican wintering grounds. Scientists have predicted that the monarch’s entire winter range in Mexico and large parts of its summer range in the states could become unsuitable due to changing temperatures and increased risk of drought, heat waves and severe storms.

“Monarchs need a very large population size to be resilient to threats from severe weather events and predation. Nearly half of the overwintering population in Mexico can be eaten by bird and mammal predators in any single winter; a single winter storm in 2002 killed an estimated 500 million monarchs — 14 times the size of the entire current population.

“We need to take immediate action to protect the monarch so that it doesn’t become another tragic example of a widespread species being erased because we falsely assumed it was too common to become extinct,” said Sarina Jepsen, endangered species director at the Xerces Society. “2014 marks the 100th anniversary of the extinction of the passenger pigeon, which was once so numerous no one would ever have believed it was at risk of extinction. History demonstrates that we cannot afford to be complacent about saving the monarch.”

“The purpose of the Endangered Species Act is to protect species like the monarch, and protect them, now, before it’s too late,” said George Kimbrell, senior attorney at the Center for Food Safety. “We’ve provided FWS a legal and scientific blueprint of the urgently needed action here.”

“The monarch is the canary in the cornfield, a harbinger of environmental change that we’ve brought about on such a broad scale that many species of pollinators are now at risk if we don’t take action to protect them,” said Brower, who has published hundreds of scientific studies on monarchs.

“The Fish and Wildlife Service must now issue a “90-day finding” on whether the petition warrants further review.”

GR:  This will be a major battle.  The U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service will not want to ruffle any industry feathers, and might place politics before protection.  We can force them and our politicians to do the right thing, but everyone must help!  Stay tuned.

Tell USDA and President Obama to Stop Dow Chemical’s “Agent Orange” Crops

Stop Dow Chemical’s “Agent Orange” Crops

Over a hundred million additional pounds of toxic pesticides associated with cancers and birth defects are coming to a field near you. UNLESS YOU STOP IT!

“Agent Orange” crops are genetically engineered by Dow Chemical to promote the use of 2,4-D, one of the herbicides in the toxic mixture Vietnam veteran’s know as Agent Orange. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is on the cusp of approval, even though they acknowledge the use of this toxic pesticide will skyrocket.
There is a 30-day public comment period and it MIGHT BE OUR LAST CHANCE to stop this chemical assault – Sign the petition today!

GR:  The dangers of pesticides are pervasive and worth repeating. Weed managers spray millions of gallons of pesticides on crops, along roads, and in parks. The U. S. Bureau of Land Management uses pesticides throughout the public lands of the 17 western U. S. states. The farm upstream from my home has weed-free zones that are probably maintained by pesticides. Bees serving as pollinators on the farm catch a full dose. Bees in yards and gardens downstream from the farm receive small doses that washed off the farm into the stream and into the groundwater. When home gardeners respond to the massive pesticide marketing efforts and use pesticides around their homes, they easily reach lethal levels.