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Archive for November, 2012

Though my concerns for the planet and those of us inhabiting it have always been in the back of my mind, they’ve recently been brought to the forefront by a friend who will be covering the climate talks in Doha, Qatar. (To that person: Thanks for talking my ear off about climate change. I needed that kick in the butt.)

I came across this article during my morning Internet browsing. The story isn’t directly related to climate change, but it gets at the heart of a major problem: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/nov/28/science-pressure-pesticide-mps-bee-threat

I’m not going to claim to be an expert on the use of neonicotinoid insecticides. In fact, I don’t really care to discuss the dying bees and insects and what that means for our crops, though that is a concern of mine. This is more a rant about how—without fail—the chemical companies manage to get the upper hand and preferential treatment when it comes to taking action (or not).

[As a somewhat related aside, the proposition on the California ballot to label GMO products was voted down, largely due to a last-minute barrage of misleading propaganda funded by companies like Monsanto. This was extremely disappointing. Who in their right mind wouldn’t want to know what’s in their food?]

The part of this article that stuck out to me was the fact that before the UK government is willing to take action, it wants “unequivocal” evidence that the insecticides are damaging to insects. Yet, in the meantime, these insecticides are being used all over the place because the chemical companies say they’re safe. These claims of safety are not backed up by research, though the chemical companies say they have this data. It’s just unreleased. Funny how a lack of transparency seems to be a common theme here. We also know that industry-funded research has to be taken with a grain of salt.

The same thing goes for GMOs. They are being used, despite the fact that we still don’t know of their long-term effects on us or the planet. Monsanto says they’re safe, so it must be true!

Part of the problem, at least here in the U.S., is that there’s significant crossover between former executives and board members at companies like Monsanto and the government, which is a conflict of interest. Another part of the problem is that these chemical companies have deep pockets and a lot of control. They’re not going to go down without a fight. And unfortunately, it all comes down to the bottom line: How can we feed the most people by spending the least amount of money?

I’m afraid that it’s going to take disaster for the government to open its eyes, because the alternative costs too much money. (Nobody bothers to consider the long-term costs, monetarily or otherwise.) Take climate change for an example: Though Al Gore made a valiant effort to convince the world that climate change is an issue, it was only after Hurricane Sandy that anyone stopped to say “Hmm, maybe all the shit we spew into the atmosphere really is having an impact on the climate.”

So… enjoy your food while it’s around!

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Article update on the situation…

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