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Posts Tagged ‘Industrial Agriculture

Argentina docs: pesticides cause Cancer surge

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Declaration of Physicians in Crop-sprayed Towns in Argentina at 3rd National Congress

Faculty of Medicine, University of Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, 17 October  2015

December 2, 2015    Institute of Science in Society

Original Publication: http://www.reduas.com.ar/declaration-of-the-3rd-national-congress-of-physicians-in-the-crop-sprayed-towns/#more-1541
Sign the Independent Scientists Manifesto on Glyphosate here:
http://www.i-sis.org.uk/Independent_Scientists_Manifesto_on_Glyphosate.php

 

Five years after the first meeting at the Faculty of Medical Sciences of Córdoba, we –  scientists, doctors and members of health teams from sprayed villages of Argentina -gathered in the Aula Magna of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Buenos Aires (UBA), to verify that what we said then is emphatically true and getting worse by the day. The current system of agricultural production in the country pollutes the environment and our food, sickening and killing human populations in agricultural areas.

In the last 25 years, the consumption of pesticides increased by 983 % (from 38 to 370 million kilos), while the cultivated area increased by 50 % (from 20 million ha to 30 million ha). A production system based on the systematic application of agricultural poisons means, inevitably, that nature responds by adapting, forcing farmers to apply greater quantities of pesticides in the field to achieve the same objectives. Over the years a system has been created by and for sellers of pesticides, who every year increase their net sales (in 2015 the increase was 9%) while our patients, too, year after year are being exposed to this pesticide pollution more and more.

There is no doubt that the massive and growing exposure to pesticides changed the disease profile of Argentina’s rural populations and that cancer is the leading cause of death among them (and the worst way to die).

Research presented at the congress show studies at different scales, which highlight a consistent pattern of toxicity. From small towns to larger populations at the provincial level (as in Chaco and Córdoba) or national level, different levels of exposure to glyphosate or agricultural poisons in general are compared, showing that reproductive health is affected by increases in spontaneous abortions and birth defects. Also increased are endocrine disorders such as hypothyroidism, neurological disorders or cognitive development problems and soaring of cancer rates – a tripling of incidence, prevalence and mortality – which are directly related to pesticide exposure. In parallel, data from studies in experimental models show that the genotoxicity of glyphosate and other pesticides is an underlying biological mechanism that explains its relationship with disease that doctors have found in our patients. Furthermore, genotoxicity has been verified in agricultural populations (adults and children) exposed to pesticides, while being absent in populations that are not fumigated.

Distribution of soya planted left and distribution of cancer mortality in Cordoba and Santa Fe, according Minagria and provincial Ministry of Health

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World Bank and aid donors accused of enabling land grabs

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by Ellie Violet Bramley    Guardian   May 21, 2014

Aid donors and international institutions including the World Bank and World Economic Forum (WEF) have been accused of promoting an environment that fuels land grabs through policies and initiatives that pave the way for large-scale private investment.

In a report published on Tuesday, the NGO ActionAid says public money and policy incentives such as tax breaks and cut-price loans are facilitating land deals that threaten the lives and livelihoods of small-scale farmers in poor countries.

ActionAid warns that the consequences of such deals, which are too often happening behind closed doors and with little or no consultation with local communities, include “forced evictions, human rights violations, lost livelihoods, divided communities … rising food insecurity and, ultimately, increased poverty”.

A spokesman for the World Bank said it was also concerned about the risks of large-scale land deals and stressed that it did not support investments that took advantage of weak institutions in developing countries.

ActionAid’s report says weak governance and regulation of land use and agricultural investments have left millions of smallholder farmers and indigenous people in vulnerable situations “lack[ing] recognition over their land rights, even if they have resided in or used the area for generations”.

ActionAid’s campaign manager, Antoine Bouhey, said a “nexus of different policies” at the global level, which encourage private investment as a route to development, were also to blame.

“Governments are turning to private capital to fill the massive shortfall in public spending but too often this blind rush for investment is leading to land grabs which are leaving communities landless, homeless and hungry. Growth cannot be achieved at the expense of the poorest and most vulnerable,” he said.

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The future is organic: But it’s more than organic!

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Why we can’t afford Industrial Agriculture

by Dr. E. Ann Clark
Published Jan 14 2010 by University of Guelph, Archived Mar 7 2011  Energy Bulletin

 

INTRODUCTION
Organic will be the conventional agriculture of the future, not because of wishful thinking or because it is the right thing to do, or because of some universal truth revealed from on high.

You don’t need to be a utopian to see the agricultural landscape of the future dominated by organic practitioners – whether in the city or in the country – if you stop to ask yourself …why are we not organic now?

How did we get to where we are now, and not just in farming but in the entire agri-food system?

How did we evolve an agri-food system so centered on specialization, consolidation, and globalization? What drove us to an agri-food system that reportedly consumes 19% of the national energy budget – but only 7 of the 19% are used on the farm, with the remaining 12% incurred by post-farmgate transport, processing, packaging, distribution, and meal preparation (Pimentel, 2006)? Is this all the result of Adam Smith’s invisible hand – an inevitable and inescapable result of the unfettered free market or other universal principle in action – or is there more to it?

This paper will present the argument that the future is organic because the design drivers that have shaped and molded the current agri-food system are changing, demanding a wholly new, and largely organic, approach to agriculture. Efforts to make the current model less bad – more sustainable – are counterproductive because they dilute and deflect the creative energy and commitment that are urgently needed to craft productive, ecologically sound systems driven by current solar energy (Pollan, 2008). Although time does not permit coverage, post-oil design drivers will also necessarily demand not just organics but novel agri-food systems emphasizing

  • local/decentralized food production, and
  • seasonal consumption expectations,
  • from minimally processed foods.
  • Evidence will be presented to show that organic is not enough, however. Ecological soundness[1] will require a de-emphasis on annual cropping coupled with re-integration of livestock, both to mimic the principles that sustain Nature and to dramatically reduce dependence on fossil fuels.

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    5 ways to save antibiotics

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    Dec. 14, 2010            By Ron Najafi       TheScientist

    Here’s what we need to do to create new antibiotics and extend the life of those that already exist

    The world is facing a crisis: Bacteria have become more and more resistant to virtually all existing antibiotics, yet many companies are abandoning the field in favor of more lucrative medicines.

    Ron Najafi
    Image: NovaBay

    People are proposing various solutions, such as offering financial incentives to the pharmaceutical industry to spur the development of vitally needed antibiotics. But along with creating new drugs, we can get more life from our existing antibiotics and maintain their utility. As the head of a company focused on the development of compounds to treat and prevent a wide range of infections without causing bacterial resistance, this is an issue I find both fascinating and vitally important. In my opinion, there are five ways we can extend the functional life of our antibiotic arsenal.

    1. Do the obvious
    In a recent New York Times article, Ramanan Laxminarayan, director of the Extending the Cure project on antibiotic resistance at the policy organization Resources for the Future, suggested that the government should focus on conserving the effectiveness of existing antibiotics by preventing their unnecessary use in people and farm animals, and by requiring better infection control measures in hospitals.

    These are crucial steps, which should be taken immediately. First, we must stop and assess the use of antibiotics as additives to the feed of our farm animals, and specifically prevent the unnecessary use of antibiotics in animals that are not sick. The U.S. Congress has already urged farmers to stop the overuse of antibiotics in animals because it is creating new, drug-resistant strains of bacteria that can spread to humans. A recent CBS news report spotlighted microbiologist Stuart Levy at Tufts University, the individual who identified tetracycline resistance in chickens more than 30 years ago. In his research, nearly all of the E. coli in the intestinal tracts of the chickens become tetracycline-resistant after one week of treatment.

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    Scrambled Eggs: Report Spotlights “Systemic” Abuses in Organic Egg Production

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    Family Farmers Face Unfair Competition from “Organic” Factory Farms
    The Cornucopia Institute, Sept 26, 2010

    CORNUCOPIA, WI – An independent report has been released that focuses on widespread abuses in organic egg production, primarily by large industrial agribusinesses. The study profiles the exemplary management practices employed by many family-scale organic farmers engaged in egg production, while spotlighting abuses at so-called factory farms, some confining hundreds of thousands of chickens in industrial facilities, and representing these eggs to consumers as “organic.”

    The report will be formally presented to the U.S. Department of Agriculture at the October meeting of the National Organic Standards Board in Madison, Wisconsin.

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    Five Ways to Profit BIG from Global Collapse

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    You Can be a BILLIONAIRE Without Even Trying!

    Jul 26, 2010 by Richard Heinberg

    Post Carbon Institute

    (Author’s note: This is the Introduction to an inspirational / financial-advice / environmental / diet / dating / self-help / survivalist / humor book that I started to write—and quickly decided should never be finished. Maybe I shouldn’t have taken it even this far. You be the judge.)

    What can you do to optimize your chances in the case of hyperinflation, a deflationary economic Depression, an oil crisis, a famine, or a series of horrendous environmental disasters? If you don’t already know, you’d better wise up fast—because some or all of these exciting opportunities are on their way to a neighborhood near you! In fact, one or two may already be tapping you on the shoulder and asking to make your acquaintance.

    Pointy-headed intellectuals have been warning us about this stuff for years. Decades. Who cares? Who’s had the time for depressing, worrisome, gloomy, hard-to-understand statistics and graphs? There’s been work to do, money to be made, kids to put through college, new episodes of American Idol to watch.

    Until now. We have finally arrived at the fabulous convergence of two Earth-shattering developments: First, real environmental and economic catastrophes are starting to happen and are tugging on our Comfy Cushion of Consumer Complacency, requiring us to actually Do Something. Second, someone (guess who?) has figured out how to frame these mega-scary events in such inviting, entertaining, and potentially profitable terms that the irresistible win/win euphoria of it all can make you almost completely forget just how abysmally awful our situation actually is.

    Welcome to my book, YOU can Be a BILLIONAIRE Without Even Trying! In it, you will learn why the U.S. economy is now the butt of jokes in Chad; why the stuff that makes your car go is about to become as rare and valuable as . . . as . . . as something actually rare and valuable; why the global food system is making more and more people watch their waistlines (as they shrivel); and why Mother Nature seems to be puzzlingly mean-tempered lately—almost as if we had done something to annoy her.

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    Organic Agriculture for Biodiversity and Pest Control

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    Scientists find organic fields have more even distribution of natural enemy species, thereby providing significantly better pest control than conventional fields and promoting plant growth.

    Dr. Mae-Wan Ho July 5, 2010

    Institute of Science in Society

    Intensive industrial agriculture has resulted in great losses of biodiversity due to the destruction of natural habitats, the displacement of indigenous varieties by green revolution monocultures, the massive diversion of water for irrigation, and the heavy inputs of chemical fertilizers and pesticides.

    Pesticides are non-selective, they kill pests as well as the natural enemies that devour the pests and keep pest populations down. Organic agriculture reduces the damage due to pesticides by eliminating or limiting their use, and is generally acknowledged to result in protecting and increasing biodiversity (see [1] Food Futures Now: *Organic *Sustainable *Fossil Fuel Free , ISIS report). But does organic agriculture give better pest control? Ecologists have been challenged to provide real evidence for that [2].

    Two different measures of biodiversity

    There are two measures of biodiversity, species richness – the number of species – and species evenness – the relative abundance of those species. Species richness and evenness can vary independently. Communities dominated by a few common species and many rare species have low evenness; whereas those with species more equally represented have high evenness.

    Comparisons on biodiversity have focussed largely on species richness. Similarly, conservation efforts are concentrated on restoring or maintaining the number of species without regard for evenness.

    Researchers led by David Crowder at Washington State University, Pullman, and University of Georgia, Atlanta, in the United States have published new research clearly demonstrating that organic farming promotes evenness among natural enemy species, and it is species evenness, rather than species richness that is more important for pest control [3]. This new result not only confirms the overriding benefit of organic agriculture over industrial farming, but also has far-reaching implications both for conservation and the practice of biological control.

    Three different investigations yield the same answer

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