The state of the bees. "For the past seven years, as has been widely reported, honeybees have been dying at an alarming rate. Yet today there are slightly more hives in the country than before the die-offs began. That’s because beekeeping families like the Brownings have moved beyond panic and begun quietly adjusting to a strenuous way of doing business, one that requires constant monitoring, treatment, supplemental feeding, rapid replacement of dead hives, and grudging participation in an agricultural system that grows increasingly inhospitable to the bees it needs to survive."
Invertebrate numbers nearly halve as human population doubles. The decline of birds might have something to do with this recent news that half the insects (and spiders, crustaceans, slugs, worms) are gone.
“He’s treating them like street punks, and they view themselves as captains of industry.” The most exciting article you will read all year about frog genitals, the FDA, and an eccentric, larger-than-life UC Berkeley scientist navigating class and culture issues while being psychologically profiled and pursued by a pesticide giant he's locked himself into mortal combat with for the last decade. Previously.
Dr Bruce Ames, a toxicologist and one of the world's most cited scientists, discusses the impact of his Ames test, "toxic chemicals," and scaremongering [more inside]
Lawn and garden products company Scotts Miracle-Gro will pay $12.5 million in fines for poisoning bird feed and violating pesticide laws, officials said Friday. [more inside]
As was not widely reported, The Rodale Institute has just published the results of a 30-year study that claims that -in terms of yields, economic viability, energy usage, and human health- organic farming is better than conventional farming, and they have the data to prove it.
The Environmental Working Group has released its 2011 Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce. [more inside]
Are golf courses bad or good for the environment? Chances are the answer you give depends on whether you are actively involved with the game. Representing anti-golf we have the Organic Consumers Association, the Journal of Pesticide Reform (pdf), and the Global Anti-Golf Movement. Speaking on behalf of golf course management the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews (pdf) and the United States Golf Association. A group of leading golf and environmental organizations have jointly developed Environmental Principles for Golf Courses in the United States.
The mystery of the disappearing bees might not be much of a problem. That is if commercial bee keepers go organic. (previously 1,2)
The Vanishing. "Bees are in grave danger. So is our food supply. Why something so small matters so much."
Who needs bunnies when you have kids to test on? "Protections for Subjects in Human Research," a newly proposed EPA rule allows for: for government and industry scientists to treat children as human guinea pigs in chemical experiments in the following situations: 1. Children who "cannot be reasonably consulted," such as those that are mentally handicapped or orphaned newborns may be tested on. With permission from the institution or guardian in charge of the individual, the child may be exposed to chemicals for the sake of research. 2. Parental consent forms are not necessary for testing on children who have been neglected or abused. 3. Chemical studies on any children outside of the U.S. are acceptable. And don't miss the Q&A section below. Sec. 26.408 of the EPA document is where you'll find the provisions and waivers mentioned (it refers to other sections absent from the document, weirdly).
SOS or Safegaurd Organic Standards is what the Organic Consumers Association is calling their effort to protect the USDA's National Organic Program's organic food standards adopted in 2002. A rider attached to the 2006 agriculture appropriations bill and sponsored by the Organic Trade Association contains changes to the standards that in their view will make "technical corrections" to the national organic standards. This became necessary in their view after a 73-year-old organic blueberry farmer from Maine named Arthur Harvey won a court appeal against the USDA, arguing that federal regulations guiding organic food standards were less stringent than the original legislation had intended. This issue is splitting the organic standards lobbying community. Or perhaps this has been in the works for sometime as large corporate food producers have moved to take advantage of the rapid growth of the organics market. (more inside)
Mutated frogs! Pesticide is being blamed for giving some frogs multiple sex organs-- sometimes even both male and female.
In China, the sparrow's deadliest enemy is farmers' haphazard and extravagant use of pesticides. They're disappearing from the countryside. Sometimes they "reappear on sticks, skewered and roasted or fried." Yum-yum.
Pesticide linked to Parkinson's -- "A commonly used organic pesticide produced symptoms similar to Parkinson's disease when small amounts were injected into rats over time. It adds weight to theories that repeated exposure to low levels of agrochemicals may also be causing cumulative damage to the human brain." (BBC)