Research, including studies presented at the conference in Istanbul, is showing that organic agriculture can deliver reliably high yields ”and that organic fields thrive in the face of disaster and duress, where chemical-reliant crops falter. Organic fields, for example, fare significantly better than chemically managed ones in the face of extreme weather, such as droughts or floods.
Another Cosmos script Neil deGrasse Tyson read maybe he should have paid more attention to regarding the situation with short-sighted corporate monopolies misusing cherry-picked science to promote their profits at the expense of all of us and the only planet we’ve got.
In his recent misstatements about GMO foods, Neil deGrasse Tyson has fallen for what he called the misuse of the authority of science, in Episode 7 of Cosmos, the Clean Room, which recounted Clair Patterson’s discovery of lead pollution by leaded gasoline. That use of lead had been promoted and defended by Robert E. Kehoe’s “scientific” papers.
If Monsanto’s crops are indistinguishable from non-GMO, aren’t natural crops prior art invalidating MON’s patents?
Ethan A. Huff wrote for NaturalNews.com 26 June 2013, Monsanto hypocrisy: GMOs supposedly identical to natural crops on safety, but unique for patent enforcement,
The biotechnology industry has pulled a fast one with regards to the legitimacy of genetically-modified organisms (GMOs). Straddling both sides of the fence, multinational corporations like Monsanto continually claim that their GM monstrosities are “substantially equivalent” to natural crops when it comes to their safety. And yet at the very same time, this ilk also insists that its products are uniquely different from natural crops when it comes to enforcing its patents, a clearly hypocritical and duplicitous stance that proves the illegitimacy of the entire GMO business model.
On its corporate website, Monsanto clearly expresses its opinion that Continue reading
Nature is not something out there, apart from people. It never was, and nowadays people have built and farmed and clearcut so much that wildlife species from insects to birds are in trouble. In south Georgia people may think that our trees make a lot of wildlife habitat. Actually, most of those trees are planted pine plantations with very limited undergrowth, and in town many yards are deserts of grass plus exotic species that don’t support native birds. Douglas Tallamy offers one solution: turn yards into wildlife habitat by growing native species. Since we are as always remodeling nature, we might as well do it so as to feed the rest of nature and ourselves, and by the way get flood prevention and possibly cleaner water as well, oh, and fewer pesticides to poison ourselves.
Douglas Tallamy makes a clear and compelling case in Bringing Nature Home: How You Can Sustain Wildlife with Native Plants
…it is not yet too late to save most of the plants and animals that sustain the ecosystems on which we ourselves depend. Second, restoring native plants to most human-dominated landscapes is relatively easy to do.
Some of you may wonder why native species are so important? Don’t we have more deer than we can shoot? Maybe so, but we have far fewer birds of almost every species than we did decades and only a few years ago.
Some may wonder: aren’t exotic species just as good as native ones, if deer and birds can eat them? Actually, no, because many exotic species are poisonous to native wildlife, and because invasive exotics crowd out natives and reduce species diversity. From kudzu to Japanese climbing fern, exotic invasives are bad for wildlife and may also promote erosion and flooding by strangling native vegetation.
All plants are not created equal, particularly in their ability to support wildlife. Most of our native plant-eaters are not able to eat alien plants, and we are replacing native plants with alien species at an alarming rate, especially in the suburban gardens on which our wildlife increasingly depends. My central message is that unless we restore native plants to our suburban ecosystems, the future of biodiversity in the United States is dim.
Tallamy had an epiphany when he and his wife moved to 10 acres in Pennsylvania in 2000:Continue reading
Higher average temperatures mean much more frequent droughts and trees dying faster in droughts because of the temperatures. That plus pine beetles, according to research from 2009. Forestry is Georgia’s second largest industry in terms of employment and wages and salaries, more than $28 billion a year according to the Georgia Forestry Commission, plus an estimated $36 billion a year in ecosystem services such as water filtration, carbon storage, wildlife habitat, and aesthetics, not to mention hunting and fishing. Climate change matters to Georgia’s forests and to Georgia.
The paper appeared 13 April 2009 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of the Sciences, Temperature sensitivity of drought-induced tree mortality portends increased regional die-off under global-change-type drought, by Henry D. Adams, Maite Guardiola-Claramonte, Greg A. Barron-Gafford, Juan Camilo Villegas, David D. Breshears, Chris B. Zou, Peter A. Troch, and Travis E. Huxman, 106(17) 7063-7066, doi: 10.1073/pnas.0901438106.
All drought trees in the warmer treatment died before any of the drought trees in the ambient treatment (on average 18.0 vs. 25.1 weeks, P <0.01; Fig. 1A).
They say warmer trees dying faster in drought wasn’t due to a difference in amount of water. Instead, they infer the warmer trees couldn’t breathe.
Combined, our results provide experimental evidence that piñon pines attempted to avoid drought-induced mortality by regulating stomata and foregoing further photosynthesis but subsequently succumbed to drought due to carbon starvation, not sudden hydraulic failure. Importantly, we isolate the effect of temperature from other climate variables and biotic agents and show that the effect of warmer temperature in conjunction with drought can be substantial.
Our results imply that future warmer temperatures will not only increase background rates of tree mortality (13, 16), but also result in more frequent widespread vegetation die-off events (3, 35) through an exacerbation of metabolic stress associated with drought. With warmer temperatures, droughts of shorter duration—which occur more frequently—would be sufficient to cause widespread die-off.
How much more frequently? They calculated an estimate for that, too: five times more frequently. Of course, that’s for the specific kinds of forests they were studying, and the exact number may vary, but the general trend is clear: higher temperatures mean more frequent droughts, like the year-long drought we just experienced in south Georgia.
This projection is conservative because it is based on the historical drought record and therefore does not include changes in drought frequency, which is predicted to increase concurrently with warming (2, 37—39). In addition, populations of tree pests, such as bark beetles, which are often the proximal cause of mortality in this species and others, are also expected to increase with future warming (7, 9, 38).
Bark beetles, such as the ones that bored into this 19 inch slash pine and spread from there to twenty others I had to cut down to prevent further spread of the pine beetles. What happens when pine beetles spread is what you see in the first picture in this post: acres and acres of dead red pine trees. Monoculture slash pine plantations may show this effect most clearly, but look around here, and you’ll see red dead loblolly and longleaf pines, too.
The article is saying that if the beetles don’t get the trees weakened by droughts that will be much more frequent, the trees will die more quickly of suffocation, because the temperature is higher. Higher temperatures is something that should concern every Georgian in our state where forestry is the second largest industry and our forests protect our wildlife and the air that we breathe and the water that we drink.
Want better yields and the same or more profit? Stop buying pesticides, rotate more crops over longer periods, and mix in animals. Yet another study confirms this. Oh, and a hundred times less disease-causing pesticides in streams, and presumably also less pesticides in the food going to market.
Mark Bittman wrote for NYTimes today, A Simple Fix for Farming,
The study was done on land owned by Iowa State University called the Marsden Farm. On 22 acres of it, beginning in 2003, researchers set up three plots: one replicated the typical Midwestern cycle of planting corn one year and then soybeans the next, along with its routine mix of chemicals. On another, they planted a three-year cycle that included oats; the third plot added a four-year cycle and alfalfa. The longer rotations also integrated the raising of livestock, whose manure was used as fertilizer.
The paper’s Figure 3 (above) illustrates that labor increased with crop rotation length, but so did yield, and profit remained the same or better. How can this be? Continue reading
There’s quite the controversy about that recent study that shows that “inert” ingredients in Roundup are actually toxic. Apparently Dr. Séralini hit a nerve.
Some critics are making up stuff:
That turns out not to be true:
No. EFSA has not requested raw data for the study as this information is not required at this stage of the review process.” —EFSA.
Monsanto only released the raw data after a legal challenge from Greenpeace, the Swedish Board of Agriculture and French anti-GM campaigners.
Here’s a much more substantive response from scientists supporting the Séralini cell toxicity study. The last item of that response:
RESPONSE: Most GM crops are fed to farm animals, which have relatively short lives either for meat or dairy production and so there is probably not enough time for tumours to develop.
Americans have been eating GM food (soya, maize) for only a relatively short time in significant quantities in processed foods. So it may be too short a period for long-term effects such as tumour formation to be noticeable. However, we should also note that there is no labelling of GM foods in the USA and no monitoring of the population for ill-effects, so if GM food were causing ill health this would be going undetected.
Roundup (you know, the stuff that’s sprayed on cotton, soybeans, peanuts, and corn and drifts across the road) causes DNA damage even when diluted down to 450 times less than what’s used in agriculture, according to a scientific study from February 2012.
Cytotoxic and DNA-damaging properties of glyphosate and Roundup in human-derived buccal epithelial cells, by Verena J. Koller, Maria Fürhacker, Armen Nersesyan, Miroslav Mišík, Maria Eisenbauer and Siegfried Knasmueller, Archives of Toxicology Volume 86, Number 5 (2012), 805-813, DOI: 10.1007/s00204-012-0804-8.
Glyphosate (G) is the largest selling herbicide worldwide; the most common formulations (Roundup, R) contain polyoxyethyleneamine as main surfactant. Recent findings indicate that G exposure may cause DNA damage and cancer in humans….
Since we found genotoxic effects after short exposure to concentrations that correspond to a 450-fold dilution of spraying used in agriculture, our findings indicate that inhalation may cause DNA damage in exposed individuals.
It’s probably not even the “active” ingredient, glyphosate, that’s causing this DNA damage, more likely one of its “inert” ingredients.
Sayer Ji wrote for Greenmedinfo 15 October 2012, Research: Roundup Herbicide Toxicity Vastly Underestimated,Continue reading
We already knew Argentinian farmers were suing Monsanto about Roundup-induced birth defects, including cerebral palsy, down syndrome, psychomotor retardation, missing fingers, and blindness; we knew Roundup’s active ingredient glyphosate was “a risk factor for developing Non-Hodgkin lymphoma”; we knew that Roundup-ready corn causes liver and kidney damage in rats and chickens fed feed including Monsanto corn show abnormal gene expression, and we knew that Roundup-ready corn is toxic to humans. Add to all that: Roundup is a risk for Parkinson’s disease.
Sayer Ji wrote for GreenMediaInfo 18 April 2012, Roundup Herbicide Linked To Parkinson’s-Related Brain Damage,
Alarming new research published in the journal Neurotoxicology and Teratology supports the emerging connection between glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup herbicide, and neurodegenerative conditions such as Parkinson’s disease and Parkinsonian disorders.
Published this month (April, 2012), the new study entitled “Glyphosate induced cell death through apoptotic and authophagic mechanisms,” investigated the potential brain-damaging effects of herbicides, which the authors stated “have been recognized as the main environmental factor associated with neurodegenerative disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease.”1
They found that glyphosate inhibited the viability of differentiated test cells (PC12, adrenal medula derived), in both dose-and-time dependent manners. The researchers also found that “glyphosate induced cell death via authophagy pathways in addition to activating apoptotic pathways.”
Roundup herbicide is now a ubiquitous contaminant in our air, rain, groundwater, and food, making complete avoidance near impossible. A growing body of experimental evidence now indicates that it in addition to its neurotoxicity it also has the following.
Modes of Toxicity