Category Archives: Agriculture

US House Applauded for Approval of ‘Sweeping’ Provisions That Target Toxic ‘Forever Chemicals’

As part of the annual defense spending bill, lawmakers passed several amendments on PFAS, including one that would designate them “hazardous substances” under the Superfund law

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-12-2019

The U.S. House just passed several measures targeting so-called “forever chemicals” that experts warn have likely contaminated the drinking water of millions of Americans. (Photo: Bart/Flickr/cc)

Public health and environmental advocates celebrated a victory Friday as the U.S. House approved an amendment in the annual defense spending bill that would designate a class of “forever chemicals” as “hazardous substances” under the federal Superfund law.

The amendment was one of several provisions targeting toxic per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances—collectively called PFAS—that the Democratic-controlled House passed this week as part of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020. Continue reading

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Ahead of Trump ‘Utter Fantasy’ Speech on Environmental Record, DC Flooding Sparks Warnings on Danger of Climate Inaction

“We don’t have time for more lies. We must address the climate crisis now,” says Sen. Bernie Sanders

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-8-2019

A flash flood emergency in Washington left roads submerged and cars stranded as heavy rains poured over the region. Photo: CNN screenshot

Flooding in Washington, D.C. on Monday prompted calls for climate action as well as renewed scorn for the Trump administration’s abysmal environmental record.

The heavy rains came the morning President Donald Trump gave an afternoon speech in which he boasted of supposed environmental accomplishments. “Is this a joke?” said Ken Kimmell, president of the Union of Concerned Scientists. “It’s like an arsonist talking about how valuable his work is to the fire department.” Continue reading

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Citing $69 Trillion Price Tag by 2100, Moody’s Warns Central Banks of Far-Reaching Economic Damage of Climate Crisis

“There is no denying it: The longer we wait to take bold action to curb emissions, the higher the costs will be for all of us.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-3-2019

Arid soils are shown in Mauritania in 2012, when crops failed because of a severe drought which led to a food crisis that impacted millions of people across West Africa. (Photo: Oxfam International/Flickr/cc)

Noting previous warnings that the human-caused climate crisis could cause trillions of dollars in damage to the global economy by the end of the century, a new report from Moody’s Analytics explores the economic implications of the international community’s failure to curb planet-warming emissions.

Moody’s Analytics chief economist Mark Zandi told The Washington Post—which first reported on the new analysis—that this is “the first stab at trying to quantify what the macroeconomic consequences might be” of the global climate crisis, and it comes in response to European commercial banks and central banks. The climate emergency is “not a cliff event. It’s not a shock to the economy. It’s more like a corrosive,” Zandi added. But it is “getting weightier with each passing year.” Continue reading

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Convicts are returning to farming – anti-immigrant policies are the reason

Migrant agricultural workers kept out of the US by tough immigration laws are now being replaced by prison labor. Shutterstock

Stian Rice, University of Maryland, Baltimore County

Prison inmates are picking fruits and vegetables at a rate not seen since Jim Crow.

Convict leasing for agriculture – a system that allows states to sell prison labor to private farms – became infamous in the late 1800s for the brutal conditions it imposed on captive, mostly black workers.

Federal and state laws prohibited convict leasing for most of the 20th century, but the once-notorious practice is making a comeback. Continue reading

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‘Existential’ Risk of Climate Crisis Could Lead to Civilizational Collapse by 2050, Warns Report

“The world is currently completely unprepared to envisage, and even less deal with, the consequences of catastrophic climate change.”

By Eoin Higgins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-4-2019

The Holy Fire, Lake Elsinore, California. Photo: slworking2/flickr

Even by the standards of the dire predictions given in climate studies, this one’s extreme: civilization itself could be past the point of no return by 2050.

That’s the conclusion from Australian climate think tank Breakthrough National Centre for Climate Restoration, which released a report (pdf) May 30 claiming that unless humanity takes drastic and immediate action to stop the climate crisis, a combination of food production instability, water shortages, and extreme weather could result in a complete societal breakdown worldwide. Continue reading

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‘What Could Be More Important?’: World Leaders, Media Ignore Biodiversity Report Detailing Mass Extinction Event Now Underway

“The health of ecosystems on which we and all other species depend is deteriorating more rapidly than ever.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-23-2019

Scientists at the UN’s Intergovernmental Science‑Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) released a study showing that a million species are at risk for extinction earlier this month—but the report was largely ignored by the corporate news media. (Photo: Danny Perez Photography/flickr/cc)

Scientists at the United Nations’ intergovernmental body focusing on biodiversity sounded alarms earlier this month with its report on the looming potential extinction of one million species—but few heard their calls, according to a German newspaper report.

Deutsche Welle reported Thursday that partially because the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) released its report on what it called nature’s “unprecedented” decline on the same day that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex had their first child, news reports on the study’s grave implications were few and far between. Continue reading

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‘Ominous’ UN Report Warns Human Activity Has Pushed One Million Plant and Animal Species to Brink of Extinction

“Nature is collapsing around us and it’s a real wake-up call to humanity.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-6-2019

A United Nations report on biodiversity released Monday found that human activity is responsible for “accelerating” species extinction rates. Photo: Murky [CC-BY-SA 2.0]

United Nations report described as the most authoritative and comprehensive assessment of global biodiversity ever published found that human exploitation of the natural world has pushed a million plant and animal species to the brink of extinction—with potentially devastating implications for the future of civilization.

Conducted by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) and released Monday, the report warned that species extinction rates are “accelerating” at an “unprecedented” rate due to the human-caused climate crisis and economic activity. Continue reading

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Latest ‘Wake-Up Call’ of Climate Emergency as Historic Cyclone Hits Still Reeling Mozambique

As aid groups call for global assistance, campaigner says unfolding disaster “is a tragedy that points to the bigger crisis that humanity is faced with.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 4-26-2019

Screenshot: Weather Channel

Urgent calls for international aid and climate action mounted Friday after the stongest cyclone to ever hit Mozambique made landfall just weeks after another powerful storm ravaged the impoverished African country.

“The families whose lives have been turned upside down by these climate-related disasters urgently need the generosity of the international community to survive over the coming months,” Mark Lowcock, the United Nations humanitarian chief, said in a statement (pdf). Continue reading

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‘Finally!’: Court Orders EPA to Stop Stalling Potential Ban on Pesticide Tied to Brain Damage in Kids

“We hope Trump’s EPA finally decides to protect the future of countless children and the health of millions of farmworkers.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 4-19-2019

American farmers use chlorpyrifos, a pesticide tied to brain and nervous system issues, on crops such as apples, broccoli, corn, and strawberries. (Photo: Stephanie Chapman/Flickr/cc)

In a ruling welcomed by public health advocates, a federal court on Friday ordered the Trump administration to stop stalling a potential ban on a pesticide linked to brain damage in children, giving regulators until mid-July to make a final decision.

Citing unacceptable health risks for children, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ended household use of chlorpyrifos in 2000. However, farmers can still use the pesticide—which is also tied to nervous system problems in people and animals—on crops such as apples, broccoli, corn, and strawberries. Continue reading

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‘Verdict Is In’: Monsanto Found Liable for Man’s Cancer, Ordered to Pay $80 Million in Damages

“The jury resoundingly held Monsanto accountable for its 40 years of corporate malfeasance.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 3-28-2019

Photo: Mike Mozart/flickr

In a victory for consumers and yet another massive blow to Monsanto, a federal jury on Wednesday found the company liable for causing a California man’s cancer and ordered it to pay $80 million in damages.

“The jury resoundingly held Monsanto accountable for its 40 years of corporate malfeasance and sent a message to Monsanto that it needs to change the way it does business,” said the legal team of 70-year-old Edwin Hardeman, who was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL) in 2015 after using Roundup on his property for more than two decades. Continue reading

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