Category Archives: Agriculture

Children ‘Dying Before Our Eyes’: Aid Workers Plea for Help as Famine Unfolds in Somalia

“Already 1.5 million children below the age of five are malnourished,” said one United Nations official, “and we expect that 356,000 of these may not survive through the end of September.”

By Brett Wilkins  Published -22-2022 by Common Dreams

Norwegian Refugee Council Secretary-General Jan Egeland listens to a woman speaking during a visit to drought-stricken Somalia on June 21, 2022. (Photo: Jan Egeland/Twitter)

International aid workers are issuing desperate pleas for help this week as severe climate-driven drought coupled with critically depleted global food supplies due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine are fueling a slide into “catastrophic famine” in Somalia that could claim the lives of hundreds of thousands of children by summer’s end.

“Already 1.5 million children below the age of five are malnourished, and we expect that 356,000 of these may not survive through the end of September this year,” Adam Abdelmoula, the United Nations’ humanitarian coordinator for Somalia—which has suffered an unprecedented four consecutive failed rainy seasons—said during a visit to Dolow in the south near the Ethiopian border. Continue reading

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‘Major Victory’: Court Orders EPA Review of Glyphosate’s Cancer and Endangered Species Risks

“While it comes too late for many farmworkers and landscapers who suffer after glyphosate exposure, we are grateful for the court’s ruling,” said a representative for one plaintiff.

By Jessica Corbett  Published 6-17-2022 by Common Dreams

Photo: Mike Mozart/flickr/CC

A federal appeals court on Friday issued a ruling on the weedkiller glyphosate that the coalition involved with the case called “a historic victory for farmworkers and the environment.”

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to review its conclusions about the safety of glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, a popular herbicide created by Monsanto—which Bayer acquired in 2018. Continue reading

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Court Rules ‘Highly Imperiled’ Bumblebees Can Be First Insects Protected by California Law

“With one out of every three bites of food we eat coming from a crop pollinated by bees, this court decision is critical to protecting our food supply,” said one advocate.

By Brett Wilkins  Published 5-31-2022 by Common Dreams

A bumblebee in flight approaches a flower. (Photo: Andrés Morya/flickr/cc)

Wildlife defenders on Tuesday welcomed a California appeals court ruling affirming that a regulatory agency can classify four types of bumblebees as “fish” under the law in order to consider them for candidacy on the state’s endangered species list, a ruling that paves the way for the protection of other insects including the monarch butterfly.

“With one out of every three bites of food we eat coming from a crop pollinated by bees, this court decision is critical to protecting our food supply,” said Rebecca Spector, West Coast director at the advocacy group Center for Food Safety, a party to the case. Continue reading

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The Ukraine war has given NATO renewed credibility. That’s a problem

On the biggest issues that will threaten people around the world in the coming years, NATO is well-night irrelevant

By Paul Rogers  Published 5-21-2022 by openDemocracy

Image: Public domain

So far, the greatest of Vladimir Putin’s many failures in the Ukraine war is his aim of seriously weakening NATO.

Far from creating greater disunity between member states, Russia’s president has given NATO a new purpose, just as its role was starting to be questioned. Its unity has even been enhanced, and Sweden and Finland have now applied to join.

This may have drastic global consequences. Continue reading

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Green Groups Blame Bolsonaro Policies as Amazon Deforestation Sets New Monthly Record

“The Bolsonaro administration is abetting deforestation and environmental crime,” said one campaigner, “and what we harvest are these terrible, scary, revolting numbers.”

By Brett Wilkins  Published 5-6-2022 by Common Dreams

Photo: Amazon Watch/Twitter

Brazil’s space research agency revealed Friday that deforestation in the country’s Amazon rainforest last month shattered the previous record for April, a development one conservation campaigner called “very scary” and an indication of the criminal level of environmental destruction occurring under the administration of far-right President Jair Bolsonaro.

The National Institute for Space Research said nearly 400 square miles of the world’s largest rainforest was destroyed in Brazil last month, an area the size of 1,400 soccer fields and by far the biggest loss for April since record-keeping began in 2015, Agence France-Presse reports. Continue reading

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Biden EPA Unveils ‘First-Ever’ Blueprint to Protect Endangered Species From Pesticides

One campaigner expressed hope that the agency “will back up its words with concrete actions” to address “historic wrongs.”

By Jessica Corbett  Published 4-13-2022 by Common Dreams

EPA Administrator Michael Regan said a new agency plan “serves as the blueprint for how EPA will create an enduring path to meet its goals of protecting endangered species and providing all people with safe, affordable food and protection from pests.” (Photo: TumblingRun/Flickr/cc)

Environmental campaigners on Tuesday cautiously embraced the Biden administration’s historic new blueprint to guard endangered species from pesticides as a much-needed step forward while also calling for more concrete moves to protect wildlife, people, and the planet.

Welcoming the Environmental Protection Agency’s “first-ever comprehensive workplan” on the topic, Center for Biological Diversity environmental health director Lori Ann Burd said in a statement that “I’m encouraged that the EPA has finally acknowledged the massive problem it created by refusing, for decades, to consider the impacts of chemical poisons on our most vulnerable plants and animals.” Continue reading

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Putin’s attack on Ukraine isn’t going as planned. What will happen next?

With an unexpectedly strong Ukrainian resistance, harsh global sanctions and low morale among Russian troops, we face an unpredictable few months

By Paul Rogers.  Published 3-4-2022 by openDemocracy

Photo: The Resistor Sister/Twitter

Nine days into Russia’s assault on Ukraine and it is clear the Kremlin’s original plan has been derailed. The aim was to move rapidly on the capital, Kyiv, seizing the international airport to airlift troops in, then link with ground forces moving in from Belarus, occupy the city and take down the government in, at most, 72 hours.

From the start, Russia would make a concerted effort to take control of the Ukrainian air space, mainly with missile attacks on air bases, air defences and logistics support. This, combined with troops spread across the whole country, would induce a fear factor to help cower the people of Ukraine into submission, rather like the ‘shock and awe’ approach used by the US at the start of the Iraq War. Continue reading

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“Four Meals from Anarchy”: Rising Food Prices Could Spark Famine, War, and Revolution in 2022

The political consequences of hunger are profound and unpredictable but could be the spark that lights a powder keg of anger and resentment that would make the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests look tame by comparison.

By Alan Macleod.  Published 12-17-2021 by MintPress News


Soldiers from the 1177th Transportation Company support warehouse and distribution operations at the Atlanta Community Food Bank as a part of the Georgia National Guard COVID-19 response force, April 2020. Photo: Georgia National Guard/Wikimedia Commons/CC

Already dealing with the economic fallout from a protracted pandemic, the rapidly rising prices of food and other key commodities have many fearing that unprecedented political and social instability could be just around the corner next year.

With the clock ticking on student loan and rent debts, the price of a standard cart of food has jumped 6.4% in the past 12 months, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, with the cost of eating out in a restaurant similarly spiking, by 5.8% since November 2020. Continue reading

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‘Victory of Global Significance’: Modi to Repeal Laws That Sparked Year-Long Farmers’ Revolt

“After a year of strikes—and having faced brutal repression that claimed some 700 lives—India’s farmers are victorious in their struggle.”

By Kenny Stancil.  Published 11-19-2021 by Common Dreams.

Farmers in India have been organizing massive, sustained, historic protests against proposed neoliberal reforms. Photo: CAGJ

Workers’ rights activists around the globe rejoiced on Friday after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that his government will repeal three corporate-friendly agricultural laws that the nation’s farmers have steadfastly resisted for more than a year.

The Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), a coalition of over 40 farmers’ unions that led the protests, called the development a “historic victory” for those “who struggled resolutely, unitedly, continuously, and peacefully for one year so far in the historic farmers’ struggle,” India Today reported, citing a statement from SKM. Continue reading

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Rights Group Says Israel Uses Settler Violence Against Palestinians to Take Over West Bank Land

“Settler violence is a form of government policy, permitted and aided by official state authorities with their active participation,” according to a report from the Israeli group B’Tselem.

By Jessica Corbett. Published 11-14-2021 by Common Dreams

The Um Zuqa farm is one of six “farms” set up by settlers in the northern Jordan Valley in the past five years. It was built in 2016 on a site that housed the Palestinian village of Khirbet al-Mzoqah, which Israel demolished after occupying the West Bank. (Photo: Eyal Hareuveni, B’Tselem)

The Jerusalem-based rights group B’Tselem released a report Sunday that accuses Israel’s “​​apartheid regime” of using settler-colonist violence to take control of Palestinian farmland and pastureland, focusing on nearly 11 square miles in the illegally occupied West Bank.

“Settler violence against Palestinians serves as a major informal tool at the hands of the state to take over more and more West Bank land,” says the report. “The state fully supports and assists these acts of violence, and its agents sometimes participate in them directly.” Continue reading

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