Tag Archives: Agriculture

‘Surreal’ and ‘Distressing’: Climate Experts’ Predictions Come True With US Heatwave

“The current heatwave and drought leave no doubt, we are living the dangerous effects of the climate crisis.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-18-2021

As what the National Weather Service described as “dangerous and record-breaking heat” affects 50 million people across the Western United States even before the first day of summer, climate experts and activists are using the hot conditions to reiterate warnings and calls for policy change as scientists are seeing their dire predictions come true.

“The current heatwave and drought leave no doubt, we are living the dangerous effects of the climate crisis,” activist and former Democratic presidential candidate Tom Steyer tweeted Friday. “Action is urgently needed.” Continue reading

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IG Report Shows Top Trump Officials at EPA Hid Threats of Toxic Dicamba Herbicide

“Now that the EPA’s highly politicized, anti-science approach to fast-tracking use of this harmful pesticide has been fully exposed, the agency should cancel dicamba’s recent approval,” said one critic.

By Kenny Stancil, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-25-2021

Significant cupping of leaves from dicamba drift on non-Xtend soybeans planted next to Xtend beans in research plots at the Ashland Bottoms farm near Manhattan, Kansas. Photo: K-State Research and Extension/flickr/CC

A new report released Monday by a federal oversight agency revealed that before former President Donald Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency reapproved use of dicamba in 2018, high-ranking officials in the administration intentionally excluded scientific evidence of certain hazards related to the herbicide, including the risk of widespread drift damage.

The Office of the Inspector General found that the 2018 decision by the EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs to extend registrations for three dicamba products “varied from typical operating procedures.” Continue reading

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Biden EPA Admits Faulty Glyphosate Review Under Trump But Still Won’t Take It Off US Market

“Time to face the music, not run and hide,” said one critic of the agency’s latest legal maneuver.

By Kenny Stancil, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-19-2021

A monarch butterfly sits on milkweed. (Photo: Mara Koenig/USFWS)

The Center for Food Safety on Wednesday denounced the Biden administration’s Environmental Protection Agency for arguing that Roundup should remain on U.S. shelves for an undisclosed period of time even after admitting that the Trump-era review of glyphosate—the key ingredient found in Roundup, the world’s most widely used herbicide—was flawed and requires a do-over.

In its federal court filing (pdf) requesting to redo the Trump administration’s faulty assessment of glyphosate, the EPA failed to provide a deadline for a new decision; instead, the agency maintained that Roundup—created by agrochemical giant Monsanto, which was acquired in 2018 by the German pharmaceutical and biotech company Bayer—should stay on the market in the meantime. Continue reading

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The Coming Antibiotic-Resistance Pandemic that Could Make COVID Look Like the Flu

While the Global South overprescribes antibiotics, in the West farm animals are pumped full of them, farmers even giving them to healthy animals so they can be packed tighter in ever-increasing herd sizes.

By Alan Macleod  Published 4-6-2021 by MintPress News

Photo: Gerard D Wright/CC

Big pharmaceutical companies have not come out of COVID-19 looking like model global citizens. Pfizer has been accused of bullying South American governments after demanding they put up military bases as collateral in exchange for vaccines. Meanwhile, Bill Gates persuaded Oxford University to sign an exclusive deal with AstraZeneca for its new offering, rather than allow it to be copied freely by all. The British/Swedish multinational quickly announced it would fall 50 million vaccines short on its first shipment to the European Union.

But what if there were a looming health crisis that could make COVID look almost minor in comparison? The World Health Organization (WHO) has been warning of just such a case for some time now, predicting that antimicrobial resistance will kill up to 10 million people every year by 2050 — almost four times as many as the coronavirus has killed in the past 12 months. Continue reading

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Scientists Say Humanity Now at ‘Dawn of What Must Be a Transformative Decade’

“Whether humanity has the collective wisdom to navigate the Anthropocene to sustain a livable biosphere for people and civilizations, as well as for the rest of life with which we share the planet, is the most formidable challenge facing humanity.”

By Jon Queally, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 3=22=2021

People in Haiti after TS Laura in August 2020. Screenshot: YouTube

A new analysis examining humanity’s central role in disrupting the support systems of the natural world argues that far-reaching action this decade—including a halt to vast inequalities and the irresponsible deployment of advanced technologies—is vital if a more vibrant and sustainable future is to be achieved.

Published earlier this month in Ambioa journal of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, the analysis considers the “profound meaning” of the current Anthropocene era, a period of Earth’s history —”one that we are only beginning to fully comprehend” the paper notes—in which the biosphere is being shaped by human activity more than any other natural force. Continue reading

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Biden Pushes Colombia to Restart Glyphosate Spraying Program

Experts: “The recently announced decision sends an unfortunate message to the Colombian people that your administration is not committed to abandoning the ineffective and damaging war on drugs internationally.”

By Common Dreams  Published 3-20-2021

After a six-year halt, Colombia plans to restart the toxic aerial spraying of glyphosate on coca crops as early as next month—drawing “most welcome” support from U.S. President Joe Biden and sharp criticism from 150 regional experts who wrote to Biden, “your administration is implicitly endorsing former President Trump’s damaging legacy in Colombia.”

On March 2nd, the Biden administration welcomed Colombia’s decision to restart its aerial coca eradication program in Biden’s first annual 2021 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report: “The government of Colombia has committed to re-starting its aerial coca eradication program, which would be a most welcome development.” Continue reading

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Biden Urged to ‘Be the Hero’ to Save American Bumblebee From Extinction

“It is our hope that the Biden administration grasps the gravity of this moment.”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-1-2021

Failure to secure Endangered Species Act protections for the American bumblebee, said the the Center for Biological Diversity’s Jess Tyler, could risk “losing this iconic part of the American landscape forever.” (Photo: Xerces Society / Katie Lamke)

Warning that threats including the climate crisis and pesticides are pushing the American bumblebee toward extinction, two conservation groups on Monday urged the Biden administration to give federal protections to the native pollinator.

“We’re asking President [Joe] Biden to be the hero that steps up and saves the American bumblebee from extinction,” said Jess Tyler, an entomologist and staff scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity, in a statement. “It’s unthinkable that we would carelessly allow this fuzzy, black-and-yellow beauty to disappear forever.” Continue reading

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Amid Broader Concerns Over Biden USDA Nominee, Watchdog Flags ‘Disturbing Suppression’ of Science by Vilsack

“Unless he pledges to implement significant safeguards for scientists, Tom Vilsack should not be confirmed. The days in which federal agencies function as scientific gulags should be behind us.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-29-2021

Tom Vilsack during the 2008 transition. Photo: Obama Biden Transition Project/CC

On top of concerns about his close industry ties, corporate-friendly policy record, and alarming civil rights history, President Joe Biden’s Agriculture Secretary nominee Tom Vilsack is also facing scrutiny over what one watchdog organization on Friday characterized as “disturbing” evidence that he improperly meddled in and suppressed scientific research during his previous tenure as head of USDA.

Throughout his nearly eight years as former President Barack Obama’s USDA chief, Vilsack “routinely interfered with scientific work that big agriculture found bothersome,” the advocacy group Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) alleged in a statement Friday, pointing to the direct testimony and survey responses of department scientists. Continue reading

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Two-thirds of Earth’s land is on pace to lose water as the climate warms – that’s a problem for people, crops and forests

Cape Town residents queued up for water as the taps nearly ran dry in 2018. Morgana Wingard/Getty Images

Yadu Pokhrel, Michigan State University

The world watched with a sense of dread in 2018 as Cape Town, South Africa, counted down the days until the city would run out of water. The region’s surface reservoirs were going dry amid its worst drought on record, and the public countdown was a plea for help.

By drastically cutting their water use, Cape Town residents and farmers were able to push back “Day Zero” until the rain came, but the close call showed just how precarious water security can be. California also faced severe water restrictions during its recent multiyear drought. And Mexico City is now facing water restrictions after a year with little rain. Continue reading

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Indigenous Leaders Furious After EPA Grants Oklahoma Control Over Sovereign Tribal Lands

“We must fight back against this underhanded ruling,” said one Indigenous leader. “In the courts, on the frontlines and in the international courts, life itself is at stake.”

By Brett Wilkins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-5-2020

The Oklahoma State Capitol is the only one in the nation containing a working oil rig on its grounds. (Photo: duggar11/Flickr cc)

In a little-noticed development last week that drew ire after being reported Monday, the Trump administration’s EPA granted the state of Oklahoma wide-ranging environmental regulatory control on nearly all tribal lands in the state, stripping dozens of tribes of their sovereignty over critical environmental issues.

The Young Turks which first reported the news, obtained a copy of an October 1 letter (pdf) from EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler granting a request by Republican Gov. J. Kevin Stitt for control of environmental regulations on tribal land on a wide range of issues, including: Continue reading

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