Tag Archives: Agriculture

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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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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‘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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‘Huge Victory’: French Court Finds Monsanto Guilty of Poisoning Farmer

“Monsanto needs to realize that we are not going to be silent anymore. We are not going to roll over and play dead.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 4-12-2019

Protesters attended a demonstration against the chemical company Monsanto in 2016 in France. On Thursday, a /French court found Monsanto guilty of poisoning a farmer. (Photo: Pascal.VanFlickr/cc)

Monsanto was ordered to pay restitution to a French farmer who developed a neurological disease after using its weedkiller—the latest victory for the chemical giant’s former customers who want to hold the company accountable for selling poisonous pesticides.

A court in Lyon, France, ordered Monsanto Thursday to immediately pay Paul François €50,000 ($56,000) for the legal fees he incurred as he fought the company, and said the full amount it would be required to pay him would be announced in an upcoming ruling. François is seeking €1 million ($860,000). 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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After Last Version Blocked, Iowa’s New Ag-Gag Bill ‘Gives Middle Finger to Free Speech, Consumer Protection, Food Safety, and Animal Welfare’

“Consumers have a right to know how their food is produced and how animals at factory farms are mistreated.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 3-13-2019

Iowa lawmakers just passed a new “ag-law” law that critics say, like the previous version struck down in federal court, is unconstitutional. (Photo: EPA)

Iowa’s GOP-controlled legislature on Tuesday rushed through a new legally questionable bill that critics say “aims to criminalize whistleblowing on factory farms and other agricultural facilities”—just two months after a federal court struck down a similar 2012 law as unconstitutional.

“Without undercover investigations, there are no effective watchdogs protecting animals from egregious cruelty,” Mercy For Animals president Leah Garcés told Common Dreams. “Consumers have a right to know how their food is produced and how animals at factory farms are mistreated.” Continue reading

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‘A World Without Clouds. Think About That a Minute’: New Study Details Possibility of Devastating Climate Feedback Loop

“We face a stark choice [between] radical, disruptive changes to our physical world or radical, disruptive changes to our political and economic systems to avoid those outcomes.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-25-2019

A new study warns that if the Earth’s atmospheric carbon hits a certain level, stratocumulus clouds could completely vanish, causing the planet’s temperatures to skyrocket even higher. (Photo: Nicholas A. Tonelli/Flickr/cc)

As people across the globe mobilize to demand bold action to combat the climate crisis and scientific findings about looming “environmental breakdown” pile up, a startling new study published Monday in the journal Nature Geoscience warns that human-caused global warming could cause stratocumulus clouds to totally disappear in as little as a century, triggering up to 8°C (14°F) of additional warming.

Stratocumulus clouds cover about two-thirds of the Earth and help keep it cool by reflecting solar radiation back to space. Recent research has suggested that planetary warming correlates with greater cloud loss, stoking fears about a feedback loop that could spell disaster. Continue reading

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Scientists Warn Crashing Insect Population Puts ‘Planet’s Ecosystems and Survival of Mankind’ at Risk

“This is the stuff that worries me most. We don’t know what we’re doing, not trying to stop it, [and] with big consequences we don’t really understand.”

By Jon Queally, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-11-2019

Photo: Pixnio

The first global scientific review of its kind reaches an ominous conclusion about the state of nature warning that unless humanity drastically and urgently changes its behavior the world’s insects could be extinct within a century.

Presented in exclusive reporting by the Guardian‘s environment editor Damian Carrington, the findings of the new analysis, published in the journal Biological Conservation, found that industrial agricultural techniques—”particularly the heavy use of pesticides”—as well as climate change and urbanization are the key drivers behind the extinction-level decline of insect populations that could herald a “catastrophic collapse of nature’s ecosystems” if not addressed. Continue reading

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Demanding Lawmakers Forge ‘Path Away From Climate Suicide,’ Groups Kick Off Green New Deal Push

“We have no time to lose in the fight to avoid irrevocable climate chaos.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-4-2019

A coalition of progressive groups has launched a week of action to demand a progressive Green New Deal from federal lawmakers. (Photo: Friends of the Earth/Twitter)

Building on the grassroots momentum that has thrust the Green New Deal onto a national stage, a coalition of progressive groups on Monday launched a week of action to demand climate leadership from federal lawmakers, calling for a plan to fully phase out fossil fuels and rapidly reform industries that produce massive amounts of planet-warming emissions while also promoting economic justice.

“To take action on climate change at the scale of the crisis, we need a Green New Deal,” declared May Boeve, executive director of 350.org. “It’s time for all progressive lawmakers to take real climate action and support a massive federal investment to bring health, safety, and justice to people and the planet.” Continue reading

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Virginia’s uranium mining battle flips traditional views of federal and state power

File 20190108 32136 yfeb74.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1

The Supreme Court is likely to rule on the case by June. AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Cale Jaffe, University of Virginia

The Supreme Court will decide in 2019 whether a Virginia law that bans uranium mining is preempted by the Atomic Energy Act, the U.S. law governing the processing and enrichment of nuclear material.

The case, Virginia Uranium, Inc. v. Warren, will require the court to interpret laws governing nuclear fuel production. But its most significant, long-term impact might be the glimpse it provides into the court’s view of the proper balance between federal regulatory power and the rights of states in setting their own policies. Continue reading

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