Photo credit: livelovefruit.com
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 27, 2019
SAN FRANCISCO – Today, a second jury in less that 8 months found Bayer-Monsanto’s signature weedkiller Roundup responsible for causing cancer.
The verdict in the case Hardeman v. Monsanto before a federal district court in San Francisco found exposure to glyphosate, the signature ingredient in Roundup, caused plaintiff Edward Hardeman’s non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Jurors awarded $80 million in damages to Hardeman.
“Clearly, the testimony that informed the jury’s decision was Bayer-Monsanto hiding Roundup’s carcinogenic properties, manipulating the science and cozying-up with EPA so it would not have to warn consumers of its dangerous product,” said Environmental Working Group (EWG) President Ken Cook. “Bayer-Monsanto has known for decades the cancer-causing properties of Roundup and I applaud the jury for holding the company accountable for failing to warn consumers of the known danger.”
“This verdict puts Bayer’s back firmly up against the wall as the cost of litigation mounts and its stock price gets pummeled once again,” said Cook.
The World Health Organization, in a March 20, 2015 report, stated that glyphosate is a “probable” human carcinogen. In 2017, the European Parliament voted to ban glyphosate in 28 countries. Currently, countries around the world are considering banning glyphosate or have already banned it.
Glyphosate has also been identified as a leading cause of the loss of 90 percent of the population and the threat of extinction of Monarch Butterflies in North America. Monarch Butterflies are a major crop pollinator. The herbicide kills milkweed, which is the sole source of food for Monarch caterpillers.
Monarch Butterfly on native milkweed.
Glyphosate is the most heavily used herbicide in the world. Even people who are not farm workers or groundskeepers, widely including home gardeners, are being exposed to the cancer-causing chemical.
A 2015 EWG analysis mapped the year-to-year growth in glyphosate use on American farmland from 1992 to 2012. According to the Department of Agriculture, in 2014, approximately 240 million pounds of glyphosate were sprayed in the U.S. As a result of widespread spraying, glyphosate has now been found to contaminate air, water and soil across vast expanses of the U.S. It also shows up in the food Americans eat every day.
Biomonitoring studies in a number of states, especially in the Midwest, found glyphosate in the bodies of children and pregnant women. According to initial data from a study in Indiana, women who were more heavily exposed to glyphosate during pregnancy were more likely to give birth to premature babies who weighed less than average.
Although the vast majority of glyphosate is applied to genetically modified corn and soybeans, it is increasingly being sprayed on oats just before harvest as a drying agent, or desiccant. Glyphosate kills the crop, drying it out so it can be harvested earlier than if the plant were allowed to die naturally. This allows easier harvesting but also increases the likelihood that the pesticide makes it into food. The herbicide is now being sprayed on more than 70 types of crop.
Two separate rounds of laboratory tests commissioned last year by EWG found glyphosate in nearly every sample of popular oat-based cereals and other oat-based food marketed to children. The brands in which glyphosate was detected included several cereals and breakfast bars made by General Mills and Quaker.
Material for this article is from EWG and other sources. For more information please contact The Environmental Working Group (EWG), Monica Amarelo (202) 939-9140, firstname.lastname@example.org EWG is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization that empowers people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment. Through research, advocacy and unique education tools, EWG drives consumer choice and civic action.
“We’re not striking because we want adults to give us hope. We’re striking because we want them to panic, to act like we have the emergency that we have.” Greta Thunberg, March 15, 2019
Photo from Montreal, Quebec via Greta Thunberg@GretaThunberg
On every continent and in more than 125 countries, more than one million students in high schools and younger went on strike on Friday, March 15, 2019. There were more than 2,000 different protests. The first global school strike day is to be followed by persistent Friday school strikes, until governments and businesses everywhere take the emergency actions needed to avert the worst global warming results now projected by scientists.
The people of Earth only have 11 more years to avoid disastrous levels of global warming, according to a 2018 report from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
In its newest report, The Living Planet Report 2018, the World Wildlife Fund found that human beings have wiped out 60 percent of all mammals, birds, fish and reptiles on Earth since 1970.
ScienceDirect just released a report on the decline of insect species concluding that 40 percent of all species worldwide face extinction in the next few decades, and the number of threatened species is increasing each year:
“As insect biodiversity is essential for the proper functioning of all ecosystems, the current trends are disrupting – to varying degree – the invaluable pollination, natural pest control, food resources, nutrient recycling and decomposition services that many insects provide (Aizen et al., 2009; Davis et al., 2004; Kreutzweiser et al., 2007)) …The pace of modern insect extinctions surpasses that of vertebrates by a large margin…Since the declines affect the majority of species in all taxa, it is evident that we are witnessing the largest extinction event on Earth since the late Permian and Cretaceous periods (Ceballos et al., 2017; Raup and Sepkoski Jr, 1986). Because insects constitute the world’s most abundant and speciose animal group and provide critical services within ecosystems, such event cannot be ignored and should prompt decisive action to avert a catastrophic collapse of nature’s ecosystems (May, 2010).”
Photo from Prague, Czech Republic via Greta Thunberg@GretaThunberg
The Student Global Climate Strike demands vary somewhat, from country to country. Students in the USA have issued these demands:
Green New Deal
An equitable transition for marginalized communities that will be most impacted by climate change
An equitable transition for fossil-fuel reliant communities to a renewable economy
100% renewable energy by 2030
Upgrading the current electric grid
No creation of additional fossil fuel infrastructure (pipelines, coal plants, fracking etc.)
The creation of a committee to oversee the implementation of a Green New Deal
That has subpoena power
Committee members can’t take fossil fuel industry donations
Accepts climate science
A halt in any and all fossil fuel infrastructure projects
Fossil fuel infrastructure disproportionately impacts indigenous communities and communities of color in a negative way
Creating new fossil fuel infrastructure would create new reliance on fossil fuels at a time of urgency
All decisions made by the government be based on the best-available and most-current scientific research.
The world needs to reduce GHG emissions by at least 50% by 2030, and by 100% before 2050.
We need to incorporate this fact into all policymaking
Declaring a National Emergency on Climate Change
This calls for a national emergency because we have only a few years to avoid catastrophic climate change.
Since the US has empirically been a global leader, we should be a leader on climate action
Since the US largely contributes to global GHG emissions, we should be leading the fight in GHG reduction
Compulsory comprehensive education on climate change and its impacts throughout grades K-8
K-8 is the ideal age range for compulsory climate change education because:
Impressionability is high during that developmental stage, therefore it’s easier for children and young adults to learn about climate change in a more in-depth manner, and retain that information
Climate change becomes a nonpartisan issue, as it truly is because it’s based solely on science from the beginning
Preserving our public lands and wildlife
Diverse ecosystems and national parks will be very impacted by climate change, therefore it’s important that we work to the best of our abilities to preserve their existence
Keeping our water supply clean
Clean water is essential for all living beings, when we pollute our water supply, or the water supply of someone else, it’s simply a violation of an essential human right
Photo by Jamie Tehonica. Alexandria Villasenor, 13, California, United States.
by National Lawyer’s Guild
March 8, 2019
TIJUANA, Mexico—Leaked US-Mexican government documents revealed both governments are maintaining a secret database targeting at least 59 journalists, activists, and an attorney as part of an intelligence-gathering mission under “Operation Secure Line,” based on their work reporting on and offering humanitarian aid to the recent caravans of migrants fleeing from violence and poverty. The National Lawyers Guild (NLG) condemns this practice as a blatant violation of civil liberties and attempt to intimidate those seeking to provide necessary, legal and legitimate aid to migrants and their families.
An NLG delegation was in Tijuana investigating violations of migrants’ rights by US and Mexican authorities when the documents, titled “San Diego Sector Foreign Operations Branch: Migrant Caravan FY-2019, Suspected Organizers, Coordinators, Instigators and Media,” were uncovered. Prior to the leaked report, the delegation heard stories of hours-long interrogations, harassment, confiscation of electronic devices, and intimidation of activists and lawyers by immigration authorities on both sides of the border related to their humanitarian work, including members of the group Pueblo Sin Fronteras (PSF). Many activists who felt singled out by CBP correctly suspected that they were on a government watch list due to their association with the migrant caravan, especially following the of two journalists and US attorneys with Al Otro Lado who were denied entry into Mexico earlier this month, who were held and faced questioning for up to 10 hours.
Alex Mensing, a US citizen living in Tijuana who helped coordinate the delegation’s meetings with domestic and international NGOs, as well as Mexican human rights and immigration authorities, chose not to accompany the delegation to San Diego on Wednesday for meetings with the ACLU, Border Angels, and the International Rescue Committee. Mensing has been repeatedly stopped for secondary questioning by US Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) on a clear effort to intimate PSF and other volunteers. “It’s worrisome, but not surprising,” Mensing told Telemundo yesterday. “I was taken into a concrete cell for interrogation and they took my phone, scanned all my notebooks, all the papers I brought… It angers me that the government is using taxpayer funds to create a database meant to intimidate people.” For the last four months, Mensing has attempted to obtain information directly from CBP about his repeated questioning to no avail.
Pooja Gehi, Executive Director of the NLG and member of the Tijuana delegation, said, “We witnessed migrants who had traveled days fleeing violence and persecution, only to be denied their right to claim asylum at the border, in contravention of international law. Instead, they were required to put their name on a handwritten list, then wait indefinitely while trying to find food and shelter, dodging violence and deportation, in hope that their names would be called to start the arduous process that is the US asylum system.”
It is also important to note that Mexico has previously operationalized their surveillance of activists and journalists through practices such as Pegasus malware, and the leaked list also delegitimizes the Democrats’ offer of a “technological wall” as an acceptable compromise to Trump’s border wall that would be any more lawful or based in human rights principles.
While government surveillance of activists is nothing new, and an issue the NLG has a long history of fighting, we are particularly concerned that binational surveillance of activists will not only deter people from engaging in humanitarian action but will also leave migrants in need of humanitarian and legal support with neither, thereby exacerbating human suffering at the border.
Since last year, NLG lawyers, legal workers, and law students have been on the ground in Tijuana volunteering legal support, training, and observation in coordination with other organizations such as Al Otro Lado. The NLG urges deepened investigation into this report and demands an immediate termination of the illegal practice of targeting activists and journalists.
The National Lawyers Guild, whose membership includes lawyers, legal workers, jailhouse lawyers, and law students, was formed in 1937 as the United States’ first racially-integrated bar association to advocate for the protection of constitutional, human and civil rights.
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- 1/8/19: Open Letter to the President of the United Mexican States, Mr. Andrés Manuel López Obrador
- 12/10/18: Hunger Strike Demands by Central American Migrant Exodus
- 12/6/18: Demands by Central American Refugees at Border
- 12/5/18: Refugee Caravan: A Legal Observer’s Report from Tijuana
- 11/29/18: “Deployed to the Border: A Test of Conscience for GI’s” Military Law Task Force of the NLG
- 11/28/18: WEBINAR: Why Do Refugee Caravans Exist? A Lesson in Geo-Political History of Central America
- 11/20/18: NLG & Al Otro Lado Mobilizing Legal Support for Central American Refugee Caravan at Mexico-US Border