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Daily News Blog

06
Sep

Ending Fossil Fuel-Based Pesticides and Fertilizers Central to National Forum and Legislation

(Beyond Pesticides, September 6, 2022) Beyond Pesticides is holding its National Forum series, Health, Biodiversity, and Climate: A Path for a Livable Future, beginning on September 15. The National Pesticide Forum has undergone tremendous change in the format, giving participants easier access to timely, bite-sized, and provocative learning experiences and empowering action to fuel change. This year, it focuses on meeting the health, biodiversity, and climate crises with a path for a livable future. We examine both the existential problems associated with current public health and environmental crises and chart a course for a future that solves these urgent problems—public health threats, biodiversity collapse, and the climate emergency. The first seminar launches September 15, the second on October 12, and a third will be announced for November. Register for free!

The Forum will address both the science that defines the problems associated with the threats and the solutions, some of which are contained in legislation such as the Zero Food Waste Act and the Compost Act. Two ways of helping to reduce agricultural carbon emissions and reduce hunger are addressed in these two bills—by maximizing the amount of food that is eaten and ensuring that food waste is composted to build soil health instead of generating methane in a landfill.

Congresswoman Julia Brownley (D-CA), Congresswoman Ann McLane Kuster (D-NH), and Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-ME) introduced two bills, the Zero Food Waste Act (H.R. 4444) and the Cultivating Organic Matter through the Promotion Of Sustainable Techniques (COMPOST) Act (H.R. 4443), to reduce the amount of food wasted in the U.S. and to redirect food waste to composting projects. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) introduced companion legislation, Zero Food Waste Act (S.2389) and Compost Act (S.2388), in the U.S. Senate. 

Ask your U.S. Representative and Senators to sponsor the Zerio Food Waste and Compost Acts legislation and, if you are represented by a sponsor of the legislation, thank them for their leadership.

Seminar 1 > HEALTH > September 15, 1-2:30 pmThe Problem: We start the Forum Series with a medical doctor who has both treated and studied the effects of toxic chemical exposure, with a focus on pesticides, throughout our daily lives. Claudia Miller, M.D. provides us with a framework for understanding the dire health implications of the current dependency on pesticides and toxic chemicals and the failure of the regulatory system to fully evaluate and control for the range of adverse effects and complexity of their interactions. Dr. Miller is the author of the acclaimed book, Chemical Exposures: Low Levels and High Stakes, and her recent research focuses on the relationship between synthetic chemical exposures and disruption of the gastrointestinal microbiome.   
 
The Solution: The solution is found in a transition to management practices that are no longer dependent on toxic inputs and respect the value of nature and works in partnership with the diversity that it offers. This discussion will be led by indigenous farmer Kaipo Kekona who is working in Hawai’i to regenerate and sustain traditional farming production on former sugarcane land. Mr. Kekona and his family run the 12.5-acre Ku’ia Agriculture Education Center in the ahupua’a of Ku’ia on Legacy Lands of Keli’i Kulani in the foothills of the West Maui Mountains. He started in conventional, chemical-intensive farming as a laborer, and now practices 100% natural farming. In June, Mr. Kekona was featured in The Guardian piece, “The farmers restoring Hawaii’s ancient food forests that once fed an island.” See the full program.

Seminar 2 > BIODIVERSITY > October 12, 1:00-2:30 pm JUST ADDED!

The Problem: Life depends on biodiversity. According to the Global Assessment of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, produced by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), “Harmful economic incentives and policies associated with unsustainable practices of fisheries, aquaculture, agriculture (including fertilizer and pesticide use), livestock, forestry, mining and energy (including fossil fuels and biofuels) are often associated with land/sea-use change and overexploitation of natural resources, as well as inefficient production and waste management.” In this compelling session, you’ll hear from Lucas Alejandro Garibaldi, PhD, professor and director, Institute for Research in Natural Resources, Agroecology and Rural Development, Universidad Nacional de Rio Negro, Argentina, and member of the Secretariat for IPBES and a contributor to its landmark IPBES report.

The Solution: The IPBES report endorses the transition away from pesticide-laden agricultural practices and toward sustainable agriculture to meet the challenges of protecting and enhancing biodiversity. Organic land management systems that eliminate fossil fuel-based toxic pesticides and fertilizers makes a substantial contribution in addressing the dire threat to biodiversity. You’ll hear directly from Bob Quinn, PhD, an organic farmer and miller with Montana Flour and Grains in Big Sandy, Montana, who will share his personal insights on the value of organic food production and land management. Dr. Quinn is coauthor of Grain by Grain: A Quest to Revive Ancient Wheat, Rural Jobs and Healthy Food. Learn more.

Ask your U.S. Representative and Senators to sponsor the Zerio Food Waste and Compost Acts legislation and, if you are represented by a sponsor of the legislation, thank them for their leadership

Letter to U.S. Representatives not current cosponsors:

I am writing to ask you to cosponsor H.R. 4443, the Zero Food Waste Act, and H.R. 4444, the Cultivating Organic Matter through the Promotion of Sustainable Techniques (COMPOST) Act.

As Representative Chellie Pingree states, “Food waste has a massive environmental footprint and squanders perfectly good food as millions are going hungry.” Nearly half of all food produced in this country is lost or wasted, so an estimated $408 billion is spent on growing, processing, transporting, storing, and disposing of food that is never consumed. Landfills are now the third-largest source of methane in the U.S., and food is the single largest input by weight in our landfills and incinerators.

The Zero Food Waste Act would create a new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administered grant program for state, local, tribal, and territorial governments and for nonprofits, which would offer three types of grants: planning grants, measurement grants, and reduction grants. Planning grants could be used to investigate the kinds of food waste mitigation projects or policies would be most impactful within a given community. Measurement grants could be used to better understand the amount of food waste generated in the state or community.

Reduction grants could be used to fund an assortment of different types of projects—such as food waste prevention projects to stop the generation of food waste, recycling projects to reuse food waste as a feedstock for other uses like composting, rescuing projects that redirect surplus food to places like food shelters, and upcycling projects that make new food from ingredients that would otherwise go to landfills. Additionally, localities could use the grant funding to implement food waste landfill disposal or incineration restrictions designed to stop food waste.

Composting is one of the most environmentally friendly means of disposing of food waste and other organic waste. Not only does composting emit a smaller quantity of greenhouse gases compared to alternative disposal methods, it also yields a valuable soil additive that enhances soil health, which in turn makes the soil a better absorber of carbon, while also making the land more resilient to climate change-fueled disasters like wildfires and floods. While there is growing interest by individuals and businesses across the country to compost food scraps and compostable packaging, there is not enough composting infrastructure in the U.S. to meet this demand.

The Cultivating Organic Matter through the Promotion of Sustainable Techniques (COMPOST) Act would add composting as a conservation practice for U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) conservation programs. Both the act of producing compost from organic waste and using compost on a farm would qualify as a conservation practice. It also would create new USDA grant and loan guarantee programs for composting infrastructure projects, including both large-scale composting facilities as well as farm, home, or community-based projects.

Please cosponsor these bills, H.R. 4443 and H.R. 4444.

Thank you.

Letter to U.S. Representative currently cosponsoring:

Thank you for cosponsoring H.R. 4443, the Zero Food Waste Act, and H.R. 4444, the Cultivating Organic Matter through the Promotion of Sustainable Techniques (COMPOST) Act.

As Representative Chellie Pingree states, “Food waste has a massive environmental footprint and squanders perfectly good food as millions are going hungry.” Nearly half of all food produced in this country is lost or wasted, so an estimated $408 billion is spent on growing, processing, transporting, storing, and disposing of food that is never consumed. Landfills are now the third-largest source of methane in the U.S., and food is the single largest input by weight in our landfills and incinerators.

Composting is one of the most environmentally friendly means of disposing of food waste and other organic waste. Not only does composting emit a smaller quantity of greenhouse gases compared to alternative disposal methods, it also yields a valuable soil additive that enhances soil health, which in turn makes the soil a better absorber of carbon, while also making the land more resilient to climate change-fueled disasters like wildfires and floods.

These two bills offer substantial remedies to these pressing problems.

Thank you.

Letter to U.S. Senators not current cosponsors:

I am writing to ask you to cosponsor S. 2389, the Zero Food Waste Act, and S. 2388, the Cultivating Organic Matter through the Promotion of Sustainable Techniques (COMPOST) Act.

As Representative Chellie Pingree states, “Food waste has a massive environmental footprint and squanders perfectly good food as millions are going hungry.” Nearly half of all food produced in this country is lost or wasted, so an estimated $408 billion is spent on growing, processing, transporting, storing, and disposing of food that is never consumed. Landfills are now the third-largest source of methane in the U.S., and food is the single largest input by weight in our landfills and incinerators.

The Zero Food Waste Act would create a new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administered grant program for state, local, tribal, and territorial governments and for nonprofits, which would offer three types of grants: planning grants, measurement grants, and reduction grants. Planning grants could be used to investigate the kinds of food waste mitigation projects or policies would be most impactful within a given community. Measurement grants could be used to better understand the amount of food waste generated in the state or community.

Reduction grants could be used to fund an assortment of different types of projects—such as food waste prevention projects to stop the generation of food waste, recycling projects to reuse food waste as a feedstock for other uses like composting, rescuing projects that redirect surplus food to places like food shelters, and upcycling projects that make new food from ingredients that would otherwise go to landfills. Additionally, localities could use the grant funding to implement food waste landfill disposal or incineration restrictions designed to stop food waste.

Composting is one of the most environmentally friendly means of disposing of food waste and other organic waste. Not only does composting emit a smaller quantity of greenhouse gases compared to alternative disposal methods, it also yields a valuable soil additive that enhances soil health, which in turn makes the soil a better absorber of carbon, while also making the land more resilient to climate change-fueled disasters like wildfires and floods. While there is growing interest by individuals and businesses across the country to compost food scraps and compostable packaging, there is not enough composting infrastructure in the U.S. to meet this demand.

The Cultivating Organic Matter through the Promotion of Sustainable Techniques (COMPOST) Act would add composting as a conservation practice for U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) conservation programs. Both the act of producing compost from organic waste and using compost on a farm would qualify as a conservation practice. It also would create new USDA grant and loan guarantee programs for composting infrastructure projects, including both large-scale composting facilities as well as farm, home, or community-based projects.

Please cosponsor these bills, S. 2389 and S. 2388.

Thank you.

Thank you’s to cosponsors in Senate:

Thank you for cosponsoring S. 2389, the Zero Food Waste Act, and S. 2388, the Cultivating Organic Matter through the Promotion of Sustainable Techniques (COMPOST) Act.

As Representative Chellie Pingree states, “Food waste has a massive environmental footprint and squanders perfectly good food as millions are going hungry.” Nearly half of all food produced in this country is lost or wasted, so an estimated $408 billion is spent on growing, processing, transporting, storing, and disposing of food that is never consumed. Landfills are now the third-largest source of methane in the U.S., and food is the single largest input by weight in our landfills and incinerators.

Composting is one of the most environmentally friendly means of disposing of food waste and other organic waste. Not only does composting emit a smaller quantity of greenhouse gases compared to alternative disposal methods, it also yields a valuable soil additive that enhances soil health, which in turn makes the soil a better absorber of carbon, while also making the land more resilient to climate change-fueled disasters like wildfires and floods.

These two bills offer substantial remedies to these pressing problems.

Thank you.

 

 

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