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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'International' Category


08
Sep

[Reflection] Climate March on September 17 and Action: Interconnection between Climate Change and Petrochemical Pesticides and Fertilizers

(Beyond Pesticides, September 8, 2023) In a united effort, climate and environmental justice movements from around the world have come together to announce a global “end to fossil fuels,” including the end of pesticides. The “March to End Fossil Fuels” is scheduled for September 17 and the Secretary General’s Summit in New York City on September 20. See the full map for other marches around the world. At the Beyond Pesticides, 2022 National Forum session on climate (November, 2022), we discussed the science and the urgent need for a strategic response to the climate crisis as part of a constellation of crises that intersect. Whether we are talking about a health crisis borne out of chemical-induced diseases, the collapse of life-sustaining biodiversity, or the dramatic catastrophes caused by greenhouse gases and rising temperatures—the interconnectedness of the crises requires strategic solutions that are holistic and nurturing of our relationship with nature —a relationship we have minimized as a matter of policy and practice. The data on climate calls on us to be audacious in our demand for urgent change in our households and communities, and from decision makers at all levels of government. At Beyond Pesticides, our audacious goal is to […]

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23
Aug

Serious Water Contamination from Pesticides Used on Pets, Ignored by Regulators, Again Confirmed

(Beyond Pesticides, August 23, 2023) The use of pesticides on pets for fleas and ticks (parasiticides) has been traced to environmental contamination in a study that confirms earlier work both by the authors and internationally, according to researchers Rosemary Perkins, a veterinary surgeon, and David Goulson, PhD at the University of Sussex. The results are published in their recent study, “To flea or not to flea: survey of UK companion animal ectoparasiticide usage and activities affecting pathways to the environment,” which concludes that, “[T]he potential cumulative impact of parasiticide emissions [into the environment] from many millions of pets treated multiple times each year is of serious concern.” The UK provides an opportunity to pinpoint water contamination from pet use for ectoparasites (e.g., fleas and ticks) of hazardous pesticides since, unlike in the U.S., the country has banned outdoor use of those chemicals commonly detected—the insecticides fipronil and imidacloprid (the same neonicotinoid bug killer tied to devastating losses of bees and other organisms). These findings confirm the historical peer reviewed scientific literature and defy the assumption of regulators that home or veterinary use of pesticides do not reach levels of concern for environmental contamination, either through exposure from down-the-drain (DTD) contamination […]

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09
Jun

EU and U.S. Pesticide Regulators Ignore Developmental Neurotoxicity of Pesticides, Industry Hides Data

(Beyond Pesticides, June 9, 2023) Glyphosate, usually marketed as the herbicide Roundup, has long been the poster child for shoddy regulation by both the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). In a study published June 1, 2023 in Environmental Health by Axel Mie and Christina Rudén, PhD, of Stockholm University and the Centre for Organic Food and Farming in Uppsala, the authors followed up on earlier work that documented deficiencies in information provided to European Union (EU) regulators by manufacturers. They identified nine studies on developmental neurotoxicity (DNT) that had been submitted to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) but were not disclosed to EU authorities. According to the research, seven of these studies would have “actual or potential regulatory impact.” According to the authors: “Of the nine undisclosed DNT studies, three were sponsored by Bayer and performed in their own laboratory. Three studies were sponsored by Syngenta and performed in their Central Toxicology Laboratory. One study each was sponsored by Nissan Chemicals and Ishihara Sangyo Kaisha (ISK), and these were performed at Huntingdon Life Sciences. For the remaining study, the sponsor and laboratory are unknown to us.” This study is a new example […]

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02
Jun

Scientists Identify 97 Pesticides and Chemical Pollutants in Study of Primate Population

(Beyond Pesticides, June 2, 2023) Scientists have identified 97 different types of pesticides and flame retardants in primate fecal samples, recently reporting their results in the journal Biology Letters. In Uganda’s Kibale National Park, researchers studied the chemical exposure of four species of primates (chimpanzees, Ugandan red colobus, olive baboons and red-tailed monkeys), adding to previous research on the subject. The chemicals demonstrate a measurable effect on primate growth and development, sparking considerable unease as to the future health of these critical species. This study shows how even within a protected national park, wildlife species are at risk from chemical pollution. According to advocates, the use of dangerous pesticides and flame retardants, therefore, must be entirely stopped in order to protect the future viability of wildlife species.  Scientists collected a total of 71 fecal samples from the four chosen species to measure levels of chemicals and hormones in a noninvasive manner. After sample analysis, researchers highlight three main groups of chemical pollutants: organochlorine pesticides (OCPs), brominated flame retardants (BFRs), and organophosphate esters (OPEs). Although in a protected area, wildlife species encounter humans through tourism, research, and human development surrounding the park. As these pesticides are so prevalent in areas of […]

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26
May

Study Shows 50% Decline in Butterfly Population Across the European Union, 1990-2011

(Beyond Pesticides, May 26, 2023)The use of pesticides in agriculture, transportation, and domestic settings has created a disastrous conflict for the human species. Two irreconcilable facts confront humans as they try to adapt to the consequences of earlier choices: One, industrial civilization came to believe that because some insects, fungi, and other organisms like to eat the same plants humans eat, humans can kill them with impunity; two, because some insects and other organisms are necessary to the health and reproduction of plants, humans need to protect them. At no point in history have people acknowledged that it is very difficult to kill the “bad” actors while protecting the “good” ones. There are not really two sides to the biological fact; rather, pesticides and biodiversity meet each other on a single plane, like a Möbius strip. Among the most dire effects of pesticides are their ruination of pollinators. Bees spring to mind as our primary pollinators, but they are by no means the only ones. Butterflies, often regarded as mere ornamental additions to a landscape, are actually significant pollinators themselves. Monarchs pollinate many flowers, including calendula and yarrow. Other butterflies pollinate dill, celery, fennel, cilantro, lettuce, peas, and basil, among […]

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19
May

Agricultural Pesticide Use the Primary Driver of Bird Declines in Europe

(Beyond Pesticides, May 19, 2023) Agricultural intensification is the leading factor driving declines in bird populations across Europe, according to research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) this week. Among all potential anthropogenic impacts, agricultural intensification, in particular pesticide and fertilizer use, was found to be more dramatic than forest alterations, urbanization, and climate change. “I don’t think a study has looked at all these factors in one go, in such a sophisticated fashion, correcting for one variable alongside another; and it comes out with a very clear message,” lead author Richard Gregory, PhD, of UK nonprofit The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, told The Guardian. Researchers utilized data dating back to the early-1980s, including annual bird surveys and national and supranational analyses, as well as information on land use cover, farm inputs, and temperature changes within the time frame. Bird habitat and ecological traits were also considered in the context of declines, and a statistical analysis aided researchers in capturing trends over time. Results confirmed that birds are overall experiencing significant declines in Europe, with data recording 25% losses in bird abundance since 1980. However, certain groups of birds are faring worse […]

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17
May

Efficacy and Health Issues Stop Release of Genetically Engineered Mosquitoes in California; Florida Continues

(Beyond Pesticides, May 17 2023) British biotechnology company Oxitec is withdrawing its application to release billions of genetically engineered mosquitoes in California, according to a recent update from the California Department of Pesticide Regulation. The withdrawal is a victory for environmental and health campaigners concerned about the release of a novel mosquito that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had previously authorized under an “experimental use” permit. “Genetically engineered mosquitoes are an environmental justice issue for Tulare County residents who should not be human experiments,” said Angel Garcia, codirector of the statewide coalition Californians for Pesticide Reform and Tulare County resident in a press release. “We are already impacted by some of the worst pollution problems in the state and deserve prior informed consent to being part of an open-air biopesticide experiment. Ahead of any future proposal for genetically engineered insects, DPR needs to have robust regulations in place that protect community members, and meaningful, inclusive public participation in any decision making.”     Oxitec began releasing its GE mosquitoes over a decade ago, first introducing the insects in the Brazilian town of Itaberaba. The company has made efforts to launch its mosquitoes in the United States, likely as a way […]

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15
May

Allowance of “Forever” or “Legacy” Chemicals Causes Insurmountable Multi-Generational Poisoning

(Beyond Pesticides, May 15, 2023) Say “legacy contaminant” or “forever chemical” and most people today think “PFAS” (perfluoroalkyl substances), but PFAS are just the latest persistent toxic chemicals recognized as presenting an alarmingly difficult cleanup problem. Fortunately, steps are being taken by governments and businesses to eliminate use of PFAS. (Organic farmers concerned about the integrity of their products have been leaders in these efforts.) Although government officials often devote considerable energy and resources to cleaning up contamination, the continued manufacturing of these chemicals and their release into the environment creates a futile situation. The U.S. is a signatory to the 2001 Stockholm Convention, which provides an international framework for moving persistent organic pollutants out of commerce, but the U.S. Senate never ratified it.     Ask your Senators to ratify the Stockholm convention. Tell EPA that persistent toxic pesticides must be considered to pose an “unreasonable risk to the environment under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA),” which must result in cancellation of their registrations.  PFAS contamination is just the latest chapter of a very old story. Legacy contamination of our bodies and the environment is partly a result of a slow piecemeal approach to eliminating these toxic chemicals. […]

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12
May

Persistent Pesticides and Other Chemicals Have Made “Legacy” a Dirty Word as “Forever” Chemicals

(Beyond Pesticides, May 12, 2023) With the growth of chemical-intensive land management over the last century, the world has been held captive by pesticide companies. For part of that time, it could be said the modern society has suffered from Stockholm Syndrome, a theory about abusive relationships in which one party exerts power over the other using threats, fear, and lies and the victim comes to depend on the perpetrator emotionally. During the so-called “Green Revolution” (circa 1945-1985), the world came to depend on vast amounts of fertilizers and herbicides, insecticides, and fungicides. Many people believed that food, clothing, and shelter made from naturally-occurring materials such as fruit, flax and wood could not be provided to the world without pesticides. It seemed that science and commerce could indefinitely raise the standard of living around the world, perhaps leading to world peace. This is not what happened. Soon observers noticed the harmful effects of many pesticides, including their persistence in the environment, their tendency to accumulate in the bodies of humans and wildlife, and their influence on the risk of contracting many diseases, from cancer to asthma—not to mention the Darwinian inevitability of pest resistance. By the turn of the 20th […]

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02
May

Europe Moves to Disclose and Restrict Endocrine Disruptors, While U.S. Rejects Action

(Beyond Pesticides, May 2, 2023) On April 20, the European Commission’s new rules on endocrine disrupting chemicals took effect. Called “Classification, Labelling & Packaging” (CLP), the rules create four new hazard categories for endocrine disruptors. The categories range from “suspected of causing” or “may cause” endocrine disruption in the environment to “suspected of causing” or “may cause” endocrine disruption in humans. After a transition period, users will have to indicate on labels and packaging if a substance falls into any of the hazard classes. All actors in the supply chain are obligated to provide the information to every downstream participant. The  new CLP rules, implementing a 2022 measure adopted by the European Commission and then the European Parliament, also specify a minimum font size for the hazard information and for the first time include standards for labeling in online commerce and in places where customers use refillable containers to transport, store, and use the chemicals. According to the EU Directorate-General for the Environment: “The new hazard classes are the result of extensive scientific discussions and will provide easier access to information to all users of such chemicals, notably consumers, workers and businesses. They allow further action to address and mitigate […]

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18
Apr

France’s Drinking Water Contaminated with Toxic Fungicide Chlorothalonil, Banned in EU but Widely Used in U.S.

(Beyond Pesticides, April 18, 2023) Health officials in France are alerting the public that a majority of drinking water samples tested by the government contain the presence of the highly toxic fungicide chlorothalonil. The findings highlight a stark divide between regulations and public health management in the European Union and United States. While EU member states have banned this chemical and are working to understand and address lingering effects, tens of millions of pounds of chlorothalonil continue to be sprayed throughout the U.S. annually. French officials say they conducted this research after researchers in Switzerland found evidence of the fungicide in drinking water. A few years ago, Swiss scientists released a report showing Evian bottled water, touted for its claims of purity, was found to contain measurable levels of chlorthalonil.  “The fact that even the Evian springs in the French Alps, which are hardly affected by humans, contain pesticide residues is alarming and shows the far too careless handling of these substances,” Roman Wiget, president of the international drinking water association AWBR told the German-language Swiss weekly at the time. The EU banned uses of chlorothalonil in 2019, due to concerns over water contamination, the effects of such contamination on fish […]

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07
Apr

The Longstanding Hazards of U.S. Pesticide Exportation Exposed (Again) by Petition to EPA

(Beyond Pesticides, April 7, 2023) A  petition to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) implores the agency to halt the practice of allowing pesticides banned in the U.S. to be exported to other countries without any consent from relevant governmental authorities in those nations. The two petitioners—the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) and the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL)—are focusing on a longstanding practice of U.S. pesticide manufacturers and brokers, who sell toxic pesticide products that fail to qualify for EPA registration domestically to entities nearly anywhere in the world (except where the products are specifically prohibited). As Beyond Pesticides has noted, this is a dangerous and environmentally unjust practice and has for decades urged Congress and EPA to forbid it. According to the CIEL press release on the matter, the petition was motivated by the reality that banned or voluntarily withdrawn pesticides “are routinely exported to countries that often have limited resources or capacity to assess and regulate chemical risks,” and that the “practice has directly fueled the influx of extremely hazardous pesticides to countries in the Global South, where they disproportionately harm Indigenous peoples and vulnerable and marginalized communities.” The organizations emphasize that, for example, more than four-fifths […]

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05
Apr

Mayan Beekeepers Implicating Bayer/Monsanto in Die-Off of 300,000+ Bees, Harming Their Livelihood

(Beyond Pesticides, April 5, 2023) A collective of Mayan beekeepers (Colectivo de Comunidades Mayas) in Mexico are implicating chemical industry giant Bayer/Monsanto in a massive die-off of more than 300,000 bees among their combined apiaries. According to Mexico News Daily, the total value of losses represent a staggering $663,000 U.S. dollars (12 million pesos). The incident is the latest instance of the pesticide  and agrichemical industry setting up shop in a local community and wrecking the health of the local ecology. Mayan beekeepers explain that Bayer/Monsanto recently started operations on a ranch near Crucero Oxá in the southern Mexican state of Campeche. A local businessman placed the 50 hectare ranch on loan to the company. Since that arrangement, the company has aerially sprayed row crops like corn and soy with undisclosed chemicals. “One of Bayer’s engineers or technicians allowed us to take samples from one of their crops after the bees started to die,” said beekeeper José Manuel Poot Chan, to the newspaper La Jornada Maya. “We are exhausting all possible legal instances, while members of the Welfare Ministry already came to offer humanitarian social aid to cover part of the damages.” Beekeepers suspect that the company is using the […]

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13
Mar

United Nations and White House Calls for Action to Protect the Oceans

(Beyond Pesticides, March 13, 2023) The United Nations has just announced on March 4, 2023, an agreement on a new high seas treaty. The treaty, which must be adopted by member states and then ratified by at least 60 countries to take effect could be a critical development for meeting the UN’s COP15 “30 by 30” goal of protecting 30% of the world’s land and sea by 2030 to slow and arrest global biodiversity losses. The treaty represents a step toward implementation of President Biden’s “America the Beautiful Initiative” set in 2021, proclaiming “the first-ever national conservation goal” established by a President –a goal of conserving at least 30 percent of U.S. lands and waters by 2030.” However, he U.S. has a poor track record on approval of UN environmental treaties; approval requires a two-thirds majority affirmative vote in the Senate, and failure on that would block a Presidential signature and ratification. Meanwhile, a report just reissued by an international coalition of scientists led by Boston College’s Global Public Health Program and Global Observatory on Planetary Health and the Centre Scientifique de Monaco documents the widespread and growing pollution of the ocean. The full report, “Human Health and Ocean Pollution,” is […]

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10
Mar

193 Countries in the United Nations Approve Treaty to Stop the Oceans from Dying

(Beyond Pesticides, March 10, 2023) Following years of discussions and negotiations, 193 United Nations member countries have just approved — for the first time — a draft treaty for protection of the globe’s “high seas” and their denizens. The March 4 adoption of the draft marks the achievement of a potential legal framework for such protections, but is also the beginning of “a long journey to ensure the world’s oceans are adequately protected for future generations,” according to coverage by NewScientist. As research out of Boston College identifies, our oceans are badly polluted by multiple substances — including pesticides and other agricultural runoff; industrial and petrochemical waste; and the synthetic chemicals embedded in plastics — that threaten human health. The treaty, which must be adopted by member states and then ratified by at least 60 countries to take effect could be a critical development for meeting the COP15 “30 by 30” goal of protecting 30% of the world’s land and sea by 2030 to slow and arrest global biodiversity losses. Beyond Pesticides has long covered the ecological harms of ocean pollution.  The treaty represents a step toward implementation of President Biden’s 2021 “America the Beautiful Initiative,” proclaiming “the first-ever national conservation goal” established […]

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06
Mar

Take Action: Farmworker Protections Fall Short

(Beyond Pesticides, March 6, 2023) After the Trump EPA was blocked from weakening the application exclusion zone (AEZ) provisions for protecting farmworkers, the rules reverted to the Obama era rules. Now, EPA proposes to reaffirm part of that rule, while accepting some of the weakening amendments from the Trump administration. Tell EPA to strengthen pesticide rules to protect farmworkers. Tell President Biden to sign the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families.    EPA’s Worker Protection Standards (WPS) are rules that govern labor safety standards within federal pesticide law (the Federal Insecticide Fungicide and Rodenticide Act, or FIFRA). Farmworkers are not covered for toxic chemical exposure by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and WPS have long been criticized by farmworker, labor, and health advocates for providing insufficient protections for farmworkers, their children and communities. Under the WPS, AEZs are buffer zones where people are not allowed to enter during the course of a pesticide application. Like all buffer zones, they are designed to allow application of toxic pesticides while providing a nominal degree of protection. Pesticides drift long distances when being applied and they […]

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08
Feb

Garden Pesticide Use Harms Local Bird Populations, Study Authors Say “We Should Simply Ban These Poisons”

(Beyond Pesticides, February 8, 2023) Spraying pesticides around one’s garden negatively impacts local bird populations, according to research published by scientists at the University of Sussex, UK in Science of the Total Environment. Although this reasoning sounds common sense to those versed in the works of Rachel Carson, it underscores the immense importance of carrying on the legacy of her work and continuing to educate the public about the ongoing dangers posed by modern pesticides. As the study authors write, “Overall, our study shows that garden bird abundance and richness is strongly influenced by both extrinsic and intrinsic factors, and suggests that garden management, particularly regarding pesticide use, has a significant effect on bird life.” Researchers collected data by partnering with the British Trust for Ornithology, which conducts annual citizen-science counts of bird populations in UK gardens. Nearly 24,000 residents participate in the survey, which also includes information about the urbanization level surrounding their gardens, and other habitat characteristics. A group of these volunteers were provided with a questionnaire about their pesticide practices between 2020-2021, recording information on how often the pesticides were applied, as well as the pesticide brand name. After removing incomplete or unusable data, 615 individual gardens […]

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22
Dec

Groups Again Call for Urgent Action to Eliminate Pesticide Industry’s Influence at the United Nations

(Beyond Pesticides, December 22, 2022) International health and environmental groups submitted an urgent letter to  the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) late last month demanding “greater transparency and accountability” through termination of the agency’s two-year-old partnership with CropLife International (CLI), a global trade association representing the world’s biggest pesticide manufacturers. Addressed to FAO Deputy Director Beth Bechdol ahead of FAO Council 171 session in Rome and COP15, the letter outlines a unique opportunity for the organization to lead the phaseout of fossil-fuel based food systems and use of agrochemicals while upholding the agency’s responsibility to act in response to conflicts of interest and human rights violations.   The original Letter of Intent (LOI), signed between CLI President and CEO Guilia Di Tommaso and FAO Director-General Qu Dongyu in October 2020, framed the partnership as a means to ensure humanity’s freedom from hunger while advancing Sustainable Development Goals. However, according to PAN Europe Policy Officer Manon Rouby, “While the private sector has been working with FAO for years, this official agreement with CropLife directly threatens FAO’s work on supporting farmers in the transition towards agroecology, while reducing the harms of synthetic pesticides worldwide. With CropLife members being the largest agrichemical […]

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09
Dec

UN Again Calls for Action as Biodiversity Deterioration Worsens Worldwide

(Beyond Pesticides, December 9, 2022) Representatives from more than 195 countries have descended on Montreal for the December 7 start of COP15 — the United Nation’s (UN’s) Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). The UN Development Programme sets out the context for this summit: “Despite ongoing efforts, biodiversity is deteriorating worldwide, and this decline is projected to worsen with business-as-usual. The loss of biodiversity comes at a great cost for human well-being and the global economy.” Beyond Pesticides has documented many aspects of this decline in biodiversity, and the implications for ecosystem, human, and planetary health. In this COP15 context, the data points to the importance of broad adoption of organic regenerative / agroecological systems, which can very significantly address the interactive health, biodiversity, and climate crises. Close on the heels of November’s UN COP27 summit on climate, COP15 has commenced, with the goal of adopting a post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework (CBF) to provide “a strategic vision and a global roadmap for the conservation, protection, restoration, and sustainable management of biodiversity and ecosystems for the next decade.” The first such summit was called the Convention on Biological Diversity and was held in 1993. Out of […]

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07
Dec

Developed Countries with 18% of World Population Responsible for 49% of Pesticide Hazard Footprint

(Beyond Pesticides, December 7, 2022) A recent study from Australian researchers has investigated pesticide use through an unusual lens — by quantifying the environmental footprints of pesticide use in 82 countries and territories (and eight regions), and then concluding that international trade drives significant pesticide use. The researchers identify the U.S., Brazil, and Spain as the biggest exporters of the “pesticide hazard load” associated with those environmental footprints, and China, the United Kingdom, and Germany as the top three importers. They lay responsibility for this hazard load at the feet of the unsustainable intensification of chemical-intensive agriculture (via synthetic pesticide and fertilizer use during the past 50 years), and ratcheting consumer demand for goods and services. Indeed, they conclude that the latter, in “developed” countries, is responsible for a substantial portion of the pesticide pollution in other countries. The study authors note that previous “efforts to quantify the environmental footprints of global production and consumption have covered a wide range of indicators, including greenhouse gas emissions, water scarcity, biodiversity, nitrogen pollution, acidification, land use, and others, but they have largely missed . . . represent[ing] the environmental pressures exerted by pesticide use.” The researchers set themselves the task of quantifying […]

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27
Jul

Monarchs Listed as Endangered by International Safety Group, while U.S. Fails to Take Meaningful Action

(Beyond Pesticides, July 26, 2022) As monarch butterfly numbers continue to drop throughout the United States, an international conservation group is listing the migratory monarch butterfly as endangered. The move by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) places pressure on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to prioritize protections for this rapidly dwindling iconic species. “Today’s Red List update highlights the fragility of nature’s wonders, such as the unique spectacle of monarch butterflies migrating across thousands of kilometres,” said Bruno Oberle, PhD, IUCN Director General. “To preserve the rich diversity of nature we need effective, fairly governed protected and conserved areas, alongside decisive action to tackle climate change and restore ecosystems. In turn, conserving biodiversity supports communities by providing essential services such as food, water and sustainable jobs.” Migratory monarch butterflies are under threat from a range of factors harming both their western and eastern populations. Logging and deforestation have destroyed much of their overwintering grounds in Mexico and California. Climate change has subjected the butterflies to temperature anomalies and extremes, severe weather, and wildfires. Herbicide use has eliminated millions of acres of breeding habitat by killing off milkweed plants that monarchs require to rear their […]

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25
Jul

Help Stop Collapse of Ocean Life, Part of the Biodiversity Decline Crisis

(Beyond Pesticides, July 25, 2022) We have seen pesticide use, habitat destruction, and climate change result in dramatic losses of insect biodiversity and biomass—an “insect apocalypse” that is resulting in cascading impacts on other species that depend on them. A preliminary report on two years of water sampling from sites in the Atlantic Ocean near the United Kingdom (UK), by a team from the Global Oceanic Environmental Survey Foundation (GOES), suggests that plankton populations may have plummeted by 90% since baseline 1940 levels. Just as insects are crucial as the basis of terrestrial ecosystems, plankton are the base of aquatic and marine food chains. The authors of the report conclude, “An environmental catastrophe is unfolding. We believe humanity could adapt to global warming and extreme weather changes. It is our view that humanity will not survive the extinction of most marine plants and animals.” Tell EPA to protect our oceans and our lives. Tell Congress to ensure that EPA does its job. Action is needed now to stop the ongoing plankton apocalypse. Researchers blame chemical pollution from pesticides, farm fertilizers, and oil spills in the water. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has responsibilities under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act […]

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15
Jul

UN: Short-Term Economic Gains Harming Well-Being and Integrity of Nature

(Beyond Pesticides, July 15, 2022) Nature is too often sacrificed to a global and outsized focus on short-term profits and economic growth, according to a new report by the United Nations Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). The report warns that policy making, broadly, does not reflect the value of Nature’s roles in supporting human life and activity, never mind all the peripheral benefits (aesthetic, emotional, spiritual) people derive from the natural world. The report calls on leaders in all sectors to integrate the contributions of Nature in development and deployment of policy in a more-comprehensive way — as Le Monde writes, “beyond being ‘a huge factory.’” Beyond Pesticides offers a seminal reminder from Fred Kirschenmann, PhD: the prevailing philosophy of maximum efficient production for short-term economic return at the expense of Nature causes havoc in the world and will not work in the future; instead, we must develop a broad ecological conscience that guides all that we do. The report’s Summary for Policymakers was approved on July 11 by representatives from 139 Member States; the report itself is the culmination of four years of effort by 82 collaborating scientists and experts from multiple disciplines. The same member […]

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