Ecology

Blue Helmets in Haiti: Reminders of Unmet Needs

Hello from Port au Prince! I've just returned to Haiti for the first time since May 2004 and wanted to share my impressions with you.

A Message for Monsanto: Beet It!

It's safe to say that beets have never been a hot topic in the U.S. financial world.

But now a group of more than 300 socially-concerned institutional investors is asking consumers to urge major food corporations not to buy genetically engineered sugar beets. The Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) has launched a web site that helps consumers write effective letters to corporations like Kraft and Heinz about their desire not to see Monsanto's soon-to-be-released "Roundup Ready" sugar beets used in food products.

Is Corn Leading Us Towards Social Change or Ecological Disaster?

This recent article by our friend and colleague George Naylor -- an Iowa corn farmer and the outgoing president of the National Family Farm Coalition (NFFC) -- speaks to all the reasons why we need to fight for Food Sovereignty and against huge agribusinesses here in the United States today!

Take a look and let us know what you think.

The Story of Stuff

Grassroots International is pleased to highlight "The Story of Stuff ," a newly-released, highly informative and entertaining Web video that documents the destructive impacts of consumerism and waste. The video features activist Annie Leonard taking viewers through the process of creating a consumer good - from the extraction of materials to the disposal. Check it out but beware: Your trash will never look the same.

Fueling Disaster Report: A Community Food Security Perspective on Agrofuels

The new magic bullet for our energy woes - industrial agrofuels - is already exacting heavy costs on food security and rural communities around the world. The anticipated increase in agrofuel production could lead to catastrophic impacts on the world's ability to feed itself.

In this report, Grassroots International, the Community Food Security Coalition, World Hunger Year, Food First and several other food justice organizations tackle these impacts and identify actions that would buffer communities from increased hunger, poverty, and environmental degradation.

Biting the Hands that Feed Us

"Punjabis are poisoning themselves" declared the Economist not too long ago, quipping that the poster child of India's green revolution is now "in the throes of a grey revolution." We take heart that the Economist, a cheerleader for "free trade" and neoliberal economic policies, is raising questions about policies that have caused massive environmental degradation and serious public health consequences for India's bread basket state.

Activists Attacked in Brazil: Update

Isabella Kenfield and Roger Burbach of Center for the Study of the Americas have written an article with more details about a vicious, deadly attack on activists from the Via Campesina and the Landless Workers Movement (MST) in Parana, Brazil on October 21.

A peaceful protest against genetically-modified seed testing turned into an a bloody shooting that resulted in the death of a local leader and the wounding of eight other activists i.

The gunmen, who were carrying illegal firearms including automatic weapons, worked for a security company hired by Syngenta, one of the biggest producers of seeds and agricutural chemicals in the world.

World Food Day: The Right to Food IS Food Sovereignty

More and more people around the world are taking up the call by peasant and small farmers, indigenous peoples and pastoralists for food sovereignty as an expression of, and a way to realize the right to food. Earlier this year members of the Via Campesina and other organizations met in Mali to put in motion an action plan for achieving food sovereignty. On October 16th, World Food Day, the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) endorsed food sovereignty as the right to food. As IFOAM notes, food sovereignty as the right to food means the right to feed oneself as opposed to the right to be fed.

Protecting Threatened Livestock and Seed Strains in the Face of Global Extinctions

SciDec.net has a story this morning about a new report from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Nairobi-based International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) says that over-reliance on high yield, factory-farming style breeds is causing the extinction of an average of one local breed of animals per month. Meanwhile, in the last 100 years we've lost 75 percent of crop diversity.

Throwing the Precautionary Principle to the Wind?

You might think that when a highly acclaimed UC Berkeley integrative biologist brings to the manufacturer’s and regulator’s attention the troubling matter of ovaries growing in the testes of frogs, you’d be inclined take precautionary steps. Not so with the agri-chemical giant, Syngenta and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

For over two decades, Dr. Tyrone Hayes has studied amphibians and what effects environmental changes have on their development, growth, and reproduction. In 1997, he was part of a research team for the chemical company, Novartis, which eventually became Syngenta. Dr.