American Bird Conservancy / March 2013
First introduced in the 1990s in response to widespread pest resistance as well as health objections to older pesticides, the neonicotinoid insecticides quickly sailed to the top slot in global pesticide markets. Now the most widely-used insecticides in the world, it is difficult to find pest control commodities that do not contain one or several of the neonicotinoid insecticides. California alone has registered nearly 300 neonicotinoid products.
Neonicotinoids’ toxicity to bees and other insects has brought them the most attention so far and has dominated recent concerns of regulatory institutions worldwide. In the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency’s registration review of the neonicotinoids is focused on the threat to insect pollinators. The seriousness of this issue should not be underestimated, as one-third of the U.S. diet depends on these insect pollinators.
But much more is at stake. The environmental persistence of the neonicotinoids, their propensity for runoff and for groundwater infiltration, and their cumulative and largely irreversible mode of action in invertebrates raise environmental concerns that go well beyond bees.
This report reviews the effects on avian species and concludes that neonicotinoids are lethal to birds as well as to the aquatic systems on which they depend. A single corn kernel coated with a neonicotinoid can kill a songbird. Even a tiny grain of wheat or canola treated with the oldest neonicotinoid, imidacloprid, can poison a bird. As little as 1/10th of a corn seed per day during egg-laying season is all that is needed to affect reproduction with any of the neonicotinoids registered to date.
[ FULL REPORT ]
Resilience / Brent Blackwelder / 21 May 2013
We chose to examine Canada in part because of its history of compassion and global concern. Canada also has abundant natural ecosystems, lots of land and fresh water, and a relatively small population. This combination of assets puts Canadians in a better position than most to set policies for achieving a sustainable economy.
The report card, scheduled for release in June by Foundation Earth, grades the administration of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, as well as the provinces of Alberta and British Columbia, on key actions and policies in economics, ecology, and equity. It will present grades in sixteen categories.
Canada has the potential to achieve high marks across all categories (in fact, the report card highlights initiatives around the world that show what can be done to earn high grades). But much to our chagrin, we found that instead of taking actions to enhance the health of people and the planet, Canada has been reverting to the crass and outdated ways of cowboy economics: “exploit now, answer questions later.” The Harper administration receives failing grades in most of the sixteen categories, while Alberta and British Columbia do only slightly better.
[ FULL ARTICLE HERE ]
Straight Goods News / Jill Richardson / 21 May 2013
Planning a summer barbecue? When you buy meat for a festive meal, watch out for some uninvited guests. An alarming amount of American meat harbours not just pathogens, but “superbugs” — antibiotic-resistant bacteria. For now, you’d better cook your meat well enough to kill the germs.
But there might be hope for safer alternatives in the future. Consumer advocates and lawmakers are trying to push changes that make these superbugs a thing of the past. That’s never been so important because industrialized agriculture delivers efficiency, productivity, and profit at the expense of food safety.
[ FULL ARTICLE HERE ]
This law that’s been in place in Idaho for 30 years (and is now being considered elsewhere) says a cyclist may proceed through a stop sign after slowing or stopping to verify that there is no conflicting vehicular or pedestrian traffic.
State of Idaho
49-720. STOPPING — TURN AND STOP SIGNALS. (1) A person operating a bicycle or human-powered vehicle approaching a stop sign shall slow down and, if required for safety, stop before entering the intersection. After slowing to a reasonable speed or stopping, the person shall yield the right-of-way to any vehicle in the intersection or approaching on another highway so closely as to constitute an immediate hazard during the time the person is moving across or within the intersection or junction of highways, except that a person after slowing to a reasonable speed and yielding the right-of-way if required, may cautiously make a turn or proceed through the intersection without stopping.
[ SOURCE HERE ]
Eastern Ontario Agri-News / Tom Van Dusen / May, 2013 – Vol. 37, No. 5
While there’s been a revival of interest in quality nutrition through such movements as Local Food, it’s not necessarily filtering down to young people. As with most concepts, the best place to reach them about quality food is in the schools with programs such as home ec.
It’s indeed worth the effort because basic food preparation is a ticket to better health and reduced demand on communal and outrageously expensive treatment for such conditions as heart disease, high blood pressure and Type 2 diabetes. The agricultural industry that grows the food has a vested interest in making sure future generations understand how to best prepare and consume it.
Those are among points being made in the [Ontario Home Economics Association] release in the form of an open letter to Ontario Federation of Agriculture president Mark Wales calling for a greater emphasis in Ontario schools on “food literacy” and culinary skills.
[ FULL ARTICLE HERE ]
Mother Earth News / Barbara Pleasant / June/July 2010
If you live near or often spend time in a wooded area, blood-sucking ticks are part of your world. When tick populations rise in July and August, you’ll again feel those familiar tickling sensations on your legs and neck, and again drag the dog into the sunlight so you can spot and remove those darn ticks. During this process, you may be wondering whether there are better ways to survive tick season, especially if you don’t want to use DEET (a chemical insecticide that may cause eye irritation, rash or other side effects) on yourself or veterinarian-grade pesticides on your pets. Even if you do use chemicals in your tick management plan, it’s still a good idea to back them up with sound natural strategies.
[ FULL ARTICLE HERE ]