On January 3, Mark Lynas, British author of several books on global warming including Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet, told a sold-out audience at the Oxford Farming Conference in Oxford, England, that he was sorry. Sorry that he’d maligned genetically modified (GM) crops. Sorry that he’d “helped to start the anti-GM movement.” Sorry that he’d “demonized” a technology that could be used to “benefit the environment.”
That’s right. An expert on global warming was now telling the world that genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and GM crops, with their billions of tons of pesticides and chemical fertilizers, with their large-scale monocultures that leave food crops vulnerable to drought, pests and disease, are good for the environment.
How did a journalist, well-known for his work on climate change, become an impassioned advocate and spokesperson for the biotech industry? And an instant media star in the process? Is Lynas just a slick self-promoter willing to say anything for attention? Or did he sell his soul to the biotech industry?
The next time you see Orville Redenbacher’s friendly face smiling back at you from the grocery shelf, remember this: Orville’s popcorn, yes, even his organic variety, is owned by ConAgra, which spent nearly $1.2 million to defeat Prop 37, the California Right to Know GMO labeling initiative.
ConAgra is one of the largest GMO-saturated junk food conglomerates in the world, with a long anti-health, anti-worker and anti-environment rap sheet. The company was also a major donor to the campaign to defeat a similar GMO labeling initiative, Measure 27, in Oregon in 2002. Don’t want your money going to defeat your right to know? Then don’t buy any ConAgra products, including its organic brands or its not-so-healthy Healthy Choice brand.
It just goes to show you what a little solidarity can accomplish. When United Natural Foods, Inc. (UNFI), the nation’s largest wholesale distributor of organic foods, treated workers badly the organic community circled the wagons. Under pressure from organic consumers, food co-ops and fair trade and food activists, UNFI settled a bitter two-month strike with union members, agreeing to reinstate 72 fired workers and raise workers’ pay by 17.75 percent over five years.
Thanks to everyone – from those of you who signed petitions or boycotted UNFI private-label products, to the food co-ops that stood up to the giant wholesaler – for your solidarity in demanding fair wages and decent working conditions for the people who grow, harvest, pack and deliver our food.
Who Will Save Our Soil, Our Air, Our Water . . . Our Food?
Another year, another State of the Union address. Plenty of talk about the economy and gun violence. Nary a word about the state of our climate, the destruction of our most precious natural resources: the air we breathe, the water we drink, the earth we live on. Resources essential to growing safe, healthful food.
Even as tens of thousands of grassroots activists, including a contingent from the OCA, prepare to march in Washington, D.C. this weekend to demand action on the impending climate crisis, hardly a word on this dire issue from our political leaders in Washington Tuesday night.
Who will save our soil and air, our water and food? People who are fed up with a system that allows biotech companies to destroy our soil and food with their pesticides and frankenfish schemes. People who are fed up with having no say in their own communities when factory farms, owned by mega-corporations, come into town to pollute their air and water, and make their children sick.
People like you. People like us. We will do this, from the grassroots up. We will lose some battles along the way, but with your help, we will overcome. This year, OCA will work with states to pass GMO labeling laws. And just as we made the dangers of GMOs a mainstream public health issue, we will wake up a sleeping public to the health, environmental and ethical issues of factory farms.
Help Spread Our Message: Cook Organic, Not the Planet!
Want to do something today to help reverse global warming? You can. By paying attention to what’s on the end of your fork. Factory farming is one of the biggest culprits in the climate change chaos. By boycotting meat, eggs and dairy products from factory farms, you can have an immediate impact on the climate crisis.
That’s the message OCA will bring to Washington D.C. on Sunday, Feb. 17, when we join tens of thousands of people, from more than 100 organizations, at what’s being billed as the largest climate rally ever. When Barack Obama was running for president, he said:
"As president, I would direct the Environmental Protection Agency to strictly monitor and regulate pollution from large factory farms, with tough fines for those that violate environmental standards. I also support efforts to provide more meaningful local control over these factory farms."
Can’t Make the Rally in DC? Make Your Own Climate Sign!
The web team at 350.org put together this sharable sign-maker that you can use to make a custom sign declaring your support for the Forward on Climate rally. To demonstrate our power to have a positive impact on climate change by switching to an organic diet, let's try to make as many "Organic Consumers for Climate Action" signs as possible by Feb. 17! And don’t forget to share your sign on facebook and twitter. Make your sign here
Workers Cry ‘No Fair!’ Products Are Certified Anyway
The Swiss-based Institute for Marketecology (IMO), which certifies companies using the “Fair for Life” label, doesn’t always play fair. And when Fair Trade certifiers don’t play fair, workers’ rights are compromised. Consumers are betrayed.
According to a report released this week by the Washington, DC-based International Labor Rights Forum (ILRF), the IMO bestowed its “Fair for Life” certification on Seattle-based Theo Chocolate, despite being informed by Theo workers that the company had hired an anti-union consultant and was violating the international labor standards promoted by Fair For Life during a union organizing campaign. That's not what we call "fair."
“We love farms. We love them so much we want to own them all! We want to persuade every potential partner farmer to forget all about that silly organic farming and get with us! On the GMO bandwagon!”
There’s an App for That!
Looking for sustainable food on the go? Want to compare notes on your favorite organic eateries with friends? There’s an app for that. And if you download it – for free – and enter the code OCA, you’ll be helping your favorite nonprofit. (That’s OCA, of course).
The GoPure mobile app and website lets you find sustainable food. It also allows you to contribute your two cents-worth to a growing food knowledge network. As an organic food advocate you can get insider access to the free app during its beta launch. Use GoPure to find restaurants that share your values of health and sustainability. Peek behind the scenes to see their sourcing. Nudge promising businesses to let you view their sustainable practices. And add your own slow food discoveries. For each “discovery” you add, GoPure will donate 10 cents to OCA. In addition, for every friend you invite to the app, a donation will be made to Food Corps to support healthy food in schools.
The Green PolkaDot Box is making history again! We’ve officially begun shipping fresh organic produce to doorsteps across America. Few people in the continental U.S. can say they live in an organic food desert now that this healthy, fresh option is available to almost every zip code.
To make things even more exciting - with a club or trial membership you can order a variety of beautiful Grass Fed Meats, Organic Dairy, Vegan alternatives, and your favorite organic frozen meals and foods.
This week only you can get 1lb of Grass Fed Ground Beef or a Vegan Celebration Roast added FREE on your $35 frozen order when you enter the coupon code: GRASSFED or CELEBRATION. Coupon expires Feb. 22, 2013. Enjoy shopping!
Green PolkaDot Box is one of the few, if not the only, online merchants that refuses to carry any genetically modified foods and ingredients.