ESSAY OF THE WEEK

Five Reasons to Boycott Starbucks

Starbucks. It’s the largest coffee chain in the world, with 20,100 stores, and annual sales of $14.9 billion. CEO Howard Schultz is worth $1.6 billion.

It’s a fortune built for Schultz and Starbucks’ shareholders, by consumers.

But what if consumers stopped buying Starbucks? And instead, bought their coffee from companies that promote fair trade organic coffee, and fair trade cappuccinos made with organic milk?

We’ve been pressuring Starbucks for 12 years, ever since politely asking the company, in a 2002 letter, to change its policies and practices around organics and fair trade.

Apart from one consumer victory ---in 2007, when in response to consumer pressure, Starbucks agreed to stop using milk containing Monsanto's Bovine Growth Hormone---the company has largely ignored consumer demand for organic, non-GMO drinks and snacks.

It’s time to ratchet up the pressure. The OCA is joining with GMO Inside to ask Starbucks (again) to switch to organic milk. Until Starbucks switches to organic and GMO-free, the company remains on our boycott list.

In the company’s 2013 Annual Report, Schultz says, “I hope you will agree that we are achieving our goals in ways in which we can all be extremely proud.”

Here are five reasons we think Starbucks has nothing to be proud of.

Read the essay

Photo Credit: Michael Sarver via Compfight cc
 
 

ACTION ALERT

Make Mine Organic!

Starbucks uses more than 93 million gallons of milk per year, according to 2011 figures (and the company has only grown since then).

That’s enough milk to fill 155 Olympic-sized swimming pools.

Too bad it’s not organic.

Starbucks likes to tout the fact that since it stopped selling milk that contains Monsanto’s rBGH growth hormone, it uses “GMO-free” milk.

That may be true. But by its refusal to switch to USDA certified organic milk, Starbucks is promoting the GMO agriculture model—because dairy cows are fed a steady diet of GMO feed, including corn, soy, alfalfa, and cotton seed.

That’s an unhealthy diet for the animals. And an unsustainable model for agriculture.

TAKE ACTION: Tell Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz: Switch to Organic Milk!

Call Starbucks at 1-800-782-7282

Post on Starbucks facebook page

Photo Credit: Linh H. Nguyen via Compfight cc

 
 

ACTION ALERT

Deadly Duo

What’s more poisonous than Dow’s 2,4-D “Agent Orange” herbicide or Monsanto’s Roundup?

Enlist Duo, an herbicide made of both 2,4-D and Roundup.

Last week, the OCA submitted more than 19,000 signatures to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) asking regulators to reject Dow’s request for approval of 2,4-D for use on the company’s new Enlist brand corn and soy, genetically engineered to tolerate massive amounts of 2.4-D.

But Dow is also asking for approval of a new, even deadlier herbicide. Enlist Duo uses a combination of 2,4-D, one of the toxic ingredients in Agent Orange, and Roundup, whose key active ingredient, glyphosate, is linked to a host of ills, including birth defects, infertility, allergies and cancer.

TAKE ACTION: DEADLINE JUNE 30: Tell the EPA, Don’t let Dow poison our food with its “Deadly Duo” of Agent Orange and Roundup herbicides.

 
 

SUPPORT THE OCA & OCF

Things Are Moving

“To Build a Movement, You’ve Gotta Get Moving.” – Jim Hightower

Jim Hightower, one of this country’s most dedicated populists, recently wrote about a North Carolina-based coalition, called Moral Monday. In April the group stormed the state capitol advocating for workers, civil rights and other ”people’s” issues, and against “unfettered corporate greed.”

More than 175 communities in New York have fracking bans on the books, thanks to the work of Helen and David Slottje, attorneys who have traveled the state, advising ordinary citizens on how to pass and enforce fracking bans in their communities.

This week, the city of Seattle passed a $15/hr. minimum wage law, thanks to the work of a grassroots group, 15 Now. How did the group overcome its foes in the corporate world? They met weekly, held mass conferences and debates, organized rallies, and engaged thousands of people in the fight.

All over the country, people are moving. And winning.

You’re winning, too. In the past two months, Vermont has stood up to Monsanto and passed a strong GMO labeling law. In Oregon, citizens in two counties defied a state law against passing GMO crop bans, and passed them anyway. Now, the battle for a GMO labeling statewide citizens’ initiative in Oregon is about to heat up.

We all know by now that corporations will stop at nothing to protect profits. And politicians, and agencies like the EPA, USDA and FDA are, by and large, not on our side.

But if we stick together, if we keep moving, we will win. Please consider a donation today to keep us on the move. Thank you!

Donate to the Organic Consumers Association (tax-deductible, helps support our work on behalf of organic standards, fair trade and public education)

Donate to the Organic Consumers Fund (non-tax-deductible, but necessary for our legislative efforts in Oregon, Vermont and other states)

 
 

ACTION ALERT

Extreme Deception

When a company known for its ecofriendly cleaning products decides to use ingredients derived from a process that’s been referred to as “extreme genetic engineering,” it’s time for the that company to clean up its act.

Ecover, a Belgium-based company that manufactures “ecologically sound” cleaning products, said it will introduce a new ingredient, algal oil, into its Ecover and Method brands. Algal oil is made using synthetic biology, a new, unregulated form of genetic engineering. The oil is derived from a highly novel bioengineered algae created in labs, using synthetic DNA.

Here’s how Tom Philpott describes synbio:

Synthetic biology—or "synbio" for short—is the stuff of science fiction brought to life. Whereas standard-issue biotechnology involves inserting a gene from one organism into another, synbio entails stuff like inserting computer-generated DNA sequences into living cells: i.e, creating new organisms altogether.

If that weren’t “creepy” enough, organisms made using synthetic biology are designed to reproduce—and once they are released into the environment, there’s no calling them back. Yet there has been little to no testing done on the impact those organisms might have on your health, or the environment.

Still, they’re coming soon to your “natural” cleaning product. And your ice cream.

Read the press release

Learn more

TAKE ACTION: Tell Ecover and Method: Synthetic Biology Is Not ‘Natural’

 
 

VIDEO OF THE WEEK

The Meat Racket

Where does most of the country’s chicken come from? Remote, rural communities, far from the gaze of the national media. Communities where farmers live on the edge of poverty.

The author of "Meat Racket: The Secret Takeover of America’s Food Business” reveals how the consolidation and industrialization of the meat industry has created a system where farmers are paid less, consumers pay more and companies like Tyson Foods and Smithfield rake in the profits.

Watch the video

TAKE ACTION: Tell Congress to stop the Tyson Foods Anti-Farmer Act!

 
 

CLIMATE CHANGE

Blowin’ in the Wind?

It’s being called the “boldest single step the U.S. has taken to fight global warming.”

The Obama Administration this week proposed a plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions by setting stricter new limits for carbon emissions from gas and coal-fired power plants.

We’re all for doing whatever it takes to avert a global warming disaster. But it’s going to take more than just reducing the amount of carbon spewing out of power plants.

Conservative estimates show that conventional, industrial food and farming account for roughly 35 percent of all carbon emissions. Deforestation, driven mainly by cattle ranching, palm oil production and GMO grains, accounts for another 20 percent. What’s more, sustainable, regenerative agriculture has the ability to take CO2 out of the atmosphere and store it in the soil—where it’s needed to grow healthy plants.

When it comes to climate change, the answer isn’t necessarily blowin’ in the wind—it’s also sitting right under our feet.

Read the OCA press release

 
 

LITTLE BYTES

Essential Reading for the Week

Top Tips to Decrease Your Breast Cancer Risk

Monsanto vs. The Monarchs: The Fight to Save the World’s Most Stunning Butterfly Migration

Oregon's GMO Sellout

A National Call to Link Arms for Democracy

Differences in Tilled and No Till Soils - A Demonstration

How to Get the Best Bang for Your Buck When Buying Organic

Some of the Most Toxic Sunscreens and Safer Options

 
Please forward this publication to family and friends, place it on web sites,
print it, duplicate it and post it freely. Knowledge is power!

Organic Bytes is a publication of Organic Consumers Association

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