Organic Bytes
Health, Justice and Sustainability News Tidbits with an Edge!
November 19, 2008 -  Issue 152
In This Issue
Alert of the Week:Tell President-Elect Obama:...Sack Vilsack for Secretary of Agriculture
Study of the Week:Pesticide Cocktails Cause 99% Mortality Rate in Frogs
Web Video of the Week- Organic Transitions:New Revolutionary Ride-Sharing Service
Web Forum Posting of the Week: Join the Heated Debate Over Thanksgiving Fare
Quote of the Week:New Study Confirms Genetically Engineered Food Damages Fertility
OCA Brings Consumer Comments to National Organic Standards Board Meeting
Startling Science Facts of the Week:Who Owns Nature?
Headlines and Articles of the Week
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Organic Consumers Association
Welcome to another exciting issue of Organic Bytes from the Organic Consumers Association.
Alert of the Week:
Tell President-Elect Obama:
Sack Vilsack for Secretary of Agriculture
Ten thousand organic consumers signed OCA's petition last week to Barack Obama, asking him to take a clear position in support of organic agriculture. Thanks to all who joined in to deliver this resounding message to the incoming administration. Unfortunately, it is now being widely reported that former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack is being considered for the Secretary of Agriculture position in the Obama Administration. Vilsack is a notorious cheerleader for genetically engineered crops and chemical and energy-intensive industrial agriculture--certainly no friend of organic food and farming. Tom Vilsack's appointment would represent a major disappointment for the Organic Consumers Association and its members. But there is still time to make your voice heard.

Take Action Here
Study of the Week:
Pesticide Cocktails Cause 99% Mortality Rate in Frogs
FrogsA new study in the journal Oecologia indicates that when pesticides mix in the environment, they form "chemical cocktails" that are more toxic than previously estimated. Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh discovered that when 10 of the world's most commonly used pesticides combine, as they regularly do in the environment, the chemicals caused an astounding 99 percent mortality in leopard frogs. According to the study abstract, "Wetland communities can be dramatically impacted by low concentrations of pesticides (both separate and combined) and these results offer important insights for the conservation of wetland communities."
Learn more
Web Video of the Week- Organic Transitions:
New Revolutionary Ride-Sharing Service
Organic Transitions OCA's new "Organic Transitions" campaign is focused on providing concerned readers with suggestions and tools for making those necessary household, cultural, and political changes that will enable us to survive peak oil, global climate change and economic crisis. This week's 'post-carbon' survival recipe addresses the problem of 800 million greenhouse gas belching cars and trucks around the world sucking up massive amounts of fuel to each carry an average (in the USA) of 1.6 people to their destination. Over 23% of all petroleum expenditures and greenhouse gas pollution in the US come from our personal car use. A five-seat car traveling with only a single driver is inherently inefficient, and yet 85% of the time, that's how cars travel in much of the world. The solution unfortunately is not to hold your breath until you and every driver in the world can afford a $30,000 plug-in 100 MPG electric hybrid, but rather to join up and try out the time-tested practices of ride-sharing and informal taxicabs and jitneys, now supercharged with 21st Century communications technology. Using a computer or cell phone, you can drastically reduce your carbon footprint and your transportation expenses by filling up those empty seats in your car with passengers heading in the same direction, or, if you don't have a car, you can hop a ride yourself and share the expenses. This is not pie-in-the-sky. It's already happening on college campus and community ride boards, online at Craigslist, and most notably in Ireland, where climate and environmental concerns and $10 a gallon gas have prompted drivers and passengers to tune into
Tune into the next transportation revolution here.
Web Forum Posting of the Week:
Join the Heated Debate Over Thanksgiving Fare
Thanksgiving There's a lot of discussion in OCA's web forum about the coming Thanksgiving holiday meal. One of the forum participant posted the following comment:
"This is my second year without turkey for Thanksgiving. It makes me sad because I love turkey. From what I've read, they inject poultry (using many needles) with a seaweed extract solution. It pumps up the chicken in weight and they can sell it for more. It can be anywhere from 18% to 30% solution. They also inject our red meats like the chuck. Kalsec seems to be a popular product to inject into meats. These are essential oils which many people with allergies cannot tolerate..."

Read the full posting and join the discussion here
Quote of the Week:
New Study Confirms Genetically Engineered Food Damages Fertility
Fertility "This work will do huge damage to the GM industry worldwide, since it shows that a crop -- Monsanto's maize line NK603 x MON810 -- which has been approved as safe by EFSA, and given consent for use in food and feed by the EC, is in fact dangerous to health.  It demonstrates that the approvals process is at best inadequate and at worst corrupt."
Dr. Brian John of GM Free Cymru speaking about a new study out of Austria confirming previous study results that indicate GM corn damages the reproductive system of laboratory rats.
Learn more
OCA Needs You!
Our Work Depends On Supporters
donateWe know times are tough for everyone right now. That's why the OCA continues to work for consumers, family farmers, our environment, and our most precious assets, our children. We want to continue fighting the good fight, as well as bring you Organic Bytes, but we need your donations to survive these financially difficult times. If you enjoy Organic Bytes and believe the world is a better place with OCA's nonprofit work, please consider donating today. Any size of donation is helpful and appreciated.

Donate Now!
OCA Brings Consumer Concerns to National Organic Standards Board Meeting
CowsThank you to all of you who sent us comments to share at the National Organic Standards Board meeting this week. Your passionate, well-reasoned and informed comments were just what the NOSB needed to hear! Alexis Baden-Mayer presented OCA's testimony on Monday. You can read the full testimony here.

In other organic standards news, the USDA National Organic Program is accepting comments on their proposed rule for organic livestock. You can read the proposed rule here.

Important issues on the horizon at the National Organic Standards Board include whether to continue to allow producers to use non-organic soy lecithin in products labeled "USDA Organic." Learn more.

If you'd like to have your thoughts on livestock or soy lecithin included in OCA's comments to the USDA National Organic Program or the National Organic Standards Board, please send a note to Alexis Baden-Mayer at alexis[a]
Startling Science Facts of the Week:
Who Owns Nature?
Who Owns Nature*Ten companies now control more than two-thirds of global proprietary seed sales.

*Ten companies now control almost 90% of agrochemical sales worldwide.

*Ten companies now account for three-quarters of industry revenues.

*The top ten pharmaceutical companies control 55% of the global drug market.
Source: ETC Group's new 48-page report, "Who Owns Nature?", released last week.
Learn more
Headlines of the Week:
Headlines 1) The Future of Food in an Obama Administration
2) Controversy Swirls Over Proposed USDA Organic Standards for Fish Farms
3) Naomi Klein on the Bailout Profiteers and the Multi-Trillion-Dollar Crime Scene
4) More Schools Cultivating Organic School Gardens
5) General Motors Must Re-Make the Mass Transit System it Murdered
6) OCA & Allies Call on USDA to Close Loopholes on Organic Standards for Dairy Farms

Let OCA sift through the media smog and bring you the top new and analysis of the day. The OCA website has 20 or more news articles posted each day, and a library of over 4,000 articles covering issues including health, justice, food and farming, politics, and the environment. Bookmark
Message from OCA Sponsor
Our Ancient Forests: Going, going...
clear cutWhile the public's attention is focused on President-elect Obama, the Bush Administration is hatching plans to open up Oregon's ancient forests to industrial clearcut logging. These forests not only provide habitat for endangered species like spotted owls and marbled murrelets, but are a crucial buffer against the impacts of global warming.
With just a fraction of America's original ancient forests remaining, every acre that still exists deserves the highest protection, not a future of stumps and clearcuts. Yet that's what the future holds if the Bush Administration prevails in its last days in office. Please help The Wilderness Society stop this ill-conceived plan. Click here to take action now.
Message From OCA Sponsor:
Reduce Your Carbon Footprint & Help Local Communities
Native Energy Reducing energy use is critical to help stop global warming, but not nearly enough. Even if you don't drive a car and take every energy-saving step you can, you still use some energy and create CO2 pollution.

With NativeEnergy carbon offsets, you can help build new renewable & energy efficiency projects that reduce greenhouse gases on your behalf, making up for the CO2 emissions you can't avoid. Our projects also benefit Native Americans, local communities, and family farmers. Join us and get a one-year subscription to National Geographic Magazine for free - learn more now!
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 written and edited by Craig Minowa and Ronnie Cummins
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