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October 8, 2009

Organic Bytes #194: Save the Bees, Organic Is the Answer

Health, Justice and Sustainability News
from the Organic Consumers Association

In This Issue

  • Quote of the Week: Agriculture and Climate Change
  • Alert of the Week (and Video): "Organic Is the Answer to Climate Change!"
  • Alert Updates of the Week: Safeguard Animal Welfare! Stop Labeling Fraud! Ban Nanotech! And a New Chance to Stop Toxic Pesticide Methyl Iodide
  • Movie of the Week: Vanishing of the Bees
  • Book of the Week: Uncertain Peril - Genetic Engineering and the Future of Seeds
  • Little Bytes: Global Warming, Factory Farms and Mandatory Swine Flu Vaccines
  • Planting Peace and Grassroots Netroots News

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Quote of the Week

Agriculture and Climate Change

"Organic farming contributes to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions because it reduces the consumption of fossil fuels (notably those used in fertilizer manufacturing), and reduces emissions of CO2, methane and nitrous oxide. It also reduces vulnerability of soils to erosion, while at the same time increasing carbon stocks in the soil. Consequently, conversion to organic farming is believed to be a viable way of reducing GHG emissions."

Introduction to Organic Agriculture and Climate Change Conference, September 28-29, 2009, Sofia, Bulgaria


Alert of the Week (and Video)

Tell Congress: "Organic Is the Answer to Climate Change!"

Watch this new video from the Rodale Institute's Demand Organic Project and learn how, if the world’s 3.5 billion tillable acres were transitioned to organic agriculture, organic farms could sequester 40% of yearly carbon emissions. Then, tell Congress "Organic Is the Answer to Climate Change!"



Preserve Organic Integrity: Safeguard Animal Welfare! Stop Labeling
Fraud! Ban Nanotech!


At the November 3-5 meeting of the USDA's National Organic Standards Board in Washington, DC, the Organic Consumers Association will be presenting your demands for stronger organic standards. Please let the NOSB, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack and Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan know that you want them to:

  • Stop personal care and cosmetic companies from advertising their products as "organic" unless they are USDA certified!
  • Keep nanotechnology out of organic!
  • Improve the living conditions of organic poultry and livestock!


A New Chance to Stop the Toxic Pesticide Methyl Iodide!

The U.S. EPA – which had, under Bush, approved the carcinogenic new pesticide for use despite protests from scientists around the country – just indicated that it plans to re-consider methyl iodide, pending the results of California’s independent Scientific Review Panel.

This chemical is so toxic, and so consistently carcinogenic, that scientists who use minute amounts in the lab are required to take extraordinary precautions in order to avoid exposure. If used as a fumigant, methyl iodide would be released as a gas at rates up to 175 lbs. per acre. The pesticide would likely contaminate groundwater while putting farm workers and nearby communities at serious risk as the invisible chemical moves with the wind.


Help Support and Defend the OCA!

We know times are tough for everyone right now. That's why the OCA continues to work to organize its more than 500,000 supporters to fight for consumers, family farmers, our environment, and our most precious assets, our children. We want to continue fighting the good fight, as well as bringing 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 donation is helpful and appreciated.




Movie of the Week and Call to Action

Vanishing of the Bees

A new documentary seeks to unravel the mystery of why billions of honey bees have been disappearing from hives across the United States.

"Vanishing of the Bees" follows a group of U.S. beekeepers hit by Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), which first struck in 2004 and made U.S. headlines three years later.

Countless bees would suddenly vanish, leaving an empty hive but few bodies. While the cause has yet to be established, the film suggests there is a link to Bayer's "Gaucho" insecticide.


Book of the Week

Uncertain Peril: Genetic Engineering and the Future of Seeds

Uncertain Peril: Genetic Engineering and the Future of Seeds by Claire Hope Cummings has been selected as a winner of the thirtieth annual American Book Awards for 2009 by the Before Columbus Foundation.

Here's an excerpt:

On a frozen island near the North Pole, a huge hole has been blasted out of the side of an Arctic mountain and a tunnel has been drilled deep into the rock. When the facility under construction here is completed, it will be lined with one-meter-thick concrete, fitted with two high-security blast-proof airlock doors, and built to withstand nuclear war, global warming, terrorism, and the collapse of the earth's energy supplies. It's known as the "Doomsday Vault," and in it will be stored millions of seeds and mankind's hope for the future of the world's food supply.



1) Chart of the Week: Peak Oil Wars and Global Permaculture Solutions
Mark Robinowitz has created "a political map to connect the dots" between ecology, energy and economy. It offers "a choice for civilization: cooperation or collapse."

2) Global Warming on Your Plate
The U.S. is overeating and overheating. Agriculture contributes as much as one-fourth of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. The Cooperative Grocer magazine explains how we can drastically reduce fossil fuel, chemical inputs, and water consumption in the U.S. food system, by producing and buying organic foods and fiber.

3) Organic Farming Yields Far Better Crop Resistance and Resilience
In addition to cutting fossil fuel use and decreasing climate-destabilizing greenhouse gases, a shift to organic farming and ranching dramatically increases the amount of carbon sequestered in the soil, enabling organic farms and ranches to maintain high production even during periods of drought or heavy rain.

4) Factory Farms' Wide Net of Pain and Destruction
Gross overcrowding and anesthetic-free castration, tail-docking, and ear-cutting are all standard practice on the modern farm. And animals aren't the only ones harmed by factory farms.

5) Military to Get Mandatory Swine Flu Shots
"Because I can compel people to get the shots, larger numbers will have the vaccine," said Renuart, commander of U.S. Northern Command. "They will, as a percentage of the population, be vaccinated more rapidly than many of us. So we may see some objective results, good or not, of the vaccinations."

Planting Peace and Grassroots Netroots News

Insurance companies are the real "death panels" in America. Fifty million Americans have no health insurance whatsoever, and over 45,000 people die every year because they can't get the care they need. That's more than 120 people every day. READ MORE

Activist Arrested for Tweets in Iran? No, in the US! NYC activist arrested for using the social networking site during the G-20 protest in Pittsburgh! - READ MORE

Could food shortages bring down civilization? - READ MORE

Tell Congress: Get Out of Afghanistan! 8 Years Is Too Many! Ask Your Representative to Support H.R. 2404, the "Exit Plan" Bill - WATCH VIDEO AND TAKE ACTION

Students for a Democratic Society's "Funk the War" Demonstration Protests Eight Years of U.S. War and Occupation in Afghanistan. - WATCH


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