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December 10, 2009

Organic Bytes #203: Organics, Greenwashing & the Copenhagen Climate Talks

Health, Justice and Sustainability News
from the Organic Consumers Association

Edited by: Alexis Baden-Mayer and Ronnie Cummins

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Special Issue

The Copenhagen Climate Talks

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Video and Action of the Week

Scrap Cap & Trade: EPA Do Your Job!


This week, we share two great videos that explain what's gone wrong with Congress's climate change bill and why letting greenhouse gas polluters make money off their hot air, i.e., cap and trade, is a bad idea.

We urge you take action in support of EPA's recent, long overdue announcement that it will henceforth consider and regulate greenhouse gases for what they are - hazardous pollutants that represent a threat to our global climate and indeed all life on the Earth.

Watch the videos and take action

Action Updates

Art for the Climate


Thanks to all of the OCA activists who sent beautiful banners for use in the December 4th "Art for the Climate" action at the White House. Your work was picked up by multiple newswires and printed in newspapers across the country.

More photos and videos of Art for the Climate

Join this Weekend's Actions!

Tck Tck Tck has called for a worldwide weekend of actions December 11-13 under the theme, "The World Wants a Real Deal." Organic activists around the world are bringing our message, that organic agriculture, practiced worldwide, can sequester 40% of current greenhouse gas emissions, to the events. Among many actions across the globe, the Biological Farmers of  Australia are making organic farming's contribution to solving global warming a highlight of the Brisbane Walk Against Warming on Saturday December 12th.

Join an action in your city

Corporate Climate Criminal

Monsanto Nominated for Angry Mermaid Award

Who are the worst corporate climate criminals? Which disaster capitalists are using the most muscle to profit from a warming world and force false solutions on governments and tax-payers? Would it surprise you to hear that Monsanto is among eight corporations in the running to receive what climate activists have dubbed the "Angry Mermaid" Award?

Watch the Angry Mermaid video & vote for Monsanto!

Please Donate

OCA Needs Your Help to Spread the Organic Revolution


OCA and our national, now international, network of organic consumers understand that we have a positive healthy solution for the nation and the world's food, health, economic, and climate crisis: organic food, farming, and ranching. But to get out our all-important message we need your support and your donations. So please send us a tax-deductible donation today.


Climate Justice Heroes

La Via Campesina - A Global Small Farmer Network - Leave Farms for Copenhagen


Excerpt from speech of Henry Saragih, general coordinator of Via Campesina at the opening session of Klimaforum:

"New data that has come out clearly shows that industrial agriculture and the globalized food system are responsible for between 44 and 57% of total global greenhouse gas emissions. This figure can be broken down as follows:

(i) Agricultural activities are responsible for 11 to 15%,

(ii) Land clearing and deforestation cause an additional 15 to 18%,

(iii) Food processing, packing and transportation cause 15 to 20%, and

(iv) Decomposition of organic waste causes another 3 to 4%.

It means that our current food system is a major polluter. If we genuinely want to tackle the climate change crisis, the only way we have to go forward is to stop industrial agriculture.

Carbon trade mechanisms will only serve polluting countries and companies, and bring disaster to small farmers and indigenous peoples in developing countries.

By taking agriculture away from the big agribusiness corporations and putting it back into the hands of small farmers, we can reduce half of the global emissions of greenhouse gases. This is what we propose, and we call it Food Sovereignty..."

Read the full speech

Zero Waste for Zero Warming

More Compost, Less GHGs from Landfills


When composted and returned to the soil, organic matter provides multiple benefits. It locks carbon in soil; improves the structure and workability of soils (reducing the need for fossil fuels for plowing and tilling); improves water retention (irrigation is a heavy consumer of energy); displaces energy-intensive synthetic fertilizers; and results in more rapid plant growth (which takes CO2 out of the atmosphere).

But, when organic waste ends up in landfills, the organic content (paper, yard waste and food scraps) putrefies, producing methane (CH4), a greenhouse gas 20-70 times more potent and damaging than carbon dioxide (CO2).

The Solution: Zero Waste

A far better approach is known as Zero Waste, which aims to close the loop on all material used in the economy. Under Zero Waste, each element of a source-separated waste stream is subjected to minimal treatment so that it can be reused. Clean, source-separated organics (including kitchen discards) are composted or subject to anaerobic digestion; usable goods are  repaired and re-used; other materials are recycled.

Besides saving resources and money, and generating green jobs for local communities, Zero Waste produces far less pollution than so-called waste disposal techniques. It eliminates methane emissions from landfills by diverting organics; it eliminates greenhouse gas emissions from incinerators by closing them; it reduces greenhouse gas emissions from industry by replacing virgin materials with recycled materials; and it reduces greenhouse gas emissions from transport by generally keeping such materials close to the end-user.

Watch the Zero Waste Zero Warming video


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Message from our Sponsors

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Wanting to significantly raise the standards bar in cleaning was easy motivation for us because so much evidence points to chemical related health symptoms and poor indoor air quality at home, school and work.

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