The Organic Solution to the Climate Crisis


#235, July 29, 2010

Health, Justice and Sustainability News
from the Organic Consumers Association

Edited by Alexis Baden-Mayer and Ronnie Cummins


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An Urgent Fundraising Appeal from the Organic Consumers Association

Thank you to everyone who has already made a donation to the Organic Consumers Association this year! We are very grateful to have more supporters than ever! Unfortunately, the average donation that people are able to give is a lot smaller than in past years. The Great Recession has hurt nearly everyone and we're all struggling with less these days. This is definitely true for the Organic Consumers Association. We've implemented temporary layoffs and pay cuts and will now be forced to operate with a smaller staff until the financial situation improves.

If you haven't given this year, or can make an additional donation, we badly need your help. One budget item in particular, the action alert system that allows us to send you this e-mail and provide you the opportunity to contact decision-makers, is in jeopardy. We must raise $24,000 before September 15 to renew our contract for the next year.

Please donate as much as you can today. Everyone who gives $100 or more will receive a Millions Against Monsanto t-shirt. No donation is too small.  We have Millions Against Monsanto bumper stickers for all! Put "Monsanto Bumper Sticker" in the comments field to receive yours. Thanks!


Quote of the Week

The Organic Solution to the Climate Crisis

"The future of life on this planet may depend on what we eat. Factory farmed junk food is the #1 cause of climate change, but we can save the planet by going organic.

"The greenhouse gas emissions from factory farms, deforestation, industrial crop production, food processing, and long-distance distribution make the food sector the biggest cause of climate change, responsible for at least a third of worldwide greenhouse gas emissions. Factory farmed meat, dairy and eggs alone may contribute as much as 51%!

"But we can change food system pollution into food system solutions. A worldwide shift to local, organic food production would drastically reduce food system emissions and turn the world's farmland into a carbon sink to capture and store 40% of global greenhouse gas pollution."

- Excerpt from Organic Consumers Association's "Food Agenda 2020: The Organic Alternative"


Alerts of the Week

Sign the "Food Agenda 2020" Petition - Three Food Policies Essential to Solving the Climate Crisis

1. Truth in Labeling

Tell Consumers How Food Choices Impact Climate Change

Local, organic & fair trade food and products are the climate-friendly, humane and healthy choice, but consumers should have the same right to know when their purchases have a negative impact on health, justice or sustainability.

Food labels should reveal the presence of genetically engineered ingredients and pesticide residues, the use of antibiotics and artificial hormones, the product's carbon footprint and its country of origin.

2. Green Budget Priorities

Subsidize Solutions Not Pollution!

Voters want clean energy, green jobs, and a food system that's local, organic and fair trade, but it's not going to happen as long as our tax dollars are spent on industrial food and farming, fossil fuels, and war.

U.S. taxpayer subsidies to fossil fuels and industrial food and farming amount to $60 billion a year, while resource wars in Iraq and Afghanistan cost us $200 billion annually. This wasted money is enough to fast-track the conversion of the U.S. and global economy to organic agriculture and clean energy and save the world from climate catastrophe.

3. Regulations That Promote Health and Sustainability

Protect Consumers and the Environment from Hazardous Agricultural Practices

Consumers often complain that local, organic and fair trade products are too expensive. Of course, you can economize on your organic food or green product purchases if you can buy directly from the farmer or producer or buy in bulk quantities with others in your community, but there's no denying that Food Inc.'s "business as usual" practices - polluting the earth, destabilizing the climate, using toxic chemicals, cutting corners on ingredients and nutrition, and exploiting workers from the farm to the checkout counter - generate products with lower sticker prices. However if you add in the hidden health and environmental costs and collateral damage of GMOs, pesticides, antibiotics, heavily processed and packaged foods, and the climate and environmental "footprint" of chemical and energy-intensive food and farming, our cheap food system is in fact dangerously expensive.

To level the playing field for healthy, organic climate-friendly foods and products, we need to make the polluters and junk food purveyors pay for the damage they are causing to public health and the environment. We need to demand sensible and equitable regulations from our elected public officials that protect consumers and the environment, and we need these policies now, not in ten years. We can start by phasing out the inhumane confinement of animals in factory farms and eliminating billion dollar subsidies for genetically engineered crops and biofuels. We can phase out toxic pesticides, methane generating chemical fertilizers, artificial hormones, the non-therapeutic use of antibiotics, sewage sludge "fertilizer," and animal feed made from slaughterhouse waste.


Alerts of the Week

Toxic Sludge Is NOT Organic!

Why Won't Alice Waters Stand Up Against Sludge?

The toxic sludge end-product of the industrial, hospital, and household waste that passes through our municipal sewer systems is routinely dumped on non-organic farmland or fraudulently sold as "organic compost" to backyard gardeners and used to grow food. Sewage sludge fertilizer is banned in organic agriculture because it routinely contains hundreds of toxic chemicals, heavy metals, and pathogens that threaten public health and the environment. Out of 80,000 chemicals in commercial use, only 10 are regulated in the sewage sludge that is used as fertilizer on thousands of non-organic farms and ranches across the country.

San Francisco, like most municipalities, struggles to find cheap ways to dispose of its sewage sludge. The city sends it to landfills, farmland in surrounding counties, and, believe it or not, has been giving it away it to Bay Area gardeners and schools, claiming that its sewage sludge is "organic biosolids compost."

When the Organic Consumers Association learned that San Francisco, where Gavin Newsom had been named "World's Greenest Mayor" by Organic Style magazine, was giving away sewage sludge and calling it "organic," one of the first persons we thought would want to help us was Alice Waters. Waters, the celebrity chef and author who founded the Chez Panisse restaurant, is one of the world's most famous organic advocates. Plus, she's a Bay Area community gardener who started the Edible Schoolyard movement. We were sure that Alice would be appalled by San Francisco's practice of calling toxic sludge "organic," and basically dumping sewage sludge on backyard gardens, schoolyards, and farms.

But, our request for help from Alice Waters and her Chez Panisse Foundation was rejected.

We were shocked when we learned why!


Alerts of the Week

Stop Industrial Farm Antibiotic Abuse!

Healthy chickens, pigs, and beef cattle raised on industrial farms are routinely fed antibiotics to make them grow faster and compensate for overcrowding and unsanitary living conditions.

This practice can lead to antibiotic-resistant bacteria in humans.

Antibiotics are vital tools used to treat scores of human illnesses, but drug-resistance is on the rise.

The overuse and misuse of antibiotics on industrial farms creates stronger and more drug-resistant bacteria, also known as "superbugs." And, when these superbugs are acquired by humans through contaminated meat, direct contact with animals, or the environment, the results can be tragic.

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria are cropping up throughout the country causing serious, painful illnesses and even death in vulnerable individuals such as children, the elderly, and those with weakened immune systems, as well as in healthy people.

Now the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) may weaken a regulation and make it even easier for agribusiness to feed antibiotics to healthy livestock and poultry, putting our health at greater risk. In addition, a recent FDA directive on antibiotics in food animal production only called for voluntary measures to curb usage by agribusiness.

We don't need more unenforceable recommendations. Now is the time for definitive action forcing agribusiness to end the overuse and misuse of antibiotics.

Tell the FDA and White House to Stand Up for Human Health by Limiting Antibiotic Use in Animal Feed!

Click here to tell the FDA and the White House to stand up for human health and end the misuse and overuse of antibiotics.


Video of the Week

Cooking Up a Story

A conversation with Anna Lappé on climate change, industrial agriculture, and conversion to a climate-friendly food system

The most important challenge of our generation is to stop polluting the atmosphere with greenhouse gases and to re-stabilize the climate before the climate crisis metastasizes into climate catastrophe. Transforming our out-of-control chemical and energy-industrial food and farming system to one which is organic and sustainable is the most immediate and effective step we can take to safeguard our survival. Anna Lappé's new book, Diet for a Hot Planet, is perhaps the most important book of the year.


Little Bytes

Why Am I Here? Our Struggle for Meaning

Collin Peterson is Not Organics' Darling

Raw-Food Raid Highlights a Hunger

Children's Exposure to Toxic Chemicals Costs Billions

The Despicable Reason Behind Raw Milk Bans

Exploring Genetically Engineered Algae as Fuel



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OCA Needs Your Help to Fight Monsanto and Spread the Organic Revolution

OCA and our growing network of organic consumers and farmers understand that we have a positive life-affirming solution for the global food, health, and climate crisis: organic food, farming, and ranching. But to fight Monsanto and Big Food and get out our all-important message we need your support. Please send us a tax-deductible donation today and we'll send you a free "Millions Against Monsanto" bumper sticker so you can help spread the word in your community. Please be sure to put 'sticker' in the comments field of your donation.

Pictured are OCA warriors Honor and Lindsay wearing our new Millions Against Monsanto t-shirts, 100% organic and fair trade. This week any donation $100 and over will get a free t-shirt. Please specify your interest and size in the comments field. Help OCA and spread the word about the Millions Against Monsanto Campaign!


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