EU regulators based a decision to relicense the controversial weedkiller glyphosate on an assessment plagiarised from industry reports, according to a report for the European parliament. A crossparty group of MEPs commissioned an investigation into claims, revealed by the Guardian, that Germany’s Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) copy-and-pasted tracts from Monsanto studies. The study’s findings have been released hours before a parliamentary vote on tightening independent scrutiny of the pesticides approvals process. The authors said they found “clear evidence of BfR’s deliberate pretence of an independent assessment, whereas in reality the authority was only echoing the industry applicants’ assessment.” Advertisement
Molly Scott Cato, a Green MEP, said the scale of alleged plagiarism by the BfR authors shown by the new paper was “extremely alarming”
Port Augusta in South Australia has reached 48.9C on Tuesday, as a heatwave sets in across much of Australia threatening more record hot days.
All-time highest minimum temperatures have also been broken in three places. Meekatharra in Western Australia and Fowlers Gap and White Cliffs in New South Wales all registered an overnight minimum of 33C on Monday.
Severe to extreme heatwave conditions extending from the interior of WA across South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, the ACT and NSW will bring maximum temperatures of 8C to 12C above average, and in some places up to 16C above average before the end of the week.
From Tuesday through to Friday, parts of South Australia, Victoria and NSW may break January heat records, with daytime maximums extending up to the mid-40s.
“It’s quite a significant heatwave because we are expecting a number of records to fall across those areas for both minimum and maximum temperatures,” said Dean Sgarbossa, a senior meteorologist with the Bureau of Meteorology.
As Queensland exports 223 million tons of coal in 2018.
I bet there are a few politicians who wished they listened to the warnings issued 20 years ago.
Stopping the use of Bayer’s (Monsanto) flagship herbicide Roundup might be perceived as a David and Goliath fight against a multi-billion dollar company, but when your local water department defends its use, the issue becomes personal and contentious in a small community. Chris Moran shares the story of how she and a dedicated group of community members fought back against glyphosate use in their community — and won!
Water usage and rights are topics that interest my husband, Rick Moran. He grew up on a pond, lived on Soquel Creek and served in the Navy aboard a submarine — he’s been in, around and under an awful lot of water. As a retired teacher and organic gardener in Ben Lomond, California, he decided to join the Environmental Committee for the local San Lorenzo Valley Water District. The small district serves 7,900 connections with mostly surface water.
Six months into the appointment things were going well. Then, Rick began reading through a proposal titled “French Broom Management Plan for the Olympia Watershed.” He realized that the Water District had used, and was going to again use, the controversial herbicide glyphosate in a “cut and dab” process to kill about 19,000 invasive broom plants. Worse yet, the herbicide would be used near two well heads.
The battle begins
Once Rick questioned the Water District directors and staff about the use of this harmful chemical on our watershed, the relationship turned sour. They had expected him to be a “team player” and go along with their plan, but instead Rick placed a notice about the plan in the local Press Banner. Water Board meetings often have low attendance, but the next meeting had people spilling out the door! Ratepayers spoke out strongly against using Roundup — yet the majority of the board held firm.
The Water District had a long history of working with, and handsomely paying for, habitat restoration “experts” who advised that cut and dab (with glyphosate) was the best way to eliminate broom plants from the 80-acre property; these experts often rely on glyphosate to poison invasive plants. Over the next few months, ratepayers made it clear that they didn’t want the agency using Roundup. The board dodged the issue by switching to a DowDuPont product that still contained glyphosate!
This was discouraging, but through all this we saw that we did have some influence to change minds as the district’s Operations Manager recognized the risks to his employees and decided to stop using Roundup for weed abatement on other district properties.
In with the bold
Following this momentum, Rick and I were invited to join a small political campaign that was promoting a slate of three new candidates to run against the incumbent directors at the Water District. Promoting a slate can be risky but the group felt it was the best way to effect real change because they would secure a majority if they won. Most importantly, the challengers agreed to campaign against the use of herbicides.
Weekly campaign meetings consisted of 11 dedicated people with amazing talents. We promoted public outreach and education, letters to the editor, targeted advertising in newspapers and radio stations, created catchy road signs and a executed brilliant use of online media. We called the incumbents “the Glypho-Slate.” We waved homemade signs on the Felton bridge (a choke point leading to the San Lorenzo Valley) to catch the stream of traffic coming home from work. We handed out fliers, shook hands, and the candidates talked with residents outside of stores and at community events. We hit the big issues: incumbents ignoring their public, the use of toxic chemicals in our water, grand jury investigations, rate increases, and out-of-control meetings.
During the campaign, a candidates forum was held at the local high school — the public knew that this was a contentious fight but wanted to make up their own minds about issues. About 200 people attended and the incumbents’ talking points were embarrassingly predictable. One member who was up for re-election doubled down on using glyphosate, unbelievably stating, “Using one cup of glyphosate is environmentally a good thing.” That comment asks you to suspend belief, as if one cup would suffice for thousands of broom plants. It just didn’t make sense.
A win for the community
Election day arrived and the results rolled in, decisive and impressive! Our candidates garnered 58% of votes while the Glypho-Slate pulled in only 42%. A record-breaking 76.3% of registered voters stepped up and turned out! It was a victory for the community and the environment.
In December, the slate of Fultz, Henry and Swan were sworn in as the new Directors of the San Lorenzo Valley Water District. They have promised the use of an Integrated Pest Management Plan, no use of glyphosate, and a more healthy direction for the district and community.
Our grassroots group chipped away at the established foundation of herbicide use that exists from the corporate level to our neighborhoods. But this isn’t just a story about our group. It proves that a small group of dedicated movers and shakers can take on some well-heeled political groups and blow past them to effect real change from the voters who know the truth when it’s put before them.
PHOTO: KEN FROM SCOTTS VALLEY, USA, VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONSJAN 8, 2019CHRIS MORANShare this post:
CHRIS MORANChris Moran is retired from the City of Santa Cruz where she worked for 26 years and served as the Waste Reduction Manager. She won the prestigious CAPIO top award for writing and is known for her innovative public outreach campaigns for recycling, litter, marine debris, polystyrene, and various environmental issues.
I see the monarch here most days. I nuture patches of their cotton plant for their caterpillars. But travelling around the Shire I see cotton weeds being mowed or sprayed often. Mostly too when the mowing is for “tidy” reasons,
From the USA. (AP) — Researchers with an environmental group have labeled as “disturbingly low” the number of western monarch butterflies that migrate along the California coast.
A recent count by the Xerces Society recorded fewer than 30,000 butterflies, which it said is an 86 percent decline since 2017.
By comparison, the group in 1981 counted more than 1 million western monarchs wintering in California, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
“We do have hope that they could bounce back,” said Emma Pelton, a conservation biologist with the group. “I think this is a huge wake-up. But less than 30,000 butterflies is reason to be concerned we could be facing extinction.”
The Xerces Society conducts annual Thanksgiving and New Year’s counts and was not certain what caused the numbers to drop. It said there is no substantial evidence of a delayed migration and butterflies are not being reported in other parts of the country.
A 2017 study by Washington State University researchers found the species likely will go extinct in the next few decades if nothing is done to save it.
“If we cannot get our act together as a society to save monarchs, I think that really doesn’t bode very well for a lot of our other pollinators that are even more vital to things like pollination of the crops that we eat,” Pelton said.
Scientists say the butterflies are threatened by pesticides, herbicides and destruction along their migratory route. They also have noted climate change impacts.
University of Michigan and Stanford University researchers found carbon dioxide from car and factory exhaust reduced a natural toxin in milkweed that feeding caterpillars use to fight parasites.
Western monarch butterflies are typically seen from November to March in forested groves along the California coast.
CapRadio’s Ezra David Romero contributed to this report.
Great garden day…………….humid so an hour saw wet shirts. 3 kilos of bean, Malabar spinach in abundance, parsleys, tomatoes, chillies and pineapples with bell peppers just starting to redden. lots of compost to spread. Arrowroot and ginger thriving but now need rain. Not the 2 minute sprinkles we have been getting.
Every coffee bean that the king parrots dispersed, after they have gnawed the finger bananas, I have learnt how to benefit from.
They arrive just when the cheery of the coffee bean is a shiny red, perfect for human harvesting. They search along the branches for ready red juicy sweet cheery covering of the bean itself. They devour them, sometimes holding a clump like a bouquet.
I put sacks beneath the tree and collect the coffee bean, as it falls to the ground. Free of its sweet encasing fleshy skin which the parrot loves. The actual beans they discard from their beaks.
Last year I harvested a kilo of green coffee beans with the help of the parrots from beneath my five bearing trees.
Eric separating the dried beans from their casing.
Ready to roast.
The coffee trees here were planted 25 years ago. Then with out a canopy. Since the forest behind has regenerated the coffee tree has grown tall and its harvest has diminished. Rain fall is no longer playing out as it did 15 years ago, adaptability is displayed in what survives. The seedling offspring are very sturdy.
And this morning, at Lulu’s for breakfast I was joined by this king parrot. It picked up a spoon and attempted to eat from my plate. Probably from a neighboring dwelling.