Aerial view of a crop circle made by local farmers and Greenpeace volunteers
There aren’t too many corporations more globally disliked than the sustainable agriculture company Monsanto. And by “sustainable agriculture,” they mean genetically engineering food crops with unknown chemicals leading to health and environmental risks including a jarring decline in global bee populations.
The next time you see a bee buzzing around, it’s worthwhile remembering that much of the food we eat depends significantly on pollination these insects provide. But bees and other pollinators are declining globally, particularly in North America and Europe, putting this essential role in doubt.
In the US, the loss of 30-40% of commercial honeybee colonies since 2006 has been linked to “colony collapse disorder”, a syndrome characterized by disappearing worker bees. Since 2004, losses of honeybee colonies have left North America with fewer managed pollinators than at any time in the last 50 years. In recent winters, bees colony mortality in Europe has averaged about 20% (but up to 53% for some countries). Continue reading →
Days before the key EU vote to ban bee-killer pesticides, Greenpeace is attending the annual general meeting (AGM) of Syngenta in Basel, Switzerland, in order to alert shareholders to the company’s role in the global decline in bee populations and ask them to challenge the chair of Syngenta board to stop marketing these deadly products.
Activists and beekeepers are demonstraing outside the shareholders’ assembly, while representatives of Greenpeace and the European Beekeeping Coordination are directing questions to the Syngenta board about the reputational and financial risk faced by the company in light of the probable ban. Last month, the European Commission put forward a proposal for a ban on bee-killer pesticides produced by Syngenta and Bayer.
With less than a week to go before California voters decide whether they want food that contains genetically engineered (GE) ingredients to be explicitly labeled as such, the board of the American Association for the Advance of Science (AAAS) has proclaimed from its prestigious perch that those who want Frankenfoods to be labeled are little more than emotional nuts who know nothing about science.
That the AAAS would enjoin this battle is hardly a surprise, given its longstanding ties to Monsanto and other companies with a direct interest in the outcome. But the group says that its real motivation for opposing mandatory labeling is because doing so would “mislead and falsely alarm consumers.”
“Our concern is that ideology not trump science here,” AAAS Chief Executive Alan Leshner told the LA Times. “We do regulation of foods to protect the public health.” Continue reading →