Lowe’s will cut out bee-killing neonicotinoids by 2019

If you have been worried that the flowers you bring home from Lowe’s and other big nurseries will kill the bees and butterflies, you may be comforted to know that Lowe’s and other big stores are lurching into action, getting ready to remove the offending, neonicotinoid-treated plants. But for now, it’s still, consumer beware, or at least, consumer, ask a lot of questions.

Biodynamic wine: The ultimate sustainable drink

Biodynamics is a down-to-earth approach to growing and producing wine – and many other foods — that hews to organic methods and replicates nature’s biodiversity by using cover crops, buffer zones, farm animals and farm-generated composts. While it harkens back to the old ways, it may just be the future, as commercial methods using heavy pesticide applications outstay their welcome.

Joel Salatin, farmer on a mission

Joel Salatin, local food advocate, author and owner of Polyface Farms in Virginia, has spent the last several years telling people what they must do to build local, healthful food networks that support farmers and bring fresh, quality foods to customers. Here he offers a sampling of his philosophy at a Texas appearance.

The five roadblocks to labeling GE foods in the US

When polled, the vast majority of Americans favor requiring food companies to label genetically modified foods. Yet the public has been thwarted on this front, leaving the world’s largest democracy to stand alone among advanced (and emerging) nations in keeping consumers in the dark about GMOs. What happened to transparency and consumer choice in America? Let’s take a look.

Bees get a break in Europe

The European Union votes to give honey bees a reprieve from a class of pesticides known as neonicotinoids, long suspected of triggering massive bee deaths that threaten agriculture worldwide. The pesticides are still be allowed in the United States.

The Dirty Dozen updated: Apples top the list for pesticide residues

Apples, strawberries, grapes and celery. All of these are healthy foods, but unfortunately they arrive at the grocery with the highest pesticide residues and top the latest “Dirty Dozen” list released by the Environmental Working Group. The other Dirty Dozen foods include some of the most delectable fruits and vegetables. You’ll just have to buy the organic versions if you want to avoid the trace pesticides that ride along.

5 reasons to quit using weed-and-feed chemicals

Ah, spring. You can smell it on the air — that bracing ammonia smell wafting off your neighbor’s lawn; the acrid odors at the local home store, where the first six aisles have been packed with heaping bags of the season’s poisons.
Hydramethylnon, glyphosate, dicambra, atrazine and 2,4-D.
There’s a little something to wipe out every potential lawn and garden interloper, but the most popular consumer weapons in the annual war on nature are the “weed and feeds.” These fertilizers-herbicide combos were conceived of more than 50 years ago in the US to enrich turf grass, while simultaneously stamping out invading weeds.

NRDC attempts to head off ‘weed and feed’ pollution

Just in time for weed-and-feed season, the Natural Resources Defense Council has filed a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for failing to stop the use of the weed killed known as 2,4-D.
This neurotoxic chemical, infamous as a key ingredient in Agent Orange, is still allowed in products used to treat lawns, golf courses and in commercial operations.

Why buying organic matters

If you value your drinking water, food, local economy, farmers, children, adults, animals and the health of the planet, you’ll want to take three minutes to see a cool new video that debuted at the annual Farm Aid event held in Milwaukee last week.
Underwritten by Anvil Sportswear, the biggest buyer of American-grown organic cotton in the U.S., this fun short film enumerates why it’s important to buy organic. In fact, it lists many, many reasons to go organic. And there are many.

Saks T-shirt will benefit breast cancer research

If you’ve been anywhere at all in the last few years, you’ve seen dozens of variations on t shirts promoting breast cancer awareness, research and solutions.
The latest iteration, designed by Donna Karan and sold by Saks Fifth Avenue stores, is worth a fresh look. It’s not your midriff-creeping Saturday morning t crammed with local sponsor names. This little item from Donna Karan t shirt could go to lunch with jewelry, even dinner, and more importantly, 100 percent of the proceeds of its sale will go to benefit local charity partners of Saks’ Key to the Cure campaign.

Solving the climate crisis at the end of your fork

‘Tis the season of farmers’ markets. Last week I moseyed on down to the Southampton (NY) farmers market and picked up some tasty, locally produced cheese that melted in my mouth with a delicious tang. But that local dairy farmer and others like him could become an endangered species if we continue on our current carbon-spewing energy path. Cows don’t produce much in very hot weather and scientists say that “heat stress and other factors could cause a decline in milk production of up to 20 percent or higher” in the Northeast under a business-as-usual (BAU) scenario. That’s a big deal: dairy is the largest agricultural sector in the region, producing some $3.6 billion dollars annually.

A beautiful lawn, without oil

Like everyone else, I’ve been examining my use of oil and petrochemicals in the wake of the BP hemorrhage in the gulf.
We all know that getting a higher mileage car, a hybrid or even an electric vehicle, would slash our personal oil dependency.
But if you’re like me, not ready to trade in the functioning vehicle in the driveway, you’ll need to look elsewhere to squeeze some oil out of your consumption. Fortunately, and unfortunately, American consumer goods are infused with petrochemicals and oil byproducts. Plastics, pesticides and a vast array of products are made with oil. Not to mention that many of the foods we buy have high oil costs when they’re transported from thousands of miles away. So pick your starting point, reduce and recycle plastics; buy local food; go organic.

EPA proposes tighter rules for pesticides that could make mosquito control safer

In a move that could limit overspraying for mosquitoes in U.S. towns and cities and reduce human and wildlife exposure to harmful pesticides, the EPA has proposed new rules that would require companies and municipalities to get special permits before dumping pesticides into waterways. The agency hopes that these rules will reduce pesticide contamination of U.S. surface waters and improve the health of all living beings, including people.

Pesticides, ADHD and what we can do about it

After reading today’s news about yet another study linking pesticides to yet another health issue, in this case ADHD, I thought maybe this time, we’ll pay attention to this dark undercurrent in modern life. Perhaps now, with 3-7 percent of kids affected by ADHD, and the disorder possibly triggered by pesticide exposure, we’ll finally see that it really is something in the water — and the food — that’s causing this crisis.

ADHD triggered by pesticides?

A study published in Pediatrics today points to pesticides as a trigger for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

The study’s team of academic researchers sampled the urine of more than 1,100 kids, finding that those with the highest pesticide residues in their urine from organophosphate pesticides were more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD. Of the sample, 119 of the children had been diagnosed with ADHD.

The team concluded that: “These findings support the hypothesis that organophosphate exposure, at levels common among US children, may contribute to ADHD prevalence.”

Germany and France ban pesticides linked to bee deaths; Geneticist urges U.S. ban

By Shermakaye Bass

In light of recent European bans of a pesticide linked to Bee Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), at least one key beCredit: Texas A&M Universitye expert is calling for a ban of the same pesticide in the United States.

“In the United States, drastic action is needed,” says Canadian geneticist Joe Cummins, explaining that U.S. farmers and beekeepers shouldn’t have to wait for more evidence or for an air-tight explanation for the complex syndrome, which threatens one in every third bite of food in the United States. Now most apiarists and scientists realize that pesticides are a factor in CCD, he says.

Cummins’ remarks, in an interview with GreenRightNow, come less than a month after Germany’s ban of clothianidin, a pesticide commonly used to keep insects off of corn crops. Germany banned the pesticide after heaps of dead bees were found near fields of corn coated in the pesticide, and in response to scientists who report that the insecticide severely impairs, and often kills, the honeybees that corn and other crops depend on for pollination.