Kristin Schafer

    Moms vs Monsanto

    Posted November 28th, 2011 by

    I’m a California mom, and I’m deeply concerned about pesticides.

    As part of my job with Pesticide Action Network, I’ve learned more than anyone should ever know about pesticides in my body and on the food I feed my kids. And as I’ve worked for stronger rules to protect children from pesticides, one thing has become painfully clear: a handful of giant pesticide corporations wield an incredible amount of influence on the system.

    Whenever we try to promote policies that protect children’s health, someone like Monsanto or Dow seems to get in the way.

    That’s why I’m standing up now to support PAN International’s efforts to put the pesticide industry on trial for its harms. Mothers around the world – from Alaska to Paraguay, Malaysia to Europe – are coming together to say “enough!”

    Holding Monsanto & Co. to account

    My colleagues Kathryn Gilje and Devika Ghai are traveling to India this week to attend a global tribunal designed to hold pesticide companies to account for violating the rights of workers, communities and families around the world. The trial runs December 3-6; Kathryn and Devika will be reporting throughout at GroundTruth.org.

    Meanwhile, here’s what each of us can do to support the effort, right now:

    • Sign this citizen’s petition in support of holding the pesticide industry accountable for their violations of the human rights to life, health and livelihood.
    • Watch and share the short video testimonies of mothers & others from around the world (they’ll be available starting November 30).
    • Help get the word out! Email me (kristins@panna.org) or my colleague Paul (ptowers@panna.org) to find out what you can do.

    The pesticide industry has a long history of getting away with horrendous violations of human rights. This is in part because there is no single set of laws that govern global corporations, and in part because they have tremendous resources, hire very slick lawyers, and know how to game the system.

    The scope and depth of their control is astonishing:

    • Ten giant companies control 90% of the pesticide market. The so-called Big 6 (Monsanto, Syngenta, DuPont, Bayer, Dow and BASF) account for the bulk of this control: 74%.
    • In the U.S., these powerful corporations have long held unprecedented influence on government decisionmakers. Just one example: when Syngenta’s flagship herbicide atrazine was last up for review, the company held 50 closed-door meetings with officials. The result? The product is still on the market in the U.S., though it’s been banned in Europe for years.
    • The Big 6 have also captured the research agendas of public universities and pursue aggressive contracts and marketing with farmers.

    People coming together for health & fairness

    We all know our food system should support the well being of communities around the world. This just makes sense. We also know that the basic human rights to life, livelihood and health are agreements we hold as a people. These are conditions of our humanity.

    But until we the people hold corporations like Monsanto to account, none of us will be safe from the havoc wrought by the pesticide industry: from the next Bhopal accident, from the spreading epidemic of cancer, or from pesticides that travel the world on wind and water, contaminating mothers’ breastmilk in the far corners of the Arctic.

    Add your voice » Join PAN International as we hold these corporations to account and build a global groundswell of outraged moms. dads, farmers, workers and others who are bent on change. Tens of thousands of citizens around the world are supporting this challenge to the pesticide industry’s control of our food system. Please join us.

     

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    5 Comments

    November 29, 2011 at 8:42 am by Kotick

    Monsanto made a mistake by upsetting women. If moms really rise, Monsanto don’t have a chance. This is money-power vs. real power.

    [Reply]

    November 29, 2011 at 3:46 am by reg

    Great work folks! I’m curious though-why just pesticides? You even use an example of an herbicide – why not both?

    [Reply]

    Kristin Schafer Reply:

    @reg, Thx for the question! This is a common source of confusion. “Pesticide” is actually the overarching term that includes herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, rodenticides etc. etc. The Big 6 make them all!

    [Reply]

    November 28, 2011 at 11:03 pm by Rachel Burbey

    I have only been able to grow my own produce during the summer over the past few years. I’m hoping to have a greenhouse built next year so that I can extend my growing season, in an effort to become less dependent upon the grocery stores during the off season (when the produce is most toxic- coming from areas where the use of these chemicals are probably more haphazard). I am sure that more people are beginning to see the values in becoming more self sufficient when they learn about how bad the industry has become. What I wonder is that when people are no longer buying the produce will the Big 6 conform or will they formulate a chemical that will preserve the produce to last even longer than it does now?

    [Reply]

    Kristin Schafer Reply:

    @Rachel Burbey, Congrats on growing your own fruits and veggies! That’s about as fresh & local as you can get, and elbows the Big 6 right out of the equation. Here’s a resource for finding small farms with “community supported agriculture” programs near you that might have organic off-season produce: http://www.localharvest.org/csa/
    Good luck!

    [Reply]

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