Showing posts from 2013

Big News! The Arctic 30 have been granted amnesty

B. McPherson
Greenpeace ship in international waters being boarded by Russians
The following is copied from a Greenpeace email.
Big news! The Arctic 30 have been granted amnesty. Earlier today the Russian government agreed to amend an amnesty bill to include the Arctic 30, and just now the bill was officially adopted by their parliament. This means legal proceedings against them will be halted and they should be home soon. I can almost hear the collective sigh of relief, but the Arctic 30 have said they’re not celebrating. They’ve all spent two months in jail for a crime they didn’t commit, and faced criminal charges that were absurd. As Pete Willcox, captain of the Arctic Sunrise, said: “There’s no amnesty for the Arctic.” By accepting the amnesty they are not admitting guilt, and once they have the necessary exit visas, they should be home with their families. When that will be is still in the hands of the Russian authorities, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed for Christm…

Antibacterial Soaps Under Scrutiny


USFDA May Restrict Use of Antibiotics in Agriculture

B. McPherson

The US Food and Drug Administration is proposing a change in how antibiotics are used in the agriculture industry. If accepted, sweeping changes will be made in the way food animals are raised in the USA. You may have noticed TV ads recently touting fast food outlets bragging about their meat being antibiotic and hormone free. Few people realize that the majority of antibiotics produced today are given to food animals, not because the animals are sick, but because the judicious application of antibiotics promotes faster growth and more efficient use of animal feed.
The constant low-level dosing of animals destined for the dinner plate has resulted in the gradual loss of effectiveness of medically important antibiotics. Bacteria are adept at adapting to changing conditions and dosed at low levels can fairly quickly develop resistant strains. Tetracyclines, penicillin, azithromycin are unable to curb many bacterial infections due to overuse, mainly in the agriculture indust…

Brazil Set to Legalize Terminator Seeds

B. McPherson

Brazil may be the first country to defy the 13 year UN moratorium on the commercial sale of terminator seeds. This would be the “thin edge of the wedge” to gradually collapse the ban on the engineered seeds.Terminator seeds are those engineered to produce a crop but the seeds from the crop will not germinate or sprout if planted. So if a farmer buys a GM seed that also has the terminator trait, he cannot save seed and avoid buying seed from the corporation next planting.
That is bad enough but many of the crops that are GM spread their pollen via insects, other animals and the wind spreading their traits to non-GM fields. The spread of terminator traits would be disastrous to organic and more traditional farmers, forcing them to purchase seed from corporations. It would eventually drastically reduce the biodiversity of food crops as seed houses sell what is commercially viable.
The Judicial Commission is meeting this week to review their decision about Terminators. Whatever …

Shell Oil Granted Expansion in Alberta Tar Sands

B. McPherson
When you fill your gas tank, spare a thought for the consequences.
The Canadian Federal Government has granted permission to Shell Oil Canada to expand its oil sand extraction into its Jackpine holdings. This, in spite of the Minister of Environment, Leona Aglukkaq, acknowledging that it’s “likely to cause significant environmental effects”. The move is “justified under the circumstance”. One wonders what the circumstance is that would further degrade the Northern Alberta environment, putting at danger the health of the fragile environment and the people who live there.Perhaps the prospect of the multinational, foreign owned petroleum company pumping 100 000 barrels of oil a day from the area holds out the promise of too much money skimmed as taxes to pay attention to the damage done.

The local First Nation asked for and was granted an extension before the decision was made whether to grant Shell Canada permission to mine the area. The Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation hav…

GM Fish Company Cited for Environmental Failures


Take Action to Save Fish Lake

Click to view this email in a browser Dear Barbara,

When the federal review panel gave the New Prosperity mine proposal a 2nd thumbs-down, it looked like the “dead mine walking” would finally be laid to rest.

Except the project keeps popping up again and again like the villain in a bad horror movie. Take action.

The scathing federal review found that the proposed gold/copper mine at pristine Fish Lake in the heart of Tsilhqot’in traditional territory would cause significant adverse effects on water quality, fish and wetland ecosystems. It also warned of impacts on the South Chilcotin grizzly bear population.

It should have been a slam dunk for the federal minister in charge, Leona Aglukkaq, to reject the mine.

But now the proponent, Taseko Mines Ltd, is putting pressure on the federal government with disingenuous claims of technical mistakes in the review process, and threats of lawsuits – bullying tactics unprecedented in the history of the Canadian Environmental Assessment …

GMO Apples May Soon Be On Your Plate


Greenpeace Activists toTransfer to St. Petersburg

B. McPherson Greenpeace defenders of the Arctic kept in cold, stark conditions The 30 environmental activists were detained September 18th. They were attempting to hang a banner on the Russian oil drill rig in the Arctic Ocean. The Greenpeace members were protesting the exploiting of the Arctic for petroleum extraction.
Their ship was also impounded. The Arctic Sunrise was in international waters when it was boarded by Russian troops according to the Greenpeace organization.
The 30 people have been held in remand cells in Murmansk, a Russian city above the Arctic Circle. They were originally charged with piracy, a charge that even President Putin scoffed at. Now they are informed that the charges will be hooliganism. While that sounds like a misdemeanor in the west, in Russia it carries a maximum sentence of seven years. (You may remember the Pussy Riot young women who were sentenced to years of hard labour under the same charge.)
There is now some confusion as to whether the piracy c…

Fukushima Continues to Poison the World

B. McPherson Fukushima cleanup workers exploited by contractors The sorry saga of Fukushima continues as the Japanese government continues to dither. Since the devastating earthquake and tsunami wrecked the nuclear power plant owned by TEPCO, the world has been subjected to radioactive poison spewing from the facility. For over two years the world has listened to excuses and tales of incompetence and outright cover ups. Now some workers hired to help in the clean-up have come forward to allege corruption.
TEPCO does not hire workers directly, to help with the salvage and clean up at the Daiichi Fukushima plant, but relies on a network of contractors and sub-contractors to recruit workers from wherever they can. There have been rumblings of difficulties in attracting enough manpower to get the job done, in part due to the low wages being offered. A twist on that story was revealed, October 30th, in Japan Today, in which a worker hired to do a relatively safe job monitoring workers leav…

No Consensus on GM Food Safety

B. McPherson A group of 85 scientists, academics and physicians have issued a statement that there is no consensus on the safety of GM foods. This move was prompted by claims from some scientists and GM Corporations that the food is safe. The statements made by the supporters of the biotech food are not scientifically based. Here is what one scientist had to say about the claims: Another signatory, Professor C. Vyvyan Howard, a medically qualified toxicopathologist based at the University of Ulster, said: “A substantial number of studies suggest that GM crops and foods can be toxic or allergenic, and that they can have adverse impacts on beneficial and non-target organisms. It is often claimed that millions of Americans eat GM foods with no ill effects. But as the US has no GMO labelling and no epidemiological studies have been carried out, there is no way of knowing whether the rising rates of chronic diseases seen in that country have anything to do with GM food consumption or not. …