Follow the Honey


You would think what with Monsanto’s Honeybee Advisory Council, and Bayer’s Bee Care Centers, the world’s largest pesticide-makers would be too busy caring about bees to manufacture or use the pesticides that kill them.

Not true, of course. Here’s what is true. Bayer, Syngenta and Monsanto have launched a massive public relations campaign to convince consumers that, despite the science, their pesticides aren’t to blame for Colony Collapse Disorder. And it looks like the U.S. Department of Agriculture is following their lead, by trying toshift the blame for bee deaths to mites, not poisons.

According to a new Friends of the Earth report, the pesticide industry’s “distraction” campaign looks a lot like what the tobacco industry did to convince consumers that cigarettes weren’t giving them lung cancer.

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Tar Washing Ashore Shows Gulf Coast Not Back to Normal



Florida’s Gulf Coast is renowned for its soft white beaches, balmy weather, and calm, clear waters. It’s also infamous for being a mecca of debris from oil-rig related tragedies, which until recently, were thought to have mostly finished their attack on Gulf-Coast beaches. But even after four years, trash from the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster is still washing ashore and devastating coastal environments and communities.

In February, a group from the Florida State Department of Environmental Protection discovered an 81-square-foot tar mat cruising the shallows off Pensacola beach. That’s 1,250 pounds of oily garbage that slithered across almost 200 miles of seabed, damaging environments and amassing sand and marine fragments.

This is only a tiny fraction of the 200 million gallons of oil that spewed into the ocean during the 2010 oil spill, devastating ecosystems throughout the Gulf and blackening the many coastal communities that rely on these waters for their livelihood. Over 1,000 miles of beaches and wetlands were oiled. Thousands of people suffered job losses at the expense of this avoidable tragedy. Hundreds of thousands of animals perished, including marine mammals, fish stocks, seabirds and sea turtles.

Today, scientists can still see effects of the oil spill on marine ecosystems and seemingly healthy marine life, such as heart defects in tuna and amberjack. And what’s more, Florida recently filed a lawsuit with BP over damages to the state’s natural resources. Along with a past economic lawsuit and $26 billion in Gulf restoration, BP certainly has had to own up for the environmental and human health disaster and will continue to do so: The claim holds BP responsible and liable for past and future costs concerning resources and cleanup. Perfect timing for that tar mat to set an example. [Dolphins Seen Swimming in 2010 Gulf Coast Oil Spill (Video)]

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FL Judge Rules Living Off The Grid To Be Illegal


From starting home gardens, to collecting rainwater, there are many small and big ways that people have been making changes in their life, in an effort to save money, live more environmentally friendly, and to supply themselves with their daily needs. Unfortunately, one judge in Florida has intervened with one woman’s lifestyle of living “off the grid,” by deeming it illegal.

Special Magistrate Harold S. Eskin ruled that the city’s codes allow the woman, Robin Speronis, to live without utility power, but she is still required to hook her home to the city’s water system. Her alternative source of power must be approved by the city as well, Eskin said.

Speronis has been fighting the city of Cape Coral since November, when a code enforcement officer tried to evict her from her home for living without utilities. She has her own solar panels, and collects rainwater. The city contends that Speronis violated the International Property Maintenance Code by relying on rain water instead of the city water system, and solar panels instead of the electric grid. Speronis said at the time that she didn’t have a refrigerator, oven, running water or electricity in her home. She also does most of her cooking on a propane camping stove, and her electronics run on solar-charged batteries.

Part of the conflict: she is required to hook up to the central water system, although officials acknowledge she does not have to use it. Speronis has stated that she hopes to win her case and set a precedent for others in her situation. Even more recently, a judge declared her lifestyle to be in violation of city code as well as the International Property Maintenance Code, she is looking to appeal.

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Damning study blames BP oil spill for heart defects in fish


Last December, scientists announced that dolphins in Louisiana were experiencing lung diseases and low birthrates in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill that released more than 636 million liters of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. Now, researchers have also found evidence of potentially lethal heart defects in two species of tuna and one species of amberjack — all economically important species for commercial fisheries.This news, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences today, comes less than a week after the announcement that BP will once again be allowed to explore the Gulf of Mexico for oil.

To study the effects of the BP oil disaster, scientists recreated the oceanic environment that yellowfin amberjack, yellowfin tuna and bluefin tuna larvae would have encountered in 2010 in the lab. They did so by introducing the larvae to Deepwater Horizon oil samples at environmental conditions that matched those of the spill. Fish are extremely vulnerable during development, so studying fish larvae is the most direct way of demonstrating the effect of noxious compounds.

The researchers found that the fish exhibited a number of heart defects including slower heart rates, fluid accumulation, and arrhythmia — a condition characterized by an irregular heartbeat. In the areas where the oil concentrations were the highest, the oil would have caused the larvae to die of heart failure, says John Incardona, research toxicologist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and co-author of the study. Fish larvae that were located further away probably survived, but if these heart defects mean that “they can’t swim as fast, so they are either going to get eaten or they won’t be able to eat enough,” he says. “That leads to reduced survival.”

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Chevron is a lying, murdering, horrible fucking company


When 30,000 Ecuadorian villagers sued Chevron in 1993 for devastating the Amazon with 18 billion gallons of toxic wastewater, the US-based oil giant’s reply was simple: “We will fight [the lawsuit] until hell freezes over,” said a representative. “And then fight it out on the ice.”

After investigators documented what they call a “Rainforest Chernobyl”—17 million gallons of spilled crude oil, more than 1,000 open waste pits full of toxic waste polluting the drinking water, and thousands of victims of cancer and birth defects—it seemed justice was served for the villagers. In 2011, an Ecuadorian court ruled against Chevron and demanded the company pay $19 billion in restitution. Ecuador’s Supreme Court later reduced the damages to $9.5 billion but upheld that ruling.

But on Tuesday, a U.S. court effectively overturned the ruling, which means Chevron has won the fight and hell, apparently, has frozen over. They’ve won using what activists say are dirty tactics, including filing a countersuit against the Ecuadorian villagers, claiming they had lied all along about the pollution caused to their properties as part of a shakedown scheme.

Chevron hired a legal team of more than 60 law firms and 2,000 legal professionals to argue that it’s not the villagers who are the victims here—it’s the corporation.

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Monsanto’s Roundup may be linked to fatal kidney disease, new study suggests


A heretofore inexplicable fatal, chronic kidney disease that has affected poor farming regions around the globe may be linked to the use of biochemical giant Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide in areas with hard water, a new study has found.

The new study was published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.

Researchers suggest that Roundup, or glyphosate, becomes highly toxic to the kidney once mixed with“hard” water or metals like arsenic and cadmium that often exist naturally in the soil or are added via fertilizer. Hard water contains metals like calcium, magnesium, strontium, and iron, among others. On its own, glyphosate is toxic, but not detrimental enough to eradicate kidney tissue.

The glyphosate molecule was patented as a herbicide by Monsanto in the early 1970s. The company soon brought glyphosate to market under the name “Roundup,” which is now the most commonly used herbicide in the world.

The hypothesis helps explain a global rash of the mysterious, fatal Chronic Kidney Disease of Unknown etiology (CKDu) that has been found in rice paddy regions of northern Sri Lanka, for example, or in El Salvador, where CKDu is the second leading cause of death among males.

Furthermore, the study’s findings explain many observations associated with the disease, including the linkage between the consumption of hard water and CKDu, as 96 percent of patients have been found to have consumed “hard or very hard water for at least five years, from wells that receive their supply from shallow regolith aquifers.”

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The World’s Top Scientists: Take Action Now On Climate Change


Two of the world’s most prestigious science academies say there’s clear evidence that humans are causing the climate to change.

The time for talk is over, says the US National Academy of Sciences and the Royal Society, the national science academy of the UK.

The two released a paper, Climate Change: Evidence and Causes, written and reviewed by leading experts in both countries, lays out which aspects of climate change are well understood and where there is still uncertainty and a need for more research.

Sir Paul Nurse, President of the Royal Society, said:

“We have enough evidence to warrant action being taken on climate change; it is now time for the public debate to move forward to discuss what we can do to limit the impact on our lives and those of future generations.”

NAS President Ralph J. Cicerone said:

“As two of the world’s leading scientific bodies, we feel a responsibility to evaluate and explain what is known about climate change, at least the physical side of it, to concerned citizens, educators, decision makers and leaders, and to advance public dialogue about how to respond to the threats of climate change.”

Carbon dioxide (CO2) has risen to levels not seen for at least 800,000 years, and observational records dating back to the mid-19th century show a clear, long-term warming trend.

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