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Saturday

Friends of the Earth - Monsanto and Monarchs

Friends of the Earth

Monarch butterflies are in serious trouble. The leading factor in their decline is the increased use of Monsanto’s Roundup®, which has virtually wiped out milkweed -- the only food young monarchs eat. More Roundup® = less milkweed = fewer monarchs.

The leading factor is the loss of their breeding habitat and food. Across the Midwest, millions of acres of “Roundup® Ready” GMO crops engineered to withstand massive amounts Monsanto’s Roundup® have been planted along the monarch’s migration route -- virtually wiping out milkweed, the only food young monarchs eat. The use of Roundup® has skyrocketed in the last decade. More Roundup® = less
milkweed = fewer monarchs.

Monarchs need our help before it’s too late! Tell the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to protect monarchs under the Endangered Species Act.

The numbers are startling: in the last 20 years, the number of monarchs has declined by 90 percent. They’ve dropped from a recorded high of 1 billion butterflies in the mid-1990s to less than 35 million last winter. For this year, early reports suggest a 50 percent decline in their numbers from last year.

But the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has the power to help. It could restore essential monarch habitat nationwide -- by giving the monarch butterfly protection under the Endangered Species Act. But we need your help to protectthis essential pollinator for future generations.

Tell McDonald's to adopt a deforestation-free palm oil policy | SumOfUs

Tell McDonald's to adopt a deforestation-free palm oil policy | SumOfUs

The palm oil industry’s rampage is also fueling climatechange — releasing billions of of tons of greenhouse gases every year, andmaking Indonesia the world’s third largest climate polluter.

McDonald's buys palm oil to make a range of products — from Baked Apple Pie to Spicy Chicken McBites. If we could get McDonalds to adopt a no-deforestation palm oil policy, it  would show the palm oil producers that there's no going back. The palm oil industry would be forced to make its one year separation from deforestation permanent, if it wants to sell to leading consumer brands in the future.

The best part? McDonald's just joined a pledge at a UN Summit to help cut global deforestation rates in half by 2020, so we suspect it's open to the idea of changing its palm oil policy to be tiger-friendly.

But McDonald's has a ways to go still. It currently relies primarily on controversial "RSPO GreenPalm" certificates, which give a few dollars to sustainable producers while allowing McDonald's to buy any palm oil on the marketplace, regardless of its sustainability.

This isn't only about getting McDonald's to clean up its own act, but also to use its significant influence with suppliers to reform the whole palm oil industry, especially those producers who are linked even more directly to rainforest destruction and human rights abuses.

Together, we've already convinced Kellogg's and other big companies to change their ways, causing a shift in the global palm oil supply chain. Similar organized consumer pressure has dramatically slowed the rate of deforestation in Brazil. McDonald's can be moved with public pressure too.

But due to pressure from people like us, the largest palm oil producers have promised to halt deforestation for one year. Now we have an opportunity to fundamentally change how major companies like McDonald’s source their palm oil—or the tiger, the orangutan, and the elephant will be at risk once again.

Tuesday

Sea of Irish Protesters: 'Water Is a Human Right!'

Sea of Irish Protesters: 'Water Is a Human Right!' | Common Dreams | Breaking News & Views for the Progressive Community

As many as 100,000 people took to the streets of Dublin on Saturday to denounce a new water tax  and declare, "Water is a human right." Protesters say the water charges, to begin next year, are yet more austerity measures that have pushed people towards a "tipping point."

Fifty-year-old Martin Kelly held a sign reading "Stop the great water heist" and told Reuters, "There is absolute fury against what the government has imposed on the people."

"This day will go down in history as the day that the people decided to roar," said Independent TD Clare Daly. "We are here in our tens of thousands to say water is a human right, based on need, not an ability to pay."

Friday

Demand the NEB respect Indigenous Rights! Sign to support Chippewas of the Thames First Nation! | Leadnow.ca

Demand the NEB respect Indigenous Rights! Sign to support Chippewas of the Thames First Nation! | Leadnow.ca

Demand that the National Energy Board respect the Aboriginal and Treaty Rights of the Chippewas of the Thames First Nation. Enbridge has no right to pump dangerous oil through the community without consultation with, and consent from, Chippewas of the Thames, as well as other First Nations in Southern Ontario and Quebec.

The NEB must reject Enbridge's 'leave to open' applications until the appeal is heard and First Nation rights are respected.

Why is this important? Enbridge has filed 'leave to open' on Line 9 which means that by mid-October or early November, 2014, Line 9 could be pumping tar sands dilbit and fracked Bakken oil throughout southern Ontario and Quebec.

In June, 2014, the Chippewas of the Thames First Nation launched a legal challenge to the National Energy Board's approval of Line 9, stating that constitutional obligations for consultation and accommodation of Aboriginal rights had not been met.

THE CASE HAS NOT YET BEEN HEARD.
Enbridge is attempting to bypass the Court of Appeal in order to start pumping heavy oil through an aging pipeline built for light oil through 18 First Nations, many of whom were not consulted on the reversal project, as required by the Canadian Constitution. And the National Energy Board, closely tied to the Harper government and Big Oil, is likely to let Enbridge get away with it.

Tuesday

Cancer Free Cosmetics | Story of Stuff

Cancer Free Cosmetics | Story of Stuff

Procter & Gamble, the largest personal care product  company in the world, spends millions using Breast Cancer Awareness  Month to advertise its products while refusing to remove cancer causing  chemicals from those same products. Major brands such as Tide, Pantene, Herbal Essence, and CoverGirl are packed with carcinogens andsold to customers without so much as a warning on the label.

Meanwhile, the multi-billion dollar company will only donate $100,000 this year to fighting breast cancer. For P&G this is a marketing gimmick – the company has never made a commitment to  protecting its customers from the known carcinogens in its own products and has hidden the danger from them. This month, while the spotlight is on breast cancer, we can hghlight P&G's role in contributing to it and other cancers, ensuring that the company makes areal commitment to protecting its customer's health.

Dozens of potentially dangerous chemicals can be found across the spectrum of P&G products. Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA), recognized as a carcinogen by the state of California, is one such chemical usedworldwide. The US National Institutes of Health reports that BHA is "reasonably anticipated" to be a human carcinogen. By putting chemicals linked to cancer in P&G products, the corporation is running a dangerous experiment on human health.

The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics has reviewed the scientific literature on carcinogens and found cancer-causing chemicals in Procter & Gamble products including shampoos, lotions, cosmetics, and hair dyes. The CSC cross-referenced this research with authoritative bodies, including the California Proposition 65 list of chemicals, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), and the NationalToxicology Program (NTP).

Many of the chemicals P&G uses are banned in various  places around the world, but the company simpky ships its old, dangerous formula to countries with poor regulations. We are calling on P&G to take action now to end the health threat to people worldwide. There is no reason for Procter & Gamble to put cancer-causing chemicals in its personal beauty products when safer alternatives exist.

Sunday

Toxic waste dumped into Niagara River a threat to Lake Ontario | Toronto Star

Toxic waste dumped into Niagara River a threat to Lake Ontario | Toronto Star

NIAGARA-ON-THE-LAKE–Remember theLove Canal

Just up the road from that notorious toxic neighbourhood in New York state, there’s a new plan to dump more poisonous waste, including radioactive material, right near Lake Ontario and on an earthquake fault line. New York state officials are now considering whether to permit a company called Chemical Waste Management Inc. to expand its landfill in Youngstown, N.Y., perilously close to the Canadian border — and our shared water.
Do we ever learn? The site is less than five kilometres from the Niagara River, already filled with so many chemicals that it’s listed as an official area of concern by the International Joint Commission

that oversees shared Canada-U.S. waters.
Even more concerning for Canadians is that at least once a year, under U.S. permit, the existing New York-side landfill is allowed to dilute the cancer-linked PCBs and other materials it collects and discharge its nasty water into the Niagara River...

Why aren’t Canadians doing more to stop this plan? The biggest reason is that so far, only a few Canadians seem to know about it.

Gary Burroughs, Niagara’s regional chair (on the Ontario side), says he found out about the scheme only recently, when Burmaster contacted him. He attended a public meeting on the U.S. side on July 16.
“I’ve been trying to raise attention about it since then,” he says.
Why hasn't this drawn government attention?

You would think that a problem on the order of toxic and radioactive waste threatening Lake Ontario would draw the attention of the provincial and federal governments, but apparently it hasn’t. It’s
possible that no one on the U.S. side has told the Ontario Environment Ministry anything officially, as this may not be required under law.

As for Ottawa, as many Canadians know, the federal government treats environmental protection as an enemy — Prime Minister Stephen Harper has cut environmental programs, muzzled scientists and ordered tax audits of environmental groups. It’s hard to determine what the feds would do
or even if they would care.

At the same time, Canada’s environmentalists don’t seem to know about this problem either. A spokesperson for the David Suzuki Foundation, asked about the plan for more toxic waste at the edge of the Great Lakes, expressed shock and surprise.

To make matters worse, Burmaster says that the Chemical Waste Management site is on an earthquake fault line: “Should a quake happen and open the landfill . . . in just one hour those carcinogens and
radioactive particles would become airborne and could be carried 60 miles (100 kilometres) away.”

Not to make this too scary, but as he says, that’s “all the way to the Toronto area

David Israelson
is a Toronto writer and consultant.

Wednesday

Matt Damon Does Ice Bucket Challenge With Toilet Water For 800 Million Without Clean H2O

Matt Damon Does Ice Bucket Challenge With Toilet Water For 800 Million Without Clean H2O

"It posed kind of a problem for me,
not only because there's a drought here in California," Damon explained in the video, uploaded to the organization's YouTube channel. "But because I co-founded Water.org, and we envision the day when everybody has access to a clean drink of water -- and there are about 800 million people in the world who don't -- and so dumping a clean bucket of water on my head seemed a little crazy."

The actor -- who nominated George Clooney, Bono and NFL quarterback Tom Brady to do the challenge next -- said swapping clean H2O from the faucet for toilet water seemed fitting for the causes near and dear to his heart, as about 2.4 billion people across the globe still lack access to clean sanitation systems. Toilet water in westernized nations, Damon added, is still cleaner than the drinking water in many underserved communities in developing countries.

The ice bucket challenge has raised an unprecedented amount to combat the fatal neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. Between July 29 and Aug. 25, the ALS Association has raised $79.7 million from about 1.7 million donors in its fight against Lou Gehrig’s
disease, according to TIME. During that same period last year, the organization raised about $2.5 million.

Tuesday

Holes in the Earth - mining and indigenous communities

Holes in the Earth | MyFDL

Hooded thugs in Guatemala allegedly beat and set on fire a protester at the Marlin Mine, owned by Goldcorp of Canada. The victim managed to jump into a puddle of water to douse the flames, was rescued by family and taken to hospital where he died. He was indigenous, a Maya Mam.
The Maya Sipacapenses, living nearby, have also reported severe reaction if they protest the mine and its destructive impact on their communities. It’s so bad that the Inter-American Commission on Human
rights urged the government to “properly consult” with the two indigenous communities, to no avail. World Bank International Financial Corporation provided the loan that got the mine underway. Goldcorp said any suggestion that it or its subsidiary, Montana Exploradora which is operating the mine, had anything to do with the violence is “patently false.” After all, their web page says so.

Saturday

Neskoulith evict Imperial Metals Corp in BC

Mount Polley mine spill: fish safe to eat, water ban mostly lifted

A British Columbia First Nation plans to issue an eviction notice to Imperial Metals Corp. (TSX:III) — the company behind a massive tailings pond breach at a gold and copper mine last week over a
separate project in the band's territory.

The declaration from the Neskonlith Indian Band is the latest sign that last week's tailings spill at the Mount Polley Mine in central B.C. could ripple across the company's other projects and possibly the province's entire mining industry.

The Neskonlith band said the notice, which its chief planned to hand-deliver to Imperial Metals in Vancouver on Thursday, orders the company to stay away from the site of its proposed Ruddock Creek zinc and lead mine, which is located about 150 kilometres northeast of Kamloops.

The mine, which is still in the development phase and has yet to go through the environmental assessment process, would be located near the headwaters of the Adams River, home of an important sockeye salmon run. The Neskonlith band opposed the mine long before the Mount Polley tailings spill.

"We do not want the mine developing or operating in that sacred headwaters," Neskonlith Chief Judy Wilson said in an interview Wednesday.

"Our elders have stated very clearly that they do not want anything poisoning our water or our salmon."

Monday

The U.S. Bans GMOs, Bee-Killing Pesticides in All Wildlife Refuges | TakePart

The U.S. Bans GMOs, Bee-Killing Pesticides in All Wildlife Refuges | TakePart

The U.S. government is creating a safe place for bees in national wildlife refuges by phasing out the use of genetically modified crops and an agricultural pesticide implicated in the mass die-off of pollinators.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Wildlife Refuge System manages 150 million acres across the country. By January 2016, the agency will ban the use of neonicotinoids, widely used nerve poisons that a growing number of scientific studies have shown are harmful to bees, birds, mammals, and fish.
Neonicotinoids, also called neonics, can be sprayed on crops, but most often the seeds are coated with the pesticide so that the poison spreads throughout every part of the plant as it grows, including the pollen and nectar that pollinators such as bees and butterflies eat.

“We have determined that prophylactic use, such as a seed treatment, of the neonicotinoid pesticides that can distribute systemically in a plant and can affect a broad spectrum of non-target species is not
consistent with Service policy,” James Kurth, chief of the National Wildlife Refuge System, wrote in a July 17 memo.

The move follows a regional wildlife chief’s decision on July 9 to ban neonics in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Hawaii, and the Pacific Islands by 2016.

The nationwide ban, however, goes further, as it also prohibits the use of genetically modified seeds to grow crops to feed wildlife.

Thursday

As Keystone XL Dominoes Fall, Time to Arrest Tar Sands Industry |

As Keystone XL Dominoes Fall, Time to Arrest Tar Sands Industry | MyFDL

The Obama administration’s latest election year delay on Keystone North is not a victory, but the dominoes continue to fall.

Earlier this year, a citizen lawsuit denied TransCanada a route through Nebraska. Last month, it lost its permit through South Dakota. Now it faces a gauntlet of “Cowboys & Indians” vowing to stop it in its tracks...

We should not be doing business with a misanthropic industry that knowingly poisons First Nations communities in Canada, with immoral disregard for its climate impacts on humanity. Fortunately, the U.S. is in a strong position to help starve Alberta’s landlocked tar sands beast
by stopping the flow of tar sands crossing our border.. (meaning US border).

Saturday

Notorious 'Neonics' Pervasive in Midwest Waters: Study

Notorious 'Neonics' Pervasive in Midwest Waters: Study | Common Dreams | Breaking News & Views for the Progressive Community

A new study has added to mounting evidence against a class of insecticides called neonicotinoids, or "neonics." Linked in numerous studies to bee declines, the new research looks at neonics' impacts on surface water.

Researchers with the U.S. Geological Survey looked at 9 rivers and streams in the U.S. Midwest — home to vast plantings of corn and soybeansas well as widespread use of neonics—in the 2013 growing season.

The researchers detected neonics in all the waterways, which included the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers. One systemic pesticide, clothianidin, was found in 75 percent of the water samples...

note: Two cities, Eugene OR and Spokane WA, have taken initial action to ban city use of neonics. Look into your city, and see if your city council can be educated and take action on this issue. Next step after banning city use: commercial ban, outlawing sale of neonics in the city. Also work to revive bill from last year that would impose US moratorium on neonics, as the EU has done.