Over the past five decades, as a food, natural health and environmental campaigner, anti-war organizer, human rights activist and journalist, OCA’s director, Ronnie Cummins, has had the inspiring and at times depressing opportunity to work and travel across much of the world.
What has he learned? That people respond best to a positive, solutions-oriented message.
Gloom-and-doom thinking—the kind that offers no plausible solution, doesn’t generally inspire people to get involved or take action.
That doesn’t mean we should downplay the seriousness of our current situation. We face unprecedented life-or-death threats. But, as Ronnie writes:
"That said, I believe that the main obstacle we must overcome, in the U.S. and worldwide, is that many (if not most) people are locked into disempowering situations that are causing them to suffer from a pervasive sense of hopelessness. It’s not that they don’t want to change. But unfortunately, most people don't really believe things can change."
Ronnie disagrees, of course. Things can change—if we make them.
In his new book, “Grassroots Rising: A Call to Action on Food, Farming, Climate and a Green New Deal,” Ronnie outlines what he calls “Rules for Regenerators,” a roadmap for positive change.
In this week’s essay, he shares the “Reader’s Digest” version of his six rules for Regenerators.
Read ‘Six Rules for Organizing a Grassroots Regeneration Revolution’
You know that eating organic is the best way to avoid food produced with pesticides, GMOs, drugs and hormones (detected in factory farm meat).
But there’s another evil lurking in our non-organic food system, one that’s even harder to detect and avoid: synthetic nitrogen fertilizers.
Fertilizer run-off pollutes drinking water. It’s the cause of the Gulf of Mexico’s dead zone, Lake Erie’s algal blooms and the red tides on the Gulf Coast of Florida.
Synthetic fertilizers are also linked to a host of health problems. Each year in the U.S., it causes tens of thousands of illnesses, including:
• 2,939 cases of very low birth weight; 1,725 cases of very preterm birth; and 41 cases of neural tube defects.
• 12,594 cases of cancer, including colorectal, ovarian, thyroid, kidney and bladder cancer.
• 4,300 premature deaths due to nitrogen oxide-heavy smog from synthetic nitrogen fertilizer use on corn alone.
The synthetic fertilizer industry would have you believe that farmers can’t grow food without synthetic nitrogen.
But as any successful organic or regenerative farmer will tell you, that’s just not true.
The National Academy of Engineering calls synthetic nitrogen fertilizer pollution one of the “grand challenges” facing the world.
Scientists warn that we must drastically reduce its use.
Let’s start in our own backyards—by asking our state lawmakers to act.
TAKE ACTION: Tell your state lawmakers: We need a plan to ban synthetic nitrogen fertilizers!
Children of moms exposed to pesticides during pregnancy have a greater risk for developing childhood cancers, according to a California statewide case-control study. The same is true for children exposed to pesticides during early childhood.
The peer-reviewed study, published in the International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health, looked at childhood cancers in rural agricultural areas in California.
Based on data collected by the California Cancer Registry and the California Department of Pesticide Regulation's Pesticide Use Reporting system, the study's authors observed elevated risks for both childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia and acute myeloid leukemia.
Coincidentally, U.S. Right to Know’s Stacy Malkan updated and republished an article this month exposing how the Koch-funded nonprofit, Independent Women’s Forum (IWF), partners with Monsanto to defend toxic chemicals in food and consumer products. The article also highlights how the IWF argues against laws that would curb the power of corporations. According to Malkan:
"IWF pushes the talking points of Monsanto and the chemical industry: promoting GMOs and pesticides, attacking the organic industry and moms who choose organic food, and opposing transparency in food labels."
Seems the good old boys at the Koch brothers' "Toxic Empire" think that if they use women to spread lies about toxic chemicals, they’ll bring more women over to the dark side.
Yet as this latest study shows, it's women—and their children—who are paying a high price for the reckless use of pesticides.
Read ‘Independent Women's Forum: Koch-Funded Group Defends Pesticide, Oil, Tobacco Industries’
Help us support U.S. Right to Know with your tax-deductible donation
In our video of the week, “Dark Waters” (see below), actor Mark Ruffalo plays a lawyer defending a farmer whose cows were poisoned by a DuPont chemical plant spewing “forever chemicals” into a community’s waterways.
At one point in the film Ruffalo says:
“The system is rigged. They want us to think it will protect us. We protect us. We do.”
Truer words were never spoken.
In a world where corporations hold all the financial power and political sway, who looks out for the people?
We do. All of us do. All of us must.
The work we are doing, together, is moving the needle toward fewer chemicals in our food. Greater transparency in our food system. A more just and regenerative food and farming system.
Sometimes the progress feels frustratingly slow. But the alternative—giving up—isn’t an option.
We depend on you to help us unrig the system. Please consider making a donation today.
Make a tax-deductible donation to Organic Consumers Association, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit
Support Citizens Regeneration Lobby, OCA’s 501(c)(4) lobbying arm (not tax-deductible)
Donate $100 or more and we’ll send you a copy of Ronnie’s new book
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When the cows on Wilbur Tennant’s Parkersburg, West Virginia farm started dying “left and right,” the long-time farmer suspected it had something to do with the town’s DuPont chemical plant.
The town’s lawyers, politicians, journalists and veterinarians blew him off. But Tennant finally got the attention of one lawyer, Rob Billot—only because Billot’s grandmother lived near Parkersburg, and the corporate attorney had fond memories of visiting her as a child.
“Dark Waters” is based on the true story of how Tennant and Billot took on DuPont, which was knowingly poisoning the nearly 70,000 people in the Parkersburg area with cancer-causing “forever chemicals” used to make Teflon.
DuPont, founded in 1802 as a gunpowder mill, says on its website that the company is “using science and innovation to make the world a safer, healthier and better place to live.”
But “Dark Waters” tells a very different story.
Watch the ‘Dark Waters’ Trailer
Read the New York Times article that inspired the film
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