Organic Bytes
SUBSCRIBE | DONATE Share on Facebook Follow OCA on Twitter OCA on Pinterest Follow OCA on YouTube Instagram LinkedIn RSS Feed

dry desert drought in a hot sunset

‘Sooner Than We Imagine’

While our Climate-Denier-in-Chief bellows on about promoting fossil fuels and nuclear energy, the scientists of the world have issued yet another warning: Climate change could force more than a billion people to flee their homes, and lead to a massive public health crisis.

The Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change, an international research collaboration, recently issued its 2017 report along with a plea for governments to act fast, or suffer the consequences.

Lancet co-chair Prof. Hugh Montgomery told the Independent:

“We are only just beginning to feel the impacts of climate change. Any small amount of resilience we may take for granted today will be stretched to breaking point sooner than we may imagine.”

The report found that “migration driven by climate change has potentially severe impacts on mental and physical health, both directly and by disrupting essential health and social services.”

As OCA’s Ronnie Cummins wrote last week, we have a solution for the multiple global crises we face: regenerative agriculture and land-use practices, such as forestry management. But we all—farmers, corporations, policymakers and consumers—have to participate:

Our mission today as “regenerators” throughout the Americas and the world is to recapture, reestablish and scale up these traditional practices. We must modify them to match the specific ecological and marketplace conditions in our local areas and regions. In this manner we can regenerate the soil, dramatically improve yields and food quality, restore public health, eliminate the pressures that cause forced migration, and last but certainly not least, draw down and sequester enough excess carbon from the atmosphere through enhanced plant photosynthesis and reforestation to reverse global warming and climate disruption.

Read ‘Climate change could force more than a billion people to flee their homes, says major health report’ 

Read the Lancet Countdown report 

burning and smoking footprints in sand

The ‘Bigfoots’ of Climate

Who has the biggest greenhouse gas footprint of all?

The top 20 meat and dairy companies, which all told emitted more greenhouse gases in 2016 than all of Germany, Europe’s biggest climate polluter, according to a report issued this week at the COP 23 climate summit in Bonn, Germany.

Beef and poultry giants JBS, Cargill and Tyson spewed more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere last year than all of France.

Should you stop eating meat? That’s a personal choice.  

Health experts say we should all eat less meat and more plants. When we do eat meat, we should choose organic pasture-raised poultry and 100% grassfed beef

The good news? Eating less meat, and choosing organic pasture-raised and 100% grassfed, is also better for the planet.

Regeneration International’s Oliver Gardiner, in Bonn to cover COP23, caught up with Shefali Sharma from the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP), which collaborated on the report.

Watch Regeneration International’s interview with one of the authors of the report 

Read the report 

Support Regeneration International, an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit partially funded by OCA 

Peace, Love and Monsanto Weedkiller

Down in the Dumps?

Yesterday, one of our supporters reported back that his local food co-op (which will remain unnamed until management issues a formal statement) recently dropped Ben & Jerry’s, and that our #DumpBenandJerrys campaign played a big role in the store’s decision.

This is how we move Unilever-owned Ben & Jerry’s toward organic. But we need your help.

Many local natural health food stores and co-ops, stores that cater to conscious consumers like you, carry only organic ice cream. But some of them also carry Ben & Jerry’s. Not only that, they display Ben & Jerry’s ice cream right next to the organic brands they sell—a move that misleads consumers into thinking Ben & Jerry’s ice cream is organic, too.

And get this—sometimes these stores put a higher price tag on Ben & Jerry’s than on the organic brands!

We need your help to get stores all over the country to #DumpBenandJerrys. Here’s a map of stores. Find out if your store sells Ben & Jerry’s. If it does, take this letter to the store manager and ask him or her to stop selling Ben & Jerry’s. After your visit, please fill out this form to let us know what happened.

Thanks to you, the bad news is piling up for Vermont’s greenwasher. Just this week, a new study exposed industrial dairy’s major role as a greenhouse gas emitter. And Ben & Jerry’s claims to care about global warming???

Also this week, when the EU Commission failed to greenlight Monsanto’s Roundup weedkiller, one news report highlighted our testing of Ben & Jerry’s glyphosate-contaminated ice cream in four EU countries.

And Ben & Jerry’s sales are melting—and dragging down Unilever’s profits.

Your calls to Ben & Jerry’s, your leafleting in front of Ben & Jerry’s Scoop Shops and other food stores that carry Ben & Jerry’s are paying off. But we need to keep the pressure on!

Find co-ops and natural food stores near you 

Download this letter to store managers 

After your store visit, please fill out this questionnaire to let us know what happened 

Support our ‘Ben & Jerry’s: Go Organic!’ campaign. Donations to OCA, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, are tax deductible

Regenerative Organic Certification seal

Done with Doom

Last week the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) rejected the pleas of organic activists, farmers and many businesses to “keep the soil in organic” by voting to allow growers of hydroponic vegetables to label their produce “organic.”

The NOSB’s vote did little to shore up consumer faith in the USDA Organic label, especially after well-publicized news reports earlier this year accusing a few high-profile organic brands of giving “organic” a bad name by skirting the rules. And it had some industry pioneers so angry and disheartened, that according to the Washington Post they were even “threatening to leave the program they helped create.”

The Organic Consumers Association supported the “Keep the soil in organic” campaign. We’re disappointed in the NOSB’s decision, another sign of Big Organic’s (negative) influence over organic standards.

But rather than mourn the demise of organic standards, or fruitlessly complain about how the USDA Organic label is being undermined by a few corrupt corporations, we’ve joined the growing number of organic advocates, both in the U.S. and abroad, who understand that the future of organic is regenerative. And here’s what we’re doing about it.

Read Ronnie’s essay 

Ban roundup image on EU flag background

Just Said NO!

Monsanto’s past is finally catching up with it. And that’s making the Biotech Bully’s future look not so good—especially in Europe.

Today (Thursday, November 9), the EU Parliament again failed to agree on whether to allow European farmers to spray glyphosate, the key active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup weedkiller, for another five years. The chemical’s license expires on December 15 (though there’s an additional 18-month grace period).

This is great news—made even sweeter by this media report which prominently features our findings, announced October 10 in Brussels, that Ben & Jerry’s ice cream in four EU countries tested positive for glyphosate. 

Monsanto has come under fire not just for the impact its GMOs and poisonous chemicals are having on human health and the environment, but also for knowing glyphosate causes cancer—but hiding it. 

From the Monsanto Tribunal, to the Monsanto Papers, to the millions of dedicated people in all corners of the world working tirelessly to rid the world of Roundup—today’s vote brings hope. This may not be the end of the battle—but it signals that no matter how long it takes, we’re not giving up.

Fourteen countries voted in favor of the renewal, nine voted against, and five, including Germany, abstained from voting. What’s next? An appeal committee could be asked to intervene. Or, the European Commission could draft a new proposal. (France, which voted against the five-year renewal, said it would support a three-year renewal).

Read ‘EU Fails to Agree on Glyphosate License Renewal’

Read the ‘Official Complaint on Monsanto Non-Compliance With EU Transparency Rules’ 

Support OCA’s Millions Against Monsanto Campaign with a tax-deductible donation.

Risky Business

Risky Business

Concern about financial portfolios may not be the best reason to boycott factory farms and the companies that profit from them—companies like Tyson Foods and Hormel Foods. And it’s clearly not the only reason. 

But at least one financial analyst has laid out the many reasons that corporations tied to factory farming are a bad financial risk.

Jeremy Coller’s latest report, “Factory Farming: Assessing Investment Risks,” highlights the many reasons, including consumer concern about their own health, and the health and welfare of animals, along with investor concern about the potential crackdown on factory farms that violate environmental regulations, that investors may want to put their money somewhere, well, less risky.

Whatever your reason for boycotting factory farms, Coller’s report contains a wealth of information about a system that commits crimes against animals, crimes against nature and crimes against public health.

One particularly telling statistic? A full 99 percent of U.S. farm animals are now confined in filthy, unhealthy, inhumane factory “farms.” If it takes a few big investors rejecting this despicable system, purely on the basis of financial risk, to help bring down the system, we’re all for it.

Read the report