April 28th, 2009
From the university level to entire metropolitan areas to Major League Baseball, the past couple of weeks have shown a couple of major victories on the bottled water front. On the smaller end of the scale, Belmont University recently chose to ban bottled water sales on campus, effective May 16th. While the loss of bottled water sales may decrease campus revenue, it will ultimately save students money, considering that bottled water can cost hundreds to thousands more times than tap water. Belmont is also setting the example by setting up water refill stations in the commissaries and installing water filters in fountains, helping ease the transition back to tap water. Well done, Belmont!
Taking it to another level, the city council of Vancouver, Canada, recently voted to eliminate bottled water for staff and council functions and, in the near future, to remove it from city concession stands. Similar decisions have been passed in the other parts of Canada, including the town of Georgina – along with several other municipalities in Ontario. We can only hope that this trend begins to establish itself within the U.S. Read the full article…
April 27th, 2009
A 100% biodegradable water bottle? Brilliant. But marketing that as the cure for all bottled water woes? Misleading. AQUAMANTRA recently came out with such a bottle in honor of Earth Day, claiming that with this new biodegradable bottle, “everyone can feel good about drinking bottled water again.” Not so fast! While it is a step in the right direction, it only deals with one of the many problems that revolve around bottled water. The bottled water issue involves far more than just recycling, or the lack thereof. It‚ primarily an issue about consumer safety and about how its producers charge exorbitant amounts for something that you could just as easily get by turning on your tap, at a small fraction of the price. Read the full article…
April 24th, 2009
According to reports, 1,500 farmers in India have committed suicide after drought and crop failures made it impossible to repay loans for agrochemicals and seeds. The high cost of industrial farm inputs often puts small farmers in the developing world on a treadmill of mounting debt , one crop failure away from losing their family‚ land. These pressures can be higher for farmers in India that have adopted even more expensive genetically modified seeds for crops like cotton.
The New York Times reported in 2006 that genetically modified cotton seeds can cost farmers twice as much, doubling the household debt and making a successful crop that much more urgent. When these crops fail, indebted farmers can take their own lives and strand their families. The United Kingdom‚ Prince Charles has championed the plight of farmers driven to debt and despair by high-cost genetically modified seeds. Read the full article…
April 23rd, 2009
Earlier this week, Kenyan activist Josphat Ngonyo spoke to our staff and members of the public in DC about the dangers of GE crops for African countries. If you weren’t able to attend, you can listen to Josphat’s interview on WBAI (Pacifica New York).
The companies that sell GE crops like to present them as the magic bullet, the cure for famine and poverty. One of their major arguments was that crop yields would supposedly be higher. Sounds fantastic, until you look at the actual data. A recent report from the Union of Concerned Scientists, entitled “Failure to Yield: Evaluating the Performance of Genetically Engineered Crops” shows that this argument may not be valid after all. Considering the massive crop failures in South Africa came after the use of GE crops, it is clear that their use is not justified by the science or by reality. Read the full article…
April 20th, 2009
It’s that time of year again! Wednesday April 22nd is Earth Day, with this year marking the event‚ 39th anniversary. In this spirit, Food & Water Watch is attending a series of events throughout the country for current and new activists, and we would love to see you there!
Even if you can’t make it to an event, there are a variety of ways to get involved. You could take action on any number of issues, such as fish farming, strengthening our food safety laws, improving our water infrastructure, fighting bottled water, and more. You can also host a film screening in your area , just contact us to find out how!
Thanks for all of the great work, and have a happy Earth Day!
- Food & Water Watch
April 16th, 2009
Who doesn’t love a talking fish? Better yet, a singing one? That has been the winning concept behind McDonald’s popular Filet-O-Fish commercial. It’s even become a YouTube smash hit, having been viewed over a million times.
While there’s nothing wrong with a piece of good advertising, it’s a shame that the actual sandwich McDonald’s is promoting is made with fish that are unsustainable, specifically, hoki and/or Pollock. Sorry, McDonald’s, we’re not “lovin’ it.”
The New Zealand hoki and Alaskan Pollock fisheries are both certified by the Marine Stewardship Council, or MSC, as sustainable , a certification that has been found to hold limited merit. Not only does MSC have a history of certifying fisheries accused of employing unsustainable practices, but also the fisheries that are worthy of an eco-label, such as Alaskan salmon, can easily lose their MSC label purely out of an inability to pay. Read the full article…
April 14th, 2009
This Friday, from 5:30 to 7:30 PM, Food & Water Watch is proud to host Josphat Ngonyo at our San Francisco office for a talk entitled “Africa Bullied into Submission by Multinational Corporations; Kenyan perspective on GE Technology, GMOs and Bio-safety Legislation.” He will be joined by Helge Helberg, Executive Director of Marin Organic, whose focus will be on local fights against GE crops. The San Francisco office is located at 25 Stillman Street, Suite 200. Mr. Ngonyo‚ talk is part of his ongoing U.S. tour, which includes three academic presentations. Read the full article…
April 8th, 2009
Last week, ‚conventional” agriculture advocates at the Mid America CropLife Association took umbrage at Michelle Obama‚ organic garden on the White House lawn. After a couple of MACA staff members shuddered at the thought, they sent her a courteous and outrageously absurd email that starts out by congratulating her on having a garden, then spends the next several paragraphs explaining to her just why she shouldn’t have a garden, or for HEAVENS SAKE at LEAST not an organic one.
The email denies that how food is grown could be related to its quality: ‚Much of the food considered not wholesome or tasty is the result of how it is stored or prepared rather than how it is grown.” (Don’t worry, Mom‚ I’m sure MACA didn’t mean to call you a bad cook.) At this point, it seems like we should be past that debate. Read the full article…
April 1st, 2009
So it’s April Fool’s Day. And it looks like Ben & Jerry’s pulled off quite the virtual April Fool’s Day joke. From Ben & Jerry’s:
“The truth is that Cyclone Dairy is a project of Ben & Jerry’s. We wanted to find a way to increase Americans’ awareness that the FDA has cleared the way for cloned foods to enter the food supply Cyclone Dairy seemed to be the perfect vehicle. It could be real!” While CyClone Dairy is a fictional creation, the potential for a company like this to emerge is dangerously real. The only thing that stands in the way of the livestock industry putting meat and milk from cloned animals or their offspring into the food supply is a voluntary moratorium. In other words, a supplier could easily go against the moratorium and put these products out into the marketplace, and FDA would not even require it to be labeled.
Just last week Members of the European Parliament voted against authorizing the sale of food from cloned products and their offspring, calling instead on regulators to ban these products. Why? Because of ethical concerns, lack of scientific information regarding the safety of these products and the negative effects on animal welfare.
The amount of discussion generated by our original CyClone Dairy blog showed that were not the only ones worried about cloned meat and milk reaching store shelves.
So keep talking! You can also take action to tell Congress that we need a system in place to track clones and their offspring, and it needs to track the DNA of clones, so meat and milk can be tested to see if they came from cloned animals. Without such a system in place, companies will be hard-pressed to guarantee that their products even the organic ones, are clone-free.
- Sofía Baliño