June 5th, 2012
@mbegin: Hey Hill! @HRClinton! I’m @StateDept and I want u to stop privatizing our natural resources! #rioplus20
Today, residents of the District of Columbia joined citizens around the country in a national day of action, sending messages — in person and online — to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in defense of the common resources that belong to all of us and which multinational corporations seeks to control. The issue of who controls these resources is coming to a critical head as global leaders will discuss them when they meet later this month in Brazil for the Rio+20 United Nations Conference of Sustainable Development. Read the full article…
June 4th, 2012
By Tim Schwab
You probably don’t know it, but you’re already paying dearly for genetically engineered (GE) salmon. Though many consumers have told the FDA that they don’t want this dangerous fish on their dinner plates, taxpayers have already wracked up a tab for one million dollars.
That’s how much the FDA has already spent reviewing the risks of GE salmon, according to a Freedom of Information Act request filed by Food & Water Watch.
True, a comprehensive and rigorous risk assessment can be expensive, and it should be conducted by regulatory agencies like the FDA, not the companies that stand to profit from selling a new product. Let’s face it, comprehensive and rigorous assessment isn’t what is happening at the FDA. The FDA’s million-dollar effort on GE salmon appears to be less geared towards protecting consumers and more of a public relations exercise to convince the public that GE salmon is safe and good. Or, as the FDA might say, not unsafe and not bad.
The agency’s risk assessment utilizes extremely weak data that has been crudely manipulated to make GE salmon appear safe. Professor Anne Kapuscinski of Dartmouth College, an expert on the subject of environmental assessment of GE fish, notes, “…My main concern was that the kind of data presented had gaps, and the quality of the analysis of the data, especially the statistical analysis, was really quite a low bar.”
The FDA has gotten it wrong from the very beginning: it chose to regulate GE salmon as it would regulate a drug, not a food—even though consumers could end up eating it. This means that the FDA is not comprehensively examining many critical dimensions surrounding the food safety of GE salmon as an actual food product for human consumption. Read the full article…
Food & Water Watch Executive Director Wenonah Hauter
By Wenonah Hauter
Sometimes life is scarier than a post-collapse science fiction thriller. Such was the case of the first ever Global Water: Oil & Gas Summit that was held in Dubai last week. While Wall Street was dithering about the failed promise of the Facebook IPO, the oil and water technology industries were plotting about profiting from a thirsty future. Representatives from some of the most powerful companies in the world – Shell, Dow, GE, Veolia, CH2MHILL, AES – met to consummate an unholy alliance focused on using (and polluting) trillions of gallons of water to frack and drill for every last drop of oil and gas.
Dubai was a fitting location for the outlandish and irresponsible group-think that marked the Summit. As the temperature outside soared to 104 degrees, the temperature indoors was kept at an arctic chill – exemplifying the wanton over-consumption that’s driving us to the brink of the climate disaster and the world water crisis. Built on the riches accrued from oil, the city vaunts its 40 shopping malls, 70,000 hotel rooms, and dozens of tall skyscrapers and over-sized resorts. Here in the Arabian dessert, tourists can buy a fur coat, ride in boats on a wide artificial canal, visit the world’s tallest building or stay in a sail-shaped hotel on an artificial island. But, venture outside into sizzling heat and your eyes may burn from the toxic cocktail of ozone, benzene fumes, volatile organic chemicals and dust. Read the full article…
June 1st, 2012
Preparing for Rio+20 with a National Day of Action
By Rich Bindell
Most of us want to plan for a green future. Whether or not the color green symbolizes nature or money depends on if you’re preparing to protect nature or profit from it. As the global population increases and our natural resources become scarcer, private interests are seeking to treat the earth’s shared resources as commodities to buy and sell in an open market system. They call it a “green economy,” but it’s really the commodification of our shared, natural resources. For those of us who believe that these resources should remain under public control, we have work to do.
On June 5, 2012, citizens, organizers, advocates and responsible stewards of public resources are gearing up for a national day of action. From Elberon and Highland Park, New Jersey to Cincinnati, Chicago and Iowa City… all the way to San Francisco, California and Hood River, Oregon, somewhere near you, citizens will be gathering to send a message to the U.S. negotiators to get Wall Street out of Rio. Read the full article…