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Thursday, April 4, 2013

Organic Bytes 4/4/2012


As Earth Day Approaches, a Message of Hope: How Grazing Cows Can Reverse Global Warming

Could grazing large herds of cattle reverse global warming? Yes, according to ecologist Allan Savory. And nothing offers more hope for a planet in distress.

For years, environmentalists have believed that removing cattle from land protects the land from turning to desert. But we’ve had it wrong, says Savory and a growing movement of "carbon ranchers", organic consumers, and climate activists. Turns out that when we remove the cattle, that's when the land turns to desert. Deserts are not only bad for growing food, they give off carbon - a leading cause of global warming.
We need green technologies to help us reduce our use of fossil fuels. But we’ll never reduce our use of fossil fuels enough in time to avert a climate crisis. There’s another way. By grazing large herds of livestock on half of the world’s barren or semi-barren lands, we could take enough carbon from the atmosphere to bring us back to pre-industrial levels. And just think of all the other problems we’d solve if we raised cattle outdoors, instead of in factory farms which pollute our water and air, and ruin our health with their antibiotics and growth hormones.

Read the Essay


Earth Day

In Honor of Earth Day: A Cook Organic,
Not the Planet Kit!

Want to do something for Mother Earth on Earth Day? Head to your local farmer’s market or natural food store and choose sustainable, grass-fed beef for dinner. Or sustainably raised, free-range chicken. Because the fact is, that while we need to reduce our use of fossil fuels and find alternative, green technologies, we have the power, now, to drastically improve the climate. Just by boycotting any food – meat, dairy or eggs – that comes from a factory farm.

As climate activist Bill McKibben writes in his article, "The Only Way to Have a Cow," "We should simply stop eating factory-farmed meat, and the effects on climate change would be but one of the many benefits."
This Earth Day, we’re asking you to spread the word about the threat that factory farming poses to our health, the environment and the animals who are needlessly confined and tortured. To help you out, we’re offering a Cook Organic, not the Planet information kit for $10, plus some free downloadable leaflets, posters and stickers. Use the materials at your local Earth Day event, or just pass them out to friends and family!

Order the Cook Organic, Not the Planet materials
Tips for Climate-Friendly Eating



Don’t Let the Senate Confirm
a Pro-Fracking Energy Secretary!

TAKE ACTION: Stop the Nomination of Pro-Fracker Moniz as Head of the DOE!

Over the protests of hundreds of thousands of concerned citizens, President Obama nominated Ernest Moniz, an ardent supporter of fracking, to be the U.S. Energy Secretary. No surprise, Moniz has a long history of ties to the oil and gas industry.

The Huffington Post reports that Moniz has spent the last decade serving on a range of boards and advisory councils for energy industry heavyweights, including some that do business with the Department of Energy. That includes a six-year paid stint on BP’s Technology Advisory Council as well as similar positions at a uranium enrichment company and a pair of energy investment firms.

Those most likely to hear our protests and scuttle Moniz’s nomination are Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO), Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT). And of course, we need to keep pressuring the President.

TAKE ACTION: Stop the Nomination of Pro-Fracker Moniz as Head of the DOE!

Read the OCA Press Release




Dr. Bronner’s Matches Your $250,000. Thank You!

You did it. In just two weeks, you raised $250,000 for Washington State’s I-522 campaign, a citizens’ initiative to label GMOs. As promised, our generous donor – Dr. Bronner’s – has matched your donations. Dr. Bronner’s had already pledged $500,000 to the I-522 campaign. Now, with this additional matching gift, Bronner’s is donating $750,000. Add in the $250,000 you raised, and that’s $1 million that will go directly to help pass this critical initiative in Washington in November.

Through your generosity, you’ve proven what we’ve known all along: The GMO labeling movement is alive and well. We will not give up this fight until we have a label on every food product containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

We here at the OCA work tirelessly on the issues that we know matter most to you. When you come through for us in the way you did these past two weeks, it reminds us that without your support, we simply wouldn’t be able to do this work. To all of you who were able to pitch in this time around, thank you! For those who would still like to support our GMO labeling work, and our other campaigns around food and farming, your donations are always welcomed and appreciated. Thank you!

Donate to the Organic Consumers Fund (non-tax-deductible, but necessary for our legislative efforts in Washington, Vermont and other states)
If you need your donation to be tax-deductible, you can donate to the Organic Consumers Association (tax-deductible, helps support our work on behalf of organic standards, fair trade and public education)



Join the Right to Know GMO Fight
in Your State

Want to get involved in a GMO labeling campaign in your state? You can join Right to Know GMO, the coalition of 37 states collaborating on statewide GMO labeling laws. Right to Know GMO is a grassroots movement of mothers, farmers and citizens dedicated to regaining our basic right to know what we're eating and feeding our families.

At least 24 states have introduced GMO labeling laws this year. Connecticut just this week passed a bill out of the Public Health Committee, by an overwhelming majority vote of 23-4. Washington’s I-522, a citizens’ initiative, is making its way toward a November 2013 vote. Massachusetts has five bills pending, and Vermont bill, which passed out of the House Agriculture Committee on March 1, will be voted on this week.

Of course the opposition isn’t sitting idly by. The New Mexico Farm and Livestock Bureau has formed a front group, NM Food Feeding Families, even though the bill there died this year. And Monsanto is cranking up its propaganda machine in Oregon, behind a front group called the Oregonians for Food and Shelter.
US map of state Right to Know efforts
Update on state legislation to label GMOs


 Reading List

Who Knew? Cows Save the Planet

Looking for a good read? Something to think about on the eve of Earth Day? Cows Save the Planet, by journalist Judith D. Schwartz, just might be the most important - and surprising - book you read this year. Did you know that undergrazing land is just as bad for the soil as overgrazing? And that while we love to blame SUVs and factories for all that carbon dioxide that’s burning up the planet, we should really be blaming our unsustainable agriculture system? Schwartz writes about the problems we face, and how we can turn these crises into opportunities. Think of her book as a call to action for the soil. And as gardeners, farmers and organic food consumers, what could be more important on Earth Day?

Learn more and order the book



Essential Reading for the Week

Yes, Antibiotic-Resistant Bugs Can Jump from Animals to Humans

The Corporate 'Predator State'

The Monsanto Protection Act? A Debate on Controversial New Measure Over Genetically Modified Crops

From Saccharin to GE Seed, Report Profiles Monsanto's History Peddling Chemicals for Food, Agriculture, War

A New Civil Rights Movement: Liberating Our Communities from Corporate Control

The Downside of Expecting America's Agriculture System to Feed the World


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